Woke up to a power cut, but can’t complain as everyone else was woken even earlier by a fire alarm, which passed me by completely. A large vat of cottage cheese for breakfast left me curious but untempted. And the morning saw the two remaining sessions with the clergy as their conference ended. There was so much to say (about discipleship, faith at home, the growth, the values, our dreams for the future) and the questions kept on coming.
It was really good to hear a couple of stories of local Messy Churches, one of which runs every week, with Jon the curate emailing people at the weekend to explain the menu and ask what the team would like to bring, then they cook it together: all very wholesome. A conversation with one minister who was digesting it all, who said, ‘It’s a framework, isn’t it? It’s a framework that I can take to my church and say, here’s something that’s worked for other churches – we can use this here by just asking “who do we want to love?” and “what are we excited about?” and use the answers to that in the Messy Church framework.’ A brilliant strategy.
I was left with the impression that the clergy now certainly know about Messy Church, are aware of some of the issues that surround it and that it’s neither rocket science nor kids’ church, that they know who is running one in the area and that the overwhelming feeling towards it was a positive one. Generous, considering that clergy have a lot invested in Sunday church.
The bishop kindly treated me to a massage in the afternoon, which left me deliciously floppy, if a little perturbed to hear that my body is ‘in distress’ (really?) and that I have fluid on the ankle. Gout and palsy are doubtless on their way. Then Sarah dropped me off with my hosts for the weekend, the wonderful Maddie and Quinn, who let me play in the backyard with two-year-old Sam, during which time we got very ‘germy hands’, made countless grass salads, buried dinosaurs and created a pepper grinding machine out of the wheelbarrow. Children’s imagination is a rare and marvellous thing. Wildlife: one ladybug and a handful of ants. No bears.