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Seriously Messy: making space for families to talk together about death and life - Joanna Collicutt, Lucy Moore, Martyn Payne and Victoria Slater

BRF/Diocese of Oxford ISBN 9780857468239 162 pages £8.99

When asked to review this timely book, I wondered if it had anything to do with me spending a year being treated for myeloma, a blood cancer. After all, there is nothing like a life-threatening illness to make one look at death in a new light. However I found this book refreshing, informative – and fun. Not at all scary or depressing, which seems to be the default feelings of most people when talking about death and dying.

It’s a new theme for Messy Church to tackle, yet they realise that as Christians we are in a unique position to help others come to terms with something we are all certain to experience.

Split over three sections, the book begins with the need to talk about death with children, amongst ourselves and within the whole church community. The middle section looks at theological reflection, and the last section covers all the session plans and materials. 

All the way through the book leans into biblical scriptures and I enjoyed the way it revealed new meaning to some well-known verses.

The activities seem a wonderfully engaging way to get people talking, to be ready to say goodbye and also reflect on what joy awaits those who love the Lord. I would recommend it to all those running Sunday schools or dealing with little ones who may be around a dying relative or friend.  It’s also not a bad read for the rest of us hoping to make our three score years and ten. I plan to get there by the way – all clear for myeloma since April.

Suzanne Smith is Editorial Assistant on Woman Alive magazine

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