August Messy Church of the Month

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August Messy Church of the Month

Congratulations to Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, our August Messy Church of the Month!

We are excited to announce our first ever Messy Church of the Month! Drum roll please…. Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Jennifer May, a lay member of the church who also teaches in the local school, led a small team in starting their Messy Church in March of 2018.  Jennifer describes their church as a small rural community in which her school age children are some of the only children in attendance on Sunday morning. Thanks Jennifer for answering our questions so that we can learn more about your Messy Church!  We are so glad that Freysville Emmanuel UCC reaching out to their community to share God’s love! 

Messy Folk answers to “What I like about Messy Church?” 

  • “I like all the stations, and the dinners are pretty good too!” 
  • “Getting the parachute out inside the church at the beginning!” 
  • “I like that it allows the gifts & talents of many people to shine.” 
  • “It gives my child the opportunity to learn about Christ in a warm, loving community where being themselves is celebrated.” 

Some Favorite Messy Activities 

 Parachute Prayers: 

Example # 1: Jesus, We Thank You:

Instructions: Have every person who is at Messy Church find a spot around the parachute. The leader starts the prayer and invites anyone standing around the parachute to call out something they are thankful for. After someone calls out, then the whole group raises the parachute up and chants “Jesus We Thank You!” as it gently comes back down. 

Example # 2 Snowball Prayer: 

Instructions: As everyone arrives, have them write or draw a picture of a joy, prayer, concern in 3 or fewer words onto a piece of white paper, crumple it into a loose “snow” ball and place it into a laundry basket. Have every person who is at Messy Church find a spot around the parachute. The leader dumps all the snowball prayers into the middle of the parachute. Direct the group to gently shake the parachute enough to mix up all the snowballs. Then on the count of 3, the whole group pulls the parachute slowly down to the floor and then quickly yanks the parachute back up into the air above their heads to make it “snow”! The snowballs are flying all over the  place! Everyone collects one snowball and then takes a seat on the floor around the parachute. One at a time, each person reads what is written on the snowball as a large group prayer. 

More Favorite Messy Activities! 

Messy Church ThanksGIVING:

Each November, our Messy Church service is a night of us giving instead of taking home crafts. We go home with empty hands but full hearts! Members from the church’s Sunday morning congregation sponsor and donate 12-15 “fleece blanket kits” purchased from a local fabric store. We come together with scissors and templates and spend the night cutting and looping the blankets to donate to our area chapter of Project Linus.

 Project Linus is a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. The blankets are lovingly made by adults and children from all walks of life. Project Linus has specific directions on how to make blankets and what types they are allowed to accept on their website. https://www.projectlinus.org/​ 

This is an evening where all hands, young and old, are needed! 

Resurrection Garden: 

Each year for the Lenten Season, we set up a station where families can work together to create their own Resurrection Garden. They take it home to water and watch it grow every day for 40 days. 

 Materials Needed:Materials needed:8 in clay saucers, 3 in clay pots, potting soil, grass seed, craft stones, craft moss, 3 inch rocks flat circular shape work best, 4 inch stick crosses tied with twine  (See Pictures below)

What worked well for you in getting the support of your Sunday Church when you started Messy Church? 

Educating the congregation on the mission of Messy Church as well as the history, where and why it began and how it is meeting the needs of families and individuals in communities all over the world who for whatever reason, cannot or do not attend traditional Sunday Morning church services. 

Share a challenge you’ve had with your Messy Church and strategies you used to meet the challenge. 

Getting volunteers can be a challenge. So, I approached individuals in our Sunday congregation and personally asked them if they could volunteer. After their first experience, those individuals looked forward to volunteering each month! Most often, a personal invitation is all people need. 

How has your Messy Church adapted during the Covid-19 Pandemic? 

Our last in person Messy Church was Friday, March 13th. We were excited to kick off our 3rd year as a Messy Church! Little did we know, our messy togetherness would be put on hold for a little while. For the month of April, we put out a “Messy Church At Home” edition. We posted the theme and station material lists prior to the event so that families could plan ahead of time how they would do this in their own homes. Then, the day of our Messy Church, we posted an interactive Google Slideshow for families to work through at their own pace. The slides included a prerecorded welcome message, the story/scripture lesson, closing prayer, and a slide of directions for each station/activity. We had a few of our Messy Church families try it out! We took the month of May off and now are planning a “Messy Church in Bag” for the end of Summer. 

Thanks Jennifer for sharing your Messy Church story!  To learn more about Emmanuel UCC you can contact Jennifer at jmay@cysd.k12.pa.us

Website for Church: http://www.freysvilleucc.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emmanueluccfreysville/

April  2020 Online Messy Church shared with the June 30th Messy Church USA Now webinar

Who will be our September Messy Church of the Month? Stay tuned!

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

Give Thanks…Messy Church Changes Lives

During this month of Thanksgiving, you are invited 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? (Statistics from Playfully Serious)

Patricia’s Story

Complex PTSD had ‘taken over’ Patricia’s life. When her children returned from foster care, she needed somewhere to go where they would all feel welcome…Messy Church changed her life. Listen to her story and then donate to support the global movement of Messy Church. 

Listen to Patricia’s Story

How have you experienced changed lives through Messy Church?  We want to hear your story! For the remainder of 2019,  Messy Church USA will give 50% of any donations received on our website directly to Bible Reading Fellowship, the home for the global Messy Church movement.

Donate Here

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

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 

Practicing Gratitude

Roberta J. Egli

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Did you see the grateful pumpkin Facebook post that ended up being Messy Church USA’s most liked and shared post? What an easy and great way to practice gratitude in your household or your Messy Church!

I have discovered that it takes intentionality to enter into a regular practice of gratitude. I have kept a gratitude journal in the past but for several years, I have received the daily gratefulness word of the day from a website on gratitude focused on the writings of David Stendle-Rast. I encourage you to check out their website and sign up for their daily moment of gratitude. You can also send an e-card, light a virtual prayer candle, get inspired by stories, discover videos or simply check out their question of the day.

How do you practice gratitude in your household? How can we practice gratitude in our Messy Churches? I recently read a great gratitude household practice called ‘Gratitude Café’. Based on a mother’s habit of taking her morning coffee outside and giving thanks at the beginning of each morning, Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families writes about creating a regular ( weekly if possible) gratitude café.

  • First choose a day of the week (Saturday morning or Sunday evenings work well for many families) for the household to gather.
  • Second, make a favorite beverage for each of the household (coffee, tea, orange juice, or hot chocolate).
  • Third, gather someplace either inside or outside to enjoy their beverage. Perhaps you want to use a special tablecloth or candle for your gratitude café.
  • Fourth, have each household member either draw a picture or if able, write down five things for which they are grateful.(When you start your gratitude café, you may need to ask some  leading questions such as; Are you thankful for anything you received this past week? Are you thankful for anything special we have done as a family? Are you thankful for anything you have learned? Etc.
  • After a time of silence while everyone writes or draws, share your ideas with one another.
  • After everyone has shared, say a simply prayer together, “Gracious, we give you thanks for all you have given us this past week. Amen”

Introduce the Gratitude Café during your Messy Meal and then send the idea home for households to practice at home. You can have people save their drawings / paper and create a Gratitude Café mosaic for your Messy Church.

May you find ways to practice gratitude today and in the days to come and better yet, make your gratitude practice messy!
Messy Blessings, Roberta