A whole lot of ‘messy’ fun at church

Free activities and dinner will be held Dec. 2

What: free activities and dinner for all ages

When: Tuesday, Dec. 2, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Camas United Methodist Church, 706 N.E. 14th Ave.

For more information: Call CUMC at 834-2976, email pastorrichenda@gmail.com or visit www.camasumc.org.

What: free activities and dinner for all ages

When: Tuesday, Dec. 2, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Camas United Methodist Church, 706 N.E. 14th Ave.

For more information: Call CUMC at 834-2976, email pastorrichenda@gmail.com or visit www.camasumc.org.

Paints, crayons and drawings on poster sized paper were spotted at a recent “Messy Church” event at Camas United Methodist Church.

The free session, held Oct. 28, in the church’s fellowship hall, was for people of all ages — singles, couples, children and grandparents.

The theme was “healthy bodies.”

Activities included using cardboard and duct tape to construct a simulated temple that was used in a skit, tracing and decorating human figures and making bracelets.

Attendees also had opportunities to play with their food and make people-shaped combinations of vegetables.

After the making of bracelets and painting, a celebration was held, featuring a skit with CUMC Pastor Richenda Fairhurst and several sixth-graders.

Fairhurst encouraged younger attendees to “stand up and wiggle” if they made a body on poster paper. Then she asked the audience what bodies can do.

As individuals mentioned singing, playing soccer, helping others, hugging, leaping like a frog, swimming, break dancing, crawling and twirling, they ran, walked or jumped onto the stage where Fairhurst rewarded their enthusiastic efforts with fruit snacks.

During a lesson about Jesus healing a man with a withered hand, Fairhurst portrayed the man by putting one of her hands into a bowl of chocolate pudding.

DiAnne Harrington, youth and family ministries coordinator at CUMC, described Messy Church as a great opportunity to gather the community, have fun and learn together in a creative and different way.

Some of the event attendees prepared bags of toiletries and coffee mugs for men and women from other countries who visit the Seafarers centers in Vancouver and Portland.

CUMC also supports “Movies in the Park,” a Camas Days booth and blueberry pancake breakfast, the Oregon Food Bank and the Inter-Faith Treasure House, in Washougal.

Stan Smith, a member of CUMC since the early 1990s and the church lay leader, said he is really supportive of the multi-generational Messy Church activities.

“It’s a way for us to connect with the community,” he said. “The time is convenient, and the complimentary dinner is one of the key elements.

“I think this is really going to catch on,” Smith added.

Monica Pujol, of Camas, was invited by one of her neighbors.

One of Pujol’s daughters attended the first Messy Church session Sept. 30.

That event included building barns out of cardboard, relay races, painting, eating tacos and playing with Legos.

“She came home so happy, we decided to join this time,” Pujol said. “The children had tons of fun.

“My boy is always complaining,” she added. “He had fun today.”

The attendees included two families with three generations.

“We value that,” Fairhurst said. “We are a household of every age.”

She said the fun activities inspire grown-up conversations and keep little hands busy and learning.

“It is a joyful celebration, but you can also talk about real pain here too,” Fairhurst said.

There is time for conversations during the free dinner. In October, that included soups, salad and cookies.

The menu changes monthly.

Lisa Boyd is a volunteer dinner coordinator on the Messy Church committee.

“We worked so hard,” she said from the church kitchen. “We put our heart and soul into it. We want people to enjoy the fruits of our labor.”

Boyd said the event could reach people who do not have a church background.

“We are a little church with a lot of love,” she said.

Messy Church is popular in England and Scotland. It is a new program at CUMC.

It is usually held on the last Tuesday of the month, but the schedule can vary.

Smith, 74, and four others attended Messy Church training at Olympia United Methodist Church.

Fairhurst said the first challenge with the program was to just jump in and do it.

“We have enthusiastic folks and we wondered, will we get the helpers?” she said. “People just stepped up. We thought, how do we make sure people know it’s for the whole family? People seem to get that, too.

“We have all generations participating, and as a pastor I am really pleased to see so many dads,” Fairhurst added. “We have had lots of dads grinning ear to ear and right there with their kids. It’s awesome. Maybe it’s the duct tape.”

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