On Saturday 19 October, Bristol Cathedral buzzed with the controlled mayhem of an upscaled Messy Church event.
The Cathedral celebration of all that is happening in Messy Church throughout the Diocese, was an opportunity to come together in a magnificent building to share in the essence of Messy Church which is creativity, worship and eating together.
Messy Church teams from several denominations provided the activities ranging from pinning Jonah in the whale and spiral worms to a Messy Dip (finding Jonah in the belly of the whale by putting your hand in a hidden bucket of jelly!) for which the children were queuing up!
Puppet making workshops had people making moving Ninevites and a HUGE moving whale and a childrens choir provided the music to tell the story of Jonah with songs from Jonah Man Jazz.
Jon Cave Ayland who shared in the event with his two children Toby 5 and Lucy 2 said, "The sheer number and variety of activities, topped off with a puppet show and an enormous whale swimming down the aisle, made Messy Cathedral an event to remember. Our children particularly enjoyed exploring all the different parts of the cathedral, trying to piece together the story of Jonah and the whale."
What does such a large-scale event achieve? A sense of big-time celebration, of identity, of affirmation of what goes on on a smaller scale in individual churches, all of them belonging to something bigger. It models good practice, shares ideas, gives the curious an opportunity to see what Messy Church is all about. For the Cathedral it was an opportunity to show its support for the Messy mission and ministry of churches in the diocese and the opportunity to welcome young and old into its space.
It is incredible to think that in less than 10 years Messy Church has grown from what started as a local initiative to over 2020 churches throughout the UK and 16 other countries and has already had an enormous impact on thousands of people, many of whom wouldn't have otherwise engaged with their local church.