Messy Church Thanks Giving Service - Durham Cathedral 2018. (Picture: Keith Blundy)
More than 150 messy church volunteers attended a service of thanksgiving at Durham Cathedral in celebration of the Messy Church and what it brings for families in being church and having fun. 
The service which was led by the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, was an opportunity to thank all those who are involved in Messy Church across parishes, to value each and every person’s contribution, and to commission everyone present to carry on in their work.
Messy Church is ecumenically coordinated in the Durham Region by Sharon Pritchard, Children’s Ministry Adviser from the Anglican Diocese of Durham and Anne Offler from the Methodist West Durham Circuit.
Sharon and Anne have both have spent many years working together encouraging, helping, advising and supporting those who run a Messy Church because they see the true value of what it does. They said: “It brings people together, whether that is the team who run the Messy Church in their preparation for their session, or those who come along to Messy Church, to be part of a huge family.”
Sharon added: “Messy Church Durham Region have over 90 registered Messy Churches meeting in places such as church halls, schools, nursing homes and even a pub.
“What makes them unique are the people in the teams who lead and help run these Messy Churches, who bring together their willingness to build relationships with those in their communities, their ability to make a craft activity from a couple of yogurt pots, a pipe cleaner and sellotape, and their willingness to share the gospel with the children and families they meet.
“Messy Church continues to be one of the most active missional activities in our diocese, reaching thousands of people – children and adults, people of all ages, each month, sharing friendship, food, fun and faith together.
The Rt Revd Paul Butler who led the service and commissioning said: “I love Messy Church, it’s just a great way for families to be together and to be church. Messy Church isn’t a precursor to a more grown-up version of church, it is church!”
He went on to talk about his own children’s fascination with using Alphabetti Spaghetti to create prayers when they were young and how this kind of fun is such a brilliant way of growing as a family and in faith. Fundamentally, Messy Church’s values are about being Christ-centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration.
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