Messy Church Is Coming to St. Paul!

Wednesdays, March 8–April 5, 5:45-8:00 p.m.

Messy Church is a way of being church for families and individuals of all ages that involves fun and play. The goal of the program is to help individuals of all ages not only learn about God but encounter Him through their time of fun and fellowship. In order to achieve these goals each Messy Church session is composed of a welcome, a shared meal, an activity time and a celebration (group worship). During the activity time, families (not just children) will get to work their way through several activity stations at their own pace (if a toddler wants to spend the entire time playing in a sensory, bin they are more than welcome to). Each night there will be numerous stations centered on a theme. The goal is to have activities for every type of learner, so each week they’ll be several different activities including crafting, constructing, mission and game play.

Messy Church is meant to be inclusive so start getting the word out to everyone you know that Messy Church is coming, and they are welcome to attend.  Seriously, Messy Church is for EVERYONE! Invite your family, friends and neighbors.

Schedule for Each Evening

5:30-5:45 p.m.           Gathering / Homework time

5:45-6:45 p.m.           Community Dinner (food provided) / Table Games / Homework Time as needed

6:45-7:30 p.m. “Let’s Get Messy” (Messy Church activities) / Homework Time as needed

Themed-activities each night will include crafting, constructing, playing games, team activities, mission projects and so, so, soooo much more!

7:30-8:00 p.m. Celebration (worship)

 

Weekly Schedule

March 8:  Shrovetide / What is Lent?

March 15:   Jesus Grows Up and Gets to Work!

March 22:   Who was Jesus?

March 29:  New Life in Jesus

April 5:  Holy Week


 

Time & Talent Surveys

As we get into spring the program year of the church begins to wind down. During this time church staff and committees begin the process of evaluating what has been accomplished this past year and start the planning process for new and ongoing initiatives in the fall. The Leadership Development Committee also starts looking at the slate of elected positions to be filled.

In order to help church planning and in order to help envision who might be willing and able to participate in the decision making processes of the church, we are asking you to prayerfully fill out the Time and Talent Survey. There are two components to it: a simple checklist where you can consider opportunities already available as well as an opportunity to more deeply express your dreams and passions so that you can have the chance to shape the dreaming of new ministry possibilities. Please share you passions with us that we might continue to move toward being a more vital spiritual community.

A Sunday School Experiment

For those of you who know me, you are probably aware that I received my PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences last year. I’ve determined that the statement, “You can take the student out of the lab; but you can’t take the lab out of the student.” seems to apply quite aptly to me. Thus, it should come as no surprise that in the next few months the Sunday School will be experimenting (or piloting as I am inclined to call it) with a reconfiguration of the Sunday School, in particular, for the second service. The following is my tentative lab report for the pilot program.

Background: 

In the past, attendance of the 10:30 am Sunday School by children enrolled in K-3rd grade has been notoriously terrible. It is not rare that there are no students present. Additionally, on those Sundays where there is a special service for children (e.g., SPLASH Sundays) attendance is even more abysmal.

While the Sunday School Staff (including myself) do not want to prohibit children from experiencing the awesomeness that is our Sunday School program, we are mindful of the resources that are, perhaps, being wasted by continuing to offer Sunday School during the second service.  If there were no Sunday School offered during the 10:30 service the number of volunteer staff available to help teach nearly doubles which would allow for additional avenues of much needed change; including, splitting apart the preschool into two groups (preschool and Pre-K) to allow for those children to make better use of their learning capabilities or dividing the K-3rd graders into two groups (K-1st and 2nd-3rd) to allow for the older children to participate in more advanced study and discussion.

Finally, by encouraging the children who would typically be in Sunday School at the second service to stay in the service you are providing them with the opportunity to see what “Church” is, something that the majority of children (regrettably) are not getting on a regular basis at St. Paul UCC.

The Current Study:

The members of the Sunday School Elder committee (which is where this idea first began to take shape) are referring to the pilot program as “Sunday School Express.”

There are currently three dates planned for Sunday School Express to be piloted:

April 24th (SPLASH Sunday)

May 8th (Mother’s Day and Child-Friendly Service during 9 am service)

June 12th (VBS Sunday)

Materials/Methods:

On those Sundays where Sunday School Express will be piloted, there will be no traditional Sunday School for children in grades K-3rd during the 10:30 (contemporary) service. These children will be encouraged to attend the 10:30 service with their family. If remaining in the service becomes too difficult for any of these children, I will be in the Heritage Room with coloring pages and a Bible Story.

Throughout these 3 Sundays, preschool children will be invited to head downstairs as we understand it can be quite difficult at that age to sit through a full service for children in this age group.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at jill@stpaulonline.org with any questions, comments, or concerns as we begin to develop and evolve the children’s and youth ministries here at St. Paul.

JM

Jill Mayer