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The World and Me

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To explore the question, ‘How big is the world?’

Preparation and materials

  • Find images of Christopher Columbus and a space rocket and have the means to display them during the assembly.
  • Copy out one or the other or both of the Bible passages Mark 12.28-31 and Matthew 25.34-40.

Assembly

  1. Christopher Columbus was a famous explorer in the fifteenth century.

    Display the image of Christopher Columbus.
  2. Some people would describe Columbus as the person who 'discovered' America in 1492. This seems rather an an odd thing to say when we know there were already plenty of people living there, but it points to the fact that people here and elsewhere in the world then didn’t know America existed – they didn’t know it was there.
  3. Many people don’t know that Columbus faked the ship's log - that is, the diary recording the distances travelled - because his crew were nervous about not knowing where they were going and frightened of the consequences. At that time people believed the Earth was flat - shaped like a plate - andso  getting too near the edge would be very dangerous because they thought they might fall off!
  4. Today, there is still interest in exploration - space exploration.

    Display the image of a space rocket.
  5. People are curious to find out what lies beyond our known world and keen to discover if there is evidence of life beyond this planet. Perhaps there are new worlds to be discovered out in space. Maybe some of you here today will be involved in making these discoveries.
  6. What is your view of the world in which we live today?
  7. We are the same as the people in the time of Christopher Columbus in so many ways, but some of the differences are stark and surprising.
  8. Let's imagine for a few minutes that the population of the world has shrunk to just 100 people. If all the existing ratios remained the same, it is reckoned that:

    - 52 of these people would be female and 48 male
    - 70 would be black and 30 white
    - 6 would possess 59 per cent of the wealth of the entire world 
    - 80 would live in poor homes  . . .  or worse  
    - 70 would be unable to read
    - 50 would be malnourished
    - only 1 would be educated beyond school level.

    Where do you fit in to this picture of the world? 
    How much do you know about those who live in other countries - about their way of life, their hopes and fears? Do you need to find out more?

Time for reflection

Ask for a volunteer to read out one or both of the Bible passages Mark 12.28-31 and Matthew 25.34-40.

The following poem was written by John Bell (Coracle, The Iona Community, November 1995).

Not the powerful, not the privileged,
not the famous in the land,
but the no ones and the needy
were the first to hold God's hand.
. . .
God, determined to be different
from the standards we think best,
in his choice of friends and family,
let's forgotten folk be blest.

Follow-up ideas

  1. You could create a series of assemblies focusing on different aspects of the contents of this one to help raise awareness of different aspects of the world within school.
  2. Collect a range of views young people from other countries and cultures have about what it is like to live in this country.
Publication date: August 2019   (Vol.21 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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