The Messy blog
I joined the Diocese of Carlisle and Methodists in Cumbria and Lancashire recently. I met wonderful missional Messy Church leaders, teams and enquirers at a training day and launch. Bishop Rob Freeman, Bishop of Penrith, launched the Messy Cumbria initiative which invites Messy Churches to become core members of Messy Cumbria, irrespective of what denomination they are.
The Archbishop of Canterbury says some very helpful stuff in a filmed interview with Barry ‘Subtle Shirts’ Hill for the Fresh Expressions gathering. One phrase which stood out for me is the encouragement to take risks: ‘Safety First doesn’t work these days.’ He’s not talking about leaving the hot glue gun out for the toddlers to play with, but rather an encouragement to try new things and not get our knickers in a twist if – when – we fail. It’s a real permission to be brave and say, ‘What if we….?’
Welcome to Norma Mollard as our Regional Coordinator for North Wales - East! Norma is on the Messy Church team at St Matthew's Church, Buckley in Flintshire. She is retired, but more than busy looking after her animals and enjoying her voluntary work. Norma cares for a new puppy, a cat, hens, a tortoise and more. Norma is also an organist and has been fully engaged in her local church life.
Jo Birkby is the Children and Families Worker at Holy Trinity & St Saviour's Churches, Knaphill with Brookwood in Woking, Surrey. Jo has recently had a God-inspired moment, leading to a family community activity, similar to the Messy Nativity Sheep Trail but with a trendy twist! Messy creativity at it's best! Jo says:
Last month I was invited to visit a Messy Church near Epsom in south London. Liz Townsend is the Messy Church team leader here, and she is so grateful for all the Messy Church advice and ideas available from The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) that she has encouraged her church to join in with our Messy Church £100 Appeal.
A totally subjective and exclusive reading of the brilliant Church Army’s recent report The Day of Small Things gives us plenty of food for thought. The report is looking at different fresh expressions of Church (fxC).
The Messy Church summary is on page 124:
A reflection from our Social Action Regional Coordinator, Kathy Bland:
People who come to Messy Church quickly become used to ‘getting stuck in’ with what we are doing. Messy Church is about being hands-on and learning about Jesus and the Bible by taking part in what is happening. It makes sense, then, that when it comes to being missional—by which I mean when it comes to joining in with what God is already doing in the world and in our communities—our Messy Church congregations will want to roll up their sleeves and get ‘messy’!
I was privileged to speak at the Southern Counties Baptist Association this week and shared a few thoughts about 'pop-up' church versus 'proper' church. (I hope you can hear the ironic boom of those inverted commas.) In the process, it was quite fun to collect a list of suggestions for making a Messy Church trivial, superficial and 'frothy'. So, for your delectation and delight, here are ten ways to ensure your Messy Church—or indeed your 'proper' church—stays as ineffective as possible.
In the UK, it is the Great British Bake Off final tonight! We await with anticipation to discover whether Candice, Andrew or Jane will be the winner. But then what happens after the end of the series? The TV programme moves to another TV station with different presenters (bar one!) and we wonder what the future holds. We have got used to the pattern and drama that the current presenters bring to each series. Will the change mean joy or disappointment? Will we give it a go and find out and see? Or will we dig our heels firmly into the ground and refuse any change at all?