Last Sunday, 17th May, we had our very first Muddy Church down at the Nature Discover Centre in Thatcham. What is Muddy Church, I hear you cry? Well for us, Muddy Church was a chance to get very muddy indeed as it rained solidly the whole time we were there! But alongside the Mud Muddy Church has a few key ingredients that, for us, makes it what it is.
The first of these is time in nature. Our Muddy Church has a spectacular piece of land down at the lakes with it’s own a reed bed, a wooded area and a lake - plus plenty of brilliant places to hide during a game of hide and seek! As I’m sure you already know there is a raft of evidence that time in nature is beneficial to our mental and physical health. It’s also so important for children when so much more of life happens indoors.
Our Muddy Church is primarily a free space for children and families to explore nature and to experience a sense of both peace and adventure. We provide a range of activities, based around a Bible story, for children to get involved with but what they do and how they spend their time is up to them. If they become absorbed in bug hunting and want to spend all their time on that then that is absolutely fine with us!
Muddy Church is also, of course, about connecting with God. We come into Muddy Church with the expectation that God is to be found everywhere around us if we take the time to listen and look. At Muddy Church we believe that God can be found in the stillness of nature, the intricacies of a beetle and the joy of a game with new friends. Children’s spiritual lives are marked by this ability to experience wonder and awe at the seemingly ordinary things of life. Activities like Muddy Church allow them to immerse themselves in the world and draw spiritual riches from it.
And lastly Muddy Church is about community. It’s a place to be able to rest for a while as the children play or to be a bit of a child yourself as you scramble about in nature. It’s time for children to connect with other children and parents with other parents. We begin each session with a story, sat together in a circle to wonder together (well, we will do when it’s not raining quite so hard!) Muddy Church is a shared experience, a place where we can be a community – and don’t we all need that after the year we have had!
So why not try us out? Muddy Church is for children of all ages and their families. Our next event is on Sunday 27th June from 2.00 to 3.30pm. It’s free to attend but you do need to book in (and we are booking up fast!) To reserve your place email firstname.lastname@example.org.