Messy Church

Fresh ideas for building a Christ-centred community


In June 2013 we hosted our first Messy Munch.

What is Messy Munch?

This was our first attempt at intergenerational discipleship, aiming to strengthen relationships within our Messy Church congregation, in an informal way.  As we currently meet bimonthly, it has taken time to get to know some of the families on the fringe, and our long-term hope is that these families will not simply see Messy Church as an event that they drop in to if nothing else is happening, but will become part of the Christ-centred community.

Caroline Chichester in a very rural setting in Salisbury Diocese emailed with news of her wonderful teenagers: I started a monthly Messy Church- style service a couple of years ago which is called 'Lovely Cake'. A few months ago the older children in the group (years 6-8) asked if they could form a separate group, although they continue to come with their families to 'Lovely Cake'. We began a few months ago and they decided to call themselves 'Awesome Cake' - continuing the cake theme!

Nancy Rowe from St George's Church, Canada and her church have been growing people from their Messy Church using 'A Spirited Study'. Nancy writes:

This is a very exciting and significant development of the Messy Church idea for teenagers and for mission. Revd Julie Coleman writes from the Diocese of Canterbury:

Trashy Church for older children, teenagers and families:

I have held Trashy Church at Adisham Village Hall for the past six months. The pioneer project Trashy Church is aimed towards young people and families who are marginalised from society/church or feel too old to attend Messy Church or seek to move on from Messy Church.

Cerys Hughes in Lichfield Diocese and her team have held their first Family Cafe, and Cerys has kindly written about it. If you're thinking about a follow-on from Messy Church, it could be a great inspiration.

Alison Thurlow and her team run a Messy Church near Bristol. She wrote recently to her team, kindly copying me in. It's hugely encouraging that about half her team are teenagers. She writes:

When I was tidying my in-tray(!) I found some notes from our team meeting in July 2010, all about our hopes and dreams for Messy Church at St Nix. As I read them through, I was amazed at how many of those dreams have already come to fruition! I am re-sending you all a copy of those notes with my thoughts two years on added in italics!

Nancy Rowe in Georgetown, Canada, writes about her church's group formed to help people go deeper in faith:

Becky Sedgwick and her team have been thinking out of the box and developing their Messy ministry in an imaginative and inspiring way:

'We just wanted to let you know about something we've started here at St James', Devizes. We realised that our Messy Church didn't really work for families in which the oldest child was still a toddler, but we wanted to provide something for those families, similar to Messy Church but tailored just for them.

It's been a brain-wringing time for Jane, me and the rest of the BRF Messy Church Team as we've had two events recently to focus on the question of discipleship in Messy Church. The first was a gathering of Messy Church leaders and church growth / discipleship course experts at St John's College Nottingham for a full day's discussion. The second was a morning with the Church Army Sheffield Centre Research Team in Sheffield.

One team was asked whether they needed a chaplain for their Messy Church. They came up with the following jobs that a chaplain could do for them. It's an interesting list as it seems to demonstrate how far removed Messy Church is from a craft club or social circle:

In response to the questions 'Do we need a chaplain?' 'What would we want this person to do?'