The first Messy Church began in 2004 when a group at St Wilfrid’s in Cowplain near Portsmouth were frustrated because, as a church, they were hardly reaching any children with God’s story.
They felt they had lovely buildings and facilities but weren’t using them enough. They had creative people in the church, and the area needed as much community-building as possible, being a rather featureless suburb.
There was a lot of sympathy towards church in general but the church wasn’t offering anything that really gripped the imagination of local families.
They decided very early on to try to do something for all ages together, partly out of a belief that we grow best as a church when we walk the journey with as many different people as possible, and partly from a desire to help families to grow together in their walk of faith, and and not see Christianity as something you grow out of when you’re 11.
Messy Church is a form of church for children and adults that involves creativity, celebration and hospitality – primarily for people who don’t already belong to another form of church. It’s all-age, it’s fun and it’s for people at all stages of their faith journey and of any age – a congregation that is as valuable and worthy of investment as any of your other congregations.
Messy church models and promotes good ways of growing as a family: a nuclear family, an extended family, and a global and local church family, its aim is to introduce Jesus, to give an opportunity to encounter him and to grow closer to him.