Remembrance in Letters
An assembly in the ‘Hello, Scruff!’ series
by the Revd Sylvia Burgoyne
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To consider that the Bible is God’s letter to the world, with reference to Remembrance Day.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
- As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.
- You will also need a Bible.
- Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’
If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.
Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown, and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!
- Ever since Lucy Jane’s teacher had asked the class to write a letter, Lucy Jane had rushed to the doormat in the hall every morning to check whether a reply had arrived from her grandma. So far, no letter had arrived.
One afternoon, Scruff was listening avidly to Lucy Jane as she related what had happened at school that day.
‘We had a visitor this afternoon, Scruff. He was very old, and he wore lots of medals pinned to his jacket. He said that we could call him William. He told us that when he was fighting in France during the Second World War, life was very tough. There was the frightening sound of gunfire all around, and bombs often dropped from the sky. Many of his friends were wounded or killed, and he never knew if it would be his turn next. One thing he really looked forward to was getting letters from home, and hearing all the news.
When he told us that, he rummaged in his bag and produced a big packet of letters. He chose one and read some of it out to us. It was a letter from his mum, who told him that his dad was very busy on the farm. All the men who used to work for him had gone off to fight in the war, so two young women were sent to help him. They were called ‘land girls’ because they were members of the Women’s Land Army. Both of them came from the town nearby and they had never done farm work before, so William’s dad had to teach them to milk the cows, feed the pigs and chickens and even drive the tractor.
William’s mum also wrote that his sister was working as a nurse, and his younger brother had joined the navy. Every night, she prayed that God would keep them safe, and that they would soon come back home. She always closed her letter with the words: “We all send our love.”’
Lucy Jane paused for breath and stroked Scruff’s nose affectionately.
‘Next, William showed us another letter, which had a photo of a lady attached,’ Lucy Jane continued. ‘He smiled when he told us that when he went home on leave, he became friends with Betty, one of the land girls, and when he went back to France, they used to write to each other. William told us that he looked forward to receiving her letters, and that he always kept her photo with him. After the war, William married Betty and he said that they have spent many happy times together.’
Lucy Jane kissed Scruff on the end of his nose. ‘I love a story with a happy ending,’ she said contentedly. ‘Don’t you, Scruff?’
‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ answered Scruff enthusiastically.
‘I think if I lived a long way from home,’ Lucy Jane continued thoughtfully, ‘I would look forward to reading about what was happening here on the farm. Perhaps that’s why Grandma says she loves to receive my letters, telling her all about what we’ve been doing.’
Just then, Lucy Jane’s mum came running across the farmyard to the stable, waving a letter in her hand.
‘The postwoman came after you left for school this morning,’ she called loudly. ‘She’s brought you a letter, Lucy Jane.’
‘Oh, good!’ cried Lucy Jane. ‘It’s from Grandma!’
Take off Scruff.
- Ask the children whether they have ever received a letter.
Listen to a range of responses.
Ask them how it made them feel when they were told that the letter had arrived for them.
Listen to a range of responses.
- The Bible tells us about a man called Paul, who travelled to many places telling people about Jesus. He told everyone about Jesus’ life: the amazing miracles that Jesus had performed, the things that Jesus had taught and the way people’s lives had been changed when they met Jesus. Many people became followers of Jesus and Paul looked forward to hearing about all his new friends when people visited him. Sometimes it was good news and sometimes it was bad news.
- Paul wrote letters to many of his new friends. These letters are in the Bible, so we can still read them today.
Show the Bible to the children.
Explain that Christians believe that the Bible is God’s letter to the world.
Time for reflection
Explain that, like William who visited Lucy Jane’s school, there were many soldiers who looked forward to letters from home during the war. Remind the children that 11 November is Remembrance Day. It is a special day to remember the people who fought in the two world wars and in other wars. It is a time to remember those who have lost their lives in order to bring peace and those who still fight for peace today.
Point out that, although we may live in a country where there is no war at present, we all have a part to play in keeping the peace. Within our families, schools and friendship groups, we can all contribute to peace by the way in which we treat others and the way in which we care for those around us.
Encourage the children to think about writing a letter. Is there someone who would love to receive a letter from them? Maybe they could write a letter or draw someone a picture and post it to them this week – it might make someone really happy.
Thank you for those who fight in wars to enable us to live in freedom and peace.
Please help us to do our part in keeping the peace with those around us.
Please be with people who are living in war-torn areas today.
Please be close to all those who are sad and afraid.