Everyone Is Welcome!
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To consider how we can make people feel welcome and cared for.
Preparation and materials
You will need three large collections of identical items, such as 20 tennis balls, 30 pencils or 20 daffodils. Within each collection, there should also be one significantly different item, such as 20 tennis balls and a football, 30 pencils and a felt-tip pen or 20 daffodils and a rose. The collections of identical items should be displayed so that the children can see them clearly. Keep the ‘odd’ items out of sight until they are needed.
Dress several children in T-shirts of a matching colour. Dress one child who doesn’t mind being the odd one out in a T-shirt of a different colour. Explain that during the assembly, the identically dressed children will stand talking together. When the child in the different-coloured T-shirt appears, you want them all to stop speaking, stand still and look at that child.
Have available a candle and a means of lighting it for the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly.
Discuss with the children how it feels to be part of the school family. Everyone knows everyone else, it’s easy to find your way around and you know where everything is. Express how lovely it can sometimes feel when things stay the same and there are no changes. After a few moments, point out that often, life isn’t like this. Things change all the time! We have to face new challenges, new people and new places.
Point out that there may be people in the assembly who are feeling uncertain, afraid or left out. There may be people in the room who are new or who feel like they don’t fit in.
Show the displays of identical objects to the children.
All of the items in these collections are the same; nothing stands out from the crowd.
Introduce the odd item into each collection.
Ask the children to offer ideas as to what it might feel like to stand out as a ‘new person’.
Ask all of the children who are dressed in identical T-shirts to come forward. (They should start to talk among themselves.)
Now, ask the child in the different-coloured T-shirt to come forward. (When the child in the different-coloured T-shirt appears, the identically dressed children should look round and be silent, making their reaction obvious.)
Freeze the scene and ask the children who are watching what they think about the ‘crowd’s’ reaction. Ask them how they think the new person would feel.
Explain that the ‘crowd’ did not necessarily dislike the new person or want to be unkind. They may simply have been interested or curious. However, they could have been sensitive to the new person’s feelings and made an effort to make him or her feel at home, welcome and ‘one of the crowd’.
Time for reflection
Is there a time when you have felt left out?
Is there a time when you know that you have left out other people?
What can we do to make people feel comfortable and welcome?
Place a candle in the centre of one of the collections, place the odd item next to it and then light the candle.
Explain that we all shine in God’s eyes and, because each of us is different, each of us is special.
‘God knows me’ (Come and Praise, 15)