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Messy Church USA Webinar

Are you experiencing impatience with figuring out how to reach your Messy Folk? Frustrated that you don’t know how to make plans for the fall in this changing and uncertain time? Are you more than ready to be done with all of the complexities of planning during a pandemic?

Join us on Thursday, August 20th, at 10 am (PDT) to renew your spirit and learn some new spiritual practices. Rev. Nicole Reilley, a founding board member of Messy Church USA and teaching pastor of Valencia United Methodist in Valencia, CA,  will be sharing what she is learning about patience and spiritual habits during this pandemic. Bring your entire Messy Team! 

Cost: Individual $ 25.00, Team of 2-4 people is $ 40. Over four people to a team is an additional $ 5.00 per person. REGISTER HERE

Discount available for all Sustainer members of the Messy Church USA Network. Check with roberta@messychurchusa.org or Johannah@messychurchusa.org for details. 

August Messy Church of the Month

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 

 Parachute Prayers: 

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! 

Resurrection Garden: 

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 jmay@cysd.k12.pa.us

Website for Church: http://www.freysvilleucc.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emmanueluccfreysville/

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!

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

July 23rd Messy Church USA Town Hall Conversation

Our first Messy Church Town Hall conversation happened on Thursday July 23rd.  A group of 12 people from Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, South Dakota, Texas, Oregon and Washington met for a time of sharing ideas of how they are connecting with Messy Folk currently and their plans for the next phases of the pandemic. 

Priming the Pump for Conversation

Roberta shared a bit to prime the pump for our conversation. We began with a focus on the ‘in-between’ time that we find ourselves living in.  Usually we think of ‘in-between’ or liminal time of being a short duration but this pandemic has brought a deeper understanding of what it means to live in the in-between time. Check out Recording Here

Messy Church began as a new expression of church as a way to engage with people who were not connecting more traditional forms of church.  Since the beginning, Messy Church has been adaptable so that it can be contextualized.  The main constant of Messy Church are the five foundational values of All Ages together, creativity, hospitality, celebration and Christ- Centered. Keeping those five values  in mind, what are the possibilities for Messy Church in the various stages of this COVID pandemic?

  • Possibility # 1- In-person Messy Church when able to safely meet:
    • Messy Folk who come together get a box of supplies at the beginning rather than having supplies at activity tables
    • Messy Church Outside
    • Rather than people moving from table to table, groups remain in place the table hosts move from group to group to lead activities and games
    • Reservations/ tickets to limit number of people at Messy Church
  • Possibility # 2- Hybrid (On-line and smaller groups in person) Messy Church)
    • Intergenerational Messy Church Small Groups meet in homes
    • Connecting the smaller groups once per month with an on-line Celebration
    • Pre-recorded Messy Church with lists/ bags of activities for Messy Folk. Activity bags either picked up at church or delivered to homes to have some in-person connection
  • Possibility # 3- All On-Line Messy Church
    • Zoom Messy Church
    • Facebook Live Messy Church
    • Pre-recorded Messy Church with links sent out to Messy Folk
    • Read More Here

Messy Town Hall Conversation

  • Messy Adventure from Epiphany Episcopal in NH- List of scripture, activities featuring local outdoor attractions. (insert PDF)
  • From Dallas Oregon- A Chalk Art festival in the church parking lot- people have their own space to make their chalk art
  • From South Carolina- On-Line Messy Church starting a week of on-line Vacation Bible School. Have had good engagement with zoom Messy Church.  Churches are beginning to meet in person in South Carolina which brings challenges to in-person Messy Church 
  • From Washington- Messy Church team would prefer to be in person but this pandemic has enlivened and brought new enthusiasm to the team. One member has taken over the prayer time and another has become the storyteller for the zoom on-line Messy Church
  • From Michigan- Messy Church only met twice before pandemic and some discouragement that people are not connecting on-line. However, has had good engagement with weekly Wednesday on-line lesson- using stories and activities from Heifer International that were given to family units. Positive response to a FB ad about an on-line Messy Church- received 31 one new likes and follows from the local community
  • From Florida- looking for ways to connect and do outreach to community. Group encouraged to build on things you are already doing i.e. weekly pastor chat to include a weekly or monthly chat with messy church community

As always it was good to connect and share ideas and stories. Join us at future Town Hall Conversations. Here is a list of resources to help you in your own planning. 

Next time I will hopefully remember to hit record at the beginning!

Grace and Peace, Roberta

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

Messy Summer Activities

i Stock

A Great Idea from Aaron Jenkyn, Epiphany Episcopal, Newport, NH

When churches closed in March our Messy Church family stayed in touch with each other via e-mail, snail mail and on Facebook but we never really found a way to connect as a group. As we began to discuss reopening, we began to think creatively about how Messy Church might be able to meet outdoors.  Living in the beautiful state of New Hampshire where there are many treasured outdoor spaces to explore, it seemed only natural to share these places and experiences with our Messy Church families. People can choose to do these activities on their own, with their families, or in small groups, however they feel most comfortable.  Some of these activities will be destinations, others will be activity based and can be done closer to home.

For each adventure we will offer activities, a reflection and a biblical story or theme to ground the experience. We are leaving room to let this program be shaped by the community. Our hope is that in time we will partner with Messy Church families to create these adventures, and that others will join in by posting their pictures on Facebook, creating a sort of hybrid Messy Church experience.

Stay tuned to see where the journey takes us, you can follow along on the Facebook page for Epiphany or St Andrews.  

Messy Adventure# 1 is based on this verse from Isaiah 40: 31:those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,they shall mount up with wings like eagles,they shall run and not be weary,they shall walk and not faint.” 

Download the PDF below. 

All-Ages Together  Summer Prayers

Even though my youngest son is a young adult, one of our favorite summer activities is roasting hot-dogs over a campfire and  enjoying S’more’s together.  So I was excited when I came across a post from Christine V. Hides and the idea of a family prayer based S’more ingredients. Check it out  here. 

Have you prayed with a beach ball before? You may not be able to get together in person to play this but you could use these different examples via on-line or perhaps you can find some beach balls at a dollar store and print out the prayer to send in a take home bag to your Messy Folk.  Here are a few Beach Ball Prayers:

If you need some more Messy Folk Summer activities, check out these 24 Wild and Wet Messy Folk Activities HERE.

Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect in the USA.

Highlights from Messy Church NOW Webinar

Logo Messy Church NOW

We had a great representation from all over the USA at the recent Messy Church NOW zoom webinar.  Messy Church leaders representing 25 churches from 16 different states and 5 denominations signed on to hear Jennifer May, Johannah Myers and Leyla Wagner share what they have learned in facilitating their Messy Church in a physically distanced world. 

Highlights from presentations

Jennifer used her teacher expertise to create a google slide show with recorded videos, activities and games that she emailed to her Messy Folk to use at home at their convenience. To keep the experience interactive, she provided a ‘would you rather’ game at the beginning that is the usual start to their in-person Messy Church. She vulnerably shared that it was difficult for her to get past her anxiety of seeing herself on a recording at the beginning which resonated with many of us on the zoom call. Taking risks and placing ourselves into new situations can be an uncomfortable experience. Jennifer leads Messy Church at Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in rural Red Lyon, PA.

Leyla shared how their Messy Church has evolved as they have learned from each iteration of their Messy Church.  Their first COVID-19 Messy Church was a 15-minute zoom celebration worship that ended up lasting almost 45 minutes because people were so happy to see each other.  Since then, they have kept adapting their monthly on-line Messy Church. Their most recent Messy Church included an introduction video from their pastor emailed out one week prior, an activity bag that people came to the church parking lot to pick up, and a zoom community Messy Church that included doing activities together,  worship with favorite songs, and break out rooms to share reflections from questions. Leyla is from Community United Methodist in Huntington Beach, CA. favorite songs.

Johannah kept their first on-line zoom Messy Church short and simple.  The scripture story from Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu was read by Johannah after a time of welcome.  After the story, Johannah led everyone through making a hat of flaming tongues of fire out of a paper place, scissors and colored pencils and folding an origami dove from one piece of paper. Keeping the supply list simple was important.  To connect Messy Folk with Sunday morning worship, people were encouraged to drop off their origami doves at the church which were then placed in the worship space for the Sunday traditional recorded worship. Although the Messy Church zoom crowd was a bit smaller than their usual in-person Messy Church, those who participated ranged in age from toddler to over 70 years… a truly intergenerational experience!  Johannah is from Aldersgate United Methodist in Greenville, SC.

Some Messy Church NOW Ideas for you

Throughout the presentations and after, the chat room was busy with people sharing their own experiences of how they have continued to bring their Messy Church communities together over the past four months. Here are a few evaluation responses to the question, what are you key takeaways?  

  • We are all in the same boat. We try things and adjust accordingly. None of us has the “perfect” answer, we just keep working at it to reach people and have connection. 🙂
  • We had not considered recording our event so people who cannot attend live could come. What a great idea. As well as the ideas for how to share their crafts if they aren’t live with us.
  • Ideas, but most of all hope and strength – not in this aloneI

We are planning more webinars for the future so that we can continue to connect as we all experiment with ways to adapt our Messy Church during this weird time in history. Share your stories with us via Facebook or email roberta@messychurchusa.org.

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

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

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

Messy Family Chronicles

By Lindsey Goodyear

Once a month I sit down to write about the experience I’ve had at the previous Messy Church. In all honesty, I’ve had some pretty incredible, and definitely eye opening, adventures there. God never wastes an opportunity for me to learn new lessons from His ancient wise words, no matter how many times I’ve heard them. Just when I think I know a verse inside and out, I’m thrown for a total loop and find that His word is, once again, speaking to whatever heaviness is currently weighing on me. It happens every time! This got me thinking…If I’m having these awe-inspiring experiences at Messy Church, what are my peers walking away with? Since one of the five Messy Church values are “all ages” (every element should be relevant and accessible to all ages), I thought it would be a nice change to ask questions of four different age groups, all at different stages in life, the same series of questions and see what their Messy Church experiences are like. So, without further hesitation, please enjoy my conversations with five outstanding Messy members from Community United Methodist Church in Huntington Beach, CA.

Name: Hannah Wagner
Age: 24
Kids: None
Years Attending: 4

How did you first hear about Messy Church?

HW: I was already a member of Community United Methodist Church in Huntington Beach and I was looking for alternative ways to worship.

How has attending Messy Church impacted your life?

HW: It has really helped me build a strong community as well as a connection with different families. I work with young children and I think it’s really important to get to know the community you’re working in.

What is it that keeps you coming back?

HW: Without a doubt, the bonds and friendships I’ve formed.

Can you give a favorite memory?

HW: My favorite is always the Messy Church where pets attend. I love it because we get to see the furry parts of the families that attend, which we normally don’t see. It’s also my dog, Carl’s, favorite Messy Church!

What would you like to see in the future at Messy Church?

HW: Our Messy Church is very young family centered, which is awesome, but it would be very cool to see more young adults attending that just want to engage and worship with other people in their community.

“Coming once a month has added personal and theological benefits…too many to mention.  It has also created community, for me, with parents and for James, with his friends.

James Torres

Name: James Torres
Age: Over 39
Kids: James Jr (5)
Years Attending: 2

How did you first hear about Messy Church?

JT: I read a story in the OC Register about Messy Church. Then, in October of 2017, I was invited by Leyla Wagner and Marty Drake to the first ever USA Messy Church conference at CUMC. I met the British founder, Lucy Moore, as well as others in leadership that are based in England and the United States. I sat in on excellent seminars and terrific testimonials. I have now taken James Jr. religiously every month for two years. James Jr. loves Messy Church, and so do I.

How has attending Messy Church impacted your life?

JT: Coming once a month has added personal and theological benefits…too many to mention. It has also created community, for me, with parents and for James, with his friends.

What is it that keeps you coming back?

JT: Leyla, Marty, the parents, plus, my kid loves it. Leyla Wagner was my son’s preschool teacher at CUMC. She and the other instructors at CUMC preschool and the CUMC Messy Church are terrific. I love the fact that all of those who care for and instruct small children at CUMC and Messy Church are women who love Jesus.

Can you give a favorite memory?

JT: I love anytime the kids pray or sing a Jesus based or holiday song.

What would you like to see in the future at Messy Church?

JT: Leyla Wagner mentioned she wants to see more people transformed by God’s word. In my opinion, that’s a good goal. (P.S. I would like to add that I very much enjoy the writing efforts of Lindsey Goodyear. She has a gifting from the Lord for sharing God’s love in the context of reporting, art, and story.)

LG: Thank you, James!

Name: Justin and Nicole Brown
Age: 37, 41
Kids: Two kids (6,8)
Years Attending: Since the start

How did you first hear about Messy Church?

J&NB: We heard about it from Leyla Wagner and Marty Drake as well as through the preschool (we were parents of preschoolers at the time).

How has attending Messy Church impacted your life?

J&NB: It gives us one evening per month we can count on as a family to worship God in a fun and creative way while also being in the company of like-minded families/people. Not to mention, a sit down meal that we didn’t slave over and can eat while it’s still warm!

NB: Also no dishes and I come home to a clean kitchen!

What is it that keeps you coming back?

J&NB: The bonding time with family and like-minded friends. Also, just when we think Messy Church can’t get better, it does. Constantly. This reflects the heart and soul of the ones who tirelessly pour their hearts and time into this labor of love month after month.

Can you give a favorite memory?

JB: I loved going to Shipley Nature Center.

NB: I asked our kids what their favorite part was and I was expecting to hear answers like, “playing with our friends,” “crafts,” or “dessert” but I was wrong. When my sweet boy was five years old, he said his favorite part of Messy Church was, “when we just spend time together and do crafts as a family.”

What would you like to see in the future at Messy Church?

J&NB: We’d love to see healthier food alternatives as well as more outreach that is family focused.

I love helping with Messy Church because I enjoy being around children.  It gives me great pleasure to witness them having such a fun evening, learning about God through crafts and scripture.

Jan Rutkowski, 70 years young

Name: Jan Rutkowski
Age: 70
Kids: 2 adult children
Years Attending: 5 years

How did you first hear about Messy Church?

JR: The church I attend had started a Messy Church 6 or 7 years ago so as a parishioner I was aware we would hold Messy Church on our church campus.

How has attending Messy Church impacted your life?

JR: I love helping with Messy Church because I enjoy being around children. It gives me great pleasure to witness them having such a fun evening, learning about God through crafts and scripture.

What is it that keeps you coming back?

JR: It is so rewarding being part of a community mission that is spreading the word of God to families that may not attend traditional worship services.

Can you give a favorite memory?

JR: One of my favorite memories is when we did our first Messy Church baptism. It was a beautiful moment as some of our attendees had not witnessed a baptism. Then something funny happened. It was held at the fountain in our courtyard and the little boy I was sitting next to thought the child was going to be submerged in the small space so I reassured him that was not going to happen.

What would you like to see in the future at Messy Church?

JR: I would like to see our attendance grow but I’d also like to see more churches start their own Messy Church program to help keep the word of God alive and relevant in our world today.

From Roberta J. Egli, Executive Director of Messy Church USA

Your donation to Messy Church USA through the end of 2019 will enable us to reach more and more families throughout the world. We support the global movement by passing on 50% of your gift to Bible Reading Fellowship, the UK charity that is the home for the global Messy Church movement.  Donating through our Messy Church USA website will allow you to receive a receipt for tax purposes here in the United States. I invite you to make a gift to support Messy Church around the world. You can donate at https://messychurchusa.org/donate/.  Thanks for your support, Roberta 

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

Messy Advent Resources

How are you preparing for advent at your Messy Church?

Sheep Trails, family advent wreaths, a coloring nativity and much more. Sometimes you may become overwhelmed with advent Messy Church opportunities. Johannah Myers, North and South Carolina Regional Coordinator and Messy Church leader for Aldersgate UMC in Greenville, SC started a Messy Church Sheep trail in her community several years ago.  Read her previous post to learn all about it!   Sheep Trail 

Advent is a wonderful opportunity to connect your Messy Church community and your Sunday morning community.  Are their activities that are traditional for your Sunday worship that you can bring to Messy Church?

On our Messy Church team leaders FB group page, people have been sharing various ideas for advent. Leyla Wagner, from Community UMC in Huntington Beach, CA shared “Something that we like to do is a Reverse Advent Box. We have families decorate a box to take home. Each day of advent, the family puts something (typically canned food or hygiene product) into the box and then donates the entire box to a local Food Pantry or Charity. It’s a good way to make space for “God” in all the busyness of preparing for Christmas.  

Advent offers great opportunities to bridge the worship at Messy Church with at home family devotions.  Check out the links of Advent ideas below and make sure to check out our FB Messy Church team leaders group page. 

Advent Links

Advent in a Box Resource

  • Robin Cannon, the RC for Ohio and our social media consultant for Messy Church USA is a partner in Family Ministry Tools which have created a wonderful resource called- Advent in a Box  It is a pizza box filled with all-age devotions and activities to help families celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas. We have created the devotions and activities for your church. You will need to print the materials, buy the supplies, and pack your boxes. Everything a family will need to do the activities will be in the box (aside from normal household supplies like markers and tape). 
  • You can order individually or per size of your church. Check it out here. 

From Building Faith (Virginia Theological Seminary ) Website

https://buildfaith.org/99-cent-advent-wreath/
https://buildfaith.org/three-teaching-points-for-advent/
https://buildfaith.org/advent-wreath-prayers-home/
https://buildfaith.org/advent-at-home-in-community/

Ideas from Messy Church USA Team Leaders Page

Other Links

Welcome Our New Regional Coordinators for Maryland and Tennessee

We are grateful for our two new Messy Church USA Regional Coordinators. Please take a minute to read about their full and ministry filled lives, give God thanks for their willingness to say yes to this new role and pray for the churches in their regions they will serve.

Maryland
We are happy to announce that Melanie Rodriguez of Columbia, Maryland has said “YES” to becoming the regional coordinator for the state of Maryland. Melanie and her family have been involved at St John Lutheran Church since 2004 and in that time has served as Sunday School Teacher, Lay pastor and more recently the organizer for their Messy Church.

Prior to her involvement at St John’s Lutheran, Melanie served in lay ministry at several Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches so she brings a breath of experience to her new role. In addition, Melanie organized and led a homeschool cooperative, as she homeschooled her own children, that eventually grew to include over one hundred and fifty students. It all started with teaching a science class to a group of homeschool girl scouts!

Melanie has also worked for two different public library systems, specializing in children’s programming for all ages. In that work she mentored volunteers, parents and caregivers in presenting stories to young children. Since her ‘retirement’ from homeschooling, she has been working with the Refugee Youth Project mentoring individual children and families during her involvement in an afterschool program. Currently, she working at improving her Spanish Language skills.

Melanie us excited about using her organizational and networking skills to share the story of Messy Church in a wider context than her local church. You can reach Melanie at melanie@messychurchusa.org.

Welcome Melanie!

Tennessee
The Rev. Will Conner is serving the state of Tennessee as one of our newest regional coordinators. Will is a proud father, husband and pastor in The United Methodist Church where he serves in the small town of Decatur, Tennessee. Will leads two traditional Churches, is the director of the Meigs Country Cooperative Will also serves as the past chair of alumni board for the Candler School of Theology where he earned an M.Div. in 2012. Additionally, Will is a volunteer with the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club.

Since Will discovered the world of Messy Church in 2018, he has been passionate about exploring fresh ways to connect new people with the life changing love of Jesus. His church discovered Messy Church as a key way for them to do this very thing. Will enjoys connecting other faith communities with Messy Church and is eager to serve by helping connect new and existing Messy Churches in Tennessee. If you are looking for a great community introduction to Messy Church, check out Will’s video on the Decatur Church website.

Will enjoys spending free time riding bicycles with his family. Life is about to get a little crazier and more joy filled, because Will and his wife, Hope, are eagerly expecting their third child in January. 

Contact Will at will@messychurchusa.org

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