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A Messy start

by Michael Ford last modified 01 Oct, 2021 06:10 PM

Our Rural Field Officers (RFOs) work with parishes across the Diocese to explore effective types of outreach - and sometimes it's a matter of trial and error.

The Revd Gay Maynard explains:

"Attempts to engage with families through an online Messy Church wasn’t really achieving what we had hoped for, but through discussion with the Thrive team and our RFO Claire Horton, a seed of an idea came.

"If we couldn’t have families coming to us in our Church buildings because of Covid-19, then how could we go to them? Since a number of village outdoor events were being planned, why not join in with them in a tent?

"There was a spare gazebo stored in one of our churches, and thankfully we had enough people to help us run what would be our first ‘Cley Hill Churches Messy Tent’ at an open garden which ran for six hours.

"Our core Thrive group was joined by five other people of a variety of ages. Three had never done ‘Messy Church’ before and running it this way was a first for all of us, and two had become part of the team through our weekly online discipleship sessions through the past year.

"The event gave us the perfect opportunity to engage with the families who came, and we gave out flyers for our future Messy Church events for Harvest and Advent.

"The ‘Messy Tent’ looks set to stay. We learnt a lot with our first attempt and have more plans to make our tent an attractive place to stop a while, so that we can engage more with our communities with a Christian message using the Messy Church model.

A Messy start- Corsley House Open Garden
Corsley House Open Garden

"One of our team said, ‘The open day in the amazing garden at Corsley House was held on one of the hottest days of the year. Blue sky above the wonderful garden with its secret spots that were ready for discovering. When I walked around it, I felt God’s blessing on us and the event.’

"The Team took the Messy Tent to a fête in another part of our benefice, where people were less familiar with Messy Church, and a third opportunity came when an activity afternoon was organised in another village.

"It was good to simply be a presence in these village events and introduce Messy Church while engaging with the communities we are a part of."

At Kingston Deverill Village Fete:A Messy start- Kingston Deverill Village Fete

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