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Portsmouth churches prepare for some Messy Family Fun this Easter

Mums, dads, grandparents and children will try something new at Portsmouth Cathedral and St Peter’s Church, Somerstown, over the Easter holidays ...

A worldwide phenomenon that started in Cowplain, Hampshire, will try out a new approach at two Portsmouth churches this Easter.

Messy Church, which now happens at more than 1,500 churches across the UK and in 14 countries worldwide, involves families trying art and craft, sharing a meal and joining a simple act of worship. It usually involves parents and children getting messy with paint and glue as they create art and craft on a Christian theme. It has been praised as a new way for believers and non-believers to be involved with church.

Mums, dads, grandparents and children will try something new at Portsmouth Cathedral and St Peter’s Church, Somerstown, over the Easter holidays.

Messy Family Fun will include all the usual elements, but also launch a ground-breaking programme of ‘family skills’ activities, where families can learn new skills, including dance, drama, gardening, ‘Extreme Cleaning’, gargoyle-making, magic tricks and photography.

It will be led by Messy Church founder Lucy Moore, who started the first Messy Church at St Wilfrid’s, Cowplain, in 2004. It happens in the second week of the Easter holidays – 8 to 12 April – and is using funds from the legacy left by cathedral worshipper William Groves.

The team will be in the cathedral from 10am-12noon each morning, after which families will enjoy lunch together, and they will then repeat the session from 3pm-5pm at St Peter’s Church, Somerstown, after which families will share tea. The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, will join in the Messy fun on the Thursday afternoon (11 April).

Lucy Moore, who runs Messy Church in the UK and has written several books of resources, said: “It will be a bit like a holiday club, but for the whole family, and with loads of exciting things to enjoy. I think it’s going to be huge fun!

“We hope that family members can learn some skills together while they are there. They’ll come away with many souvenirs, including family photographs and the great things they’ve made together.

“It’s great that both of these churches are committed to mission and want to reach out to families. We’ve discovered that Messy Church does help mums, dads and children to discover more about Christianity together, in a way that is fun and accessible to all ages.

“This is a one-off pilot for now, but it might lead onto a new book of resources. We will have to evaluate how well it goes.”

Lucy has just published Messy Church 3, the third in a series of books giving churches ideas for Messy Church art, craft, meals and activities. She’s also written Starting Your Messy Church, Messy Christmas, Messy Readings and Sports Fun for Messy Churches. A new quarterly magazine, Get Messy! has now been launched, featuring ideas, resources and stories from Messy Churches around the world.

Her husband, the Rev Paul Moore, will also see his book, Making Disciples in Messy Church, published this month.

For more details or to buy Messy Church resources, click on the websites or

To book for the sessions at the cathedral or St Peter’s, see or call 07591 702020.

(Photo: Rev Alex Hughes, priest-in-charge of St Peter’s Church, Somerstown, with his sons Thomas, 7 (right) and Joseph, 4, getting ready for Messy Family Fun)

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