September…Transitions can be Messy!

Archive for Back to School

September…Transitions can be Messy!

A blogpost from Roberta J. Egli

My personal Facebook page has been filled with pictures of children and teachers starting another year of school. I love the smiling faces that show both excitement and some nervousness. I chuckled at a friend who shared a picture of his briefcase filled with his plans for a brand-new course he is teaching at his university. How do you experience times of transition? Are you filled with anxiety or delight or perhaps a little of both? Transitions can be a bit messy!

iStock. Used with Permission

This September we are sharing stories of transition. Stories of unexpected surprises as well as stories of preparing for an anticipated change. Lindsey Goodyear blogs about her Rev. George Hooper, who became pastor on July 1st of her church in Huntington Beach, CA. Their previous pastor had been instrumental in building excitement for their Messy Church Start over five years ago. How would their Messy Church transition to a new Pastor?

In news from across the pond, Dave Martin joined the dynamic team of Lucy Moore and Jane Leadbetter at Messy Church/BRF on September 1st. What kind of creative ideas will come from this transition? I imagine that there will be even more great resources from Messy Church/BRF.

Preparing for something new is what our “Getting Started in Messy Church” training is all about! This month there are three new opportunities for training. Read what others have to say about how this training has helped them get ready to start their own Messy Church. Our mission as an organization is to equip Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect which occurs through conversations and presentations at our trainings!


We are transitioning into full gear as we plan for the Celebrate the Mess Conference in October 2020. At our first planning meeting for the upcoming Messy Church USA 2020 national conference, the team shared of their involvement with Messy Church over the past six years. A common thread I heard as people introduced themselves to each other was how when they first became involved with Messy Church, they would not have predicted how their lives would change. Messy Church had changed the way people approached their ministry setting and for some on the team, had changed their vocational lives!

Living into transition is an opportunity to open ourselves to the leading of Spirit of God. Where will God lead you in your Messy Church this coming year? Where is God calling you to say ‘yes’? Where does your team find joy in your Messy Church? What continues to challenge you as a team? We would love to hear from you as you transition into this new school year and church life year at your Messy Church!

May you find grace and peace in all of your transitions,



Equipping Messy Churches in the USA to Start, Sustain and Connect

Deep Waters

A Blog Post by Lindsey Goodyear

Sahalie Falls, McKenzie Pass, Oregon
Photo by Roberta Egli

Every August, our Messy Church planning team decides to take it easy. Since Summertime means vacations, parties, and other school-less activities, our messy congregation can get a little sparse during the warm months. Living in southern California, August is one of the hottest months so it is imperative to find shelter from the heat wherever you can. Sitting inside the sanctuary or any other indoor location, is simply not an option. So, we brought our messy gathering 100% outdoors and lined up the water themed activities! Walking on water, gutter races, water balloon toss, ring a duck, sprinklers, and the grand finale activity…A towering inflatable super water slide!

Photo from

Normally, we spend our planning time coming up with activity ideas that directly correlate to the verse at hand. This Messy Church seemed to be more of a typical party, rather than a learning experience for our guests. Until we sat down, outside, draped in wet beach towels, and breathing in the smell of BBQ burgers in the warm evening air to listen to a verse from Isaiah.

“When you pass through the waters, I
will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze”
-Isaiah 43:2

For me, personally, this deeply comforting verse came at the perfect time. Summer is time for lazy days and relaxing schedules but the looming stress of getting back to school, work, sports, and everyday rigid schedules was something undeniably in the air for all of us. I noticed, in June and July, members were buzzing with excitement as they detailed their delight for consecutive free days of leisure. Now, conversations had turned to back to school shopping, carpool, and work obligations. Yes, we were all still having a great time, but the verse hit home for a lot of us. And, when we listened to the celebration and what could qualify as “deep waters,” there was a noticeable shift as the congregation made the connections. Children of all ages were raising hands when asked if they ever felt in deep water with friendships or projects at school, while adults definitely raised their hands when asked about feeling in deep water with work and family responsibilities. The “wet n’ wild” event undoubtedly ended with an “aha!” moment for all parties involved when we realized just exactly what this verse meant…

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you”

Isaiah 43:2

Life gives us a lot. Sure, it seems like the safer thing to do, rather than face the scary swells of life, would be to stay on shore. But, the truth is, the responsibilities we have are unavoidable. Going headfirst into the rapids may seem scary but that’s where Isaiah comes in. There is absolutely no chance of the river sweeping over you because God will ALWAYS reach you first. He is our permanent life preserver and knowing, without a doubt, that our God is stronger than the strongest current, means that those everyday terrifying swells turn to a lazy river in an instant. That’s not to say our stress and anxiety will cease to exist. It just means when it starts to creep in, remember He is there. Go forward with tight schedules and deadlines and know He is there. Face what seems too overwhelming to deal with, and know He is there. Demolish the torrent because He is there. He is always there.

“When you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry.

Your lifeguard walks on water.”

Lindsey Goodyear

Gearing up for Fall…Let’s Play

Roberta J. Egli

Gear up for Fall…Make Plans to Play

All the first day of school pictures on Facebook have brought a smile to my face over the past several weeks. As a parent of adult children, I have not had direct experience of that first day of both anticipation and joy (for most people) of the new school year for quite some time. I chuckled at the picture of an adult male teacher holding a “1,080th day of teaching” post! In addition to students and teachers, fall is a reset for all of us both young and old. How are you gearing up for fall in your family and in your Messy Churches?

Although it may seem like a paradox, I encourage you to gear up for fall by making time for play in both your home and Messy Church. A recent story from NPR by Anya Kamenetz explores a recent call for pediatricians to write a ‘prescription for play’. “Why”, you ask? Because ‘play is not frivolous …it is brain building’ according to the journal article in Pediatrics.

How does this article relate to the important culture of Messy Church? According to the article there are five proven benefits of play. One of these benefits relate directly to the culture of Messy Church: 1) Play helps families bond. The other four benefits include 2) play is essential for healthy brain development, 3) play reduces obesity and associated diseases, 4) play helps children manage stress and even recover from trauma, and 5) play contributes to academic skills.

Messy Church creates a space for families to come together

and bond through play!

Messy Church creates a space for families to come together and bond through play! What a gift we can provide for overscheduled people both young and old to spend several hours a month in a playful and well planned Messy Church! I preached a sermon introducing Messy Church once and used the importance of play. One quote that I love is from Charlie Hoehn who writes: “Play may be God’s greatest gift to (humankind). It’s how we form friendships, and learn skills, and master difficult things that help us survive. Play is…an outlet for creativity. Play brings music, comedy, dance, and everything we value. Above all, play is how we bond with each other…it is how we form connections with other humans.”

So my friends, as you gear up for a new season of Messy Church, don’t forget to have fun in your planning with other members of your team.  Bring a sense of curiosity and playfulness as you greet new and old returning to your Messy Church.  Play as you interact hosting a table at Messy Church. Play as you find creative ways to share the scripture. 

So my friends, as you gear up for a new season of Messy Church, don’t forget to have fun in your planning with other members of your team. Bring a sense of curiosity and playfulness as you greet new and old returning to your Messy Church. Play as you interact hosting a table at Messy Church. Play as you find creative ways to share the scripture.

I’d love to hear how you have seen play bond you together as a team and as a community of Messy Church!  Send me pictures and your thoughts! Post them on our Messy Church USA Facebook page or email me.  Have a fantastic fall and many.  Messy Blessings, Roberta 

Welcome our newest registered Messy Churches to the Messy Church  USA Network

We are excited for the thirteen new Messy Churches that have registered on our Messy Church USA website over the summer. If you have not done so already, please register your Messy Church on our website so that we can get your church up on our directory and we have current contact information. Check out the website to see if your church is on the directory and let us know if you do not see your church. We have discovered a few glitches that we are correcting.

• Freysville Emmanuel UCC from Red Lion PA
• Main Street UMC from Greenwood, SC
• Living Waters Ministries from Salem WI
• Huntington-Cold Spring Harbor UMC from Huntington, NY
• Bethany Presbyterian from Cleveland OH
• Ghent UMC from Norfolk, VA
• St Andrew’s On-the Sound Episcopal from Wilmington, NC
• Calvary Assembly of God from Beckley, WV
• Spring Creek Church of the Brethren from Hershey, PA
• First UMC from Newcastle, WY
• University UMC from Irvine, CA
• American Lutheran Church of Chinook, from Chinook , MT
• St. David’s Episcopal Church and School from Ashburn, VA

Time is running out to register for our fall training in California, Texas and South Carolina

When: October 6th, 2018 from 9am to 3 pm
Where: Community UMC of Huntington Beach, 6652 Heil Ave, Huntington Beach CA 92647
Cost: $25, per team ( subsidized by Cal- Pac Annual Conference New Ministries)
Register Here
Registration Deadline: September 28, 2018

When: October 13th, 2018 from 8:30am to 3:30pm
Where: Spring Branch Presbyterian, 1215 Campbell Rd, Houston, TX 77055
Cost: Individual – $30.00 (Partially Funded by Grant)
Group Rate – $70 for 2-5 people,
More than 5 per group is an additional $ 30 per person
Register Here

South Carolina
When: October 20th, 2018 from 8:30am to 3:30pm
Where: Aldersgate UMC, 7 Shannon Dr, in Greenville SC
Cost: Individual – $125.00
Group Rate – $150 for 2-5 people,
More than 5 per group is an additional $ 20 per person
Register Here
Registration Deadline: October 1, 2018