Messy Church

Fresh ideas for building a Christ-centred community

Canada

Look at this story of growth and of God bringing new life and hope to a traditional service through the faithful ministry of the Messy Church team from Claudia Zinck-Gilroy. Happy sigh.

Hello there
Just wanted to dash off a quick note.

Messy Church is growing in the tiny village of Blandford in the Parish of Blandford, Nova Scotia, Canada.
We meet twice a month on Friday night. Another village has Messy Church on the alternate Friday night. This way, some of the parents who wish to do so can attend both Messy Churches in a month.

We're delighted to be welcoming Nancy Rowe, Elizabeth Northcott, Thomas Brauer and Chris Barnett to our International Forum next week in Abingdon to hear how Messy Church is developing in Canada and Australia and explore ways forward together with BRF. Please pray for us to hear what God is trying to say to us.

Here's what Sue Kalbfleisch, another Canadian Messy friend, wrote about the Messy scene in their part of Canada:

And so my final day in Edmonton. A morning at church (where I discover that ladies of a certain age the world over take approximately 45 seconds to turn the conversation to intimate health issues, even with complete strangers) and a quiet afternoon as we were all too exhausted to go bison-hunting. This proves my theory that there is no wildlife in Canada. It is all a myth perpetrated by the Tourist Board. I added a mere two sparrows and a white cat to my tally.

Having reread yesterday's entry I feel I should make it clear that the bishop didn't actually give me an episcopal massage herself.

Today was pretty non-stop in a good way. We drove to Quinn and Maddie's church, which is a good 40 minutes away - his parish is roughly the size of Portsmouth Diocese. The morning was a Messy Fiesta with people from Spruce Grove and further afield: I was very flattered and bemused that one couple had driven seven hours from the NW Territory to be there, and one lady had come straight from night shift to join in. There were about 18 of us.

Woke up to a power cut, but can't complain as everyone else was woken even earlier by a fire alarm, which passed me by completely. A large vat of cottage cheese for breakfast left me curious but untempted. And the morning saw the two remaining sessions with the clergy as their conference ended. There was so much to say (about discipleship, faith at home, the growth, the values, our dreams for the future) and the questions kept on coming.

I am learning so much about hospitality, with the generosity and unfussedness of the people here. I stayed with Bishop Barbara Andrews for my time in Kamloops and while my experience of bishops is small, I found it hard to remember she is bishop over a huge area and many people as she is so unassuming, down to earth and 'ordinary', like a wise aunt you want to sit round the kitchen table with and soak up her wisdom. I am hugely impressed. Why don't we have women bishops? Why is it such a big deal? We are missing out on so much.

Breakfast at the airport (bagel in case you were curious- they do stick to your teeth) and over the snowcapped mountains to Kamloops. It’s a desert environment after the rainforest of Vancouver - not as in cacti, cowboys and tumbleweed but as in arid mountain slopes dropping down sheer to clear lakes - there is so much water and it doesn’t give any sustenance to the bare slopes above it, which feels horribly parabolic: the parable of the sower but Jesus doesn’t mention ground where there is no earth at all.

A day off! The messiest I got was talking about strategy over coffee with Elizabeth in Vancouver's market on an island... can't remember the name... so many islands, creeks and inlets. A while to grab some presents for folks back home and a drive round Stanley Park (where there are no bears - must be the one place in Vancouver without anything savage hiding behind trees).

Now racoons, orcas and possums are added to the list of ferocious wild beasts I can expect to encounter round here: I am amazed I sleep at night. And apparently moose are not likely to be seen prowling round Vancouver. Alas.

After a leisurely start drinking much strong coffee and putting the world to rights with Claudette and Walt, my hospitable hosts, I went to join the Messy Fiesta in All Saints, Ladner, the church of Elizabeth, the vicar who has organised this stage of the trip. It was unusual for me, in that Elizabeth and the team held a Messy Church for families while I led a short Fiesta for visitors. We had a fun time - lots of questions and comments (interestingly, the issues are much the same as they are in the UK).

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