Knowing Your Name
Our names are important - A 'Welcome Back' assembly
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To consider that God knows each of us.
Preparation and materials
You will need some name trays or labels from the new Reception class. If possible, choose children who have the same first name as someone else in the school.
Have available a class register from an older class.
You will also need a reader for the Bible passage, 1 Samuel 3.4-10 (Good News Translation).
Welcome everyone back to school after the summer break.
Explain that many new pupils have joined the school in Reception or Primary 1 and that others have moved home and schools over the summer. Welcome the new children in particular and say that everyone hopes they will all soon settle happily into the school family.
Introduce a few of the new Reception or Primary 1 children. Show a name tray or label and ask the child to identify himself or herself. Welcome the child by saying what a lovely name he or she has and ask if anyone else in the school has the same name. Ask those children to stand at the front so that the children who have the same name are standing together.
Show a class register from a more senior class and explain to the new children that their teacher will often call out the names in the register to check whether the children are at school that day. Demonstrate by asking the children in the older class to respond as their names are called out.
Explain that Christians believe that God also knows each child’s name. There is a story in the Bible about a child called Samuel whom God calls by name.
Ask if any children in the school are called Samuel.
In the Bible story, Samuel was very young when he found out that God knew his name.
Samuel lived with a man called Eli and he worked in the temple of God. Samuel had furniture, lamp stands and plates to polish and errands to run for Eli. It was Samuel's job to make sure that the lamps didn’t go out before the sun came up. In the morning, it was his job to open the doors wide and let the daylight in. Samuel worked very hard.
As Samuel got older, he began to get to know God for himself, just like you are doing.
One night, after Eli and Samuel had gone to bed, something unusual happened. All of a sudden, Samuel woke up. Someone was calling his name.
Ask the reader to read the Bible passage, 1 Samuel 3.4-10.
Ask the children to join in by speaking Eli’s words, ‘No, I didn’t call you. Go back to bed,’ every time you nod your head.
When the reader has finished reading the Bible passage, continue the story.
From that time on, Samuel knew that God wanted to speak to him and he always listened. God blessed Samuel and when he grew up, Samuel became a priest like Eli and also a great prophet.
God knew Samuel from the moment he was born. God knew Samuel’s name and he spoke to him.
Christians believe that God knows our names and wants to speak to us, too. God wants to tell us his wonderful story and he wants us to learn to follow him just like Samuel did. We will learn more about God in our assemblies and in our classes.
Who can remember the names of the new children on the trays?
Listen to a range of answers.
God knows them, too!
Time for reflection
To become a good listener like Samuel, we need to learn to be quiet and still.
Let’s be very still for a few moments. What can we hear inside? What can we hear outside?
Thank you for a new school year.
Thank you for everyone in our school family, from the youngest to the oldest.
Thank you that you know our names.
Thank you that we are each very, very special to you.
Help us to learn more about you so that we can follow you like Samuel did.