We are on this messy path with many others

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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?”

Messy (and Muddy) Easter Blessings!

A blog post by Roberta J. Egli, Executive Director Messy Church USA

iStock photo

When I was a young child, Easter Sunday began before dawn.  My father would wake us up in the dark of night to gather with other members of our church family to hike up a hill to watch the sunrise.  It was a tradition for this community of faith to gather as young and old, huddled in our rain jackets as we sang familiar songs and listened once again to the scripture proclaiming that Jesus the Christ was arisen! 

It was always a muddy trip both up and down the hill in the soggy Pacific Northwest and most of the years; we could only tell that the sun had risen, not from a glorious sunrise but that the clouded skies were getting lighter from the sun that we could not see. I have to admit that the most fun as a young child was to race down the hill to get to the hot chocolate and donuts that awaited us in the farmer’s barn.

I have thought of that all- age experience of a muddy and messy Easter of my childhood as I have seen the wondrous pictures of Easter being celebrated at Messy Churches all over the world.  What a gift you are giving to your Messy Churches as you creatively share the story of the good news of Easter.  Although I have not seen muddy pictures, I have reveled in seeing all of the chaotic mess and joy of people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to share in the love of God made alive through Easter.  

Happy Easter to you all,

Roberta

Pictures from the first ever Messy Church at St James United Methodist Church, Kingston, New York. Congratulations for a great start!

Pictures from the first ever Messy Church at St James United Methodist Church, Kingston, New York. Congratulations for a great start!