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The one introducing Pia, with updates about the Messy International Conference, thoughts about Holy Communion, the publication of Messy Hospitality and other pearls of Messiness
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Messy Church newsletter - April 2016

Hello to you all!

Lots of exciting updates in this April edition of our Messy Newsletter! 

Messy Church International Conference

Messy Church Conference banner
Next month! Next month! Not long to go! Can't wait to see you all from so many places! Bowland Media is coming to film us all, so even if you can't come, we hope to be able to share something of the feel and wisdom of the conference afterwards. If you'd like to send any good wishes to the assembled Messy masses, we'd love to have an email from your Messy Church to flash up on the screen to welcome everyone - maybe with a photo of you all waving. Or could you film your Messy Church shouting 'Praise the Lord!' in Icelandic or Dutch, Danish or Xhosa, German or French? We'd love as many people as possible to be part of the conference via the wonders of the Web. Send any contributions to messychurch@brf.org.uk
Lucy Moore

Lucy writes...


Messy Hospitality is published this month.

Of all the books I've written, this was the most unexpectedly enjoyable so far to pull together and the one I got most excited about and the most fascinated by the subject.
Messy Hospitality
The more I read and thought and scribbled, the more there seemed to be to find out, and the messier it got! It's changed the way I take part in my own Messy Church; it's changed the way I think about other people's. It touches on very powerful stuff. Hospitality is so much more than a cup of tea and a soggy biscuit. It cuts to the very heart of who Jesus is and what he did for us and what the church is on earth to do.

And yes, of course, the book is an easy read! And yes, of course, there are five Messy Church sessions in it to use in your own setting, even if you don't feel like reading the rest of it. And yes, I hope it will change your thinking too. It is very fascinating. I think you'll get hooked, as I did, on a God of many tables...
 
Martyn Payne

Martyn writes...

I wonder what you would identify as one of the signs that your Messy Church is being recognised in your community as 'church'. Maybe becoming the place where baptisms take place or where there is breaking of bread together would be high on many people's lists.

On one of my visits recently I was privileged to be there when they tried their first Messy Communion as part of a session exploring the Last Supper. Perhaps many of you also included this if you were following the Get Messy! session ideas in the latest edition. I was so impressed with how natural it all was. We simply paused during the meal in between courses, and the minister at this United Reformed Church told us how Jesus broke bread and asked his followers to remember him, as bread was passed down the long tables. Then we all drank some blackcurrant juice, spiced with herbal sachets we had prepared at one of the activity tables and from the plastic goblets we had decorated earlier. It was simple, meaningful and reverent. 'It was at a meal just like the one we are having now,' said the minister, 'that Jesus showed everyone just how much God loves us.'

And what is more, this uncomplicated eucharistic moment sparked off so many interesting questions about God around those Messy tables. It added new depth to our Messy conversations that mealtime, and there is no doubt that this Messy Church was taken to a new level of faith-sharing and togetherness.

It was as the two disciples broke bread with the stranger who had joined them on the road to Emmaus that they recognised that Jesus had been with them all the time (see Luke 24:13-35). Maybe breaking bread from time to time in our Messy Churches could help us see that too. Let me know what you think and maybe I could join you at your Messy Communion one day. Do be in touch: martyn.payne@brf.org.uk.

Messy cards

Messy birthday card
Have you discovered the lovely Messy greetings cards from CPO? There are A6-sized Messy birthday cards, Messy thank you cards, blank cards and cards with A special message for you in a number of different designs for you to personalise. You could use them for your Messy Church team, your Messy congregation, personalise for Messy baptisms, add them to your Messy birthday party bags and more!

Messy Church or something different?


We've been hearing about Messy developments that involve splitting up the age groups - doing a Messy 'extra' for Key Stage 2 children alongside the existing Messy Church, for example. May we flag up a polite thought? If you're calling what you do 'Messy Church' and/or using the logo, could you bear in mind that Messy Church by definition is for all ages? As Martyn says, 'It takes the whole church to grow faith in each one of us at whatever age.' A ministry which, however lovely and wonderful and worthy, splits up the age groups is, quite simply, not a Messy Church. Have faith in the all-age value of Messy Church! It really is proving to be something to build on, not thrown out of the window when it feels inconvenient.
Jane Leadbetter

Jane writes…


The Hampshire Regional Coordinators' team continues to grow with Robin Jones joining Lesley Baker to support the Messy Churches in Havant, and Viv Binns supporting the Messy Churches in the New Forest and Hordle. Welcome, too, to Liz Hopkin, who will be supporting the Messy Churches in Warwickshire. A big warm hug to you all and thank you for the huge amount of encouragement you give to the BRF Messy Church team!
Regional Coordinators
Would anyone like to become Liz's Regional Coordinator neighbour? We would like a Regional Coordinator for Coventry and welcome anyone who is involved in a monthly Messy Church and enjoys emailing and praying. Please contact Messy Jane at jane.leadbetter@brf.org.uk for more Regional Coordinator information. You can find your Regional Coordinator on our website. We have gaps to fill in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dundee, Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.
We are creating a science board on our Messy Pinterest board as we hear all about how creative you are, linking science experiments to Bible themes and engaging boys and men (and girls and women). Can bubble-ology explain the Trinity? Can broken paper fibres send prayers up to God? Did God create the sea in a calm way or in a stormy way? So fish out your goggles, eye protectors and rubber gloves as you explore the wonderful world of Messy science!

Want to hear more from us?

Not satisfied with our newsletter alone? Did you know that you can receive emails about new blogs and stories posted on the Messy Church website? You didn't? Simply click to update your details  and you can tick to receive weekly updates of any new blogs or stories we've added to the website. If something piques your interest, do head over to Facebook to discuss.

You are brilliant!

Susan Oldham in the 200-strong village of Iddsleigh in Devon writes: '[Our Messy Church] has brought several very talented people into a group and serving as a church in a way that they are able to cope with and feel they make a difference. They do! They are brilliant!'

So to all of you: you make a difference! You do! You are brilliant!

With Messy blessings from us all on the BRF Messy Church team

Lucy, Martyn and Jane. 
The BRF Messy Church Team
messychurch@brf.org.uk | www.messychurch.org.uk | www.brf.org.uk
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