(Media) Messy Nativity Sheep Trail in Liverpool

Fresh Expressions is a movement from England that has “crossed the pond” and they say, taking up residence in the United States in an effort being spearheaded by many YOUNG Virginia Baptist.  One of them is my good friend Chris Backert, who until recently was pastor of “Imago Dei Richmond” (one of the three congregations that worships at the building called Patterson Avenue Baptist, where I am Senior Pastor). 

The Virginia Baptist Mission Board link to Fresh Expressions USA can be viewed by clicking this hyperlink.


One of the thoughts behind the Fresh Expressions movement is that the established church can be instrumental in a renewal movement simply by finding a few “fresh expressions” of mission and ministry. 

I find this movement an exciting way to help churches become more inclusive, missional, and focused on justice and peace among those with whom they minister – so I am excited about becoming involved.

I have subscribed my blog to receive and publish occassional posts from this movements blogs, like the one below.


Sheep are gently grazing… at the Liverpool ONE shopping centre this Advent. The knitted lambs are set to appear in a dozen outlets from Wednesday (1st December) as part of a ‘Messy Nativity Sheep Trail’ organised by Messy Church in conjunction with the Liverpool ONE management team, Liverpool Mothers’ Union and the city centre fresh expression of church, River in the City.

Listen to Jane Leadbetter from the Fresh Expressions podcast.

Messy Sheep - Jane LeadbetterMessy Church national team member and regional co-ordinator for the Liverpool area, Jane Leadbetter, prepared the trail which children will follow by answering the questions on a quiz sheet. The youngsters will be asked to find the names of the sheep in each of the participating stores and part of the sheet can then be entered into a prize draw. The other half of the sheet – comprising a Nativity picture to colour in, a maze and the Christmas story – can be taken home.

Stores and shops signed up for the trail include John Lewis, WHSmith, Debenhams, Waterstones and Gap. A live Messy Nativity will also take place in the nearby St John’s Market on Saturday 18 December at 11.30am.

As Liverpool Mothers’ Union celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, members are knitting smaller sheep to be used as part of Parish Nativity Sets across the diocese. Families were invited to sign up for the Set, receive it in their home and pass it on to the next designated family on the following day, but retaining one of the small knitted sheep and a copy of the Nativity Story.

Jane says,

Any fresh expression of church could take on this project and adapt it for themselves. We are talking about relationships, we are talking about communities and this is one huge community here in Liverpool ONE. Think about your own community wherever you are and the wonderful advantages you could take through these wonderful little sheep to spread the word of Jesus.

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