Messy Church Leaders around the World
As a follow up to the May 2022 Messy Church International Conference (MCIC)we are focusing on our global partners rather than highlighting a USA Messy Church of the Month. This is the final highlight of the global representatives at MCIC. Today we meet Carol from Canada and the team from the USA.
Messy Church Canada
Meet the Team
Rev. Carol Fletcher (Transcona Memorial United Church, Winnipeg MB) zoomed into the MCIC International days from her home. Since the last MCIC in 2019, Canada has experienced a leadership transition when Sue and Andy Kalbfleisch retired from leading Messy Church Canada team in the spring of 2021. Carol has been involved at the national level since 2014 and has brought her vision and Messy Church experience to her role.
As Carol share Messy Church Canada highlights and challenges, she led us in a messy activity of carving the Inuit INUKSHUK out of soap. An inukshuk is a stone formation traditionally built by the Inuit. Historians once thought inukshuk were a relatively modern phenomenon, but evidence suggests otherwise. Formations dating as far back as 2400-1800 BCE can be found on Canada’s Baffin Island.
In a vast, barren region where much of the landscape looks the same, the inukshuk were vital for navigating the area. The presence of an inukshuk might indicate a food source (like a food cache or a good fishing spot), serve as a warning marker (if an area was icy or unsafe), or act as a coordinate for travelers. Inukshuk also served more symbolic purposes. Someone might construct an inukshuk to mark a sacred area or commemorate the loss of a loved one.
Messy Church Canada Highlights
- The Messy Connections Online Canadian Conference that was held in October 2021. You can still watch videos from the conference here.
- Messy Connections brought together Messy Church teams from all over the world as well as those interested in launching Messy Church in a four-day conference with Messy Church founders and leaders
- One of the conference goals was to explore Messy Church as a part of the means of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. With Indigenous leaders we explored story sticks, inukshuks, bannock making and the story of Turtle Island
- Messy Church Canada runs workshops to help church leaders start and maintain a Messy Church
- Publishes a bi-monthly e-Newsletter and provides resources for Messy Churches across Canada
Praying for Messy Church Canada
- Prayers for the just as the inukshuk shows the way when things are difficult, that the Spirit will lead Messy Church Canada to continue to navigate the vast geography of Canada
- Prayers for Carol and the team that she is gathering to lead Messy Church Canada
- Prayers for the Messy Churches that have closed during the pandemic and are now considering how to re-start
Messy Church USA
Meet the Team
There were six people who represented the USA at both the weekend and extended international days. Marty Drake, Roberta Egli, Crystal Goetz, and Leyla Wagner had attended at least one MCIC. Johannah Myers and Cathy Brackin were attending their first MCIC. The international days created opportunities for the MC USA team to get to know one another better and vision how we would continue to support the growth and maturing of Messy Church in the USA.
We used a ball of yarn as we presented our highlights of Messy Church USA and passed it throughout the room to show how our goal is to build a network of churches and leaders that are connected not only in the USA but also globally. We used a quote by Chief Seattle of The Duwamish/Suquamish as the focus of our sharing: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. we are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Messy Church USA Highlights
- We have been organized virtually as an organization since we started Messy Church USA in 2017. However, the pandemic has caused us to meet virtually to strengthen our connections across the USA and also globally adapting their Messy Churches
- We first postponed and then cancelled a Messy Church USA conference due to the pandemic. In October 2021, rather than a national conference we sponsored Restart Messy where 13 trainers led six regional trainings from California to Virginia all on the same day.
- We began to offer online Messy Webinars and an online version of our Get Started in Messy Church spurred by the pandemic
- Redesigned our Messy Church volunteers/ leaders throughout the USA from regional coordinators to ambassadors. Their role is to share the story of Messy Church
- We began five Messy Church teams in January 2021 to help us meet our mission to equip Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect. 1) Prayer and Encouragement, 2) Communication, 3) Development, 4) Training and 5) Writing.
- Developed the store on our website for people to purchase single sessions for Messy Church written by our writing team
Praying for Messy Church USA
- Long term sustainability of Messy Church USA. Both for the Messy Churches that are beginning in the USA as well as our organization itself. Our organization is led by volunteers and as we grow, we will eventually need to transition to paid leadership
- Prayers for ideas of how to support Messy Churches to become sustainable. We have noticed that many start with excitement but after 18 months, have difficulty moving from starting to sustainability
- Prayers for the rising up of more diverse regional and national leaders for our Board of Directors and organizational team
Come Holy Spirit, continue to pour out your power on all of the current and future Messy Church leaders from Canada and the USA. We give you thanks for these servants who bring their experience, wisdom, strength and love of Christ to their work of leading Messy Churches in their countries. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.