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Assembly Title
Saints Peter and Paul

Submitted by
S. Daly

Age Group

To learn about the lives of Saints Peter and Paul

Faith Group

Keys, letters, Bible, tent

Time of Year
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul 29th June

Other Details
References to the Pope can be omitted if necessary.

1. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Do you know anyone called: Peter, Pete, Pierre, Pedro, Petra, Pet, Petula, Peta, Petronella?
If you do, that person is named after Saint Peter.

2. Do you know anyone called: Paul, Paolo, Pablo, Paula, Paulette, Pauline, Paulina?
If you do, that person is named after Saint Paul.

3. Recently, we celebrated the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
They are called the Princes of the Apostles. God gave them extra special powers. All the Apostles helped to set up the Christian Church - but Peter was a good leader, so God put him in charge of the other Apostles. He was the first Pope. Nowadays, the Pope is in charge of all the priests.

4. Paul was a good speaker and letter writer, so God gave him the job of telling people about Jesus. Paul travelled to many countries, such as Crete and Italy. He also wrote to people in other countries, such as Greece. His talent was telling foreigners about God. He used that talent well.
Nowadays, missionaries teach foreign people about God. It can still be a lonely, hard life, like it was for Paul.

5. We are very lucky today. Peter and Paul have come to join us for our assembly. They are going to tell us a bit more about themselves.
First of all, could we have a big hand please for Saint Peter.

PETER: Thank you very much. Good morning. My name is Simon Barjona.
Yes, that's right, Simon, not Peter. Peter is my nickname. It means "rock". Jesus gave me that nickname, because I am strong, like a rock. Jesus said, "On this rock, I will build my Church.". He didn't build a church on top of me of course, but I helped to set up the Christian Church.
Jesus also gave me the keys to heaven. I sit at the pearly gates. When all of you go to heaven, I will see you again.
That will be nice, won't it?

6. What were you before you became the first Pope?

PETER: I was a simple fisherman. I met Jesus when I was out fishing. Jesus wanted to escape from a friendly crowd. He got into my boat and I rowed out a little way. Later, he told me I would catch men instead of fish in future.

7. What does that mean?

PETER: I became an Apostle. I followed Jesus. I listened to him. I did what he said.

8. Was that easy?

PETER: No. Once, when Jesus was arrested, I was scared. Three people asked me if I knew Jesus. I said no and ran away. I had deserted Jesus in his hour of need. But I was desperately sorry and Jesus forgave me. When he came back to life, he put me in charge of the Church.
I was actually the first Apostle Jesus appeared to when he came back to life.
I had been fishing all night with my friends and we had caught nothing. That happens sometimes. Suddenly a man appeared on the shore. We did not recognise him at first. He told us to try once more. We caught such a huge shoal of fish that it took all our strength to haul it in.
I then realised the man was Jesus. Then Jesus asked me, three times, if I loved him. Three times I said yes. That is when Jesus put me in charge of his Church.
He said,

JESUS: Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.

PETER: Jesus also told me I was a shepherd, which was a very hard job in those days. He said,

JESUS: Feed my lambs, tend my shearlings, feed my sheep.

PETER: The life of a shepherd in Palestine was a very hard one. The shepherd had to live with his sheep, out in the open, in all weathers. At night he had to keep watch on the hillside, ready to ward off attacks by wild animals and even, if necessary, to give his life in defence of his flock.
In very cold weather, he might lead his flock into the shelter of the fold, a roughly-built square of rocks and stones with thorn bushes growing on top. The shepherd himself was the door, since he lay down to sleep stretched across the opening.
This life of devoted service was accepted by the shepherd, because he loved his sheep.
When Jesus called me a shepherd, it meant I had to look after the people in the Church. But I had lots of people helping me.

9. So everything ended happily then?

PETER: Sort of. I had a busy life. I encouraged the other Apostles to help me lead the first Christian community. I travelled a great deal, preaching in Palestine, Antioch, Asia Minor and Rome. Then, after thirty years, I was arrested for being a Christian. I chose to be crucified upside-down. I wasn't worthy of being crucified in the same way as Jesus. The church in Rome is named after me - Saint Peter's.
Today, Pope (name) looks after all the people in the Church. He makes decisions about the Church and is inspired by the Holy Spirit to make the correct ones. The power of Christ given to me has passed down through an unbroken line of Popes to the present one.

10. Thank you very much. Now, could we have a big hand for Saint Paul.

PAUL: Thank you. Good morning. My name is Paul. It used to be Saul, but I changed it, when I became a Christian. Paul actually means "small". I'm not really small, but compared to God I am.

11. What were you before you became a Christian?

PAUL: My job was a tent-maker. I used to weave goat-hair to make tents. I was born a Jew, in what is now Turkey. I was also a citizen of the Roman Empire.
I loved being a Jew. When the Apostles, like Peter here, began to set up the Christian Church, I was very angry. I began to catch Christians, so they would be killed.

12. But you became a Christian yourself. How come?

PAUL: One day, I was riding to Damascus to catch some Christians. I saw a vision of Christ, then a bright light blinded me for three days. Suddenly, I knew I had been wrong. I began to help set up the Christian Church. Later, I would like you to sing my favourite hymn. It is about a man who was blind, not really blind - but he sees Jesus, then he begins to notice all the good things around him.

13. Was it easy being a Christian?

PAUL: No. At first, the Christians did not trust me. They thought I was going to catch them and kill them. Eventually, a Christian called Barnabas became my best friend.

14. What happened next?

PAUL: I spent the next thirty-three years travelling to different countries telling people about God. I also wrote fourteen long letters, which are in your Bible now.

15. Was your life as a Christian missionary easy?

PAUL: No. I was put in prison twice. I was flogged by the Jews five times and once by the Romans. I was shipwrecked three times and I was stoned and beaten by angry crowds. Eventually, I was killed, with a sword, on the same day as Peter here. A cathedral in London is named after me - Saint Paul's.
There is also a children's nursery rhyme, which mentions Peter and Paul. I'm not sure if it is about us though:
(Mimed by two children dressed in black.)
Two little blackbirds sitting on a wall,
One named Peter, one named Paul.
Fly away Peter. Fly away Paul.
Come back Peter. Come back Paul.

16. Thank you, both of you. Well that was interesting, wasn't it?
It sounds like it was dangerous being a Christian two thousand years ago. It can still be difficult today of course.

17. Lord, you warned your followers that their lives would not be easy, that they would face danger and death if they stood up for you. May we be strong like the first Christians. Amen.

18. Lord, when we think of the Church, we think of a building and the people in it.
When you think of the Church, you see people all over the world joining together to worship you.
Help us to be glad that we belong to your family, the Church. Amen.

19. We should never forget that our real shepherd is Jesus himself. He said, "There shall be one fold and one shepherd." Lord, help us to be willing to lead and help others when necessary - and to also be willing to accept help and to follow.

20. We will now sing Paul's favourite hymn - "I Saw the Grass" by Estelle White. (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 283)

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 18-7-12.