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Coming and going

To look at the experience of leaving and moving on.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 4/5


To look at the experience of leaving and moving on.

Preparation and materials

  • You need a ‘tug of war’ type rope, and two teams prepared to engage with the pulling! Mark the floor so there is a line for the team to be pulled over.
  • Watch out for health and safety issues in the active section of this assembly.


  1. Start with the tug of war activity – get the teams to take their places.

    You may not have joined in with one of these for quite a while. Let’s just run through the rules – there aren’t many! When I say ‘Go’, the two teams pull, and eventually, when one team is pulled over the mark in the middle, the other lot have won. Simple. You might like to cheer for your side…

    Are you ready? Then ‘Go’.
  2. After one team has won, thank the teams for taking part and ask them to make their way back to their places.

    Thank you, everyone – yes, this team won! Now, who can tell me, which team had the beginning of the rope, and which team had the end? Take answers, if there are any.

    Indeed – both ends could be said to be ends, and both beginnings, it depends on your perspective.
  3. There’s a story I know that illustrates this quite well.

    A vicar took a funeral one morning. Nothing unusual there – she often takes funerals. It was for an elderly man, who had lived with his wife in a local complex of flats for the elderly.

    That afternoon, the vicar visited a family who wanted to have their new baby christened. He was only a few weeks old, and his family lived opposite the complex of flats where the elderly man who had just died had lived. Birth and death, death and birth, in the same road, on the same day.

    But which one was the end? It would seem to be the elderly man, but if you believe in life after death, then he was being born into a new life in a similar way to the baby being born into this life. And the beginning of the baby’s life marked the end of his life within the womb, a sort of death.

Time for reflection

Jews have a saying for this: ‘Every beginning is hard, but some are more difficult than others’ (see Chaim Potok, In the Beginning, Penguin, 1975).

Some of you are moving on soon: to college, to work, to a year out, travelling, to …? It may feel as if you are leaving school, and a whole chapter of your life is over. And, very soon, a whole new chapter of your life will open, as you move on from here …

So it is, like the rope, you have both a beginning and an ending, and that can feel very strange. You may indeed feel a bit like that rope, being pulled backwards and forwards.

You may be able to remember your first day here, and how weird that felt: being the youngest, and now you’re one of the oldest. You’re the ones who are going out to face the future. New beginnings on the back of what might be quite a painful ending – or you might be just desperate to get on with the next stage.

Remembering is a great gift. Remember the good times here: friends, teachers, work and achievement. The bad times will probably fade, but use those memories to build towards your future too.

May you travel well, and may God go with you.


‘Longing for light (Christ, be our light)’ (Hymns Old and New, 401)

‘Lord of all hopefulness’ (Hymns Old and New, 410)

Publication date: June 2008   (Vol.10 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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