Congratulations to Roberts Park United Methodist Church, our Messy Church of the Month!
We are excited to share the story of Roberts Park UMC Messy Church to inspire you and give you ideas! Messy Church began in the fall of 2014 and has been going strong ever since. From their introductory video below, one can see the creativity and celebration focus of this Messy Church. Nora Liederbach currently serves as the lead person for their active Messy Church Team.
Pastor Rev. Dr. Andrew Scanlan- Holmes introduced Messy Church to Roberts Park UMC when he moved to Indianapolis from the UK. He brought his knowledge, experience and involvement to Roberts Park where he found a church ready to reach out to their neighbors. Pastor Andrew has been instrumental in the growth of Messy Church USA Network, serving as the regional coordinator for Indiana, providing Messy Church training and serving on the planning team for Celebrate the Mess Messy Church USA Conference scheduled for October 2021.
Thank you Roberts Parks UMC for sharing your story with the Messy Church USA Network. Job well done!
Messy Folk Answer to “What I Like about Messy Church”
- I like the excitement on the children’s faces as they interact with their parents, the songs, the activities and each other. In addition, the sense of community and fellowship among the adults which has led to non-church interactions among families. (Lonnie, adult)
- I like the games we play and the songs we sing with my friends. (Ryan,age 5)
- I like all the fun activities. (Lane, age 4)
- I like using glue and tape. (Bellamy, age 3)
- It brings people inside the church building, perhaps for the first time, and shows them that church is fun, friendly and faith filled. I give thanks for the volunteers who plan and deliver Messy Church each month. A new community of faith is growing in our church. (Pastor Andrew)
Favorite Messy Activities
We love parachute games both inside and outside the building. The children (and the young at heart!) like to run under the parachute as it is being held by adults and children who raise and lower it to create the billowing effect.
Creating Interactive Worship Centers
Some of our ‘dads’ are very creative and sometimes like to help by building a center piece for the worship area where the celebration will take place. We also like to bring in outside agencies who can support the theme of the Messy Church, for example, when we did Noah’s Ark we had several animals brought in from a local petting zoo. Everyone got to learn about the animals and in some cases stroke them etc.
Messy Food Activities
Anything creative with food is always a busy activity station. Decorating cookies to fit with the theme of the day or creating pictures with pasta or candy corn are always well attended tables.
What worked well for you in getting the support of your Sunday Church when you started Messy Church?
Pastor Andrew was very involved in Messy Church in the UK. As we planned for our start, he shared about how to put together the program and make it successful. We had several planning meetings and our associate pastor, who also was involved in the daycare in the church helped bring families from the daycare to the initial gatherings.
We are thankful for the financial support of some members of the congregation who gave to cover the costs of meals and some materials. We have had some outside visits by different groups to Messy Church paid for by church and Messy Church families. Read Pastor Andrews blog of ideas to finance your Messy Church Here.
Share a challenge you’ve had with your Messy Church and strategies you used to meet the challenge.
The biggest challenge is sustaining Messy Church 6 years on. We have held meetings to discuss recruitment of volunteers as well as engaging the families who are part of our Messy Church gatherings.
How has your Messy Church adapted during the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Initially we, perhaps like many, thought the pandemic would be something that may be short-lived. To that end we planned for a short break from Messy Church. That break has become much longer than any anticipated. It has also become a chance to rethink some of the assumptions and routines that had previously been part of the Messy Church offering. County and State directives and orders would make the previous way of working almost impossible to carry out.
Online gatherings are now being considered as the church remains closed to public worship and regular gatherings for the foreseeable future. Our Pastor has told us there may be some materials available from Messy Church UK and Messy Church USA to help with online gatherings. We have been grateful for the enforced sabbatical but are wanting to get connected again.
Thank you Nora and Pastor Andrew for sharing the story of Roberts Park UMC Messy Church! Contact Nora at firstname.lastname@example.org and Pastor Andrew at Andrew@messychurchusa.org.
Roberts Park UMC is located at 401 N Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN.
Who will be our October Messy Church of the Month? Stay tuned!