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Messy Church will be back on Sunday 5 February!

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What is Messy Church?

Messy Church happens on the first Sunday of the month in our church – you can’t have missed the signs as you come into town. It doesn’t just happen in North Berwick though.

Messy Church began in 2004 in St Wilfrid’s Church, Cowplain, near Portsmouth. It was the brainchild of Lucy Moore. Her husband, Paul, is the Vicar of that church. It was an idea for a new way of being church, which would connect to a group of people who don’t usually go to church. It was an instant success. It has been running in that church ever since. It’s been infectious too. More and more people have given it a try and found it works in their community too. One study reckons that in August 2012, 360,000 attended a Messy Church in England. Of course it’s not just found in England and it’s grown a lot since then.

Messy Church looks and feels very different from Sunday morning church. Its DNA is made up of four elements: hospitality, creativity, all age and celebration. The four combine in different ways in each different place. So no two are the same.

If you popped into Messy Church at St Andrew Blackadder, you’d be welcomed as you come into the building. You’d go through to the hall where different crafts and activities are set out. You’d spot lots of children and their parents making things and doing things that relate to the Bible story for the day. The next part takes place in the sanctuary. It’s a short service - a couple of songs, prayers and the Bible story. By the time that has finished the hall has been cleared of crafts and set out for food. A simple meal is served. In February, it was sausages, mashed potatoes and peas. Most months, about 100 people come. Most of them are not people who come to church on Sunday mornings.

So what is Messy Church? In a recent book about Messy Church, George Lings wrote:

  • Messy Church is for all ages; it is not merely a children’s activity.
  • Messy Church is all about creativity; it is not narrowly about craft.
  • Messy Church is about worship and community; it is not a bridge back to ‘real church’.
  • Messy Church aims for transformation of family life; it is not simply fun for kids.
  • Messy Church hospitality is a conscious missional value; it is not merely easy access.

Messy Church requires a lot of hard work from a large team of people. But it’s worth it. We are finding (just as people are in other places) that it works. There is a group of people in North Berwick who want to be part of a Christian community but the format of Sunday morning worship isn’t attractive to them. There are people locally who want to worship with their family but Sunday morning isn’t a convenient time for them. They are coming to Messy Church because it offers a way for them to engage with God.

If you’d like to see more, please come. It’s the first Sunday of the month from 4 pm to 6 pm. All children need to be accompanied by an adult. All adults do not need to be accompanied by a child. If you’d like to roll up your sleeves and do some crafts, if you’d like to mix with other people, if you like something that’s not meticulously packaged but is a little, messy, please come.

Or if you think you could help, please get in touch. Some people help during the event. No particular skills are required, just a willingness to serve. Other people help afterwards. They’re known as Messy Angels. They arrive at 6 pm, when the first team are ready to drop. The Messy Angels do the clearing up. There’s always room for more hands.

Whether or not you do these things, please pray. Thank God that he’s opened this door for us. Pray that through it many people locally might meet Jesus Christ and discover the richness of life he offers.

Bible Reading Resources

Click here for a list of Bible Reading Resources that the Elders have tried and are happy to recommend

Click here for a list of the promises made when people and confirmed and become Church Members

neil dougall small Have you read Neil's Monthly message?

Click here to read a monthly message from our minister, Neil Dougall.

February 2017

Starting a new job or moving house is an unnerving experience. You exchange the known for unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar. You find yourself surrounded by a sea of faces. They smile and say ‘welcome.’ But who are these people? And how will you ever remember their names?

It’s like that when you walk into church for the first time. And not just the first, the second or even the third time. It takes many months to get to know people and begin to feel at home. And if you find it hard to remember names, then it takes even longer.

Gradually, if you keep coming to church regularly, the strangeness fades.  You get to know people and make friends. After a few years it becomes normal.  Eventually you forget just how difficult it was, when you were brand new, to get to the point of feeling you belong.

That’s why it took someone comparatively new to suggest a way of helping us improve our welcome. Julie moved to North Berwick a couple of years ago. She threw herself into St Andrew Blackadder.  She appreciated the welcome and the friendliness but found it hard to remember names and to work out relationships. One Sunday she would speak to a woman and a little while later to a man.  It wasn’t until six weeks later that she discovered they were married.

Why should that matter?  It matters because the way people are related to each other is part of the hidden web of information.  When you are excluded from that web you feel like an outsider. The more you can tap into it and be part of it, the more you feel you belong.

Julie then showed me a church directory from the church her son goes to in Glasgow.  It contained names and photographs. It was entirely optional.  People in the church chose whether to be in it or not. They chose how much information they wanted to have in it. They chose whether to be pictured on their own or as part of a family group. Most people in this church opted in.

Immediately I saw the potential for St Andrew Blackadder Church. It would be a huge help for new people.  I suspect those who’ve been coming for many years would also find it really useful.

How often have you chatted to someone at church?  You think you know their name, but you’re not sure, and you’re too embarrassed to ask. Imagine going home, pulling out the directory, scanning through the various photos and being able to know for sure!

Or suppose you feel God prompting you to invite someone to something. You look out for them at church on Sunday but miss them.  Suppose when you get home you could get out your directory, find that person and phone them up?

I think this kind of directory could help us with our welcome and our care for one another. It could be a tool that will help us with our ministry. It is something that will help us care for and love one another as Jesus has commanded us.  For that to happen, people need to opt in. We need the majority of the congregation to participate in it.
We’re going to launch it on Sunday 5th March. A few people in the congregation have agreed to be included in a sample directory. It will be available then so you can see what’s involved.  There will be forms for you to input your details and an explanation of how photos are being handled.  I’m sure that when you see it you’ll realise how this simple tool could be a huge benefit and will want to be part of it.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.  (Hebrews 13:2 )

For everyone born, a place at the table,
for everyone born, clean water and bread;
a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing,
for everyone born, a star overhead.
And God will delight
when we are creators of justice and joy,
yes God will delight
when we are creators of justice,
justice and joy.
(Shirley Erena Murray, Hy 685).


as you welcome us, help us to welcome others;
as you included everyone us, help us to make space for all;
and help us turn our intentions into reality.

To see other messages from Neil, click on the appropriate month in the table below.

March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 February 2017
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