Nestled away in Southwestern Ontario is a small, rural church that’s creating a big splash in its local community. On the fourth Wednesday of every month, the basement of Lucknow Presbyterian Church (grant recipient of the Creative Ministry with Children and Youth Fund) is bustling with the sound of children and families engaged in games and crafts.

The event is called “Messy Church”, a new form of church designed to reach families who are unfamiliar with the church as well as those who are looking to explore faith and Christian community in a new way. The gathering begins with a welcome, followed by crafts, activities and games. There is a short celebration involving song, Biblical storytelling and prayer, and then everyone enjoys a prepared meal before departing with take-home materials.

For Lucknow Presbyterian Church, what began as a small project two years ago has now grown into a successful program involving multiple ecumenical partnerships. Over the past year, more than 130 children and adults have attended Messy Church – and it continues to grow. Every month, the congregation welcomes new families with members ranging in age from under one to over eighty.