Church gets messy

Family-friendly services offer fresh take on worship

WINNIPEG, MB—Things are getting messy at All Saints’ Anglican Church.

In January, the church—located at the corner of Broadway and Osborne—launched the first of its Messy Church services. Messy Church is one type of “fresh expression” of church. The Fresh Expressions movement sprung out of Anglican churches in the United Kingdom. It helps churches of different denominations around the world find new ways of “doing church” for those who don’t attend traditional services.

Messy Church services are created to be family-friendly experiences that appeal to all ages. Parents bring their children and are encouraged to worship with them. The goal is to engage people who may not be able to attend a Sunday morning service.

Allison Chubb, youth outreach coordinator at All Saints’, is heading up the Messy Church concept there. Each service, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month, is based on a theme and includes crafts, games, prayer, simple liturgy and songs related to the theme. The service also includes eating lunch together.

“We leave spaces for the kids to add things, encouraging them to learn to talk to God,” Chubb says.

She adds that the goal of Messy Church is not to expand All Saints’ membership, but to meet the changing needs of the West Broadway community surrounding the church.

Chubb has spent a lot of time in the neighbourhood trying to understand its demographic and has found that it includes a lot of low income families, single parent homes and people who may not have a lot of family in the area.

Many come from some Christian background, but aren’t connected to a church. Messy Church is a way to connect them to faith in a way that meets them where they are.

When starting a new church initiative, joining what God is already doing in a community is more important than imposing a new program just because it worked elsewhere, Chubb says.

“That’s been my underlying goal.”

All Saints’ joins a handful of other congregations in Winnipeg that also hold Messy Church services, including St. Andrew’s Anglican Church and Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.

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About the author

Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.

About the author