Variations on a theme
It's very exciting to see the different ways churches are adapting the basic Messy idea - my colleague, the estimable Martyn Payne, headed off to sunny Suffolk for a very messy Easter activity day. Here's how it went:
The Revd Gill Green had seen our Lucy in action at Romsey Abbey a while back, and now in this very rural parish of Hundon in Suffolk she has begun a monthly Messy Church on Tuesdays to reach out to children in the area. Put alongside this the fact that there is a strong BRF following in this church and that they had been reading about our Barnabas events in the news that comes with the notes, it seemed like a great idea to have a 'Messy Church Special' in the Easter holidays led by someone from our team! So it was that I was with over 40 children and leaders leading a Footsteps the Feast style event, exploring and celebrating the Bible stories of the resurrection. This was certainly a great example of different parts of BRF's work and publications making fruitful connections for a local church.
The children were great, many of them being Messy Church regulars, and they enjoyed our special chant for the day, namely:
We're on an Easter Journey
With stories on the way
Jesus lives and brings new life
And walks with us today
The leaders were also thrilled to see how easily the children stepped into the stories, becoming the women creeping nervously to anoint the body in the Easter garden, the disbelieving disciples in the upper room, the bemused fishermen out on the lake and the questioning travellers on the road to Emmaus. Add to this a mix of games and laughter, engaging craft sessions, some (exhausting) activities with a parachute out on the field and a marvellous cooked lunch for everyone and you have a Messy Church Special. We ended the day by sharing what we had been doing with parents and carers who joined us for the last half-hour, part of which I gave over to sharing our reflective new creation story as a way of bringing it all together.
Clergy from the parish team as well as a visiting minister and representatives from other churches in the benefice joined us during the day, so who knows what further 'messy connections' may come in future!