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Muddy Church, some great outside fun for all!

Date: 19 May 2022

With so much natural beauty on the doorstep of many of the parishes in the diocese, it seems to make sense to get out and enjoy it.

Busbridge & Hambledon Church in Godalming have been doing just that this past six months and inviting their local community to join them for Muddy Church on the first Sunday of each month.

Officially part of the Messy Church Goes Wild pilot scheme from the Messy Church initiative, this monthly outdoor gathering looks to engage young and old in a creative way that draws on themes and focuses related to the care of the planet.

Although ‘on paper’ the gathering will look much like a contemporary all-age church service – talk, sung worship, games and activities – it’s a bit more hands on with plenty of space to connect with others.

Mark Puddephatt, who helps oversee Muddy Church says, “It replaces our usual morning service and it really is for all ages. Our two most reliable attendees are in their 70s and we get lots of little ones and even a few dogs!”

Come rain or shine, Muddy Church has made use of the wonderful natural locations near them that have included a field, lake, hilltop, copses in woods and the rectory garden.

The team use their band-wagon (a chunky two-wheeled cart) to transport a buskers amp for microphones and instruments. They also make use of a QR code for people to access words and chords so others can bring their instruments and join in to sing or play.

“It can sometimes be a 15 minute walk each way,” Mark explains, “but the actual talk / worship / games / activities last no more than 45 minutes. We also provide hospitality whenever we can and encourage people to hang around and chat at the end.”

Muddy Church is seeing a good number of newcomers. One member said, “What an inspiring morning. I don’t think we left until about midday! Thank you for everything you did and for the message wrapped within it all – it was fab!”

Mark and the team would even love to plan a “Muddy-Fest” with overnight camping in the future. In the meantime, other local churches looking into Muddy Church/Messy Church Goes Wild themselves are welcome to attend a BHC Muddy service on the first Sunday of the month. Do reach out to the team at Busbridge & Hambledon Church if you would like to find out more.

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