A couple of queries from Narelle in Australia. Any help for her from your experience?
We have been running Messy Church once a month for nearly a year now.
And have seen it grown.
Each time, we evaluate it and try to work out how we can do it better.
You will know of our dear friends and colleagues in Who Let The Dads Out? Tony passed on this very significant email from one such group. I think it's worth putting up on the Messy Church blog as well because it says something about the value of what we're all doing when we reach out to people with love, gentleness and food. Look at the unthreatening power of the witness of this group, so much appreciated by the person who writes the email.
Many of you know Jane Leadbetter, my esteemed colleague. But what you won't know is that someone rang her after a recent event she ran to wax lyrical about the way Jane had changed the way she thought about what church is all about and how she suddenly realised that the rather elderly priest in their parish, a wonderful man, was treated as the only person to be allowed or expected to do anything.
My word, it was cold! Not the welcome, or the even more welcome soup at lunchtime or the enthusiasm of the group gathered to share stories or find out about Messy Church in Glasgow, but the temperature of the church we met at felt sub-zero, even if it can't have been. Surely. But Lindsey, the placement student from Moorlands who's with me at the moment, said she watched a pair of lips turn gradually blue in the course of their conversation... There was a gradual furtive movement towards the radiators.
Here's a big question I was discussing yesterday with our newest Regional Coordinator, Gill Noles: can a church really be facilitated by people who don't see it as their primary place of belonging? Will those leaders always remain in a state of 'doing' activities at it rather than 'being' themselves and building crucial relationships? To make Messy Church 'authentic', would we need to have a core of people who made it their primary church, rather like church planters do?