Connections: Messy Church

First published 5th May 2017

One challenge facing churches is how to provide services that engage with families and which are fun and creative.

Alison Paginton, the regional co-ordinator for the Bristol region, has been running Messy Church at St Christopher's Brislington since 2009.

She said that, when done well, Messy Church should reflect the messiness of life.

Alison said: "Messy Church is Church. It is not just a fix and it is not just for kids, it is about building a church family.

If it is done well, it can be a brilliant outreach to the community. It is about being hospitable and making people want to come back. It is about using people's gifts."

They key to running a successful Messy Church is to be open to the needs and talents of those coming along, rather than imposing anything on people, said Alison.

"You have to be prepared to change and move things around," she added. "As we developed at St Christopher's, it was important to focus on what the group wanted to do.

"The key for us is to ensure that activities include everybody, whatever their age. By getting people to use their gifts - whatever they may be - we created an inclusive environment.

"We offer a place in the church building to display what everybody has contributed - not just the children - to create a sense of pride and achievement."

What next?

  • You can find resources and learn more about setting up, running and developing a Messy Church at
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