Update on St. Michael and All Angels Messy Church
Hurricane Ian came ashore on September 28th this fall bringing destruction in its wake to Florida. The news cycle has moved on but it is time to get caught up a bit with our friends at St. Michael and Angels. In April of 2022 they began Messy Church after attending an online Get Started Training in January of 2022. Sue Van Oss, Director of Digital Communications and Christian Formation and her husband, Rev. Bill Van Oss, Rector at St. Michaels have relocated to Fort Myers temporarily and are already offering worship for the community of St Michaels that has relocated to the area. We celebrated their Messy Church as our Messy Church of the month last August 2022 not knowing what would come in September.
We are taking things one day at a time, sometimes one hour… the restoration company has a parking lot full of equipment at the church, all the contents are now out and demo is beginning; they are attempting to dry out the buildings slowly otherwise the wood will crack, then with a couple weeks they will assess again to see what structural problems there are. They couldn’t determine that will all the debris piled up; there were literally items and furniture from one space that floated into an entirely different room. The interior of the church is entirely gutted. Although our home was spared water in the living spaces, now the problem is humidity causing moisture without electricity and a/c, which hopefully will come in a few weeks but we are racing to mitigate it to prevent future damage. The mangled garage door was removed and the swamped car pulled out.
The Messy Church closet (at the church) was destroyed except for a big pan of Legos much is a godsend and a bin of this little light of mine crafts and a wooden Nativity scene craft I had preordered. (Our) bin of aprons still was full of water, and destroyed. Tears were shed but hope remains!!
Pictures from St. Michael and All Angels
The community is gathering at Peace Lutheran in Fort Myers; who have been great hosts; we will probably be there at least a year so we are going to try and resurrect Messy Church. Several of the families are scattered in the area; the Sanibel elementary school restarted in a local Fort Myers school that has space, so the almost 300 kids and teachers could stay together.
We hope to restart on the 2nd Sundays of the month beginning in November and so far, I have commitments from enough volunteers to pull it off; now to get supplies… We lost everything, including our aprons and two big closets filled with supplies. Our theme for November is Gratitude.
I haven’t had time to look for activities… everything in our offices was swept away so if you have any ideas on activities that would appreciated as well.
Share your gratitude activities and restock the Messy Closet
Do you have ideas or session material to share with Sue on the theme of gratitude? You can email it to her at [email protected]. There is also an Amazon Gift list that you can use to help build up their Messy supplies. You can also donate any extra supplies from your own Messy Church closet by contacting me [email protected] to get Sue’s mailing address.
Messy Church USA sent off 20 aprons to replace their ruined ones and also a box filled with Messy Church books and magazines.
I am grateful for the passion and perseverance of Sue and Rev. Bill as they continue to give pastoral care and comfort as they also deal with their own loss caused by the hurricane.
Peace, Roberta J. Egli