MishMash: an inclusive ‘Messy Church’ for children with additional needs, and their families
I wonder whether you are part of a family with a child, or children, with additional needs? Or perhaps you know a family where a child has some kind of physical disability or learning difficulty? If you do, you may appreciate some of the challenges these families may face. One of those challenges may be around accessing somewhere new: will the venue be fully accessible? Will the activities be appropriate? Will my child be fully a part of whatever is going on or will they be left on the periphery? And what about church? What would you want that to be like? How comfortable would I feel if my child, or somebody else’s, was to present behaviours which don’t quite fit the ‘norm’, whatever that may be! What if my child starts to make a noise during the prayers… or ambushes the vicar during his sermon… or worse still, lobs a missile in the general direction of a dear old lady in the back row! Well, a couple of years ago at Christ the King we realised we could be doing a whole lot more to support families with children with special needs to be part of our church family… and MishMash was born!
MishMash is basically church for children with additional needs, and their families. MishMash happens from 2.30-4.30pm every 2nd Sunday of the month (except August) at Christ the King, Kettering, and is simply a very happy place to be. Run by a team of volunteers of all ages, MishMash is all about having fun, making friends and finding out about God and how special we are to Him. A typical afternoon will start with a friendly welcome and the offer of activity choice cards for those who need them. For the first hour, the children are free to choose the bible-themed activities they want to take part in: perhaps make a giant model in ‘the big build’, or chill to music and soft lights in the sensory room, or decorate biscuits or cakes in our fabulous food corner, or make something lovely to take home in our crafts area, or simply play with a lovely selection of toys. After an hour we all come together for our ‘celebration’ time, typically with interactive story-telling, singing (with signing), little sketches and games which everyone can take part in. Finally, we all come together for a wonderful buffet meal and the chance to sit down and get to know each other better… and then the children proudly collect their crafts and head off home with their families- very full and tired, but also very happy!
MishMash, then, is more than just an activity afternoon; it is where the whole family can relax together and enjoy being in God’s presence, sharing God’s love. It is where everyone knows they are special and knows they belong. Whilst our ideal scenario would be for every family to feel totally at peace about coming to any church service, families tell us again and again that MishMash is the place where they know they can all come just as they are, knowing no-one is watching or judging them, but simply accepting them as part of God’s family. Is MishMash something you’d like to be part of… or do you know of a family who might love to come along? If you do, please tell them!
For any queries about MishMash, please call the Christ the King office on: 01536 517553 or email:
You can also contact us through our MishMash Facebook page.
We look forward to seeing you, or a family you know, very soon.