We Do Messy!

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We Do Messy!

A Blogpost by Roberta J. Egli

Several years ago, I found this print in the clearance section of my local Michaels’ craft store.  I purchased two of them, and they both hung at the church where I was serving as pastor at the time.  We had begun our local Messy Church several years earlier and this print spoke to our experience of starting a Messy Church…we made lots of mistakes, we were real with each other and we did it all in the name of Love. We discovered that starting and sustaining a Messy Church is a messy process yet everything always went more smoothly when we kept ourselves centered in God’s love, great things happened.

January is the month that my husband and I spend some time decluttering and organizing our home. (We began this yearly routine before we ever heard of Marie Kondo). This year, my husband found this print in the garage and brought it to my office. He suggested that we hang it in the hallway outside what is now the Messy Church USA office. When he showed it to me, there were papers scattered everywhere; I was preparing packages to mail, I had books stacked high to make some space for 10,000 newly printed Messy Church brochures and also 70 copies of the 2019 featured book for renewing members, Messy Togetherness by Martyn Payne; in other words, my office was a complete mess! So I laughed when I read the phrase that had originally drawn me to this print …We Do Messy!

I am a person who loves the beginning of the year. I love coordinating my calendars and writing down annual, quarterly and monthly goals. I get satisfaction from crossing off items on my daily to do list. However, this month, the task of ‘writing a Messy Church blog post’ has not gone according to plan! It is now past the middle of the month and there has not been any January blogs posted! My expectations for my work this January has not met the reality! So when I see that print each time I enter my office, all I can do is laugh and remember that in this work…We do Messy!

iStock photo

I wonder how your expectations for your local Messy Church has met your reality? I am reminded of our experience in our second year of offering Messy Church. In our first year, we had a steady growth of number of people attending our local Messy Church. However, in our second year, our attendance was down significantly. As a team we discussed our disappointment and wondered what we were doing ‘wrong’. One member of our team reminded us that earlier we had prayed that we would develop deeper relationships with our families. With our lower numbers each month, those relationships were developing as we had more time to have relaxing conversations. Since we were not so busy at our activity tables, or getting food ready, we were getting to know each other and sharing our faith in a more profound way. God was showing up in a big way and we had not been paying attention as we focused on the numbers.

I know that as leaders of Messy Church, there will be times when you will be disappointed that your plans and expectations do not meet the reality of your experience. Perhaps not as many people show up and you wonder if all the work in preparing for your Messy Church is worth it. Perhaps you run out of food because more people show up that what you expected. Perhaps a beloved volunteer gets ill or ‘burned out’ and no longer is able to host a activity table. Perhaps you hear the same question for the tenth time from a member of your church leadership, “when are the Messy Church families going to start attending ‘church’?” (Implying that the only ‘church’ that is ‘real church’ is the traditional Sunday morning worship). At those times, I hope that you will pause, remember to laugh and be attentive to how God is showing up over and over again in all of the messiness of Messy Church!

As you lead your Messy Churches throughout 2019, my prayer is that you will remember that Messy Church is a place where God shows up and our task is to pay attention. At Messy Church we are creating a welcoming and sacred space where people can join with each other in all of their marvelous ‘real’ lives. We come to Messy Church with as both broken and blessed people and as we share our lives, we are drawn closer to one another and closer to Christ. The Holy One is present in the midst of our messy relationships, our messy questions, our messy to do lists, our messy schedules and our messy lives. Celebrate the welcoming space you are creating at your Messy Church and pay attention to where God is showing up. Remember…We Do Messy!

Messy Blessings, Roberta

Follow the Star

A blog-post by Casey Cross

“They set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.” Matthew 2:9

When I think about those wise ones who followed the star, I think about leadership. The best teachers are life-long learners. The best leaders know how to follow others. I always find it interesting that when we are most purely ourselves, living out of our gifts, we end up modeling for others and becoming leaders without even trying. This is the case with those who followed the star. Was it curiosity or pure scholarship that brought the Magi on such a journey?

We do not know a lot about these astrologers. We only know that they were doing their thing – observing the stars. Little did they know, they would have their own followers, thousands of years later. We who hear and celebrate the story of Jesus’ birth, follow the wise men on their journey, first to King Herod, and finally to the home where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were staying. By joining them on their journey, we are reminded once again where God is found, among the outsiders rather than the elite.

Christmas is not just an opportunity to say, “Happy birthday Jesus!” It is also an opportunity to welcome Jesus into our world, imperfect though it is, as well as into our hearts.

These wise men were also on a journey of hospitality. On their way to meet Jesus, bringing gifts, and building new relationships are at the heart of hospitality. With their presence, they welcomed Jesus to earth. Christmas is not just an opportunity to say, “Happy birthday Jesus!” It is also an opportunity to welcome Jesus into our world, imperfect though it is, as well as into our hearts.

We can learn a lot from these wise men on their journey. In a way, it was a journey of proclamation, to show homage to the king of the Jews. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the historical reference to the word homage is in reference to making a public acknowledgement of allegiance to one’s Lord. By showing homage, these travelers publically claimed the king of the Jews their personal lord. How do we translate this homage to our celebration of Christ’s birth every year? Do we use this holy-day as an opportunity to publically name Jesus our Lord and Savior, or do we spend too much time focusing on the gifts and minutiae of creating a “perfect” day?

As we welcome one another to our space, activities, celebration, and meal, we build connections and experience the incarnate Christ among us.

I see leadership, homage, and hospitality celebrated in the organization of Messy Church. As we welcome one another to our space, activities, celebration, and meal, we build connections and experience the incarnate Christ among us. We are all both learners and teachers. Everyone has an opportunity to share in a piece of the story, share their perspectives, life experiences, and gifts. We share a meal together, growing in our relationships as well as our faith. We join the journey together; following the promises of God like the wise ones followed the star, to the place where it all comes together, in Jesus the Christ. God with us, Emmanuel.

Casey Cross serves on the Messy Church USA Board of Directors. She is the
Young Disciples Director of Hope Lutheran Church in Eagle, ID, where she has led the start of the first Messy Church in Idaho.

Merry Christmas! Celebrate the Light!

A blog by Roberta Jantzi Egli

“The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world”
~John 1: 9 (CEB)

Are you all prepared to celebrate the light of Jesus Christ that has come for all people? I must be honest that I am not ready… there are still many items on my list and I am at the point now that I know that not all of those items will get crossed off. I shared with my step-mother this morning that although I am not ready for Christmas, the day will come whether I am ready or not. I know from experience that Christmas will be a day of celebration whether or not I get all the items on my list completed.

My friends, it is GOOD NEWS that Christmas comes to us whether we are prepared or not! As John’s gospel proclaims, we can be confident that Jesus the Christ will come to us daily bringing light, love and light to all.

I am reminded of the poem by Howard Thurman and accompanying picture that has been circulating around the internet this December.

I will light candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.

~ Howard Thurman

The Christmas season is difficult for many people. I live in the Pacific Northwest and as we approach the longest night of the year, I yearn for the return of the light. My mother died on the day after Christmas many years ago and even today, I still think of that bittersweet time of being together as a family while saying our goodbyes to our mother. God was present with us around the Christmas tree as well as around her bed as we sang Christmas carols to her.

My prayer my friends, is that you will light candles of joy, hope, courage, peace, grace and love not only during this season of Christmas and Epiphany but for the whole year long. I am so grateful for the ministry of Messy Church that invites people to bring all of their joys and sadness, doubt and celebrations, young and old to the light of Christ.

Merry Christmas and Celebrate the Light!

Roberta Egli, Executive Director, Messy Church USA


An Unexpected Gift

By Lindsey Goodyear

The beginning of December is usually a reminder for me to kick it into high gear and start Christmas shopping, dig up our Elf on the Shelf (Lord only knows where I stuck him from the previous year), and remember to give each of our boys their advent gift for those first 25 days while desperately trying to reiterate what the advent period is actually about. In the dictionary, advent is described as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. For my kids, advent means presents. We work hard to remind them that there is more to Christmas than gifts, but, in their defense, gift giving is a part of Christmas. We give gifts to family, the Wise Men brought gifts for Jesus, and, of course, His birth, continues to stand as the greatest gift God has ever given to us. See? Gifts everywhere!

All the obsession over giving and receiving gifts got me thinking about the gifts we give at Messy Church. I’d like to think that we, as a Messy Church team, give gifts to our congregation every month. They may not be the literal gifts wrapped in a bow, but gifts that have a deeper meaning. The gift of a place to feel safe, connected, understood, loved, and supported. The gift of our members making a connection with a particular story, song, or activity. The gift of our children finding an indisputable understanding of what God’s love means, in their life, as they grow. What I didn’t think about is the gifts we receive from the attendees, as well. That’s why, going into our event on the first Saturday of the month, I never expected the gift I’d come away with.

I walked into our Messy Advent event to see the beautiful face of my friend, Mel.  I was grateful to have met her through the United Methodist preschool where her daughter and my son attended.  Over the years, she had expressed wanting to come to Messy Church, but life sometimes gets in the way.  I was over the moon to see what she thought of her first Messy gathering.  Of course it was a whirlwind of a night and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her at the end of the evening.  However, the next morning I woke to one of the most beautiful and meaningful texts I had ever received.  The words she used to describe the feeling she got from attending Messy Church brought tears to my eyes.  I immediately asked if I could interview her for my blog and she graciously obliged.

Here are the unedited, kind words from my good friend, Mel:

Me: Tell me a little about yourself.

Mel: I’ve been a resident of Huntington Beach since 2000. I’m a single parent (didn’t start off that way, but life got “messy”) to one precious six year old girl.

Me: How did you hear about Messy Church?

Mel: We attended CUMC preschool and heard about it from friends. We’ve always been interested in going but hadn’t been able to schedule it until now.

Me: With many options for worship around here, what made you take a chance on Messy Church?

Mel: We knew a few people that were already attending and had heard good things. It kept coming up over the past few months from others who have attended and we realized we shouldn’t ignore it any longer. And so, we showed up!

Me: What was the theme of the Messy Church you attended?

Mel: We were at the December event which was all centered around Christmas and the birth of Jesus.

Me: What was the vibe upon entrance? What did you notice?

Mel: We were greeted by a lovely young woman who welcomed us and gave us a brown paper bag personalized in black sharpie.

Me: Anything that made you uncomfortable?

Mel: Nope. Everyone was nice.

Me: What was the most memorable moment for you?

Mel: Two things: Our time in the chapel and especially singing together. I loved the conversations I had with my daughter during the activities. She’s maturing in her faith.

Me: Was there anything missing? Something you wished you had more of?

Mel: Only because you are asking but perhaps a place to safely put your painted crafts while they are drying. I’m pretty sure we got blue paint on the wall. Sorry!

Me: What made Messy Church different than traditional church for you?

Mel: Everything about Messy Church is different than traditional church. I love that I never put my kid in some room and then went off to make small talk with other adults and their spouses. Just my daughter and I are my family. We’re not a traditional family but we are one. It was nice that we could stay together. Doing the crafts and activities gave us a chance to talk without distractions. I found myself asking her questions and explaining things to her in simple terms. Each activity was charming and offered a chance to talk about something different. There was so much to do and I was impressed by the sheer number of volunteers. It looked like a labor of love.

Lindsey and Leyla conveyed in about 10 minutes what some pastors require an hour for. “Jesus came into a messy world because He loves us.”

It reminded me that I could worship wherever I am, just as I am: messy.

Mel: (cont) There’s also something sweet about sharing a meal with families. That was one of the first meals I can remember in a long time that I sat down the entire time with my child. At home during meals, I’m up every few minutes, getting and cleaning things (and high fives to the genius who recognizes ranch is a necessity with pizza!). It was a very sweet touch to have table tents with conversation starters.

I appreciate that it took a lot of coordination and manpower to pull off this event. I was also moved by its simplicity. There were no “smoke and mirrors,” just love and consideration. It could have taken place in any of the past five decades. I was moved to be one of the many voices, singing to God, surrounded by candles, led by a single guitar. The message was short and sweet (the most powerful ideas usually are). Lindsey and Leyla conveyed in about 10 minutes what some pastors require an hour for. “Jesus came into a messy world because He loves us.”

It reminded me that I could worship wherever I am, just as I am: messy.

Me: Do you think you’ll attend Messy Church again?

Mel: I’ll 100% be returning. My daughter definitely wants to return. She loved it and I’ve already invited others!

Merry Christmas from our Messy family to yours!

Lindsey Goodyear blogs monthly for Messy Church USA. She is a Messy Church mom and leader at Community UMC in Huntington Beach, California.  You can reach her at lindseygoodyear@gmail.com

 

Celebrate the Light

By Casey Cross

Young Disciples Director of Hope Lutheran Church in Eagle, ID and member of the Messy Church USA Board of Directors

Single Lit Candle
Pexels.com. Used with Permission

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

John 1: 5

I’ve been finding myself taking a lot of night walks lately. Many people would think that’s crazy, especially with the weather in Idaho as cold as it’s been. I will admit, by the time I get to the end of my walk I am really looking forward to entering my warm house. But there is a bit of magic that happens on these night walks, a quickening in my spirit. When I look up at the clear, dark sky and let my eyes adjust, I realize things aren’t as dark as I initially thought. In fact, the stars seem to shine clearer and brighter than usual.

Maybe that’s the key? Doing something that isn’t just, “the usual.” When we put ourselves out there, sometimes even literally out there taking a night walk, we see things from a different perspective. When we try something that others would call unusual, we connect with ourselves in a new way, there is a quickening in our spirit that makes us feel more alive.

Darkness has a way of closing in on us, making us feel like darkness is all there is. It can be suffocating, scary, and empty. Darkness can feel big and all encompassing. Yet, there is hope in the stars. When I’m in an especially dark place in my walk all I need to do is look up. If I see even just one star, I am reminded where the true power lies. The real power is not in the enormity of darkness, but the clarity of a single fleck of light. Despite distance and the passage of time, this little light meets me where I stand. This little light is all I need to find my way through the darkness and to know I’m not alone.

This is the miracle of Advent, that in our darkest days of the year, in the most common moments of life, God shows up.The real power is not in the enormity of darkness, but the clarity of a single fleck of light.

So, maybe this is the key? I am constantly amazed by the wondrous gifts of God’s grace that surround us, especially in those things that seem most mundane in our daily lives. This is the miracle of Advent, that in our darkest days of the year, in the most common moments of life, God shows up.

Star
Photo by Rev. Josh Clark, August 2018, Sisters, OR
Used with Permission

In order for transformation, both of these keys are needed. We need to put ourselves out there so that we can see what God is doing in the most simple of things. In these intersecting moments, we meet God in a new way and we are changed. It can feel like such a miracle that we cannot help but share it with others.

This is what I see when families try Messy Church for the first time. They hesitantly walk in, unsure of what to expect from this new thing, uncomfortable. By the end of our celebration time together, they are completely different people. Alive! Awake! Connected to the stories of God’s love for us in a real, tangible way. We move to our meal together, eating casseroles, sitting next to our new family members, and expectantly looking ahead to our next gathering together.

Like the stars, we can live as points of light in the darkness, shining, as a reminder that the darkness has not, does not, and will not overcome. God with us, Emmanuel.

The Ladder

A Blog by Lindsey Goodyear, Writer and Messy Church Mom

My husband and I are in the midst of remodeling our first fixer upper. I love a good challenge and with the absolutely useless confidence I’ve gained from seeing other people’s Pinterest projects, I feel like I can take on anything that just needs a little work. It’s currently gutted, so to say it needs some work is a severe understatement. We’ve been interviewing contractors and looking at more housing materials than I ever knew existed. Being people who absolutely love to be outside a patio fit for entertaining is a must and a concrete slab will be poured in the backyard so we can build a pergola. I figured, out of all of the things we have to redo in the house, this would by far be the easiest and I told my husband that I thought we could save some money by doing it ourselves. It didn’t seem that hard. Mix some concrete, pour it quickly, wait for it to dry, then throw up the shade cover. He looked at me like I was crazy before going through the steps of building a small backyard patio:

  1. Prepare the site including leveling the dirt.
  2. Build strong, level forms.
  3. Build up and pack the base.
  4. Pour and flatten concrete.

All of these steps MUST be completed to ensure a strong and sturdy foundation before considering attaching any sort of pergola outside. Who knew? I guess I won’t be starting a construction blog anytime soon.

Last month’s Messy Church at Community UMC, Huntington Beach, CA, was a perplexing one for me. I’ve been preoccupied with school starting and this huge new project and as we sat in the sanctuary, listening to the story of Jacob’s Ladder, I found myself having a hard time making a connection. While traveling, Jacob stops for the night and falls into a deep sleep that results in a life-changing dream. He sees a ladder that reaches down from Heaven all the way to Earth. Angels are ascending and descending the ladder and at the top stands God who makes a promise to keep him safe, make his descendants bountiful, and to bring him back to this land. Jacob awakes with a new mindset as he realizes the door to Heaven is open and this is God’s land.

Jacob’s Ladder, c.1490 (oil on panel), French School, (15th
century) / Musee du Petit Palais, Avignon, France / The
Bridgeman Art Library

Even though I had heard this story before, and completely understood it, I found myself becoming hyper-focused on the significance of the ladder. What does the ladder represent? Who does it represent? Or is it just a ladder? Maybe it’s about the dream! Am I reading too much into this? For two weeks I walked around with these questions. I asked everyone I could and multiple Biblical sites only brought multiple possible answers (none of which satisfied my need for comprehension). I had to decipher the meaning of the ladder before I could relate it to something in my life, let alone write about it.

Yesterday, on my way to pickup my youngest son from school, I decided to detour into Reverend Ginny Wheeler’s office to see if I could gain some clarity. I brought up the many possibilities I had read along the way and asked her every which way what the staircase could mean. Then we got back to basics. We knew for sure was that the staircase is the connection between Heaven and Earth…Between God and man…Between God and us. So I asked her, “what keeps your connection between you and God?” She said, “Worship, prayer, community, service-” and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t need some astronomical event of realization to figure it out. The ladder belongs to us. We each have our own. It is up to us to make it strong. Just like our backyard patio, it cannot be a strong structure without taking time, care, and the proper steps to make it that way. Doing the things God calls us to do means taking the right steps and will ensure a strong and sturdy ladder. Skipping those steps will result in a rickety, unstable structure in jeopardy of crumbling. So, in short: pray, worship, serve, and build community. You’ll find that taking these steps will not only build a ladder with a lifetime warranty…It’ll last you an eternity.

Lindsey Goodyear
Contact her at lindseygoodyear@gmail.com

Welcome Crystal Goetz, our newest Regional Coordinator for the majestic state of Washington!

We are excited to introduce our newest Regional Coordinator …drum roll please…Crystal Goetz (pronounced Gets)! She will cover the large state of Washington. She lives in Auburn Washington and serves as the Director of Children’s, Youth and Family Life Ministries at Auburn First United Methodist Church (FUMC). Crystal has been passionate about Messy Church since she brought a team from her church to a ‘Getting Started in Messy Church’ training in August 2017. She writes that she is “obsessed with spreading the Gospel through Messy Church and hopes to inspire others with her enthusiasm for Messy Church and her love of Jesus!”

Crystal has been a passionate advocate for younger people of the church in her 10 years of experience of family ministry. She writes that when she is asked how she finds the energy to all she does her answer is “the young people enliven and inspire me.”

Her greatest joys in life come from her family, her husband and two young adult children and her faith. When she has time for fun, she enjoys paper crafting, costuming and watching British mystery shows like “Shetland”. Crystal will be attending the Messy Church International Conference in England in May 2019 where she can experience a favorite of hers, a hot cup of tea and a scone. Crystal, we are so happy to welcome to the Regional Coordinator Team

November News

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving from Messy Church USA

Messy Church USA Network is growing! We are giving thanks for all of these new registrations from September and October!

Messy Church USA September Registration
• Good Shepherd UMC, Henrico, Virginia
• First UMC, Olympia, Washington
• St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Vancouver, Washington
• Church of St. Anselm of Cantebury, Shoreham, New York
• St. Stephens UMC, Houston, Texas
• St. David’s Episcopal Church and School, Ashburn, Virginia
• North Freeman UMC, North Freedom, Wisconsin
• Decatur UMC, Decatur, Tennessee

Messy Church USA October Registrations
• First UMC, Manchester, New Hampshire
• Lincoln Community UMC, Ypsilanti, Michigan
• Redlands First UMC, Redlands, California
• Aiea UMC, Aeia, Hawaii
• Faith UMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Have you found your Messy Church on our Directory on the Website?

When you first bring up the directory map you may not see a toggle for your Messy Church.  Simply enter your state in the search function on the website directory page to check your information. If your Messy Church contact, location or schedule is incorrect, simply log into the website and you can make the changes yourself.

Still can’t find your  Messy Church on our website? We need you to register. We have three levels of membership  for your church to choose from. Thank you to all the churches that have registered but we know we are still missing some Messy Churches that have  registered with Messy Church/ BRF in England but not with Messy Church USA. We want to promote your Messy Church so please register TODAY by clicking here.

There is still time to register for the Messy Church International Conference (MCIC 2019) May 3-5, 2019 but you need to act quickly! Registration is now open and places are expected to fill quickly! The first conference in 2016 was AWESOME! It was great fun to meet Messy Church people from all over the world! This is an unmissable opportunity. Learn more here. 

News from the UK

  • Check out the Faith in Homes site – where you’ll find lots of ideas for families – for both at Messy Church and for families between MC gatherings.
  • UK Messy Church Pinterest site has lots of ideas – bookmark it on your computer as more categories have been added! UK Messy Church Pinterest link 
  • Lucy’s monthly eNewsletter includes lots of articles and information Here is the November Newsletter. Check this link for archived newsletters.  Lucy’s blog includes Maximizing the Mess as well as lots of additional articles and ideas.

From Canada

From Australia

From New Zealand

The “What is Messy Church?” Monthly Zoom is cancelled in November and December due to the Holidays! We will resume the monthly webinar on Thursday, January 24, 2019.


Have you joined our Messy Church Team Leaders Group?  Join a discussion to find a great idea or to help someone else looking for something specific.  Click here to sign up. 

Our mission at Messy Church USA is to equip local churches to start, sustain and connect Messy Churches across the United States. We are partners with the global Messy Church movement founded by Lucy Moore in 2004 and now administered by Bible Reading Fellowship.

Messy Sheep Trail

Johannah Myers, Regional Coordinator for North and South Carolina

In 2013 we were in our first months of Messy Church at Aldersgate UMC in Greenville, SC. Looking for a way to spread the word about Messy Church and make some connections with our larger community, we stumbled across a Messy Church in Liverpool, England and their annual Sheep Trail. (You can read more about the original Sheep Trail in Messy Nativity.) In true “we-don’t-know-what-we’re-doing-but-let’s-try-anyway” form, the Sheep Trail in Greenville, SC began!

We have plenty of people who crochet, but the sheep pattern provided in Messy Nativity was for knitting. After searching pattern books and the Internet, I found a sewing pattern for a stuffed sheep. A desperate plea went out for people willing to sew some sheep and soon the herd in my office grew (and grew and grew). Meanwhile we wrote up a request for stores, outlining our plan for the Trail and started walking up and down Main Street, looking for stores willing to give us a try. Nine stores downtown said yes. Throw in a couple of trees at the Festival of Trees willing to be hiding places for our sheep and we had our first Sheep Trail.

Sheep Trail with Aldersgate UMC
Greenville, South Carolina

Each participating store gets its very own sheep with a unique name. Many stores like to name their own sheep! The sheep is hidden in the store, keeping in mind that it’s mostly kids out hunting. The sheep’s nametag is clearly visible. We print Trail Cards (we also keep a printable version on our webpage) that includes a list of the participating stores and a place to record the sheep’s unique name. Find each sheep, record the name, and you’ve mastered the Sheep Trail! We put a basket at a couple of stores where people could turn in completed Trail Cards and be entered into a drawing for a prize at the end of the month. Our Trail runs throughout the month of December.

The first year, we invested in brochure holders. Our sheep were donated. We splurged a bit and had our Trail Cards professionally printed along with some signs marking participating stores. After the first year, the only real cost for us is printing the Trail Cards. With this minimal cost, we are able to reach hundreds of families. We go through anywhere between 300-400 brochures each year!

Sample of Brochures 

Our Trail Cards include information about our Messy Christmas, Aldersgate UMC’s Christmas Eve services and other worship opportunities. We also include the Christmas story, written in child-friendly language. We hope that everyone who participates in the Sheep Trail takes a moment to read the story and that the Trail gives families the opportunity to play together while remembering the true meaning of Christmas.

For more information about our Sheep Trail or to get an example of teh brochure email me at johannah@messychurchusa.org.  Follow us on Instagram  and/ or follow us on Facebook.

Messy Blessings, Johannah

Johannah Myers

Prepare the Way!

By Johannah Myers, Regional Coordinator for North and South Carolina

Aldersgate UMC Messy Church Fall Festival 2018

The dust has settled from our Messy Church Fall Festival. Candy wrappers have been picked up and costumes stored away. In one way, we’re now free to turn our thoughts to gratitude and Thanksgiving. However, for those of us planning for Messy Church, it’s time to start planning for Advent and Messy Christmas.

Advent is a season of preparation. We prepare for the coming of our Messiah even as we remember and celebrate Jesus’ coming as a baby at Christmas. As Messy Church leaders, we’re charged to prepare for Messy Christmas celebrations but we can also help our families make space to prepare a way for Jesus, even during their busy December.

Consider providing Advent calendars at your November Messy Church. Look for a calendar that includes family activities or create your own. Invite families to create a Jesse Tree as a way of remembering Jesus’ family tree and marking the Advent season together. What about materials and instructions for making a simple Advent wreath? Provide the materials as a take-home during your November Messy Church so that families are ready when Advent begins on December 2nd 2018.

Help families create an Advent wreath by providing the materials as a take-home during your November Messy Church so that families are ready when Advent begins on December 2nd.

If your Messy Church has a Facebook page or other social media outlets, think about ways to use this social media to help families mark the Advent season. Create a unique hash-tag and invite families to post pictures of their Advent activities. Use social media as a community Advent calendar. 

Messy Advent Activity Links

Messy Christmas is a great resource for planning Messy Christmas or Messy Advent. It’s full of wonderful ideas for activities and celebrations. There is an older resource, Messy Nativity that is also available to purchase. Messy Nativity includes two ideas of projects to draw your whole community into the Messy Christmas spirit, beyond your monthly Messy Church.


The first three people to email Roberta Egli at roberta@messychurchusa.org  and request the book will get a free copy of Messy Christmas mailed to them.   

Advent and Christmas can be the busiest seasons complete with all the stress that goes along with the craziness. How can Messy Church help families find purpose in the midst of all the season’s comings and goings? 

Messy Church USA’s mission is to equip local churches to start, sustain and connect Messy Churches across the USA.  Be sure to register your Messy Church on our website.