It's true: leaders have far more fun than congregations. Just spent a happy and therapeutic half hour purging the kitchen of chipped crockery and smashing it ready for our theme of 'peacemakers' tomorrow (turning the pieces into a mosaic cross, if you're interested). Lakeland bags are ideal for the task as they're very tough, and once I'd managed to convince the dog that there was nothing edible in the bag and to stand back and cover her ears, it was immensely satisfying to hurl it into the air and let the whole thing crash on to the concrete.
We changed a few things last night at our October Messy Church: we decided at Messy Tea that the opening half hour was becoming a little stale and limp, so we had just a handful of games out and turned the focus on to one big, easy activity for everyone to come and join in with as they arrived. We also had a more organised welcome table and only one entrance, so everybody was greeted by name or, if we didn't know them, by a friendly face. Both of these gave a lot of energy to the start time. We also asked the team to come and chat more, rather than setting up their crafts in that time.
Another idea that popped up at the Round Table is to ask a family to run a craft together. This means that the separate family members get to cover for each other so they don't miss out on all the activities on offer; they'll need to talk and work together to plan and prepare their activity - i.e.
As food is dear to the Messy heart, here's a great idea to get families eating together in your area: The Big Lunch!
You plant food this month with the aim of eating it together at a big lunch party next month on 19 July. (Personally I may have a cucumber ripe but otherwise we'll be eating nothing but stunted basil and the odd nasturtium. Tempting, I know.)
At many Messy Fiestas one of the crafts has been to write prayers on a leaf of your own design and hang it on to the Tidbit Tree - a tasteful clear Perspex tree originally designed to be the centrepiece of your party and to be adorned with olives, gherkins and - according to the picture on the packet - lumps of spam. The prayers are nonetheless very moving, and I can't bear to throw them away, so here are some of the leaf prayers from fellow Messy Church leaders. I wonder if they're your prayers too?
Elizabeth Caldwell in the book of the previous blog entry, Come Unto Me, describes a 'faith corner' in a home she visited (p. 115) and it got me thinking: perhaps as a take-away idea for Messy Church households, suggesting finding a space at home to put reminders of your faith and things to help you talk to and about God - things you make at Messy Church of course, a cross or picture of Jesus, a candle if it's safe, a CD of worship music, natural objects that make you praise God for his creation.
And the rest of the Barnabas Team have been busy with Messy Church as well. Chris Hudson visited one up in the north-east recently and got his drums going... Here is what he writes:
What is the way forward? As the marbling inks clog up the hall ready for Messy Church this afternoon, a particularly sticky cake's icing dries in the kitchen, and a dustbin bag full of empty shoeboxes threatens to trip up the unwary visitor, I wonder: how do we go on from here?
Paul reckons we need to get together a group of people who might be interested in belonging primarily to MC and seeing it eventually as their main spiritual home, and get praying with them, just as you would if you were thinking about a church plant.
I wasn't expecting to be there, but unfortunately my torn disc in my back means I can't travel, so I wasn't in Bristol as I had planned. This also meant I wasn't responsible for a craft but spent my time 'doing a Jan' and floating round talking to people. And meant I was able to be on the door to welcome people, too, which was nice.
We set up a 'Quiet Corner' for the first time. Here's what it looked like: