A FIRST international conference about Messy Church has drawn hundreds of supporters from 12 countries and many denominations.
The Archbishop of Canterbury recorded a video message for the event, held this month in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire: “Messy Church is a circle of all ages meeting together to engage in who God is, in a way that works for them. When you say it, it is obvious, and yet you started it, and it’s genius and a gift of the Spirit.”
There are currently 3315 Messy Churches around the world, from the Falkland Islands to Norway, Australia, and the United States. Founded by Lucy Moore, from the Bible Reading Fellowship, in Portsmouth, in 2004, it is one of BRF’s core ministries, and encourages open-ended services that combine crafts, hospitality, and worship.
Archbishop Welby went on: “This is not church for children — it’s church for everyone. I want to encourage you to never be bound by the way we’ve always done it, but constantly to be looking, as you become more international, to what you learn from each other, how you represent that extraordinary thing that is the global Church.”
The programme included a Messy Communion, talks, craft activities, and an address from Canon George Lings, the director of the Church Army’s research unit, and editor of Messy Church Theology. He spoke about the impact that Messy Church had had on individuals, communities, and the Church: “Messy Church is about mission, worship, and community,” he said, “not just a bridge back to ‘real’ Church.”