All-age

Mini Messy Church

Recently, we’ve been receiving a few requests from churches wondering whether it is okay for them to call what they are doing ‘Mini Messy Church’, and this has got us thinking as a team. Is the idea of Mini Messy Church a really great idea, or is it something that actually goes against the values of Messy Church?

Discipleship Pilot: the 'just do it better' bit

Discipleship Pilot: ‘Doing what we do even better’ As the third of three blogs on our Discipleship Pilot, this blog explores what we mean by just ‘doing what we do better’.

Discipleship Pilot: the ‘Messy Extras’ bit

The second blog post of three expanding a little on the Messy Church Discipleship Pilot. Yes, we’re hoping to tempt you into giving the Pilot a try in your Messy Church and sending us the results. That way we can gradually help the wider network know which are the most helpful ways to do discipleship in our marvellously Messy context.

Discipleship Pilot: the 'faith at home' bit

I hope by now you’ve seen the easy-to-use Discipleship Pilot we’ve created for Messy Churches. It’s a simple and straightforward tool to get your team talking about what you might do to make and grow disciples in your Messy Church. In this short blog, I’ll focus on the first suggestion in it: that of making disciples by encouraging families to do faith in their homes. In following blogs, we’ll look at the other suggestions.

Grandparents

We've been getting excited about grandparents recently. Maybe it's because Jane and Martyn are now both grandparents themselves, but more likely we've always been fascinated by the unique relationship between older people and younger ones - whether they are related or not. My own children benefited hugely from the church family of surrogate grandparents as they were growing up, when their own grandparents lived a long way away.

Messy Togetherness - Being intergenerational in Messy Church

by Martyn Payne A look at the intergenerational approach in Messy Church.  Buy now Sample pages

Good Shepherd Sheep Trail

What a brilliant idea, St Mary's Wotton under Edge in Gloucestershire! Sunday 17 April is Good Shepherd Sunday, this year, and after trying a Messy Nativity Sheep Trail in the past, St Mary's are holding a Messy Sheep Trail leading up to Good Shepherd Sunday this week!

Needed: more thumbs!

We've been noticing a number of 'extras' added on to Messy Churches. Most of the time we'd roundly applaud the imagination, energy and dedication that goes into organising yet another opportunity in the month to help people encounter Jesus. But just occasionally we writhe a little in angst about whether the development is actually Messy Church or has gone back down a more traditional route.

Evangelism Paper at General Synod

I had the privilege of speaking at General Synod at the Church of England last week in response to the (very good) paper on evangelism. I thought I had five minutes but actually only had three minutes, so here's the full whack of what I had hoped to say. Your thoughts? To get the ambiance, you have to picture me trying desperately to look nonchalant as I lurk behind a lectern waiting for my turn to speak to a huge chamber full of very awesome people. Nervous? Moi?

Ages schmages

We've been alternating between laughter and banging our heads against a wall recently as we've had two emails, which show what an impossible job we're trying to do. One says the activities in Get Messy! are too advanced for the young children coming to their Messy Church, and one says they are too toddler-oriented for the older children at their Messy Church!

Messy Church and working families

Messy Church and working families A new report on working families in the UK has just been published. It is based on a survey of 1000 families. You can read it here (opens as PDF).

Top Tips for being all-age in 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!

Solo adults in Messy Church

I was horribly wrong when I wrote no adults should come on their own in Messy Church 2. There were reasons for writing that at the time, but since then we’ve discovered so much more about being an all-age welcoming church. We now all agree that EVERYBODY is welcome, solo adults included, and indeed one of the BRF Messy Church team was quite hurt when he, as a lone adult, was treated with suspicion at the door of a Messy Church he had been invited to visit.

Remembering the teenage in the all-age!

It has been great to visit Messy Churches up and down the country and get a feel for what God is doing through Messy Church. Great things are happening and I am sure there are greater things to come! Some of these great things include what is going with the teenagers who are involved with Messy Churches. I have heard testimonies from young people who say that Messy Church is giving them the chance to share their faith with others. Messy Church is giving young people the chance to evangelise and draw people into a deeper faith in God. How fantastic is that?

A Reflection from a recent Messy Church visit

One conversation during a recent Messy Church visit set me thinking; this person was from a church family and was there with her young girl. She confessed to me that she doesn’t really enjoy coming to Messy Church. In fact she’s only there because she recognizes that on Sunday morning there just aren’t enough children around of the same age as her daughter. She just didn’t find Messy Church challenging or helpful to her with her faith and in her eyes it was merely an extension of the Toddler Group that she had hoped she had left behind.

Mexican and Peruvian dancers at Colorado Messy Church

Great to hear from Rev Carol Meredith at St Stephens Episcopal Church, Aurora, Colorado. Since July 2014 they have been joining up with their Latino neighbours for Messy Church and at Christmas they all explored Mexican Christmas traditions together.  First, 150 all ages celebrated Our Lady of Guadalupe, making rosaries, paper flowers and Christmas ornaments to decorate a special Altar to Our Lady. They had Mexican dancers and food.

Messy Grandma of Twenty

Look at this story of growth and of God bringing new life and hope to a traditional service through the faithful ministry of the Messy Church team from Claudia Zinck-Gilroy. Happy sigh. Hello there Just wanted to dash off a quick note. Messy Church is growing in the tiny village of Blandford in the Parish of Blandford, Nova Scotia, Canada. We meet twice a month on Friday night. Another village has Messy Church on the alternate Friday night. This way, some of the parents who wish to do so can attend both Messy Churches in a month.

Messy Family Fun in Portsmouth

Messy Family Fun Club at Portsmouth Cathedral

All-age responses

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:

All age or age limits?

One of our regional coordinators recently wrote that she was thinking of having the words 'IT'S ALL AGE!' tattooed across her forehead as she was so fed up of explaining that Messy Church isn't a children's event. I enjoyed some recent correspondence with a Messy Church about this very subject, and it might be useful to others.

Fun Day

A 'next step' day for Messy Church leaders in our area, that's what we wanted it to be. And as we thought about what to do, we became more and more clear that we wanted to reflect our Messy values in what we offered. So instead of an 'adults only' training day, we put our thinking caps on and worked out how to make it a day that all ages could enjoy and benefit from. That way, all the Messy Church team, young and old could come together and be sure of an entertaining and worthwhile day out.

Is Messy Church all-age?

Enjoyably bracing to bring the colourful friendly world of Messy Church up against the dark and studded 'Go on, impress me, then' world of Youth Work at a day with youth and children's workers in Bristol. No wonder old ladies tremble at the sight of gangs of hoodies: the tableful of black-clad early twenties, full of Doritos and the latest advances in youth work, was distinctly intimidating to this greying, wrinkled proponent of something so untrendily jolly.

Holy Communion

Reading and reflecting on an American book Come Unto Me - Rethinking the sacraments for children by Elizabeth Frances Caldwell (The Pilgrim Press 1996). Lots of useful and challenging stuff in it about the importance of faith at home and a partnership between the whole church and the household from which a child comes, both around baptism and around communion. As Messy Churches start including the sacrament of communion, it's worth bouncing what we do off the challenges in pages 57-8:

Fanning the Flame in the Fens

One of the best things about this job is meeting great people and I was glad to remind the people gathered at a school in Ely for a day on fresh Expressions and Children that the people who work with children in our churches are among the most gracious, generous, unpretentious, caring and heart-for-God members of our churches: not in it for the fame, money or glory but purely because of a love for God and a love for children. About 70 such people had gathered for the second annual day on Fresh Expressions, organized by Dave Male.