A growing number of Messy Churches are daring to take their Messy families away for a weekend. It's proving a great way to deepen friendships made at Messy Church and to help young and old on their discipleship journeys.
Aike Kennett-Brown is our Regional Coordinator in south-east London, working as a Messy pioneer out of St John's, Blackheath. Those of you who were at the Messy Church International Conference in May will have heard her speak briefly about her plans for 'Messy munches' as a way of establishing all-age discipleship groups for her Messy Church families.
22 coloured streets, 4 different churches, 5 Messy Church values, 8 eager teams, 2 incredible Regional Coordinators, one Capital City and a BRF photographer - put them all together, and what do you get: messy Monopoly!
Joan Foster is, I think, enjoying her Messy Church and threatens to wear out the exclamation mark key on her keyboard.
Yesterday, we had an amazing day!
It started in the morning when our usual 09.30 Eucharist was full of children. We usually have a fair number of young families, but we were celebrating the first birthday of our oldest 2012 baby bulge (13 baby baptisms last year and two held over to this year) and had several new families there to ask about baptism as well.
We had our first Messy Church on Saturday 28th January and I still can’t quite believe what happened. Since taking on the role of part time families worker at our church we have discussed the possibilities of running one and we finally managed it.
I had an amazing team of 45 volunteers which was more than I thought I would need but I wasn’t going to turn anyone down who offered. They ranged form early teens to early 80s from our various services.
It was great to visit the Messy Church at Overton in Hampshire the other week and join in their session on a Sunday afternoon. I was struck by so many things: the way the silent church filled up with laughter and song and conversation; the way the stillness of the building changed to movement as everyone dashed round on treasure hunts and in pursuit of activities and back to stillness again as the whole community gathered and focused on song and prayer.
Becky Sedgwick and her team have been thinking out of the box and developing their Messy ministry in an imaginative and inspiring way:
'We just wanted to let you know about something we've started here at St James', Devizes. We realised that our Messy Church didn't really work for families in which the oldest child was still a toddler, but we wanted to provide something for those families, similar to Messy Church but tailored just for them.
We've been asked to bring together some case studies of Messy Churches in rural contexts for a library of good practice that will be a briliant resource for rural churches across the UK. Janet in Cornwall, Anne in Co. Durham and Cerys in Lichfield have all kindly sent stories in, but I need more!
Could you manage a little paragraph on your rural Messy Church to help other people in a similar situation? The fictitious paragraph below assembles all the cliches about rural church, so it's up to you to refute or confirm that it's anything like this:
A friend sent through this lovely misunderstanding from their local paper:
'My church is holding a Messy Church this Wednesday - however, the local paper got the wrong idea when they published a notice about it, and printed the following:
Church needs your help
Help is needed to tidy St Mark's Church. A special cleaning day will be held on Wednesday October 6, and the team are appealing for volunteers to join in. No special skills are needed, just a willingness to join in and be part of the action.
Good job I don't set myself up as omniscient when I'm proved wrong at every turn. What is it about Messy Church that means it never follows the rules? Hmph. All very... messy. A while back the Revd Tim Waghorn from Victoria in Australia emailed asking for my wisdom (choke choke) on how often to run a Messy Church. I pontificated at length about the joys of monthliness and heard today what Tim and his team decided to do. The moral of the tale? Listen to God, not me!