In the beginning...
I was searching the internet for some ideas for the Sunday School when I stumbled upon the Messy Church website. It really struck a cord with me and sounded like a concept that we could apply in within a little (new) Anglican church in northern Johannesburg, South Africa. I approached our rector, and thus begins our Messy journey.
“Last month I ran a table when we used paper clips and beads to make a necklace to show how the people in the church link together through their love for God .
Messy Church is a really good way of learning about the Christian faith while having fun at the same time!”
Storm, age 11
After some prayer and discernment, our first Messy Church was held in December 2009. We meet on a Saturday afternoon on a monthly basis. We are blessed to take advantage of the weather, and hold most of our activities outdoors. At times the wind does play havoc with the little paper cut-outs, glitter, etc. – creating quite a mess! There is a regular group of children who attend who are linked to the Sunday congregation, but the children also enjoy bringing their friends.
We have muddled along as the Spirit leads and followed our own trajectory, enjoying the wealth of ideas available in the literature (and now the online magazine). We have linked with the Sunday congregation through the making of an altar cloth (four themed panels). We have also held some Inside Out services (couldn’t call it a Big Mess!) where the congregation have picked up their chairs and gone outside to a creative space (crafts or dancing), prayer space or discussion space for the “teaching slot” of the service. We also made out of recycled materials, the characters for the nativity crib scene that is used in church at Christmas.
“I get such pleasure when I feel a tug on my sleeve or any other part of my clothing and look down to see a cute mischievous smile accompanied by a chirpy “hello” from one of the many kids that take part in Messy church. That just makes my day!”
Kate – Craft facilitator
Unfortunately not many parents come with their children to Messy Church. However, the Lord has not missed the opportunity, and the format of Messy Church has enabled the pre-teens to form quite a strong bond. And now these youngsters make and sell egg and bacon rolls after the Sunday services to raise funds for the educational needs of young people within the congregation.
We would love to link up with other Messy Church communities within South Africa to share ideas, concerns and to meet together for encouragement.