Messy Church gets a family makeover

The Rev Alex Hughes, priest-in-charge of St Peter's Church, Somerstown, with his sons 7-year-old Thomas (r) and Joseph, 4, getting ready for Messy Family Fun outside the church

Two Portsmouth churches will be running Messy Church with a family twist this Easter.

Messy Church gives families and their children time to share in arts and crafts, a meal, and a simple act of worship.

It has become a global phenomenon since starting in the city in 2004 and is now held in more than 1,500 churches across the UK and 14 countries worldwide.

The crafts have a Christian theme and the novel service has been successful in attracting people outside the church.

This Easter holiday, Portsmouth Cathedral and St Peter's Church, Somerstown, will run Messy Church with all the usual elements, but with an additional new programme of 'family skills' activities. This can be anything from dance, drama, gardening, 'extreme cleaning', gargoyle-making, magic tricks and photography.

The activities will give families a chance to learn together and will be led by Lucy Moore, who started the very first Messy Church at St Wilfrid's, Cowplain.

"It will be a bit like a holiday club, but for the whole family, and with loads of exciting things to enjoy. I think it's going to be huge fun," she said.

"We hope that family members can learn some skills together while they are there. They'll come away with many souvenirs, including family photographs and the great things they've made together.

"It's great that both of these churches are committed to mission and want to reach out to families. We've discovered that Messy Church does help mums, dads and children to discover more about Christianity together, in a way that is fun and accessible to all ages.

"This is a one-off pilot for now, but it might lead onto a new book of resources. We will have to evaluate how well it goes."

The programme runs during the second week of the Easter holidays from 8 to 12 April and is being funded by a legacy left by cathedral worshipper William Groves.

The dean of Portsmouth Cathedral, the Very Rev David Brindley, said: "People will know that William Groves left a very generous legacy to the cathedral. We wanted to use it to help our mission work, and to support mission in other churches too, especially where finances are tight."

The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Reverend Christopher Foster, will join the Thursday afternoon session.

To book for the sessions at the cathedral or St Peter's, see http://www.messyfamilyfun.tumblr.com or ring 07591-702020.

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