Messy Church is for children and their parents or carers and meets on the last Saturday morning of every month at 10:30am. One month in Swalwell and the next month in Blaydon. Our parish Messy Church team, with people from each end of the parish, plan and deliver Messy Church. It is a structured event exploring a biblical theme, using crafts, singing and stories to help everyone to understand a little more about living as a Christian in the world. At about 11:30 we all sit together and have some food, usually sandwiches, cakes and a drink.
We have been doing Messy Church now for about 6 years and regularly have between 15 and 20 accompanied children each month.
They are the bare facts concerning Messy Church but obviously there is much more goes on behind the scenes as it were, to sustain Messy Church in the Parish for so long. And as this morning is about celebration, we should celebrate that commitment made and enthusiasm given, by all those people involved.
Messy Church allows families to access to the Church building in a new way and for some, Messy Church is their Church and the only time where they experience Christian teaching and discussion. We have actively encouraged those who come to feel like a Messy Church family and as such become very much part of the whole Church family in Swalwell and Blaydon.
Activities are related to the theme of the event and led by one, or sometimes two people. This can be a time of real engagement with people on a one to one basis. Now it’s not easy, or even possible to have much discussion with parents and carers, when you’re in the middle of wiring a circuit together between a battery and a light bulb and explaining the magic of electricity to a seven year old. But it is sometimes surprising how perceptive children can be and one of their questions to us might be something like……. ‘so why did Jesus say that’ or ‘when that happened to Jesus do you think He was sad’, gives an opportunity to reach out to children and adults.
I’m sure all of us on the team have been ‘put on the spot’ by a question or comment like that and it is those moments when you (panic) respond and hope that what you say is helpful to the child and maybe means something to the adults too.
The craft activities support what is said in the story and this is the Messy Church equivalent of the sermon. We then break for lunch which begins with a prayer and is shared together sitting at long tables. Parents and carers are encouraged to join in too.
The activities in Messy Church are there to make them think about Jesus, how he lived, what he did, why he died, is he part of our lives today and we are privileged to have the responsibility to ask the questions, that help them do so.
I celebrate the fact that I am able to be part of Messy Church Team that can have an impact on other people, even if it is only to help them question and grapple with the messy lives we all lead and how Jesus could help them.
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