The hidden story behind our Messy teams

Published 24th July 2017 by lucy moore

Some Messy Church events are sadder than others and it’s never easy when a member of the team dies. But God is in the difficult times as well. Rev Alison Bennett in Basingstoke shared this moving story of June:
This is the story of June and Messy Church. June was one of our Messy Church catering team from the very beginning. June was one of those ‘what you see is what you get’ people, who like so many of us was a bit rough around the edges. June hadn’t had an easy life and lived with significant pain and mobility problems, having been diagnosed with osteoporosis in her 20s. Her lack of mobility often made working in the kitchen a bit of a challenge for her, but she loved being able to help and was very committed to Messy Church, rarely missing a monthly session, and so the others on the catering team worked around her and her limitations.
Sadly, June suffered a catastrophic stroke on a Friday at the end of May. She had been at a church coffee morning chatting to her friends, and arranging the flowers for Sunday, a beautiful display full of yellow tulips, to match her bright yellow mobility scooter. 
June suffered the stroke as she returned home, and died week later in hospital, aged just 61. Her lovely son and daughter allowed myself and members of June’s church family to spend precious time with her during her last days in hospital. She was asleep for much of the time, but clearly responded when we talked to her about Messy Church. 
June’s children told me that being a member of our church, and especially being part of the Messy Church team, had been life-changing for their mum. It had given her a sense of belonging and purpose, because we had allowed her to do things that no one else would. They said that she always looked forward to Messy Church, and would phone them for advice about how much food to prepare or cook. It was also a great joy to her when her granddaughter was visiting and she could bring her along. 
June’s funeral was held at the beginning of June, with over 90 mourners present. The church was filled with flowers, including a Messy Church display and another from the Lighthouse Children’s Group, our Sunday School in which June was also a helper. June’s family asked for donations in her memory to be given to the church. 
We decided to use those donations towards a Messy Church day trip to the seaside next summer. June loved the seaside, and we recently realised that many of our Messy Church children have never been to the seaside. We were astonished when nearly £500 was donated. 
As I have reflected on June’s life, I am aware that Messy Church is only one part of her story, but it was a very big part over the last few years. God has blessed our church and the local community through Messy Church, and I have been reminded that there is always a bigger story to Messy Church than the one we might see on the surface. 
RIP June. 
(Shared with the permission of June’s family.)

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