August holidays can be a good time to step back from the push and shove of routines and do a little reflecting. It’s also for many of us in Messy Church a month off without the urgency of a new session to plan, crafts and activities to prepare, a story to write, a meal to buy for. So, before these lazy days disappear, here are my messy summer reflections - some of the reasons I want to say thank you for Messy Church:
Kliederkirk is the name given to Messy Church by our friends in the Netherlands.In their recent newsletter to their own 'Messy Church' family of churches they included some top tips on becoming and staying all-age.We thought you might like to read them, especially number 8 with its recommendations for making adults feel welcome at the meal!
Celebration is the name we've given to the most traditional worship part of Messy Church - the 15 minutes of story, song, prayer and whatever else we bring into the gathered worship of the whole session. It's also a broader term for marking with joy or sorrow a significant event, for making that event count in our community's life.
Celebration can be engaging, fun, joyful: where people's perception of church is that it is boring, we need to show them that the church worships a God who is totally engaging.
Hoorah and thank you for so many responses to the all-age part of the recent newsletter - here are some so far.
Anthony Oram writes from Beverley in a self-confessed rant:
Great to have feedback from the newsletter musings. Thank you to Margaret for her email:
It's great to get thoughtful responses to the E-News- you may remember that this month's includes some questions about the activity time of a Messy Church and the value of 'creativity'. Dermot Wynne from St Francis of Assisi in Welwyn Garden City was kind enough to send his thoughts. I don't think he has any doubts that the activity time is much more than a bit of fun.
Is the activity time in Messy Church just a crowd-puller, crowd-pleaser and time filler?
At teatime at Messy Church today we put out a scribble sheet on each table with a pencil. Here are the two questions and the answers. I wonder what you would conclude from the answers?
We had a challenging email through recently regarding school attendance:
I am hoping you might be able to help with a quick question: does Messy Church count as a 'church attendance'?
I have attended a Sunday service for many years as well as a midweek home group. Since my local church started a Messy Church service (which is amazing by the way) and my son has started rugby, I have now changed to attending the Messy Church and my regular midweek group and not going to so many Sunday services.
Someone emailed us recently asking for advice about the name of their Messy Church to-be. I found the question raised a lot of issues, so I've anonymised the reply I sent and copied it below in case you're interested.
Names... it's an interesting one, and you've obviously taken on board some of the 'finer nuances' of the term 'messy', so I won't run through those again.
The short answer is you must call it whatever you feel is best for your community.