Just back from Greenbelt – the Christian Arts Festival in Cheltenham. It’s our second year there with Messy Church and once again we had fun! A brilliant team of leaders from Cowplain, Liverpool and Hartlepool with members of the Barnabas Team, and ranging in age from Edward and Joshua (whose contribution was more on the non-verbal side) through Jack and Molly who added energy and kept us on our toes, through our enthusiastic teenagers Duncan, Judith and Arthur and our, shall we say, more mature team members made our joy complete.
The team who run Messy Space welcomed us warmly and generously allowed us to take over their kingdom for the two sessions. We enjoyed the company of some 700 visitors over the two sessions, ranging from families enjoying Messy Church to people who had just come to see what Messy Church is. We had people from Hungary, Australia and Germany – a real privilege to explore ‘Do we matter?’ and ‘Following Jesus’ with them all. Germany is starting its first Messy Church or ‘Ü-Kirche’ – for Überraschung or ‘Surprise Church’ in Burgdorf-Ehlershausen next month – do pray for them!
Feedback on the scribble sheet was overall very positive and helpful. The team were still smiling by the end of it – always a good sign. One dad gazed at the biscuit of blue icing sea and jellybaby figures of Peter and Jesus in awe and murmured, ‘That’s brilliant, just brilliant.’ The ‘sea of worries’ provoked some very moving ‘confessions’ from both children and parents and provided opportunities for doubts and worries to be brought out to Jesus and to each other. One person commented on the lack of learning outcomes; another said, ‘Stuff learning outcomes, we really liked the random crafts’: perhaps the reality lies somewhere between the two extremes.