Over the past few months readers will know that I have visited St Mary’s on several occasions. Having enjoyed a variety of cultural experiences, I took up the invitation ’Church Open’ as I passed by one day. The door was open, there was no one about, but I was welcomed by some cool and calm air, and some sublime music. Father Paul came from out of nowhere dressed in cool chinos and chewing some gum. The music was an Ionian singer he had come across and the enchanting melody was mesmerising.

Father Paul and I had a chat and he invited me to pop in the following week for another St Mary’s experience. As I arrived at church the following Friday afternoon I was met with joyful shrieks and a mass of children sitting at tressel tables doing crafts. This was “Messy Church” and messy indeed it was!

This is an after schools initiative by the church. Children were both from Lower Sunbury primary schools and from the congregation. Ages were from a babes in arms, to about 8 or 9 years old. The events are organised by Sue Bryant. Fridays are her day off so what better way to spend it that managing a large group of small children!!

Thankfully parents and other helpers volunteer. There are several meetings a year, themed seasonally; Easter, Halloween etc. Today was Summer, and children were making butterflies, dragon flies, decorating zany sunglasses and painting rocks. Some were getting very messy indeed! As crafts were eventually packed away, everyone gathered for a story from Father Paul before going back to the tables where a supper box had been put out for them. This is all funded by the church. In line with Father Pauls philosophy of putting the church at the centre of the community, everyone is welcome and the feeling of fun and happiness was all pervading.

You never know what you are going to find when you go to church! Do take up the invitation some time.