From: Reform -- March 2007 The book's main intention is 'to kick start some thinking about what particular form of fresh expression church might take.' The experience behind the book is of an Anglican church -- St Wilfrid's. But I knew immediately who would love this book, someone who is part of a URC 'fresh expression' church. Lucy Moore is part of the Messy Church team. This book places adults and children together in the context of fun, food, fellowship and worship. Messy Church is a monthly experience for families, children and carers, which runs from 3.30pm to 5.45pm on Thursdays. It is structured, but fun! After a welcome slot, there are craft activities, worship and food. The aim of Messy Church is 'to be a worshipping community of all ages, centred on Christ, showing Christian hospitality -- giving people a chance to express their creativity, to sit down together to eat a meal and have fun within a church context.' The first part offers the story and concept of Messy Church, with a simple and superb section on messy theology. The point is to reach those for whom traditional church does not make much sense. The second part offers four units of ready worked out programmes for three terms -- summer, autumn and spring. There are also three unites on biblical landscapes -- mountains, roads and seasides. Each unit has an aim, biblical background, food recipe, ten activities and an outline for celebration worship. The songs suggested are usually from either the Humungous Song Book, Kidsource, Shout to the Lord Kids or Great Big God. Reform (URC) From Pompey Chimes, the Diocese of Portsmouth's newspaper -- February 2007 This book is both inspiring and challenging. It's not one on how to keep your church clean, but about a concept started in St Wilfrid's Church, Cowplain, where parents, carers and children can express their creativity, eat a meal together, experiences worship and have fun within a church context. It's a book that starts to explore a particular 'Fresh Expression' of church, a joint Church of England and Methodist initiative which encourages churches to find different ways of being Church for different people and situations. This book is for church leaders, children's and youth workers and anyone looking at ways of reaching out to their community. The book starts with an overview of Messy Church then moves on to what it is and its aims. Whether you want to imitate Messy Church or not, it gets you thinking about what your church situation is and what Fresh Expressions of church are happening (or not) in yours. She gives guidance as to how to create a Fresh Expression of church. It then moves of to 15 themed programmes: each programme consists of a meal idea, 10 crafts, a talk and worship outline with a suggestion of appropriate songs to use (all songs that I am familiar with!). I found the ideas very simple and easy t follow and will definitely be looking at trying some out. The crafts are fun and could be used for any midweek group, holiday club or Sunday programme. The talks are short and very user-friendly and again are suitable for other events. I love Lucy's style and humour and found the book very easy to read. A lot has been packed into this book. I think it is a must for all children's workers -- an excellent resource. Reviewed by Ruth Grist, Children's worker at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Crookhorn. -- Ruth Grist Pompey Chimes Fresh Expressions of church are designed for those on the outside or edge of the Christian community. Messy church is a 'must have' for anyone--clergy, children's workers, creative people--serious about reaching people on the edges. It is a brilliant little paperback jam packed with ideas. It is easy to read, laying out the theology and aims of messy church as well as giving 15 plans for all age sessions. Messy church is interactive church, including lots of easy to do craft, worship, Bible story and response, prayers and meals together. There are even recipes for meal suggestions! Messy Church is designed for weekdays because of the fall in numbers of families coming to church on a Sunday. However, I have tried ideas from it at an All Age on a Sunday too, with positive response. Any book that suggeets that people are asked to 'sit down' rather than 'be seated' usually meets with my approval! Reviewed by Ann Eyre. -- Ann Eyre Christian Marketplace From: The Church Times - 26 Oct 07 Reviewed by the Revd Dr Grenfell, Team Rector of Sheffield Manor and Course Director at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. This is an accessible, honest and highly practical book about a self-consciously fresh expression of church in Portsmouth. Its title is a reminder of the messiness of our individual and corporate journeys of faith, and it also reflects Lucy Moore's conviction that the Church 'should not only be a joyful mess but one which should make a mess joyfully.' Messy Church at St Wilfrid's meets together once a month after school on Thursdays, when 60-90 people of all ages come together to do crafts, worship and share food. The stated aim of Messy Church is to be 'a worshipping community of all ages, centred on Christ, showing Christian hospitality, and giving people a chance to express their creativity, to sit down together to eat a meal, and have fun within a church context.' Moore is clear that Messy Church is to be regarded as a church in its own right, not merely a parachurch group that serves to introduce people to the real thing on Sundays. The book is designed to be both a stimulus and a resource for other churches. Its first section summarises familiar arguments about the necessity to experiment with different forms of church, before describing, in concrete terms, how Messy Church started and has evolved. It is generally a well-thought-through model, resourced by an enviable array of talented, committed and available people; and Moore is honest about some of the limitations, and the areas in which further work is required - for instance, the relationship between Messy Church and the regular Sunday congregation of St Wilfrid's. The second section provides 12 units of high-quality thematic material (enough for a year), including details of numerous craft activities, and suggestions for worship. The book also contains recipes and hints for catering for large numbers. The theological reflection in this book is sometimes a bit thin. I also found it puzzling that, despite the enormous amount of importance which Messy Church (rightly) attaches to food and eating together, there is no mention of this church's celebration of the eucharist. This is, however, undoubtedly a valuable resource for churches engaged in all-age activities and worship, and has much to commend it. -- Revd Dr Grenfell Church Times The Methodist Recorder - 10 January 2008 For a taste of a realistic appraisal of the needs of the wider Church today, coupled with a wealth of well-judged, practical and supremely usable material, look no further than Messy Church. Author Lucy Moore has drawn on the skills she has employed in youth work, drama, training programmes and creative presentations in order to produce a book so replete with wisdom that it is difficult to know which quote to choose as illustration. One such is: "! This journey to faith involves bits of belonging, a little believing, a certain amount of ownership all swilling around together in a life-changing primeval soup while the Spirit works in us to bring us nearer to Jesus in our many different ways." Hence: "If you juggle with this idea, you soon arrive at a church that not only is a joyful mess but which makes a mess joyfully." The first 64 pages examine the concept and considerations of messiness while the remaining 130-odd contain programmes for the summer, autumn and spring terms, with three more for use throughout the year. A summary of a messy church midweek session, as practised at the Anglican St Wilfrid's church in Portsmouth, begins at 3.30pm with half an hour of board games, drink and biscuit, followed by an hour's craft time, a 15-minute church celebration service and a last half-hour devoted to a hot meal. Messy Church is also featured among a series of short stories on the Fresh Expressions DVD, expressions: the dvd. Methodist Recorder
Lucy Moore is a professional actor and storyteller. She works for BRF as part of the Barnabas ministry team. A published writer, performer and creative arts director with a background in teaching languages, she makes use of lively original poetry, mime, storytelling, and a variety of drama workshop activities. Her work with BRF includes sharing the Bible with children through Barnabas Live and The Bible unplugged. Lucy is author of The Gospels unplugged, The Lord's Prayer Unplugged and Topsy Turvy Christmas, all published by BRF. She and her husband, Paul, have two children, Arthur and Judith. They belong to St Wilfrid's, Cowplain in Hampshire, where Paul is the minister.