Based On A Book: Memorials 2
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To look at how faith communities use artefacts to tell their stories and affirm their beliefs and values.
Preparation and materials
- The second in a series of two assemblies (the first having been made available in January 2015) exploring the link between artefacts and memories and faiths.
- You will need four small tables, cloths or hoops on the floor – whatever fits in best with your usual arrangement of such displays. Have available the following to put on the four tables, cloths or in the hoops as they come up in the course of the assembly, but set them aside out of sight at the beginning:
– seder plate, as used in the Jewish celebration of Passover
– a candle, Bible, some bread and a chalice for the wine that would be found on a Christian altar
– objects to represent the life of Jesus (these might include a Christingle, as its familiar symbolism might help ideas flow, flowers for creation, pictures of children from around the world, a globe, sculptures or models the children have made, water and candles) and the beliefs of other faiths, plus paper and pens to quickly draw those suggested by the children during the assembly that you did not think of.
- You might like to read the account of the Last Supper in Luke 22.14–20 when discussing the Communion items in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3.
- Have available the song ‘Wind in the willows’ by Spud and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.
- To develop the themes of the assembly further afterwards in the children’s classes, the collections of objects created during the assembly could be displayed and other collections could be made or the children could draw objects or symbols on plain cloths to cover a table or lay in the centre of a circle of children and then these could be discussed.
- Begin by recalling the role of memories in making each one of us unique that was explored in the first assembly.
- Produce the seder plate and discuss what it symbolizes to Jewish people. Many children will know from RE or personal experience that it is significant in the story of how God rescued his people from slavery. Symbols of tears and hard labour are set alongside symbols of new life, such as lettuce and the egg.
- In a similar way, bring out and discuss the meanings of the artefacts relating to Communion. Explain how, just as during his life Jesus fed the five thousand people who had gathered to hear him speak with bread and fish and he changed the water into wine at the wedding, Christians believe that he finally gave his own body and blood – his life – to us when he died on the cross and this is commemorated in the bread and wine shared in Communion.
Read the account of the Last Supper in Luke 22.14–20 at this point, if using.
- Explain that often when people of Christian and other faiths come to worship, they look at objects to remind them and help them focus on the beliefs that are important in their lives.
- Ask the children to suggest objects that could be placed on the tables, cloths or in the hoops to indicate events in the life of Jesus and the beliefs of other faiths and say what they represent. Each time they mention something relating to the objects you collected in preparation, produce them to create displays. If they say things you have no objects for, make quick drawings of them and add these to the displays.
Time for reflection
During a short time of quiet, the children could consider what objects they would add to the tables, cloths or hoops and what each one means to them.
Help us to remember that the important things in life are love, friendship and honesty . . .
(Source: Carol Watson, Prayers for a Fragile World, Lion, 1997.)
Song and music
'The wind in the willows' by Spud