A reflection from our Social Action Regional Coordinator, Kathy Bland:
People who come to Messy Church quickly become used to ‘getting stuck in’ with what we are doing. Messy Church is about being hands-on and learning about Jesus and the Bible by taking part in what is happening. It makes sense, then, that when it comes to being missional—by which I mean when it comes to joining in with what God is already doing in the world and in our communities—our Messy Church congregations will want to roll up their sleeves and get ‘messy’!
A friend of mine came with me on a recent trip to volunteer at the refugee camp in Calais. She told me that she struggles to see the relevance of Church and doesn’t know why she would want to be a part of it. Then she said, ‘But if you are telling me that Church is about justice and making the world a better place, then I’m in!’ I don’t understand how a Christ-centred church could be about anything else.
In the Gospel narratives, Jesus can be found speaking out for and hanging out with the people in society who are poor, weak, marginalised, vulnerable and disliked—his message is that we need to love other people, feed the hungry, welcome the stranger and walk the extra mile.
It is my experience that when people become the hands and feet of Jesus, when people are directly involved in feeding the poor, speaking out for the marginalised and finding practical ways to love their neighbour—that is when the Gospel message becomes most relevant and alive to them. If Messy Church is Christ-centred, then these things will be integral to what we do rather than being an afterthought. At Messy Church we are already quite experienced when it comes to finding ways to be creatively active. Using that creativity to enable our Messy congregations to join in with helping to build God’s Kingdom in our neighbourhoods is a very exciting prospect.
Read Mathew 5 and Luke 4:18–19 and then reflect on how we can possibly be Christ-centred at Messy Church without acts of local or global kindness and compassion oozing out of us.
The photos show: packs of raisins decorated at Leominster Messy Church for refugee children and given out in the Calais and Dunkirk camps; spice bagging at Leominster Messy Church on the day of the European referendum (our theme was worry and we were bagging up spices to take to Calais—thinking about the worries that refugees have and ways we can help them); me packing the milk we bought with donations of money from Herefordshire into boxes of food in Calais; and boxes of food for ten people ready to be distributed on the Calais refugee camp.
At the moment the refugees who are still in Calais aren’t able to cook their own food, due to having been dispersed from the camp, so in the short term we won’t be sending spice bags to Calais. We can send any spice bags that we receive to Greece.
Take a look at the ‘Maximising the Mess’ Social Action guide here.
Contact Kathy here.