One of our (wonderful, innovative, generous, thoughtful, energetic, and so on ) regional coordinators emailed asking for advice today. She’d been visiting and found that some Messy Churches are really after school clubs. Please note that I don’t say ‘just after school clubs’ – after school clubs are great. But they aren’t Messy Churches. Her question was whether she should ask them to stop using the name ‘Messy Church’.
OK, nobody wants to get stroppy about this, nor do we want to instigate a police state of heavily-apronned figures bursting into a foot-painting session shouting, ‘Everybody on the floor! Drop your paintbrushes! You do not have the requisite number of parents present! From now on you will not use the name Messy Church!’
But at the same time, we do want to be quite clear about what Messy Church is and isn’t for the sake of those people who want to join one in their area. It IS all-age, it IS church. It ISN’T a children’s activity and it ISN’T a club. You can find more on the website under the info section. How would a family moving from St Splogget’s on Sea to Much Whopping in the Marsh feel if they went along as a family expecting to enjoy family time at the new Messy Church and found it was for children only? Or that it was a craft session on minibeasts with no mention of Jesus?
Call me a wuss, but I’d much rather a group decided for themselves whether or not to call it by the name Messy Church than that anyone from outside demanded that they did or didn’t.