An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To look at the tradition of the harvest festival and how we should give thanks for the Earth’s gifts.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a leader and 12 children – 6 to be readers, each with a partner.
- You will also need a circular tablecloth, loaf of bread, glass of water, pot plant, fish (fresh or fake) and a lump of coal.
- Have available the song ‘For the beauty of the Earth’, set by John Rutter and recorded by the boys of St Paul's Cathedral Choir on their album How Can I Keep from Singing? (Classics for Pleasure, 1996), and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.
Leader When the summer is coming to an end and signs of autumn begin to appear, farmers have gathered in their crops and begun to make preparations for the next season's planting, it's a time of year for being grateful for all the food and drink that we can share together at mealtimes.
Christians mark this time with a special service in church called a ‘harvest festival’. During this service they say ‘thank you’ to God for all the crops that have been safely gathered in. They also remember those people, both close to home and far away, who will not have had such a rich harvest.
In your classes you will have been thinking about all the many different gifts that come out of the soil. Harvest is a time when we remember all of them.
Reader 1 Harvest is a time when we can all say ‘thank you’ for the Earth's gifts.
Partner 1 puts the cloth on the table to represent the Earth.
Reader 2 We bring our favourite foods and remember the people who grow our food and prepare it for us to eat.
Partner 2 puts the loaf of bread on the table.
Reader 3 We bring fresh, clean water, which gives life and refreshes us.
Partner 3 puts the glass of water on the table.
Reader 4 We bring the warmth and light of the sun that gives energy and enables things to grow in our world.
Partner 4 puts the pot plant on the table.
Reader 5 We bring the harvest of the sea and remember the people who fish for our food.
Partner 5 puts the fish on the table.
Reader 6 We bring the harvest of the soil and remember the people who dig for coal, mine for minerals and drill for oil.
Partner 6 puts the lump of coal on the table.
All We say ‘thank you’ for life and for the gifts from the Earth.
Time for reflection
The Earth gives us all we need, but we also have to look after it. If we spoil it with pollution, if we are greedy and take too much from the Earth, then we will damage our beautiful world.
Christians read in the Bible that the world was created by God and we must help to look after it. Listen to this part of Psalm 104 (verses 10–15, NRSV) that talks about God's creation.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal;
the wild asses quench their thirst.
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains:
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
For the fruits of the earth: we thank you.
For the harvest of the sea: we thank you.
For the beauty of the sky: we thank you.
For your energy pulsing through the whole of creation: we thank you heavenly Father.
(From Prayers for Children, compiled by Christopher Herbert, National Society/Church House, 1993)
‘For the Beauty of the Earth’, set by John Rutter and recorded by the boys of St Paul's Cathedral Choir