21st May 2016

It might have been raining outside but there was an atmosphere of excitement and expectation inside the Newport church on Sabbath 21 May as the children prepared to take charge of the service.

'Messy Church' at NewportThey were dressed in their best suits and ties, or dresses, and after the song service every child took part in one way or another. All listened attentively as Gareth Courtney, one of the youth, told a story entitled "The Little Apple". The younger children then collected the offering before some of the older ones gave an excellent interactive sermon.

All had been well briefed and had obviously rehearsed their roles so that they could stand confidently at the front to read their lines or, in some cases, recite them by heart.

The theme of the sermon, based on the book of Isaiah, was "Rise and Shine", and the children did just that. There was no doubt that they could shine in church but what about elsewhere? The sermon finished on the subject of witnessing and, quoting Isaiah 45:22, asked the question, "are you shining for Jesus?"

'Messy Church' at NewportIsaiah 55:1, "Come, all you who are thirsty," was the text used to lead in to lunch, and in the afternoon things got messy – in a good way – as the children took part in a wide range of art and craft activities, also based on the "Rise and Shine" theme. Parents, grandparents and older siblings, all helped out as the children decorated pictures with stickers and played games.

After all the fun it was time to have a quiet sit down and thank everyone for their help. The children themselves led the prayers and everyone went home happy, praising the Lord for a good and successful day.

[Kevin Courtney]

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