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Barton Messy Church out in the Cold - 22 December 21

Covid has yet again disrupted our plans and prevented some of our gatherings but it couldn't diminish the warmth at Barton. In the light of the current situation, Deacon Helen Webster was running an outdoor Messy Church on a cold Wednesday morning at Barton Trinity Methodist Church. Everyone kept their woollies on and the families had chairs to sit on in the small paved church yard.

Beside a large traditional crib, Helen told the Christmas story with the help of picture cards held up by the children and then placed in order on the display blankets. If anything, the cold made the story more real as we appreciated the draughty stable, the worried parents and the shepherds huddled on the hillside.

Helen invited everyone to participate in actions for each part of the story including making a love-heart shape with two hands to remind us that God loves everyone. This action was repeated throughout the story as we heard how God loves people who have no home, like Mary and Joseph; God loves people who are outcasts like the shepherds and God loves people who are foreigners with different beliefs like the wise men.

There was noise and chatter but the children and their parents were engaged and interested. They were eager to help hold the pictures and join in the actions. Animal noises were made with enthusiasm and giggles.

At the end of the story everyone was given a bag to take away.

In it were the materials and instructions for lots of craft activities to keep young hands busy over the holiday season and a little chocolate gift as well.

There were also a range of books to take away telling the Christmas story in age-appropriate formats.

In spite of the cold, there was real warmth in the relationships between families and volunteers. The children were delighted with their bags and parents seemed happy to be involved.

Christmas is about hope in difficult circumstances and I certainly saw that being put into action here.

A representative of the local Lions Club who have generously supported the Messy Church.

A display of many different nativity sets.

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