Saturday, 12 July 2014

Changes and Transitions Assembly

photo credit
It's that time of year again where the Year 6's get their swagger and the nursery children come in for their afternoon trials at big school. Pupils are sizing up the next years teachers and teachers are doing the same! Change and moving on permeates throughout the school corridors up and down the land. And so this month's assembly topic was "Change and Transition" here is an assembly concocted as ever from various things I've read, seen and experienced, feel free to use it!

I decided to use the story of Joshua and Caleb spying out the land in Numbers 13-14 as I like the link between Jericho and high school! The spies explaining to Moses that they felt like grasshoppers compared to the giants in the land I felt was particularly apt!

Here is the powerpoint I put together using various images to illustrate change where the pupils had to guess what things changed into. I was also grateful to for being able to use their book graphics about Joshua and Caleb to tell the story.

Here's the assembly outline with a basic script of what I said, including a time for reflection and prayer.

I asked 3 pupils who were friends to come up to take on a "The Cube" style challenge where they had to move the rice from one container to the other, then I gave one of them chopsticks to do it. They had a go and were obviously not very successful! So I gave the two friends a spoon and an ice cream scoop to help them out. We talked about how it was then much easier to move the rice with the help of some friends with the right tools. We also worked out that had I cooked the rice (changed it's texture) it would also have been easier! Having friends to help out and using the right tools makes all the difference.

My middle daughter is about to leave primary school and face some of these challenges but we have talked about some of the positives of change and growing up (getting her ears pierced, a mobile phone and a door key featured among these!) and how we've coped with things in the past. The story of Joshua and Caleb reminds us that we need not fear when we face these things with God on our side. 
Something I also need to remember as our family goes through changes too!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Messy and powerful!

Our May Messy Church at SBC was on the topic of the Holy Spirit. This can be a difficult concept to try and explain so we focussed on the suggested plan of God's power to change things. This worked well building on from the concept of new life and God's love at Messy Easter.

We have found that it works best for us doing the celebration first (after the welcome, refreshment and registration) and we always kick off with a "Search the Church" activity where they look for something that is to do with the theme of the session. 

After seeing a few different ideas about explaining the Holy Spirit we went for using popcorn!

"A piece of corn on it's own, is not very exciting is it? Not very tasty and not much fun to share but let’s see what happens when we add power to it? (At this point we fired up the popcorn maker which started changing the corn to popcorn as it heated up) It becomes something awesome, tasty and fun and worth sharing with others. The corn is like us created by God with the potential to be amazing, when we add God’s power to our lives we change to become what God created us to be. We can then share this so others can get to know God too."

We also used a fan to talk about how we couldn't see the air but we could see it's effects on our clothes, hair and feel it on our skin. God's spirit is the same, we can't see it but we can see and feel it's effects. The scene was then all set for the activities based on change and power. More details about what we did are available by looking at our Activities Plan which you can download if you wish! The weather was awful and we were a bit down on team so we did have to adapt/postpone some of the activities but there was still plenty to do!

Here's a taster of just some of them.

Changing bottles
Bubble painting
Butter making
Magnet fun
Superhero lollipop

The whole event was finished off with jacket potatoes, sausages and beans followed by ice cream! It was a real privilege to lead another Messy Church with such a great team and have the opportunity to share something of God's kingdom with those that came.

God's power + Us = Awesomeness!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Making friends assembly

Making friends was the topic that we recently took an assembly on and here's what we came up with.

We started off with looking at the latest craze of friendship band making - have you seen these? My girls are making them like crazy for all their buddies. You get them in a packet that looks like a bag of brace elastics and then you kind of finger crochet them together! It was good to link it to something they were familiar with!

We talked about you don't just make friends by giving someone a bracelet, there is more to it than that. But how do we make friends? I found this idea here and adapted it to use real ingredients. We asked for a volunteer and dressed them as a chef and added one ingredient at a time to 'make a friend'! 

This was a lot of fun as we added each ingredient we talked about what they meant to to ensure all ages understood the concepts, giving an example of each. It looked pretty grim by the end!

We then said that perhaps that wasn't really the best way to make a friend! Then we told the story of two best friends in the Bible - David and Jonathan, the ultimate BFF's. 
Jonathan helped David escape from his father King Saul by putting David first.

We linked the story to the 'making a friend' ingredients, pointing out that David and Jonathan's friendship had all those key elements and asked again how do we make friends? The key point of the assembly being . . .


We did plan to play this youtube clip of Michael Buble singing "You've got a friend in me"  to Toy Story clips as they were leaving but we ran out of time!

Let me know if you use this resource and how you got on! Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Spring into Easter!

Easter, unlike Christmas, can be tricky to talk about with children and harder for them to understand. A baby being born is a much more attractive story than one of crucifixion and death. However, there are many traditions which we can engage with and explain the thinking behind them, one of which is making an Easter garden. My daughter made this at school and I love the simplicity and creativity of it with one side depicting the crucifixion and the other the resurrection and new life. An easy but effective project that depicts the story.

Easter garden
There was also an Easter bonnet competition at school that they didn't win but we had fun designing and making them! My youngest again wanted to depict the real Easter story so she wrote the different parts of the Easter story from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection on egg shapes and illustrated them. More opportunities to talk through the symbolism of new life through lambs and eggs and er....bonnets!

On Palm Sunday we held a Messy Easter service at Stopsley Baptist Church, as usual I turn to Pinterest for inspiration! It was so busy I didn't get a chance to take many photos but you can look at the ideas on my board here. Or download my activities planner. The resurrection rolls were very popular as was the egg rolling painting but my favourite one has to be the Easter Story box which is a brilliantly simple idea from here. You retell the Easter story using the figure and the decorated box, finishing with the empty box and the risen figure, so easy for all ages to understand! 

The girls and I also made some decorated Easter jars to give to their teachers to thank them for all their hard work at the end of term. We all enjoyed doing this and sourcing the different things to make them. We cut up some chick cloths for the covers, used some fabric tape to go round the jar (both from Tiger) bought some Haribo spaghetti for the 'grass' added some eggs, a chocolate bunny and carrot! So cute! Finished off with a great free printable label from here.

We then of course did lots of baking over the Easter holidays, experimented with making a simnel cake and hot cross buns (both from Nigella's Feast book). We were quite pleased with our simnel cake (although a blowtorch would have made it look better!) and we chatted through the significance of the 11 balls of marzipan to represent the disciples (minus Judas!)

The hot cross buns however were a different matter, they do indeed look very hot and very cross! I think the yeast I used was past it's best, not able to lift the dough from it's heavy state to being light and airy. They didn't taste too bad but they certainly didn't look great! 


And so as we move from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, the unpalatable nature of Jesus' death for us becomes sweet forgiveness as we celebrate His resurrection, new life for us all if we accept it for ourselves. Something that looked like all hope had gone that turned out to be the most amazing act of love ever! 

"God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die."    John 3:16

Friday, 21 March 2014


Well, I don't know about you but the sunshine is certainly making me feel happier, it's so great to feel warm and enjoy being outside! 

Pharrell Williams' song "Happy" also can't help but get the happy vibes going, our family has loved it ever since it was on the soundtrack of Despicable Me 2 (fab film!)

However, we love it even more now since MuseumMakers set out to recreate our home town's version of the song. Where we live is often spoken about negatively, so it's great to get behind something positive and celebrate diversity and harmony.

Take a look!

I have also been looking at Acts 10 and how relevant it is to us today. During this time of Lent we are looking forward to the time when Jesus saved us at Easter. He saved us regardless of gender, race, class, background and so on. The video is a celebration of all those things, the people who are part of it, where we live, who we are. The good news of Easter is for everyone.

Maybe we need to see past some of those other things in people and ourselves and see us as Jesus sees us to be truly happy.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Pancakes a plenty!

So Shrove Tuesday came and we decided to see how many pancakes we could have across the day! We started with breakfast pancakes which is a foolproof recipe that is in my head which I really need to write down so here seems a good place as any! The batter works well being mixed up the night before ready for you to use in the morning, giving you the appearance of being a domestic goddess/god!

This feeds us 5 no problem so would be good for 6. But of course you could halve it, double it whatever!

200g self raising flour (we use gluten free)
1/2 pint milk
2 beaten eggs
4 tbsp sugar

Mix all these together and cook about 3 at a time on a skillet, frying pan, whatever you have. We couldn't resist this pan when we saw it and now the girls insist we have ours cooked in this every time!

These are the fluffy american style pancakes that are perfect for breakfast. We have ours with whatever is in the fridge! This is usually syrup (golden or maple) chocolate sauce, selection of fruit, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, bananas etc... Try them, they're really easy and very scrummy!

The girls had a filled crepe in their packed lunch for pudding and then we made savoury and sweet pancakes for tea! So many pancakes meant that now one of my girls has given them up for Lent haha!

Now, my usual approach to Lent has been pretty much this kind of attitude!

However, this year we are taking up the 40acts Lent challenge again, doing Lent generously. It's all about giving back rather than giving something up, great for individuals, families, small groups, schools etc... even if you don't normally observe Lent!


40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously

Now go and mix up some batter for a great weekend pancake breakfast (unless like one of my girls you've given them up of course!) Then check out the 40acts page too, it's really worth a look!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Let's try again

So, a few years ago, I set up a blog, posted a few things and that was it. Well after some persuasion from others and a recent forced time at home, I've decided to jump back on the wagon!

I'm going to try and post more often, take better pics and blog the everyday stuff I'm involved with from the impressive to the inane from my family life to ministry ideas and everything in between!

Now, where to start!?