I was chatting to our Cathedral Dean the other day and we were struck by the unlikely similarities between a Cathedral ministry and Messy Church ministry. What I mean is, quite a few people go to cathedrals at a point in their life when they need 'carrying' for whatever reason, perhaps looking for a refuge from other forms of church or from the world. They can go to a cathedral service, enjoy the ambiance, the beauty, the music, the sense of being part of a worshipping community but detached from it.
It's been good to see so much messiness happening over Christmas. On one side of the world, Elaine Trendell from the Australian Salvation Army writes: 'Thanks - our Christmas celebration day saw about 100 at Messy Church. All were extremely excited and LOVED coming (many away, but...). Jesus focus, safety candles (changing colour light candles/torch effect), heaps of craft, the wood craft a "Polar Express" train, and of course food. Our special speaker for the day brought his children (and wife). His son 3 times that evening thanked dad for taking him to Messy Church.
We visited the Blue Mountains just before we left Sydney and were suitably wowed by the vast acres of forest stretching out below Katoomba's Echo Point. As we ambled down a path there between eucalyptus trees, I noticed the bark. It looks as if someone's scribbled on it or done some crazy modern machine stitching embroidery. This particular tree was very near the sandstone cliff on the other side of the path, where tourists over the years have graffitied their names.
More multicultural joy this morning first thing as a Tongan youthworker led the opening worship on Exodus 2, with the encouragement to see our ministries like Jochabed putting Moses in a basket and letting him go in faith. That's certainly how it feels, sharing the idea of Messy Church with so many people and having no idea where it will end up or whether it will be 'safe'. If Moses had been born here, he could have been Ozmoses.
The prodigal returns during the talk.
Jane writes:Only two hours and so much to share - a wonderful morning in Waterloo with 17 local churches represented and nearly 40 folk sharing their messy stories so far. Issues which came up during the table talk time:
I was looking forward to last night's Messy Meet-up in Southampton. Paul Woodman had signed up his Messy Church on the Directory so I'd been in touch to say hello, and as a result of that we'd agreed that a nice informal evening's chat for local Messy Church leaders would be fun. I was bowling up the M27, thinking about having a laid-back cosy time, hearing stories and experiences, sharing issues and talking about the DVD with the 20 or so folk who had signed up the last time I'd heard.
After a stimulating morning with Messy Church leaders in Worcester on Saturday, somebody asked if there is an evaluation proforma for Messy Church. I emailed this back in return and will give it further thought in case I decide there is a less woolly answer.Or if someone gives me one!
We had a fantastic day at St John's College in Nottingham on Saturday, with 160 people turning up to hear about Messy Church. I mentioned, as I often do, that some people will never actually pick up a Bible, so our teams need to be aware that the only Bible they may read is us as storybook people.
A kind person smiled and whipped a copy of this old poem out of his briefcase. Admittedly cheesy, it still says just the same thing that I was trying to express. No idea who wrote it and there are many even cheesier versions, so enjoy!
And so my final day in Edmonton. A morning at church (where I discover that ladies of a certain age the world over take approximately 45 seconds to turn the conversation to intimate health issues, even with complete strangers) and a quiet afternoon as we were all too exhausted to go bison-hunting. This proves my theory that there is no wildlife in Canada. It is all a myth perpetrated by the Tourist Board. I added a mere two sparrows and a white cat to my tally.