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Gateways – Pathways to Moving On

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools


To consider the importance of passing through ‘gateways’ and moving forward in our lives.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and two readers.

  • You will also need a copy of the poem ‘Parents Sayings by Michael Rosen (in Axed Between the Ears, ed. David Kitchen, Heinemann, 1987). You may also wish to use a passage from The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (pp.15-16, Scholastic Childrens Books, 1997).

  • The Bible reading is from Mark 1.9-11.


Leader: Today, we are going to think about changes in our lives and new opportunities that present themselves. These changes and opportunities are the gateways that, when we pass through them, open up a different way of seeing things. We begin with a poem.

Reader 1: Read ‘Parents Sayings’ by Michael Rosen. This poem lists a stream of ironic statements that parents might use with their teenage children.

Reader 2: Of course, no one in any of our families EVER says ANYTHING like that . . . do they? Well, perhaps just sometimes.

Leader: Parents have to bring us up, but they do have a collection of sayings that they trot out all the time. I wonder when the moment comes when they stop. I wonder if we ever stop and listen to their advice.

Reader 1: For all parents, there comes a time when they recognize that we are getting older. There are gateways through which we need to pass as we move on to the next part of our lives. However, our parents advice is often worth listening to!

Reader 2: Life is a journey. We walk forward, we pass through gateways and doorways and we continue on.

Leader: Optional: read from The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, pp.15-16, beginning ‘It looked as if someone had cut a patch out of the air . . .’ to ‘. . . through the hole in the fabric of this world and into another.’ The passage describes the moment when Will first finds a way from his everyday world to something new and mysterious.

Reader 1: There are moments in all our lives when we know that things have changed. It may be moving house, moving school, making new friends or losing touch with old ones. There are times when we have to make decisions for ourselves and not rely on our parents to tell us what to do. We move on.

Reader 2: In the Bible, we read that Jesus lived with his parents, Mary and Joseph. Yet even he came to a point where he had to move on. He had to leave his parents and continue on the path that God had planned for him.

Leader: Mark 1.9-11 says, At that time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the River Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased.”

Time for reflection

Reader 1: Christians believe that this was the moment for Jesus. This is when his ministry started. He left his home and was baptized by his cousin, John. He had to move on. His gateway was the baptism, the beginning of a future that would change the world.

Reader 2: Let’s sit quietly for a moment, stilling ourselves, and reflect on our lives and the gateways through which we have already passed. Let’s think about those who have helped us. And let’s think about the new gateways that lie ahead.

Dear God,
Help us to have the courage to pass through gateways as we come across them in our lives.
Help us to learn from those around us.
Help us to listen to good advice.
Help us to persevere when the going is hard.
Help us to learn to love and to live in peace.

Publication date: September 2017   (Vol.19 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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