MESSages to God
Jane Leadbetter came up with the idea and Cerys Hughes in Lichfield came up with the name. Jane has started using it at her Messy Church: simple prayer requests that are written down during cake time and posted by all ages into a box. Jane then types them up and emails them out to the list of contacts she has from team and Messy congregation. The names here have been reduced to initials for the sake of privacy. They really echo Paul's advice in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV):
It was great to meet face to face at last (after many emails and phone calls) with the wonderful people from Sweaty Church in York, Ian and Johnny, and to hear about all God's doing for families through their very active expression of church.
Please do continue to pray for the churches in New Zealand and encourage your Messy Churches to pray too. As you know, Debbie Smith is our regional coordinator and lives in Christchurch, though she and her husband Andrew are on the point of moving to a new job in Nelson. It sounds horrendous, and I wasn't even sure Debbie would have email up and running to reply to an anxious email:
Horrendous news from Christchurch - are you and yours OK this time? I really hope so. Do let us know if you can. Much love Lucy
To my relief, she did:
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.
One discussion the regional coordinators had at the Round Table in September was about the value of small talk at Messy Church. One person even went so far as to say it can be sacramental and should be valued as such.
Cornwall is such a happening place! Messy Churches are popping up all over, and it was great to be invited to go and lead a 24-hour retreat for children's workers in the Methodist Church in Cornwall by Janet Tredrea, our Regional Coordinator for Cornwall.
The District Chair, Revd Steven Wild and his frog kindly dropped in and waxed enthusiastic about Messy Church - we have friends in high places.
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?
Jo Birkby and the team from St Saviour's are just about to start Messy Church. She sent an email full of God's goodness and provision for, as she says, 'the who's and how's'. Be encouraged!
One mum who has been coming for ages is a member of another local church. She is deeply loyal to her church but said to Paul last night, 'The only worship I get that I can relate to is once a month at Messy Church.'
God, forgive us as a church for short-changing you in this chronic way. Show us passion and vision. Add your yeast to the lumpy dough. Make us a community of people with purpose. Help us open the windows to a kingdom that is irresistible and everlasting. Let your sun rise.
The other question we've been chewing over at our planning meeting is how to involve the Sunday congregations more in Messy Church, both as helpers and to make it clear that this is an opportunity for them to invite neighbours and friends along and enjoy coming as a member themselves.