A creative way to bring ‘church’ to older people

in care homes, in churches and in the community

Making it easier for older people to gather for worship

Although many older people enjoy regular church services, for others church may not be so easy. The very old may find the service too long. For some, the music may be too loud. Those living in a care home might not be able to get to a service. Some older people might feel out of touch with church and feel nervous about going back. Others might never have gone to church in their lives, and feel it’s too late to start now.

Introducing Messy Vintage

Messy Vintage is a way of creating Christian community, wherever people are - in churches, in the community and in care homes - and whatever their age, physical or cognitive abilities or familiarity with church. Originally developed by a Messy Church in Jersey, and sharing the Messy Church ethos of  celebration, hospitality, creativity, Christ-centredness and inclusivity, it’s now offered by BRF’s The Gift of Years programme.  

Messy Vintage is a gentle, welcoming and inclusive option for those whose physical, mental or emotional needs make going to a regular church difficult, as well as those who simply enjoy the friendship and fun it offers. 

I don’t always get to church now as the service is too long. I am 91 and the Messy Vintage service time is just the right length for me. Our afternoon tea is delicious

Messy Vintage participant

older ladies seated at table with refreshments and holding decorated paper crosses made at Messy Vintage

What to expect at Messy Vintage

older lady with crossstitch featuring the word 'LOVE'

Like Messy Church, Messy Vintage sessions are a joyful gatherings that involve hospitality and are open to all. Those who come along can expect hands-on creative activities to explore a Bible story, a short celebration, using all the senses, with worship, Bible story and prayer, and the opportunity to gather together for a  meal or light refreshments. 

Messy Vintage enables people within our care to engage in their spirituality. We have lots of fun with crafts, and the singing uplifts us all 

Activities organiser on a residential care home dementia ward

Could you start a Messy Vintage group in your locality?

One lady left saying she felt lighter and had had a lovely afternoon. A group of ladies said they were going home happy today. [It’s] such a worthwhile and important ministry
Helper at a church Messy Vintage session 

If you have a heart for older people and want to see them fully engaged in their spiritual life – whatever their age, physical or cognitive abilities, or familiarity with church – why not explore whether you could start up Messy Vintage in your area?
  • It’s easy! You don’t need to be an expert – we help you get started with our downloadable helpful tips for running a Messy Vintage event and twelve ready-made session plans.
  • Get your church involved. Perhaps you’d like to print off or download a leaflet about Messy Vintage to share with your church leader. 
  • See for yourself. On 3 November 2018 you can even attend a workshop at the National Anglican Fresh Expressions Conference (Blended Festival) hosted by the Diocese of Ely. 
  • Chat to us. If you would like to know more, email thegiftofyears [at] brf.org.uk (subject: Enquiry%20about%20Messy%20Vintage) . National Coordinator Katie Norman has years of experience and can offer support and guidance.
Could you help grow BRF's work with older people? Please consider donating to BRF’s The Gift of Years who run Messy Vintage and the Anna Chaplaincy.
Stay in touch. Sign up to stay in touch with developments in how BRF supports the spiritual care of older people through the monthly The Gift of News newsletter