This guide is to show you the positives of twinning with another Messy Church and how you might put it into practise.
- To make new friends
- To learn about a different way of being Christian
- To build up the body of Christ that is the church across the country or across the world
- To give each other prayer support about specific things
- To enrich and encourage a shared interest in something other than Messy Church but related to it—like ecology, stewardship or social action
- Because it’s a great expression of hospitality, one of the five Messy values
- To help our Messy Church feel part of a bigger Messy/church family than just our own little church
- To have an excuse to visit somewhere exotic
- To give our congregations and teams opportunities that they might not otherwise get to enrich their lives (‘life in all its fullness’).
- To pinch each other’s good Messy ideas
- To pick each other up if we feel down and challenge each other if we feel smug—to be critical friends on our Messy journeys
- Because it’ll be fun!
- Because one of the greatest threats to society at the moment is racial intolerance
- Because God always wants to expand our horizons
- To connect people with each other, who can lead training in particular aspects of church life
- To help/serve each other in ways we can’t yet imagine but which may appear as the relationship develops
- Because we want an adventure
- To hear what God’s doing somewhere else
(Avoid any sense of twinning for financial gain on either side.)
How do you find a Messy twin?
- Does your diocese/district or similar already have a twinship with other dioceses/districts in other parts of the world? Ask your World Links Officer. Do those parts of the world contain Messy Churches? Check the Directory. Drop an email to the Regional Coordinator of that area, if there is one, or to the individual church.
- Do you already have a personal link with a particular city or country through a Messy family or team member? Are there Messy Churches there?
- Is there another church, town or village with the same name as yours in a different part of the world? New York is not only a city but a tiny village in Lincolnshire. Australia is bursting with names from the UK: Sherwood is not only in Nottinghamshire but in Queensland. You may find another St Percival’s in Scotland, Saskatchewan or Sweden.
- Use our Facebook page as a lonely hearts column: take a fetching picture of your church family or building and post a request for a twin.
- Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and she will act as matchmaker.
What might the two churches do together?
Start small with low, manageable expectations. Messy Church is challenging enough on your own patch, so add anything extra very gently.
Try to put a different person or family in charge of each separate thing you decide to do—someone to be responsible for sending a photo each month; the teenagers to create a short film; a family to organise a birthday card design…
- Support each other in specific prayer requests every month
- Be friends on Facebook
- Follow each other on Twitter, Instagram and so on
- Send a photo from your last Messy Church session each month
- Send a very short film of greetings to play at the other Messy Church
- Get the kitchen teams to send the recipe of the best meal they’ve made recently
- Get your families talking to their families: perhaps set up an online game or competition, like Minute to Win It, played simultaneously over Skype in both locations
- Occasionally do the same theme for a session and swap ideas for activities and celebration
- Take a visit
- Make a card or present as one of the activities to send to the twin on special occasions
- Invite your local Moderator, Superintendent or Bishop to visit your twin (always good for publicity
- Send a (paper) display of photos for them to put up in church for the other congregations to see
- Sort out a Dropbox account (it’s free!) to share pictures, documents and films easily
Put it in writing
Create a simple agreement with, at the most, four manageable ideas to be done over the next six months. You can then change, cross off or add ideas. Agree to review your twinning after a certain time.
For the period of January to June this year, we at St Womble’s, Cornwall, will:
- Like the Facebook page of St Womble’s, California
- Send a prayer request to our friends at St Womble’s, California
- Send pictures, news, video or similar of our Messy Church in action
- Encourage our families to be in touch with each other We will review the scheme after two years.
With thanks to Tim Sanderson, Jane Lewis and Sue Taylor