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Messy Church Goes Wild: Caring for the world we live in by Lucy Moore

22 September 2022

Rona Orme looks into greener children’s work

THIS book is gloriously Messy! From theological reflection and scientific explanation to principles of waste reduction and everyday living, via craft, celebration, and pilgrimage, this volume covers a huge amount.

We hear the voices of all ages from around the globe, and we are challenged. How can we live more lightly as part of God’s creation? All this material will benefit every church, not just the Messy ones. Cherishing Creation (or protection of the planet for those who have yet to come to faith) is a crucial, contemporary rallying point for many. Caring for the environment may make more missional sense than offering the love of Jesus to some people in the first instance.

How can we offer a greener version of Messy Church? The early chapters consider the value of caring for animals and plants, and all God’s people, while emphasising the importance of caring about plastics, climate, and wildness. The middle section features the experiences of Messy Churches around the world and how they are responding to their various ecological concerns. There are suggestions for Messy Church sessions and for families at home.

Messy Church has developed a rich tradition of warm welcome, extravagant hospitality, and wonderfully inventive crafts. Glitter, glue, and shepherd’s pie quickly became key features of a flourishing Messy Church. Sustainability was not part of the vision. But times change, and the Messy Church movement is being challenged to look at its carbon footprint, selection of foods for the essential meal, and its use of plastics.

This is a huge shift of emphasis for the movement, as it should be for all of us, and one wonders how many Messy Churches will refresh their resourcing and offering. Should the ecological impact of any planned activity be assessed first? Of course the “brand” of Messy Church is lightly held, and each gathering develops its own strengths and preferences. Some may become distinctively and completely “green”, while others will make adjustments and improvements. I hope that none avoids the challenge altogether. The suggestions of using plastic-free glitter, biodegradable balloons, and paper-based crafts are timely, if more costly.

This book reflects the Messy Church ethos. The contributions are slightly uneven, but enthusiasm emanates from every page. Some ideas are simple, and others look impossible or exhausting.


Rona Orme is a licensed lay minister in the diocese of Salisbury, and a former Children’s Missioner for the diocese of Peterborough.


Messy Church Goes Wild: Caring for the world we live in
Lucy Moore
BRF £12.99
Church Times Bookshop £11.69

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