Glue and God: Peterborough Showcase For 'Messy' Church The Church for people who don't do church will feature at this week's East of England Christian Resources Exhibition (EXEC Peterborough, Thursday 24 today to Saturday 26 February).
In a radical departure from tradition, hands-on activity using arts and crafts replace hymns and readings at a Messy Church 'service'.
'Many families want to belong to a local church and raise their children as Christians but cant cope with traditional Sunday services. Messy Church is for them,' explains Jane Leadbetter, one of the radical project's leaders.
'Together, families make something relevant to a chosen biblical theme. Conversation, space and fun give everyone a chance to explore the theme in their own way, then draw the discoveries together in a short celebration. Messy Church means glue and God.'
Jane will be at the East of England CRE for a half-day Messy Church workshop (today Thursday 24 February, 11am-1pm). Just seven years after the first presentation, there are now hundreds of expressions around the UK and in at least 12 other countries.
'The key issues are interactivity and relationship-building,' explains Jane. 'Those new to the project will discover a range of ideas to try out in their own setting.'
Admission to Messy Church is free but requires pre-registration by visitors (on door standard admission charge to exhibition £4.50).
Open to the general public, CRE is often dubbed the 'ideal church show' and will feature up to 150 charities, missions and church suppliers displaying everything from specialised church heating systems to evangelistic puppets.
More than 30 practical seminars and workshops will cover subjects like the Church and the 2012 Games to Dreams: God's Neglected Gift. Speakers include the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister. A full programme of arts and media will include presentations by Saltmine and Riding Lights Theatre Companies.
Long-established as Europe's leading Christian exhibition, CRE has never before been held as far east as Peterborough. Up to 4000 people are expected to attend the show, representing all mainstream denominations.