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BLOOMINGTON - The Rev. Scott Sherwood is senior pastor at First Church of the Nazarene, but when he read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" to his three daughters, he was careful not to make it a Sunday school lesson.

Still, the message got through.

After reading a scene in which lion hero Aslan sacrifices himself for one of the children who has fallen from grace, Sherwood's oldest daughter exclaimed, "Hey, that's just like Jesus."

"I couldn't have scripted the moment better," Sherwood said. "I would say without qualification it was the most-bonding experience to date with my daughters."

Sherwood began the reading project about a month ago, reading a chapter or two to his children at bedtime.

When the movie opens Friday in Bloomington-Normal, the Sherwoods will attend.

Sherwood said his two oldest girls, ages 8 and 6, were particularly entranced by the book.

There are seven books in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, and Sherwood said, "My girls are now begging me to read the rest."

He believes it's "perfect timing" for the Disney movie to come out at Christmastime.

Sherwood said sermons at his church during this month will be based on the Narnia stories. Adding to the atmosphere will be an antique wardrobe in the front of the sanctuary.

The idea, the pastor said, is for people to "experience the movie at theaters and then to explore the meaning with us on Sunday."

"It was a goal of (author C.S.) Lewis that the imagination awaken and become interested in the story behind the story," he said.

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