REV EMMA RACKLYEFT: ‘It feels like a more welcoming version of church’

Grace Pettet, six, at Messy Church in All Saints Church, Denmead
Grace Pettet, six, at Messy Church in All Saints Church, Denmead
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The vicar of All Saints Church, Denmead explains what Messy Church is

I wonder what you think about when someone mentions the word ‘church’? Rows of people sitting in dusty pews, listening to dreary sermons?

Historically, church was sometimes like that.

But you might be surprised to hear that lots of what happens in church these days doesn’t fit that stereotype.

My own experience is more often seeing dozens of smiling faces being creative with glitter, glue and paint before tucking into a decent meal together. It’s what we – and lots of other churches – call Messy Church.

It’s designed for parents, carers and children and takes place each month in our church hall.

It involves everyone discovering more about faith through creative activities, stories and songs and getting to know each other over a buffet tea.

For me, it feels like a more welcoming version of church, where no one is expected to sit still and be quiet.

You can come with genuine questions about what Christians believe, and we’ll happily chat to you while your children enjoy food and fun.

Our next Messy Church happens tomorrow (Saturday, April 21) afternoon, from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

We’ll explore a story Jesus told about soil, stones, seeds and birds, we’ll plant our own seeds, play with mud, and make birds! We’ll think about what the story means, sing some songs before our shared meal together.

Then on Sunday (April 22), at our 9.30am service, we’ll be thinking about what Jesus meant when he described himself as a Good Shepherd.

This All Age Communion service is a monthly, act of worship in which we offer lively songs, drama and activities to engage people of all ages and a short, interactive talk.

We don’t do it to dumb down our services, or because we think some watered-down version of Christianity will appeal more widely.

Rather, we believe that getting everyone involved in worship is a better way of learning and growing together.

And of course, we do have our more traditional and reflective services on other Sundays of the month, for those – young and old – who prefer that style of worship.

Join us and you’ll see there’s something for everyone!

All Saints Church is in Hambledon Road, Denmead.

For more information, go to allsaintsdenmead.org.uk.