27.3.11

Neat Messy Church

Messy Church is neat! It's a natty, clever idea to get people into church. It extends hospitality practically with the provision of a meal and it enables families to get together, make time for one another and do creative things without having to debate who is going to tidy up or prepare the food for hungry kids.

It asks that people sit together with those they do not know and the meal eaten takes on something of a symbolic quality; social bonding occurs over the eating of food, conversations occur that might not happen if there was not the plate requiring you stay and the knife and fork to give you something to be busy with.

After writing on women's ministry and finding a legitimacy for it despite the 'effeminisation' of the church, I am more won over by the homogenous unit principle.


Mission-Shaped Church believes ‘there is a church because there is mission, not vice-versa. Apart from worship, everything else is secondary to this,’(Mission-shaped Church, p. 85, quoted in Hull, Mission-Shaped Church, p. 27).

However, as I said at the end of my placement report, twenty-four ministries where the homogenous unit principle is in operation must come together to worship and break bread, or so I believe, and in the context I was looking at they do. Holy communion enacts the process of reconciliation and is a prophetic sign of our eschatological unity. Mixing people up and together in an intimate spiritual fellowship is made possible by the spirit and this bears witness to a world promoting isolationism and suspicion of one's neighbour.

I am glad that Worship is made possible at Messy Church, a message is given so that behaviour can be reflected upon and the Christian life explored, the messy grace is shared:

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”II Corinthians 13:14 with actions)

and songs are sung in praise. Worship empowers mission as we dwell in the presence of God whose mission it is. In Worship we learn what our God hopes from us.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.