We had a fun time at the Hand-in-Hand Children and Family Ministry Conference in Eastbourne this weekend. For the first time we were running a whole stream on Messy Church alongside the other seminars. Four of our Regional Coordinators joined us: Charis Lambert from Morden, Sharon Lakin from Worthing, Janet Tredrea from Truro and Emma Pettifer from Worcester, and for me it was such a treat to listen to their experience and wisdom as they shared their thoughts on different aspects of Messy Church. Jane’s morning sessions were spot-on and really got people thinking about using Messy Church around sporty events and how to be quiet as well as loud in worship and activity. Janet’s session on cooking was huge fun, despite (because of?) the low number of delegates and it was immense value for money.
Sharon gave us a really useful insight into crafts: far meatier than some people wanted who may just have come for a ‘Top Ten Tips of Things To Do with Toilet Paper’ session, and would really make them think about the whys and wherefores and potential of craft in more than just Messy Church, I’m sure. Emma’s celebration session was packed full of ideas and again, made people engage their brains about all-age worship. And Charis dealt so brilliantly with hospitality and latest developments, combining them beautifully and seamlessly in a really well-worked out theological reflection on so many aspects of welcome… How great to be part of such a talented team! It was brilliant to meet many delegates involved in a Messy Church or who had been sent by their churches purely to sit and find out about how to put on a Messy Church. I continue to be struck by how many people know about Messy Church, how many people don’t know about it, especially in certain denominations, and how many people think they know about it but haven’t quite got the idea… And our Messy Church hoodies had their first outing!