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.

Our next Messy Church is on Wednesday 24 July 2024 at The Riverside, Stratford St Andrew. Doors open 10.30 for 11am start. Finish by 1pm.

Booking is essential, so please ring Carolyn on 01728 605761 or mobile 07786287575 (texts also acceptable). We now also have a WhatsApp Messy Church Group which you are invited to join.

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

Messy Church Lent

We welcomed 38 children and parents to our February event. It was lovely to have some new families join us, alongside familiar faces.

Our journey began with the children drawing around their feet on a “road” across the Hall.

Questions? Where are we going? Are we nearly there yet? What’s at our journey’s end?

We talked about Pancake Day,Shrove Tuesday and what it is called in other countries. Mardi Gras which means Fat Tuesday. Jesus was tempted in the desert and Lent is a time for us to stop and think about our lives. Just like him we can be challenged, and have to try and resist making bad choices that are not good for us. Good Friday stops us in our tracks as we ask ourselves Why? Surely our journey can’t end with Jesus dying on a Cross? And we know it doesn’t. At Easter we celebrate the new life we have in Christ and of course eat lots of Chocolate eggs. Especially if you have given it up for Lent!

Lots of fun was had during activities on the theme Mardigras masks, tower building, yarn hearts and angels. Tasty Lunch and a time of fellowship followed. 

Places must be booked by contacting Carolyn on 01728605761 or 07786287575.  

“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 Rob Leveritt
01728 901538

Reverend Bill

Carolyn Glennon: 01728 605761
Elaine Hawes: 07796 687252


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

Dead Mans Lane, Benhall, Suffolk IP17 1JL