Ho hum, very interesting. One of the questions often raised at Fiestas is, ‘What about the Dads? How do you get Dads to come to Messy Church?’ and yes, that’s important, but so far no one has ever asked me, ‘How do you get Mums to come?’ or commented, ‘Yippee! Praise the Lord! We’ve got mothers belonging!’ Perhaps at some level we’re guilty of thinking of Mums as second-best, the default setting, the ‘that’ll have to do’ side of parenting, the ones who’ll come anyway – whereas maybe we should be seeing them as a wonderful gift from God, a crucial part of his plans for future generations.
I’ve just read a presentation by Dr Cathy Ross of CMS, in which she argues that mothers have a key crucial role in evangelism all over the world. She tells the story of women Christians in the Solomon Islands:
It was the mother who kept the gospel heritage alive by telling it to her children. So often it is the mothers and grandmothers who keep the faith alive, who tell it and model it to their children, who keep the memories vivid by recounting the old stories to their families. It is the women who are the hub of the family and community, passing on vital information, keeping the valued traditions alive.(The Global Role of the Emerging Churches: Opportunities and Challenges)
I’m not saying we should ignore the need for Dads at Messy Church – after all, it’s meant to be something for the whole family – but let’s not continually beat ourselves up if more Mums than Dads belong: let’s celebrate the fact that we have these fantastic nurturers and evangelists in our midst and equip them as much as we can to have a strong faith to share with generations of children.