It’s 3.30 pm on Sunday afternoon and the team have set out craft materials. The tables in the other hall are set for dinner and the team meets for prayer. At about 4 pm people start arriving and there’s a game in progress they can join in with.
Everyone is welcomed and the craft options for the afternoon are shown. Now the really messy bit starts!
Messy Church is for people of all ages, and adults participate in craft with their children or find a craft they want to do. We’ve had painting, decorating cakes, creating cards, Easter gardens, kites, face masks and much more. There’s an area for toddlers and a highlight for adults is the freshly made coffee.
At about 5 pm we gather and move to the church to sing, hear a story and pray. This part is always interactive and short — 15 minutes in total!
By 5.15 pm dinner is ready — Spaghetti Bolognese, or burgers, followed by dessert.
As a congregation we had been exploring different ways of engaging with people on the “fringes” of the church. Sunday morning in Engadine and Heathcote is a busy time for many families with soccer, Nippers, swimming squad, guides and scouts and family activities.
The Synod Mission Resource Fund Seed Grant enabled us to improve the safety of the building with gates across the stairs and safety film on windows. We’ve also purchased some basic equipment, expanded our advertising, and bought craft materials and food.
Messy Church is fulfilling our aim of connecting with people who don’t attend Sunday Morning worship. Belinda, a participant, comments: “My son and I have been to the last couple of Messy Church events at the Uniting Church at Engadine. This is the first time I’ve heard of this event and it really suits us. My son is 18 months old and sitting in church isn’t really an option for him at the moment. We go along and play games, do craft, sing and generally have fun and talk to other families. It’s a fantastic way to be involved in the church community.”
— Patty Lawrence ministers at Engadine Uniting Church.