There’s a brief glimpse of the ecumenical Messy Church on An Island Parish from Sark this last Friday – catch it on BBC iPlayer on the BBC2 listing. It looks as if the programme-makers are trying to turn it into a battleground between the traditionalists and the Messy Church congregation, judging by the interview they include straight after the Messy Church clip (about 8’13” in). I am trying not to get cross about this frantic hunt for a story at the expense of truth – the truth being that these two churches are putting on Messy Church as outreach for new families, not for the lady from the choir who is featured in the interview. Nor is Messy Church, as this clip implies, the main Sunday service for the Methodist church. Nor are all the Anglicans traditionalists, I’m certain!
Many Messy Churches face suspicion or even opposition from their Sunday congregations, especially when starting out. And it’s a wonderful thing that for so many of us it takes only a little while before those same congregations realise just what God can do through Messy Church working alongside – not instead of – their traditional services. Both the ministers on Sark know the need to go slowly where change is involved, (especially if Karen’s foot doesn’t get better quickly!) But Messy Church isn’t asking traditional services to change; it’s working at a different time and often on a different day for different people. If you’re thinking of starting a Messy Church, please think twice before you use it to replace an existing Sunday service.
We look forward to seeing how this hotbed of radicalism and revolution evolves through the series, and I look forward even more to my trip to the gorgeous Channel Islands this weekend.