... and triple oof. Just finished our May Messy Church on the theme of how special each of us is to God - many sparrows glued (the most lurid you've ever seen), many fingerprints printed, biscuit faces iced, balloon men assembled (with much popping and shrieking), prayers prayed, friends made, troubles shared, eyes opened... just another Messy Church.
Where do I start? The fun of coming together as an all-age team from across the UK armed with bags and crates of sparkles and cardboard, flowers and snacks, pitta bread and candle wax? The excitement of seeing the queue form outside the marquee and the Messy Church Full Up sign go out? The rather sheepish admission from the stewards that there were probably around 250 people squeezed in, on and off, during the hour?
While Messy Church is popular among all sorts of people, I was still rather nervous about placing it for discussion before the students on the summer school of the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopalian Church. Not being a theologian or an ecclesiologist, I panic when the depth of my ignorance is revealed. (QED I spend much of my time panicking.)
I had promised to let Lucy know how Messy Church Great Barton (near Bury St Edmunds) has been going. We've done 2 now and it's been fantastic! We've stopped our morning once a month family service and now do Messy Church at 4pm instead! We had over 60 at our first one!! The numbers were down slightly last time but lots of people are really enthusiastic. We have a great team of people to help us - even a 70+ gentleman who has just lost his wife and has found a new lease of life helped by messy church.
Dear Lucy and Team,
Hi, my name is Bob Morris and I am Minister for Children and Families at Cirencester Baptist Church. Yesterday (Sun 18th) we launched our own "MESSY CHURCH"...so thank you for the concept!
We are a large congregation (membership of just over 200)and have a large children's and youth ministry. We have found though that growth is difficult due to space issues and activities for children on Sunday mornings so we were looking for something a bit "outside of the box" to start up!
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.
Back on 28 November 2007 I wrote about applying for money from the Diocese to do some pioneer work on discipleship with Messy Church families.
We've been granted it!
This is very wonderful and completely terrifying. No excuse now to put off doing anything about developments, so the whole area of 'But it might not work / it could all go horribly wrong / what if no-one wants to do it? / we might FAIL' suddenly rears its ugly head like a mythological monster.
I'm well chuffed with the steady trickle of Messy Churches coming on to the Directory.
This will be really useful, both so that we can pray for each other and as people try to find one near them to visit...
... especially as I foolishly didn't write down the addresses of the Messy Churches I found by googling a while back, and when asked actually to send details of one I'd mentioned in Coventry, couldn't find it again.
What an interesting afternoon on Saturday. The URC church in Brixham, Devon, had kindly invited me to come and help them out with their thinking on Messy Church. They've done three MCs now and are getting lots of new families and unaccompanied children in.
It's been in the diary for many moons, and I was looking forward to it, so I zoomed down the A303 to join them for a great lunch (sausage casserole plus bring and share: best of both worlds - I just wish I wasn't so nervous on these occasions that I can't do full justice to other people's puddings.)