We arrived at Wycliffe Hall (Anglican Theological College at Oxford University) at noon for an intense 24-hour time of worship, prayer, workshops, conversation, sharing, review and discernment for the future of Messy Church (MC) with founder Lucy Moore and the Messy Church UK Regional coordinators. Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester, opened the sessions with a warm welcome and praise for MC’s important ministry to engage families in introducing and telling our Christian story. In the five years since Lucy Moore founded the first MC there are now over 300 MCs operating in the UK. Many engage up to 100 people once a month.
Going forward the group discussed the collection of data on the MCs in operation to get a better understanding as to the demographics, leadership development, how discipleship is being engaged and whether additional support materials are required.
The messiness of MC is not just the crafts and food but the messiness of engaging non-Christians missionally with discipleship the focus while working within the local cultural context.
In addition to Messy Church there are now Messy Markets, where a Messy Church team may set up a stand at a local market of fair with Christian crafts to both engage people and invite them to attend a Messy Church monthly gathering.
An evening session introduced us to some extreme crafts – soap making and enameling.