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Welcome to the 6th Family Worship Newsletter, 30 June, 1999



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

FW Site stats
Recent site additions
Coming soon
Story behind the song
Children's church - a good idea or not??
Songwriters' encouragement
Check it out...
Newsletter information

FW Site Stats

Visitor numbers have continued at an average of 150 per day, and sometime in
the next few days, the site should record it's 20,000th visitor since the
launch in January.

Thanks for visiting, and a special welcome to visitors from new countries
including New Zealand, Trinidad and Bahrain.

We are delighted to be featured as a link on the excellent new Premier Radio
website (the UK's only non-satellite christian radio station), and if you
live outside the London area and can't get Premier on your radio, then you
can now listen live, 24 hours a day online, at -
click the Listen button.

Humour spot

You know that no two snowflakes are ever identical, but did you know that
the same applies to cornflakes?

You've heard of the World Wide Web, but be honest, have you ever seen the

Recent site additions:
For USA subscribers, all the FW resources (CD's, songbooks, etc.) are now
available with US dollar pricing for ordering online or by email from the
excellent River of Life Discount Bookstore. For details, visit

If you have recently subscribed to this newsletter and have so enjoyed it
that you wish you'd known about it sooner (well, I can dream can't I?), then
you can now access all the previous editions in an online archive at The pages are formatted for easy
printing (or cut and pasting) so that you don't have to spend ages online

4 new songs have just been added to the "Song by email" facility, including
"Reach for the stars" - a favourite action song with children, but with
grown-up lyrics!

Humour spot

The following were (allegedly) taken from various church bulletins and
notice sheets around the world...

The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical

The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.

During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a
good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor
will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church
basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this

22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs.
Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a
duet, The Lord Knows Why.

Coming soon

During July we will be re-vamping the Kids Only page of the website. This is
one of the most-visited pages (despite the strict warning that adults should
not click on the KidsOnly link - human nature is so predictable...!) but we
felt that it would be so much better if it were actually written by
children, for children, so from next month, the pages will be written by an
11 year old girl and 12 year old boy, and will feature a brand new monthly
KidsOnly Newsletter, and this time, we mean it - no grown-ups...

Humour spot

Upset by their omission from newsletters to date, this month we cheer up the
bass players.

How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
None. The piano player can do it with his left hand

How do you get a bass player off your doorstep?
Pay for the pizza

What's the last thing a bass player ever says to their band?
Hey guys, I've written a song. Want to try it?

Next month - viola players

Story behind the song...

This month, "Healing River" from FW3

I had always wanted to write a "gospel style" hymn, and felt that one would
fit well on the third FW recording, "Fire & Rain". However, the deadline for
recording was fast approaching, and I hadn't managed to write anything

At that time, it was the annual Ichthus "Revival Camp" in the summer of
1996 - a week of fellowship, teaching and worship in the beautiful grounds
of Ashburnham, in the south of England, and I was there with my family. At
the same time, John Pressdee was leading a "Reconciliation Walk" of a team
of Christians, taking a message of apology along the route of the old
crusades in Europe, going into towns, villages and cities between London and
Jerusalem, and into mosques and synagogues, seeking forgiveness for the acts
that had been done in the name of Christ. This is a tremendously powerful
ministry (e-mail if you'd like more details). There was a mobile 'phone
hook-up from the Walk team into the main evening meeting at the Revival
Camp, and John shared some thoughts for a few minutes. One of the things
that he said that really struck me was that it was no good taking a message
of reconciliation and apology to other nations and religions if that same
message was not being lived out in our homes and families in the church.

>From that inspiration, I rushed home (literally that evening) and started to
write the song "Healing River", to try to express a simple prayer for
healing and restoration in the everyday situation of our homes and families,
and in the church. I was pleased to find that it suited a gospel style.

On the recording on FW3, we used two mothers and their young daughters (age
7 & 8) to sing two of the verses together; two of them from an Italian
family, to try to express unity between the generations and the nations.
There is an additional verse, which had to be cut from the original
recording for time reasons, but especially if you're from a different nation
than me, then I pray this verse for your own nation; it's based on the Tree
of Life in the book of Revelation.

"There's a tree beside the river
Bearing fruit for all the world
Falling leaves bring healing to the nations
Oh let the river flow"

You can request this song by email from
and an MP3 file is now available at

Humour spot

How do we know that Moses wore a wig?

Because sometimes he was seen with Aaron, and sometimes without.

Children's church - good idea or not??

In the very first FW newsletter, we looked at different models for church
services (check out the archive if you missed it: In recent years, there have
been many churches in different countries which have set up differing models
of "Children's Church" - sometimes happening at the same time, but separate
from, the main church service, and sometimes happening at a completely
different time, perhaps a Saturday morning or a weekday evening. Perhaps one
of the best known is Bill Wilson's Children's Church in New York, but there
are many examples all over the world.

In Ichthus, we have run Popcorn Children's Church for the past 3 years or
so, which has had a measure of success in bringing non-church children and
their families in for the first time. One of the key features of Popcorn has
been that children have been involved in leading the meetings and have
played active roles in the worship, drama, dances, activities and so on.
They therefore feel that they really own and belong to the church, and this
is great preparation as they grown older and start to take their place in
the regular church. (We sometimes talk of children as the church of
tomorrow. Not so, and Ishmael has a great slogan - "Children - today's
church; tomorrow's leaders")

In fact, there is nothing particularly new about this; at the turn of the
century, many Sunday Schools were effectively separate churches for
children. In the 1930's when the estate where I live in South London was
built, the Shaftesbury Society started a mission hall right in the centre,
where up to 400 children would gather for teaching and worship.

The issue of whether or not it is "right" to have these kind of separate
meetings for children can be an emotive one. A US children's ministry
publication recently ran an article with two very different views from two
pastors, one of whom felt that to have separate meetings was completely
contrary to the biblical ideal, whereas the other felt that it was
absolutely the right way to go.

I would be inclined to sit firmly on the fence, and say that both pastors
are right. I believe with all my heart that we should be able to hold
effective church services where all ages are able to feel comfortable and
able to worship, and indeed that is one of the key aims of the Family
Worship ministry and vision. On the other hand, it is a huge heartache for
me personally, and I would say the church in the UK in general, that
children and youth have been leaving the church in our nation at an alarming
rate over the past 2 or 3 generations. 80 years ago, 80% of children would
have been in some kind of church meeting on a Sunday. 80 years later, over
80% of them are not. I would do anything to see that tide turned, and I feel
that separate Children's Churches can be one way to get large numbers of
children through the door, and whilst it may not be the ideal, it may be
essential for a season.

Perhaps your own church is struggling with the issue of how to keep the
children and youth that you have, and how to attract new ones. I believe
that the important thing is not to copy what other churches have done for
the sake of it, but rather it is to hear from God what is right for the
season that you are in now, and be prepared to take action on what you hear.
Agreement and unity of vision and purpose within the leadership team are
crucial, because any changes are always prone to be unsettling for a
congregation. The much greater risk, however, can be to do nothing, or leave
things unchanged. Certainly in the UK and Europe, the coming generation in
the church is one that is called to rise up, not ebb away with the tide of
the preceding generations. Maybe Children's Church is right for your church,
maybe not, but it's certainly worth praying for the wisdom to know.

Next month, a guest writer from Brown Bear Music will examine some of the
issues surrounding youth in the church: worship, culture and calling.

Humour spot (true one)

A group of 11-year old children were set a test to see how many well-known
proverbs and sayings they knew. They were given the first part of each
phrase and asked to complete them. These were some of the results:

Strike while the...........bug is close.
It's always darkest before..........daylight saving time
Never underestimate the power of............termites.
You can lead a horse to water but
Don't bite the hand that..............looks dirty.
No news is...............impossible.
A miss is as good as a.................Mr.
You can't teach an old dog.................sums
The pen is mightier than.............the pigs
There's no smoke without............pollution
A penny saved is..............not much.
Two's company, three's..........The Musketeers
Children should be seen and not........smacked or grounded
If at first you don't succeed..............get new batteries
You get out of something what you.......see pictured on the box
There is no fool like...............Aunt Edie
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry have to blow
your nose.

Songwriter's encouragement

Check out this article by Darcy Watkins, based on notes he took at a
songwriting seminar with input from Andy Park, Paul Oakley, Stuart Townend
and Russel Fragar.

It's an excellent article, and includes one of the most quoted sayings about
songwriting: "It's 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration". In other words,
it's not enough to simply be inspired, bash out a song and then leave it at

Auctions are held from time to time of memorabilia from famous secular
musicians, and they will often include draft copies of original lyrics. Some
of the best-known songs in the world went through many many re-writes before
the writer was satisfied, and so these drafts can sometimes run to dozens of
pages. It seems to me that many of the current new songs that are used in
worship may not stand the test of time simply because the same level of
effort has not been put into refining and improving the songs to make them
not just adequate, or good, but excellent. I know that for my own songs, I
have to force myself to be disciplined to work on songs to take them to the
next level, and rather than getting easier as time goes on, I would say that
writing gets harder as I try to improve my (very average) standards.

>From time to time, God may inspire writers so that an "instant" song pops
into their heads, and I also recognise the value and place of spontaneous
prophetic songs. Generally, however, I think that the best songs, and
certainly those that might survive in a few centuries time as some wonderful
older hymns have done, will be those which had the greatest effort put in.

If you're a songwriter, don't give it up - step it up!

Humour spot

No wishing to be sexist, but wives, here is the biblical justification
you've been looking for to convince your husbands that the washing-up really
is their job:

2 Kings 21:13 "...and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping
it, and turning it upside down to dry

Check out...

There's a new UK website listing christian resources - check it out at

A new UK-based email worship discussion list has just started - check out for details

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

Humour spot (last one - shame)

Thanks to Oliver Elphick for sending this one in (contributions always
gratefully received!)

The Scene: The Pearly Gates to Heaven. St Peter is receptionist at the

A cat shows up.

St Peter says "I know you! You were a very nice cat on earth and didn't
cause any trouble, so I want to offer a gift to you of one special thing
you have always wanted."

Cat: "Well, I did always long to own a nice satin pillow like my master
had, so I could lie on it."

St Peter: "That's easy. Granted. You shall have the satin pillow after
you enter in."

Next a group of mice appeared.

St Peter: "Ah, I remember you. You were such good mice on earth. You didn't
steal food from anyone's house and never hurt other animals. Therefore, I
want to grant you one special wish you always wanted."

The Chief Mouse replied, "Well, we always watched the children playing and
saw them roller skate, and it was beautiful, and it looked like so much fun.
So can we each have some roller skates, please?"

St Peter: "Granted. You shall have your wish."

Next day, St Peter is making the rounds inside the Gates, and sees the cat.
"Well, Cat...Did you enjoy the satin pillow?"

Cat: "Oh, indeed I did. And say...that "Meals on Wheels" thing was a nice
touch, too!"

Newsletter information

This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family Worship
Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London, UK . Copyright
1999, 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.

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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' name


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