Messy Church

Fresh ideas for building a Christ-centred community


Revd Fiona Pennie is Curate at St Mary's Church Grassendale, Liverpool and is on the L19 Messy Church team. She reflects on how engaging with one particular Messy activity lead to her preaching about it on Bible Sunday.

It is always so encouraging to receive emails to the BRF Messy Church team which remind us that people are praying for us and for God’s work through Messy Church. We received one such email recently from faithful friends in Essex. This email, though, had something more in it which we felt it would be good to share. It touches on just what God is doing by working across denominations through Messy Church and how this might, for our generation, be fulfilling Christ’s own prayer for unity… namely 'that they might all be one, even as we are one' (John 17:21). Here is the email:

August holidays can be a good time to step back from the push and shove of routines and do a little reflecting. It’s also for many of us in Messy Church a month off without the urgency of a new session to plan, crafts and activities to prepare, a story to write, a meal to buy for. So, before these lazy days disappear, here are my messy summer reflections - some of the reasons I want to say thank you for Messy Church:

There’s been some comment recently in the press and on social media about church planting. It’s been in the context of the undeniable need for the church to find ways to retell the gospel afresh in our increasingly secular, post-Christian western world. The articles have however highlighted just one particular approach in the UK to such church planting.There are of course many different models for helping to grow the Kingdom of God and one way isn’t necessarily better or worse than another.

Ever since the Messy Church International Conference just over a month ago, I have been wondering about something that George Lings said to us. Maybe you were there or have listened to his talks online since.

'This conference was the richest I have ever attended in terms of content and teaching - the vocabulary of deep theology, vision, church planting, mission strategy and family was the norm, even at breakfast time!'
Liz Hall, delegate

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!

The Messy Church team had a fantastic time at the Hand in Hand Conference in Eastbourne last weekend...although they all came back a little exhausted from all the hard work they put in!

Charis and Michelle (Regional Coordinators) led a session where they shared ideas about boys & blokes at Messy Church. There was a Messy Temptations session based on the ideas from the Get Messy! magazine and the Messy Easter book. There was lots of fun and families, and the edible snakes went down particularly well!

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.

Record of discussions from
The 2nd Godly Play/Messy Church Conversation Day

2nd September 2014
held at St Bertelin’s Church, Stafford

Following the interest in the first Godly Play/Messy Church conversation day which was held in London in June, a second gathering was planned in the Midlands.
There were 28 delegates in total, most of whom were Godly Play practitioners and/or leaders in Messy Churches, although there were a few who had very little experience of either. Our furthest travelled participant came from the north of Scotland!