‘Messy Woodwork’ connects with Christmas
Clifton and Southill’s five-day mission in November with Bishop Richard is still bearing fruit, including in a life-size wooden nativity which has gone up outside All Saints Clifton.
The carpentry was the result of ‘Messy Woodwork’ which is a new outreach that the church has run a couple of times for younger teenages and which is also very popular with their dads. It’s like “Who let the dads out!” says Rector, Revd Caren Topley. The figures of Mary and Jospeh are graced by masks made by Henlow Middle School and the tableau will help welcome visitors to celebrate Christmas at the church.
Messy Woodwork was just once of the highlights Bishop Richard saw during the mission in the benefice. Accompanied by Carrie, Cathy and Lindsay (one potential ordinand and two trainee Readers), and supported by a local team, Bishop Richard and the team were involved in a wide range of events from school assemblies, to an evening of testimony and questions/answers at Southill Park, and conversations with people in three of the local pubs. It was a time of encouragement, renewal and reaching out.
The mission was part of Clifton’s MAP and fitted with the church’s work to get everyone in the parish involved in outreach to the community. As well as Messy Church and Toddler Church, the church is open all week and Craft and Chat sessions take place, drawing 30 to 50 as well as the local care scheme, Clifton Care, hosting a drop-in cafe, well attended by older men, many bereaved. One mum from Messy Church commented: “the church is part of the community now.”
The combined effect of all these new activities is that 58 people joined the church in 2015 and 110 last year, roughly equal numbers of adults and children. A bumper crop of Crib service attenders has also promoted thought about inviting them back, so the church is launchng a new all-age service in January and holding a Christingle at Candelmas.