Highlights from Messy Church NOW Webinar

Archive for Pentecost

Highlights from Messy Church NOW Webinar

Logo Messy Church NOW

We had a great representation from all over the USA at the recent Messy Church NOW zoom webinar.  Messy Church leaders representing 25 churches from 16 different states and 5 denominations signed on to hear Jennifer May, Johannah Myers and Leyla Wagner share what they have learned in facilitating their Messy Church in a physically distanced world. 

Highlights from presentations

Jennifer used her teacher expertise to create a google slide show with recorded videos, activities and games that she emailed to her Messy Folk to use at home at their convenience. To keep the experience interactive, she provided a ‘would you rather’ game at the beginning that is the usual start to their in-person Messy Church. She vulnerably shared that it was difficult for her to get past her anxiety of seeing herself on a recording at the beginning which resonated with many of us on the zoom call. Taking risks and placing ourselves into new situations can be an uncomfortable experience. Jennifer leads Messy Church at Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in rural Red Lyon, PA.

Leyla shared how their Messy Church has evolved as they have learned from each iteration of their Messy Church.  Their first COVID-19 Messy Church was a 15-minute zoom celebration worship that ended up lasting almost 45 minutes because people were so happy to see each other.  Since then, they have kept adapting their monthly on-line Messy Church. Their most recent Messy Church included an introduction video from their pastor emailed out one week prior, an activity bag that people came to the church parking lot to pick up, and a zoom community Messy Church that included doing activities together,  worship with favorite songs, and break out rooms to share reflections from questions. Leyla is from Community United Methodist in Huntington Beach, CA. favorite songs.

Johannah kept their first on-line zoom Messy Church short and simple.  The scripture story from Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu was read by Johannah after a time of welcome.  After the story, Johannah led everyone through making a hat of flaming tongues of fire out of a paper place, scissors and colored pencils and folding an origami dove from one piece of paper. Keeping the supply list simple was important.  To connect Messy Folk with Sunday morning worship, people were encouraged to drop off their origami doves at the church which were then placed in the worship space for the Sunday traditional recorded worship. Although the Messy Church zoom crowd was a bit smaller than their usual in-person Messy Church, those who participated ranged in age from toddler to over 70 years… a truly intergenerational experience!  Johannah is from Aldersgate United Methodist in Greenville, SC.

Some Messy Church NOW Ideas for you

Throughout the presentations and after, the chat room was busy with people sharing their own experiences of how they have continued to bring their Messy Church communities together over the past four months. Here are a few evaluation responses to the question, what are you key takeaways?  

  • We are all in the same boat. We try things and adjust accordingly. None of us has the “perfect” answer, we just keep working at it to reach people and have connection. 🙂
  • We had not considered recording our event so people who cannot attend live could come. What a great idea. As well as the ideas for how to share their crafts if they aren’t live with us.
  • Ideas, but most of all hope and strength – not in this aloneI

We are planning more webinars for the future so that we can continue to connect as we all experiment with ways to adapt our Messy Church during this weird time in history. Share your stories with us via Facebook or email roberta@messychurchusa.org.

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

Messy Church Now

Stories of How Messy Churches are reaching their communities now

Curated by Roberta Egli

iStock. Used with Permission

Messy Church USA…Forming Community while Physically Distant

One of the great joys in my role at Messy Church USA is to discover how people are innovating and adapting Messy Church to their own specific context.  During these past three months, as we have physically distanced due to Covid-19, you have used a variety of ways to engage with your Messy Church communities.  Well done! 

To equip you to sustain your Messy Church (MC) during this weird pandemic time, I am the stories of two different churches. They have adapted their MC to meet the needs of their communities. First the story from Barb Tegtmeier from Christ United Methodist in Albuquerque, NM followed by a story from Dori Fotsch, Marie Reyes, and Jill Elsemore of Thousand Oaks United Methodist in Thousand Oaks, CA.

30- Minute Weekly Zoom from Albuquerque, NM

Barb writes:

 Our weekly 30-minute Zoom Messy Church came about accidentally…or maybe not. I recorded and posted a MC message for the first “real MC” in April.  Our MC congregation liked it, but missed not seeing each other.  So, the thought came to me to try getting together every Saturday at our normal start time of 4:00 for just 30 minutes based on several webinars which suggested to keep online sermons, etc. shorter than normal because it is too easy to lose people’s attention.  The most amazing things started happening once I announced the new weekly plan.

 One family who attends regularly doesn’t usually have a chance to take any leadership role…(however a) Mom asked to come up with an activity involving food to combine those two elements of MC that people were missing.  The story was Adam and Eve and she planned (a food activity…with proper protection (we)put together bags with the ingredients then joined in a parade of two to deliver the activity packets to our MC family’s doorsteps Saturday morning.  The kids got to do something they loved and also were able to see people who are normally at MC from their car seats.  (She) led the activity online before we did a Celebration message.

 Another benefit of MC online is that attendees can invite family and friends around the country to join us for just 30 minutes.  We (met a cousin from) Nebraska this Saturday who invited all of us on a road trip to go visit them. 

Messy Combination

On-site physically distanced activity, at home activities and a 30-minute Zoom to FB live Celebration in Thousand Oaks, CA

The team from Thousand Oaks (TO) United Methodist, were ambitious as they adapted their Messy Church for the Covid- 19 pandemic.  The theme was Soul on Fire!, based on the story of Pentecost from Acts 2. Prior to the Saturday 30-minute Zoom to Facebook Live celebration, they both delivered bags of craft activities and created an outline for a dove banner at the church.  People dropped by the church to add their thumb prints to a beautiful dove banner while maintaining physical distance.

The bilingual TO MC used both live and previously recorded videos to share music, scripture readings, a skit and prayer during their gathered together live zoom to Facebook celebration. As they gathered on their Zoom to Facebook live event on Saturday afternoon, they focused on the scripture of Pentecost when people were confused as they began to speak in multiple languages. 

Jesus O., a high school senior who attends TO MC, created a video of a variety of people praying the Lord’s prayer in their language that was used during their celebration time. Seeing and hearing the Lord’s Prayer in English, Spanish, Farci, Korean and Sign Language brought the message to life for today’s context. Messy Church USA is grateful that TO MC  graciously gave us permission to use their video in our contribution to the Messy Global Adventure on May 21st.  

Lord’s Prayer Video by Jesus O. 

Following their May MC, families have been sharing pictures of their at home activities on the TO MC Facebook page.  What a wonderfully creative way to keep Messy Church families engaged with one another even though they are unable to gather in person!

Messy Church NOW Opportunity

On Tuesday June 30th, you will have an opportunity to discover three more models of how Messy churches have adapted their gatherings to be safe for all.  Messy Church USA NOW is a 90-minute webinar that will engage you and your team in ways you can reach out to your Messy Church community. 

Learn More and Register Here 

For now, I would love to hear how you are adapting your Messy Church.  Send me your stories to share with others and some pictures!

Grace and Peace, Roberta

Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect in the USA

Mini Mess Pentecost

A Blogpost by Lindsey Goodyear

Who’s in need of a “Mini Mess”?  I know I am!  Lately it seems that every blog I write, I go into hoping it will be the last one I write about the quarantine.  As it stands, it looks as though staying home may be in the cards for all of us for a bit.  Yes, they are slowly adding new phases to get us back to normal, but to protect those in our family and communities, the majority of us are hunkering down and staying put.  With Pentecost fast approaching, I felt like it was the right time to send home another Messy Church plan to keep us in good spirits. 

For those who don’t know the story, here’s a very short summary.  Pentecost is the name of a Jewish harvest festival. Just as Easter (in Greek “pascha”) is a holiday derived of an adaptation of the Jewish Passover, so too Pentecost is a Christian holiday derived from the Jewish festival of Shavuot. The Apostles, and other followers of Jesus, were celebrating the Jewish festival in Jerusalem, when they heard the sound of a mighty wind and “tongues of fire” came down on them.  Then, the Holy Spirit descended on them.  Remarkably, the attendees of the festival found themselves immediately being able to speak in other languages without difficulty.  People were no longer separated by language barriers and thus, the gospel was available to the world. No matter your gender, age, or color of skin, every person from every nation on God’s Earth could now know the Lord.  Because we were now all one under the Gospel of our Lord, the Pentecost is also referred to the birth of the church.  Pentecost, which means fifty, is always fifty days after Easter. This year, we celebrate on May 31.  Please use the following “Mini Mess” as a guide to celebrate God’s gift to the world with your family!  

There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus

Galatians 3:2

Three Pentecost Crafts

 Mighty Winds

 Need: Construction paper, paint, straws.

To recreate the mighty wind the Apostles witnessed, drop small amounts of paint all over your piece of construction paper.  Next, use the straw to blow the paint and watch as it creates magnificent patterns.  Try blowing from all directions to see what cool new art emerges.

*NOTE– This activity is much more fun if you use many different colors of paint!

**Talk about: What is the strongest wind you’ve ever been in?  How did it make you feel?  Were you excited?  Scared?

Fire Sticks

Need: Sticks from outside, 24” pieces of ribbon (reds, oranges, yellows, if possible), hot glue gun.

Once you’ve collected the sticks, cut the ribbons to the appropriate sizes.  Place a dab of glue at one end of the stick and begin attaching the ribbons (there should be enough room for 6 or 7 pieces depending on the size of your stick).  Once you’ve glued the pieces, cut a small portion of ribbon and wrap it around the glued pieces to ensure their security. Place a final dab of glue for the small security ribbon and you are ready!  Go outside and run around with the sticks overhead and watch as the wind turns the ribbons into something resembling fire. 

**Talk about: What do you think was going through the minds of the Apostles when they saw “tongues of fire” above their heads?  Would you have run away or stayed?

Babel 

Need: Foreign language book or access to internet.

Since the language barrier was broken when the Holy Spirit descended, take some time to learn a phrase in another language.  Try and have each family member learn a different phrase in a different language that they can recite and teach each other when you sit down for dinner.  We are so fortunate to have access to any language in the world.  Let’s take advantage of that access and teach each other!

**Talk about: Of all the beautiful languages found all over the world, what is the one language you wish you were fluid in? 

Celebration:  You might say the events at the Pentecost was the Holy Spirit’s way of exploding into the entire world.  He caused a reaction inside the hearts of people far and wide when He promised His unconditional love to all who follow.  A particularly good way of visually showing a reaction is through the use of baking soda and vinegar.  When the vinegar touches the baking soda, a mini explosion happens!  The soda begins to bubble, grow, and spread.  Cover a plate with baking soda and, using a dropper of vinegar, drop small amounts of vinegar around the plate.  With each drop, use the opportunity to explain the reaction your heart has because God is a part of you.  Pass the dropper around the table and let every family member take a turn.  This is a great opportunity to learn all the ways God brings joy to not only our hearts, but those of our family members, on a daily basis.  Try to make this more than a celebration.  Just because you don’t have baking soda and vinegar out everyday, talking with others about the impact God has on our lives is a great way to get in the habit of a positive and thankful mindset.  Try to make it a weekly or even daily discussion!

Prayer:  Dear heavenly Father, we come to you today with exploding hearts of love!  We are so thankful for the comfort you provide us with and ask that those who are suffering without you are brought to your light and feel relief.  We thank you for you descent so that people all over the world may know your perfect love.  We ask for your continued guidance as we navigate the world in such an uncertain time.  May you open our eyes and hearts and bring peace upon us.  We love you and thank you.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Meal Idea: Birthday Cake

Need: Boxed cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, and candles.

Let’s make a birthday cake and celebrate the birth of the Christian church!  Make the cake per the instructions on the box, bake, and let cool.  Then, decorate using the frosting and sprinkles.  Have fun with this!  You can even put candles in and sing “happy birthday” to the church if you’d like.  Then, cut the cake, serve, and enjoy! 

Lindsey Goodyear and her family attend Messy Church at Community UMC in Hungtington Beach, CA. You can reach her at lindseygoodyear@gmail.com
Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA