Messy Advent Resources

Archive for All-Ages together

Messy Advent Resources

How are you preparing for advent at your Messy Church?

Sheep Trails, family advent wreaths, a coloring nativity and much more. Sometimes you may become overwhelmed with advent Messy Church opportunities. Johannah Myers, North and South Carolina Regional Coordinator and Messy Church leader for Aldersgate UMC in Greenville, SC started a Messy Church Sheep trail in her community several years ago.  Read her previous post to learn all about it!   Sheep Trail 

Advent is a wonderful opportunity to connect your Messy Church community and your Sunday morning community.  Are their activities that are traditional for your Sunday worship that you can bring to Messy Church?

On our Messy Church team leaders FB group page, people have been sharing various ideas for advent. Leyla Wagner, from Community UMC in Huntington Beach, CA shared “Something that we like to do is a Reverse Advent Box. We have families decorate a box to take home. Each day of advent, the family puts something (typically canned food or hygiene product) into the box and then donates the entire box to a local Food Pantry or Charity. It’s a good way to make space for “God” in all the busyness of preparing for Christmas.  

Advent offers great opportunities to bridge the worship at Messy Church with at home family devotions.  Check out the links of Advent ideas below and make sure to check out our FB Messy Church team leaders group page. 

Advent Links

Advent in a Box Resource

  • Robin Cannon, the RC for Ohio and our social media consultant for Messy Church USA is a partner in Family Ministry Tools which have created a wonderful resource called- Advent in a Box  It is a pizza box filled with all-age devotions and activities to help families celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas. We have created the devotions and activities for your church. You will need to print the materials, buy the supplies, and pack your boxes. Everything a family will need to do the activities will be in the box (aside from normal household supplies like markers and tape). 
  • You can order individually or per size of your church. Check it out here. 

From Building Faith (Virginia Theological Seminary ) Website

https://buildfaith.org/99-cent-advent-wreath/
https://buildfaith.org/three-teaching-points-for-advent/
https://buildfaith.org/advent-wreath-prayers-home/
https://buildfaith.org/advent-at-home-in-community/

Ideas from Messy Church USA Team Leaders Page

Other Links

Time to Give Thanks…Messy Church is Changing Lives

By Roberta J. Egli, Executive Director Messy Church USA

During this month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, I invite you to give thanks that Messy Church is changing lives. Did you know that 61% of Messy Church families wouldn’t otherwise be at church except for their Messy Church? Or that 40% of Messy Church families have had little or no prior contact with church? Or that 81% of Messy Church leaders see evidence of lives changed through their Messy Church? (Playfully Serious, Church Army, February 2019)

I give thanks for Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), the home for the global Messy Church movement! With the help of the wider BRF staff, the Messy Church team from BRF creates a constant supply of imaginative new ideas and resources, supports a significant online community and develops new ways to grow the impact of Messy Churches.

I give thanks that two years ago, BRF signed an agreement with a new nonprofit organization, Messy Church USA, welcoming us as a partner and supporting our mission to equip local churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA. In two years, Messy Church USA has registered over 160 messy churches from 17 denominations on our website, we have expanded our Regional Coordinator network from 3 to 20 across the United States. In 2019 we have held 10 regional Getting Started in Messy Church events training over 125 churches and 400 individuals. Let us give God thanks!

I give thanks for the stories that have been shared over the last few weeks from the BRF annual £100 appeal. The appeal is for Messy Churches all over the world to donate £100 so that more families find their way to church. In support of the global movement of Messy Church, Messy Church USA will give back to BRF 50% of any donations received on our website for the remainder of 2019. Listen to how Patricia and her children find a place to belong at Messy Church which changed their lives. 

Watch Her Story Here

Your donation to Messy Church USA through the end of 2019 will enable us to reach more and more families throughout the world. In the USA, we will continue to build our network of trainings and regional coordinators to support, sustain and connect Messy Churches. Remember that we will give 50 % of any donations we receive directly to Messy Church/BRF for the remainder of 2019. Donating through our Messy Church USA website will allow you to receive a receipt for tax purposes here in the United States.

Thanks for your generosity in supporting the mission of Messy Church to change lives.

Donate Here

Happy Thanksgiving,

Roberta 

We’re Not Perfect

A Blog Post by Lindsey Goodyear

Becoming Unbusy

Having God in my life is something I’ve always known. Growing up, we went to church and talked regularly about God and what it meant to be a Christian. As a kid I went to Sunday school, I went to youth group, and I’m doing my best to raise strong Christian men, now, as an adult. However, I can’t tell you how many times, in the last 35 years, I’ve heard people refer to others being Christian in a negative connotation. It usually happens after someone has either made a mistake or a morally questionable decision and they’re met with the reply of, “Can you believe that? And they say they’re Christian.” There seems to be some misconception that stating you’re a follower of God means you think you’re somehow superior to others or a perfect being. But, here’s the thing. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect or anywhere close. In fact, it’s almost completely the opposite. If we were perfect, there would be no need for God in our lives in the first place. God acts as a moral compass for us and we need that compass because we need direction. Although I’m recognizing and outright admitting that I am an imperfect Christian, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like things to appear perfect from the outside.

I am a mom who posts regularly about her kids on social media. I love to see comments and likes on photos I’ve taken of the boys while we’re out and about. What people see? Beautiful photos of my kids always laughing and having a great time. What they don’t see? Me pleading with my kids for one more photo because the 56 photos I took in the two minutes prior didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I love crafting and volunteering at the boy’s schools. I routinely take on more responsibilities like snack day or hand painted Christmas ornaments and hand them in with a smile. What they see? A beautifully crafted end product, that I brush off as easy, and looks like it was crafted by Pinterest itself. What they don’t see? My house looks like a war zone, I have craft paint on my new hardwood floors, and countless burns from the hot glue gun I used to make an applesauce pouch look like a butterfly. And work? I love to work. Writing is my safe place and although writing freely does come easily, it doesn’t come without worry. What they see? A new blog, story, or screenplay. What they don’t see? Hours of research and anxiety, double checking and second guessing my work’s content, and exhausting hope that it will peak someone’s interest. Things aren’t always as they seem from the outside, and to keep up “perfect” appearances, my own insecurities make it so I have a hard time admitting the work that goes into these endeavors. Instead, I act as though these are ““effortless” and non time consuming parts of my day that are completed with unconcerned ease.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect or anywhere close. In fact, it’s almost completely the opposite. If we were perfect, there would be no need for God in our lives in the first place.

Our latest Messy Church was about the wise and foolish builders. The builder that chose to build his house on a rock, weathered a storm without problem. The man who built his on sand, was washed away when the storm came. In short, if you build your house (your life) on a strong foundation (foundation of the Lord), you can overcome any storm. One of the craft stations we had was building a wooden bird feeder. Our messy goers would start with cutting their own sturdy pieces of wood and would then move to a station where they’d assemble and nail the pieces together. As I watched one of the volunteers helping my oldest son nail his together, I daydreamed about where I would hang this cute little bird feeder in our newly landscaped backyard. Then, my dreams were interrupted when he started nailing crooked and I saw a big fat nail pop through the side of the feeder. My need for perfect appearances kicked in and I said, “excuse me, do you think you could fix that?” As soon as I said it, I had an overwhelming feeling of “why?” Why did it need to be fixed? Why does it matter if it doesn’t look like the example picture? Why would I say that this masterpiece, that was perfectly imperfect, was anything but exactly as it should be? It was a huge wake-up call.

The Perfectly Imperfect Bird House
Community UMC Messy Church in Huntington Beach

For the remainder of the night, I reflected on that moment. Building our lives with the foundation of Christ, means the framing of our journey will be strong and reliable. However, the mistakes we make (and we will make a ton) will look just like that crookedly hammered nail. It’s okay if we have a few chips and holes in the stucco. Our lead contractor will fill those mistakes with love and forgiveness. It’s alright if I post a photo that doesn’t look like it came from a magazine. It’s alright if I drop off snacks that don’t resemble some sort of woodland creature. It’s alright if I write something that no one is interested in except myself. And, it’s absolutely okay to hang a holey, crooked, bird feeder that my seven year old son made with pride. Outside appearances don’t matter. I’ve built my life with a foundation of Christ which means if I make mistakes, I’m backed by the most perfect love in the universe and that’s a pretty incredible feeling. So, I’ll continue to work on my own insecurities and also give myself a break. I’ll try to not base my happiness on outside appearances or opinions of others. I’ll do my best but I know it will take time because after all, I’m not perfect.

Lindsey Goodyear
Connect with her at lindseygoodyear@gmail.com
Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

Blessings Abound

A Blog post by Casey Cross, a Messy Church USA  Board of Director

Casey serves as Young Disciples Director at Hope Lutheran Church in Eagle, ID. She leads a team for their Messy Church. 

iStock

Like many congregations, we offer backpack blessings at the beginning of each new school year. This year, as I was talking to my pastor about what those would look like, he offered an idea that we could write blessings for each other. The idea quickly evolved from there and we decided to hand out tags on which we would write a word, prayer, blessing, or thought, return them at the offering, then take a new tag on our way out at the end of worship.

This shared activity is especially meaningful because we are living in a time where we are overwhelmed with the countless ways we are different and divided from one another. With more and more statistics and articles written about the Lonely Generation, American’s declining trust, rising suicide rates, and unfortunately even more cultural realities exemplifying our disconnection from one another, we need to respond as a church – the Body of Christ – together.

We need to practice and model trust, not only in our God, but also in one another. Our support for one another, practicing forgiveness, grace, and simply just paying attention to one another becomes counter-cultural, world-changing action. With simple exercises like the blessings we shared today, we put our skin in the game. We are in this together. And we walked from worship with signs of God’s transformation in our lives, to serve as reminders of our connection to one another and God’s love wherever we go.

Blessing Basket at Hope Lutheran Church

All ages were part of this activity. The tags filled with art, color, prayers, and words from our children were especially thoughtful. I was deeply blessed by the opportunity to read many of the tags before they were dispersed at the end of the service. What a lovely insight into the hearts of our congregation members.

Another reason an activity like this is so important is because when we get caught up in the day-to-day of our lives, it can be easy to relax into consumer-mode. Show up, get filled, feel good, check it off your to do list, and move to the next thing. When this happens, we forget that God is actively involved in our lives. But Wisdom is living within us, speaking to us, moving us, and living through us. We do not worship just for ourselves, but with and for each other. We matter to each other and we have something to share with each other. These blessings gave us an opportunity to remember this and experience it.

I know this exercise may not have meant much to some of the people in attendance. Some may have worried they didn’t have the “right” words, some may have not understood what it was for, and some may have just thought it was meaningless. It’s okay. That’s what grace is all about. It doesn’t stop what God has done and is doing in our lives together.

I am thankful for a congregation and pastor who tries new things. These ideas don’t always go smoothly. They aren’t perfect. But we try stuff. We are in it, together. No matter what, that is what we are living together. The details may fade away in time, but we will never forget that we are God’s beloved children, we are not alone, we have each other… wherever we go.

Blessings Abound
Hope Lutheran Church

In the words of our congregational mission statement – we love, we experience, and we discover God and God’s will in the world.

Reprinted with permission from blog of Casey Cross.  You can follow Casey at https://caseykcross.wordpress.com.

Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

Say Hello to two new Regional Coordinators

iStock

Introducing Jenna Reinke 
Please welcome Jenna Reinke of Crowley, Texas to our Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator Network.  Her region is Central Texas and Oklahoma. Jenna was the impetus to start a Messy Church at Crowley United Methodist Church (UMC) where she serves as the Youth and Family Ministries Director. Their Messy Church launched in January of 2018 after she visited a Messy Church and fully researched starting a Messy Church at Crowley.

Jenna recently started 3 fresh expressions of ministry (2 in addition to Messy Church) at Crowley UMC. In addition to her local church work she serves on the youth advisory committee for their regional conference of the UMC. She is looking forward to sharing with others what she is learning about best practices of Messy Church. She is working with her Annual Conference to host a Messy Church training in central Texas in the spring of 2020.

Jenna is our second Regional Coordinator for the ‘big’ state of Texas. Kate Cross, of Houston, previous RC for the entire state will now serve as the RC for “Gulf Coast Texas” and Jenna will cover “Central Texas and Oklahoma”. Please give Jenna a welcome at her new email address of Jenna@messychurchusa.org.

Welcome Jenna Reinke!

Introducing Rev. Dr. A. Michele Somerville
At Messy Church USA we have been praying for a  Regional Coordiantor (RC) for the state of Pennsylvania (PA) for over a year since our our first RC for PA left the position to explore a new ministry setting.  So it is an answer to prayer that we welcome Rev. Dr. A. Michele Somerville of East Canton United Methodist Church (UMC) to her new role! After prayer and discernment, Michele has said yes to be the RC for the great state of Pennsylvania!

Michele has served under appointment in the UMC for over twenty years. Her second career has pastor has brought her joy to her life! Even when she officially retired in 2018, she has continued to work part-time serving two churches. She was introduced to Messy Church through a friend and realized that it would fit well within the context of one of the churches she serves in East Canton. They began their Messy Church in November 2018.

Michele began a ministry of Biblical Storytelling in 2008 and she enjoys writing and performing monologues and scripture by heart. She received her D.MIN in Transformational Leadership and Prophetic Preaching exploring Biblical Storytelling in the local church.

She writes that she “loves working with the Messy Church leadership team in Canton and telling anyone who will listen about Messy Church!” Although much of her previous ministry has been focused on adult bible study she was drawn to Messy Church due to the intergenerational component. Say hi to Michele at A.michele@messychurchusa.org. 

Welcome Michele!
Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

News from the UK

Transitions can be Messy, our September 2019 focus brings us some transitions occurring with the Messy Church team across the pond.  Lucy Moore, founder of Messy Church, recently shared in the Messy Church newsletter that the start of September brought a new team member! Grace and peace, Roberta

From Lucy: Our big happy news is the arrival of Dave Martin to the Messy Church team at BRF. We’re really looking forward to working together and discovering which of Dave’s many gifts and passions can be deployed to bless the Messy network. As you can tell from his message below, he’s averagely excited about the role and we are investing in an extra stock of exclamation marks to cover us for the years ahead.

Dave Martin, Lucy Moore and Jane Leadbetter! What a team!

From Dave: Hello Messy Church family! I’m Dave, and I’m so excited to meet, serve and minister alongside you all!

I have an absolute passion for connecting people to Jesus and a real desire for churches to flourish as intergenerational faith communities, where all age groups lead each other on towards Christ – while embracing and celebrating the messiness of life!

As well as receiving the wonderful invitation to join the Messy Church team, I recently asked my girlfriend to marry me, so am currently anticipating a winter wedding to my beautiful fiancée, Rebecca.

For the last three years I have been operating as the children’s, youth and families minister at a church in Radlett, around the north-London area. There, I have been involved in leading our Messy Church forward and starting a sister project, called Messy Café, which God has used to give so much life to our Messy Church community, growing it from 20 people a month to between 60 and 100 every week. It’s been quite an adventure – I’d love to tell you all about it!

Other than that, I wear funky socks, enjoy playing synthesizers in my spare time and love a good baked Camembert.

Really looking forward to meeting each of you individually in due course. God bless!

Messy Dave

Join me in giving Dave a big USA welcome to his important work with the Messy Church BRF team!  Grace and Peace, Roberta 

Thank you God for the work of Lucy, Jane and Dave as well as all of the BRF team who generously share their time, resources and passion with the global Messy Church moment.  Bless their work! 

Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

Messy Memories, Part II

A blog post by Crystal Goetz, Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator for Washington

Messy Memories Part I Blog 

 

Crystal with Australian New Friends from MCIC 2019

Since I have returned from the Messy Church International conference, I have had many people ask me, “How was it? “. At first, I struggled to summarize how it was. There were too many adjectives floating around that I could throw out. How could I compact them down into one short phrase? Then, it hit me. I could only respond in one way. My answer will always be, “It was the Kingdom of Heaven on earth”. For most of my religious life, I have always pictured the Kingdom as a place where everyone does what Jesus’ taught us and everyone is valuable, that everyone is equal in the eyes of God and joy, limitless, unbounded joy resides. This is what I experienced at the Messy Church conference at every moment of every day. Through the experiences, the people, the devotions, the inspirational speakers and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we Messy Church people were amazing together. During the Holy Habits talk by Andrew Roberts he asked us to focus on the scripture from Acts 2: 42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 

He asked us to choose a word from the scripture that jumped out to us and, for me, there was only one choice: together.

I stock. used with permission

Messy Church is all about discipleship and we can’t really be or create disciples without others to lean on, learn from and move forward with. There we were in the beautiful English countryside together. We came from all over the planet and spoke many languages and yet, we were all of a like mind and spirit. We were and still are people of the Mess and people of the church together. We laughed together, played together, sang together, listened together and collaborated together. We learned, we can do this Messy Church thing better…together.


In looking back and reviewing my photos and my memories, I could see how happy we were in that place and time. Carrying that back with me to the state of Washington in the United States of America, that message of together is more important than ever. I strive each day to find the Messy Kingdom here too. A message of inclusion, equality, joyfulness, and discipleship that can transform the world. I have a firm desire to recreate that Kingdom spirit that we found at MCIC19 in my own Messy Church and to fulfill the Gospel message of loving God, neighbor and self. It is a commitment that I will dedicate my ministry to. I am a person of the church, the Messy Church and I am proud of my Messy heritage.

I hold my Messy Church International Conference experience in my heart and try to live each day as if my Messy Church friends were standing beside me and rooting me on, because I know they are, somewhere, out there. I continue to support them through prayer and a loud, “Hurrah”. I am counting the days until we return to England in 2022 for MCIC22. Until then my heart is full with the love and joy of the Holy Spirit that is Messy Church and its lovely International family of friends.

A Note from Messy Church USA:  We support the international movement of Messy Church through donating a financial tithe to Messy Church BRF each year.  If you want to further support the international movement, consider their ongoing Messy 100 financial appeal  here. 

A Rejuvenation of the Mess

A blogpost by Lindsey Goodyear 

Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.

Proverbs 27:9-11

Sometimes Messy Church is exhausting. There is always a method we follow when we attend. Welcome and snacks, a chat about what verse we’re following, inside for crafts, then to the sanctuary for story and songs, and finally a great meal and home. As a parent, the joy I get from watching my children light up when they discover God’s word through art is a feeling I hope every parent will experience. Although, to be honest, most of my time is spent running back and forth, across the room, from table to table, to be with each kid (Heaven forbid they be interested in the same craft at the same time). I mostly don’t mind this, but this last Saturday, I was tired. We had just returned from our annual two week road trip and I was up to my ears in laundry, cleaning, and getting back to our normal schedule. Thinking about attending Messy Church made me want to take a nap. But, I tucked that feeling away, put a smile on, and packed us up.

This time, Messy Church wasn’t at the church. We had decided to venture out and set up shop at a local park. Everyone arrived with their own picnic dinner as well as blankets and chairs. The kids immediately took off for the playground as I set up our families little area. I soon took notice that we were missing the craft tables. Then, it dawned on me that we didn’t have a verse that was associated with this month either. Also, we were starting with the meal instead of ending with it like we normally do. In fact, the only thing that made this even remotely like a normal Messy Church was the parachute prayer and the familiar faces. It was a little confusing. I was so used to doing the same old things every month that it seemed like these two hours would drag on with nothing to do. The kids would play, we would eat, and we’d go home. I was so exhausted that I wished we had stayed home. I could have made dinner there and besides, this wasn’t really going to be a God filled evening anyway, right? Wrong.

As more and more people arrived, we formed a huge circle with all of the families sitting close. The kids were running back and forth between the playground and picnic while the adults sat and conversed. I saw people that I see every month when we go. However, I suddenly realized that even though I see them every month, doesn’t mean I actually talk with them every month. Sure, I say hello and ask a few surface questions and touch base but I don’t really make the time to talk with them. We had quite the conversation going. Little by little, the circle got smaller and tighter as more and more people sat in on the conversations. There were new friends and old friends and friends who had never actually met each other. The ease and amusement of conversation were apparently a cure for my fatigue as I noticed my cheeks aching from the laughter. Pretty soon, we noticed our Messy directors packing up. Although I was sure it hadn’t been two hours, I decided to check my phone anyway. It hadn’t been two hours, it had been more! Even though a few were packing up, the majority of us wouldn’t budge. The sun was setting but we were just settling in.

It was just the Messy rejuvenation my soul needed.

In the end, we all stayed until dark. The conversation never let up and neither did the laughs. As we were walking to our cars, I watched everyone saying goodbye. People we’d known for years waving at others they’d met that night for the first time. Hugs and smiles exchanged as we all felt reinvigorated with the relationships we’d taken the time to nourish that night.

As I drove my family home, I reflected on the feelings I had at the beginning of the night. Almost a sort of dread had enveloped me just a few hours ago and now I felt so light. God had provided me with an opportunity of a much needed re-connection with my Messy family. We’re often times on auto pilot, dutifully saying hello and offering a smile, all the while avoiding actual conversation. We then check the box of being friends but mere occasional acknowledgment does not make a friendship. We have to make time to nurture our relationships. God places incredible people in our lives and we cannot short-change our time with them. So, never again. This night produced a shift. As I sit writing this blog, I’m smiling thinking of our lively night. It was just the Messy rejuvenation my soul needed. 

Messy Church is All-Age Together…Why?

A blog post by Dr. Johannah Myers

Johannah is the Regional Coordinator for Messy Church USA in South and North Carolina. She has been leading Messy Church at Aldersgate UMC in Greenville in SC for over five years.  She will be facilitating the upcoming Getting Started in Messy Church in Mt Dora, FL on September 21.

Messy Church is all ages together. This is one of the core values of Messy Church, something we all ascribe to practice. But why? Why is having all ages together for play and worship so important?

Less than two weeks after the second International Messy Church Conference in England, another group of church leaders from across the US, Australia, and New Zealand gathered in Nashville, TN, for the Intergenerate Conference. The conference centered around the assumption that Church (whether Messy or traditional or anything in between) must take seriously the need for meaningful interactions across the generations.

Roberta and I had the chance to represent Messy Church USA at Intergenerate as an example of what this all-age approach to church looks like in practice. We got to share our Messy story during an afternoon workshop and even got to do a Messy Church “taste and see” for participants experience on a small scale what Messy Church looks like. (On a side note, try packing supplies for Messy Church in a carry-on bag! The TSA agents were quite confused when they searched my bag and found feathers, pony beads, yarn, hole punches, and rather large paper ears!!)  

It was a whirlwind few days! Here are a few take-aways from Nashville.

There are a growing number of church leaders who are beginning to recognize that separating age groups out into age silos – children over here, young adults here, older adults over there, youth in their own building next door – isn’t necessarily translating into transformational disciple-making. We need our peer groups, certainly, but we need meaningful interactions with other generations in order for discipleship to grow.

While there’s a growing number of people who are realizing this intergenerational approach to church is needed, we’re still trying to figure out how to articulate the why and the how. The first Intergenerate Conference was held two years ago with around 100 people (I believe?!). This year it was maxed out, standing-room-only at 200+ participants. Word is spreading, the conversations are growing, the research is developing. It’s exciting! The under-current throughout the conference was of high energy, high passion. We KNOW that bringing generations together is critical, even if we’re still trying to articulate why.

While researchers are still figuring out the “why,” Messy Church has something important to offer as we figure out the “how” of intergenerational ministry. We have a model for how to be church together that is working, and based on the growing research, working well. Are we the only model of intergenerational church out there? Of course not! But our adaptability, our focus on hospitality, and our emphasis on hands-on exploration mean that Messy Church can be a solid foundation for churches wanting to tear down those age silos and bring communities together across the ages.

Dr. Johannah Myers building Intergenerational relationships at her Messy Church at Aldersgate UMC in Greenville, SC

What’s next? I think we’re going to see Messy Churches continue to pop up across the US and so new opportunities for training events will be critical. Has your Messy Church team attended a training? Do you know of churches in your area who’d like to learn more about Messy Church? There are several one-day Messy Church training events already on the calendar. If you’d like to host a training event, contact your Regional Coordinator or Roberta today and let’s start the conversation!

Upcoming Training Events for Messy Church USA:

We are on this messy path with many others

Messy Church International Conference (MCIC) 2019 Reflections

Part 3 of 4

By Roberta Egli 

Over 200 delegates from 13 different countries gathered at the High Leigh Conference center in May for the second ever MCIC. Seven came from the United States and several of us met one another for the first time!  For the three of us who attended in 2016 it felt a little like coming home to a great community of people passionately serving God through Messy Church!

How High can we go???

 At every plenary session, workshop, Messy Church experience and even at the crowded meal tables, there was a palpable joy present in the gathering of the delegates.  Over the course of three days plus an additional day for international leaders (60 people in total) from outside of the UK, we shared our ideas, stories, delights and challenges.   What a delight to be reminded that we are not on this path alone but there are many different people all over the world experimenting and  messily creating new paths of being an intergenerational church. 

We heard stories from Australia of an experiment of several weeks of Messy Camp where families came and camped having fun together. On each weekend, there was a Messy Church to engage all and through the week, there were crafts available and a movie each night chosen by the children of the families.

We heard from Neal from Canada regarding the joys and challenges of creating a fully bi-lingual Messy Church.  

Messy Church Canada Delegation (Neal is on the far right)

From the UK, we heard joys and challenges of preparing Messy Church for the families of prisoners who were waiting to visit their loved ones.  Finding ways to create a welcoming space in a dreary setting and the relationships that deepened over several months was extraordinary.  We heard from Johannah Myers from South Carolina about how she created intergenerational companion groups based upon the five foundational Messy Church values.  We heard from small rural Messy Churches as well as large urban Messy Churches. We learned of an experiment of Messy Churches in a housing development in the UK.

Messy Church has many resources yet we learned that in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, Christmas does not occur in the cold of winter but in the middle of summer?  How does one translate the Christmas story into all of these different contexts?

We can learn from those who have been doing Messy Church much longer than we have in the States as well as those who are just beginning on this path.  We are not alone, we are among many and that is inspiring!

The Sticky Star created at the closing worship of MCIC 2019
“What is the angel of God saying to the global Messy Church Movement?”