We've had a really great day doing a full day of Messy Church for the 155 people, who had come from all over Oz - folk have FLOWN here from Western Australia and from the Northern Territory! It all feels very surreal and humbling. They were a lovely, warm, generous crowd, who gave a huge amount of support and positive vibes, and it does feel as if lots will happen as a result of their hearing for themselves what Messy Church is and can be.
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:
Jane, connoisseuse of many a buffet lunch, writes:
Winsford Fiesta seemed to go really well and I loved working with Alan and Helen who had important input and messy sense of humour to make the day go along with a swing. The 'light lunch' turned out to be the biggest ham salad in the world and to die for desserts! Some email feedback so far:
Thankyou so much for our training day today at Trinty Methodist Church in Winsford. I really enjoyed it.
Keep spreading 'Messy Church as I believe it is God's will.
OK, think uninhibited welcome and hospitality: that's what I got from the people of Bangor and surroundings when I sallied forth at the weekend to lead a Fiesta there. Kevin Metcalfe of the Church Army had done a fantastic job of publicising the event and we had about 70 people present from the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church and possibly the Presbyterian Church, but by the end of the day I was so confused about denominations and politics and not making any jokes about drink that there could have been another 15 denominations represented and I wouldn't have noticed.
Yes, I have been onlineally silent for a week or so, but in real life haven't stopped talking for the last week as it was our long-awaited International Forum at the BRF office in Abingdon. It was of course great fun and a huge privilege to spend time with four dynamic people from Canada and Australia and to discover those little things that add colour to a previously email-only relationship, an Aussie addiction to CocoPops being but one.
Just back from Greenbelt - the Christian Arts Festival in Cheltenham. It's our second year there with Messy Church and once again we had fun! A brilliant team of leaders from Cowplain, Liverpool and Hartlepool with members of the Barnabas Team, and ranging in age from Edward and Joshua (whose contribution was more on the non-verbal side) through Jack and Molly who added energy and kept us on our toes, through our enthusiastic teenagers Duncan, Judith and Arthur and our, shall we say, more mature team members made our joy complete.
Jane Leadbetter and Jane Butcher took a Messy Team to Keswick earlier in the summer. Jane Leadbetter writes:
The last Wednesday in July and the first Wednesday in August, some of us were invited to Keswick, in the Lake District, to the annual Christian Convention, to put on a first ever Keswick Messy Church showcase. Volunteer Messy Church leaders and coordinators came from Durham, Blackburn, Chester, Wrexham, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Liverpool to create a Messy Creation theme for anyone who had booked in.
What an eventful weekend. I'm writing this in Glasgow airport between flights, and looking out on tarmac seems most peculiar after seeing only peat, lochs and voes for the last four days. I went on Friday with lots of preconceived ideas: that Shetland would be years behind the mainland, that it would be suspicious of outsiders and that it would be just another chunk of Scotland. I was wrong.
We were delighted to be asked by the organisers of the CRE to host a contained stream within the Exhibition on the theme of Messy Church last week. I have to be honest and admit that I had no idea how it would work out and pictured the team miserably twiddling their thumbs in a large, echoing, empty hall. But no - we had well over 100 people signed up to come and well over 100 came and stayed for the whole day!
Today's Fiesta in Sutton Coldfield was privileged to have Bishop Andrew Watson doing the welcome and introduction. He was excellent. Although he could give only 20-30 minutes before heading off to Deanery Synod, he had taken the time to write something specifically about the values of Messy Church, the reality of 'mess' in people's lives and the way in which God can and does break through in the mess. He is such a gift to us in Birmingham and he really showed his support to Messy Church and BRF in general today.