Assembly: Freedom


Here’s my assembly from this morning for KS1 and KS2 pupils on the theme of Freedom:


Prepare the following statements on separate cards in writing that is large enough for everyone to see. They fall into three categories:

A Statements

  • I like chocolate.
  • Everyone should own a dog.
  • Pink is the best colour.
  • No one should be allowed to drive on Thursdays.

B Statements

  • All cars should have a free yearly safety test.
  • Any form of hunting or shooting for sport should be banned.
  • Train travel should be cheaper.
  • We should all do more exercise.

C Statements

  • There is no God but Allah (Islam).
  • Love your neighbour as yourself (Christianity).
  • The Lord is your God (Judaism).
  • A person becomes perfect by leading an unselfish life (Buddhism).

You will also need a card or image for the word ‘Opinions’, a whiteboard or flipchart and six candles with matches or other means of lighting them. Bed sheets to divide the assembly hall



Hold up the ‘Opinions’ card or show the image of it and ask what it means. Record the children’s ideas on the whiteboard or flipchart.

Discuss the idea that all opinions are important. Is that true? What would be the outcome if everyone acted as if they were? Should everyone agree with everyone else to encourage peace and harmony? What would life be like if that were the case?

Show the ‘A’ group of opinions, one by one. Ask the children to consider how important they are and whether or not they affect people’s lives for those who believe them. Could they be enforced, so that they became everybody’s views?

Consider the ‘B’ group of opinions in the same way. Are these different kinds of views? Why? These opinions might have a more significant effect than the ‘A’ group of opinions if they were enforced? They are certainly more sensible and may be more acceptable. What do you think?

The ‘C’ group of opinions is another set of important opinions. They are at the centre of many people’s lives and allow them to have a sense of belonging and value.

Write the following final set of words while everyone is watching:

  • respect
  • tolerance
  • freedom
  • choice
  • peace
  • harmony

Explain that these can only be achieved when there is freedom of expression, the freedom to hold beliefs (not harmful to others) that are important to groups or individuals and talk about those beliefs without fear of punishment or discrimination.

Caring and democratic societies like our own ensure this is so by having laws that protect people’s rights. The Human Rights Act is such a law. Not all countries or societies are so lucky and, in many cases, people are imprisoned, hurt or killed because they express their opinions or beliefs.

25 years ago, the people of Berlin, the capital of Germany, regained freedoms denied to them by the building of a wall. To help everyone understand some of the problems of that time, you have decided to divide the school. Direct that a gap is formed down the centre of the assembly, separating classes in half. Enlist the help of teachers and older pupils to ‘build a wall’ using the sheets. Screen the two halves from each other.

How does the division feel? Explore the feelings of uncertainty and discomfort that may arise. What is going on? Who is on the other side of the wall?

Explain that, after the Second World War, Germany was divided into two parts and the city of Berlin was also split into East and West Sections. East and West had very different systems of government, and there was deep mistrust and suspicion between them. In August 1961, the citizens woke to street crossing points blocked by barriers and barbed wire. The authorities in the East had decided to stop people crossing to other parts of the city. Later, a high concrete wall was built. It was protected with barbed wire and watched by armed guards. Invite everyone to imagine how the citizens of Berlin must have felt.

Designate one half of the assembly as ‘East’ and the other as ‘West’. Invite the children to enter into further role-play. State that those in the ‘East’ will not be allowed to use the playground. New classes will have to be formed. Those in the East will not be permitted to join after-school or lunchtime clubs and they will not be allowed representatives on the School Council. Those in the West will also be grouped into new classes. Otherwise, for them, school will carry on as normal. They are free to use the playground and to take part in clubs and to elect members of the School Council. Sometimes they might ask permission to visit a classroom belonging to a group from the East – but under no circumstances will anyone from the East be allowed to visit the West. Neither is a visit from East to West guaranteed – you will have to apply and may be refused permission. Any person who breaks this rule will be punished!

Reassure the children that this is ‘make-believe’, but invite them to reflect on how they would feel should such directions be given. How would each group respond? Explore how a dividing wall would affect friendships, family relationships and day-to-day life.

Reflect that the Berlin Wall separated friends and families. Some were unable to travel to their usual places of work. Those living in East Berlin were not allowed the choices and freedoms enjoyed by those in the West. Protest was not permitted, and anyone who tried to escape across the wall was shot. Above all, those in the East were not allowed to elect (choose) their leaders or to express their views freely and openly.

For years, the wall divided the city. No one was sure whether, or how, anything could change. But eventually it became possible for a few in the East to say: ‘Down with the wall!’ (Invite individuals to repeat the phrase . . .) And soon other voices joined in the protest. Eventually, large crowds gathered in the streets, all shouting: ‘Down with the wall!’ (Invite a growing number in the East to participate.) It was a dangerous thing to do. No one knew how the authorities would react – perhaps with anger and violence. People climbed upon the wall and hammered at it with sledgehammers and chisels – the crowds cheered. Then, on 9 November 1989, the wall ‘fell’. (Instruct helpers to drop the dividing screen.) Checkpoints in the wall were opened for those in the East to go through to the West! Thousands of people celebrated late into the night. They danced, joined hands, and hugged each other with joy! After almost 30 years, East and West were reunited. Bulldozers were soon continuing the demolition work that had been started with hammers and chisels! A new chapter of history had begun!

How does everyone feel now that they are reunited? Reflect that the story of the Berlin Wall helps us to think about some of the freedoms that we take for granted. As Remembrance Day approaches, it reminds us of the importance of working together for peace and unity.


Time for reflection

You or one or more of the children now light a candle for each of the six aspects of freedom of expression listed in the ‘Assembly’, Step 6, saying, in turn, ‘This light is the light of respect.’, ‘This light is the light of tolerance.’ and so on.

From the Christian tradition, a letter of St Paul says:

‘He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance.’

(Ephesians 2.14, The Message – Eugene H. Peterson)

Give the children time to reflect on their feelings during this assembly. Remind them that the wall was in place for 27 years – that’s longer than some of the teachers have been alive. Since the wall came down, life in Germany has changed for everyone, both from the East and the West. Reflect for a few moments that the cost of freedom is sometimes not anticipated or fully understood.


God of all humanity, often people are separated by ambition and greed, anger and fear, arrogance and pride. Help us to break down walls of division and misunderstanding and to celebrate that we belong together, citizens of one world. Amen.

Diocese of Winchester General Synod Hustings

General Synod circle

As I wrote last week, I am standing to be a member of General Synod.  Rather than doing a physical hustings, the Diocese of Winchester gave members of the Deanery Synods a chance to ask written questions to all the candidates.  The responses from the candidates for the Houses of Laity and House of Clergy, in the Diocese of Winchester, for the 2015 General Synod Elections are below:

Question 1

What do you see as the single greatest challenge the Church must face over the next 5 years, and how would you seek to address it?

Question 2

As we seek to ‘re-imagine the Church’ what are the changes and developments you would hope to see?

Question 3

How should the Church respond to the current refugee crisis?

Question 4

A majority of the parishes in our Diocese are in rural and semi-rural areas. What is your understanding of the challenges of Rural Ministry and how would you seek to address them?

Question 5

What are your hopes and prayers for the current programme of Shared Conversations around Human Sexuality?

I’m standing for General Synod

I am standing for the Church of England General Synod, as a member of the laity, in the Diocese of Winchester.  You can find out information about the other Laity and Clergy candidates in the Diocese of Winchester here.  Find out more about the General Synod here.

Here’s my election address:


Chris KiddThe Diocese of Winchester has a tradition of sending to General Synod experienced men and women, with many years of service to the Diocese and considerable understanding of a range of issues. I hope to complement that experience and understanding with my own fresh perspective, and links to young people across the Diocese. Currently I am a lay member of the Lyndhurst Deanery Synod, the Diocesan Synod, and one of the five lay members of the Bishop’s Council.


I believe strongly in a representative group of both lay and ordained sharing in the governance of the church. I am passionate about collaborative ministry and have experienced, and can worship God through, the rich diversity of churchmanship across our diocese.


I am married to Hannah (since 2004), and we have two children, Daniel (aged 5) and Joshua (aged 3).  I enjoy sport, blogging ( and reading.


My Faith Background

Having been brought up in a Christian family I have always been involved in, and enthusiastic about, church. I became aware of the need to make a response to Christ as a teenager at the Sheffield Alliance Music Festival in 1997 where someone spoke on the need to not be an armchair Christian. This sparked something in me, I realised that Christianity is about being an active disciple of Jesus, not just knowing Bible stories. Support and follow up from my youth leaders led me to make a commitment to Jesus, and to be Confirmed in 1998.


I greatly enjoyed my studies in 2001-2004 at Exeter University in the Theology Department. I felt that this was positive and challenging and that it deepened my understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith. Theology gave me the skills to both ask questions about faith, but also to answer other people’s questions.


Children’s & Youth Work

Over the last 11 years since leaving university I have worked as a Children’s & Youth Worker for three different churches. Currently I co-ordinate a team of over 60 volunteers who run the programmes and activities for nearly 250 children and young people aged 0-18 for St. Andrew’s Church in Dibden Purlieu. I am passionate about encouraging children and young people to engage with their faith in a holistic way.


I am involved both in the church and the local community. I was a Local Authority Governor and Vice-Chair for a Federation of Schools (2012-2015), I chair the Partnership Board for the local Children’s Centre. I also sit on the New Forest Local Children’s Trust Board developing strong links with statutory bodies.


I was privileged to attend Cape Town 2010 – The Third Lausanne Congress as one of 4,000 delegates, where I led a small group of six people from four continents, and was the Lead Blogger for the Congress. In the summer of 2016 I will be attending the Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta.


Key Issues for General Synod

A Missing Generation: I am eager for children and young people to have life changing encounters with Jesus. I am passionate about people discovering that they are loved by God and the holistic hope that can bring them. I want people to realise that faith has an impact now and not just in eternity. We are missing a generation in our churches and so we must keep mission and evangelism as the highest priority for the Church, facilitating the new and ancient ways of sharing the hope and the life transformation that the gospel brings.


Safeguarding: We can barely comprehend the terrible damage that has been inflicted on those vulnerable children and adults for whom the Church should have been a place of safety and hope. In my role working with some of the most broken youngsters in our local community I understand how crucial it is that nationally, and locally, we continue the great strides in improving our safeguarding practices, training, and policies so that the church truly can be a place of safety and hope for the most vulnerable in our communities.


Poverty & Welfare: Through my work I am sadly all too aware of the need of an increasing proportion of our communities for basic necessities. It is essential that everyone works together to highlight these issues and that the Church focuses its resources towards the communities most at need.


Lay Leadership: I long to see the Church committed to making disciples and releasing its members to serve Jesus in the church and in the world. To enable this I want to see clergy and local lay leaders supported and developed so that every congregation is encouraged in maturity and growth. The Archbishops’ programme for Reform and Renewal will be critical for this, and I will support initiatives that free up the laity to live out their Christian potential.


With all issues that will be discussed at General Synod, I will prayerfully consider each on merit. Listening carefully to all sides of the argument, both locally and nationally, whilst at the same time seeking to be obedient to what I understand the Bible to be saying and the Holy Spirit to be prompting.


Your vote is important in this election. I ask for your first preference vote and should I be elected, your prayer in the months ahead.


Do please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss any issue.

Tattoos for women scarred by domestic abuse

Brazilian tattoo artist Flavia Carvalho aims to creatively and beautifully change the way women deal with scarring from domestic violence and mastectomies through her project, “A Pele da Flor,” which translates to “Skin of the Flower”

Carvalho has been providing beautiful tattoos to women as an artistic way to cover up the scarring for two years now.

Scar 2

The best part? Carvalho does the tattoos for free.

“The idea of the project is very simple: It is a voluntary service for tattooing over scars that have resulted from domestic violence or from mastectomies,” she told The Huffington Post in an interview. “I run the project alone, since no other tattoo artist has expressed interest in participating. I started the project quite recently, and I had no idea it would receive this much media attention. It began very spontaneously. As I said, my services are a hundred percent voluntary, and the only “cost” women need to invest is to choose a design for their tattoos!”

Scar 1

Carvalho says that the idea came to her a few years ago when a client was looking to get a tattoo to cover a large scar on her abdomen.

“She told me that she was at a nightclub, and when she turned down a man who approached her, he stabbed her with a switchblade. When she saw the finished tattoo, she was extremely moved, and that deeply touched me. I was suddenly struck by the idea of providing free tattoos to women who were left with scars following domestic violence or mastectomies. Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster.”

Scar 3

“I love doing tattoos that restore the self-esteem of women!” she exclaimed

Growing Young Disciples training day

Genuine - Growing Young Disciples

I’ve just received details of the Growing Young Disciples training day on Sat 7th May 2016 in Winchester run by The Good Book Company:

How to grow a living faith in children & young people (and yourself)

An action-packed, fun-filled, high-octane, Bible-busting training day for anyone involved with children and young people.

The day includes a mix of sessions for both helpers and leaders, whether you work with young children or older teens.

Choose one of five seminars to answer your questions and shape your thinking.

Plus two practical workshops, one from Group A and one from Group B, to help you grow in your practical skills and understanding.



with Phil Moon

  • What is a living faith?
  • Growing a living faith in yourself



  1. Living faith for 14-18s
    Ben Putt
  2. Living faith for 11-14s
    Dave Thornton
  3. Living faith for 7-11s
    Tamar Pollard
  4. Living faith for under 7s
    Tim Thornborough
  5. Unpacking the message
    Alison Mitchell
    A beginner’s guide to understanding and teaching the Bible to children and teens



  • AFocus the fun with children. A beginner’s guide [C]
  • AEncouraging parents to read the Bible with their children [C]
  • ASupporting teens who struggle with homosexuality [T]
  • AMoney and possessions [C/T]
  • AInside out: encouraging an outreach mindset [T]
  • BOne-to-ones with teens. A beginner’s guide [T]
  • BSocial action [C/T]
  • BHelping teens to talk biblically about homosexuality [T]
  • BFresh ideas for teaching children to pray [C]
  • BFakebook generation: teens wearing masks [T]

[C] = children; [T] = teens

Worship resources for Refugee Crisis

Engage Worship have produced some worship resources linked to the refugee crisis:

We thought you would want to know that we’ve just uploaded a video which we hope will help churches engage prayerfully with the issues surrounding the European refugee crisis this weekend.  It is based on a song called ‘You are a Refuge (Arms)’ from‘s Ben Atkins, and features scripture and encouragements to pray, act and welcome.

We also have a page with other ideas of resources and links for connecting your church with a worshipful response to this tragedy.

The Rank Foundation Time to Shine Internship Programme

The Rank Foundation

The Rank Foundation is running their Time to Shine Internship Programme which looks well worth checking out:

  • Do you have a specific project need that will help your organisation to improve its performance?
  • Would it help if you could complete a particular task that is always on the ‘list to do’?
  • And do you know a young person who has the time, energy and commitment to help you achieve the task?

If so, the Time to Shine Internship Programme could be right for you. The Rank Foundation has an initiative that will enable young people to gain work experience on a full time basis over a period of up to 12 months, helping the organisation achieve a specific project task.

The task is yours to define, but it could be anything from devising and implementing a social media strategy to getting your intern involved in research, marketing, fundraising or community volunteering.  The task should be specific and measurable, as well as achievable within the timescale and within your organisation’s resources.

The Rank Foundation will award a grant to the organisation based on the Living Wage to cover the direct salary costs of the intern, an additional award of £1000 restricted to the internship activities (such as travel costs to non-compulsory events) and discretionary assistance towards training costs.

At the end of the internship  the organisation will have benefited by addressing a particular organisational development need, thus improving its services to the wider community, and the young person will have had the opportunity to test out their skills, improve employment prospects and of course they will have the space and ‘time to shine’!

Key dates to bear in mind are:

Closing Date for Applications Tuesday 6th October 2015
We will notify you of the outcome of this first stage by Friday 16th October.

If you are successful we will arrange a London-based or on- site interview which both the candidate and the line manager must attend.  Please let us know of any dates that are not suitable.  If you are unable to identify a suitable candidate please let us know as the placement could be offered to another organisation.
We will be conducting lots of interviews but will inform you of the final outcome no later than Friday 4th December.   Please do not offer the position to the prospective intern until and unless you have been offered a Time to Shine placement.

If you are successful the Intern must be able to start the placement no later than 11th January 2016.
Residential Conferences – for both the manager and intern – 18th/19th or 19th/20th January 2016 and a review event on 15th/16th or 16th/17th June 2016.
The Intern must also attend the conference and Showcase event on the 28th-30th September 2016.

Children wide open to God says survey

Great snippet from an article in the latest Connecting You from Scripture Union

Children are open to spirituality and have a natural inclination for prayer, whether or not their parents have an active faith, says a new piece of research commissioned by Scripture Union as part of the Guardians of Ancora project.

The survey of children aged 8 to 12 years old and their parents backs up what SU have always known – that children have enquiring minds, big imaginations and an innate desire to reach out to God and, given the right stimulus, will do so naturally.

Data gathered from children’s use of the game will also feed into the largest ever longitudinal study of the faith development of 8 to 11 year olds, in turn helping Scripture Union to create more effective tools for Bible engagement with this age group.

Messy Church Conference 2016

Messy Church Conference 2016

Celebrating and learning with the worldwide family of Messy Church

When: Monday, 16 May 2016 – 12:00pm to Wednesday, 18 May 2016 – 2:30pm

Where: High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, EN11 8SG. UK

An unmissable opportunity for all those involved in or interested in developing Messy Church to come together to share good practice and discover the latest developments in the fields of Messy mission and discipleship. Most importantly it is a chance to meet the Messy Church team and other practitioners from across the world. For all of us it will be a joy to seek God’s help with the way forward in our different nations and to make sure that, as it grows, it remains a global interdependent network based on godly friendship and mutual respect.

Messy Church is the most commonly used example of a fresh expression of church, with around 3000 registered examples across about 20 countries. What is being learnt in and through Messy Church is of benefit to anyone involved in other forms of fresh expression or more traditional church ministry.

Who is it for?

Particularly those with a strategic missional role locally, regionally or nationally such as:
•National and Regional Coordinators of Messy Church
•Mission Enablers and other church leaders who want to explore the possibilities of Messy Church in their country or region
•National or local Fresh Expressions Coordinators
•Leaders and teams of local Messy Churches from countries outside the UK
•Leaders and teams of Messy Churches in the UK

Click here for full details of what’s on, price and how to book

The Christian Youth Work Awards 2015

Youth Work Awards 2015

The Christian Youth Work Awards are open, so why not take a moment and think about entering a youth worker, a volunteer, an employer, a resource or a young leader to name just a few.

Here’s what the awards are all about:

The Christian Youth Work Awards are all about appreciating and celebrating the incredible work done with young people in churches and through Christian organisations up and down the UK. Thousands of youth workers, paid and volunteers, run clubs, Bible studies and groups every week. They spend hours talking and listening to young people, just hanging out. They don’t just give their time, they give themselves.

As Christians, working with young people is part of our service to God. We are motivated not just by their needs, but by our commitment to following in the footsteps of Jesus. We seek to do it in His strength and through His Spirit. We don’t do it for recognition and we certainly don’t do it to receive an Award. However, we also know how important it is to encourage each other in the Body of Christ, and that’s why these Awards exist. By highlighting just a few of those doing youth work, we hope we’ll inspire and encourage us all.

Nominations close midnight 20th September 2015

Europe’s most expensive football squads revealed

A new study has revealed the most expensive squads across Europe’s top five leagues and one of the eye-catching statistics is the fact Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool squad cost more than German champions and European titans Bayern Munich, according to the Football Observatory. 

The Reds splashed out a hefty amount of money this summer with eight players coming to Anfield in the form of Christian Benteke, Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino.

Meanwhile, Bayern were also busy with Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal amongst those to come in, but it seems as though the Bavarian giants could do with giving Rodgers some advice on how to conduct shrewd transfer business.

The aforementioned study reveals that Liverpool’s squad costs €344 million – the fourth most expensive in the Premier League – whilst Bayern’s is €337 million – the most in Germany, but seven million less than the Reds.

Football Squads

Meanwhile, the study also confirms – not much of a surprise – that Manchester City have assembled the most expensive squad in England, after bringing in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne this summer.

Rafa Benitez will have to cope with severe pressure this season after it was also revealed his squad is nearly €200 million more than rivals Barcelona, whilst the gulf in class is evident in Ligue 1 – Paris Saint-Germain’s closest rivals Monaco have a squad which is nearly €400 million cheaper.

Top 20 most expensive squads in Europe:

1. Real Madrid (€587m)
2. Manchester City (€560m)
3. Manchester United (€533m)
4. Paris Saint-Germain (€525m)
5. Chelsea (€407m)
6. Barcelona (€396m)
7. Liverpool (€344m)
8. Bayern Munich (€337m)
9. Arsenal (€305m)
10. Juventus (€301m)
11. Tottenham Hotspur (€231m)
12. Valencia (€226m)
13. Inter Milan (€212m)
14. Napoli (€185m)
15. Southampton (€182m)
16. Atlético Madrid (€180m)
17. Wolfsburg (€163m)
18. AS Roma (€160m
19. Newcastle United (€157m)
20. AS Monaco (€152m)