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Collective Worship Resources

Resources documents on areas relating to church school distinctiveness.

Olivia Seymour 

Assistant Director of Education – Christian Character

Leavers’ Service 2024

A virtual Leavers’ Service for primary schools to be used at a time of your choosing as part of your collective worship pattern. There is a full video for the service below. A teaching video for the Children of Light Song can be found here.

There are also three resources below to download – a copy of the Children of Light Song; a Stepping Forward Footprint Template; and an order of service booklet.

Worship Workshop

Worship Workshop is a project created by the National Society, The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) and the Liturgical Commission. It aims to empower and enrich the practice of worship in Church schools. Worship Workshop will help you to create your own patterns of worship around your own themes. Worship Workshop provides prayers, songs, Bible readings and other useful words and ideas which are taken from the liturgy of the Church of England. These can be sorted with Season and Value indexes to make patterns where you can slot stories and other things to go with your themes.

Journey through the Bible resources

Year One – Old and New Testaments

The Journey through the Bible Resources for Year One enables us to journey through God’s Story, Old and New Testament, over the school year on one day a week alongside additional resources for key times of the Church Year.

The six key themes explored are:

  • Creation and covenant
  • Exodus and Promised Land
  • Judges and Kings
  • Exile and Prophets
  • Jesus and the Gospels
  • Acts and the Church

The resources are designed to be flexible to use either as a whole school collective worship or as a class worship. Each week there will a Gather, Engage, Respond and Send (GESR) structure. There are notes for the teacher and links to other resources to support you in your planning. Links are made most weeks to the Lion Storyteller Bible and the materials provide plenty of opportunities for church and school to work together.

Year Two – The Lord’s Prayer

The Journey Through the Bible Collective worship resources for Year two are based on an exploration of The Lord’s Prayer. Each half term takes one line of the prayer and uses Bible stories and Christian examples to examine a related theme: Love, justice, service and charity, perseverance and faith, forgiveness and mercy, truth and wisdom and peace.

Each half term is resourced with five outlines for Collective worship:

  • an explanation of the line of the Lord’s prayer and theological theme (LP);
  • the Old Testament (OT);
  • the New Testament (NT); 
  • Jesus’ teaching (JS);
  • A theme lived out by a Christian Saint or a contemporary individual or community (CE).

Useful Resources to support your Journey Through the Bible

Advent Jesse Tree for Schools Resource

The Diocese of York Jesse Tree resource provides schools with starting points and ideas to explore the themes of the Jesse Tree through collective worship. The templates provide starting points for planning collective worship in the usual pattern of Gather, Engage, Respond and Send (GERS). For each theme the Engage section unpacks the story for the collective worship leader. Alongside this there are some suggestions for creating a focal point in the school hall and in classrooms, this includes a focus on the advent wreath.

How to use the Jesse Tree in schools

What is the Jesse Tree?

Jesse Trees are a very old Christmas tradition dating back to medieval times. They are used to help tell the story of the Bible from creation through to the Christmas Story. They are named after Jesse, the father of King David, and according to Chapter One of Matthew, Jesus’ Great x 14 Grandfather. This is because there is a prophecy in the book of Isaiah (Chapter 11:1-4) which is believed to describe Jesus.

The first Jesse trees were large carvings, tapestries or even stained glass windows that helped people that could not read or write learn about the God’s story. Many people now use them as a kind of Advent calendar, as they help people understand how the Christmas story fits into the whole Bible.

Our Jesse tree is designed to be used in schools, churches and homes. This means that there are some chronological discrepancies. For a full outline and timetable of the stories and symbols, please refer to the following documents:

Using this resource at school

The Diocese of York Jesse Tree resource provides schools with starting points and ideas to explore the themes of the Jesse Tree through collective worship. You can choose to do a Jesse Tree theme every day of the week through whole school or class worship or summarise them once a week.

The daily templates provide starting points for planning collective worship in the usual pattern of Gather, Engage, Respond and Send. For each theme the Engage section unpacks the story for the collective worship leader. Alongside this we have provided some suggestions for creating a focal point in the school hall and in classrooms, this includes a focus on the advent wreath. You could produce a Jesse tree as a wall display in the hall for whole school worship and/or have smaller tress in classrooms for class worship.

Week 1

  • Introduction to Jesse Tree
  • God’s Creation
  • Adam and Eve
  • Noah: The Flood
  • Abraham: The Promise
  • Jacob: Reassurance of the Promise

Resources

Week 2

  • Moses: The Law
  • Ruth: Provision
  • David: The Shepherd King
  • Daniel: Staying Faithful
  • Nehemiah: Rebuilding

Resources

Week 3

  • Angel: Good News
  • Zechariah and Elizabeth: Answered Prayer
  • Jesus’ Birth
  • Shepherds: Good News for All
  • Magi: Worship

Resources

The Worship Table and the Advent wreath

The Worship Table

Cover the worship table with a purple cloth. Explain to pupils that purple is the colour used in church during Advent, It will change to gold and white on Christmas day

The Advent Wreath

As a school also think about having an advent wreath on your worship table. The theme of each of the 4 outer candles can be linked to an overarching theme for each week of the Jesse tree.

  • First Candle We speak of hope – Christians believe God keeps his promises. (link to Abraham and Noah)
  • Second Candle We work for peace – Christians believe Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’ and Christians work for peace in his name. (Link to the stories of Moses, David etc and their commitment to following God)
  • Third Candle We show love – Christians believe Jesus gave everything for them. (link to week 3 and the gift of Jesus birth)
  • Fourth Candle We share joy – Christians believe the Holy Spirit fills their hearts and minds with the presence and joy of God (link to week 3 and the joy of those who announced Jesus birth and visited him)
  • Last (Central) Candle (Christmas Day) the last candle is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Advent Candle

Alternatively you may wish to get hold of an advent calendar candle – one with the days of advent marked on the side, so that you can burn one day’s worth of wax each time you have Collective worship (NB someone will need to do this on Saturday and Sundays, too – it could be a an opportunity for some pupils to be asked to take the school candle home and light it at the weekend)

Exploring Easter

This flexible resource is designed to be used in a variety of ways by churches and schools. For each session there are a variety of resources available – use the guidelines document to see what might work best in your context

Special thanks to…

  • Our colleagues at the Diocese of Bath and Wells who originally commissioned the artwork and allowed us to use the fantastic illustrations by Jon Birch at Jon Birch Media
  • Michael Wells for content, and Lesley Wells for the interactive online calendar