Who Is St Andrew?
St Andrew’s Day is on 30 November
by Rebecca Parkinson
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the history of St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.
Preparation and materials
- Have available the following images and the means to display them during the assembly:
- the flag of Scotland, available at: https://tinyurl.com/o7cz9ae and https://tinyurl.com/yxag4pek
- the Union Jack, available at: https://tinyurl.com/z93s62b
- Optional: you may wish to read the story of Andrew and Peter found in John 1.40–41.
- Show the images of the two flags.
Ask the children to identify the flags.
Explain that the first flag is the flag of Scotland, which shows the X-shaped cross that is a symbol of St Andrew. The second flag is the Union Jack, the flag of the United Kingdom.
Ask the children whether they can spot the cross of St Andrew within the Union Jack flag. Explain that the Union Jack is made up of the crosses of the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Wales is not represented separately in the Union Jack because the flag was designed after England invaded Wales in 1282, so Wales appears under the red cross of St George for England.
Also, since 1921, it is only Northern Ireland that has been part of the UK; the rest of Ireland forms the Republic of Ireland and has a separate flag.
- Explain that each country in the UK has a patron saint. A patron saint is considered to be a special protector or guardian over a particular place or thing.
- St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland.
- St George is the patron saint of England.
- St David is the patron saint of Wales.
- St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
Explain that each patron saint has a special day every year when they are remembered. St Andrew’s Day is on 30 November.
- Ask the children whether they know who St Andrew was.
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that Andrew was one of Jesus’ disciples. He was the brother of Simon Peter, who eventually became a leader in the early Church. Andrew and Peter were both fishermen. Andrew met Jesus before Peter and hurried to tell his brother all about him!
Optional: you may wish to read the story found in John 1.40–41.
- Point out that Andrew was very excited because he had found someone whom he thought was very important, the Messiah. He was the person for whom the Jewish people had been waiting for about 2,000 years!
Andrew told his brother Peter about Jesus. That’s how the two men became followers of Jesus; they were two of the twelve disciples. Andrew told Peter, and then Peter told others.
- Explain that although we don’t know how many people Peter told, we do know that he became one of Jesus’ special friends. Although Peter made many mistakes, he was a faithful follower of Jesus. Peter is believed to have dictated the Gospel of Mark in the Bible, as well as the letters called 1 Peter and 2 Peter.
Many people have become followers of Jesus by reading these books in the Bible. We actually know much more about Peter than we do about Andrew. However, it was Andrew who originally shared the good news about Jesus with his brother.
- Explain that there are several stories about how Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. One story states that in the ninth century, a king called King Angus was preparing for battle against the English when St Andrew appeared to him in a dream. St Andrew promised him victory and on the day of the battle, a white X appeared in the sky. This later became the symbol of St Andrew.
Time for reflection
Andrew believed that Jesus was good news for other people, so he shared that news.
Ask the children to consider whether the things that they say to others cause joy and happiness. Too often, we can say unkind things or use our words to make people sad.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all make people happy with the things that we say?
Ask the children whether they have any good news today.
You may wish to ask a few children to share their good news with other people.
Thank you for good news!
Please help us to use our words to share good things and to make people feel happy.
Please help us to remember the good news of Jesus: that he loves us and cares for us.
Some traditional Scottish music. An example is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFM7iH9lwQw (over two hours long)