Welcome Our New Regional Coordinators for Maryland and Tennessee

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Welcome Our New Regional Coordinators for Maryland and Tennessee

We are grateful for our two new Messy Church USA Regional Coordinators. Please take a minute to read about their full and ministry filled lives, give God thanks for their willingness to say yes to this new role and pray for the churches in their regions they will serve.

Maryland
We are happy to announce that Melanie Rodriguez of Columbia, Maryland has said “YES” to becoming the regional coordinator for the state of Maryland. Melanie and her family have been involved at St John Lutheran Church since 2004 and in that time has served as Sunday School Teacher, Lay pastor and more recently the organizer for their Messy Church.

Prior to her involvement at St John’s Lutheran, Melanie served in lay ministry at several Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches so she brings a breath of experience to her new role. In addition, Melanie organized and led a homeschool cooperative, as she homeschooled her own children, that eventually grew to include over one hundred and fifty students. It all started with teaching a science class to a group of homeschool girl scouts!

Melanie has also worked for two different public library systems, specializing in children’s programming for all ages. In that work she mentored volunteers, parents and caregivers in presenting stories to young children. Since her ‘retirement’ from homeschooling, she has been working with the Refugee Youth Project mentoring individual children and families during her involvement in an afterschool program. Currently, she working at improving her Spanish Language skills.

Melanie us excited about using her organizational and networking skills to share the story of Messy Church in a wider context than her local church. You can reach Melanie at melanie@messychurchusa.org.

Welcome Melanie!

Tennessee
The Rev. Will Conner is serving the state of Tennessee as one of our newest regional coordinators. Will is a proud father, husband and pastor in The United Methodist Church where he serves in the small town of Decatur, Tennessee. Will leads two traditional Churches, is the director of the Meigs Country Cooperative Will also serves as the past chair of alumni board for the Candler School of Theology where he earned an M.Div. in 2012. Additionally, Will is a volunteer with the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club.

Since Will discovered the world of Messy Church in 2018, he has been passionate about exploring fresh ways to connect new people with the life changing love of Jesus. His church discovered Messy Church as a key way for them to do this very thing. Will enjoys connecting other faith communities with Messy Church and is eager to serve by helping connect new and existing Messy Churches in Tennessee. If you are looking for a great community introduction to Messy Church, check out Will’s video on the Decatur Church website.

Will enjoys spending free time riding bicycles with his family. Life is about to get a little crazier and more joy filled, because Will and his wife, Hope, are eagerly expecting their third child in January. 

Contact Will at will@messychurchusa.org

Welcome Will!
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

September News

Celebrate the Mess, Regional Coordinator of the Month and Welcome New Members to the Messy Church USA Network 

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

Mark your calendar for October 22-24, 2020 when we will gather in the greater Chicago area to Celebrate the Mess! We are happy to announce that Lucy Moore and Stephen Fischbacher will be two of our plenary speakers/ musicians! There will be more!  

The members of the planning team for the 2020 Messy Church USA Conference are:  

  • Overall Lead: Roberta Egli and Casey Cross
  • Workshops: Marty Drake and Leyla Wagner
  • Finance: Lynn Egli
  • Messy Church Experience: Maureen Carey-Back
  • Hospitality/Local Logistics: Ronda Bower
  • Publicity: Robin Canon
  • Multimedia/Technology: Andrew Scanlan-Holmes
  • Messy Extras: Johannah Myers

All of these fantastic team members are recruiting for their teams so if you would like to get involved contact them at (firstname)@messychurchusa.org. Look for more details and registration coming soon.

Ronda Bower, Northern Illinois/Wisconsin Regional Coordinator

Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator of the Month

Ronda Bower is our Regional Coordinator for Northern Illinois and Wisconsin. She is the Pastoral Associate for Family and Educational Ministries at Northfield Community Church in Northfield IL.

We are excited to use the beautiful campus of her church for our 2020 Celebrate the Mess Conference. I have firsthand experience of how beloved Ronda is at her church! In my short visit with Northfield Community in August, people kept coming up to me sharing how Ronda makes such a difference in her church. Whether it was about her Sunday morning adult education class or her leadership of the vibrant Messy Church team, Ronda is appreciated for her multiple gifts. THANK YOU, RONDA!

Do you know your Regional Coordinator?  Here they are…contact them at (firstname@messychurchusa.org) (Hint- there will be two more announced soon!) 

California/Hawaii/Southwest – Marty Drake and Leyla Wagner

Chicago/Northern Illinois and Wisconsin – Ronda Bower

Colorado/Kansas/Oklahoma/Nebraska – Janeen Hill

Indiana –Andrew Scanlan-Holmes

Michigan – Missy Harrison

New Mexico – Barb Tegtmeier

New York and New Jersey – Julie Hintz

North & South Dakota/Minnesota/Montana/Wyoming – Sandee Prouty-Cole

Ohio –Robin Cannon

Oregon (& other areas not listed) –Roberta Egli

North and South Carolina –Johannah Myers

Southern IL/Missouri – Jillian Mayer

Texas –Kate Cross

Virginia –Cindy Banek

Washington – Crystal Goetz

Is God calling you to spread the word about Messy Church? We will be announcing two additional RC soon but we still need more! Our current high priority areas for new Regional Coordinators include Florida, and the mid-Atlantic states. Contact Roberta if you are interested.

Welcome to the Messy Church USA Network

In August we welcomed eleven new Messy Churches to our Network!  We also had one renewal!  Take a moment to give God thanks and say a prayer of blessings for the teams who are bringing Messy Church to their local communities! 

August 2019 Messy Church USA Network Memberships 

New Supporter Members

  • Marshall United Methodist, Marshall, MI
  • Epworth United Methodist, Concord, NC
  • Christ our Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, GA
  • The Church of Agape Outpost, Breckinridge, CO
  • East Canton United Methodist, Canton, PA
  • First United Methodist,  Michigan City, IN

New Registered Members 

  •  Community of Christ, Glendale, AZ
  • Winamac United Methodist, Winamac, IN
  • Macedonia United Methodist, White Post, VA
  • First United Methodist, Comanche, TX
  • St James United Methodist, Marriottsville, MD

Renewal Registered Member

  • St Andrews On-the-Sound, Wilmington, NC
Messy Church USA logo and mission
Equipping Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect across the USA

Messy Transitions can lead to Messy Training

A blogpost from Roberta J Egli 

Transitions can be Messy is our September 2019 focus at Messy Church USA. At our home we have had some messy transitions the past few months. We have a seventeen-week-old Springer Spaniel named Jack who became part of our family at nine weeks of age in July. He has grown from eleven pounds to a whopping 23 pounds! Jack is our first puppy and we are loving his boundless joy and enthusiasm…. except for the two evening hours that Lynn, my husband has named “Jack’s bewitching time”. It is like he has so much energy that he is now sure how to contain it any longer.

Throughout the summer, he could run outside during these two hours and get some of his energy out but the rains have come this week that cramps his style. Thankfully, we have a wonderful trainer who is working with us to help Jack be a happy, healthy and trained dog!

Jack’s first rain experience… a bit confused!

Having an experienced person share ideas, simple gestures and encouragement as we practice with Jack has made this puppy transition much happier. It reminds me when we learn new skills, that having support and encouragement is vital. We are so happy that so many people are coming together to learn about Messy Church in our “Getting Started” training.

In the seven trainings scheduled between August and the end of October, Messy Church USA will encourage over 220 people! WOW! We expect more people to sign up in the days to come but I give God thanks for the tremendous response we have already received. Will you join me in saying a prayer of thanks and also a prayer for each of the individuals and team who will be attending training over the next few months.

May your messy transitions be filled with joy!

Roberta

Quotes from Michigan City, IN Training

The Messy Church training not only provides the theory behind this unique and highly effectively form of church, but it also provides concrete ways to put the concepts into practice. Through large-group teaching to table interactions to hands-on experiential learning, participants gained the confidence to create a Messy Church opportunity back home.
Associate Director of Church Development
Indiana United Methodist Church Annual Conference

My team is inspired and encouraged. We are very excited to meet and work out all the details for starting our own Messy Church here in Michigan City, and I can only imagine that others left feeling as excited and inspired as we are. Thank you again for such a wonderful experience!
Trish Johnsen, Michigan City First United Methodist Church

From Feedback Forms
What helped you learn the most?
•Great overview of the concept- really had a great time and learned a lot
• The discussion with my team after the presentation. Walking through the Mini Messy Church
• The mini experience helped me see the movement of the structure
• The community. In our area Messy Church is non-existent and foreign. It was so nice to see other churches following the model and being able to network.
• Great deal of information and suggestions for starting off on a new idea
• Opening- explaining what (Messy Church) is, but the activities part brought it to life

September 21st in Mt Dora, FL
September 21st in Hartford, CT 
September 28th in Newport, NH
October 5th, in Cheney, WA (Near Spokane)
October 12th in Huntington Beach, CA 

Would you like to schedule a training in your area?  We are always looking for host churches! Contact Roberta if you are interested. 

Walk a Mile in our Sandals

A Blog Post by Kate Cross, Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator of Texas

I believe Jesus came to earth to walk among us, to be human, and to experience all the joys and pains of what it means to be human. By coming to Earth, Jesus experienced the bad and good things that will happen to us and those we love. All knowing, he still came to Earth to walk a mile in our sandals. To enter our homes, to be with us when our children are sick, when our loved ones die, and when we are fighting with our sister – and also when we are celebrating milestones in life with a little wine.

At Messy Church we show people God’s love when they come as they are, we need to see them as Jesus did – loved right now rather than loved for who they might be in the future. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of one another, it’s different though similar to sympathy – it’s not pity. It’s understanding where someone you know is coming from, seeing yourself in their shoes and showing up for them. It’s doing unto them what you would want if you were them. It’s showing kindness, it’s listening, and it’s making small gestures when someone is having a hard time or even just a time.

istock. used with permission

As I grow closer to the people I’ve met through Messy Church this rings true. So many people go through life surrounded by people, yet alone. Remembering things they told you were going on in their life the last month and following up – it makes us all feel a little less lonely. If they told you about it, it’s important to them. Checking in during the weeks between Messy Churches seems to mean so much to them. As best we can, do it in an organic way, free from ulterior motives. Don’t force yourself to say and do things that are unnatural for you, but take it a step further than saying nothing or the standard “if you need anything, just let me know” is being the body of Christ. We might not be able to heal their bodies but we can minister to their hearts and souls. We can offer prayer for rough times, but we must remember that we ourselves are how those prayers might be answered.

There’s also the times when we aren’t having a hard time, we’re just going through life. It’s true of everyone at Messy Church too. How can we start to befriend the new friends we meet in Messy Church and start to go through life together? It’s probably not that different from how you’ve met and grown with any of your other friends. It’s as Jesus did, allow them to enter our homes, go into their homes, take a walk or a coffee to chat, share some experiences, and to celebrate milestones in life with a little wine.

Kate Cross, Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator of Texas, Messy Church leader at Spring Branch Presbyterian, Houston, Texas

Blog post was partially inspired by the book There’s No Good Card For This by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell and, of course, the life of Christ. 

Kate and daughter

Welcome Crystal Goetz, our newest Regional Coordinator for the majestic state of Washington!

We are excited to introduce our newest Regional Coordinator …drum roll please…Crystal Goetz (pronounced Gets)! She will cover the large state of Washington. She lives in Auburn Washington and serves as the Director of Children’s, Youth and Family Life Ministries at Auburn First United Methodist Church (FUMC). Crystal has been passionate about Messy Church since she brought a team from her church to a ‘Getting Started in Messy Church’ training in August 2017. She writes that she is “obsessed with spreading the Gospel through Messy Church and hopes to inspire others with her enthusiasm for Messy Church and her love of Jesus!”

Crystal has been a passionate advocate for younger people of the church in her 10 years of experience of family ministry. She writes that when she is asked how she finds the energy to all she does her answer is “the young people enliven and inspire me.”

Her greatest joys in life come from her family, her husband and two young adult children and her faith. When she has time for fun, she enjoys paper crafting, costuming and watching British mystery shows like “Shetland”. Crystal will be attending the Messy Church International Conference in England in May 2019 where she can experience a favorite of hers, a hot cup of tea and a scone. Crystal, we are so happy to welcome to the Regional Coordinator Team

Welcome Barb, our newest Regional Coordinator from the land of the Sun

We are so excited to introduce you to our newest Regional Coordinator, Barb (Barbara) Tegtmeier from Albuquerque New Mexico. Although Barb is officially retired, she has many different hats that she wears. She is a Lay Leader at her church, Christ United Methodist, is a certified Lay Ministry who organized a team and began Messy Church at her church, is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and recently become a Chaplain for Albuquerque Police Department. Whew!Barb tells me that at 66 years of age, it is difficult to keep her Bio brief.  I would think so when you meet her and experience her zest for life!

Barb shares this about her Messy Church Experience:  
I look forward to encouraging others in many denominations to begin Messy Church as a way of reaching more people for Jesus Christ. I strongly believe in the five values of Messy Church and do my best to hold my Messy Church team accountable to a high BAR. Our Messy Church Vision Statement at my church is: Christ UMC will continue our legacy by going out to meet people and return with them to a space for the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us all as we experience a grace filled encounter with God through Jesus Christ.

Welcome Barb, we are so glad you are part of our regional coordinators!!

Messy Blessings,
Roberta
Team Leader, Messy Church USA

Our Newest Regional Coordinator

Roberta J. Egli

Sandee Cole
Greater Plains Regional Coordinator

We are excited to announce that Sandee Cole is our newest Regional Coordinator at Messy Church USA. Sandee is our ‘Greater Plains’ RC and will cover the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa.

Sandee Prouty-Cole grew up on a farm near Hazel, SD attending the small country church of Kellerton United Methodist, where she was very involved in Youth Group, Youth Musical Cantatas and Programs, served as a church pianist while in high school, and helping to launch and lead a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle at Hamlin High School. She graduated from South Dakota State University (SDSU) with degrees in Mathematics w/Secondary Education and Computer Science, took part in a six-month International 4-H Youth Exchange to Australia, and has worked in the world of business and information systems as well as a Business & Information Systems Consultant, running her own consulting business for 7 years.

Sandee is currently on staff at Watertown First United Methodist Church as the Children’s Ministry Coordinator and has worked on leading a team through the discernment, launching, and ongoing shepherding of Messy Church as the Signature Ministry for First Church. Sandee is currently enrolled in the Deacon Studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary to further pursue and answer God’s call to go and make disciples for the transformation of the world. She is married and has a daughter who is a sophomore in college. Sandee enjoys spending time with family, friends, and the family pets, all kinds of music, cooking, reading, gardening, and travelling to new places.

Learn more about the impact of the Watertown Messy Church here. (link to previous post)  Welcome Sandee!

Messy Church at Watertown UMC, South Dakota

Meet our Newest Regional Coordinator

Kate Cross, Regional Coordinator for Texas, Messy Church USA

We are pleased to introduce Kate Cross, our newest regional coordinator who will cover the great state of Texas. Kate lives in Houston and is one of the volunteer team leaders for Messy Church at Spring Branch Presbyterian PC(USA) in Houston. She also serves as an Elder and Team Leader for Faith development and Missions at Spring Branch. She works at Rice University as Assistant Dean in Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Kate writes: Greetings! I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. I have had many opportunities in my life – to be a part of a loving family, to be a part of a church where relationships mattered, to get a good education and to travel a bit. I’ve embraced a career that provides plenty of opportunities to learn new and try new things – which fits me well.

As someone who seeks to follow Jesus, likes to think a little bit out of the box, collects hobbies, and values relationships – I was intrigued to find out about Messy Church by happenstance in August 2017, though I know God was definitely in the discovery. It provided structure to something that I’ve wanted for classes I’ve taught as well as how I teach my two daughters about God. I suspected my friends might also want such an opportunity, so I read everything I could, reached out to friends to form a leadership team, and visited another Messy Church, and then sought the blessing of my home church in October 2017 to start one there.

We advertised, did pop-ups, and prayed. Now the first Thursday of every month you’ll find me setting up tables to share the Good News with paint, play dough, marshmallows, and Legos – anxious that our marketing has been seen and that those that have been before will continue to come back – and hoping I’ve ordered enough chicken strips or pizza. I have been enriched and blessed by this journey so far and would love to share my experiences and learn from others.

Welcome Kate!