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Query about funding

Posted by Lucy Moore on 22 Jul 2010

A query has come in that highlights the relationship between the establishd body of the church and the emerging Messy Church:

We are charged for the costs of the hall in which we hold Messy Church each month. The hall belongs to the church but is a separate building. As an outreach of church I personally think we shouldn't be charged. Especially as we have to get by on donations. What are others' views on this ?

My - as usual - inadequate answer:

'I see what you mean! I agree, and the only difficulty is in how you put it to the PCC or similar body to make sure that church unity is maintained and love abounds.

My personal feeling is that you could present the idea, local stories, anecdotes and numbers to the PCC or governing body who make the decisions. You could outline that when you started you weren’t sure how it would pan out, but that along with the wider Messy Church network, you’ve come to see that this is a great way of being church for families who can’t come on Sundays (and cite instances of what you do / people’s response / growth and so on). Then ask them if they consider this to be a church congregation or just a club, and in the light of that to decide whether they feel Messy Church should be paying room hire like the karate club or the Brownies, or whether it’s on the same footing as Sunday church but in a different place due to practical issues.

If they think it’s a club, basically they’re wrong (though you might need to find a more tactful way of expressing that) and you could point out that what you do is worship and outreach, not some sort of family fun time. I’ll bung in two quotes below that might help and it’s worth looking at the Messy Month material on the website as a resource for explaining clearly what you’re trying to do and be.

But more important than a few pounds a month are a) staying good friends with Sunday church b) helping everyone understand how important what you’re doing at MC is and valuing it as church, supporting it in prayer.

Good luck!'


'I have followed the development of Messy Church from its beginnings in a single parish to a wider movement of new midweek communities for all ages growing a new generation of disciples. I believe it is one of the most significant developments in fresh expressions of church at the present time. The encouragement and mentoring of the movement given by Lucy Moore and the wider team at BRF has been vital in helping the good news and simple principles to spread, take root and bear much fruit. Messy Church deserves every encouragement and support.'
The Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield

'Messy Church is important within the current re-imagination of what it is to be church. Don't dumb it down to kids, crafts and church-lite. It fosters inherent participation by contrast to congregational passivity. It connects across the generations instead of "sending the children out". It offers a holistic vision of church by weaving together community and creativity, out of which comes appropriate liturgy. This is positively different from laying on worship into which the attenders are assimilated. Moreover its spread shows it is accessible and transferable to many contexts. It has much to teach us all.'
Revd George Lings, Director of Church Army’s Research Unit, The Sheffield Centre