Guildford Diocese has taken the trouble to write a report on Messy Church in their diocese. They've done so because the Church Army Research Unit found that Messy Church is such a significant part of their fresh expressions scene.
A great day with some 50 people from the Durham area, organised by Anne Offler of the Methodist Church - a more energetic, lovable, enthusiastic and committed person it would be hard to find.
Fuelled by an excellent lunch, we explored what Messy Church is and isn't, and discussed the values behind it: hospitality, creativity, celebration. A definite warm, friendly, excited buzz about the day and with both Anne and our north-eastern Regional Coordinator Mike Gilbertson encouraging the work in that area, I'm sure God will be calling more and more Messy Churches into being.
Jane Butcher, a member of the Barnabas Team and regional coordinator for Messy Church for the Midlands, led a Messy Fiesta on the 20th June. With her mention of the teenagers who came along, I wonder what mileage there is in running a day aimed at teenage leaders?
Messy mud, glorious Messy mud! Well, actually, the Messy Greenbelt team escaped doing Messy Paradise in the mud as we had a great indoor venue this year. There were 450 of all ages who gathered for crafts and celebration with parachute prayers and Messy crafts and activities before joining other worship styles for a pageant and joint service. Thank you, Team Messy, all those who came and God for an abundance of blessings. Greenbelt's 40th birthday next year!
Jane and I had a great time at Dorchester Abbey on Sunday celebrating BRF's 90th anniversary as only Messy Church can. Jelly featured, but not to eat, only to try to build on, as the theme was 'Building Up!' (and the little known parable of Jesus called 'The man who built his house on the jelly'). And of course there was a wide range of activities to explore the idea of BRF building people up in their spiritual lives, the Diocese of Oxford building people up through their churches and Messy Church building up family faith and fun together, all with Christ at the centre.
A real privilege and joy to share last weekend with 30-odd fellow Messy enthusiasts and to have another fun time exploring Messy themes and enjoying learning from and with each other. We had a Father's Day theme this year and enjoyed the Prodigal Son story for our final Messy Church session.
As before, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and included these comments:
Kevin Metcalfe kindly wrote this report on the Christian Resources Exhibition Messy Church seminar:
Report on CRE Belfast Messy Church Seminar
20 February 2012
I flew out with the gloriously few other passengers to Billund, where Inger was waiting despite the plane being ten minutes early and the baggage circling forlornly before I even reached the carousel. Lovely to see Inger again and catch up with her after two years: good job her English is so impressive as my Danish still consists of only the words Mange tak and Hej. Oh, and I've added schlachterhus to my vocabulary. I knew when I heard it I wouldn't be able to forget it: yes, slaughterhouse. Why can't I remember something useful?
I had a happy time with Richard, my boss, at the BRF stand at the Church of England's General Synod last week. (I was disappointed not to be given a Women Bishop's tea towel but did come away with Book of Common Prayer mints, so the day was not in vain.) We caught up with several friends, who were kind enough to stop by the stand, made new acquaintances and were really chuffed to see a Messy Church question had been posted and answered:
We had a fun time at the Hand-in-Hand Children and Family Ministry Conference in Eastbourne this weekend. For the first time we were running a whole stream on Messy Church alongside the other seminars. Four of our Regional Coordinators joined us: Charis Lambert from Morden, Sharon Lakin from Worthing, Janet Tredrea from Truro and Emma Pettifer from Worcester, and for me it was such a treat to listen to their experience and wisdom as they shared their thoughts on different aspects of Messy Church.