The first Messy Church session of 2015 focussed as always on Christingle. I was stationed at far end of the Main Hall between the pews, making the Christingles. I restocked on accessories and sticky labels to put on the Christingles before arriving. It was very cold and wintery and the session was held at the same time as the pantomime at the Gordon Craig Theatre so only a smaller group of children than usual turned up. There were more grown-ups present than kids and only 8 Christingles were made in the end (I think). At least the children who turned up were keen to amuse at the end-of-session tea. A few days later, Messy Church at Holy Trinity featured in The Comet local newspaper.
The next theme was ‘Loaves and Fishes’ and so after acquiring more fish-shaped cutters than required, I was stationed in the Parish room where I made a fish-themed biscuit to demonstrate. A lot more children turned up this time and 15 biscuits were made in all, I was receiving as many as 5 visitors all at once so I had to ask some of them to come back later. The fish finger and bread supper at the end of the proceedings was even better as two of the kids found me lots of fun and I only had a couple of weeks to wait for the next session.
Next up was the Easter session on Good Friday, I was assigned to make Easter nests although I also brought the usual accessories for making biscuits if the children fancied doing one of those as well. Stationed at the altar between the choir stalls, I experimented with mixing melted chocolate with ready-made chocolate-fudge icing and cornflakes which worked until the chocolate went hard again. Nearly 30 children attended in all, a lot of them were new so there were 26 contributions including my demonstrations. The contributors tried to make up for lost time as the Easter Egg hunt took until over half-way through the session to complete. It was by far the most popular session since Christmas 2013.
By stark contrast, the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ session was disappointing in terms of visitors. Stationed in the Parish room, I was assigned to melt some chocolate for the visitors to dip marshmallows and chopped fruit in. There were still 16 contributions mainly due to the visitors making several contributions at once. I was overstocked on chopped fruit, so much that some of the visitors were put off because they could not see the chocolate and marshmallows amongst all the fruit apparently. Well, even Messy Church Sessions have off-days, I hoped the next session in the Summer will be better.
My hopes of a better Summer Session were fulfilled as just over a dozen children turned up and including my own, there were 14 contributions in all. The theme was ‘Water into Wine’ and I was assigned to decorate little Fairy Cakes to look like Wedding cakes, stationed in the Parish Room. It was very hot and sunny so the end-of-session tea took place outside in the Church grounds. This made for a very friendly atmosphere, sitting in the shade of the trees, conversing, eating and watching the kids have fun. I even indulged in a bit of fun with two of the kids myself and helped to clear up by cleaning and stacking the tables among other clearing-up jobs.
The next session was ‘Sowing of the Seeds’ and one that I nearly did not get to or prepare for. Nonetheless, I arrived and managed to prepare for the session. I brought both cupcakes and biscuits for the children to decorate and there were a lot of them present. Most of the children made a contribution, some even made two and in the end, there were 18 contributions and I had a nice laugh with the children during the end of session tea.
The final session was of course Christmas. I decided to bring some Christmas themed biscuits as well as rich teas and also restock on supplies. I even wore a Santa hat to set the mood. This was quite possibly the most popular session ever with a reported 88 children turning up. I had too many contributions to mention as half a dozen or so children were coming all at once and some contributions were left unclaimed, my apologies to those who decorated a biscuit but did not take it home. When it was time to clear up, I joined the Christmas march up the High street to watch the Christmas lights being turned on and sing with all the parents and children present, some of whom even sang with me during the march. It all added up to wonderful way to end to a truly wonderful afternoon.