In the dioceses of Chelmsford, Rochester & St Albans Mothers' Union members have knitted Messy Sheep as part of the Nativity story. The sheep are used in a practial and fun way to get families to think about the Christmas story in a new light and to get them more involved in church and the local community.
The sheep are placed in shops and buildings in the town centre at Christmas, and there is a Nativity Trail for families and children to spot the sheep and complete a trail leaflet.
A knitted Nativity also travels around the town or parish, and a sheep is left at each house after the overnight stop. The diocese of Chelmsford now owns four nativities, with 200 sheep making quite a flock!