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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

On Monday at Messy Church our focus was heroes – specifically the heroes of the Bible and how we can all be superheroes for God as we respond to the command: Love God, love others.  We encouraged our young people to dress up in a hero costume and so we had – Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, we had Superman, Batman, various princesses, Captain Jack Sparrow, Mulan, SuperSmurff, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, to name but a few.  We had fun games, made crafts based on various stories of Bible heroes, heard the story of the greatest Superhero ever – God’s son Jesus, and shared a meal together at which over 90 were served … a great time was had by all.

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Mother’s Day here in Britian is this coming Sunday, 14th March.   So thought I’d share this video my sister-in-law forwarded to me last year… I thought it was brilliant.

So, does any of that sound familiar?

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Recently I’ve been reading through the Book of Genesis and once again I’ve been caught up in the stories of the families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – not, it has to be said, your ideal template for ‘happy families’.   Yet I am constantly amazed by the fact the people think that if you belong (or even come along) to a church then you should have some kind of perfection in your life, whether it be your personal life or your family life. 

Many believe that over the past few decades there has been a shift in the shape and the nature of family, but has there?  Have we not always lived as fractured people, in fractured families, within fractured communities?  It’s just that before we didn’t openly acknowledge it – we kept it under wraps; hidden behind a veneer of respectability.   (Certainly that’s what I’ve found as I researched my family tree back over three or four centuries!)

The fact is there is no ‘perfect family’ modelled within the pages of Scripture.   And yet this ideal is still put forward and even offered by some within the wider church.   The proposition being – if one adheres to the ‘rules’ then you will escape the pain;  your marriage will work; your children will grow up well balanced and responsible;  you will cheat the chaos that surrounds you in society as a whole.  And if the chaos affects you – well then the fault is yours!   You failed – you – the divorced; the addicted; the imperfects.  

It is any wonder then that when the chaos does hit, the first thing people do is to stay away from the church.   Even for some within the church, this notion of the ideal of perfection means that many strive to produce a perfect image, because by doing so, they do not have to deal with the brokenness and chaos that they face in their lives, and they can still feel that they belong.  

The role of the church is not, nor has it ever been, to project themselves as a community only for the perfect, rather it is a place where the broken should feel they are able to come to find acceptance and achieve wholeness.

When it comes to the chaos that we encounter in our lives and in our world, the church needs to step up to the mark and declare its belief:  that God is at work and he will bring order from chaos; that it is only through him that our broken lives can achieve wholeness.

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Messy Church was one of those things I’d heard about and read up on – one of those “fresh expressions” of church that was happening down south (by that I mean England and not the central belt of Scotland!), and so when I saw that there was a Training Day being held in Aberdeen I tried to encourage a few of our leaders in the Children and Families’ Ministry to go along and suss it out for themselves, to see if they also saw it as an effective outreach tool for our community.  

A few weeks later our Children and Families’ Worker – Bill, was planning and recruiting for our first event – A Messy Christmas Celebration!     

Messy Church is not just about your existing church and children.   It is about the opportunity to invite new people to come to church that wouldn’t normally come.  We certainly wanted our existing children and parents to be there, but it was also about getting new folk to come to church and finding out that church isn’t necessarily the way they remembered it, or expected it to be.    Messy church is a time for families (from the very youngest to the very oldest), to come and join in the fun – to play games, to create,  to talk, laugh and be with friends, to share a meal and make more friends, and think a little more about Jesus.    (see the Messy Church website for more info – www.messychurch.org.uk)

We had a fantastic time.  42 children and 20 plus adults came along.   The age range was from a couple of weeks old to 70+.   We began (more…)

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