'Messy Church is Real Church', founder tells diocese training event

“Messy Church is not a bridge into ‘normal’ church, it is a worshipping community in its own right” (Lucy Moore, founder of Messy Church)

More than 120 people from across the diocese and beyond, gathered at Ripon Cathedral at the weekend (Saturday March 4) to learn about Messy Church from its founder Lucy Moore at the first of three Messy Church training events.

The Messy Church movement began in  2004 and is described as a form of church for children and adults that involves creativity, celebration and hospitality. It is now being used worldwide, especially for those who don’t see themselves as churchgoers, meeting at a variety of times and places.

Messy Church morningBut Lucy Moore, (pictured right with Children, Youth and Families team member, Anne Carter (left) and organiser Sammi Tooze, a member of the Church Growth team (right)), left church leaders in no doubt that Messy Church should be seen as a church in its own right.

Messy Books“Messy Church is a church, not a craft club, that helps people encounter Jesus”, she told delegates, reminding them that one of the principles of the movement is that it is an all-age community, a family of God, and not just for children. Lucy Moore also added  that recognising this would change the way leaders relate to those who come. “If Messy Church is as much church to us as any other service is church, then it will be obvious by the way in which we identify as co-members if the messy congregation and not just those with a label that says ‘team’.”

Messy groupsThe two hour session involved interactive story-telling, singing, group activities, theological reflection, prayers and a commissioning of leaders.

Sammi Tooze, from the Church Growth team and the local organiser of the morning, said, “It was an inspirational morning with 120 people across the diocese attending, eagerly listening to words from the creator of Messy Church.

“We were challenged to reflect on what Messy Church actually is: we need to be the “sent” church and not just the “gathered” church, and remember that we are planting new congregations of people, the same body of Christ who are worshiping in a different way, and are church in their own right. It was also helpful to be reminded that it isn’t just for kids, it is an all-age community, and a family of God growing together.”

The  next training session will take place in Bradford Cathedral on Sat 15th July, in which topics will include Messy Food, celebration and commissioning, and Messy Twinning. To find out more or  book a place, please visit www.leeds.anglican.org/content/messy-church