On Sunday May 14 of 2017, a special banner was hung in the sanctuary as a gift from the children who participated in Messy Church this spring. The themes of the three sections of the banner are Love God, Love Your Neighbour and Love the World. Paige Zimmerman read the following text to explain the banner to the congregation.
At Messy Church, we learned about the Prodigal son in our “LOVE GOD” theme. The story is about a farmer who had 2 sons. One son wanted to get his inheritance early and travel around the world. Unfortunately, he wasted his inheritance and became very, very poor. After a time, he begged his father to hire him as one of his workers. But instead, the prodigal son was welcomed back home! His father threw a big party because his son had been lost but now was found! Fathers on earth and in heaven love us!
We cut and decorated triangles on our LOVE GOD banner section. The triangles represent God the father, His son, and the Holy Spirit. Love God because He loves us!
Love Your Neighbour
Another time at Messy Church, we talked about the Good Samaritan in our LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR topic. This story talks about a man who was beaten and robbed and left to die by the side of the road. A priest and another Jew walked past the injured man but didn’t help him. Surprisingly, a man from Samaria helped the beaten fellow, even although they were not friendly with one another. Today, we call a person who helps others, especially strangers, a Good Samaritan!
We enjoyed making and colouring flags from different countries in the LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR banner section. We thought of our Syrian families who had many GOOD SAMARITANS to help them when they arrived in Canada.
Love the World
The last part of our banner “LOVE THE WORLD” was done during our discussion about Jonah and the Whale. Jonah was told by God to travel to nearby Nineveh and teach the wicked people who lived there about loving and caring and about God’s blessings. Jonah did not want to obey so he tried to hide from God. After many adventures involving storms and a whale, Jonah finally did obey God and tried to help the people of Nineveh.
We sewed and decorated hearts on our banner to remind us to Love The World, all the people of the world, regardless of their colour, clothes or language.
Messy Church is a fun way to learn about God’s love. We eat, tell stories, make crafts and food, sing songs and play games together as we learn and explore!
Paige Zimmerman, Nan Dodman and Janet Witty-Heeley describe the creation and meaning of the Messy Church Banner at its dedication on May 14 (Carlisle United Church Newsletter, Summer 2017, pp.3-4).