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Archbishop Welby becomes armchair storyteller in new Bible-story videos for children

12 April 2024

Archbishop Welby in the new series

Archbishop Welby in the new series

A BIBLICAL bestseller for children is to be read aloud in a new video series for children, read by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bear Grylls, Mary Berry, and the CBeebies presenters Gemma Hunt and Joanna Adeyinka-Burford.

The book The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by the artist Jago, has sold more than six million copies worldwide. Six of its Bible stories have been chosen for the new video series, it was announced on Friday. They include those of David and Goliath and the feeding the five thousand.

Each will be read by a different presenter after an introduction from the Cheeky Pandas, an animated series for children.

The collaboration is a response to a survey by Care for the Family, which suggested recently that, though 95 per cent of the Christian parents who took part in the survey recognised the importance of teaching children about their faith, fewer than three-quarters had told or read Bible stories to them.

Archbishop Welby said: “We all love stories. They remind us who we are, what we are here for and how best to live. Jesus loved telling stories. They tell us who God is, how much he loves us and what his plans are for us. The stories of God are told in the Bible.

“To open the Bible is to open up to God’s voice. We are never too old or too young to hear about God’s story. I am beyond delighted about this project.”

He continued: “Sally Lloyd Jones wrote the peerless Jesus Story Book Bible to engage children in these stories of God which make us. Six of them have been recorded by friends of mine. . . My prayer is that they are watched and listened to far and wide.

“These stories are for children to listen to and watch with their parents at home, their teachers at school, their friends in after school clubs and on their own, anywhere and everywhere. And what I know will happen is that, as we listen to these stories, we will find ourselves invited to be an essential part of God’s story. And there is nowhere better to be than part of His story.”

Episodes will be available to watch for free on the Cheeky Pandas YouTube channel and website from 9 a.m. on Friday. Additional resources include free activity packs, assembly plans, British Sign Language (BSL) episodes, and widget packs — which break down episodes into symbols — tailored for the needs of neurodivergent children.

“This comprehensive approach aims to empower and equip parents to have accessible, faith-based conversations with their children,” a press released from Lambeth Palace says.

Ms Hunt said: “It has been such a delight to be a part of this wonderful project. Reading the stunning scripture in the Jesus Storybook Bible has really brought the stories to life again in a new way.

“It is such an honour to have read them aloud, which is how they were intended to be heard; I hope our versions inspire families to read them together and share in the precious Word of God.”

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