Here's another thought about another element of our Messy Church character: joy!
Great to hear from Rev Carol Meredith at St Stephens Episcopal Church, Aurora, Colorado. Since July 2014 they have been joining up with their Latino neighbours for Messy Church and at Christmas they all explored Mexican Christmas traditions together.
First, 150 all ages celebrated Our Lady of Guadalupe, making rosaries, paper flowers and Christmas ornaments to decorate a special Altar to Our Lady. They had Mexican dancers and food.
Make the most of your Messy Church celebration time. Messy Church celebration plays a key part in communicating God's love to the families who come along, but it can be the hardest part of the session to get right.
We recently did an Easter Family Journey when we invited both the Messy Church and main Church families to journey together through the events of the Easter week. I guess we should have called it 'Messy Stations of the Cross' as it was based on 4 zones - Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday - with an explanation and 2 craft activities per zone. We started in church with hot cross buns and refreshments and then in (strict!) 10 minute-apart groups, we walked into a Palm Sunday drama and then followed around the zones.
Celebration is the name we've given to the most traditional worship part of Messy Church - the 15 minutes of story, song, prayer and whatever else we bring into the gathered worship of the whole session. It's also a broader term for marking with joy or sorrow a significant event, for making that event count in our community's life.
Celebration can be engaging, fun, joyful: where people's perception of church is that it is boring, we need to show them that the church worships a God who is totally engaging.
Messy Month is a chance to celebrate and share all the Messy news and information with your other church congregations, inviting them to be part of the Messy ministry in prayerful, practical and financial ways, and to thank God for all he's doing through our Messy Churches.
Anyone got any funny, cautionary, inspirational or thought-provoking anecdotes about their Messy Celebrations you could share for a book coming out next year? As short as you like - I'm running out of word count. Send 'em to me as soon as you like. By yesterday is fine. Many thanks!