It was so encouraging to hear from Di Skidmore, St Paul’s Carlton in the Willows Messy Church in Nottingham. We were so humbled to read her update.
‘My co-leader Lynne Faulkner and myself attended the Messy Church International Conference for the first time this year, which we found inspirational. Running Messy Church for seven years, we have always charged on entry, currently £1.50 per person over age two years, and £5 for a family of four or more – although free for first visit or with a food bank connection. However, as a result of what we learnt at the conference, we decided to stop charging and ask for donations instead, which we would include as an offering as part of our celebration. We decided to present the new-style Messy Church as an opportunity to raise funds for the Toilet Twinning charity which Messy Church has been promoting.
‘What a fun time we had with the activities and quiz from the Toilet Twinning session. And the outcome…? The donations exceeded what we normally get on the door and we have been able to send off enough for a toilet! 95% of our families are from the community and don’t come to traditional church. We meet on Saturday afternoons once a month. Some mums cried when we showed the video of an African village which had been without a toilet, and the children were appalled to discover where the African children had to go to the toilet!
‘We feel we have reached a turning point in our journey of discipleship and belonging, and this has been wonderfully supported by our traditional church congregation in that, although many are elderly and living on state pensions, we have received over £700 in individual donations, and as a result, have been able to give a Rainbow Good News Bible plus an explanation handbook to each of our Messy Church families. In this age when very little is free, many of the Messy Church adults were amazed that the Bibles were free and at the generosity of others. And every family wanted one! So this was a real witness to them!
‘In conjunction with the church, we are also having a free uniform swap and a Breakfast Club throughout August, when children and adults will receive a free breakfast three days a week, plus a free lunch for the children. We are now looking to plan a Christian camping weekend together next year, which we have never done before, but which our Messy Church fellowship is showing enthusiasm for.
‘Thank you for your inspiration and wisdom and support. May God bless you all.’