Saturday, 22 October 2011
As I haven't been under pressure to produce a sermon this week I have been able to take it a bit easier this week. Do some reading, visit a few people, make arrangements for when I am away, and play an atrocious round of golf. Oh yes, and we started a new congregation which attracted about 55 brand new people to the church.
We started a variation on the Messy Church model of church, which centres around whole families coming to do craft and games together, a short (typically 20 minute) worship service and then tea or some sort of food afterwards. We are aiming to do this in the new year. In the meantime we have started with half-termly Messy Toddlers.
Most of the work came from a committed team of people at the church here who planned about ten different craft activities and catered for the food afterwards. All the activities were based around the theme of light and so was the completely chaotic service part of the morning, though how many heard a word, I wonder - especially when the musical instruments came out. As I tried to make myself heard above 30 toddlers I couldn't help thinking how different it was to the old pram services that I was taken to as a child. One of the great ideas for the service was to take photos (with permission) of the children as they did their craft and games and put them up on the screen at the beginning. It worked really well.
But, you know what? Lots of Mums thanked us for doing it. Some commented that they had done more with their child that morning than in the previous week and hopefully they went home with the feeling that church could be fun and informal and welcoming. That's quite a barrier to overcome for a lot of them. They also took home a lot of craft!
So we have a new congregation of 55 (plus the team which takes it to just under 70) and I'd wager that 90% of them have no other congregation. It's an occasional thing at the moment but who knows? And when we start our monthly Messy Church....