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Welcome to the first Family Worship newsletter of 2001

Previous newsletters are available on the website archives at


FW Site stats
FW4 update
Recent site additions
Coming soon
What does "Family Worship" mean?
Scripture spot       ** NEW ITEM **
Songwriters' encouragement
Check out...
Newsletter information

With relentless "Humour spots" in-between every item...

FW Site Stats

Newsletter subscribers are now up to around 1,750 - a special welcome to
new subscribers

Visitors averaged 600 a day through December, and increased again in
January to around 750 a day

FW4 update

Thank you for your prayers for the recording of FW4 - "Rising
Generation". The instrumental sessions at the beginning of  January went
very well, and there are some firsts for a Family Worship album - live
cello and oboe are instruments that  we've not used before, and the
tracks that feature them are sounding great, with a classical feel that
extends and  complements our usual mix of rock and pop.

A couple of the tracks have taken a very Celtic direction (nobody can
accuse us of not jumping on every fashionable  bandwagon!) and one song
in particular, "Christ before me", which is based on the prayer of the
breastplate of St  Patrick, features Irish whistle, which is wonderfully

The FW4 news page is updated weekly at

Due for release Easter 2001, sneak previews of some of the songs will be
appearing on the FW website from towards the end  of January. Can you
contain your excitement? You'll just have to.

Humour spot

Children's letters to God:

Dear GOD,
What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything.

Dear GOD,
Why is Sunday school on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day
of rest.

Dear GOD,
Did you really mean "do unto others as they do unto you"? Because if you
did, then I'm going to fix my brother!

Dear GOD,
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in church they said You did it. So
I bet he stole your idea.

Dear GOD,
Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.

Recent site additions


Our new webmail service has proved popular, providing a free online
email address - - that is  safer that Hotmail
or Yahoo as it is far less prone to unsolicited emails, or spam, so is
ideal for adults who want an  online account accessible from any PC, and
is also ideal for children (parents must sign-up on behalf of children
under  the age of 13)

Humour spot

A Bible student was asked to list the 10 Commandments in any order.

His answer - "3, 6, 1, 8, 4, 5, 9, 2, 10, 7".

Coming soon...

As you know, Family Worship is a non profit-making organisation, and we
self-fund the recordings, resources and website,  with any income from
sales going back into providing further resources. In order to help fund
FW4, we'll be going CRAZY  next month with the first ever "Online FW
Resources Sale!" Better than Harrods, you won't need to queue all night
to pick  up the bargains, and as a newsletter subscriber, you will have
the opportunity to be among the first to receive a unique  URL for an
online order form with cassettes, CD's and songbooks for FW1,2 & 3, as
well as "Teach us to pray" at prices so  low we can't possibly mention
them yet in case you think we're kidding!! Details next month.

(Do you think I should give up writing songs and go into advertising
copywriting? No, me neither...)

Humour spot

A husband finally reluctantly agreed to invite his mother-in-law for
Sunday lunch.

While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the mother-in-law
played with her grandson in the sitting room, She  asked her grandson
what they were having for lunch.

"Goat," the little boy replied.

"Goat?" she replied,  "Are you sure about that?"

"Yep," said the youngster. "I heard Dad say to Mum, 'Might as well have
the old goat for dinner today as any other day"

What is Family Worship?

I was searching recently, as I do from time to time, for the phrase
"family worship", on some Internet search engines. It  threw up some
interesting sites, and as I explored a number, it set me thinking about
what the phrase means to different  people. Depending on your age, your
marital status, whether or not you have children, and what church
denomination, and  what country you are from, your perception of the
phrase "family worship", and whether it is essentially a positive, 
neutral or negative phrase, will vary greatly.

Here are some possible definitions that may be given:

1. Family Worship is when members of a family gather together at home to
worship, ie. pray, study the Bible, and maybe  sing, together. (This is
the kind of thing that every family knows it probably should do, but
rarely, if ever, does!)

2. Family Worship is a description of the type of worship that we do in
church when the kids are in the service, before  they go out to Sunday
School. (Some churches may also have specific Family Services, perhaps
once a month, where the  children stay in for the whole service, so the
whole time, including the sermon, is called "Family Worship")

3. Family Worship is the name of a number of churches (eg. Family
Worship Center), mainly found in North America,  typically emphasising
"traditional family values". For example, here is the introduction from
one such church's website:

"Victory Family Worship Center is a non-denominational, multi-ethnic,
Spirit-filled fellowship. We are a family-oriented  ministry, committed
to seeing families strengthened and prosperous in every area that
pertains to life and godliness.  This is evident by our emphasis on the
Word of God and our support of individuals and family life."

4. Family Worship is a fantastic organisation providing some of the
coolest new songs to be found anywhere in the world  today.

(OK, so I made the last one up)

Back in 1993, when Family Worship Resources was formed, we chose the
title because, certainly in the UK, there was very  little in the way of
contemporary worship material, that was good for the whole church to
sing, and enjoy singing,  together. There was loads of great children's
worship songs, and even more adult worship, but very few songs that
could  be enjoyed equally by all ages. Also, we had a situation in the
vast majority of church denominations, that attendance  had been in
steady decline for the past several decades, and most of the people
leaving were children, teenagers, or  young adults. Church was often
perceived as boring, irrelevant and out of date.

The vision was to provide songs that would help corporate worship become
a vibrant, positive experience for all ages,  especially children and
youth, so that they would not get bored with church and leave at the
earliest opportunity. One of  our biggest encouragements recently was
when a teenager said to me that singing in the Family Worship choir as a
child a  few years ago was one of the most enjoyable things she had
done, and she wanted to stick with church and become a singer  and
worship leader.

Set against that, I was walking home the other night and bumped into
another teenager who had been in one of our choirs  who had drifted away
from church, and is now an unmarried Mum. I was slightly at a loss what
to say to her, so spent most of the time talking gibberish to the

So many factors can make a difference as to whether or not our children
will stick with their faith as they grow through  teenage years and into
adulthood, and the story of the prodigal son reminds us that there is
always a way back, and it's  never too late. However, I'd far rather
that the prodigal experience would become the great exception, rather
than the  norm, and that the overwhelming majority of our children would
stay in church, to lead it into dramatic growth in their  generation.
That's my prayer, anyway.

Request for feedback

What does "family worship" mean to you, or your church? Is it a positive
thing, or a struggle? What have you found  helpful in terms of engaging
children and youth in worship and church life in general?

If you have a moment to email any thoughts or comments, I'd be very
grateful, as we're looking to expand the "How to..."  section of the
website with more articles and resources, and would love some real-world
examples and situations to help  bring greater relevance to the
materials. Thanks!

Humour spot

"Who was least pleased to see the prodigal son return?" asked the Sunday
school teacher, expecting the answer to be "the brother"

Johnny put his hand up. "Yes, Johnny", smiled the teacher

"The fatted calf!"

Scripture spot

New for 2001, this item is designed to bring some balance to the
rambling nature of the rest of the newsletter. (As my  pastor used to
say, you should always bring a Bible to church, because then if the
preacher is boring, at least you'll  have something interesting to read)

Each month we'll quote a scripture relevant to the subject of worship,
or family. This month, Exodus 10, 8-11

"Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. "Go, worship the
Lord your God," he said. "But just who will be  going?" Moses answered,
"We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and
with our flocks and herds,  because we are to celebrate a festival to
the Lord." Pharaoh said, "The LORD be with you--if I let you go, along
with  your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil. No! Have
only the men go; and worship the LORD, since that's what  you have been
asking for." Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh's

(Taken from the NIV version, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by
International Bible Society)

Moses made it clear to Pharaoh that his offer of just the men going off
to offer sacrifices to the Lord was not enough -  worship was to be a
family and a community activity - men, women, children - even flocks and
herds. Nowadays, we may not  bring our pets to church (!), but the
principle that worship should involve the whole family still holds good.

Next month - what Elijah, Elisha, and a cloak has to do with worship...

Humour spot

"There will be a meeting of the Board immediately after the service,"
announced the pastor. After the close of the  service, the group
gathered at the back of the auditorium for the announced meeting.

But there was a stranger in their midst. He was a visitor who had never
attended their church before.

"My friend," asked the pastor, did you understand that this is a meeting
of the Board?"

"Yes," said the visitor, "and after that sermon, I'm about as bored as
you can get!"

Songwriters' encouragement

I had an email a couple of months back from a composer who had put her
songs on, and had noticed that I was from  the same town as her
(, as well as listing songs by genre & popularity, also lists
them by geographic location).  She emailed to see if I would be
interested in meeting up to swap experiences of writing, and of using
the Internet as a  channel to distribute music. (We then discovered that
we had a mutual friend, so I invited us both to dinner with that 

Called Iris Litchfield, her story is fascinating: having been a musician
for most of her life, she discovered a passion  for composing music only
very recently. She gave up her profession as a mathematician,
self-funded an initial CD of her  compositions, and has since produced 3
more, all in the space of a couple of years. As well as distributing her
music via, she plays concerts, and takes any and every
opportunity to share her music.

Listening to some of her pieces, which are wonderful - relaxing and
fresh - I was impressed by the courage that she had  to make a go of it.
Composing is an activity that can be very depressing at times - the vast
majority of writers will  never get that elusive "big break", and few
can make their passion their profession. However, as chrisitans, we can
have  an eternal rather than earth-bound perspective. Even if only a few
people ever want to listen to the music that we write  here on earth, at
least in heaven, there will be no end of time, and opportunity to enjoy
all of the music that has ever  been written to glorify God.

I can imagine Iris in heaven one day saying "let me just play you that
piece again - for the 1,483rd time" - and it would  be every bit as
enjoyable as the first time!

So, have you ever wondered about writing yourself? Go for it! And if you
need some inspiration, have a listen to some of  Iris' pieces at - the music is instrumental, in a
"romantic piano style", and if you  enjoy film music, then you'll love

Humour spot

One Sunday morning, the priest noticed little Alex was staring up at the
large memorial plaque that hung in the foyer of  the church. The plaque
was covered with names, and regimental flags were mounted on either side
of it.

The seven-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the
priest walked up, stood beside the boy, and said  quietly, "Good morning

"Good morning father," he replied, still focused on the plaque.

"Father McGhee, what is this?" Alex asked.

"Well, Alex, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in
the services."

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex's
voice was barely audible when he asked, "Which  services, father?
Morning or evening?!"

Check out...

SHARESONG - a new, growing site, showcasing worship songs that writers
have chosen to make freely available via the  Internet. We like the

SOLIDROCK - new UK Christian portal and Internet Service Provider
If you are based in the UK and would like to try a new Christian ISP
that provides fast, free, reliable local-rate  dial-up access to the
Internet, and donates a proportion of the call charges (that you pay as
usual to BT) to churches  and charities including Tear Fund, then check

It's simple and risk-free to sign-up online, and the process does not
affect any existing dialup arrangements or email  accounts that you have
already. Especially if you are with AOL or Freeserve, then Solidrock
claim that their first time  connection rate is exceptionally reliable,
so the frustrating engaged tone should be a thing of the past.

Having scrounged free space in the FW writers' pages, and on for
the past few months, David has finally splashed  out on his own site... - pop in and sign the guestbook, and help
him feel loved and appreciated.

SING LULLABIES - a lovely new album of "relaxing spiritual songs for
children", by Jenny Legg & David Lyle Morris. This  really is an
excellent album, featuring two Family Worship songs ("When you pray" &
"Jesus, you're the morning star") as  well as a number of traditional,
well-loved children's songs like "Jesus loves me this I know". Check the
songs out at and order online at

If you have a website that you would like us to cover in future
newsletters, please email

River of Life Discount Christian Bookstore, US distributors for the
Family Worship resources are online with a great site  featuring an
ever-increasing range of worship recordings, songbooks, etc. Check it
out at

Don't forget that Family Worship, as well as loads of other "grass roots
level" ministries is featured in the Christian  sections of

Check out the new, free FW Webmail - -

Newsletter information

This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family
Worship Resources, part of Ichthus Christian  Fellowship, London, UK
Copyright 2001, Mike Burn.

Inclusion of links and quotations does not imply full endorsement of the
contents. The newsletter may be forwarded or  reproduced in full or in
part providing that the source is acknowledged.

To unsubscribe, send a blank email to

Send comments or queries, or suggested articles or links for inclusion
in future newsletters to

Thanks for reading, and if you've made it this far, or even if you just
skipped to the end before hitting delete,  blessings to you in Jesus'


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