(23 October 2013)
by Ronni Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To help children to celebrate the christening of Prince George.
As with all rapid response assemblies, do check the details of this assembly before use.
Preparation and materials
- Download any pictures you can find of the Royal Family, especially the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their baby son, Prince George.
- Readers to read out the baptism drama, with pretend ‘baby’ (which could be just a bundle made of a wrap).
- Basic set for the drama: a table with a bowl of water and space for the ‘family’ to gather around it.
- NB: ‘Baptism’ and ‘Christening’ refer to the same rite
- Reader 1 (Lucy): Come on, Phil! We’re going to be late. Have you got Iona ready?
Reader 2 (Phil): OK, Lucy, we’re on our way.
Phil and Lucy move to the table. Other members of the family gather round – as many people as you like.
Reader 3 (Priest): Good afternoon, everyone. We’re here today to celebrate – to celebrate new life, especially in Iona. We’re here to celebrate God’s love in this family – Phil and Lucy and Iona. We’re here to ask God to bless them, and to mark Iona through baptism as a member of the Church. Not just this church, but the whole Church across the world.
And we’re here to pray for them, and to acknowledge that we are here, together, supporting them as a family. (Freeze.)
Leader: When a baby is baptized, or christened, a few people are asked to take a special role – that of godparents. Historically, these people would be the guardians of their godchild, to take care of them if the parents died. But today, they’re more like honorary aunts and uncles. They take them swimming or to the football, buy them presents for their birthdays and Christmas, and, most importantly, help them to grow up as Christians, teaching them about that faith.
So . . . who are Iona’s godparents? (Four people step forward to join Iona’s parents and the priest, who takes the baby.)
Reader 3 (sprinkling water over the baby): Iona, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
- Leader: The baptism service is longer than the bit we’ve seen, but basically that’s it. Iona is now a member of the Church. (The cast resume their places.)
- Today, the Royal Family is going to a christening. You’ll remember that little Prince George was born just as we broke up for the summer holiday? Well, today, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the head of the Church of England, will baptize George in a private service at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace in London. You’ll see lots of pictures after the event. His parents are Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, whom we all call Kate. His grandfather is Prince Charles and his great-grandmother is the Queen. Quite a guest list! And after the religious service, there will be a party, with a special cake and a toast to the new member of the Church.
- Baptism is how Christians welcome new people into the Church. Other faiths have very similar services, especially for welcoming young babies. Parents are so glad to have their new child that, for many, it’s natural to want to go to a special place – often a church, synagogue, temple, gurdwara or mosque – to say thank you to God for this new life. And people who don’t have a religious faith often have a naming ceremony – a party to celebrate the baby, and to enable family and friends to get together and commit themselves as a group to caring for the child.
- All babies are special, and every baby is unique – even identical twins have some differences. It’s good to celebrate their arrival and all the potential that they represent.
Time for reflection
Show the pictures of the Royal Family and baby George.
Let’s be thankful for the safe arrival of Prince George and for his loving family.
And let’s remember all those other babies who will be celebrated this weekend through baptism, another service or naming ceremonies, and all the babies that will be born in the future.
Thank you for the amazing mystery and joy of new life.
May we never lose our awe at the creative powers that we all hold within us,
and for the joy of a new life in the world.
Thank you that we can take time to celebrate that new life together.
Today, we remember especially our Royal Family,
and ask that they may always know love in their lives.
Play some music associated with the UK: the National Anthem, ‘I vow to thee my country’ or ‘Jerusalem’.