On May 21st you are invited to an Around the World Messy Adventure

Author Archive for robertaegli

On May 21st you are invited to an Around the World Messy Adventure

To celebrate the amazing international Messy Church community and to bring a little joy to the day we will set out on the speediest round-the-world trip ever. On Thursday May 21st, (Ascension Day for the liturgical geeks), Messy Church leaders from England, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA will journey (digitally) journey through the Bible with worship, storytelling, prayer and food for thought. Starting with Lucy Moore, Messy Church founder and captain of this trip, the voyage begins at 11 Pm (Pacific Daylight Time on May 20th) and will conclude at 3 pm (PDT).  The Messy Church USA Journey to the Jordan begins at 9am(PDT) and our Journey to the Hillside will follow at 10 am(PDT). 

Join us as on the Messy Church YouTube  as we set sail (virtually), take off (in our imagination) and rev our (digital) engines for a whole day of Mess!

The Messy Church USA collaborators for this adventure are Cindy Banek,(VA). Robin Cannon (NC), Marty Drake (CA), Roberta Egli (OR), Crystal Goetz (WA), Jillian Mayer (IL), Johannah Myers (SC), Jenna Reinke (TX), Leyla Wagner (CA), and Jim White(CA).

Messy Church around the World, created by Dave Martin

The entire journey itinerary for this Messy Adventure is below in British Standard Time!

Mini Mess Pentecost

A Blogpost by Lindsey Goodyear

Who’s in need of a “Mini Mess”?  I know I am!  Lately it seems that every blog I write, I go into hoping it will be the last one I write about the quarantine.  As it stands, it looks as though staying home may be in the cards for all of us for a bit.  Yes, they are slowly adding new phases to get us back to normal, but to protect those in our family and communities, the majority of us are hunkering down and staying put.  With Pentecost fast approaching, I felt like it was the right time to send home another Messy Church plan to keep us in good spirits. 

For those who don’t know the story, here’s a very short summary.  Pentecost is the name of a Jewish harvest festival. Just as Easter (in Greek “pascha”) is a holiday derived of an adaptation of the Jewish Passover, so too Pentecost is a Christian holiday derived from the Jewish festival of Shavuot. The Apostles, and other followers of Jesus, were celebrating the Jewish festival in Jerusalem, when they heard the sound of a mighty wind and “tongues of fire” came down on them.  Then, the Holy Spirit descended on them.  Remarkably, the attendees of the festival found themselves immediately being able to speak in other languages without difficulty.  People were no longer separated by language barriers and thus, the gospel was available to the world. No matter your gender, age, or color of skin, every person from every nation on God’s Earth could now know the Lord.  Because we were now all one under the Gospel of our Lord, the Pentecost is also referred to the birth of the church.  Pentecost, which means fifty, is always fifty days after Easter. This year, we celebrate on May 31.  Please use the following “Mini Mess” as a guide to celebrate God’s gift to the world with your family!  

There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus

Galatians 3:2

Three Pentecost Crafts

 Mighty Winds

 Need: Construction paper, paint, straws.

To recreate the mighty wind the Apostles witnessed, drop small amounts of paint all over your piece of construction paper.  Next, use the straw to blow the paint and watch as it creates magnificent patterns.  Try blowing from all directions to see what cool new art emerges.

*NOTE– This activity is much more fun if you use many different colors of paint!

**Talk about: What is the strongest wind you’ve ever been in?  How did it make you feel?  Were you excited?  Scared?

Fire Sticks

Need: Sticks from outside, 24” pieces of ribbon (reds, oranges, yellows, if possible), hot glue gun.

Once you’ve collected the sticks, cut the ribbons to the appropriate sizes.  Place a dab of glue at one end of the stick and begin attaching the ribbons (there should be enough room for 6 or 7 pieces depending on the size of your stick).  Once you’ve glued the pieces, cut a small portion of ribbon and wrap it around the glued pieces to ensure their security. Place a final dab of glue for the small security ribbon and you are ready!  Go outside and run around with the sticks overhead and watch as the wind turns the ribbons into something resembling fire. 

**Talk about: What do you think was going through the minds of the Apostles when they saw “tongues of fire” above their heads?  Would you have run away or stayed?

Babel 

Need: Foreign language book or access to internet.

Since the language barrier was broken when the Holy Spirit descended, take some time to learn a phrase in another language.  Try and have each family member learn a different phrase in a different language that they can recite and teach each other when you sit down for dinner.  We are so fortunate to have access to any language in the world.  Let’s take advantage of that access and teach each other!

**Talk about: Of all the beautiful languages found all over the world, what is the one language you wish you were fluid in? 

Celebration:  You might say the events at the Pentecost was the Holy Spirit’s way of exploding into the entire world.  He caused a reaction inside the hearts of people far and wide when He promised His unconditional love to all who follow.  A particularly good way of visually showing a reaction is through the use of baking soda and vinegar.  When the vinegar touches the baking soda, a mini explosion happens!  The soda begins to bubble, grow, and spread.  Cover a plate with baking soda and, using a dropper of vinegar, drop small amounts of vinegar around the plate.  With each drop, use the opportunity to explain the reaction your heart has because God is a part of you.  Pass the dropper around the table and let every family member take a turn.  This is a great opportunity to learn all the ways God brings joy to not only our hearts, but those of our family members, on a daily basis.  Try to make this more than a celebration.  Just because you don’t have baking soda and vinegar out everyday, talking with others about the impact God has on our lives is a great way to get in the habit of a positive and thankful mindset.  Try to make it a weekly or even daily discussion!

Prayer:  Dear heavenly Father, we come to you today with exploding hearts of love!  We are so thankful for the comfort you provide us with and ask that those who are suffering without you are brought to your light and feel relief.  We thank you for you descent so that people all over the world may know your perfect love.  We ask for your continued guidance as we navigate the world in such an uncertain time.  May you open our eyes and hearts and bring peace upon us.  We love you and thank you.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Meal Idea: Birthday Cake

Need: Boxed cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, and candles.

Let’s make a birthday cake and celebrate the birth of the Christian church!  Make the cake per the instructions on the box, bake, and let cool.  Then, decorate using the frosting and sprinkles.  Have fun with this!  You can even put candles in and sing “happy birthday” to the church if you’d like.  Then, cut the cake, serve, and enjoy! 

Lindsey Goodyear and her family attend Messy Church at Community UMC in Hungtington Beach, CA. You can reach her at lindseygoodyear@gmail.com
Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

Messy Value of Hospitality

Five Values of Messy Church

On Wednesday May 13th, Charis Lambert, the first ever Regional Coordinator for Messy Church in the UK, held the third Messy Church Facebook Live event focused on the five foundational values.  She led a international group in thinking about how we can extend hospitality when we long to be with our Messy community!  

Messy Hospitality

Messy Hospitality during the lock-down

by Charis Lambert

When I google Messy Church, it comes up with the tag line ‘Messy Church- church but not as you know it.’

Unfortunately, at the moment Messy Church itself is not as we know (and love) it. And in this changed situation, the core value of hospitality is the one that might seem the hardest to re-envisage – where we cannot meet together physically and share the hospitality of the meal, the food, the time around the table. And we are grieving that loss, as we also acknowledge that many are suffering food poverty at this difficult time.

But hospitality is (and always has been) so much more than just food!

READ MORE 

Graphic by Dave Martin, Messy Church BRF

Around the World Messy Church Adventure

To celebrate the amazing international Messy Church community and to bring a little joy to the day we will set out on the speediest round-the-world trip ever. On Thursday May 21st, (Ascension Day for the liturgical geeks), Messy Church leaders from England, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA will journey (digitally) journey through the Bible with worship, storytelling, prayer and food for thought. Starting with Lucy Moore, Messy Church founder and captain of this trip, begins at 8 am Midnight Pacific Time and will conclude at 2 pm Pacific Time).

Join us as on the Messy Church YouTube  as we set sail (virtually), take off (in our imagination) and rev our (digital) engines for a whole day of Mess!

The Messy Church USA collaborators for this adventure are Cindy Banek,(VA). Robin Cannon (NC), Marty Drake (CA), Roberta Egli (OR), Crystal Goetz (WA), Jillian Mayer (IL), Johannah Myers (SC), Jenna Reinke (TX), Leyla Wagner (CA), and Jim White(CA).

Time listed above is British Summer Time.
Be sure to check for your local time zone.

Messy Church Values

Have you discovered the weekly Facebook Live events on
Messy Church BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)?
 
With the beginning of the global pandemic Lucy Moore, the founder of Messy Church  began to have weekly global live events.  Check them out every Wednesday at 9 am and 8 pm (British Summer Time). 

Currently,  these weekly live events are exploring the five foundational values of Messy Church. Okay- quickly now, what are theses five values? (I admit that I usually can’t remember one of them when I am asked)   Ready, set, go: All Ages Together, Celebration, Hospitality, Creativity and Christ Centered!   Did you get them all?

Lucy Moore explored the Messy Church Value of Creativity on April 29th as we each attempted to fold an origami boat.  On May 6th, Martyn Payne focused on the Messy Church Value of All Ages Together.  On Wednesday May 13th, Hospitality will be discussed. 

Creativity Facebook Live on April 29 with Lucy Moore

The chat box filled quickly with; “tired, focused, exhausted, overwhelmed, energized, and edgy” when Lucy asked the question, how are your feeling?  She then proceeded to share her reflections on how this time of the pandemic has brought some new awareness to the Messy Church value of creativity. She has been reading Alan Hirsch book, The Forgotten ways, (Brazos Press) and was drawn to his chapter on liminality and communitas, which describes the opportunities and perhaps privilege of being uncomfortably on the edge. More Here

All Ages Together Facebook Live on May 6th, 2020  with Martyn Payne

Martyn Payne, author of Messy Togetherness, led a global messy conversation on the value of All Ages together. In the 30-minute Facebook live event we explored the questions: How can we do Messy Church in these circumstances in a way that doesn’t give up on trying to express our all-together value? How do we find ways to live out this value when we’re having to organize Messy Church? We were also treated to the wonderful story-telling of Martyn. More Here

Scattered Senses

A blogpost by Roberta J. Egli

Morning Prayer at the Egli backyard

Over the past weeks of this stay at home pandemic reality, I have begun most days drinking coffee in our backyard, in the cool spring morning, listening to a daily devotional a friend recommended titled Lectio 365.  Like many good things (i.e. Messy Church) it originates from the UK and uses the rhythm of P.R.A.Y; Pause, Rejoice and Reflect, Ask, and Yield.  I have resonated deeply with the opening invitation to pause: “As I enter prayer, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God.”  (Learn more Here)

As someone who has worked from home for almost three years, I have been surprised at how difficult it has been for me to focus for a sustained period of time during this physical distance work rhythm.  My mind is scattered, jumping from one thought to the next attempting to figure out what the future of Messy Church USA will look like which leads me to get stumped because this is a completely new reality for us all.  We are living in an extended pause and even though part of the USA is beginning to ‘re-open’, we will not be returning to any semblance of what life looked like prior to COVID-19. Taking a moment to be still and breathe the prayer; “re-center by scattered senses upon the presence of God” has been a life preserver to cling to.

I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God.

Morning Prayer, Lectio 365

In the Bible paraphrase, The Message, by Eugene Peterson, Jesus gives strength to his followers with these words: “Are you tired? Worn out burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11: 28-30, The Message)

My friends, we have all responded to this pandemic in different ways. Each day may find us experiencing wildly different emotions.  I have heard people describing ‘roller coasters’ of emotions. As we continue to step into the unknown future, may we put our trust in our God of all time. We are not alone; God is with us.  We are not alone; a global Messy Church community gathers to share ideas, experiences and a taste of life.  We are not alone; we can rely on the unforced rhythm of grace rather than our own anxieties, scattered senses or strategies to re-open. We are invited into the unforced rhythm of grace as we simply take one step and then another as we follow in the way of Jesus the Christ.    

My friends, wherever you find yourself,whatever emotion you are experiencing, take a deep breath, pause for a moment and center your scattered senses on the presence of God. (repeat often!)

Grace and peace, Roberta 

Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

Separated

A blogpost from Lindsey Goodyear

iStock

“Scenes from an apocalypse” would be the only way I’d be able to describe the last month around here.  On March 13, 2020, we got a call from our son’s school letting us know that school would be canceled for the next two weeks.  The following week, it was confirmed it would be closed until after spring break.  Then, last week, we were formally notified that our kids would not be returning to school for the remainder of the year.  With each passing week, more and more businesses closed.  With each passing week, more and more people filed for unemployment.  With each passing week, we lost access to parks, the beach, church, and gatherings of any kinds with those we love.  We were advised to stay home to “stay safe”.  If we absolutely needed to go out, gloves and a mask should be worn but it should be a “necessary” outing as every time we left home, it was a risk to us and the most vulnerable among us.  News outlets were splattered with devastating headlines of what the coronavirus pandemic was doing to our world.  Death tolls ticked up and we were left to watch, unable to believe our eyes.  What on Earth was happening?

As I’ve shared before, I struggle with anxiety.  One thing that helps, is conversing with others and making a connection.  I’m definitely someone who gets energy from being out and about.  I love talking to the parents at drop-off and pickup, I love meeting friends to exercise with, and I love making small talk with people I don’t know while I’m around town.  I love to cook and some weeks I go to the market four or five times.  Because of this, I know most of the people who work there and look forward to seeing them.  In short, I’m a gal who thrives on conversation.  So, when we received the news about our new way of living, I did my best to ward off panic and be in good spirits.  So, we are homeschooling?  That’s okay.  It’s an opportunity to spend more time with my boys.  So, I have to exercise alone?  That’s okay.  I’ll use the time to do some deep meaningful thinking.  So, I can’t go to the market on a daily basis?  That’s okay.  When I do go, I will smile and chat with people the way I always do.  But, this positive way thinking was not only ambitious, it was short lived.             

Homeschooling is arduous and teaching at home was proving to be an adventure I’d have to white knuckle through June.  I was spending more time arguing with my sons over how I wasn’t teaching the way their teachers do than time spent on actual school work.  Trips to the store were a huge letdown, as well.  I was all excited to go one morning but my arrival brought the reality of bare shelves and rude people shoving to get to items first.  I was only able to get a few things and stood number 22 in the checkout line.  To top it off, I was suddenly painfully aware of the loneliness I felt when I gave an elderly gentleman a big grin only to realize he had no idea.  The mask I was wearing would never show my smile.  Then there was exercise.  Living in a beach community, there is no shortage of people outside.  My normal morning workouts were littered with friendly smiles of people out for runs, walks, or a ride on their beach cruiser.  Now, the silence was deafening.  I was lonely.  I know this doesn’t make sense since I’m quarantined with my husband and two sons, but I did feel lonely.  I felt like there was no one to talk to outside of my house and although guilt came along with these feelings, I couldn’t help but wish there was someone else I could interact with.

 We’ve been lucky that the church we attend is in the same neighborhood that we live.  My kids both went to preschool there, it’s the home of our Messy Church, and it’s both my boys’ absolute favorite parking lot to ride bikes in once the service crowds have dispersed.  I was nearing the end of my morning walk, one Friday, when I looked up and something struck me.  I was right in front of this church that I knew inside and out, yet, something was different.  I always acknowledge the banner that hangs in front of Community United Methodist Church is Huntington Beach as it is changed from week to week to display different Bible verses.  This week’s stopped me dead in my tracks.  Romans 8:38-39 says, “Remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God.”  Wow.  In a time where all I felt was separation, I ignored the fact that I hadn’t been alone.  Not even once.  I was so wrapped up and consumed by the fact that I couldn’t see and make my normal connections with everyday citizens that I missed the fact that I had a direct line to a connection anytime I wanted.  It was just the reminder I needed to refocus and look at our situation with fresh eyes.

That verse did its job, and some anxiety was relieved.  I’m still a little anxious about what’s to come but, I’m definitely more aware.  God got my attention, once again, with His incredibly comforting words.  Although we are separated from each other right now, we will never be separated from God.  With the confidence of His words backing me, I’ve noticed things are starting to fall a little more into place.  Zoom has made it possible for our incredible teachers to do distance learning and both my kids are reacting favorably to their new school schedules.  When we go out on walks or bike rides, there are others out, now, as well.  They may be wearing masks or cross the streets to keep a safe distance, but they’re there.  Our Messy Church held their very first meeting through Zoom.  It was great to see faces of the “Messy” families that attend our church and to be able to catch up (it may be our new normal for the next few months).  Last but not least, the cooking.  Grocery stores have started to have more stock and my cooking has gone back to normal.  It takes a little more planning on my part so that I only go once a week, but things are looking up.  As I left the store the other day, I acknowledged a fellow shopper whose eyebrows lifted, cheekbones raised, and eyes sparkled.  I knew it instantly…there was a smile for me underneath that mask.                             

Lindsey Goodyear and her family attend Messy Church at Community UMC in Hungtington Beach, CA. You can reach her at lindseygoodyear@gmail.com
Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

From the Heart

Leyla Wagner, Huntington Beach, CA

Messy Church (MC) USA Board of Directors’ Secretary, MC USA Co-Regional Coordinator of California, Community UMC Messy Church Leader and MC USA Trainer

In a recent Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator (RC) meeting we discussed the impact of “social distancing” with our Messy Church friends.  We acknowledged that we were all feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted.  We missed being with our Messy families! We wanted to connect and were grateful for all of  the online Messy@home activities. However, we were also concerned about overwhelming others just as we were feeling overwhelmed.  In our quest to be helpful and reach out with Messy Church friends, were we exhausting one another rather than connecting with one another?

I’m a Pre-k teacher at our church preschool as well as a leader for our Messy Church. Prior to our RC meeting, I watched a video by Sally Haughey, the founder of Fairy Dust Teaching. In the class, she talked about the importance of connecting with children and their families from our classes while our schools were closed. Haughey’s teaching is helpful as we prioritize our connections with our Messy Church friends and families.  

Sally began by asking the question we’ve all been struggling with over the past few weeks…

  • What do families need in this time of uncertainty, when everything is new and many are faced with some level of economic instability?

The simple answer is connection. Sally shared that all humans have two basic needs during a time of crises.  First, we want to feel safe, and second, we want to be seen, heard and valued – even in the middle of the mess.

Our messy Church families need connection! In our monthly Messy Churches, we provide a safe space where our needs are recognized and embraced as we build relationships in our faith community. Relationships (with each other and with GOD) are the heart of Messy Church. Because of these relationships, our Messy Churches have become an important, not to be missed, monthly worship for many of our attenders.   

So how can we, as Messy Church Leaders, help our Messy friends and families feel safe right now and also seen, heard and valued when we aren’t meeting?  Sally suggests that people feel secure in these basic needs when their normal life rhythms are consistently maintained. Messy Church is a part of the normal monthly rhythm for those that attend and with the cancellations; it is another way their normal rhythms have been disrupted. Our Messy Friends and Families need consistent personal connection with us to maintain some normalcy.

Making personal connections help our Messy friends and families feel seen, heard and valued. People who come to your Messy Church are connected to YOU.  Our Messy Church has made a point to call or Face Time with each of our Messy friends.  We’ve split our list between Planning Team Leaders and our Table hosts.  Just as when we are sitting at craft tables or sharing a meal with our families at Messy Church, a personal call is a good opportunity to listen and find out how our Messy Friends are doing, where they are struggling and/or where they are experiencing joys. Because relationships are two sided, it gives us the opportunity to share our joys and concerns and where we’ve seen God at work lately possibly deepening the connection we’ve already established at Messy Church.

The main point to convey to our Messy Friends during this time of uncertainty is that they matter to us and just like God, we are there for them. How can we share our hearts and God’s love at this time?

Leyla Wagner

Another important point Sally made is that it isn’t the quantity of activities but the QUALITY of engagement that matters.  This is the same advice many of us have given at Messy Church training when asked “How can we do “more” in our Messy Church?”

There are many great online resources that have been created that we want to share with our Messy friends, yet we do not need to pass on or implement every great idea!  We are doing enough.  The main point to convey to our Messy Friends during this time of uncertainty is that they matter to us and just like God, we are there for them. How can we share our hearts and God’s love at this time?

Tips on ways to make a personal connection from the heart:

  • Call or Face Time with your messy friends and families.
  • Send a note to families
  • Use the phone to connect
  • Create a short (one minute or less) video of your Messy Team that you can text or email. Let your Messy friends know that you are thinking about them, praying for them, and that you miss seeing them. 
  • Remind them of the lessons we teach at each of our Messy Church geographical locations: 1) God is with us all the time (even in the middle of a messy pandemic), 2) God loves all of us, 3) God gives us strength and 4) God can do amazing things.

There is NO limit to how creative you can be in sharing God’s unconditional love. The point is that these personal messages will connect in a real way, that links to online resources and messages from strangers giving the same messages, will not. 

Even in the midst of physical distancing, instead of incessant ‘doing’, our mission is to share God’s love from our heart through a personal connection. 

In peace,  Leyla

leyla@messychurchusa.org

Leyla Wagner (r) and Marty Drake (l) traveling home to California from London after MCIC in May 2019
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect in the USA.

An Easter YES!

Roberta Jantzi Egli, Messy Church USA Executive Director

I am exhausted!  How about you?  Last week my husband had a fever for 48 hours which upped my anxiety to overdrive.  I moved out of the bedroom and he was quarantined to that one room for six days (he had to be fever free for 3 days without any medicine).  I thought I had adjusted to the physical distancing and the limitations placed on us all with the pandemic but the fear that Lynn may have COVID-19 practically immobilized me for 24 hours.

We are fortunate, we have a home that has enough rooms so that we can separate when needed. Lynn was only sick for 48 hours and did not develop any further symptoms other than a fever and headache.  Yes, we were inconvenienced and stressed but it lasted less than a week. However, the virus became much more ‘real’ and my eyes have been open to the extreme suffering that COVID-19 is causing throughout our fragile world.

One of my pastor friends preached several weeks ago that she has never had to lead a church through a pandemic as a pastor.  She reminded us that what we all need is grace and compassion. Compassion for our world but also compassion for ourselves. You have never led a Messy Church during a pandemic.  You are adjusting, you are learning, you struggle at times. Please take time this Holy Week and next to rely on the grace of God and give yourself some self-compassion.

One of my spiritual practices the past several years is to place a “Listen for Joy” art card produced by Melanie Weidner (www.listenforjoy.com) on my desk each Monday morning. Melanie’s art card decks and her written reflection have spoken to me deeply.  I am always amazed that the card i randomly pick is exactly what I need to hear. This week, my art card is a drawing of a beautiful rooster shouting “Yes!” in the midst of heavy black scrawls.  in her reflection on this art, Melanie shares that saying yes is the invitation to do “our best even when we feel shaky. Standing our ground in darkness, believing the light will return.”

Saying yes is the invitation to do “our best even when we feel shaky. Standing our ground in darkness, believing the light will return.”

Melanie Weidner, Listen for Joy

What a message for a Holy Week in the midst of a global pandemic.  We are invited to stand our ground in darkness…the darkness as we pray with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane…the darkness as we pray for those who are separated from their beloved in sickness and death…the darkness of the cross of Good Friday…the darkness of living in the anxiety of the unknown future.  It is okay to feel shaky…we all feel shaky! Yet even in our shakiness, even as we stand our ground in darkness, we have the power through Christ to shout YES!

Yes! Jesus has overcome death!

Yes! Christ is risen!

Yes! We are an Easter People! 

Yes! As an Easter people, we see examples of people rising throughout the world bringing life through acts of compassion, kindness and love!  

My friends, we are not alone, Christ is with us at this time and all times.  May we joyfully shout a loud EASTER YES!

Be on the lookout for daily social media posts as we enter into 50 days of Easter celebration.  We will be posting some favorite Messy Easter activities for you to share with your families at home. We will be shouting yes for the entire 50 days of Easter! 

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!  YES!  Alleluia!

Prayer for Easter during a Pandemic:  God of all time, our hearts are heavy this Holy Week.  Many of our foundations have been shaken, we are not able to gather together as we struggle to make sense of the suffering of the world.  Yet, even as we shake, we know that the Christ who prayed in darkness while his friends slept, who endured pain and died on the cross, is with us this day.  Easter is not postponed this year… we celebrate the Christ is risen.  Give us the courage to give a loud Easter YES! to the signs of new life in the midst of our pain.  Send your Spirit to breathe peace upon us and guide us into the new day.  In the name of Christ we pray. AMEN.

Happy Easter!

Roberta 

Bringing Home the Mess: Holy Week Edition

By Lindsey Goodyear

I was hoping that this blog would find you in a position much different than my last one.  Unfortunately, the situation with COVID-19 is spreading and most of us are quarantined to our homes.  I know it’s a trying time to say the least but I’m hoping that the ability to participate in Messy Church from home is bringing some joy in these uncertain times.  With Holy Week fast approaching, I thought it would be a perfect subject for an at home “mini mess”.  Holy Week covers the time period between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.  Below I’ve outlined the seven days that represent Holy Week, what happened, and fitting activities and food ideas to go with them.  Please discuss the parts of the story on the coinciding days and then do the craft/activity that follows.  I know this is a little different than the way we normally do Messy Church (all in one day) but I’m hoping that stretching it out and having a little bit of mess for seven days straight will really bring families together to understand what happened every day during the Holy Week.  I’m praying for the health and safety of our Messy families and keeping my fingers crossed that we can meet, in person, again soon!

Messy Church USA @ Home

Holy Week Edition

Scripture Readings from Common English Bible

Palm Sunday, April 5th, 2020

Jesus and His disciples make their entrance into Jerusalem. Two of His disciples went ahead of the rest and brought a donkey for Jesus to ride. Jesus is greeted by crowds waving palm branches and exclaiming, “Hosanna to the son of David!”

Scripture: Luke 19: 37-38
As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. They said, ‘Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.’”

Activity: Palms and Races

Need: Green construction paper, pencil, scissors, glue, Popsicle sticks.   

Have each person in your family trace their hand four or five times on the green paper. Using the scissors, cut out the hands. Apply glue to the sticks and arrange the hands (thumbs together) on either side of the stick so they resemble a palm leaf. Once the leaves are finished, set up a start and finish line and divide into teams. Since the palms were laid so Jesus’s feet would not touch the ground, lay the palms, from your team, end to end and try to be the first one across without actually touching the ground. Once you step on a palm, lay another in front. Then, once you step on that one, reach back for the other and, again, place it in front. Keep this going all the way across the finish line!

Prayer:Faithful God, we give you praise this day! The people gathered to surround Jesus with shouts of praise, yet here we are at home to keep our neighbors safe by social distancing. We join our “Hosanna!” with people all over the world you are praising you this day. Be with us as we walk with Jesus during this coming week. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.

Food Idea:Since Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, take the opportunity to try some different foods from that region. Ideas include baklava, hummus, or Israeli salad.

Holy Monday, April 6, 2020

Jesus and His disciples go to Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus is frustrated with how people are treating this worship space. He turns over tables and declares, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Scripture: Luke 19: 45-46
“When Jesus entered the temple, he threw out those who were selling things there. Jesus said to them, “It’s written, my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a hideout for thieves”

Activity: Your House of Prayer

Need: Paper, pencils, tape.

Create your own “house of prayer” by writing down reminders to pray. It can be specific prayers or just to pray in general, but write your thoughts on the paper and tape them up around the house. Mirrors, the refrigerator, the television, and doors are all good reminder places we will see frequently.

Prayer: God of all times, as we walk with Jesus as he walks toward to cross of Good Friday, be present with us in all of the twists and turns of this Holy Week story. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.

Food Idea: Donuts! There is a cute saying that goes, “Donut forget to pray!” Yes, it’s a cute saying but it also has a great message (plus your kids will love the sweet treat!)

Holy Tuesday, April 7, 2020

On this day, we look at the story when Jesus and His disciples come across a fig tree as they walked through the streets of Jerusalem. Jesus used the fig tree to give a lesson about staying persistent when it seems that everything is falling apart. The leaves on the fig tree are beginning to sprout and Jesus tells his followers that it is a sign that the seasons are changing. Jesus then instructs them that when things are changing, they are to stay alert and pray for strength. Our world has changed through the Covid-19 pandemic but we can hear the voice of Jesus telling us to stay alert and to pray for strength.

Scripture: Luke 21: 29-31, 36
“Jesus told them a parable, “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that God’s kingdom is near…Stay alert at all times, praying that you are strong enough to endure everything that is about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man”

Activity: Pay Attention and Pray
Need: Pencils, paper.

Take a moment to reflect on what may be causing you anxiety today. Draw a picture or write it down on your paper. As a family, take turns sharing what it is you are feeling. Then as a family pray for strength during this time of uncertainty. Reach out to your Messy Church friends via social media or a phone call and let them know that you are also praying for them.

Prayer: Merciful God, during this time of uncertainty, we remember how Jesus told his disciples to stay alert and to pray for strength. Give us strength and courage this day. Thank you that you are with us in our anxiety and will never leave us alone. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.

Food Idea: Spaghetti! Heat up some spaghetti sauce on the stove and boil the water for noodles. As you wait for the noodles to boil, talk about how we never know the precise moment that the noodles will begin to boil but we know that through the heat, they eventually will boil. Just as we are patient for the noodles to boil, when we pray, we must also practice patience. We can rely on the faithfulness of Jesus to be with us always as we wait for things to fall into place in our lives. Then, mix your spaghetti sauce and noodles together and enjoy your spaghetti!

Holy Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Today we look at the story of one of Jesus’s disciples, Judas, who goes to the religious leaders of the time who are disturbed by the teachings of Jesus and want to silence him by arresting him. Judas asks the religious leaders what they would give him if he helps them follow through with their plan to arrest Jesus. The men count out thirty silver coins and hand them to Judas. From that point on, Judas is looking for a time when he can help the leaders arrest Jesus.

Scripture: Luke 22: 3-6
“Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve. He went out and discussed with the chief priests (religious leaders) and officers of the temple guard how he could hand Jesus over to them. They were delighted and arranged payment for him. Judas agreed and began looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them—a time when the crowds would be absent.”

Activity: Collecting Silver

Need: Thirty pieces of silver.

Collect thirty pieces of silver and decide which organization you’d like to donate to. The silver can include nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, or any other coins of the same color.

Prayer: Forgiving God, there are times in our lives when we turn away from you and do not love others as Jesus teaches us to love. We ask for your forgiveness. Give us the courage to follow the teaching of Jesus to love one another. We thank you for your mercy. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.

Food Idea: Silver dollar pancakes. Mix together your favorite pancake batter and drop small amounts of batter onto the skillet. Cook thoroughly and enjoy!

Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020

On this Holy Thursday, Jesus and his disciples sat down together to celebrate the Passover. This was a special meal meant to remind everyone of how God saved the Israelites and brought them out of Egypt. Before they ate the meal, Jesus knelt down and washed his disciples’ feet. This was something that a servant would normally do and the disciples where shocked! But Jesus told them that they were to love one another like this, by serving one another. We call this day “Maundy” Thursday because “Maundy” means “mandate” – Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another the way Jesus loved them. At the end of the meal, frequently called “The Last Supper”, Jesus took bread and wine, which was tradition at the end of a Jewish meal, and he blessed them and told his followers to remember him whenever they gathered together. Later that Thursday night, Jesus is betrayed by Judas and taken to the house of one of the high priests where they begin to make a case against Him to use in a trial.

Scripture: Luke 22: 14, 19-20
“When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the disciples joined him…After taking bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, he took the cup after the mail and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant which is poured out for you.”

Activity: Cup Decorating

Need: Paper cup, stickers, markers, glitter, etc.

Decorate your paper cup any way you’d like so you can use it with your “last supper” meal.

Prayer: God of mercy, as we prepare this meal, we remember how Jesus told us to remember him whenever we break bread and share a cup with one another. We thank you for Jesus and for his love for us and we remember his teaching us to love one another. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN

Food Idea: Mimic a last supper meal with your own family. So, choose a family favorite meal and use this time to talk about what feelings Jesus might have been experiencing at His own supper. Then, use the unleavened bread (or crackers) and wine (you can also use grape juice) to recreate communion. There are lots of easy unleavened bread recipes online so encourage your kids to help bake as well!

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday is, by far, the most somber and arduous day of the Holy Week. On this day, our savior Jesus Christ was wrongfully accused in illegal trials and sentenced to death via crucifixion. He was nailed to a wooden cross and suffered for many hours before His death. Friday evening, Jesus is taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb.

Scripture: Luke 23: 44-46
“It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, ‘Father, into your hands I entrust my life.’ After he said this, he breathed for the last time.”

Activity: Cross Art

Need: Paper, painter’s tape, paint, paint brushes.

Place the painter’s tape, in the shape of the cross, at the center of the piece of paper. Then, pick out your favorite colors to paint with. Paint the entire piece of paper (including over the top of the tape) and wait for it to dry. When it has dried, carefully pull the painter’s tape off to reveal a beautiful white cross among your artwork.

Prayer: Be with us this day, O God, as we remember that Jesus died upon a cross many years ago. We are sad yet we know that you are with us no matter how we feel. Thank you that your love for us is stronger than death. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.

Food Idea: Make a rectangle pan of Rice Krispy Treats and empty it onto a cutting board. Cut the rectangle into a large cross and have fun decorating it with sprinkles and frosting before enjoying the delicious treat!

Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020

This day in the Holy Week is the day Jesus lay in the tomb. While many of his disciples had fled the scene, some of the women who followed Jesus stayed behind. They buried Jesus in a borrowed tomb on Friday before the Sabbath began. The tomb was then sealed tightly and guarded by Roman soldiers. On Saturday we remember how Jesus’ disciples must have felt, thinking that everything was over, knowing that Jesus was dead.

Scripture: Luke 23: 55-56
“The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph of Arimathea. They saw the tomb and how Jesus’ body was laid in it. Then they went away and prepared fragrant spices and perfumed oils. They rested on the Sabbath in keeping with the commandment.

Activity: Moment of Silence

Need: Just yourself.

Take a moment out of your day as an individual or as a family and just be silent. Use this time to reflect on what happened to Jesus and the miracle that is to come. You can also use this time to pray if you’d like.

Prayer: We rest in your love, O God as we keep silence this day. We wait for the coming of the dawn of Easter light. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN

Food Idea: We’re quietest when we sleep so let’s make food that makes us sleepy. Turkey has a naturally occurring amino acid that blocks proteins. Normally after consuming it, we become very sleepy. Make your families own favorite turkey dish and get some rest!

Easter Sunday, April 12,2020

The Bible says that early on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb to finish preparing Jesus’ body for burial. When the women got to the tomb, they discovered that the tomb was empty! The large boulder that covered the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away and Jesus was gone. An angel appeared to the women and told them they need not be afraid. Jesus had risen! The women went back to the other disciples to tell them all they had seen.

Scripture: Luke 24: 1-6
“Very early in the morning on the first day of week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t hear, but has been raised. He is ALIVE!’ “

Activity: Secret Message

Need: Paper, white crayons, watercolor.

Use the white crayon to draw and write secret pictures and messages that have to do with Easter Sunday. Hand the paper to another member of your family and have them paint the paper with watercolor to reveal the secrets underneath! Ideas include the words “He is risen,” a hill with three crosses, an empty tomb, etc.

Prayer: God of life, we have experienced many different emotions this past week and today we are jumping up and down in joyful exuberance. Jesus is alive! What a surprise to remember that in the midst of dark times, you surprise us with new life. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! In the name of the risen Jesus we pray. AMEN.

Food Idea: Enjoy the evening with whatever traditional meal your family makes for Easter dinner. If you don’t have a tradition, put the eggs you just colored to good use and make some egg salad!

CHRIST IS RISEN!

CHRIST IS RISEN, INDEED!

HAPPY EASTER

FROM MESSY CHURCH USA

Bringing Home the Mess

A Messy Church Take Home from Lindsey Goodyear

You can download this logo at www.messychurch.org.uk

I’d love to say that our Saturday started like any other, but it didn’t.  We woke with the heavy feeling that the afternoon before had brought our community.  All schools were to be closed for the next two weeks due to the recent Coronavirus pandemic.  Although we weren’t the only community to experience the announcement of the closures, I think it forced us to face the reality that this was getting serious.  Yes, we’d been watching closely on the news the effects the virus was having on other countries, but it hadn’t hit our city yet so we seemed somewhat removed from the crisis.  The announcement seemed to corroborate that it was, indeed, lurking in our own backyards.  Until last Friday, the dangers seemed far away but it was time to hunker down and stay somewhat quarantined.  Although that seemed depressing, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Messy Church was set to start at 5:00 PM that evening.  It would be a time for us to get together with other families to laugh, have fun, and really connect with them through God’s word.  We were all looking forward to the lighthearted evening.  But, then, just after lunch, we received a text saying that our leaders had been monitoring the COVID-19 situation and that they felt it was best to cancel that evening’s Messy Church.  The somber feeling seemed to instantly return and we tried to calm our children who were heartbroken to miss a night with their “Messy” family and friends.  It left me anxious wondering how many more of these texts we would receive before the virus was contained?  How would I break the news to my kids over and over that one of their favorite nights would not be happening?  Then, I realized, maybe we don’t have to.  What if we just brought the mess home?  I decided to write a “Mini Mess” that not only our family could do at home, but that other families missing their own Messy Churches could do as well.  I feel the verse is absolutely relevant to the state of our world right now so I hope you and yours find comfort after allowing His word to surround us in these distressing times.

MINI MESS

Verse: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

3 MESSY ACTIVITIES

# 1- Cast Away Worries

Need: Paper, pencil, scissors.

Take a moment to really think about something that has been bothering you.  Whether it be at work, at school, or anywhere else, write it down on the paper.  Have each member of the family then cut their paper into tiny pieces.  When you’re done, say a prayer, as a family, to have God release the uneasiness that comes with those situations.  Throw the pieces away and mentally “let go” of those worries.

# 2- Yoga Church:

Need:  Yoga mats (optional)

This is a simple way in which the whole family can relax, ease tensions, or just reset.  Focus on the words from Philippians 4:6 while simultaneously doing yoga poses to bring peace.  If you are an advanced yogi, choose whichever poses you find fitting.  If you are looking for kid friendly poses, focus on things like “cat/cow,” “cobbler pose,” or “child’s pose.” Instructions for how to do these and other poses can be found online.

 # 3- Letters of Care

Need:  Stationary, envelopes, pens, stamps.

Sit, as a family, and write letters to the community who may be affected by the recent Coronavirus pandemic.  Ideas include convalescent homes, first responders, or family members who may not be able to have visitors.  Receiving mail from someone and letting them know how much you care is one of the most uplifting feelings there are.  Take this time to put thought and effort into letting someone know how much you appreciate and care for them.

*If writing isn’t an option for you or your family, FaceTime and Zoom are other great options to brighten someone’s day without spreading germs.

CELEBRATION 

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by a man named Robert Schuller.  It goes, “what would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”  The answer is pretty simple…nothing.  There’s absolutely nothing we wouldn’t try because there would be categorically zero chance of a letdown.  Wouldn’t that be so great?  Just releasing the anxiety of the “what if’s” and knowing in complete and utter confidence that it will all work out.  Well, guess what?  We just described what our lives should be with God.  God calls on us to rid ourselves of anxiety and depend on Him wholly and completely.  This is hard for many of us because we want to be the ones in control.  However, if we could know in our hearts, without a doubt, that God is in charge and His plan is what’s best for us, we’d never entertain an anxious thought again.  So, you see, the quote could easily be changed from “what would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” to “what kind of life could we have if we trusted God’s plan was perfect?”  Because, it is.  His plan is perfect and we have to have trust in Him.  Use this now, in a time where the world seems frightening, and know.  Release your worries and have faith.

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, we ask you, today, for the strength to depend on you.  We ask for the release of anxieties of situations that are out of our control.  We ask for the healing of your people around the world and the continued health of our friends and families.  Please, Lord, in this time of anguish let us find peace in the comfort of your loving embrace.  We thank you, God, for all your love.  In your name we pray, Amen.         

MEAL IDEA: HAPPY PIZZA

Meal Idea:  Happy Pizza

Need:  Pizza crust, pizza sauce, cheese, meat of choice, veggies of choice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  While waiting for the oven to heat, grate cheese and cut up veggies of choice.  Spread sauce on the pizza crust and sprinkle the cheese over the top.  Using whatever vegetables and meat you’ve chosen, make a happy face on the pizza (i.e. olives and pepperonis for eyes, sausage for nose, and thinly sliced bell pepper to form a smile).  Put the pizza into the oven and let cook for 20 minutes.  Let cool, slice, and enjoy.   

Lindsey Goodyear
Messy Church at Community UMC, Huntington Beach, CA
lindseygoodyear@gmail.com
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