We had a wonderful messy church today. It was our third birthday, so we threw a party and nearly a hundred people turned up. This is the most we've had and is probably the most the hall can hold. There was a great party atmosphere, lots of good conversations and the sense that we were really connecting with a number of families for whom this is their only church.
Afterwards one mum who's not been coming for long, came and told us that it had been wonderful and that church should always be like this.
Then we had a good messy talk, using some DVD material from the Ugly Duckling company that seemed to work pretty well.
I think I'm learning through messy church that it is possible to do serious things in an all-age context and that we shouldn't be afraid to mix activities aimed at children and conversation between adults (which is what happens at a regular children's party, after all).
It bodes well for our continued thinking about neighbourhood groups and refocusing church on smaller units built around families.
I also discovered some blindingly good new music yesterday. it's by a band called afterlife parade, the brain child of singer-songwriter Quinn Erwin. They've released two EPs this year called respectively death and rebirth ans they are both really beautiful. The song, simple on the Death EP is one of the best songs I've heard all year. Both EPs are a collection of thoughtful, faith-questing songs. You can check them out here and download both EPs for under a tenner. That's got to be good.