Messy Church

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There was a cracking Radio 4 programme about Sherwood Forest recently, in which the forester was looking at one of the ancient oaks. The reporter gushed about how beautiful it was. The forester replied something like this: 'Yes, I suppose it is a beautiful thing in itself. But it's most important for the variety of life it supports. That's why we've propped it up with massive buttressess and put a girdle round its trunk – to keep it going a few more years until the young oak trees we've planted grow up and can start supporting those different species of life themselves.'

While most of the people who read the Messy Church blog will, with me, rise up in ire, wielding a pitchfork at the description of Messy Church as ‘a brand of work with children’ (yes, I share your pain), Bishop David touches on something important about the value of messiness to the way we are church together. 

Reflections from a recent Messy Church visit

No doubt it was because I was deep into Lucy's Messy Hospitality as I travelled to a Messy Church recently that I couldn't help experiencing the visit through the lens of how welcoming everything and everybody was. I was pleased to say this Messy Church scored highly!

Is it just me or do you find that your involvement with Messy Church is beginning to have more of an impact than you could ever imagine?

I suppose more than most I've had the opportunity of being part of lots of Messy Churches up and down the country in my role within the BRF Messy Church team, and maybe this is why I am feeling the impact more, but I don't think I'm alone. Certainly Jane and Lucy in our team feel the same.

I found myself waxing lyrical in a recent email about the oddness of what we're doing in Messy Church. It's a funny time to be a Christian - as to some, this description of church sounds old hat, and to others, it’s incomprehensible.

It's been a while since I explained why Messy Church is called Messy Church. And anyway, we find out more about it as a name the more we go on with it, so perhaps there'll be something novel for everyone here.

This link popped up on my Twitter Feed today http://ericgeiger.com/2015/07/the-important-stats-about-our-cultural-context/#.VbcpiZXH-1t (thank you Simon Bowkett) which states in its initial summary: 52% of Americans believe worshipping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church.

I wonder how much of a mistake it is to be church 'for' other people, or 'at' other people, rather than 'with' other people?

I suppose even being church 'at' or 'for' them is better than assuming it's all laid on for me, me, me. And I suppose 'being' church rather than 'doing' church is also a Jolly Good Thing, just as 'being' a disciple is at the heart and root of all we 'do' as disciples.

It's the whole subtle question of whether we're being Messy Church alongside others or doing it to them.

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