Diocese of Ely logo - The Church of England in Cambridgeshire & West Norfolk


Supporting Schools & Parishes




Themes and Schemes for Planning Collective Worship

Most Church School collective worship cycles are based on the Christian Year.

Each Christian festival invites the use of particular collective worship themes, these include:

Autumn Term

First Half of Term

  • Beginnings
    • New friends, new starts, new hope
    • Welcoming, community, belonging
    • Initiation ceremonies
    • Rules of this school & rules of life
    • Rules to live by - the 10 commandments and the two great commandment
  • Harvest
    • Environment, stewardship, conservation
    • Earth, land, sea, Creation
    • Bread, Bread of Life
    • Celebration, thankfulness, sharing, caring
    • Third World need. Famine, drought.
    • Talents & achievements, lifestyles, hopes, thankfulness
  • St Luke (18th October), Medicine
    • Healing, healing miracles of Jesus
    • Disability
    • Famous people connected with medicine
    • Service, working and caring for others

    Second Half of Term

  • People of Faiths, Saints
    • Patronal saint of parish church
    • All Saints, All Souls
    • Biblical heroes and heroines
    • Today's heroes
    • Christians today, famous and local
  • Remembering
    • War and peace
    • Remembrance Sunday
    • Older people
    • Eucharist
    • Sadness and loss
    • Personal heroes
    • Older people
    • Special memories
  • Advent
    • New church year
    • Preparation, anticipation, hope, waiting
    • The meaning of the candles of the Advent wreath
    • Light
    • Customs
  • Christmas
    • The Christmas story
    • Customs & traditions
    • Christmas in other lands
    • Incarnation
    • Light of the World
    • Love, joy peace, hope
    • Gifts and giving
    • Families and relationships
    • Refugees and homelessness
    • Poverty
    • Messengers
    • Carols


Spring Term

First Half of Term

  • New Year
    • New beginnings
    • Fresh star
    • Resolutions
    • Anticipation
    • New life, seasons, Spring
  • Epiphany
    • Gifts and gift bringers
    • Thankfulness
    • Journeys
    • Dedication, baptism, names
  • Candlemas
    • The Light of the World, light
    • Initiation
    • Babies, dedication, hope

    Second Half of Term

  • Lent & Holy Week
    • Growth - mental, physical, spiritual
    • Special days - Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Mothering Sunday, Palm Sunday
    • Fasting, abstinences, self control, giving-up
    • Spiritual spring cleaning
    • Pilgrimage, spiritual journey
    • Temptation, penitence, saying sorry
    • Conversion of St Paul
    • Forgiveness
    • Foot washing, service to others
    • Last Supper, Eucharist
    • Rejection, loneliness, separation
  • Easter
    • The Easter story
    • Joy, hope, love
    • New life, new beginnings
    • Surprise, triumph, promises, evil, suffering, pain, sacrifice
    • Friendship
    • Repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, salvation
    • Customs - cards, food, gardens, eggs


Summer Term

First Half of Term

  • Rogation
    • Community - school, parish, world
    • Establishing boundaries,
    • Homes
    • Creation, caring for the earth
  • Ascension
    • Kingship
    • Authority
    • Symbolism, imagery
    • Saying goodbye

    Second Half of Term

  • Pentecost
    • Holy Spirit
    • Trinity
    • Fruits of the Spirit
    • Baptism, confirmation
    • Power
    • Birthday gifts
    • Customs
    • Fire
    • Wind


The end of the year - moving on

  • Pilgrimage
  • Saying thank you
  • Explorers, discoveries
  • Trust, promises, worry, bravery
  • Surprises and disappointments
  • Confidence, assurance, prepared
  • New class, new school
  • Jesus as the Way, the Truth & the Life ("I Am" sayings)
  • Memories, learning
  • Journey of life
  • The Unknown


The Christian Festivals obviously return annually, but what of the rest of the worship cycle? There are many other appropriate worship themes which may be considered but which could be happily used at almost any time of year eg

  • Bible heroes
  • Bible heroines
  • A Bible story - Joseph, Ruth, Paul
  • Achievements
  • Barriers and Bridges
  • Communication
  • Prayer
  • The Lord's Prayer
  • Famous Prayers
  • Famous Hymns
  • Ourselves
  • Forgiveness
  • Friends and Neighbours
  • I Believe
  • Loneliness
  • Loss
  • Bullying
  • Prejudice
  • Parables
  • Stories of Jesus/stories by Jesus/sayings of Jesus
  • Creation/Nature/Environment
  • Peace
  • The Church (building and people)
  • The Gifts of the Spirit
  • Making Promises
  • Signs and Symbols
  • The Senses
  • Special Books
  • Saying sorry
  • People who have influenced us
  • We can help
  • Different charities
  • Making Decisions
  • Celebrating Differences
  • Growth
  • Love is ...
  • In the news
  • Disability
  • Home and Family
  • Time
  • Awe and wonder
  • Music
  • Art
  • Challenging
  • Choice
  • Freedom and responsibility
  • Special Things
  • What's it worth?
  • Why are we here?
  • Age
  • Silence and Reflection
  • Messages
  • Celebration
  • Searching
  • Poetry
  • Names and Titles of Jesus
  • Animals
  • Science
  • War and Peace
  • Ideas about God
  • Food


There is almost nothing which, rightly handled, cannot be a stimulus for Christian-centred collective worship, it has been described in this way:

Think Trinitarian:

  1. God is creator, all Creation is therefore the rightful concern of a Christian.
  2. Jesus became incarnate. All aspects of human life are encompassed here.
  3. The Holy Spirit teaches us to foster the spiritual and personal side of our life.
  4. The whole of our experience thus becomes the springboard for our worship.

One route towards planning your collective worship cycle is as follows:

  1. Set out each term of the cycle on an individual piece of paper.
  2. Fill in all the major Christian festivals the school will celebrate and estimate the time these will take up as worship themes.
  3. Establish where the gaps in provision lie and select themes or topics to fill these as appropriate for your school.
  4. Circulate the agreed list to all worship providers.
  5. Hold regular planning meetings for all worship providers (once per half-term or term). Brainstorm each theme together. This gives the opportunity to pool and share resources and to establish that there is continuity (and no repetition!) over the theme.
  6. Post a summary of the contents of the worship theme in advance on the staffroom noticeboard. This will enable all staff to consider whether they wish to link the collective worship theme to their curriculum work.
  7. Post a weekly assembly list on the noticeboard, outlining each individual act of collective worship (leader, story, music).



  1. What is worship?
  2. Collective Worship and the law
  3. The Anglican Tradition
  4. The Aims of Collective Worship
  5. The Policy
  6. Ways of planning and recording
  7. Planning Issues
  8. Collective worship ideas and support on the world wide web
  9. Asking Visitors to lead worship
  10. Guidelines to be given to Visitors to lead worship
  11. Are Assembly and Collective worship the same thing?
  12. Themes and schemes for planning collective worship
  13. Bible stories for use with collective worship themes
  14. Involving pupils in Collective worship


Document Downloads