At St Francis Xavier our Messy Church is a way of bringing church into school for our children. It is Christ-centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration. Our Messy Church helps the children encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour. It reflects the creativity of God in its imaginative hands-on approach and it welcomes everybody to enjoy the hospitality and unconditional love of God.
Our focus in Messy Church was Paul/Saul on his road to Damascus (Acts 9) we explored when Paul saw a dazzling light and his life changed forever. This inspired our activities of colouring in scenes of Paul on the road to Damascus when he was blinded by the light of God. In pairs we blind folded one person and instructed them around the room. This was to help us imagine what it was like for Paul when he was blind for three days after seeing the light. We used the Bibles to read the story of Paul/Saul for ourselves and reflect on the Word we have heard. Finally, we wrote a prayer or an encouraging message for anyone who has been bullied for their faith.
"Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah."
Our focus in Messy Church was messages and messengers (Malachi 3:1) which encourages us to see the different ways Jesus' word and message was passed around the world. This inspired our activities of playing pictionary in pairs using words used in St Paul's letter such as body, ransom and treasure. We had a mailbox for children to write messages encouraging others to follow Jesus like St Paul did or writing to someone in need like Turkey. Then we had paper hearts which the children decorated with one of the phrases from St Paul's letters about love which was adapted from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 such as love is patient, love is kind. Finally we thought of how St Paul could still spread the word of God whilst in jail so we made paper airplanes with a message on and did a competition to see whose plane could fly the furthest.
"Behold, I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way for me."
Our focus in Messy Church was drop everything and follow me (Mark 1:16-20) which encourages us to commit our lives to following Jesus as one of his disciples. This inspired our activities of using a magnet and paper clips to show how powerful Jesus is, if we put our hand over the paper clips they don't move but when Jesus does (the magnet) all the paper clips follow him. We made fish origami as the children had to show obedience and trust when following the instructions. Also, in pairs the children had to complete an obstacle course blindfolded putting their trust in their partner to lead them to the end of the course without walking into any chairs. Finally, we went on a disciple trail around the room. We had to find the letters around the room to complete the quote Jesus said to his first disciples which was "come and follow me and I will send you out to fish for people."
"Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him."
Our focus in Messy Church was eating together (Acts 2:46) which encourages us to sit down, enjoy each other's company and rejoice and praise God together. This inspired our activities of pizza prayers where we cut out segments of a pizza and on one side the children wrote their favourite pizza topping and on the other side they wrote on thing they are thankful to God for. We also looked at our dinner time prayers and re-wrote our own dinner time prayers that we could say before we sit down to eat a meal. We had some colouring pages of Bible stories where Jesus ate with different people like the last supper and the feeding of the 5000. Finally, we reflected on the Bible verses we had heard in the session by looking up each one in a Bible and thinking about what it might mean to them personally.
“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts."
Our focus in Messy Church was be still (Psalm 46:10) which encourages us to stop, be still and take in everything that God has made for us. This inspired our activities of going outside and observing our wonder world that God has created for us. We laid on the grass, looked up at the sky and thanked God for our beautiful world. We looked inside ourselves at the gifts that God has given us and wrote them on a strip of paper which was used to make a paper chain of gifts. Then we thought about who is in need of our prayers locally and globally and wrote prayers for them. Finally, we reflected on the Bible verses we had heard in the session by looking up each one in a Bible and thinking about what it might mean to them personally and how it can remind them that we should take opportunities to be still and talk to God.
“Be still and know that I am God."
Our focus in Messy Church was new beginnings (2 Corinthians 5:17) as this was our first session back after the new year break. This inspired our activities of making butterflies and thinking of the new beginnings they make once they have transformed from a caterpillar to a butterfly. We used post it notes to write down what we would like to accomplish this year. Some examples that children wrote were "to start a new club", "to pass their SATS tests" and "to read 20 books". We created a thumbprint tree showing now that we are moving into Spring, trees receive a new lease of life when new leaves and flowers bloom. Finally, we reflected on the Bible verses we had heard in the session by looking up each one in a Bible and thinking about what it might mean to them personally and how it can remind them that we all have the opportunity to start again.
“If anyone belongs to Christ, then he is made new. The old things have gone; everything is made new!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
Our focus in Messy Church was Jonah (Jonah 1-2) when Jonah disobeyed God and was eaten by a whale. There Jonah prayed to God and apologised for turning away from him. This story inspired our activities of ball races where we blew a gust of wind through a straw to move the balls which represented Jonah's boat and the storm God sent. We also had searching for Jonah in shaving foam showing God searching for Jonah when he ran away. Futhermore, we had an activity where children could create posters to show how pollution is harming our marine animals and our seas. Finally, we created a prayer space, which was the whale, where children could crawl inside and pray to God, like Jonah, which shows God hears our prayers even in the deepest, darkest of places.
“Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh." Jonah 3:2-3
Our focus in Messy Church was Noah (Genesis 6:9—8:22) when Noah built the ark to save his family and the animals from God's flood. This story inspired our activities of making our own ark like Noah. We also made rainbow clouds where the children wrote a word that represents what seeing a rainbow means to them. Finally, we played games of snap to show the animals had to go in pairs on to the ark, in order that their species could survive.
"I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you." Genesis 6:18-20
Our focus for Messy Church was Moses and in particular Exodus 2 when Moses was found in a basket on the Nile by the Pharoah's daughter. We also discussed Moses parting the Red Sea and his journey to the promised land. These stories inspired our activities of making a baby basket for Moses made from rice krispies, parting a sea of pepper with washing up liquid and drawing a sandy footprint with the words 'God is with me wherever I go'.
"When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 2:10