And the rest of the Barnabas Team have been busy with Messy Church as well. Chris Hudson visited one up in the north-east recently and got his drums going… Here is what he writes:
‘It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m participating in a Methodist circuit’s Messy Church experiment again. They’ve been doing this for a few months, and the formula is fairly clear now. We met for prayer at 2.45pm, talked through any last-minute hitches, then it was off to front the workshops and tea bar as a series of children and adults trickled in at the end of a school day. They were soon chatting, painting, model-making, playing games and generally relaxing into the event.
‘All the activities were on the theme of Pentecost, with a pre-planned theme of the Holy Spirit delighting in us as individuals – so, lots of opportunity for expressive squiggles on paper and some brave attempts to make small windmills. (Ever tried it? It’s difficult.) After an hour, we trooped into the church building nearby, where I distributed percussion instruments and presided over an experimental ‘Let’s see how many sounds you can make with it’ racket. Yes, it was noisy, but that was the point. Then I asked everyone to try to work out their own name as a beat, like mine ‘Chris-to-pher’. We worked these out, then tried overlapping them , gradually building up a symphony of personal names. I then explained that God delights in us as individuals as we are, and that Pentecost was about the Spirit coming to make people more fully the way God meant them to be – all different, but able to share their gifts and talents as well. So to illustrate that, I showed a picture of Jesus, surrounded by some of the many names and titles he has been given over the centuries: Bread of Life, Saviour, and so on. We all picked a name that meant a lot to us… and then gradually, row by row, we built up a percussion symphony of praise using those names as a base. Pensioners, young mums and dads, children, too, all thumping along… and funnily enough, it worked. There was a very loud A-MEN! at the end, too. The worship concluded with a prayer, a final worship song… and then it was time to share a meal. There’s worse ways to end a Friday!’