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Welcome to the 17th Family Worship Newsletter, 31 May 2000


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

FW Site stats
Recent site additions
Coming soon
Jesus Day
Showcase Spotlight - Mark & Sonya Ellis
Check out...
Newsletter information

Regular readers will notice that 2 sections have disappeared this month - the "Story behind the song" and "Songwriters' Encouragement" are, for now, rolled into the new "Showcase Spotlight", where for a few months, we will be focussing on songs and writers from the Showcase section at

FW Site Stats

Subscribers are now around 1,400 - a special welcome to new subscribers.

Visitors to the site continued to average over 500 people a day through May.

Recent site additions

We are often asked whether backing tracks are available for the songs, and until recently, they have been, but only on cassette, which is obviously not as convenient for locating tracks quickly in a live setting.

As the costs of manufacturing short runs of CD's has fallen in recent years, we are now delighted to be able to offer backing tracks on CD for all of the Family Worship recordings. These are ideal for use in worship and Sunday School settings, where a band may not be available, and are also excellent for accompanying an adult or child soloist in presenting any of the more performance-oriented songs.

As a special introductory offer, we are offering CD backing tracks for the same prices as cassettes, which is only 6.99 in the UK and $8.99 in the US.
Order safely (and with a money-back guarantee) online at

Or, if you're not comfortable ordering online, simply send an email to
with your name, address, and what you would like, and we will send your order with an invoice, which you can pay by cheque.

Family Worship is non profit-making, and any surplus from album sales will go towards future recordings.

Humour spot

At a church service, the pastor asked people to turn to one another and introduce themselves, saying, "Hello, my name is Saint ..." The exercise was to help people think about themselves in a new light.

One man, however was clearly struggling, when the woman next to him turned to him and said: "Hello - I'm Saint Anna"

The man paused, and said, "I can't say it"

Thinking him shy, she prompted him, "You don't have to feel awkward. Remember, we're saints because of Jesus, not ourselves"

"I know that" he said.

"Well, just say it, then."

"No. I'm not saying it - I just can't"

"Why not?" she asked

Then he paused, and lowered his voice. "My name is Bernard."

Coming soon

Initially released only on cassette, demand for a CD of "Teach us to pray" has been high.

Family Worship is always keen to be at the forefront of new technology, and the forthcoming CD will include not only regular audio tracks to play on a normal CD player, but will also include MP3 files and lyric files which can be played and read on a computer, and also be downloaded to portable MP3 players. The new CD's will be available to order from mid-June.

(Talking of MP3 files, you may be aware of some of the negative publicity around MP3 as a technology which can allow piracy of copyrighted songs, and easy distribution of illegal material.

The positive side of the technology, however, is that it allows artists who do own the rights to their own songs to make them available cheaply or freely. Family Worship owns the rights to all the songs that we distribute in MP3 format, so please be assured that using the technology this way is completely legal and above board!)

Humour spot

Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words, "Give me all your money or I'll shoot", the man shouted, "That's not what I said!"

Jesus Day

June 10 will mark the last global March for Jesus, held appropriately enough in this Millennium Year, and the event has been titled "Jesus Day". Marches and events are being held in around 120 countries all over the world, and you can check for the one nearest you.

Having been at the first March in London 14 years ago, Family Worship is honoured to be providing a children's choir to sing for one song at the London event on Blackheath, and the children are especially excited to be sharing a stage with Matt Redman...!

There is a special emphasis this year on children, and March for Jesus have composed a special Millennium Child prayer, to be read as part of the event.

It's been suggested that one measure of a society is the way that it treats children, and at the start of this 3rd millennium, the tragic plight of millions of children in poverty, hunger, fear and despair in nations the world over, is a demonstration that we still have such a long way to go to fulfil Jesus' command to "let the children come to me".

I visited New York recently, and went to see the work of the Metro Children's Church in Brooklyn, where thousands of children from the inner city attend Sunday School each week. I was struck by the amazing dedication and love shown by the leaders and helpers towards the children, and it reminded me that individuals really can make a difference, even if only to the life of one child, because that is the way that society as a whole can be changed.

If you're not able to join one of the Jesus Day events, then you can join your heart and prayers with millions of other Christians around the globe in the words of this prayer:

The Millennium Child prayer
At the start of a new millennium
we welcome you Jesus.
You came to us as a child
2000 years ago.
Your example of love
and sacrifice for others
has shone ever since
bringing hope to the world.
Help us to see you,
the millennium child,
in the face of each
of the new millennium's children.
Help us to follow
your example of love
and sacrifice for others;
so that each of them
has a new start;
so that each millennium child
has shelter, care, love and hope.

Humour spot

During the service, the Sunday School teacher brought in the little ones to present to the adults what they had been

The children stood in a row before the congregation and the teacher started the ball rolling by saying:

"I believe in..."

The first child then responded with the expression;
"The Father"

The second child then added:
"The Son"

There then followed a long silence, when finally one of the other children spoke up.

"Please Miss, the girl who believes in the Holy Spirit is not here today"

Showcase spotlight

This is a brand new section to the newsletter, and replaces for now the "Songwriters' encouragement" section. Each month we will feature one or two writers from the Songwriters' Showcase section of the website, and will ask a series of questions, designed to help find out a little about the writer, their songs, and to be an encouragement to other grass-roots songwriters.

This month we feature Mark E. Ellis and sign artist Sonya D. Ellis, from the "Lighthouse Song & Sign Ministry"

1. Tell us who you are, and where you're from.

The Lighthouse Song & Sign Ministry comprises singer/songwriter Mark E. Ellis and sign artist Sonya D. Ellis.  Founded in 1997, this ministry presents God's Word through original Christian music that is both sung and signed. Our message is about God's love for all people and about the need for God's workers to reach out to the disabled and especially to the deaf.

Deaf people and others with disabilities often cannot hear the Word through conventional means and need special help to be brought to Jesus.

2. What genre(s) do your songs fit into?

Our music is mostly adult contemporary.  We also write children's music and do workshops with youths on deaf awareness and signed worship.

3. What inspired you to start writing songs?

Mark has been a songwriter since his teen years. In 1996, when he was on his first visit to Nashville to pitch his country songs, God gave him his first gospel song.  Since then he has written over 100 more.

4. Choosing one song that you have in the Showcase section, tell us the "story behind the song."

"God's Special Angels" became our signature song as soon as it was written in 1998. We had watched an episode of "Touched By An Angel" in which a young man with Down Syndrome saved a woman's life and at the same time softened her husband's heart toward disabled people.

The songs tells of God's special affection for people with physical and mental disabilities, and of His hope that we will all love and respect one another, without consideration of our physical and mental differences.

5. What are your hopes and dreams for the future in relation to songwriting?

We have recorded two CDs and a children's cassette, all on a wing and a prayer but with faith that God will always provide.  We hope that He will continue to bless our ministry and continue to use us in His service.

While for now we are attending college and working other jobs, we would like to eventually make music and ministry our full-time vocation and hope that is God's plan for us. As for our songwriting, we pray God will use our music to reach many people who need to hear His word.

A final note:  In the 2,000 years since Jesus Christ walked among us, Christianity has grown like no other religion in the world. Nearly 2 billion people -- a third of the world's population -- have become Christians. But experts estimate that only 2-3 percent of the world's 3 million deaf people are Christians.

The difference is not in the heart; it is in the ears.  Deaf people cannot hear God's preachers preach, unless those preachers are speaking in the language of the deaf -- sign language. Our ministry is dedicated to not only reaching deaf people with God's message of salvation, but to building an alliance of Christians around the USA and around the world to go into the deaf community and spread the word in a language the deaf can understand.

You can check out Mark & Sonya's showcase section at
and follow the link there to their own website

Humour spot

A couple had been married for 25 years and were celebrating the husband's 60th birthday. During the party, a fairy appeared and said that because they had been such a loving couple all those years, she would give them one wish each.

The wife said, "We've been so poor all these years, and I've never seen the world.  I wish we could travel all over the world" The fairy waved her wand and HEY PRESTO! -  she had the tickets in her hand.

Next, it was the husband's turn. He paused for a moment, and then said, "Well, I'd like to be married to a woman 30 years younger than me"

The fairy waved her wand and HEY PRESTO! - he was 90.

Check out...

Jesus Day will be featuring songs from the Millennium Chorus from Graham Kendrick, with singers including Michael W. Smith, Bob Carlisle, Jennifer Holliday and Michael Crawford, is now available in the UK, USA and globally.
Check it out at

For UK christians, a new site is gearing up to offer free Internet access, with a proportion of revenue going to support churches and charities. The site will also feature a comprehensive directory to all that's best on the Internet, christian and secular. Should be a good alternative to Freeserve and the other free providers, and you can register for details at

A fascinating site with over 4,000 quotations can be found at

An excellent site for children is Abundant Life K*I*D*S* 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 are featured in the christian sections of

Newsletter information

This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family Worship Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London, UK Copyright 2000, 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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