Jean Pienaar is one of the two Regional Coordinators for South Africa. She’s just sent through this update for your encouragement and prayers.
MESSY CHURCH UPDATE: AUGUST 2015 JEAN PIENAAR- REGIONAL COORDINATOR, JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH AFRICA
A combined Messy Church and Godly Play training day was held at the end of January at St Stephens Church, Sunninghill. We had 30 folk attend (representing 14 parishes, and 5 dioceses) and introduced the Godly Play methodology and Messy Church theology. Interest in both Messy Church and Godly Play has certainly been sparked, and is definitely evolving in at least 2 parishes.
At the beginning of June the Diocese of Johannesburg held a clergy day, where the clergy of the Diocese gather once a month to explore new ideas. An experiential Messy Church was held (in place of Morning Prayer) so that the clergy of the diocese could better understand the implementation of the concept. In order to emphasize that Messy Church is for families (and not just for children), we invited two classes from Vuleka Primary School (privately run, but having a close relationship with the Joburg Diocese) to join us. The clergy and children were encouraged to create “families” for the morning before the activities commenced. The children thoroughly enjoyed their outing, and were often able to show the adults the fine-motor skills that the clergy lacked! In fact, the “family” arrangement was taken so seriously by some, that when it came to the meal, the children elected to sit with their “families” rather than their classmates. There was mixed reaction from the clergy. Some clergy felt threatened that we were saying that they weren’t doing their jobs properly, but others were pleasantly surprised and embraced the opportunity to be exposed to a messy way of being church. Since then, at least 3 additional parishes have expressed an interest in implementing Messy Church.
I have also been requested to provide a Messy Church training morning in October, which will expose parishes and interested lay people to the Messy Church theology and provide a practical taster of how Messy Church can be implemented. One of the clergy who attended the Messy Church morning with Lucy last year has recently been appointed rector at a new parish and is wanting to use the opportunity to expose his parish (and other interested persons in the Diocese) to Messy Church, following the introduction of Messy Church at his previous parish.
The Messy Church at my parish in Fourways has hosted a number of other visitors from around Johannesburg and Pretoria who have wanted to experience Messy Church.