Congratulations to Williamsburg United Methodist our April Messy Church of the Month
Messy Church at Williamsburg United Methodist began in January 2015. Cindy Banek, Director of Discipleship and Christian Formation has built a strong team of volunteers over the past six years. When they are able to meet in person, they meet on the second Tuesday of the month from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The team of Williamsburg UMC has shared their story with other churches who have come to visit ( when they were meeting in person) and then start their own Messy Church.
Cindy is one of our Messy Church USA ambassadors and serves on the Training Team. Sharing all things ‘Messy’ is one of her favorite things! Their enthusiasm for Messy Church is contagious, in a good way!
Messy folk answer the question: What do I like best about Messy Church
- One six-year-old boy, given a choice between having a birthday party or coming to Messy Church said, “I want to celebrate my birthday at Messy Church!”
- “I love Messy Church because we are all one big family!” (Messy adult volunteer)
- “The best thing about Messy Church is the chocolate ice cream!” (Messy child – age 5)
- “For me, Messy Church is a good place for us all to learn about God in a family-friendly way.” (Messy mom)
Favorite Messy Activities at Williamsburg
Any Craft including food
We enjoy any craft activity that involves food – and mess! Usually, our best food adventure involves spreading icing on anything from cake to cookies to gingerbread! Decorating cookies is a favorite activity. Very easy –some slice and bake cookies, a variety of icing and the ever-present sprinkles will suffice for celebrating any season!
Messy Church Birthday Party
At least once per year, we purchase a piñata usually to commemorate our Messy Church birthday and other special events. We stuff the piñata with candy, hang it from something high, and the children take turns trying to bash it open with a baseball bat. When the piñata is finally broken, the candy spills out to the delight of all assembled! A free-for-all ensues as candy is (safely!) scooped up and eaten.
Ending Activity for Every Messy Church
The final activity of any Messy Church night is playing with large balloons. One of our volunteers began this tradition totally on his own. After dinner, while the adults are enjoying the last bit of conversation with each other, the children wait anxiously for the appearance of Mr. Bill and his black garbage bags filled with colorful balloons. The children chase the balloons around in a last burst of Messy energy!
What worked well for you in getting the support of your ‘Sunday’ church when you started Messy Church?
We began our Messy Church with the hope of bringing young families with children into our church. Our Sunday morning congregation is mostly people of retirement age, and our worship services are very traditional. We saw Messy Church as a way to provide younger families with a more relaxed church setting with crafts, games, a meal and worship for all ages together. People in our Sunday Church were more than eager to support us in that goal. In fact, we soon had many of our older church members supporting us with casseroles and dessert for our meals!
Share a challenge you’ve had with your Messy Church and strategies you used to meet the challenge.
One challenge we have encountered with our Messy Church is connecting our Sunday Church with our Messy families. Although our two congregations are always separated by meeting on different days and times, we wanted to provide opportunities for all to come together to know each other as brothers and sisters in the faith. We have begun to meet this challenge by organizing activities for everyone around fellowship, worship and service such as the Easter Egg Hunt, Vacation Bible School, Christmas Drive-Through Nativity, Winter Carnival, Christmas Eve Family Worship, Thanksgiving Mission Morning, Kits for Annual Conference, and food drives. COVID has temporarily halted our in-person events, but we are hopeful we can resume gathering people together very soon!
How has your MC adapted during Pandemic
COVID has presented some unique challenges to our Messy Church this past year. Because we could no longer meet in person, we created some Messy Church videos complete with crafts, music, Celebration Time, and some entertaining drama featuring the newly formed Messy Drama Team! This spring, when people were suffering from “Zoom fatigue,” we sent home Holy Week at Home bags which were very well received. Again, we are hoping that Messy might resume during the summer with some outside gatherings.
Thank you for sharing your Messy Story!
Cindy Banek, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone #: 757-229-1771
Williamsburg United Methodist Church, 500 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185