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/ 5 May 2023

Messy Cathedral 2023

The first day of April saw the welcome return of Messy Cathedral for the first time since 2019. Obviously, the time gap was unavoidable, but this made it extra special to see over 350 children and families exploring Bible stories and worshipping together under the dome once again. This year’s theme was “stories from Holy Week”; each craft station reflected a different story from Holy Week and included various activities with things for families to take home.  

Highlights from the craft included making animals from clay and the ever-popular badge making. Crafts were led by volunteers from Messy Churches across London, as well as members of the children and youth support team and volunteers from the Cathedral’s education department. 

The Eucharist was led by Rt Revd Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, the Bishop of Willesden, together with singing from a ‘scratch choir’ who had learned their parts that morning in a singing workshop with Tom Daggett from the Cathedral. Servers from the Messy Mass at St James West Hampstead also facilitated parts of it.  

Most memorably Rt Revd Rob Wickham, the Bishop of Edmonton delivered the sermon dressed in a Plymouth Argyle football shirt as he drew parallels between their journey to Wembley that afternoon for the Papa John trophy final, and the journey to Easter that we were all about to begin with Palm Sunday the next day. His talk began and ended with some football songs belted at the top of his voice whilst running around under the dome. This led to some very confused looks from a few tourists who had probably never seen a Bishop give a talk quite like that!  


The event was a wonderful celebration of Messy Church and the wider ministry of our churches to children and families; showcasing loads of great ideas and showing that even within the grandeur of St Paul’s, it is possible to provide meaningful experiences for children and families through activities.  


What is Messy Church and why is it great for families?

Messy Church…

  • is a way of being church for all ages involving fun and hospitality
  • is primarily for people who don’t already belong to another form of church
  • meets at a time (and sometimes in a place) that suits people who don’t already belong to church
  • models and promotes good ways of growing as a family: a nuclear family, an extended family, and a global and local church family
  • is church, not a craft club that helps people encounter Jesus and grow closer to him


If you are interested to find out more about Messy Church, visit the website or get in touch with the children and youth ministry support team at


About Sam Donoghue

Sam Donoghue is Head of Children and Youth for the Diocese of London, a keen cyclist and a supporter of Everton FC.

Read more from Sam Donoghue

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