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Archive for March, 2012

The brilliant Tim Hawkins has some advice for those who are unused to the more exuberant type of contemporary worship. I confess that I don’t get much further than ‘Carrying the TV’ myself. I am Anglican, after all…

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Caught this great gospel rap link from Propaganda the other day.

His explanation of the gospel comes with a neat mnemonic – a new gospel outline for Easter, perhaps?:

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Bee has been here over the last couple of days, helping out with Messy Church last night and with the school Easter service this morning. She and I got together this afternoon to talk about next Thursday, when Cake & Chat becomes DIY Holiday Club. She had some lovely Easter craft ideas and we sourced some others online. We’re going to be making:

I was going to get hold of Baker Ross colour-in cards too, but looking at the list above, I think we’ll have plenty to do.

The crafts will give us good opportunities to chat about Easter with those who attend. Some will be joining us at the Maundy Thursday meal that evening and will be in church on Easter Sunday, but others won’t be at anything official. So we’re very much looking forward to our informal Easter service over cake and crafts.

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I have a few favourite gadgets in the Vicarage kitchen. Today I’d like to introduce you to my best pastry-making tool: a paint scraper.

I used to make most of my pastry in my food processor, but I found that it was too easy to blitz it and end up with the fat chopped too small and the pastry too tough. Since I started using the paint scraper (NB I’ve never scraped paint with this one) I’ve been able to ensure that plenty of gravel-sized pieces of butter/lard/hard marg remain. This gives me a lovely flakey shortcrust pastry that seems to go down very well with consumers.

It’s therapeutic to chop the fat into the flour, too – sometimes I imagine that I am chopping junk mail into tiny pieces. And no fat in the fingernails either – my pet hate with pastry-making. So there you are – a cheap and useful gadget that can also be used to remove welded Weetabix from the kitchen table. Every kitchen should have one.

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It’s a lovely sunny morning in the parish today. Just the sort of day to learn to pronounce Pentateuch properly ie not to rhyme with Dutch. The complete pronounciation guide is in this smile-inducing song that my kids have been humming from What’s in the Bible 3. The What’s in the Bible series is produced by Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer and has been great for my kids, aged 10, 9 and 7. The 10yo Queen protests that she doesn’t want to watch but is then found wrapped in her snuggle blanket singing along and enjoying the fun format which walks them through the books of the bible. Number 7 in the series is due to be released tomorrow and covers Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.

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We’ve had many favourite kids’ bibles over the years in the Vicarage (and previously in the Curatage, the Ordinandage and the Engineerage). Top reads have included The Jesus Storybook Bible, the Big Picture Story Bible, the Praise Bible (sourced in a secondhand shop) and (when they were very little) The God Loves Me Bible. For a while the Engineer was very keen on the Veggietales Bible Storybook, and whilst I wouldn’t recommend it for teaching kids great doctrine or anything, his enjoyment more than made up for the struggles we had with reading about Dave and the Giant Pickle repeatedly. I think he learnt to read his first words from that book. As I recall, they were ‘God’ (yay!) and ‘Dave’ (not such a yay for that one).

Our kids love variety so we are always hunting for the newest best bible. All our kids can read a ‘proper’ bible now and the Engineer had been using an International Children’s Bible and the excellent XTB bible reading notes. He’d just finished a set of notes when I went on my conference the other week, where there was a hard-to-resist bookstall where they were selling The Gospel Story Bible.

I had a look through and decided that the 7yo Engineer might enjoy reading through this for a change from his bible notes. The way in which the bible stories are told pointing to Christ are so helpful. And each story comes with a few questions to help the child clarify what they’ve read and learnt. And this evening the Engineer skipped into the kitchen just before bedtime and told me he’d read three bible stories all by himself. He was so excited to communicate all that he’d learnt about the plagues and the Passover.

That’s a winner of a bible for me. Which bible do your kids read or have read to them? Do you have a family favourite?

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Tonight I’ll be preparing some crafts for this Sunday’s Junior Church, which will be on the crucifixion. I know it’s not Good Friday yet, but Palm Sunday is an All Age service and there’s no service suitable for kids on Good Friday. So this week it is. This is helping me get started on thinking how best to prepare for Easter in the Vicarage this year:

  1. I shall be fetching our Resurrection Eggs from their storage cubby hole in the cellar. I *think* they are buried with the Christmas decorations. You could also do something similar with a toddler group or even a holiday club. There’s still time to sort yourself a set out and get in a dozen or so readings.
  2. We’re still listening to the NIV Audio Bible at teatime – heading for Jerusalem in John’s gospel. Lazurus was raised this evening and the Queen remarked ‘Every chapter it talks about people who believe‘. I think our time listening to the bible being read has been worth it just for this.
  3. I am in charge of the catering for our first ever Passover Supper at church on Maundy Thursday. I have a great recipe for slow cooked shoulder of lamb but will also have to source matzos and parsley in appropriate quantities. I anticipate long lists and negotiations with our high street butcher.
  4. I have booked the lovely Bee to help out with an Easter Cake and Chat in the morning of Maundy Thursday. A sort of DIY Easter Holiday Club – she has lots of lovely Easter crafts up her sleeve.

How are you preparing to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord?

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