Easter Trail (2 April - 12 April)
We have put up an Easter trail (Scripture Union’s ‘In search of Easter’ trail) with 5 clues on posters around the Orford area to find. A poster can be found outside the church and there are more details there on where to find other clues. Some posters have activities to complete and others a QR code linking to a video clue so you’ll need access to a smartphone to complete the trail. Each clue gives a letter making a password to unlock the final video. The posters will be up throughout the week (until Monday 12th April) so you can take part whenever suits you.
We hope you enjoy the trail and wish you all a Happy Easter!
St Ann’s Messy Church Team
This month we are joining in with the Easter Activities on the Bible Reading Fellowship website for Easter Messy Church.
Messy Church logo © The Bible Reading Fellowship 2019. See messychurch.org.uk
On February 14th, St Valentine’s day our thoughts often turn to romantic love but Love is so much bigger than that. The word love appears in the bible over 300 times and over 550 times in some translations.
What is your favourite bible verse about love?
Two that are included in today’s activities are
• 1 John Chapter 4 Verse 7 "Dear Friends, Let us love one another, for love comes from God"
• 1 Corinthians 13 v 13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is - see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+corinthians+13&version=NIVUK
Love is not just a feeling; it’s an action as well. As God loves us so much he also calls us to share that love with other people.
Make a prayer poster to remind you to pray for the people you love. You could also ask God to tell you the names of other people you can pray for and add them as well.
Bend a toilet roll middle into a heart shape. Dip it in paint and print lots of heart shapes on a piece of paper.
Write the names of people you will pray for in the hearts and put the paper somewhere where you will see it as a prompt to pray.
God loves you.
Brush paint onto your hand and make two overlapping handprints to make a heart shape. Write a reminder to yourself of how much God loves you.
Your handprint is unique, individual and special; God loves you for being you, unique, individual and special.
Choose a bible verse or part of a verse about love. Read it, think about it, and ask God what he would want you to learn from it.
In the quietness take a piece of paper and as you focus on the verse prayerfully draw, paint or write what comes to mind.
I chose to focus on the words of 1 Corinthians 13 v 13
Eat a Jammie Dodger or other heart shaped biscuit. You could buy some when you're next at the shops or make your own.
A recipe can be found on BBC Good Food here https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/jammy-dodger-flowers Just make the centre cutout a heart shape.
Alternatively make shortbread biscuits cut into heart shapes.
If you don't have a heart shapped cutter you can draw a heart on a piece of cardboard to make a template, then cut around it with a knife.
Whilst eating your heart biscuit remember that God loves you. Think about all the people that you love.
Phone a friend
Is there someone you haven't spoken to for a while? Someone you know who might be lonely?
Why not give them a call or send them a card or message to let them know you're thinking of them.
Have a go at making a frienship bracelet either for yourself or to give to a friend.
Cut a square piece of cardboard from a cereal box or similar.
Snip of the corners so that you have an octagon. (8 sides)
Cut a slit in each of the sides and make a hole in the centre using a pencil with a piece of blue tack or play dough behind.
Take 7 strands of embrodery thread or wool about as long as your arm.
Tie them together with a knot at one end and thread through the hole in your piece of card.
Separate the strands and put one in each slit. You should have one empty slit.
Count round from the empty slit to the 3rd thread.
Unhook this and move it to the empty slot.
Repeat lots and lots of times until the plait is long enough to go round your wrist. Make sure to always count in the same direction.
Tie another knot in this end to finish off.
Take a piece of card.
Write the letters GOD across the card.
Write the letters LOVE down the card so they intersect at the O and make a cross shape.
Decorate your letters how you like.
Keep this to remind you that God loves you.
If you like you could write a bible verse on the back.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16
Love yourself through Lent
Lent this year starts on Wednesday 17th February.
In order to help others we need to also look after ourselves.
See this poster for 40 self care ideas
Our theme this month is celebrating God's gift in Jesus that is reflected in our homes and families
and remembering those who have no homes and families.
We can say thank you for our own home and family and our Messy Church family.
The bible story is about Jesus' birth when there was 'no room at the inn'.
He was homeless and was visited by the 'homeless' shepherds.
Read Luke 2:1-20 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2%3A1-20&version=NIV
Or watch an amimated version of the story here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvrgBMvz1lM
1. Straw Bed
You will need: strips of yellow or gold paper, pens, a box or basket, a doll(optional)
Write or draw things you would like to say to Jesus on the strips of paper and put them in the manger to look like straw.
(Thank you to my rabbits for lending me some hay to put in mine too!)
Talk about spending time quietly wth God.
2. Fingerprint Family
You will need: inkpad, card or paper, pens
Make a fingerprint for each member of your family
(however you understand 'family' - it could be those you live with, your extended family or church family)
The fingerprint makes the body and then add arms, legs and a face with a pen.
3. Shepherds picture
You will need: Dark coloured paper, paper people cut outs to colour or paint as shepherds and angels,
orange paint, cotton wool, gold stars (optional)
Make a starry sky by sticking or drawing stars on the dark paper.
Stick on the people cut outs coloured or painted as shepherds and a huge angel.
Make sheep out of cotton wool and add a fire with orange paint.
4. Marshmallow Angels
To make Angels you will need white chocolate, marshmallows or fondant icing, maltesers and white chocolate buttons.
Melt the chocolate and spoon a small amount onto a piece of baking parchment/greaseproof paper or into a mini cake case.
Place a marshmallow or shaped bit of icing on to it for the body.
Use a tiny bit of melted chocolate to glue a malteser head and chocolate button halo on to it.
Put in the fridge for about 5 minutes to set.
Cut the edge off 2 chocolate buttons and dip the cut edge into the melted chocolate and stick on to make wings.
Please be aware that marshmallows are considered to be a choking risk, mainly to preschool children,
because when they are wet they can cling to the airway if swallowed without being chewed properly.
For younger children it is recommended that you use fondant icing instead of marshmallows for this activity.
5. Salt Dough Handprint Nativity
To make a salt dough hand print nativity you will need plain flour, table salt, kitchen towel, paints, felt tip pens, ribbon or string. You could also add glitter or sticky gems.
To make the salt dough mix together 1 cup of plain flour, 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 warm water.
When you have a smooth dough roll it out and form into an oval shape.
Put a little flour on your hand and press your hand firmly on to the dough to leave an imprint.
Now you need to dry the salt dough. You can do this by putting it on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
and baking it in the oven at a very low heat about 100 degrees until it is completely dried out, about 2 to 3 hours depending on thickness.
Alternatively you can put it on a piece of kitchen towel on a plate and cook it in the microwave for about 30 seconds at a time until it is completely dry.
It may take a good few minutes. Be careful to allow it to cool before you touch it.
Once it is cool you can paint it, there are lots of images on the internet for more inspiration.
Maybe you will want an angel on yours or a whole flock of sheep.
If you don't want to,make salt dough you could draw round your hand and paint or colour that instead.
As you paint your characters think about the part they played in the Christmas story. How do you think they felt?
6 Yarn Star
You will need: string or wool, cocktail sticks, thick cardboard, PVA glue, yellow or gold paint (or use yellow or gold wool/thread)
See instructions on Baker Ross website https://www.bakerross.co.uk/craft-ideas/kids/christmas-yarn-decorations/
Hang your finished star on your tree or give to a friend to let them know you're thinking about them this Christmas.
8 Angel Decoration
You will need: A cardboard tube, Gold or silver card (or wrap cardboard in tin foil) for wings, a polystyrene ball,
bits of yellow wool or string, a yellow or gold pipe cleaner, silver and gold paint to decorate (or I used ribbons)
See instructions on Baker Ross website https://www.bakerross.co.uk/craft-ideas/kids/angel-decoration-2/
9 Around the World
Investigate how Chrisstmas is celebrated in different countries around the world.
Maybe try adding one of these ideas to your own celebrations this year or try making a recipe from another country?
Talk about Christians celebrating Christmas all around the world, in cold seasons and hot seasons
(Australian's often have a BBQ on the beach!)
They are all celebrating the same present - God's present of baby Jesus.
Donate - Have a clear out and donate your old clothes and other possessions to your local homeless shelter.
Hamper - Make a family hamper to donate to a refuge or homeless shelter. Include a card to say you are praying for them.
Plaque - Thank God for your home. Make a 'God bless this home' plaque together.
Portrait - Take a family selfie. Send a copy to family or friends that you aren't able to meet with this Christmas.
Album - Build up a family photo album to celebrate the Christmas season.
Add thoughts, recipes, photos, etc. Decorate the pages with festive stickers.
Wreath - Make an edible Christmas wreath. Make a base of polystyrene or cardboard painted in a festive colour.
Glue wrapped sweets all over the base overlapping them to make it look really full.
There will be no Messy Church in January - Back in February
November Messy Church Remembrance
By Tracey Fitzsimmons
Remembrance Day (or Poppy Day) can be challenging to think about, but the concept
of thankfulness can be an easier one to understand. Being thankful feels especially
significant this year; we can be thankful to God and to those who help us, protect us
and keep us safe. On Poppy Day, we can especially remember those who helped us,
and still help us, in times of war and conflict.
You may want to explore some of the following Bible verses that talk about giving thanks:
• 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (‘Give thanks in all circumstances…’)
• John 15:13 (‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’)
• Philippians 1:3–11 (‘I thank my God every time I remember you…’)
• Matthew 28:20 (Jesus says, ‘Surely I am with you always…’)
• Philippians 4:6 (‘Be anxious for nothing…’)
• 1 Chronicles 16:34 (‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever’)
If you don't have a bible you can look these up online at https://www.biblegateway.com/
1 Remembering: Kim’s Game
You will need: a tray with different items from around your house; a tea towel
Have a look at the items on your tray for a moment and try to memorise them. Cover them up with a tea
towel, remove one item and let everyone guess which item has been removed.
Talk about how easy you find it to remember things. Is it easy to remember special days? What helps us
to remember special days in the year?
2 Paper Poppies
You will need: red cupcake cases (or ones you have coloured red) or cut poppy shapes from paper; black pens, lolly sticks (optional)
Push down the edges of your cupcake case trim to shape. You might like to write/draw thankful prayers around the edges of the
poppy. Dot the centre of your poppy with lots of black dots to represent the seeds in the centre. Add a lolly stick stem if you want.
Talk about (see below)
3 Puffy Paint Poppies
You will need
• 1 dessertspoon self-raising flour
• 1 dessertspoon salt
• Red food colouring
• Card or cereal packet
• Cotton bud or similar to apply the paint
• Black paint/felt pen
Mix together the flour, salt, food colouring and a little bit of water at a time to make a thick paint.
Paint onto card using cotton bud if possible. The idea is to splodge it on thickly rather than spreading it thinly.
Microwave on high for 30 seconds.
Complete your picture in any way you choose.
4 Poppy wreath
You will need: a paper plate, cut-up old cereal box or card; pencils; a large plate and a side plate; scissors; green
paint, colouring pencils or felt-tip pens; the poppies you have made or poppy images printed off
the internet; sticky tape; green felt or card; glue; ribbon/string
If using a paper plate just cut out the middle. If using card, draw around a large plate. Inside that circle, draw around a side plate. Carefully cut around
the circles to make a wreath shape. Paint or colour it green. Decorate it with poppies – you could use
your cupcake case poppies or some poppy pictures from the internet. Cut some leaf
shapes out to create your wreath and stick them on. Attach a piece of string or ribbon to hang it up with.
Talk about how we can remember to be thankful to people who gave their lives so we can be free today.
5 Crochet Poppy
If you can crochet, why not have a go at making a Poppy? There are lots of free patterns available online.
We used this one https://craftinghappiness.com/remembrance-poppy-brooch-free-crochet-pattern/
Other things to talk about as you do your poppy crafts
Poppies are the special flowers worn around Remembrance (or Poppy) Day. Do you remember seeing
people wearing poppies? Do you know why? Do you know what the different parts of the poppy can
• Poppies are the symbol of a charity that still cares for those who were bereaved or injured in wars.
• Red petals – a reminder of the blood that was, and is, spilled in wars. We can be thankful for those
who sacrificed their lives, served and continue to help us in our armed services.
• Seeds – at the centre of your poppy. These seeds hold the hope of new life, which is something we
can be thankful for.
• Flower – the poppies that grew on the battlefields were a sign of new life and hope for the future.
• Leaf – set at 11:00 position to remind us of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when
the armistice was signed. This is the day and the time we especially remember those who have died.
6 Word challenge
How many different words can you make out of the words: ‘Remembrance Day’? Why not call or send a
message to the people you are thankful for? Or make a card to let them know you are thinking of them.
Talk about who you are thankful for.
7 Word Search
Can you find all the words hidden in the grid? Do you know what all these words mean?
8 War Time Cookery
Why not have a go at making a war time recipe?
We made carrot cake using a recipe from the National Trust site here https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/recipes/wartime-carrot-cake
Messy Remembrance prayer
Make a heart shape with fingers and thumbs.
Thank you, God, that you love us. Thank you for the people who help us and people who have made
sacrifices in wartime and conflicts to bring us hope and a brighter tomorrow.
Make a cross shape with your arms.
Thank you, God, that Jesus gave his life for us. Thank you for the amazing love you have towards
Make a circle shape with your arms raised above your head.
Thank you for people in our wonderful world who help us. Be with those struggling now with war and
fighting. Remind us to love each other and to always be thankful for those who help us.
In Jesus’ name. Amen
Or you can watch the story acted out by 'Open the Book' here https://youtu.be/S5mud0IPBzM
David had no fear. He knew that his God was bigger than Goliath. So while all the soldiers sat and trembled, he volunteered to face this giant who had hurled insults at God's people.
What are you afraid of? Do you think it is bigger than God?
With a sling, David stepped onto the battle ground. He used just one stone from his sling and hit Goliath in the centre of his forehead and he fell face down, dead.
What little can you bring to God for his use?
1. Five Stones
You will need 5 small light stones or pebbles of a similar size.
Step 1: Holding all five stones in your hand, throw them up in the air and try to catch as many as you can on the back of your hand. Then throw them up from the back of your hand and catch them in your palm again.
If you end up with one or more stones in your hand move onto step 2.
Step 2: Lay four stones on the ground but keep one. Throw your stone up in the air, pick one up from the ground, and then catch you original stone as it falls. Repeat for all the stones on the ground until you are holding all of them.
Step 3: This time, as you throw your first stone up, pick up two off te ground before catching your stone again. Repeat for the remaining two.
Step 4: This time pick three off the ground before catching your original stone. Repeat for the remaining stone.
Step 5: Throw your stone up, then pick up all four stones before catching the original one.
If you fail to complete a step go back to the begining and try again!
Talk about how this game sharpens your memory power and builds concentration and aiming skills. David must have had 20/20 vision - he only aimed once.
2. Goliath bullseye target
Draw a target or print off the Goliath template from the Messy Church website https://www.messychurch.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/pdf/Get%20Messy%20Sep%202020_WebMaterial.pdf
Take it in turns to throw bean bags or crumpled paper balls at your target. Who can get the closest?
Talk about how we can allow God to fight our battles for us. How do we have faith in the strengh of God, even against great odds?
3. Elephant and Mouse
Elephant: paint or colour a toilet roll tube grey. Cut out two ears and a trunk from cardboard and paint grey. Once dry fold the trunk accordian style.
Glue the trunk, ears and googly eyes (or make some from paper) onto the tube to complete it.
Mouse: Cut a circle from white card. Cut halfway through the circle and glue it to make a cone shape. Cut a heart shape for the head and glue or draw on eyes. Use a pink pen to draw a nose.
Glue the head shape over the join in your cone. Glue some string or a strip of card on for a tail.
Talk about how elephants are said to be scared of mice even though they are much bigger! Being small doesn't mean being powerless.
4. Courage Jar
You will need an empty glass jar and items to decorate it (glass pens, paint, ribbons, etc)
Decorate your courage jar as you please.
Think of things that you would like God to help you to do or give you courage to do.
Write them on pieces of paper and drop in your jar. Pray about each request as you drop it in.
For example: asking for help to do the right thing or for courage to tell others about Jesus, asking for help to be kind even when others are mean.
Open the jar each week and see how God has helped you and how courageous you've been.
Talk about how you might step out of your comfort zone this week. If you don't feel brave enough, you can ask God to be with you.
5. Goliath Cookies
You will need a cookie recipe such as this one from familycookbookproject.com
1/4 cup butter or marg
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 cups oats
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup choc chips
1 tablespoon baking soda
Makes about 18 cookies
Preheat the oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4.
Beat together the butter and the sugar.
Blend in the eggs and vanilla essence.
Add the peanut butter and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
Flatten spoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray, making sure they are well spaced.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Talk about how this cookie can be a 'take away' reminder that God is bigger than all challenges.
6. Water glass trick
Fill your glass around 2/3 full with water. Place a piece of card over the top of the glass, making sure the whole of the rim is covered and press down with one hand.
Move your other hand down towards the bottom of the glass. Quickly turn the glass upside down (over the sink or a bowl just in case!) holding the card in place and then carefully let go of the card.
The card should stick holding the water in the glass!
Talk about how we can't see the air pressure but we know it must be working or the water would drop out.
We can't see God but we know he is there holding us up and supporting us too.
7. Bottle Skittles
You will need six identical empty plastic bottles, paint or 'sharpies' and a ball
Paint or decorate the bottles any way you like. When they are dry fill them with a little water so they don't tip over too easily.
Arrange the bottles in a triangle shape and play skittles! Throw your ball at the bottles and see who can knock down the most. This activity might be better outside!
Talk about how only one throw can topple them all. Nothing is impossible for God. David only took one shot at Goliath. Have you ever succeeded in doing something in one go?
This month's activities are about 'Being thankful for our Food' and our bible reading is
Psalm 65 v9-13 and can be found online here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2065:9-13
1. Make bread/soda bread or fancy shaped rolls.
A simple recipe
450g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
sachet of yeast
Sieve flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast.
Heat milk and butter gently in a pan until the butter has just melted.
Pour into bowl and stir until all mixed.
Sprinkle some flour onto table and kneed dough until it is smooth and stretchy.
Return dough to bowl and cover with cling film. Leave somewhere warm to rise for about 45mins.
Kneed again for about a minute and divide into 16 pieces.
Roll these into balls and flatten slightly. Place on a greased baking tray.
Leave to rise again for about 20 minutes.
Brush each roll with a little beaten egg or milk.
Bake for 10-12mins at 220C or gas mark 7
2. Make pizzas by adding tomato sauce and toppings to pitta bread or a homemade bread base
3. Cut fruits in half to look at patterns/shapes and talk about beauty in nature. Use the fruit juices to make 'mocktails' or use as paint to make a picture.
4. Wordsearch. Can you find all the words in the list?
5. Look at the food you have in your cupboard/fridge. What country do they come from? Can you find them on a map? Are any of them fairtrade?
6. Could you donate something for the foodbank to help people struggling to afford food?
Or ask for support from foodbank/church if your family is struggling?
7. What is your favourite Harvest hymm? Make up a dance/movements to go with the words or tune.
8. Make an A-Z list of foods. Can you think of something for every letter? Are there any foods on your list that you haven't tried? Can you try something new?
9. Draw a picture of a tree with branches. Cut out some leaf shapes. Write different things that you are thankful for on the leaves and stick them on your tree.
Or draw a picture of something you are thankful for.
10. Bees help fruit and vegetables to grow by pollinating the flowers. Have a go at making a bee from a paper plate or egg carton.
How could you help look after our world and nature?
This month's story is Jonah and the Big Fish (sometimes called a whale). It can be found in the Bible in Jonah chapter 1 or online here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah%201&version=NIV
Have a read of the story before trying some (or all!) of the activities below.
There is also a song that you might like to listen to on YouTube here https://youtu.be/zNs723d14X8
In the story of Jonah we hear about a man who has been called by God but who runs away as he doesn't want to do what God is asking.
After spending 3 days inside the fish he is spat out onto a beach and goes to speak to the people at Ninevah as God asked. They listened to him, stopped their bad behaviour and turned back to God.
God gives everyone a second chance (and third, forth, fifth...thousandth...millionth chance) He wants to save everyone!
1. Caught in the Storm
Recreate the noises of the storm. See what items you can find around the house. Bang on a pan or baking tray or shake a rattle or 'rainmaker'. Add some rice to a tub and shake it.
Talk about how the storm that blew Jonah's ship was very strong. I wonder how the sailors felt. When they were scared by the wind they prayed to their gods for help. Who do you pray to for help?
2. Fishing Game
Cut out and colour fish shapes in card or thin cardboard. Attach a paperclip to each and put in a bowl or empty paddling pool (no water required, it will only make the fish soggy!)
Find a magnet (a fridge one will do) and tie it to a piece of string. Tie the other end to a stick and go fishing!
Talk about whether you know any other stories in the Bible about fish. For example, Jesus turned a small boy's lunch of a few fish and loaves into a picnic for thousands of people;
some of Jesus' disciples were fishermen by trade;
when Jesus appeared to the disciples after he had risen, he cooked fish for them on the beach.
3. Retell the story in your own way
You could create a comic strip or act it out with friends or toys. Or try making a boat from junk modelling things (check your recycle bin for things to use!)
Talk about the challenge it can be to follow Jesus. How much effort are you prepared to put in to do what Jesus wants?
4. Find Jonah
Hide a lego figure or other small toy figure in a sandpit, in shaving foam or slime or just around the house.
Now challenge a friend or family member to find Jonah!
Talk about what you do when you are searching for someone or something. Do you just run off and turn everthing over, or do you have a plan?
How did God know where to find Jonah?
5. Plastic fish
Draw the outline of a fish on a large piece of card. Collect plastic wrappers or other bits of plastic and glue them onto the fish.
Talk about how sea creatures are being hurt with plastic rubbish in the sea. There are masses of plastic waste, which are causing environmental hazards for fish and other wildlife.
What can we do? In Australia, there are clean up days at beaches. Inventors and scientists are developing ways to vacuum or collect the plastic, which is then removed from the sea.
But it would be far better if it was never there in the first place. Our church normally organises a litter pick once a month in our local area. Come and help next time we're out.
6. Creation Prayers
See if you can find a globe or a map of the world or look at one online. Look at some pictures of the earth and pollution. We know God cares not only for people but also for animals.
Write or draw a prayer about this.
Talk about what it would be like if Jonah was sent by God to our town. What would the message be for us about caring for creation?
7. Jonah in the Big Fish
Draw a whale or big fish shape on coloured card and cut it out. Cut a square hole in the middle of it.
Draw and colour Jonah on some white paper or card and cut him out.
Use a clear plastic pouch or two squares of cling film to hold your Jonah. Cut it to size and stick it to the hole in your fish.
You can now see Jonah in the belly of the fish!
Imagine you are Jonah inside the fish. Think of a prayer that you would like to ask God. Jonah's prayer in Jonah chapter 2 started 'Lord God HELP!...'
You can write your prayer down if you like, say it out loud or just whisper it to yourself.
Talk about the way God hears our prayers even in the deepest, darkest places.
8 Salt dough fishes.
Mix together 1 part salt to 2 parts plain flour. Add water to make a stiff dough.
Roll out to about 5mm thick and use a dinner knife to cut out fish shapes. Bake in microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they have hardened and dried out.
Leave to cool then paint. Coat with varnish, clear drying glue or clear nail varnish if you want to keep them for a long time.
9 Follow my leader
Play a game of Follow my Leader or Simon Says.
Talk about how Jonah was asked by God to go to Ninevah but he didn't want to. What sort of things do you need to do but don't want to?
Do we want to go where God wants us to go? Do we follow God?
10 Reflection Time
Jonah had gifts of speaking and teaching - that's why God asked him to speak to the people in Ninevah. What are your gifts? What are you good at? If you aren't sure ask someone!
Write or draw a list of all your different gifts and how you could use them to share God's love with others.
Talk about how sportspeople have to work incredibly hard to reach a level to represent their country at the Olympics or to play football for a professional team. Yes, they are gifted, but it also takes hard work and commitment.
God gives us the gifts, but it's up to us develop them and put them to good use. How do you improve and build your gifts?
11. Fishy food.
What is your favourite fish dish? Why not plan and enjoy a fish themed meal.
You could make a tuna pasta salad or a tuna pasta bake, homemade fish cakes or a fish finger butty.
If you don't like fish you could make sandwiches cut into fish shapes or fish shaped biscuits (see recipe below).
Fish shaped biscuits
250g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
200g cold butter, diced
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 200C/180 C Fan/Gas Mark 6
Place the flour, cocoa powder and butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until it makes fine crumbs. Stir in the icing sugar then add the vanilla and egg yolks. Bring the mixture together with your hands until it all binds to a dough. Chill for 30 mins.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and using a cutter or a knife cut into fish shapes.
Place the biscuits on a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins until just firm. Allow the biscuits to cool for 5 mins then remove from the tray and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Then decorate anyway you choose. We used glace icing (icing sugar and water mixed together) and sprinkles.
Talk about the fact that the Bible is made up of lots of different books and lots of different stories. We often just look at one of these at a time. But there is also a bigger overarching story of God’s love for us. Where can you see God’s love in the different parts of the timeline?
When they have listed all the objects they can, remove the cloth and go through the different objects explaining how they all link to the big story of the Bible.
• Globe (keyring /ball): God created the world.
• Toy boat: People turned their backs on God so he sent a flood. Noah and his family, who had continued to trust God, were saved on an ark, along with animals.
• Star: God promised Abraham and Sarah that their descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky, and that one of them would be Jesus. Abraham and Sarah had to wait a long time, but they remained faithful and God kept his promise.
• Rainbow-coloured object: Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and had to go through lots of hard times, including prison. Even in tough times God was there with Joseph and used him to save his people.
• Staff/stick: God’s people became slaves in Egypt, but God used Moses to rescue his people and lead them to the promised land. God turned Moses’ staff into a snake to show that he had sent Moses, and when Moses held up his staff God parted the Red Sea.
• Map: God’s people travelled for 40 years across the desert before they reached the promised land, but God was with them all that time.
• Slingshot/catapult: David was a shepherd boy but God chose him to be king of God’s people. He defeated the enemy Goliath with just a slingshot and a small rock.
• Crown: After David there were lots of different kings and prophets to help lead God’s people. Some of them were good and of them were bad.
• Baby doll: God sent his only son, Jesus, to live on earth as a human. Mary and Joseph were his parents and he was born in a stable in Bethlehem.
• Plasters/bandages: Jesus did lots of amazing things while he was alive. Crowds of people gathered to listen to his teaching wherever he went. He also did many miracles, including healing people if they were sick.
• Cross: Jesus died on the cross and rose to life again three days later. This was so that we could be forgiven for our sins and so that we could have a way to draw close to God again because all the things that we had done wrong were blocking the way between us and God.
• Candle: After Jesus went back to be with his Father in heaven, he sent us a gift: the Holy Spirit. God’s presence lives in us through the Holy Spirit and helps us. When the Holy Spirit first came to the disciples, he appeared as a gust of wind and a flame upon their heads.
• Lego figures: After Jesus had gone back to heaven to be with his Father, the disciples continued teaching other people what Jesus had taught them. And the good news about Jesus spread all around the world.
• Messy Church splat: Although Messy Church itself is not in the Bible we are part of its big story because we are part of the wider community of the worldwide church. Jesus promised he will return one day, and so we are preparing for this as we learn more about Jesus.
• Gold object: Jesus will return and all those who believe in him will live in the new creation with God forever. We don’t know what heaven will be like but the Bible gives us some ideas: there will be no pain, sadness or sickness; in a vision John (a disciple and one of the gospel writers) saw streets paved with gold!
Talk about which part of the story is your favourite? Why?
Shape four pipe cleaners into pencil toppers: a heart, an ‘X’, a cross and a question mark. With these four symbols we can tell the whole history of the Bible. (These symbols come from the 4 points Initiative, visit http://www.the4points.com/uk for more information.
Heart – God loves me (creation)
‘X’ – I have sinned (I have turned away from God)
Cross – But, because God loves me, he sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for me so I could be forgiven.
? – It’s your decision: would you like to say yes to Jesus and follow him? And yes to his invitation of forgiveness and eternal life?
Talk about how you could show people that you love them.
One Bible for all
The Bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic but now it is translated into hundreds of different languages.
Look up the Bible verse John 3:16. In English (New International Version) this is ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’
Look this verse up and write it out in a variety of different languages e.g. ancient Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin (Chinese), Arabic, Romanian, Polish, Japanese. Websites for doing this are
You could work with a friend and to try guess what language each other’s verses are written in. Although these languages all look different, they all say the same thing: we all share the same Bible. God loves everyone equally no matter what language we speak.
Talk about how everyone has the same Bible but the different translations mean that more people are able to understand it. Have you ever tried learning a new language? Was it hard? Imagine if we didn’t have the Bible in our own language and had to try to read it in another language!
Sticky tape rings.
You will need clear sticky tape and scissors. Have a look and see what else you have got at home to make your ring. You could use ribbon, patterned/coloured tape, tiny bits of coloured paper from a magazine or leaflet. You could decorate the finished ring with jewel stickers, scrunched up foil or beads.
Rings are symbols of promises and the Bible is full of promises which God has made to his people. And God always keeps his promises, just like a ring has no end.
Talk about why people wear rings. Do you always keep the promises you make? Do you think it is important to keep promises?
King of kings crowns
Jesus is called lots of things in the Bible and one of those names is the King of kings. There were lots of different kings in the Bible, some good and some not so good, but Jesus is the true king.
Cut a length of card to fit round your head and then staple or Sellotape it together to make the base of your crown. Then bend three pipe cleaners in half and fasten them to the card to make the points of the crown. Wrap the card and pipe cleaners in foil to make your crown entirely silver.
Talk about what you think it means when Jesus is called the King of kings. What do you think it is like to be a king?
One book many treasures
Take some different fruits and make a face, fruit kebabs or a fruit salad. Different fruits taste and look very different but they are all still fruits. Enjoy eating your creation!
The Bible is one book, but it is made up of lots of different books inside. Each book is different, but they are all important and special. They all teach us something about God.
The books of the Bible are written by different people and in different styles, but they are all the word of God.
Talk about what makes a fruit a fruit. Which is your favourite fruit and why? Do you or someone you know have a favourite book of the Bible?
God speaks to us in different ways
God speaks to people in lots of different ways throughout the Bible, and he still speaks to us today. Choose a Bible verse and one of these different forms of communication and try to pass the message onto someone else.
• Sign language
• Paper aeroplane
Talk about how you like to communicate with people. Talking? On the phone? Skype? In person? Has God ever spoken to you?
Balloon powered cars
In the Bible we are instructed to spread the good news about Jesus around the world. Make one of these balloon powered cars or planes and see how far you can make it travel.
You could use lego or kinex to build your car or see this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzY9RH_JnL0 to make one from plastic bottle lids, straws, an old biro, cardboard and of course a balloon! They work better on hard floors rather than carpet and the empty tube of the biro helps to direct the air.
Talk about what you would say if someone asked you who Jesus is.
Why not send us some photos of your creations to display on our website? You can email them to us or use Twitter (include @stannsw in your tweet) or Instagram (include #stannsw in your post) to share them with us. We look forward to seeing them.
Hunt around your home to see if you can find something beginning with each letter of the words ‘Good Shepherd’.
Talk about how God is a ‘Good Shepherd’ to us and looks after us.
Talk about how we keep things safe that are valuable to us.
Talk about a time when we felt or were lost. How were we found again?
Talk about how it feels to know that God is holding us safe in his arms.
Talk about why you think the sheep got lost. What different reasons do we have for finding ourselves far from God?
Talk about how the shepherd celebrated when he found his lost sheep and brought it home to keep it safe. Talk about how staying at home can protect us at the moment.
Father God, we thank you that no matter what we do or where we go, you are always with us, looking out to keep us safe and sound. Amen
Plant and Cross: Jesus is buried
Find two twigs and fasten them together in the shape of a cross with string or an elastic band. Place in a plant pot at one side. One with a bulb would be ideal or a plant that is just beginning to grow. A bulb seems lifeless and we remember Jesus dying for us on the cross and being buried. But this was not the end! New life emerges from the bulb or the plant will grow and flower. Likewise, Jesus overcame death, rose again and brings new life to us.
Butterfly Prayers: Jesus is risen
Draw or print a butterfly, colour and decorate it. Write a thank you prayer to Jesus on the back. When Jesus appeared to his friends after rising from the dead, they did not recognise him at first until he called them by name. Jesus calls us by name too. He knows us, even when we may not recognise him. The butterfly has also emerged from an empty tomb, or chrysalis, and is a reminder to us of the new life we have through Jesus.
Decorate hard boiled eggs or egg-shaped pieces of paper. Eggs remind us of new life. Jesus died so that we can have new life through him.
Some of the songs we enjoy singing