With the current wave of racial viciousness in the post-referendum UK, here are a few suggestions for Messy Church approaches to help people think through the issues.
More than anything, in any of your sessions, encourage people to talk about how they’re feeling and make space to listen to their fears and anxieties. Invite them to suggest what your church might do as a response to your local situation and act on some of the better ideas.
Check your church has something that would make someone from another country feel welcome: maybe a welcome poster with different languages or showing people of different cultures, or using a song or prayer from another country, or even post-service snacks from a different culture than the Damp Digestive indigenous culture.
The Methodist Church has produced a free downloadable pdf to put up in your church as a poster to show all are welcome here. It has the Methodist name and logo on.
A session on loving your neighbour from Messy Church 2 is available as a download for 99p if you don’t already have the book. It’s on the Good Samaritan.
The #SafetyPin campaign – wearing a safety pin to show you’re a safe person for someone from another background to talk to – could be used. We’ve turned it into an activity by making a small bead cross to hang from the safety pin. But simply handing out safety pins and talking about the reason for wearing them would be great on its own. Some online writers indeed make a point of having no symbols attached to their safety pin for good reasons.
Messy Hospitality’s five sessions can easily be adapted to draw out even more of the Christian imperative to welcome and honour guests and strangers.
Messy Togetherness has sessions on a shelter for all, a home for all, a family for all which are topical in their inclusivity.
And of course you’ll have ideas of your own, suitable for your particular context.
God of togetherness, help our church and community be a place of safety, welcome and flourishing for people from every part of your wonderful world.