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Paris attacks

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To provide a response to the tragic events in Paris, 13-15 November 2015.

Preparation and materials

  • Care and sensitivity will be needed with this assembly.
  • Please note that, as this assembly has been posted as rapidly as possible, more information will emerge in the coming days, so do check the latest news.
  • Gather some images of different countries' responses to the tragic events in Paris, such as the following, and have the means to display them during the assembly (check copyright):
     
    - London, available at: http://tinyurl.com/oaqdapd

    - San Francisco, available at: http://tinyurl.com/oq2mu6b
    - Toronto, available at: http://tinyurl.com/p356o4m
    - Sydney, available at: 
    http://tinyurl.com/nlyuehf
    - Berlin, available at: http://tinyurl.com/oflfg2s

Assembly

1. Sensitively recap the events as they unfolded in Paris, beginning on Friday 13 November, then the aftermath, continuing over the weekend.

2. Emphasize that when there are bombings and other acts of violence in the world, it can cause us to feel frightened and raise lots of questions in our minds. Although we don’t yet know exactly what happened in Paris we do know that many people have died and been injured. We know that many people will be mourning the loss of loved ones and others who were present at any of the incidents will be feeling both shocked and relieved they are alive.

3. Yet, even in times of confusion and pain, good things can happen, too. There have been stories in the news about people who bravely helped others in need; stories about local people opening up their homes to welcome those who were scared or injured; stories about those working for the emergency services who, as always, risked their lives to help and rescue people. In bad times it is always helpful to look at the good.

4. Something else very positive in situations like this is to see how nations put aside their differences and join together to make a stand against wrong. Over the weekend famous monuments all over the world have been illuminated with the colours of the French flag as a way of saying that people of every nation will stand together with the people of France, in solidarity against violence and for peace.

Display the images from London, San Francisco, Toronto, Sydney and Berlin.

5. Remind the students that most people want to live in peace. Sometimes we can feel that there is little we can do to help create world peace, but whenever we seek to understand others and live in peace with those around us, we are helping to bring peace to the world.

Time for reflection

If appropriate, ask the students to observe a minute’s silence to think about those who have died, been injured or otherwise affected by the tragic events of 13 November.

Pause to remember those in the emergency services who work so hard in adverse situations such as this.

Point out that, if we allow people who carry out acts of violence to make us so frightened that we stop doing things or visiting places, then they have won. We need to live our lives to the full, seeing every day as a wonderful adventure.

Prayer
Dear Lord,
We pray for all those who have been hurt and killed in Paris and in other parts of the world.
We pray for those who have lost loved ones and who are frightened about the future.
We pray that people everywhere will learn to give up war and terrorism and seek to live in peace.
Amen.

Publication date: November 2015   (Vol.17 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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