Messy Church is a way of being church for families and others, primarily those who do not already belong to another form of church. It is Christ-centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration. Many churches are developing their Messy Church as a congregation in its own right as a Fresh Expression of Church.
A typical Messy Church session involves a welcome;, a creative exploration of a biblical theme; and a short celebration involving story, prayer, song, games and similar; all culminating in a sit-down meal. First and foremost, it is inclusive of all ages and both adults and children.
At Southwark Splash on 19 January 2019, we were reminded of some of the sounds that might have been heard as John the Baptist baptised Jesus in the River Jordan, before Bishop Karowei baptised three young Christians.
Children and families leaders involved in Messy Churches, Diddy Disciples and Godly Play came from across the Diocese and fully immersed themselves in the event by leading activity tables, and helping people to understand baptism in a different way through craft, science experiments, singing, Makaton signing and creative prayer.
After an hour of activities, participants gathered together to make a splash and celebrate three baptisms by full immersion (a first for Southwark Cathedral). Using baptism liturgy adapted by Lucy Moore for a Messy Church setting, Bishop Karowei and the team (a mix of clergy, lay, children and young people) led the 200-strong congregation, who had travelled from near and far to be there – including a group of eight Norwegians from Bergen Cathedral!
Lucy Moore writes, ‘What a powerful and moving occasion. It was so heart-warming to see the beautiful Cathedral full of old and young enjoying themselves together. The baptism of Kira, Cecilia and Andrea will stay in my memory as a morning where we all met God and celebrated an important day in the lives of these three young Christians.’
I wonder what the ripple effect of Southwark Splash might be?
Need some ideas? Enjoy the photos and please make use of the resources below.
Want to talk it over with someone? Contact Imani McEwan