Standing Assemblies

By the Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School


To recognize the different diets of living creatures and to be thankful for our favourite foods.

Preparation and materials
  • Introductory music: the song 'Food, glorious food'.
  • You will need a variety of animal's foodstuffs together in a bag, e.g. a dog's biscuit or bone, a tin of cat food, wild bird seed, goldfish food, grass (cows, sheep, goats, etc.), hay (winter feed for horses, etc.), dandelion leaves or carrot (rabbit), hazelnuts (squirrel/mouse). Also a banana and a packed lunch.
  • Optional: The children could produce a 'menu' of their favourite foods and/or arrange a display of harvest produce. The version of Psalm 104 (see below) could be arranged for choral speaking.

  1. Remind the children that Harvest celebrations help us to be thankful for the food we enjoy. Draw attention to the fact that various creatures each have their 'favourite foods'. Produce the animal foodstuffs and invite the children to guess which creatures enjoy them. Some extra clues can be provided if necessary - for example, you could do the appropriate animal noises!

  2. Conclude with the banana, and have some fun if it's suggested that this is the favourite food of a monkey! ('It's part of my packed lunch!!') Share with the children your choice of sandwiches and favourite flavour of crisps.

  3. What are their choices? If appropriate, write down their choices to create a 'favourites' menu. Have fun singing 'Thank you, Lord, for this new day', substituting the words 'Thank you, Lord, for favourite foods' and improvising verses e.g. 'Thank you, Lord, for fish and chips'; 'Thank you, Lord, for Heinz baked beans'; 'Thank you, Lord, for big beefburgers', etc.

Time for reflection

Introduce a selection of paraphrased verses from Psalm 104 which are in praise of the Creator. Explain that they are a song saying 'thank you' for food. Ask the children to join in the responses, or the piece could be adapted for choral speaking:
Praise the Lord, I tell myself
(everyone joins in) O God, how great you are.
You make springs flow
and streams run from the hills.
They provide water for all the animals
to quench their thirst.
In the trees
the birds make their nests and sing.

Praise the Lord, I tell myself
O God, how great you are.

From the sky you send rain
and the earth is filled with good things.
You cause grass to grow for the cattle
and plants for people to use.
Crops are grown and food produced.
Wine, olive oil,
and bread to give us strength.

Praise the Lord, I tell myself
O God, how great you are.

Lord, you have made so many things!
The earth is full of your creatures.
All of them depend on you
to give them the food they need.
You supply it, and they gather it.
You provide, and they are satisfied.

Praise the Lord, I tell myself
O God, how great you are.

Creator God,
we thank you for the smells and tastes of our favourite foods
and for the different foods
that other creatures eat.
Help us to be thankful
for everything that we enjoy
and for the richness of the earth.


'Thank you, Lord' (Come and Praise, 32)
'Autumn days' (Come and Praise, 4)
'Let us with a gladsome mind' (Come and Praise, 8)