July 23rd Messy Church USA Town Hall Conversation

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

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

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