Trashy Church

Published 18th May 2012 by lucy moore

This is a very exciting and significant development of the Messy Church idea for teenagers and for mission. Revd Julie Coleman writes from the Diocese of Canterbury:
Trashy Church for older children, teenagers and families:
I have held Trashy Church at Adisham Village Hall for the past six months. The pioneer project Trashy Church is aimed towards young people and families who are marginalised from society/church or feel too old to attend Messy Church or seek to move on from Messy Church.
The core of Messy Church is the Christian message, crafts and eating together. The aim of Trashy Church has the same message but for participants in this case the craft itself has become the mission. The three parishes Adisham, Ayleshan and Nonington have responded positively with items that can be recycled. During the sessions the people choose someone in the communities that has a need. They then recycle the trash by turning it into something that can be reused within their communities.
I held the first Trashy Church in November, supported by different members from each parish. All volunteers received minimal training in behaviour management with disengaged young people. I explained in detail to the young people/families that we are Christians within the Church of England, that I am a curate and that there will always be a Christian theme within each session. For our first session the theme was Matthew the tax collector – Jesus eating with Matthew’s friends. We ended the session by sharing supper together. Our last session involved talking about the heroes in the Bible.
Very few of the young people/families had any experience of the gospel or church. We were asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’ We responded by telling them of Matthew’s journey with Jesus and about walking alongside each other.
To date they have made and given four bikes, a scooter, a Trashy Christmas food hamper and a wheel barrow for people in their community. Through this process people have heard of their mission in Christ and now ask for their help. Trashy Church is due to renovate a garden for a local person and supplied a bike after a request from a grandmother.
Feedback from one mother: ‘I couldn’t believe it. My son came home to say he had been to church and hung out with some Christians; and he says he plans to return.’
Feedback from another mother: ‘My son never joins anything, I can’t believe he has joined you; he had a brilliant time. Thank you.’ These mothers, along with other families, are active members of Trashy Church. The young people at Trashy Church volunteer at Messy Church and are now putting together a worship band with the help from one of the fathers.
Both Messy and Trashy Church have formed good links with Adisham and Aylesham primary schools as well as ecumenically with St Joseph’s Catholic School in Aylesham. And we have now established a Messy Prayer chain to support Messy and Trashy Church as well as those in the wider diocese.

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