Messy Queensland Update

God is at work in Queensland, Australia! Thank you Sue and Glen Taylor and Beth Nicholls for your Regional Coordinator support in this huge part of the continent.

Do you offer training about Messy Church

Calling people who have a responsibility for training in their district, diocese, denomination or other department. If you're offering any training on Messy Church, we'd like to help you make it as informed, up to date and linked in to the centre as it possibly can be. That way more people get to hear what Messy Church really is instead of a Chinese Whispers version. It also means they have access to the most recent resources through you.

Messy Hands - Training in Makaton?

Trish Hahn writes: I have a question related to Messy Church and Makaton. As you know our Messy Church is for kids with SEN and we are using Makaton more regularly at each session to include it during worship and story time. I am on a closed Facebook site called Additional Needs Alliance which brings together parents and youth workers within church setting to discuss ways to include those with disabilities/additional needs. So far several people have said that they think use of Makaton within worship would be beneficial to those who are limited in communication.

Winchester Tour - The Messy Eucharist - Romsey Abbey

Pete and Andy's vision for this spring/summer is to make a training tour around the Diocese. They'll do Messy Fiestas with a difference at three venues, culminating in a Messy Eucharist (like you've never experienced before!) for everyone at Romsey Abbey in July. Sunday 7 July at Romsey Abbey, 3.00 - 5.30pm with craft/celebration/tea and cake for all ages and whole families. Come and share in a Eucharist like no other.

Winchester Tour - All Saints' Church, Milford-on-Sea

Pete and Andy's vision for this spring/summer is to make a training tour around the Diocese. They'll do Messy Fiestas with a difference at three venues, culminating in a Messy Eucharist (like you've never experienced before!) for everyone at Romsey Abbey in July. Programme All Messy Fiestas run from 9.30 to 12.30, are free of charge, and will take this format: 9.30-10.30 training for leaders and core teams 10.30 open the doors to families and wider teams, when Pete and the core teams will lead Messy Crafts

Messy Church DVD

This DVD tells the story of Messy Church and explores the issues it raises through conversations with leaders from around the UK and meeting the children and adults who make up the congregations.

Messy Weekend

A real privilege and joy to share last weekend with 30-odd fellow Messy enthusiasts and to have another fun time exploring Messy themes and enjoying learning from and with each other. We had a Father's Day theme this year and enjoyed the Prodigal Son story for our final Messy Church session. As before, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and included these comments:

Messy Weekend

Jane writes: They came from Scotland, North Yorkshire, the Midlands and Cambridgeshire, Durham and Oxfordshire; adults and children, singing, praying, getting messy; listening to each other's stories, sharing worries and concerns. They made crafts, made new friends, created dramas, played games. They laughed, hammered nails, learned skills, wrote in clay. They met with God in the Mini Retreat, were affirmed and blessed before God in the Messy Church session consultations and heard about the worldwide Messy Church. Did we really do all of that in a weekend? Yes and more!

Teenagers at Messy Church

As part of BRF's commitment to developing discipleship of people who belong to Messy Churches, we're delighted to announce an exciting day for teenagers in association with the Methodist Church: Are you a young helper at Messy Church? Would you like to help Messy Churches internationally to be better at welcoming teenagers? A day for teenagers who help at Messy Churches across the UK and their accompanying adults

Happy New Year!

Hope 2011 is a corker for you and your Messy Churches!

Christian Resources Exhibition

We were delighted to be asked by the organisers of the CRE to host a contained stream within the Exhibition on the theme of Messy Church last week. I have to be honest and admit that I had no idea how it would work out and pictured the team miserably twiddling their thumbs in a large, echoing, empty hall. But no - we had well over 100 people signed up to come and well over 100 came and stayed for the whole day!

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.

A blog to check out

Martyn and I did some Barnabas work in and around Aberdeen last year. I was delighted to receive notice of this blog which shows how one evening's training can result in a huge impact on a community: Mountain Tops and Monday Mornings

Children's Ministry Conference Eastbourne

Hand in Hand - an excellent title for a conference on children's and family ministry, as it's all about partnership with churches, supportive organisations like S.U. and Barnabas, the children's and family workers and the children and families themselves. We had a great time over the weekend, meeting so many friends old and new. I was worried that no-one would come to the Messy Church seminar as everyone knows about it already, but about a hundred people came and very few fell asleep.

Messy Tea

Discipleship? Training? I'm not sure what Messy Tea would best fit into - it's such early days that it might be better not to pigeonhole it yet. It's our attempt to grow Messy Church here in Cowplain.

Small talk

One discussion the regional coordinators had at the Round Table in September was about the value of small talk at Messy Church. One person even went so far as to say it can be sacramental and should be valued as such.

The Sophia Network

A thatched pub in the New Forest in the sunshine: there are worse places to meet, and it was excellent to find out about the Sophia Network from one of its founders, Sharon Prior. You can read all about Sophia here. It's an organisation that exists to connect women in youth work and ministry to access training, develop skills and share wisdom.

Chichester Fiesta and Messy Church

On Sunday I was privileged to take part in a day of activities with Christ Church Methodist Church in Chichester - a blissfully short distance from home. The morning was a mini-Fiesta for their own church and a church in Worthing who are thinking of starting one, making use of their newly rebuilt hall. The afternoon was an actual Messy Church for local people on the theme of the prodigal son. There were about 30 people at the event - numbers were lower than expected at the Messy Church but that might have been because it was a beautiful day outside!

Growing Leaders in Messy Church

Lots of thoughts about leadership recently, including:

Easy Evening

Messy Church leaders in Kent had a really inspiring evening together chatting about Messy Church and the problems and ways forward locally. It wasn't a full Messy Fiesta, which takes a bit of organising, but just an easy evening in a church where they run Messy Church themselves, and coordinated by Regional Coordinator for Kent, Captain Graham Nunn.

First Foreign Fiesta and Finances

Sound the bagpipe and splice the sporran - the first full Scottish Messy Fiesta has taken place. A gleefully ecumenical event as some 60 people threw themselves into the day in Edinburgh, just up the road from Murrayfield - rather fun to drive back through the crowds of kilts and leprechauns making their way to the match down the middle of the road.

Chester (Diocese) Fiesta

It was a very exciting day on Saturday - over a hundred people gathered in Hale to find out more about Messy Church and share ideas. You can imagine the buzz created by so many people with such a heart for God and for people not yet part of a church.

Getting Messy in Newcastle

It was a long hot haul from Portsmouth to Newcastle for the Newcastle Messy Fiesta, but it was well worth it, with 58 people turning up to enjoy a day of discussion and... well, mess, as we dived into the crafts and somehow managed to keep the carpet clean even if our hands were covered with PVA, paint, ink and sequins. People had come from the local area of course, but also Hartlepool, Carlisle and even Arbroath.

Messy Fiestas

The publicity has gone out for the first Messy Fiesta next month - thanks to the wonderful sales and marketing department at BRF - and people have signed up to come! All very exciting as I'm sure this is the best way forward: to talk to each other. I hope I'm going to be able to be gracious enough to be like John the Baptist for the next year or so - decreasing so that others can increase. It would be so easy and so fatal to try to hold all the reins and control everyone's developments, when the best way forward is to try out new things and learn from each other.