We were delighted to hear from our Messy Church 'branch' in New Zealand. Revd Jo Latham has been a friend since her trip to GB last year. Interesting that Anglican liturgical issues are the same the world over....
'Hi Lucy - excited to see the Messy Church website up and running and reading all the news. We have been doing Families@4 for one year in May (must have a party theme). Last month we had 50 people there with a real sense of connectedness beginning to take shape among families.
Debbie Smith, our regional coordinator in New Zealand, has been pulling out all the stops and Messy Church is gathering huge momentum in NZ. Despite the earthquake, 150 delegates gathered last month for a highly successful weekend conference on Messy Church and Debbie has been booked for training events in all the Anglican dioceses.
'The response has been overwhelming and across all the mainline denominations,' she writes. 'Please thank all your team for praying for us. It worked even 12,000 miles away!!!! 700 aftershocks and we are still counting groan.
You will have heard about the New Zealand earthquake. You may also be aware that Debbie Smith, our NZ regional coordinator, is organising the first Messy Church conference the weekend after next. I wondered how she was and she emailed back as below. Please would you hold Debbie, the homeless and anxious, the Anglican Diocese and the conference in your prayers?
'We are fine, but it has been / is pretty horrific.
It was good to hear from you. I'm keen to stay in touch (if we may) as Messy Church seems to be pretty new here in NZ. Most of the ones that I have come across (just a couple here in Christchurch) are calling it something different, like 'Families at 4'.
We have to date run 4 (it seems like much more). We do it at 6 weekly intervals and said we would review things in January. We have decided to stay with 6 weeks as it is quite a bit of planning and organizing. This is partly due to the fact that I enjoy creativity and love developing ideas and possibilities.
Have decided to do what I should have done three years ago, if I had a brain or the vision of a small wombat, which is to keep a journal of what's going on with Messy Church so that it will help me reflect on what God's doing with us, let other people see the mistakes we make and the journey we're on for Encouragement and Edification in case they want to do something similar.