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Making a Difference

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider that everybody has responsibilities.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need five readers for the stories in the ‘Assembly’, Steps 2 and 3. The parts required are Narrator, Old man and Young man in the first story, and Narrator, First mouse and Second mouse in the second story.


  1. Ask the students if they have ever been in a situation where they know that they should have acted, but failed to do so.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Tell the following stories.

    The Story of the Starfish

     Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who was Chief Rabbi for 22 years until 2013, tells this story.

    Narrator: An old man was walking along the seashore at dawn. Ahead of him, he noticed a young man who was stooping and picking up starfish from the beach, where they had been stranded by the receding tide, and throwing them back into the water.

    Old man (to the young man): Why are you doing that?

    Young man: If I dont, theyll be stranded and the heat of the sun will kill them.

    Old manBut the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish. What difference does it make?

    Narrator: The young man stooped, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea.

    Young man: Well, it makes a difference to that one.

    Pause to allow time for thought.

  3. The Story of the Snowflake

    Narrator: This is a Russian folk story. Two mice were sitting watching the snow fall and settle on the branch of a tree.

    First mouse: How much does a snowflake weigh?

    Second mouse: A little less than nothing.

    Narrator: They continued to watch the snow falling. Eventually, the snowflakes lessened and then they stopped. A final snowflake fell onto the branch of the tree. The branch creaked, snapped and fell to the ground.

    First mouseSo, a little less than nothing can make a big difference!

    Narrator: The lessons are clear.

    - Do what you can to help.
    - Little things can make a big difference.

Time for reflection

What could you do to help? Remember, every little thing makes a big difference.

This section needs to be specific to the school. Suggestions could include the following.

- Giving a small contribution to the next charity collection.
- Organizing a sale in your tutor group to raise funds for a chosen charity.
- Writing to someone who can make a difference to a situation, such as your local MP or councillor.
- Listening to someone who has a problem.
- Talking to someone who is lonely.
- Praying.

Dear God,
You have made us all different
And given us to each other for friendship and support,
To share with and enjoy each other’s company.
May we always value each other
And always look for opportunities to improve the lives of those around us.


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

Publication date: February 2023   (Vol.25 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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