A year ago, as I sat drinking a coffee at Stay and Pray watching my two year old paint his hands with glue, Abigail Pedrick turned to me and said, “I want to start a Messy Church at St Mary’s. You’re on my committee, okay?”
Abi and I have a friendship that is based on truth and honesty but also committees and the obsession with making our voices heard. So, of course, I said yes and we quietly built a committee of seven lovely people. From our first meeting, it was very clear that we were all on the same page with our intentions of what Messy Church could and should be for St Mary’s. We wanted to host a relaxed but exciting, family driven environment that celebrated individuals and allowed people to experiment with different forms of worship. I personally interpret the word “Messy” as “Messing with the norms”, not just the physical messes that can come with paint and two year olds! Messy Church is a place to do this; to mess with the structure of a service, to mess with worship, to mess with your comfort zone by speaking to new people. It is a fun way to introduce the church to modern times and to excite our younger generations.
Our first ever Messy Church was held on October 14th and was a complete success. We had over 45 families join us, mainly from the local community. We had five craft tables set up, which all casually focused on the theme of “The Parable of the Sower”. As people baked their hedgehog bread, made their “thankful pumpkins” and painted on an autumnal tree, we were able to talk to them about Harvest and what it means to us personally. Janine then held a twenty minute service which focused on the parable and incorporated fresh and vibrate new Christian music. The children were dancing in the aisles, interacting and generally having a really fun time! We then shared a meal together of Chili, with the hedgehog bread that we had baked as an accompaniment. It was lovely to sit together and chat over dinner, asking people where they were from and what lead them to Messy Church on that day.
One thing that we found consistently is that families were visiting to show children just how much fun could be had at church. The feedback was fantastic and we hope for an even bigger turnout at our Christmas themed Messy Church -
So what did we learn from our first attempt?
We learnt that Caterham is a town full of young families who are looking for their place in the community. We learnt that one of these places, could be St Mary’s! We learnt that Messy Church is fun for everyone and definitely does not have an age range. We learnt that as a Church, we should always be learning from each other, mixing old and new experience and ideas. We learnt that creativity has no restrictions, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are.
We have decided that St Mary’s Messy Church will continue as a seasonal event, with four a year. Our next one will be focused on Christmas but with a twist: Abi will be giving a service focusing on the “support acts” of the nativity! There will be salt dough candle holders to decorate, pictures to make, biscuits to decorate and many other creative surprises! If you would like to help, please let us know. And helping can come in many forms, if you would like to drop off a dish of food or help to set up/clear away, there will be room for everyone.
Finally, a massive thank you to Abigail for starting this ball rolling and leading the Messy Church Committee. And also to the devoted members of the committee, Hilary, Janine, Kate, Katy & Richard. There is always space (and wine!) at this table and we welcome all new ideas.
The Beacon -
Live at St. Lawrence’s
Scouts Christmas Post
Ecumenical Carol Service
1st Caterham Beaver, Cubs & Scout Group
Annual fundraiser for new equipment
From November 17th until December 13th
You can post your Christmas cards in our special post boxes
at the back of the Church and in the hall.
the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts will do the rest
Look out for our other post boxes
in Caterham Libraries and shops
See Caterham Facebook for details
St. Lawrence’s Church
Tuesday 11th December
The Croydon Citadel
Salvation Army Band
Wine and Mince Pies