Choosing Themes for Chapel or Christian Assemblies
Article by Rev Alice Monaghan, Chaplain, Westonbirt School
This was written originally for our e-TNV publication in November 2020
On a recent visit to Westonbirt School, to speak at our Sunday evening Chapel Service and Monday morning chapel Assembly on our term’s theme: ‘Adventures’, Frankie Knight (TISCA Trustee) asked me how I choose the themes for Chapel. I replied, “I just pray about it”.
Now she has asked me to write a few words on how I choose themes for Chapel Assemblies and Services and my answer is ‘I pray about it’, but there are three more ‘top tips’ that I can share with you:
- Choose termly themes that everyone can speak on because not everyone who takes Assemblies in our Chapel is a Christian. Our school strapline is ‘Inspiring young minds…’ which prompted the theme ‘Inspiring books’, which meant I could talk about the Bible and other members of staff could share about books that have inspired them. Some terms’ themes have carried on to a second term – for example, the theme of, ‘Questions: What would you ask?’ I asked tutors to ask their tutees for questions to be tackled in chapel then chose a question to speak on for each Chapel time.
- Think about what is happening in school and what is happening in the world and what I sense God wants to say to our school ‘for such a time as this’. So, for example, our theme this term (Autumn 2020) of ‘Adventures’ is in response to the fear that has multiplied in our society as a result of the pandemic. Looking back, the Autumn term has had the theme of ‘Beginnings’ during which I’ve looked at starting a new school or new school year, the creation narrative, interviewed the Head of Science on what she thinks of the Creation story as well as the new beginning that we receive every-time we turn to Jesus to say sorry and receive his forgiveness. This theme also works brilliantly when you reach the Christmas story!
- Choose a theme that works for Year 1 to Year 13, and staff! I often use some of the same illustrations, slides, and ideas just presented differently depending on the age in front of me to save time! Many staff enjoyed it when I taught some of Proverbs during the theme, ‘The power of words’ and of course I also looked at the power of the Word of God and what Jesus said as well as thinking about the words we all use when speaking to and about each other.
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