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Messy Vintage – a new way of church

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Pakefield is a popular retirement area and attracts people from many parts of the country who had family holidays in the area when they were younger. Many now find themselves far from family, church, and support networks and find it difficult to start again. Other local residents recently retired would like to make new friends and have new interests. Some have faith, some none, and others feel a spirituality affecting their lives but would not express this as a faith.

Messy Vintage was set up to provide a safe, comfortable space for older adults to come together to explore Bible stories, arts and crafts activities linked to the story, time to chat over tea or coffee, and plenty of cake. The session ends with a short time of prayer as we prepare to return home to our daily lives.

Pakefield Messy Vintage Leader, Loraine says: “Our new way of church provides a warm, safe space, helps reduce social isolation, links arts and crafts to Bible stories in a fun way and is suitable for all – no previous experience is needed. We also have plenty of tea, coffee and cake, offering ‘cafe culture’ so individuals feel safe to come along on their own or with friends. Many attending Messy Vintage have not attended traditional church services at Pakefield and this project is not about people ‘progressing’ to church services, it is a new way of church. Information about church services is always made available, in time some may decide to attend, for others Messy Vintage is their church.”

Activities are adult-focused and materials are suitable for all skill levels. Examples of activities include decorating sustainable cotton tote shopping bags, linked to reducing plastic use and looking after the environment, and making candles from sheets of beeswax, to help light the dark corners of the world.

Lorraine said: “The pictures are from our Advent Messy Vintage, where we looked at the history of decorating the outside of our homes with holly and ivy, how many Carols contain these plants and what they represent for us as Christians.

“At last week’s Messy Vintage, we looked at the Shepherd and His Sheep, making models of sheep as our craft activity. What I have found is everyone can join in the craft activities, including individuals living with dementia who can find it challenging to communicate with others yet enjoy creating wonderful pieces of art.”