More multicultural joy this morning first thing as a Tongan youthworker led the opening worship on Exodus 2, with the encouragement to see our ministries like Jochabed putting Moses in a basket and letting him go in faith. That’s certainly how it feels, sharing the idea of Messy Church with so many people and having no idea where it will end up or whether it will be ‘safe’. If Moses had been born here, he could have been Ozmoses.
The prodigal returns during the talk.
A key note to deliver this morning, but more fun (for me at least) was hearing two presentations about local Messy Churches after lunch. Interesting to hear how the teams hear about it in the first place: in one case, Judyth and her team were very instrumental in spreading the word and getting them started; in the other, the ineffable Dave Male had first mentioned it and Judyth followed it up with practical help. Dapto Uniting Church have humungous publicity thanks the son of Linda, the team leader. Patty from Engadine was intrigued at how their Messy Church is inspiring and transforming the congregation as well as the congregation. Her advice? ‘Follow the book; aim for the achievable; personal invitations; a small committee but a large team.’ She enjoyed seeing one of their Christmas crafts at Messy Church (a decorated Baby Jesus biscuit) duplicated 20 times over for sale at the local school bazaar!
A long chat with Duncan about Australian politics, land rights, church scene, life, the universe and everything: conferences are wonderful things for finding time to chat and learn and grow.
And something odd and noteworthy. I have no sense of direction (and, am ashamed to admit, even had to sit and work out with a pen and paper whether the sun rose in the east or the west when you’re on the other side of the world) and made some passing comment about ‘Western society’, paused to ask if that was the correct thing to say here, was assured that it is correct, and carried on. But then had a person come and congratulate me for bringing up the issue of east / west as ‘it needs to be challenged’. I think it’s something to do with Australian identity: is it a Western society or an Eastern one or indeed a unique Pacific one? I suppose it depends where you’re standing.