We LOVE being part of a global network through Messy Church and one of our most recent interesting additions has been the branch in Grenada. Yes, Grenada! I have just looked it up in my atlas and it is in a very exciting place. Janet in Cornwall has already decided that twinning her Messy Church with the one in Grenada is an excellent idea and is busy buying sun oil and booking her flights as we speak…
It’s a fascinating insight into what is appropriate in different contexts and confirms us in our belief that we shouldn’t be trying to run a franchise (which we’re not) but instead offering this idea to all comers and encouraging every church to use it as they prayerfully believe is right.
Andy Dye is the Methodist worker who has helped start it in Grenada, and he writes in his prayer letter:
‘You may have heard or taken part in Messy Church events in the UK. They are generally whole-family days, with activities, food, songs and a message. So when I was asked to speak to the St George’s Church Women’s League about mission in Britain, Messy Church was one of the things I talked about. This seemed to strike a chord with members of the group and so they held their own Messy Church event this month. The first Messy Church in Grenada was helped by the ‘messy’ people from Truro Methodist Church, but importantly the St George’s Women’s League did it their way. For instance it was not called “messy” or “church”, but “Creative Fellowship”. About 40 children and adults came along, for games, crafts, songs and food. Feedback was very positive and it is hoped to run something every month or two.’
And in an email to Janet he shared his thinking about the name ‘Creative Fellowship’:
‘I think the name Messy Church will be hard to convince them of. I remember having an interesting (to me!) discussion about it with them. They all seemed agreed that they could not call it that. I think there are two reasons that I could discern from the discussion. First the word “Messy” here seems to have much closer links to mess to do with excrement, like dog mess. Culturally being “messy” and the idea of being messy, i.e. dressed badly etc. etc. is a much worse thing here than in the UK; the word “messy” does not seem to have the idea of fun linked to it as in the UK . Secondly the word “Church” – their view was that if it is called “church”, then people will not come because the vast majority of people here are already linked to a church (even if they do not go). They felt people would not want to be seen as going to another “Church” and being disloyal. It’s interesting the difference that culture makes to something as innocuous to us as the name “Messy Church”! I wonder if perhaps the Messy Church movement in the UK could discuss this. Is the name a barrier in some cultures? From the UK Messy Church organisation’s point of view, is having a different name a barrier to linking with a group here that want to run the same kind of activities?’
And in case you read this, Andy, we’re just thrilled to think of our sisters and brothers so far away being part of our messy family, whatever name they go by, and we just hope they feel they belong to us as much as we belong to them. A big hello to the St George’s Women’s League!