Messy Church at St. Sabinus' started in April 2011. Imagine the scene:
The church is buzzing with conversation. Around a table, adults and children burst into laughter, as they wrestle with cotton wool and googly eyes, and there are helpers up to their elbows in glue. A youngster slaps green paint on a huge sheet of card under the watchful eye of a granny (not sure if they're related or not - it doesn't really matter). A five-year-old watches wide-eyed as an enthusiastic leader shows her how to weave.
There's a delicious smell wafting out of the kitchen, the children trying to guess what the meal will be this time. The vicar gets them all warmed up with a drama game; some of the helpers feel a bit out of their comfort zone, sticking and glueing and trying to be creative. Mums catch up on the gossip while their children make something very edible with one of the helpers.
It's a great big hive of activity, with everyone having fun and enjoying doing so many different things - parents, grandparents, carers and children (aged 4-11) joining together in art and craft activities, games, songs, stories and a meal.
It’s “Messy Church" at Woolacombe!
The format for each session remains loosely the same - based around a theme and lasting about 2 hours. For the first 15 minutes, we CHILL as everyone arrives, then we CREATE for 45 minutes or so, with a range of “messy” activities on offer, related to the theme: arts and crafts of every description, activities that involve food, and activities that just involve having fun and making a mess! This is the time for everyone to get active, get creative and get stuck in.
After the activities, we CELEBRATE, with a short time of worship exploring the theme of the activities - simple in style, featuring music and drama, with the children encouraged to join in and show everyone some of the things they've made.
We finish off the afternoon by CHOMP, when we have a cooked meal together, giving everyone a chance to sit down and chat - adults and children alike.
When the children have gone home, taking their creations with them, it's time to COLLAPSE, as the helpers catch their breath and realise just how shattered they are!
Since 2011, well over a hundred children have come along to Messy Church (Our record was 57 at one go - lucky they didn't all stay for tea!). 2017 has been a difficult year, with only a couple of sessions, but we plan to re-start in the autumn...Keep an eye on the Diary!
It's different, it's exciting, it's hard work, it's creative, it's fun ... it's MESSY CHURCH!