This project will examine a rapidly-growing phenomenon called 'Messy Church', that is part of the wider movement called 'Fresh Expressions' within the Church of England. The aim is to explore the how Messy Church operates, how it is understood by those who run it, who it attracts, and how it can be understood theologically in terms of accepted models of ecclesiology.....
...Messy Church is an idea conceived by Lucy Moore in 2004 as a way of enabling the church to reach young people and their families more effectively. Children and their parents meet once or twice a month to engage in various creative activities, which often get rather messy… hence the name. There is usually a time of worship and some teaching about the Christian faith. It has grown rapidly, and is now run as part of the Bible Reading Fellowship ministries with over 800 churches registered in the UK alone (see http://www.messychurch.org.uk/).
and the key line: Messy Church is not new in what it does (it mirrors what many churches do during holiday clubs) but it does represent a sustained effort to change the way that ‘church is done’. It is not necessarily a way of bringing people into traditional church congregations, but sees itself rather as a way of re-defining what church is.
Full details here. Looks quite exciting, actually.