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Messy Church: Making Space for Family Fun

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British Columbia church reaches adults by creating a fun and welcoming environment for their kids.

Earlier last year, for the first time, Emily Krabbendam and her two children, ages 4 and 6, arrived at St. Dunstan Anglican Church for “Messy Church”—a term she says she had not heard before.

“The children got to literally be messy and have fun,” says Krabbendam, “and I loved watching them take Communion.”

Krabbendam attends St. Dunstan Anglican Church in Aldergrove, British Columbia. The church, which has up to 90 Sunday attendees, hosts Messy Church, a program for children up to the fourth grade and their parents on the third Friday of each month from September to June. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., the families come together to make crafts, participate in a brief Communion service and have dinner that church volunteers prepare.

Messy Church coordinator Carol Tindall, a former school teacher, says she started the program after attending a workshop in 2010 by author and Messy Church founder, Lucy Moore.

“I saw this as an opportunity for families to get together to hear the Word of God and experience it through music and games and drama and crafts,” Tindall says.

Between five and eight families attend Messy Church each month, she says. This year, they painted tiny crosses for Easter, planted beans in the church garden and walked on paper with paint on their feet to demonstrate following Jesus.

Krabbendam says that through Messy Church she and her husband, Mike, started going to the Sunday services.

“Messy Church was something we could look forward to as a family,” she says.

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