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St Martin and the beggar

To learn about helping others by being kind and sharing.

by The Revd Oliver Harrison

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To learn about helping others by being kind and sharing.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a large piece of paper, coloured if possible, ideally measuring 1 metre by 2 or 3 metres: many schools have big rolls.
  • Scissors or knife, and sellotape.


  1. Introduce the name Martin. Are there any in the school (first, middle or surname?). Also any churches nearby called St Martin’s?
  2. Say that Martin – St Martin – was a good man and friend of God who lived hundreds of years ago.

    Ask for two volunteers: a ‘Martin’ and a ‘beggar’. Wrap Martin in the paper and fasten with tape. Explain about cloaks as an item of clothing. Sit the beggar on the floor.

    Explain that Martin is a Christian who wants to please God. God says that we should share. Martin comes across a beggar. The beggar asks for help. Martin has no money, only his cloak. What should he do? Keep his cloak on and stay warm or give the cloak and then be as cold as the beggar? Either way, one of them will be warm and one cold.

    (You may need to talk this through to explain it, exploring the idea that giving the cloak will just make Martin as poor and cold as the beggar. Taking a vote on what he should do can also be fun.)

    Then Martin had an idea. He took off his cloak and …

    (Remove the cloak from Martin. Get the beggar to hold one end and Martin the other, pulling it out tight. Stand behind the cloak and cut it down the middle.)

    … cut it in two: one half for him and one for the beggar. Now neither were cold. (Wrap both Martin and the beggar in their half of the cloak.) He shared his cloak.

    Then Martin went home and went to bed. That night he had a dream. He saw the beggar in his divided cloak but the beggar was … Jesus. God was very pleased with Martin. He is a good example to us all of how we should share with others.

Time for reflection


In a moment of silence think about sharing.

What could you share with someone else today?



Dear God,

Thank you for Martin and his example of kindness – and of clever thinking.

Help us to find new ways of helping other people and sharing.



‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: June 2007   (Vol.9 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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