Messy Jane continued with Part 2 of Keeping Connected on Wednesday 14 July Facebook Live. She says:
Last week I talked about my furlough experience and feeling disconnected. I have since heard from folk expressing how overconnected they are! Going online; helping others to go online; invite those that are not online to join their online sessions; hand posting session envelopes &/or Messy Church Bags, constantly resourcing for ideas and materials; texting and emailing.
I plan to add a well-being board on the Messy Church BRF Pinterest board NEXT MONTH.
Some of you are returning to lockdown! We pray for your strength and protection. Some of you are coming out of lockdown. We pray for your anxieties and protection. Some of you are out of lockdown and starting up face-to-face Messy Church once more! New Zealand, we pray for your risk assessments!
Being together and connecting – however it may look. The Bible verse which I feel drawn to read, often, as mentioned last week:
In these difficult times being together is looking very different. The fellowship of the church is about being fixed together – connected. ‘All the believers were together. Every day they continued to meet together.’
Last week you heard how God helped me to connect during furlough. There I was feeling this huge and dramatic disconnection.
What else was God going to connect me with during that time?
Online worship around the world
Local care home – 5 new booklets
Catching up with the finances – how are you financing your Messy Church in a bag? Sponsoring?
Shopping for those in isolation
Plastics issues and ecobricks
Now, back to our connections and how are we adapting to change.
We are not encouraging you to return face-to-face. Covid-19 is still out there, there is no vaccine yet and lots of our elderly in the community, some being members of our Messy Church teams, are still isolating for their own safety. Just because I am talking about it doesn’t mean we want you to get back to face-to-face tomorrow! We want you to take care of yourselves. Cherish yourselves. Don’t think that because Flossie in the next village is zooming and doing bags that you have to do it! Oh no!
But some of you are trying to go outdoors safely with your Messy Churches. Church guidelines limit numbers and the hygiene issues and risk assessments and permissions are huge. And the biggest risk of all – Covid-19!
If you are interested though, we have heard of a Messy picnic time that took place outdoors, with families on picnic blankets. They were given craft bags and it lasted 30 minutes. It is being repeated next week. Oh! And it had a 2m Messy tickling stick! It was only used once, apparently, and that was on the leader herself!
What else have we heard about… a scavenger hunt in Scotland! Scavenger hunts are extremely popular on zoom, aren’t they? Well, this was in a park-cum-woodland at Easter. They laminated Easter egg shapes, popped a clue on each one and added a website where they could add their details and enter for a prize. It was so popular by everyone who used the park that they then created an animal safari with animals found in the Bible.
Also in Scotland we know of a Messy Church planning outdoor activity challenges in the community – they are thinking of creating a treasure map where families have to add a drawing or sand sculpture on the beach, pick some berries, tie a prayer to the primary school gate, pause to wonder on a hill with a view. They are even thinking of mowing a labyrinth in the church lawn at the front! I mean, this is getting really creative, isn’t it? But then, how glorious it is to be part of such a creative network.
What else can you think of? Social distancing tables outdoors and book a table in advance?
Cycling – lots of families have taken up cycling during lockdown. How could we worship on bicycles?
Trails? Create a hunt and find trail like the one in Scotland. If you look on the Thy Kingdom Come website you will find an Ichthus trail, find fish in the community. We posted it a couple of years ago. I am a devil for making trails. I used to create trails for all ages in Liverpool Cathedral. Then ten years ago I created a Nativity Sheep Trail in a new and large Liverpool shopping area called Liverpool 1. Lucy encouraged me to write it up and so we had Messy Sheep Trails taking place all over the world during Advent. It was great fun and the aim was to tell the public about the Real meaning of Christmas. Ten years later the book is being reprinted. It is available next month, and my daughter has revamped the sheep knitting pattern to make it even easier and somehow cuter. The knitted sheep go into shops or venues and have a name, families have to find them and collect all of the names. You could even put sheep in your home front windows to create a trail.
As promised, last week, we have now added all of the Messy Church at Home sessions to the Messy Church BRF Pinterest board. Take a look at the Messy Church at Home board where it is a one-stop shop of help and support for you in these strange times.
Young Leaders’ Online! We applaud Jonathan Bland, aged 13 years, in Hereford, who has wanted to invite 10-16 year old young leaders to zoom together at a Messy Meet-Up. Well, we have sorted all the safeguarding and guidelines and can now help this to actually happen. The Zooms are on 23 & 24 July so contact Lucy for the zoom link and details. Look on our social media and the Regional Coordinators are advertising it to all their contacts. Well done, Jonathan.
Finally, we want you to love yourselves. Your self-care is so important. Are you taking August off? Taking time out? Cherish yourselves as Jesus loves you and you love others.
We love you. ‘All the believers were together and had everything in common.’