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Giving Thanks at the Start of the Day

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools

Aims

To consider that we are fortunate to have enough food to eat every day.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Show the images of different kinds of breakfast.

    Ask the children what they like to eat best at breakfast-time.

  2. Invite the children who have prepared the sketch to come to the front.

    Child 1 moves towards Child 2, carrying a small packet of rice in his or her pocket.

    Child 2 (yawning): Morning.

    Child 1: I’ve bought you a present!

    Child 2: Great! Let’s have a look.

    Child 1 hands the packet of rice to Child 2.

    Child 2 (holding it up): What’s this?

    Child 1: Rice.

    Child 2: Its not much of a present! I don’t even like rice.

    Child 3 moves towards Child 4, carrying a banana in his or her pocket.

    Child 4: You’re not going to give me some rice, are you?

    Child 3: Well, I have got you a present, but it’s this . . . (gives Child 4 the banana)

    Child 4: Its not really a present, is it? Ive already got a banana in my bag for break.

    Child 1: We’re not exactly a grateful bunch, are we?

  3. Point out that Child 2 and Child 4 were not grateful. Ask the children if any of them would have been pleased to receive the gift of rice or a banana.

  4. Explain that in many parts of the world, where there is little food, any gift is welcome. Statistics from the United Nations suggest that one in six people do not have enough to eat, and many of these people are children. They have no choice: they simply eat what they can get.

  5. Explain that in parts of Africa, there are many hungry children. The story that you are going to tell now is about two children who live in Africa. They are called Congo and Ben.

    Congo and Ben

    Congo and Ben climbed out of their bunks and went for a shower. It was very hot. Perhaps it would rain today. They hoped so.

    It was still dark and it wouldnt get light for another hour, but they managed without light because they knew the way from their room - which they shared with 50 others - to the shower. There wasnt much water today, but they did their best and then dried themselves before dressing.

    Congo and Ben were proud of their school uniform of white shirt and grey shorts. They even had socks and shoes, but they only wore those for going to school and on Sundays.

    The other children were getting up, too. There was a lot to do: the dormitory had to be cleaned, the paths swept and the pigs and goats fed. They also had to wash their clothes and lay them in the sun to dry. It was 5:30 in the morning and they had to do their jobs before morning worship at 6:30.

    Congo hadnt been at the orphanage very long. His mother had died some years ago and his father had died just before Christmas. His grandmother couldnt look after him and his sisters, so the local minister had found him a home at the orphanage. Congo was lucky because someone in England was paying for his education.

    Congo loved going to school. There were 80 other boys in his class. He and his friend, Ben, were nine years old and they had only just started to go to school. Some of the children were much older and seemed to know a lot more than them.

    Congo and Ben ran to the schoolroom. The sound of music was coming from the room and it always made them feel happy and excited. A drum made of goatskin and wood was beaten with a stick, and the boys sang, ‘We are marching in the light of God.

    Their teacher told them a story about Jesus and a lost sheep, explaining that sheep were like goats (no one in Congo and Bens school had seen a sheep). To lose a sheep was bad, so when it was found, everyone would be very happy, especially the shepherd. In Jesus country, they needed sheep just like Congo and Ben needed goats: for their milk, their meat and their skin. Then, the teacher said a prayer and everyone went to breakfast. It was 7:00 in the morning.

    Before they started breakfast, the cook asked Congo to say a prayer. Congo thought of the rice and banana that he would have for breakfast. He had the same thing every day, but it was always delicious. He was hungry, so his prayer was only quick. He said, ‘Thank you, God, for rice and bananas, and for tea to drink. Amen.

    All of the children waited until everyone had their breakfast in front of them, and then they ate together hungrily.

Time for reflection

Ask the following questions, allowing time for the children to think about their responses.

- Would you like to eat rice and bananas for breakfast every day?
- Have you ever felt very hungry?
- Do you ever stop to think about people who feel hungry every day and who, despite their hunger, cannot find anything to eat?
- What could we do to help them?

Ask the children to think of their favourite food. Invite a selection of children to stand up and name their favourite food at the appropriate time in the prayer.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for our food.
Thank you for the great variety of food that we enjoy.
Thank you especially for . . . (ask the selected children to name their favourite foods).
Please be with those who are hungry.
Please help us to do all we can to help them.
Amen.

Publication date: August 2019   (Vol.21 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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