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Designed to reach young families who have not had a church experience as well as those families for whom traditional Sunday morning church is not appropriate. Most Messy Churches gather once a month in a church, usually on a day other than Sunday, and use a Biblical story as the theme of the gathering. The session begins with snacks, crafts and activities followed by a celebration with prayer, music and storytelling, finished with a hot meal. This initiative places a premium on community, creativity, hospitality and celebration. Messy Church is not a stepping stone into the Sunday morning congregation.


Fresh Expressions and Wycliffe College

Basic orientation (eg. organization development, catechetical, or missional)


Primarily designed to be implemented by (eg lay or ordained; diocesan staff)

Clergy with a team of lay leaders. It is possible to run it with only lay leaders.


Modest—books to help get set up. Ongoing costs include craft supplies and food.

Facilitator requirements

Requires clergy support and a lay team.

Approximate duration

Ongoing initiative

Denominational orientation (eg. Anglican or other)

Began in the Church of England but is now used in many denominations

Broader context (eg. rural or urban; size of parish)

Rural or urban; any size

Ease of replication (eg. how easy would it be to start this in a new place?)

Easy. Requires commitment from clergy and a lay team plus a budget for ongoing costs.

Resource Details

Resources listed here have come from a wide variety of sources. For more information or if you have any questions about this resource, please contact the document provider listed below.

Contact: Sue Kalbfleisch, Messy Church Canada, Wycliffe College E-mail Sue Kalbfleisch, Messy Church Canada, Wycliffe College Visit Website Fresh Expressions and Wycliffe College

Reviewed: May 25, 2016