Messy Church - First UMC Manchester

Mission Share Stories

January 23, 2018

For 186 years, First United Methodist Church in Manchester, NH, has faithfully been “a light of love in the valley.”
We accomplished this through several ministries, including our food pantry — which provided close to 30,000 meals each year — and our Activa-Tree Christian Preschool — which provides scholarships to more than 70 percent of the families enrolled.
However, there have been years when our “light” was a little less bright. As part of a religious landscape that was rapidly changing and affecting most mainline denominations, this church was threatened by a lack of growth and financial instability.
Yet, by faith, prayer, scriptural study, determination, hard work, and the grace of Jesus Christ, First UMC has experienced many miracles.  

First United Methodist Church 961 Valley St., Manchester, NH  Messy Church meets 5:30-8 p.m. on the third Friday of the month Learn more:
One of those miracles was amazing financial support of our Conference. The New England Conference Commission on Equitable Compensation* has helped us implement our strategic plan by contributing to the pastoral salary.

First UMC also received a Hebrews 11 grant** that helped start their Messy Church ministry.

Since this is a church with many vibrant ministries, First UMC became one of the conference’s missional churches.
Today, the “light of Christ” is shining brightly once again. Every week, close to 200 walk through our church doors.
One of example of this revitalization is our Messy Church ministry. This missional and non-traditional model of ministry has impacted the lives of many people.  Though it just celebrated its first anniversary, 50 to 100+ people worship God in an organic and informal way at Messy Church each month.
Pastor Sue Hyosuk Yun is of many pastors who have come to First UMC to have the “Messy Church experience.”
“I think Messy Church is a great idea. The word Messy Church itself could give people who don’t go to church an impression of easy access to church. Sometimes I meet people who think that they are not holy enough to come to church,” she said. “I believe Messy Church is a great way to welcome people to church and to help them have new and positive experiences of the church. Messy Church breaks invisible barriers churched and unchurched people.”
Watch this video to learn more about Messy Church. The video was created by the Rev. Geisa Matos-Machuca and Phillis Young.

Messy Church - First UMC Manchester, NH from New England Conference UMC on Vimeo.

*The New England Conference Commission on Equitable Compensation is responsible for recommending the base compensation standards to the Annual Conference. Local churches not able to pay the full amount of the equitable or minimum compensation may receive supplemental funds, which are apportioned to all of the local churches through Mission Shares.

**The Hebrews 11 fund was established several years ago and uses money from the sale of churches and parsonages that have closed to seed new ministry. This allows the legacy of those congregations to live into the future in new ways, helping the New England Conference reach new people, more young people and more diverse people.