Messy Church - Thetford Church of the Nazarene 

In October 2012 the Church of the Nazarene in Thetford began hosting Messy Church.  Almost five years later this Messy Church, which always includes a home-cooked evening meal, has become a fully functioning church appealing particularly to families.

Norfolk feeds 5000logo243One of the key elements of the successful Messy Church model includes providing hospitality in the form of a sit down meal. This, along with Biblically themed crafts and the celebration of God through songs and story provides an accessible way for families, who generally don’t belong to another church, to come to church.

Mary Welham, who leads the Messy Church which meets at Thetford’s Church of the Nazarene, along with her husband Paul, said: “The meal often attracts people because we have a really, really good cook who prepares home-cooked, beautiful food.  It creates a good time of fellowship.”

On the first Saturday of each month around 40 people gather for Messy Church in Thetford.

Mary said: “Messy Church has enabled us to reach out and be more appealing to families.  We have been running for five years and the families who came in the first month are still coming.  When we first started it was church members who were running it, but now everyone is involved.  Those who come wash up, or set the tables, or if I’m short of someone to run a craft table I know I can ask one of the mums who come.  It’s a fully functioning church in itself.”

There is a cost of £1 per person.


Project: Messy Church
Who: Thetford Church of the Nazarene
What: A home-cooked evening meal
Where: Thetford
When: The first Saturday of each month, 3.30pm – 5.30pm
How many: Approx 40 people monthly
Contact: Mary Welham at or on 07967 663 711
Facebook: Thetford Messy Church

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About the project

Norfolk Feeds 5000 is a research project which aims to establish the extent to which the Christian community across Norfolk is meeting the simple command of Jesus to "feed the hungry".

Christian churches, groups and individuals across Norfolk meet the needs of the hungry and the thirsty every day of the year through foodbanks, free community meals, homeless projects, soup runs, Messy Church and other activities.
A simple survey has been conducted to attempt to quantify the extent to which this is happening and the findings of the survey will be published here, including many of the stories about the projects which feed people throughout Norfolk.
The project is supported by Celebrate Norfolk, Network Norfolk, Christian Aid, the Diocese of Norwich, Good News for Norwich & Norfolk and Bright Map and is named after the Bible story of the Feeding of The 5000.

If your Christian food-related project is not featured in our case studies and you would like us to include you, please send details, a fact file, a picture and web links to us by clicking here

The research and reporting team behind NorfolkFeeds5000 is from Network Norwich & Norfolk: Jenny Seal, Helen Baldry, Tony Rothe & Keith Morris.


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