Blog Post by Lindsey Goodyear
Last month, I did an interview with one half of the incredible duo that started the Messy Church in my hometown. Leyla Wagner sat down to fill me in on the experience she had while across the pond at the Messy Church International Conference in London. This month, I get another perspective, on the same questions, when Leyla’s partner in crime sits down to share what she brought home from the UK. Please enjoy this interview with Marty Drake from Huntington Beach UMC.
Lindsey: This is your second trip across the pond for Messy Church, how was this time different from the last?
Marty: The first time we were so new at doing Messy Church I just kind of was in awe of the whole thing. This time I felt a little more confident with my understanding of Messy Church. At the first conference the focus was more on the foundation of Messy Church. This year the focus was on the where Messy Church has been and where it is going and the impact that the movement has had on people’s lives.
Lindsey: I’m sure there were familiar faces, were you able to network with any new Messy friends?
Marty: Yes there were plenty of times to network with everyone. When we all met as a large group they gave us three specific questions about our own Messy Churches. We were to move around and share answers with 3 other people. That was really helpful because everyone has some very creative ideas. Meal times were also a really good time to meet others from all around the world and to hear and learn about how Messy Church was going for them and just to connect with people in general. The power of communing over a meal was very apparent which is why it is such an integral part of Messy Church.
Lindsey: You’ve mentioned to me that this convention was rejuvenating. What do you, personally, feel fueled your passion for Messy Church the most?
Marty: Being with people who are very passionate about Messy Church. Being with people who see the value of Messy Church. Being able to worship in a way that is full of life and positive energy.
Lindsey: What was your favorite activity at the international conference?
Marty: There were a few. I love singing with Stephen of Fischy Music. Worship led by Martyn Payne. His storytelling is amazing and powerful! Our closing worship with communion was very meaningful. We got together in groups and each group created one point of the star which shared what they felt the Angel of God was telling the global Messy Church. Then we brought them all together to make one star. We shared communion together and ended it with some wonderful music. It was not a quiet somber worship with communion.
Lindsey: Anything you’re planning on using at our own Messy Church that you learned while there?
Marty: We had the author, Andrew Roberts, of the book Holy Habits speak to us. His book looks at a passage in Luke on the 10 Holy Habits. These 10 Holy Habits will help those that come to Messy Church, as well as those who help with Messy Church, deepen their faith and share it with others. I think we will take a look at these throughout the year. I also think we came back with some ways to help empower those that attend Messy Church so that they feel a greater sense of belonging not just attenders.
Lindsey: I know Stephen was there rocking and rolling. Any new Fischy Music that’s a must have?
Marty: Yes he was rocking and rolling. I just love his music. So beautiful, simple, yet a solid message in each song. And, fun! We can’t forget they are fun and can get you moving! There isn’t one that you shouldn’t have.
Lindsey: What was your biggest takeaway from your experience in London?
Marty: At some point during the conference it occurred to me that all Messy Churches have the five values and components but that each one is unique. They all take on the personality of their community. I realized that our Messy Church could be a little different from others and that was the beauty of Messy Church. It was very freeing and reassuring.
Lindsey: Do you think you’ll attend the next international convention?
Marty: I would love to attend and hope I get to. For me there was so much learning but it was also spiritually renewing.
Lindsey: We will host one in the states before then. Is there anything you particularly loved that we will see incorporated into out next convention?
Marty: I would like to see us end the conference with a closing worship which includes communion. We also had an opportunity for the leaders of the countries to come together. I would like to be able to have people have an opportunity to meet with others in their region to come together so they could connect with each other.
Lindsey: I was so sad to miss the trip so, just for fun, what was your favorite meal while there?
Marty: Breakfast everyone morning. Nothing like a great bowl of oatmeal to start your day. And the British like their beans at breakfast and so do I. I’m weird like that!