As a Changing Market Towns Family worker based in St Peter’s C of E Junior school in Wisbech, I have the privilege (or the burden, depending on your perspective) of delivering a whole school weekly assembly (or collective worship as we call it here in St Peters), to 240+ children aged between 7 and 11 years of age. Plus accompanying staff!
For one week’s, the idea was for the children to re-enact the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Introducing the song ‘One Way’ and saying the Lords Prayer. Before I started I wanted to get a snapshot of the different religions represented in the school.
I asked the children to raise their hand if they were Hindu, Muslim or Christian. The results were, 0%, 0% and 4% respectively.
Children thoroughly enjoy playing an active role in collective worship, they would all like to play the King or the main character but are equally happy to be a soldier, guard or cupbearer. Acting out a story makes the story more memorable for them, even if they don’t have any lines. This particular week was no different, plenty of willing volunteers to play the parts of Nehemiah’s story of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
Following the story, I asked what the common theme was in most of the stories from the Bible. The answer was that they all prayed to God and when many centuries later the disciples of Christ asked ‘Lord how do we pray?’ we were given the powerful and all-encompassing words from Jesus Christ.
I asked all the children to come to the front of the hall who could say the Lords Prayer with their eyes closed. To my surprise about half of the school walked up to the front. I believe this is testament to the school’s regular collective worship as they are a daily feature, but that also the importance of knowing the Lords Prayer will be carried by the children and can be drawn on later on in life despite the path they take. Thank God for the powerful Lords Prayer!
Written by Olivia O'Neill - Changing Market Towns Family Worker (Wisbech)