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
- From Jennifer May: Would you Rather game
- From Leyla Wagner: A video instruction to Create Windchime
- From Jim White: Online Quiz on Water
- From Maureen Carey-Back: Summer Bucket Bible Take Home
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.