Roberta J Egli
On a glorious afternoon this past summer, I had the joy of celebrating the 3rd birthday of my great niece. Aunts, cousins, uncles, grandpa and grandma were all gathered in a circle in the backyard with the birthday family chatting, eating pizza and enjoying hanging out with one another. As the gifts were opened, the big brother and the birthday girl were equally excited about ripping off the gift wrap of each package. A small metal tea set, not the largest nor the most expensive gift opened that day, was the gift that brought joy and laughter not only to the two youngest children but to all of us gathered. We were all served cups of water/tea and sometimes got some extra water spilled upon us with the exuberance of the children serving us. This experience reminded me of a story I have heard from Brother David Steindl-Rast regarding the difference between thankfulness and gratitude. Thankfulness, Brother David shared, is illustrated by the sincere ‘thank you’ offered when the birthday gift was opened. In comparison, my great niece and nephew who played joyfully with the gift while also sharing their joy and the gift with others is an example of gratefulness.
Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise –
then you will discover the fullness of your life.
~ Brother David Stendle-Rast
Although we do not have birthday cake or any birthday presents, Messy Church USA is celebrating a birthday…we are now one year old! The quote from Brother David is a true description of this past year. I have been surprised many times and I give thanks and praise for this past year of life of Messy Church USA. Here a few highlights from this past year!
- “Getting Messy in the USA” national conference in October 2017. Over 100 people gathered from across the United States as we launched as an organization by inspiring presentations by founder Lucy Moore, taco trucks and bonfires on the beach as well as so much more!
- Growth of the Messy Church USA Network. We have grown to 72 churches that have registered on our website! Thank you for taking the time to register! With information from BRF in the UK, we estimate that are over 125 active Messy Churches in the United States so we still need to get some more of you to register!
- Growth of Regional Coordinators. We have tripled in size and have moved across the USA as we have grown from 3 to 12 Regional Coordinators. I am so grateful for the wonderful people who have said yes to this volunteer role of helping Messy Churches start and connect. We meet monthly via zoom teleconference calls and it is so exciting to see how Messy Church is affecting so many lives.
- “Getting Started In Messy Church” Training. In the past year, there have been six full day training mostly in the western side of the United States. However, we are excited that this month, there are three more trainings scheduled in California, Texas and South Carolina. Our goal is to schedule at least one training per month in 2019 so let us know if you would like to have training in your area.
What a year this has been! My heart is full of thanks and praise! Thank you for sharing in the mission of Messy Church USA: to equip local churches to start, sustain and connect Messy Churches across the USA. Pray for us as we move into this second year of ministry. Drop me a note and let me know how you have been surprised by the Spirit moving in and through your Messy Church!