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.
After months of planning and preparation, the joint churches Messy Church @ Garforth (organised by wonderful people from St Mary's Parish Church, Garforth Methodist Church and Dayspring (a Pioneer church)) was launched in October. Nearly 40 children turned up, along with 60 adults (parents, grandparents and volunteers), who all loved being together, especially with people from other churches and no church. We had a similar number at the meeting in November, but a lot hadn't been to the first one.
An enquiry came through a little while ago that I don't feel competent to answer: anyone got any thoughts for John?
It was really good to spend a couple of hours today with Bishop Graham Cray, the CofE Bishop of Fresh Expressions. He is passionate about all God's doing through the movement and very supportive of Messy Church within the wider picture. For me personally, and for you too, I hope, it was great to be encouraged and affirmed in what we're doing in the Mess, and reassuring that the Church 'owns' and 'recognises' Messy Church to such an extent.
The Hayling Island ecumenical Messy Church is thriving.
Joys? We have more and more children coming - some of whom do not come to our churches - so we are building links with no church families.
Frustrations - volunteers get tired and overloaded and sometimes feel overburdened and we are in danger of losing some. And not enough new ones are coming forward.
The key teams are the catering team and the craft team and I think they are both a bit precarious at times.
Sound the bagpipe and splice the sporran - the first full Scottish Messy Fiesta has taken place. A gleefully ecumenical event as some 60 people threw themselves into the day in Edinburgh, just up the road from Murrayfield - rather fun to drive back through the crowds of kilts and leprechauns making their way to the match down the middle of the road.
Just off the phone from Helen Mason, who is part of the Messy Church leadership team in Petersfield - a churches together venture. I only rang to see if she could help out with an event... and have emerged with a head full of praise of God and all he's doing through Messy Church in the town.