An idea for creative giving in Messy Church - THE CAN-CAN! (From Cerys Hughes herself)
For a number of years we have had a donations basket by the door for people to make donations as they left Messy Church. The notice with the basket asked for donations towards Gods work in the parish because we wanted to be very clear that it was not about paying for Messy Church, but more about being part of and contributing towards the wider work of the church. Donations received were very low, it was apparent that there were only a few contributors and sometimes we received nothing at all! After a while, we realised that whilst we were asking for donations for Gods work, the money was never seen to be offered to God or prayed over or blessed in any way which is common practice in our tradition. Moreover, we as a team would just count it up and bank it, forgetting to give thanks too! And so, came the idea for The Can-Can, an offertory that takes place during the Messy Church celebration.
For The Can-Can, you will need:
- Some Cans! We have 2 large catering baked bean cans. It was always our intention to decorate them, although at the moment they are still plain!
- Can-Can music. If you dont have musicians, you can download the music from iTunes or similar.
During the Celebration, the music is played (loudly), and people are invited to put what you can in the can, as quickly as you can. The idea is that the can is passed from person to person, as quickly as possible. In our church, we race the cans between the people sitting on either side of the aisle. This means that nobody is watching and waiting for your donation and because the music is loud and the money is jangling in the cans, it is not obvious when people choose not to give. We feel that we have an atmosphere where people can give or choose not to give comfortably and perhaps more importantly, there is real joy in the room as the cans race around and people dance in the aisle! When the cans reach the back of church, somebody brings them forward. The music stops and the cans are held up while a prayer is offered. We dont have a regular prayer, we just use some simple words thanking God for His provision and offering our gifts. However, I think if anyone is clever enough to write a simple offertory song to The Can-Can music, that would be great! It is made very clear each time that the giving is not to pay for Messy Church but is more about giving back to God. We are very clear that if people are unable to give or dont want to give that is fine and to just pass the can on. We also talk about how giving is not just about money and explain how people can offer themselves or their talents to God through a prayer during The Can-Can.
The Can-Can has increased the giving in our Messy Church fourfold. But perhaps the most encouraging thing is that our regular families come into church with their donations ready, so they have thought about and prepared their giving in advance and this is an important part of Christian discipleship.
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