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:
Over 200 people enjoyed the Messy Church marquee at the Herrington Country Park with lots of Mess and activities. What a great opportunity to share the Messy Church story and mission with so many people. Well done to the Diocese of Durham and the Messy volunteers! Read all about it here.
Have you been out and about sharing the Messy Church mission this summer?
Church Urban Fund have written a paper on loneliness and how churches can combat this sense of isolation that so many people suffer from. It strikes me that Messy Church might be one small way churches can respond to the challenge of loneliness. In the summary, Tim Burton-Jones writes that the three main findings are:
Group based activities are better than one-to-one interventions
Lucy, Martyn and I were supporting the recent 'Follow' event, last week, with Messy activities and seminars. This Leicestershire event celebrated 150 years of the Church of England Readers. We rapidly realised that what folk wanted was a 'pop in' opportunity to chat about the Messy possibilities in their churches. So we set up an ongoing Messy Clinic so that we could listen, share and advise all day long (and engage all ages with activities on hospitality with clay, wood and marbling!). What a blessing for us!
Have you signed up for @messyweek yet?
Every week, a new member of the Messy Church community is @messyweek! For seven days, the person, people or church will tweet about their life, love and work, sharing opinions and ideas about their Messy Church along the way. Then, someone else does the same but differently.
It takes a lot of time to prepare for three days of seminars and workshops at the Hand in Hand Children's and Family Conference at Eastbourne each year, but the effort was made more than worthwhile last weekend. We heard so many stories of how God is at work in our Messy communities.
Joseph's Christmas story but in 100 tweets! This year, Messy Church are tweeting Joseph's story as if he had had an smartphone back in the day. Only in Matthew’s Gospel do we catch a small glimpse of what the miracle of Christmas meant from Joseph’s perspective. The following idea offers a creative way into Joseph’s story, imagining what he may have tweeted daily about what happened to him in Nazareth and Bethlehem, and later, as he and Mary had to escape to Egypt with their child, Jesus.
Helpful ways to finance a Messy Church:
- Borrow craft supplies and basic equipment from other people for the first few sessions: Brownie cupboards, playgroups and so on. Invest in your own when you are sure that your Messy Church will be long term.
Messy knitters! Well done Seascale Messy Church in Cumbria! After knitting squares in the Blind Bartimaeus session, as suggested by Anne Offler in the Get Messy! magazine Jan-April 2015 issue, they gave the blanket to a church member who had fallen ill. Now they just can't stop knitting and have knitted lots more blankets to send to Nepal!