Messy Church

Messy Church

Messy Church is church - but not as you know it. We want to carry on serving those who look for a Sunday service, either more traditional (9:30am) or something short and informal (3:30pm), the whole family can come and be messy! Messy Church also provides an opportunity for churches to do effective mission in the community. 
Messy Church is part of The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF). 'Messy Church logo © The Bible Reading Fellowship 2019. See'

What is Messy Church?

It is about worshipping God, having fellowship and exploring faith.
It welcomes everyone, involves everyone, values everyone.
It is always there for the outsider.
It is a form of church that involves fun, creativity, celebration and hospitality.

When and where does it meet?

It meets once a month, in term time only, at 3.30pm in place of the Together services which happen on the other Sundays in the month.
It meets in St James’s Church. See the page Find us.

Who is it for?

It welcomes everyone and anyone who wants church to be fun, creative and inclusive.
It welcomes people of all ages, young and old, families and also single, widowed, childless, divorced people, male and female.
It welcomes people at all stages of their faith journey.
It welcomes people of all abilities, learning preferences, backgrounds, levels of interest in God, spiritual styles …..

How much does it cost?

It is completely free of charge!

What are its purpose and aims?

It 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.
It has five values: Christ-centred, Messy Church is a church that helps people encounter Jesus; All-age, Messy Church is for adults and children to enjoy together. Every element aims to be relevant and accessible to all ages; Creativity, Messy Church reflects the creativity of God in its imaginative hands-on approach to being church together; Hospitality, Messy Church is outward-facing, welcoming everybody to enjoy the hospitality and unconditional love of God. Messy Church is about hospitality, expressed most evidently by eating together; Celebration, Messy Church reflects a God of joy who wants his people to have life in all its fullness.

What happens during Messy Church?

It starts in the hall then moves into the church. It involves crafts, games, music and songs. The messy hands-on activities explore Bible stories, reflecting a God of creativity and giving people a chance to play together. These craft activities are followed by a ‘celebration service’.
It is followed by a family meal in the church hall.

How did Messy Church start?

In 2004, a small church in Cowplain, near Portsmouth, wanted to connect with the many families in the area that did not come to church on a Sunday. A group of creative people decided to use their skills to offer a way of worship that worked for all ages and was particularly welcoming for people with little knowledge of how church things worked. Once a month on a Thursday afternoon they opened for Messy Church. What began small has now spread across the world. There is no doubt that Messy Church changes lives. Messy congregations on average are larger than traditional Church of England congregations. Robust research has shown that over half the people who attend had no previous experience of church.

Find out more

Messy Church (external website)
Messy Church (photo album)
The Bible Reading Fellowship (external website)
Safeguarding at St James's Church


Revd Derek Winterburn on 020 8241 5904

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