|Image used with kind permission|
Well, Messy Church founder Lucy Moore (along with Diane Louise Jordan no less!) explains it best herself on their website. It is a church for people who don't go to church. It isn't on a Sunday, there's no sermon, no standing up and sitting down in certain places at certain times. It isn't an outreach event designed to get people in to Sunday morning services. It is a chance for families to spend time together, having fun, experiencing Christian community, sharing in yummy food, and learning a little about God in the process. The "Messy" part comes not only from the crafts we do (which do get rather messy!) but also the fact that community can be a bit messy! We have messy lives and creative minds and that is something to be celebrated.
So anyway, as I was sorting out the crafts from this month's session I thought, I wonder if these ideas might be helpful to someone? I see loads of parents blogging about the craft they do with their children, and perhaps they might find some inspiration here. For Messy Church, the crafts are "Bible based" - that is, we link them to our theme and Bible story for the month. But they are not exclusively religious (in fact many aren't religious in the slightest!) so they may be helpful if a parent, teacher or fellow Children and Family Worker is looking for inspiration.
This month's theme was "Jesus' Baptism" and these are the crafts we did:
Water pictures (adapted from Messy Church 2)
We used various colours and shades of paint to recreate the many hues we see in the water around us. I especially like the dark moody one at the top!
Glitter bottles (taken from this website)
We added glitter and sequins to a bottle of water (I used the travel bottles you can get in Boots... you can imagine the looks I got when I bought 30 of the things), along with a squirt of glycerine to make the water thick and gloopy. The children loved swirling them around.
Sandy footprints (adapted from Messy Church 2)
Because baptism is something that Christians do when they decide to follow Jesus, we picked up on the "following" theme with these sandy footprints. We drew around our feet, cut them out, covered in glue and dipped in sand.
"Footprints" poem (adapted from Messy Church 2)
If you haven't read the footprints poem there is a link on the caption. I think it is beautiful, and makes me a bit emotional. I see it as a reminder that God is always with me, I am never alone. And it is also a timely reminder that in those times when I feel that God has deserted me the reality is I will look back and see that he was the only thing keeping me going. We used foam footprints to decorate the poem and if they wanted, children could write a message to someone so that they could be encouraged by it.
We also made dove shaped biscuits, the dove appearing at a key part in the story of Jesus' baptism, which we decorated with white icing and lots of sprinkles. No photo though, sorry!
I also really wish I had taken photos of the "celebration" time, when we gathered together to listen to the story. I opened up the baptistery in the main church and the children all sat around the edge with their legs dangling. No water in there obviously, but it was still wonderful for them to be able to see it. It made describing baptism so much easier and I hope it gave them an experience that will stay with them.
Let me know if you use any of these crafts!
Please note that I have had to change my comment settings to registered users only to stop incessant spam. This is only relevant to those commenting on mobiles or tablets - computer users can still comment on Disqus as normal.