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  • Debbie Thrower

Messy Vintage workshop attracts people from all over the country

Updated: Aug 26


Messy Vintage scarecrow ready for Harvest Festival season

Messy Vintage Harvest season got off to a flying start yesterday as more than 30 people gathered online to hear from aficionados Katie Norman and Jill Phipps. They joined in from Wales, Kent, Hull, Wimborne and Cheltenham as well as from Norfolk, the Lake District, Whitley Bay, Aylesbury and Northamptonshire.


'Passion and zeal is the only thing you need,' said Katie Norman, 'and wanting to engage in the kingdom-building in this very important ministry.'


Katie and Jill are the co-authors of Messy Vintage: 52 sessions to share Christ-centred fun and fellowship with the older generation (BRF, 2021).


The two-and-a-half-hour session began with a discussion of the playfulness of God and how easy it is to lose our love of play – and even the ability to play at all – as we grow older.


I described Messy Vintage as 'a gift to the church', just as Messy Church from which it it has grown, and Anna Chaplaincy, are both gracious Christian gifts from the church to the wider community. I saw those attending as God's 'workers' going out into the harvest field with 'jobs to do'!


We reminded ourselves of Wanda Nash's book Come, Let Us Play! Playfulness and prayer (Darton Longman and Todd, 1999), and the prayer she wrote:

Dear God: in this very present moment, this here and now, we present ourselves, just as we are, to your presence; aware of all the presents you long to lavish on us. Be present to us. O Lord. p.10

Katie and Jill told us about the roots of Messy Vintage, which began on Jersey, in the Channel Islands, more than a decade ago, and how the concept has grown since then as Messy Vintage takes place in a variety of settings including church halls, care homes, sheltered homes and mental health units, and with older people as well as younger men and women with special needs.


The pandemic has taken its toll on many of these groups, but there were signs that in-person sessions are beginning to resume. If you have been doing Messy Vintage online or are now restarting to get together in person, we'd love to hear from you. Contact annachaplaincy@brf.org.uk.


Church for the voiceless

We experienced a Messy Vintage time of worship – songs, prayers, a Bible reading – all interspersed with our craft activity making scarecrows out of wooden sticks, raffia, cut out flowers and other odds and ends that came to hand!


One person mentioned how lovely it was to get to the nub of a gospel message without all the superfluous things which sometimes can get in the way of our understanding. Katie agreed, saying she often felt Messy Vintage was 'church for the voiceless'.


Another said she was 'full of enthusiasm for Messy Vintage. And I have come along to learn anything and everything that I can.'


Comments afterwards were affirming for all the BRF team:


Thank you for a very well-run Zoom session, very inspiring.
Really enjoyed spending time with you all this afternoon... I love all sorts of crafts.

It's hoped we shall run more Masterclasses in Messy Vintage in coming months. If you're interested do get in touch: annachaplaincy@brf.org.uk.


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