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Diversity and the Good Samaritan

To appreciate that we live in a diverse world, and think about the harmful effects of prejudice and racism.

by Jude Scrutton

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To appreciate that we live in a diverse world, and think about the harmful effects of prejudice and racism.

Preparation and materials

  • Prepare a collage or PowerPoint showing: people of different religious and/or racial backgrounds; people with disability; people that are obese; people who are very tall or very short; people with Down’s syndrome.
  • You will need an interactive whiteboard.
  • Bible reading: Luke 10.30–37. You might ask a student to read the parable.
  • Optional: Download images for point 5.


  1. Show the images of people and ask the students to chat quietly about the names those people might be called, by them or by others. Then ask students to share these names for each picture. Write them up. Make sure that students know that they will not be in trouble for the names they suggest, but they should avoid swear words.
  2. Once the board is full, count and highlight the negative words and the positive words – red and green respectively. (The number of negative words is bound to outweigh the positive.)

    It should be obvious to the students that they have come up with mainly negative words. Turn to face them and say forcefully, ‘Right, I’m going to bring all these people in to the assembly and introduce them to you, and tell them what you think of them.’ (Stride out of the assembly so that the students lose sight of you.)
  3. After a minute come back into the room alone. Ask the students how they felt about the prospect of meeting the people in the pictures (this might seem a little like shock therapy – but it is an effective way of getting the point across).
  4. Share the common saying: ‘Sticks and stones make break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ Ask the students if they agree with this sentiment. Remind them how they felt when they thought they would be meeting the people in the photographs.
  5. Discuss how name calling and attitudes to people who are different are very dangerous. Optional: Show footage of race riots (e.g. on YouTube) and discuss this with the students. Or images of Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years for his fight against segregation in South Africa.
  6. Read, or ask a student to read, Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10.30–37). Jesus tells the story in response to the question, ‘Who is my neighbour?’

    ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
  7. Ask the students how Jesus would describe the people in the photos.

Time for reflection

Give the students time to look at the pictures, and the words that they used about the people within them.


Help us to think carefully about the power in the words we say.


‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)

Publication date: May 2010   (Vol.12 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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