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Messy Church: Petersfield - Children thrilled by creative craft ideas

From The Pompey Chimes, the newspaper of Portsmouth’s Anglican diocese.

Denise helps her son and daughter create faces at the craft tableAs the door opens, dozens of children dash into the hall to find out what messy crafts they can do today.

They smear icing onto biscuits and add chocolate buttons to create ‘cow biscuits’. Then they create covers for notebooks to turn them into prayer journals.

Other children are drawing round their hands to create a prayer reminder, and then eagerly draw their own designs onto old t-shirts using fabric pens.

This is Messy Church in Petersfield, which attracts between 50 and 140 people each month. It’s an ecumenical project that involves all 11 churches in the town, and happens in Petersfield Methodist Church.

Today’s theme is Hannah, and after an hour of craft, the Rev'd Dominic Clarke from St Peter’s talks to the children about what they’ve made and why. They sing a couple of songs and say a prayer before everyone sits down for a hot meal.

Emma Dean from St Peter’s and Helen Mason from Life Church Petersfield started Messy Church in the town two years ago after watching a Fresh Expressions DVD that featured the original at St Wilfrid’s, Cowplain.

“We’d already done something similar for Easter and Pentecost and we thought: ‘We could do this every month’,” said Emma. “We visited Lucy’s church twice to see how it’s done.

“Most of the people who come don’t go to church. It allows us to build on the contacts we make each year at the ecumenical holiday club.

“The craft is a brilliant way for helpers and parents to engage with the kids. And the meal is a special part of Messy Church, as that’s where you build relationships. We’re working our way through Lucy’s second book, but I think we’ll have the confidence to think of our own ideas.”

Emma Childs, whose sons Adam, 8, and Mark, 6, are regulars, said: “They really enjoy all the activities. And we end up with mountains of craft at home.”

Mum-of-three Denise Williams said: “People talk about it at the school gate. Both my boys love the craft and visit every table.”

This article is taken from the June edition of Pompey Chimes. Click to see the whole article which is a PDF file that will open in a new window.

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