One of the challenges facing churches is our age profile – often much older than the communities we are seeking to reach.
For the past 18 months, SMiV (St Mary in the Valley) Anglican church in Calwell has been consciously and prayerfully seeking
ways to grow ‘deeper and younger’ – deeper in Christian faith, and younger in age profile.
This has meant a focussed attempt to pastorally care for its older people, while also reaching out to a new generation of Jesus’ disciples. Among the various initiatives underway, ‘Messy Church’ is one that has shown particular promise.
Messy Church is an expression of worship designed to be inter-generational and highly interactive, making it especially well-suited for families with children who are looking for an easy point of entrance into a church community.
Around the world it has borne considerable fruit, particularly in the UK, where it brings around 20,000 people into churches each month. It is one way of living out Jesus’ invitation to all people of every age and background to come into his family.
Once a month during the timeslot normally used by its Sunday afternoon (4:30pm) service, SMiV’s three congregations come together to run some craft activities and games, hold a short worship service and share a meal together. They recently celebrated SMiV Messy Church’s first birthday.
SMiV’s Rector Reverend Dave McLennan, said ‘What I most appreciate about Messy Church is that it has not only provided space for us to welcome new families into our community; it’s also given some of our more seasoned saints a great chance to use their gifts. Seeing their skills put to work with such energy and joy has been deeply encouraging.’
‘We have three main Sunday congregations’, says Reverend Dave, ‘and each has a slightly different character. But bringing people from all three together in this way, with a shared sense of mission and fellowship, has shown our underlying unity in Christ. Best of all, it’s helped us share the good news of Jesus Christ with the families of our area.’
Messy Church usually meets on the first Sunday of each month at 4.30pm. But always check the SMiV website (www.smiv.org) for details.