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Keyholders . . .

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools


To consider that we can all be ‘door-openers’ to others.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available a selection of keys, or an image of a bunch of keys and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at:

  • Have available some images of St Peter holding keys and the means to display them during the assembly. Examples are available at:, and

  • You will need to be familiar with the Bible passage Matthew 16.15-19, where Jesus asks Peter, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ and Peter replies, ‘You are the Christ, son of (the living) God.’ (It may be appropriate for KS1 levels of understanding to omit the words in brackets when retelling the story.)


  1. Show the selection of keys or the image of a bunch of keys.

    Ask the children to look at the different keys and imagine what they are used for – a car, a door and so on.

  2. Ask the children if they have any keys. They may have keys for something like a money box or a secret diary. Ask them to imagine where they might hide a key if they wanted to keep it hidden from everyone.

  3. Show the images of St Peter.

    Ask the children what all of the images have in common. (Answer: each picture shows at least one key.)

  4. Use the Bible passage Matthew 16.15-19 to explain that Jesus gave his disciple Peter a crucial job. Jesus said that he would build his Church and gave Peter the keys to heaven. Explain that this didn’t mean that Jesus actually gave Peter a key, as the pictures show. It means that Jesus was appointing Peter as a special leader who would lead many people to God. Peter is often shown holding keys in paintings to remind people that Jesus gave Peter the job of building the Church and teaching people all over the world about God. It means that Peter was given the task of ‘opening the door’ to God, so that people could start to follow Jesus.

  5. Christians believe that they can be ‘door-openers’ and tell others about God. All of us can be door-openers, too, by showing people a way of love and kindness. We can open the door to happiness by our attitudes and the way in which we treat others.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about St Peter. When Jesus asked Peter to follow him, Peter was a fisherman. He had no idea at that point that one day, he would be the leader of the Church. In the Bible, we read stories about Peter getting things wrong and making mistakes. However, these mistakes didn’t make Jesus think that Peter was unsuitable for an important role. Rather, these mistakes helped Peter to learn how to be a better person.

Point out that all of us make mistakes. However, we need to use these situations to learn and move forward.

Challenge the children to think about how they can be door-openers. How can they open the door to happiness for other people? Is there something they could do today that would make someone’s day better?

Remind them that they could be a ‘key’ to someone else’s happiness.

Dear God,
Thank you for stories from the past that teach us so much.
Thank you that, even though Peter made mistakes, you still had a great plan for his life.
Please help us to be door-openers for other people.
Help us to look for opportunities to include others.
Help us to look for ways to help and to make people happy.
Thank you that you promise to be with us in every part of our lives.

Follow-up ideas

Encourage the children to think of ways in which they could help other people in school. Ask them to write down their ideas, and then see if they can carry them out during the week.

Publication date: June 2021   (Vol.23 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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