Messy Church is a Christ-centred gathering of people of all ages and abilities – inviting you into a relaxed space with an opportunity to explore the Christian faith in a fun and creative way through doing, eating and being. Making time and space to grow inter-generational relationships is core to Messy Church – seeing the image of God in the other, building families and community, and creating moments for discipleship. We love to celebrate God’s good gifts at every opportunity which brings encouragement and joy to our lives. Bring your family and friends to share the journey and the hospitality.

Messy Church is church for families who may not find other forms of church appealing or who don’t yet belong to a church. It is typically held once a month, includes hands-on creative experiences, a celebration and a meal. It does not prioritise either the needs of children or adults but intentionally welcomes and provides for all ages.

Messy Church started in 2004 in the UK and has grown and spread all around the world and to many denominations as part of the Fresh Expressions movement. Messy Church began in South Africa at All Saints Fourways at the end of 2009, and there are currently more than 3700 Messy Churches worldwide, spread over 30 countries. Many churches have been blessed through seeing Messy Church as a form of mission to whole families, not just children. While each Messy Church is unique, there are underpinning values that are shared. It is church, not a kids’ club or Bible study. Therefore each Messy Church is Christ-centred and available and welcoming to all ages. There is a strong emphasis on hospitality from the invitation, the welcome at the door, the knowing of people’s names, the offer of conversation and drinks to sharing worship and a sit-down meal for all. The celebration is an invitation to worship through song, prayers and story. Creativity in many forms is encouraged, nurtured and explored by people of all ages, together. The people who coordinate and attend Messy Church become a congregation of that church in their own right, not a stepping stone to the existing (usually Sunday morning) congregation. It is not a franchise, but a model to be adapted to your needs. But a warning, the more it is adapted from the simple formula that has been developed, the less it ‘works’. With Covid-19 Messy Church was unable to meet face-to-face, but that did not deter us. We developed some exciting Messy Church at Home sessions which families could participate in at home. Now that we are meeting in-person again, we take the necessary measures and precautions to ensure that we are Covid-compliant. In addition, we are blessed to have the lovely grounds and weather to enjoy Messy Church outside (or under the eaves if absolutely necessary). It can be easy to get preoccupied with getting our message across to people, or organizing children into games and activities, Messy Church focuses on people as they are and forms relationships with whole families, no strings attached. God is doing some amazing things through Messy Church – not just with the new people who come, but also re-vitalising the faith of many of the leaders and blessing whole congregations with new vision.

Jean’s All Saints Portfolio comprises Messy Church and she can be contacted on or via the church office.