Revd Philip Ball
Vicar of Hook, Airmyn and Rawcliffe
Phillip began his church-based congregation in Hook CofE Primary School in January 2019. He does both a Breakfast Church and a Tea Time Church on alternate months. His Breakfast Church is from 8:30am – 9:15am and Tea Time Church is from 3pm-3:45pm.
Philip says: “It is a joint project between the school and St Mary’s Church, Hook. We started because together we thought meeting in school would be accessible to those who were used to school and because the school hall was a better set up to do an informal service than our church building currently is. We want to grow a community of Christian people who, with God’s help, support and encourage one another to live life to the full in a way which is uplifting for their own lives, uplifting for our wider community and makes our world a better place. We’re not doing anything clever, it’s simple and low on energy and effort to put it on, but done to the best we can as we believe God wants to draw the best out of us.”
Children’s Minister and Messy Church Leader at All Saints Church, Aston
Beth runs her Messy Church in Aston, All Saints CofE Primary School. Her Messy Church has been running once a month since May 2019.
Beth says: “I am really passionate about intergenerational worship and finding new ways of allowing people to relate to God and make meaning in their own lives. It is just a wonderfully fun and creative way to get people thinking about their faith and connecting the messages of the Bible with their modern context. I love the way that families come and have fun together. Some of the families who attend would probably not attend church on a Sunday for various reasons either they do not feel comfortable in a traditional Sunday service or have other commitments at the weekend. Messy church, being straight after school allows more accessibility and is a great opportunity to reach out to these families. I would love to create other groups from this one such as youth groups and home groups. I hope to journey with them as they grow and nurture a living and active faith.”
Fr Andrew and Kirsty Rigg
St Wilfrid’s CofE Primary School
Kirsty is the Centenary Project Worker at St. Wilfred’s Church, and alongside Fr Andrew they launched their Church in School in January 2020. At that time it happened on a Sunday afternoon in the school hall but after the pandemic they decided to do it midweek once a month.
Team Leader of ‘Faith and Fun for Families’ at Porter Croft CofE School, Sheffield
Heather leads ‘Faith and Fun for Families’ once a month at Porter Croft CofE Primary School. Her team of volunteers are made up of parents from the school and volunteers from St. Mary’s Church. The school is a very diverse community and Bishop Sophie had the pleasure of visiting Porter Croft and the Church in School in October ’22.
Heather says: “It was Clynt French (Church in Schools Coordinator) approaching us in 2019 about Churches in School and the support he offered that gave me the confidence to go for it with the deep-seated passion I have for expressions of church that embrace diversity. It was a natural progression from other activities that I was doing with St Mary’s and other Christians in the school as a volunteer.
“The kids get so excited about Faith and Fun; we have lots of opportunities to advertise it in assemblies and on flyers, and whenever it’s mentioned the children always ask when the next session is.
“It’s a privilege to put on these events, and each time is different. We keep it simple but engaging, and just have one hour. We put on slapstick games, live music, storytellers, we’ve had it outdoors with circus skills and we had a Christian magician at the last one for a ‘tricks & treats’ light party. We experimented with Church Army drums in one session, because I thought the kids would love it. We deliberately tap into what is meaningful in our context. Anything that can get people engaged is great, and we always have halal snacks.”
Headteacher, Cath Thomas says: “For our school it’s a really nice way of sharing the Christian faith with a very diverse group of people. There are people at the Faith and Fun sessions that are of other faiths. It’s really important for us as a community school to reach out to different members of the community and be able to offer this. The sessions are always busy!”
Kirsty Rigg and Ed Morrison
Holy Trinity Primary School
Kirsty is a Centenary Project Worker and she launched her Church in School in March 2022. It’s called WoW (Worship on Wednesdays) and it happens once a week during term time. In June ’22 Father Ed Morrison carried out 6 baptisms during one of the WoW services.
Steph Peake and John Armstrong
St Mary’s Church & The Ellis School, Barnsley
John is the vicar of St. Mary’s Church Wombwell, and Steph in the Centenary Project Worker. They both launched their Church in School in The Elliss School in March 2022.
Thrybergh & Fullerton CofE School, Rotherham
Beth is the centenary project worker at St. Leonard’s Church in Thrybergh, Rotherham. She launched her Messy Church in Thrybergh School just before the second lockdown but since starting back again in March 2022, it has been a regular once a month service.
Canon Popham School, Doncaster
Tom is the vicar of Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) in Doncaster. His Church in School happens once a week in the church building due the church being attached to the school. Tom and his team do a café style service.
Cowick CofE School
Eleanor started her Church in School fairly recently in November 2022. They are meeting in the church building due the church (Holy Trinity, Cowick) being in the same grounds as the school and the school hall not being available because of other activities.
West Melton Primary School (Non CofE school)
Rachel is the centenary project worker for All Saints Church, Wath. She works across two parishes and has developed a Messy Church in each parish. She works in both of the Church of England schools but felt called to start a Messy Church in one of the none church schools due to there being very little spiritual input in that part of the parish. The Messy Church in West Melton School began in December 2022.
St. John’s CofE Primary School, Penistone
David is the vicar of St. John’s Church in Penistone and he alongside his curate Annabel Stott, are due to launch their Church in School in January 2023.