Congratulations to Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, our August Messy Church of the Month!
We are excited to announce our first ever Messy Church of the Month! Drum roll please…. Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Jennifer May, a lay member of the church who also teaches in the local school, led a small team in starting their Messy Church in March of 2018. Jennifer describes their church as a small rural community in which her school age children are some of the only children in attendance on Sunday morning. Thanks Jennifer for answering our questions so that we can learn more about your Messy Church! We are so glad that Freysville Emmanuel UCC reaching out to their community to share God’s love!
Messy Folk answers to “What I like about Messy Church?”
- “I like all the stations, and the dinners are pretty good too!”
- “Getting the parachute out inside the church at the beginning!”
- “I like that it allows the gifts & talents of many people to shine.”
- “It gives my child the opportunity to learn about Christ in a warm, loving community where being themselves is celebrated.”
Some Favorite Messy Activities
Example # 1: Jesus, We Thank You:
Instructions: Have every person who is at Messy Church find a spot around the parachute. The leader starts the prayer and invites anyone standing around the parachute to call out something they are thankful for. After someone calls out, then the whole group raises the parachute up and chants “Jesus We Thank You!” as it gently comes back down.
Example # 2 Snowball Prayer:
Instructions: As everyone arrives, have them write or draw a picture of a joy, prayer, concern in 3 or fewer words onto a piece of white paper, crumple it into a loose “snow” ball and place it into a laundry basket. Have every person who is at Messy Church find a spot around the parachute. The leader dumps all the snowball prayers into the middle of the parachute. Direct the group to gently shake the parachute enough to mix up all the snowballs. Then on the count of 3, the whole group pulls the parachute slowly down to the floor and then quickly yanks the parachute back up into the air above their heads to make it “snow”! The snowballs are flying all over the place! Everyone collects one snowball and then takes a seat on the floor around the parachute. One at a time, each person reads what is written on the snowball as a large group prayer.
More Favorite Messy Activities!
Messy Church ThanksGIVING:
Each November, our Messy Church service is a night of us giving instead of taking home crafts. We go home with empty hands but full hearts! Members from the church’s Sunday morning congregation sponsor and donate 12-15 “fleece blanket kits” purchased from a local fabric store. We come together with scissors and templates and spend the night cutting and looping the blankets to donate to our area chapter of Project Linus.
Project Linus is a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. The blankets are lovingly made by adults and children from all walks of life. Project Linus has specific directions on how to make blankets and what types they are allowed to accept on their website. https://www.projectlinus.org/
This is an evening where all hands, young and old, are needed!
Each year for the Lenten Season, we set up a station where families can work together to create their own Resurrection Garden. They take it home to water and watch it grow every day for 40 days.
Materials Needed:Materials needed:8 in clay saucers, 3 in clay pots, potting soil, grass seed, craft stones, craft moss, 3 inch rocks flat circular shape work best, 4 inch stick crosses tied with twine (See Pictures below)
What worked well for you in getting the support of your Sunday Church when you started Messy Church?
Educating the congregation on the mission of Messy Church as well as the history, where and why it began and how it is meeting the needs of families and individuals in communities all over the world who for whatever reason, cannot or do not attend traditional Sunday Morning church services.
Share a challenge you’ve had with your Messy Church and strategies you used to meet the challenge.
Getting volunteers can be a challenge. So, I approached individuals in our Sunday congregation and personally asked them if they could volunteer. After their first experience, those individuals looked forward to volunteering each month! Most often, a personal invitation is all people need.
How has your Messy Church adapted during the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Our last in person Messy Church was Friday, March 13th. We were excited to kick off our 3rd year as a Messy Church! Little did we know, our messy togetherness would be put on hold for a little while. For the month of April, we put out a “Messy Church At Home” edition. We posted the theme and station material lists prior to the event so that families could plan ahead of time how they would do this in their own homes. Then, the day of our Messy Church, we posted an interactive Google Slideshow for families to work through at their own pace. The slides included a prerecorded welcome message, the story/scripture lesson, closing prayer, and a slide of directions for each station/activity. We had a few of our Messy Church families try it out! We took the month of May off and now are planning a “Messy Church in Bag” for the end of Summer.
Thanks Jennifer for sharing your Messy Church story! To learn more about Emmanuel UCC you can contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Website for Church: http://www.freysvilleucc.com/
April 2020 Online Messy Church shared with the June 30th Messy Church USA Now webinar
Who will be our September Messy Church of the Month? Stay tuned!