Gemma’s Messy Story

Published 27th July 2017 by Messy Church

I have always felt God’s presence in my life, even as a child. However, I believe that my true path as a Christian, as someone who aspires to be a disciple of Christ, started approximately three years ago.
I had attended church on and off before this, but mainly busied myself with my young family. As my children grew older and started attending nursery, I became more integrated into my community. A friend of mine suggested I try an after-school session called Messy Church. 
After just one session, I felt so inspired. I felt proud that I had exposed my young children to the teaching of Christ and couldn’t believe what a treasure I had found! I actually felt like a winner; I had found one of the best after-school activities, and it was free. I started to tell everyone I could about it, so they too could join in on the fun.
My passion was ignited by the friendliness, generosity and kindness that Messy Church had promoted that day. It had completely shattered my preconceptions about church being a place not suited to young children. The idea that the church was embracing these families and providing fun, food and prayer for nothing in return just astounded me. 
It is very obvious to me that God was working in me that day. I felt confident enough to walk through the door the following Sunday for the service, knowing that I would recognise, and be recognised and kindly received by, the staff I had met in Messy Church that day.
I now help run Messy Church, am a fully integrated member of the church and find nothing more enjoyable than using the creative gifts God gave me to serve at St Matthew’s Fulham. I want to be an example to others in the non-Christian community that even a family with three under-5s and a teenager is welcome at church, that families are just as important as quiet, well-behaved adults, and that it’s not scary. In fact, it is fun and exciting to learn.
Messy Church, in my opinion, is the best way for a church to display its true colours in Christ, the best way to informally invite families back to church. Messy Church set me on a path of conviction and commitment to Christ, and I have witnessed other families who attend Messy Church be set on that same path. They are becoming regular attendees, learning more about Christ and helping their children to receive the same teaching. This is not just a new project, a new statistic for the church. It’s real and it works!
Messy Church is available to every family in the community and is just the perfect beacon in the dark. It’s available to everyone, just like the gift of God’s son, and creates a way for families to learn more.
Gemma Hill, 36, is married to Martin and is the mother of four children, aged 14, 4, 3 and 7 months.

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