On the fourth birthday of PPP messy church we came together for the most amazing celebration. Seven of the messy church mums were being confirmed at St Nicolas Earley by the Bishop of Reading, Andrew Proud. I knew the day was going to be emotional but I hadn't expected it to be quite as powerful as it was.
I had put off writing their cards until the morning; and as I wrote a poem, with a specific verse for each of them, I could send these movement of the Holy Spirit. I was tingling with joy and hope and love and could not wait to be a small part of their huge day.
We started the session as we always do at messy church; gathering with a story. Today I'd chosen to tell the story of Jesus' baptism and then I sent everyone off to the various craft stations. The 100 or so adults and kids crowded around the tables decorating cup cakes, forming colours of faith bracelets, creating a large piece of handprint art and making doves of all different sorts.
As hands were washed the mums stood with the Bishop, ready to go into church and be confirmed by him. (See the photo in the article below in The Door paper.) + Andrew led the service perfectly, with words for all ages and a relaxed approach; explaining what was happening and inviting the Holy Spirit to move in and around all present.
And after it all we ate, altogether, in celebration. What a celebration.
I had tears in my eyes through it all; tears of joy and friendship and amazement at what four years of doing as God inspired could do. It was everything I could ever have hoped for for those women and I will never forget it.
But you know what? It's not the end.
These women are the future; of messy church, of church, of God at work in this place, their homes and everywhere they go. How awesome is that!