Welcome to Jean Pienaar in Johannesburg and Rev Calvin Frans in George! How exciting to think that just as Fresh Expressions takes off in South Africa, after recent large conferences, we already have great support for the Messy Churches popping up there. Calvin coordinates a large Messy Church in the Western Cape and Jean began the first South African Messy Church by coming across this website! Please pray for Jean and Calvin as Messy Church evolves.
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.
I'm just back from the Fresh Expressions Associate Missioners' Conference. Lots to ponder and unpack, but for starters, it really is a good thing that Messy Church is so closely tied to Fresh Expressions: it gives us a deeper pool of wisdom to draw on than just Messy Church (check out the FE website for starters) and it gives Fresh Expressions a huge pool of practitioners to see in action on one particular form of fresh expression.
In my previous blog I mentioned Lindsey who's working with me for five weeks as part of her course at Moorlands Bible College. I don't know what the rest of her colleagues are doing, but I suspect Lindsey's Friday in Lincoln might have been slightly different from the experiences of many of them.
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.
Our maple syrup bottle overfloweth - a fun visit yesterday from Andy and Sue Kalbfleisch who are based in the Diocese of Niagara and over here on a sort of sabbatical holiday pilgrimage gallop around as many Fresh Expressions as they can visit in a fortnight. It's interesting hearing how interest in Fresh Expressions is growing in Canada and how restricted they are by the lack of funds to develop any networks at a diocesan level. They have visited a Messy Church or two in Canada in preparation for their visit here.
Have you come across Phoenix Community Ministry in Montreal? They too are very messy in their approach and have centred church around families instead of trying to wrap families around church - take a look at their video below: