Activity Days for

Children and Families

We invite you and your children to get involved in your local community by joining our fun and educational activity days.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday October 24th at Snape Village Hall for Messy Church (please note that there will be improved parking facilities!).
The doors will open at 10.30 for 11am start, and we will finish by 1pm, having enjoyed a free picnic lunch.
The theme will be Hope and Peace and the morning will include a Children’s Act of Remembrance, as well as crafts and activities on the theme.

Further details: Carolyn on 01728 605761


What is Messy Church?

For those who have not been before, here is a summary of what Messy Church is and what happens during the time we have together.

A way of creating Church for everyone that is informal and fun. We find out about God together. It isn’t a Club just for children. In the words of those who started it, ‘It isn’t set in stone’. Messy does not mean you get messy making things but by not having set boundaries, the church has space to grow. Look at the Logo! There are over 4000 registered and each one develops in its own way and is unique.

After a warm welcome, the Theme is introduced. Sometimes the Bible Story is told by our ‘Open the Book’ Team or our puppets. Activity time involves doing or making something on the theme. A short time of celebration follows, which includes a prayer and song. By about 12.15pm a lovely buffet lunch is provided at no charge. We aim to finish by 1.00pm.

Next time (14.02.18) our theme, Love Rules, will involve lots of ‘Heart Shaped’ activities.

See us on Facebook: Alde River Benefice Messy Church.

We look forward to seeing you.

Further details from Carolyn on 01728 605761

Good Friday Messy Church

The Messy Church team have found it very rewarding to welcome so many families, some regular and several new ones, to our Good Friday Messy Church event. We started by listening to the ‘Sounds of Holy Week’.

Beginning with the ‘clip clop’ of the donkeys’ hooves on Palm Sunday, we progressed through Holy Week with noisy, visual objects and vocal sounds such as doves cooing, sheep bleating, gasps, angry voices then progressed onto the streets, into the temple, to the betrayal, into upper room, to the trial an finally to Crucifixion. When it came to the point where Jesus died on the cross, the large candle was extinguished and we all held our breath. This was a memorable way to learn about Good Friday. Then the fun could begin.

There were lots of things to do – biscuit and egg decorating and making Easter cards, bookmarks, bunny bags and scratch art crosses. The Prayer Corner had an Easter Tree so that personalised, decorated eggs could be hung on to its branches.

Matthew and Tom, our Ordinand on placement in the Benefice, were challenged to create a 3d cross using lolly sticks and clothes pegs. Patience, persistence and balance were essential and eventually they did it. The children helped to make it but the most fun was had knocking it down!

Hot Cross Buns and cakes were served during the morning to upwards of 40 children plus all adults. Special thanks must go to the kitchen team of Alan, Jenny and Brenda for all they did and to Brian for printing all the publicity.

Thank you for those who give so much of their time to run each activity and give the children a wonderful morning. It was lovely to speak to people as they left and to hear several ‘thank you, it was brilliant’, from them and from the children.

The next Messy Church will be in July. Full details to follow later.

Carolyn and Team Messy

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it”

– Proverbs 22:6 –

For 7 years a group from our Benefice has regularly visited both Benhall and Snape Primary Schools to ‘Open the Book’.

So what is ‘Open the Book’?

It began as a project in Bedford in 1999 to tell children the story of the Bible. It quickly spread and in 2008 became a National Organisation based in Gloucester. In 2013 it became part of the Bible Society, enabling it to expand. From small beginnings it is now reaching out to 2000 schools nationally with many more requesting a Team to visit them.

It is designed for 5-11 year olds. The stories are taken from ‘The Lion Storyteller Bible’ by Bob Hartman. Another 2 extra story books have been written enabling a 3 year programme of storytelling.

Bob is the author of numerous books and a story writer, teller and trainer of international standing. Several of us have had training days led by him and his enthusiasm is inspiring.

Each registered team of volunteers operate within a Code of Conduct and must have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. School protocol is adhered to and this very good relationship has enabled us to visit and tell our amazing Bible stories. We act out the story and using costumes and props create a memorable, visual experience. The children are often extras and love to get ‘I helped ‘Open the Book” badges.

Our Diocese actively encourages this valuable ministry. OTB has enabled 1000s of children to engage with the Bible. Only Church Schools have regular Christian worship so this is a way of reaching secular schools too.

Each term of 5 stories has a theme. For example:
Year 3 Module 5. Women who dared to do right.
1. Esther was a Star
2. Ruth finds a New Home
3. Deborah the Judge
4. Hannah’s Prayer
5. Brave Abigail

There are extra stories at Christmas and Easter so that during the Year our Bible really does come alive for all of us who are involved.

OTB has been written in such a way that it can be taken into schools other than Church schools. This why the Code of Conduct plays such a vital part as the ‘Secular Society’ monitors it. In our schools children are instructed in the major world faiths so we go in to present our Christian faith.

For those of us who are part of this, it is so rewarding. It is a commitment, with rehearsal on Tuesdays then visiting Snape on Friday mornings and Benhall the following Wednesday. We do 5 stories per term so it has taken our Team 6 years to do the 3 year programme.

Our acting may not RADA, but we have become very confident and resourceful. Best of all we have each learnt the Bible with the children and have had a great deal of fun in doing so. We now use our Puppets too, which have given us another dimension.

We have been able to take our stories into Benefice Church Services and other local children’s church events.

Want to get involved?

If you are considering joining our Open the Book Team please get in touch with Carolyn on 01728 605761.

Get In Touch

Reverend Rachel Cornish: 01728 768136

Mrs Ann Boulter: 01728 831485

Mrs Ann Boulter: 01728 831485
Mr Peter Sampson: 01728 602320


St Mary's Church is part of the Alde River Benefice and can be found on:

Dead Mans Lane, Benhall, Suffolk IP17 1JL