Congratulations to our October Messy Church of the Month: Aldersgate United Methodist from Greenville, SC
Messy Church at Aldersgate began back in August 2013 when Dr. Johannah Myers, Director of Christian Formation, read several Messy Church books and articles from the UK and risked starting something new. At the time, there wasn’t a Messy Church to go visit or other leaders that she knew of who were leading Messy Church in the USA to collaborate with however, from that start, Messy Church has grown into a vital intergenerational ministry in Greenville. There have been ups and downs but now with the growth of a Messy Church team, monthly Messy Church worships are planned for the coming year.
Johannah has been involved with Messy Church USA after hosting a training at her church in the fall of 2018. She is our Messy Church USA Associate Director and leads our training and writing teams. In May 2019, Johannah received her Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary after studying with an international cohort at Wesley House, Cambridge UK. Her doctoral project was called “Practicing Faith Together: Messy Church and Disciple Formation” and focused on inter-generational discipleship.
We are so happy to highlight the awesome Messy Church at Aldersgate!
Messy Church folk share what they like best about Messy Church
- “I love the opportunity to gather and meet new people in a “messy” environment. It is not traditional worship but still fulfilling. Messy Church is a way to love God and love people in a way that is unexpected to some. As a volunteer, I walk away with a reminder of how awesome of God really is every day.” Ellen, mom and member of the Messy Church planning team
- “I like to paint” Mollie, K4, and from her older sister Grady Claire, “I like to spend time with people at church.”
- Dot (7), to her granddad (a table host at Messy Church) after attending her first Messy Church with him, “This was the best day of my life!”
Favorite Messy Activities at Aldersgate
Making friendship bracelets has been a favorite activity for quite a while. We have used different materials and patterns which are easy to find on various internet sites such as Pinterest or YouTube. We used this pattern once but swapped out with small paper plates and yarn. DIY Friendship Bracelet Example
We love our Messy Christmas tradition where everyone dresses up as either a shepherd, an angel, an animal, or a “wise person.” The youngest baby in our community is “baby Jesus” (so much fun and always a bit messy when we have a toddler playing the newborn Jesus!) and we re-tell the Christmas story together. Every year I suggest a change or two and every year our Messy friends say “Don’t change anything!”
Our Messy Easter is (or was, pre-pandemic) huge. One of our favorite Messy Easters is available through Messy Church USA. It includes instructions for how to make playdough out of Peeps candy. One of the messiest activities – but also so much fun! A Messy Candy Adventure
What worked well to gain support of your “Sunday” Church when you started Messy Church?
I (Johannah) held a dinner for key families and church leaders to explain why I thought we needed Messy Church. I outlined a plan for our first year and what I hoped would happen because of Messy Church. (I also held a breakfast for those who couldn’t attend the dinner.) We also chose Sunday afternoon/evenings for our time. While this sometimes interferes with other church events, on the whole it ended up being the right day for us because we compete with less outside obligations like sports or school commitments.
What has been a challenge for your Messy Church?
One of the biggest challenges has been maintaining a strong planning team. Early on we had a team but over the years, we moved from a team to 2 people to just one staff person. That’s a very fast way to lead to burnout! As we’ve re-launched this fall after a pandemic break, we’ve formed a new team.
How has your Messy Church adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
|We did 3 virtual Messy Churches and tried to do one outside in-person Messy Church that got rained out. Really, the Pandemic forced us to take a break. While that’s disappointing, in the end it might be that a break was just what we needed to re-focus. As we’ve cautiously re-started this fall, we’ve been able to talk through things that might need to be tweaked or things we’d like to try (for example, we changed our starting time and tweaked our Welcome Zone). We’ve been more intentional about our plans as we’ve re-started and that’s a great gift.|
Thanks Johannah and Aldersgate for sharing your story!
What fun to learn about how Messy Church has grown and adapted in Greenville, SC. At Messy Church USA, we are so grateful for all the time and passion Johannah brings to our mission. The following is one of my (Roberta) favorite pic of Johannah with during an outdoor Messy Church.
Aldersgate United Methodist, 7 Shannon Dr, Greenville SC 29615
Aldersgate UMC Phone: 864-244-1820
Aldersgate UMC Webpage
Aldersgate UMC Messy Church Facebook