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Together, We Are Stronger

Womenís World Day of Prayer is on 2 March 2018

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To introduce the Women’s World Day of Prayer and reflect upon how working together builds strength.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Together, We Are Stronger) and the means to display them.

  • You will also need a spool of cotton thread, a few balls of cotton wool and two plastic combs.

  • Have available the song ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)’ by the New Seekers and the means to play it at the beginning of the assembly. It can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiri_EDfU8U and is 2.23 minutes long.

Assembly

  1. As the children enter, have ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)’ by the New Seekers playing.

    Hold up the spool of cotton thread.

    Ask the children if they know what the item you’re holding is called.

  2. Show Slide 1.

    Ask a couple of children for answers before telling them all that it is a spool or bobbin of cotton thread.

    Explain that we are going to explore how cotton thread is made.

  3. Show Slide 2.

    Explain that cotton thread starts off like this. The image shows a cotton plant and the round balls of cotton look very much like cotton wool balls. Cotton plants grow in dry, hot countries, such as the USA, China and India.

    Ask for two volunteers to come to the front and hold a cotton wool ball each.

  4. Show Slide 3.

    After picking the cotton balls from the cotton plant, the next stage is to comb them. Each cotton ball is made up of lots and lots of individual threads, all tangled together. It’s a bit like when you have long hair – it can get tangled and messy. We need to brush or comb our hair to stop it being messy. The same is true with the cotton ball – it is combed so that all of the fibres are neat and untangled.

    Point out the individual threads to the children, and then ask the volunteers if they want to try to comb their cotton wool balls, giving them combs to do so.

  5. Show Slide 4.

    After the combing, the cotton is then stretched and twisted. This makes the individual threads come together, and begins to make one long, thin piece of thread. It doesn’t look like a ball any more!

  6. Show Slide 5.

    These pictures show the same process of stretching and twisting. The picture on the left shows the process happening on a machine and the picture on the right shows it being done by hand.

  7. Ask the volunteers if they would like to try stretching and twisting their combed cotton wool ball to see if they can start to make the cotton wool into a long, thin piece. (Note that the cotton wool may break at this point. This is an opportunity to talk about how STRETCHING makes the cotton weaker, but TWISTING it makes it stronger. Even if it does not break, offer this commentary as the children are stretching and twisting their cotton wool.)

  8. After there has been considerable stretching and twisting, the thread becomes very thin, but very strong. Then, there is one final process: another set of twisting.

    Show Slide 6.

  9. Now, the thread is just about ready.

    Hold up the spool/bobbin so that the children can see the final product. Thank the volunteers and ask them to sit back down.

  10. Summarize by explaining that from lots of cotton balls on the plant, lots and lots of fibres or threads are combed out. These then get twisted together, and they make very strong thread.

    Ask the children if they can think of any lessons that we can learn from this process.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  11. Point out that there are many people in our world, all individuals, all unique. Sometimes, when we want to do something by ourselves, we don’t feel strong. It can sometimes seem too hard to achieve the thing we want to. Perhaps we feel ‘stretched’ beyond what we feel we are capable of. When we try to do things alone, we can feel overwhelmed and stretched to breaking point. However, when we work with others, we are stronger. We could say that we are stronger together.

    Show Slide 7.

    Like the thread, we are much stronger when we are united with others.

  12. Explain that you want to tell the children about a particular group who found that they were stronger together.

    About 130 years ago, a group of women wanted to do something to make the world a better and fairer place, especially for women and children. These women were Christians and believed that God wanted us to work for a world where everyone was treated with love and respect.

    However, that is a very big thing to achieve, so the women decided that they would unite with others around the world to pray together for a common intention. In 1927, just over 90 years ago, the first Women’s World Day of Prayer was held. Since then, each year in March, women and men around the world pray together with others. By praying with others, and knowing that others around the world are praying for the same cause, there is a real sense of being stronger together.

  13. Show Slide 8.

    Explain that this is the logo for the Women’s World Day of Prayer. Ask the children what they can see in the logo.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Point out the different people kneeling in prayer, coming together. Note that together they make the shape of a cross. This helps to show that they unite to pray for God’s peace, love and justice in our world. Just like the cotton thread, they are united and they are stronger as a result.

  14. Show Slide 9.

    This year, the Women’s World Day of Prayer will be held on Friday 2 March. Over three million men and women at over 5,000 prayer services worldwide will all be praying for this year’s intention of ‘All God’s creation is very good’.

    It will be a great opportunity for people around the world to unite and pray for our world, the environment and God’s creation.

Time for reflection

We are going to take time now to be quiet and still, and to reflect on what we can learn from today’s assembly.

Let’s take the time to reflect upon the following questions.

Can you think of a time when other people helped you, or when you helped others?
- How did it make you feel?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- What things, people or places in our world do you want to pray for?
- Where in our world would you like to see God’s peace, love and justice?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- How would it feel to pray with others for God’s creation?
- What do you love about God’s creation that you would like to tell others about?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that – just like the cotton - at those times in our lives when we feel stretched, we can find help and strength from others.
Help us to remember that we are stronger together when others help and support us.
Thank you for giving us people and friends who can help us –
And for giving us people that we can help, too.
We thank you for the Women’s World Day of Prayer movement,
Which reminds us that we can share faith, peace and justice with people all around the world.
We remember the theme of this year’s Women’s World Day of Prayer:
That a
ll God’s creation is very good.
Help us to look after your creation: the environment, plants, animals and other people.
Amen.

Publication date: March 2018   (Vol.20 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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