The 20,000 Foot View

What is a 20,000 foot view?   If you can remember your last flight in an airplane you know that things look much different from 4 ½ miles up!  There are also beautiful patterns that come from ordinary fields of soybeans and corn.  The squarely cut fields form a mosaic.

As Doug mentioned last week we value communication and transparency.  Here are a few “big picture” views to help you better understand the current reality at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church:

+Our People Several vital ministries are supported by Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church because our people have stepped up to offer their time, talents, and money, including:  The Center for Respite Care, Stephen Ministry (placing compassionate, trained listeners with people in a time of need), Job Search Focus Group, Interfaith Hospitality Network (offering food and shelter for those in need), Madison Education and Assistance Center, Wesley Chapel Mission Center, Wesley Services, Rothenberg School Tutoring Program, The Hyde Park Center for Older Adults, Habitat for Humanity, and the Downtown Campus at Nast Trinity which coordinates the serving of breakfast and dinner each Sunday.   Global missions that we support include Germany, Haiti, Liberia, and Russia.

+Our Finances Our budgeted needs through July 20th are $1,434,500.  We have received $1,246,470. Our apportionments, Hyde Park Community United Methodist’s district and annual conference commitments that support mission and ministry, are paid quarterly and for the first half of the year was $160,567, which has been paid in full.

+Our Building Renovations on the bathrooms continue to move forward with excellence.  Preliminary conversations about the Master Plan for our building will begin this fall.  Bill Baker and Greg Rogers, from the Servant Leadership Board and the Property Team, are bringing leadership to this process.

This Sunday’s message, “24/7 Joy:  Reducing Conflict,” is based on Philippians 2:1-8.   May God richly bless you and your loved ones with deep, abiding joy!


Pastor Cathy

How Does This Work?

A core value of Cathy’s and mine is communication and transparency.  One of the questions we have been asked more than once is how does the Co-Senior Pastor model work?  What follows is my attempt at a broad stroke overview.

Preaching:  As a rule Cathy and I will rotate preaching between the Grace Campus, and the Downtown Campus (every other week).   In this time of defining what it means to be One Church – Two Campuses, we believe it a priority for the Senior Pastors to be visible, in the pulpit, in both places.

Responsibilities:   Cathy and I will bring Senior Pastor Leadership according to the areas of our giftedness.  For example:

Servant Leadership Board (SLB)– Both Cathy and I will bring leadership and work with the Executive Team (Chair, Vice Chair, and Director of Administration) on meeting agenda and schedule.  With regard to the specific teams on the SLB, Senior Pastor leadership will be as follows:

Leadership Development: Cathy
Communication Team: Doug
Visioning Team: Cathy
Personnel Team: Cathy and Doug
Audit Team: Doug
Property Team: Doug
Finance Team: Doug

Equipping Team – Cathy and I will lead, and supervise, the following areas/individuals:
Doug: Director of Administration, and the Director of Communication
Cathy: Director of Education, and the Director of Congregational Care

Additional Areas of oversight:
Doug: Community Ministry and Global Outreach
Cathy: Staff Development, Worship, And New Member Assimilation

This is the “big picture” view, please let either Cathy or I know if you have any questions.  We are excited to be a part of the family called Hyde Park Community, and we look forward to serving in ministry with you!

In Christ,


Choosing Joy

Most of us would like to believe that joy is a by-product of a good day.  The opposite is true:  if you choose to claim the joy that is yours as a child of God, then you will have a good day!  William Barclay wrote: “We are chosen for joy. However hard the Christian way, it is both in the traveling and in the goal, the way of joy.”

Joy, simply put, is realizing who and whose we are: children of the living God.

Paul, the greatest missionary of all time, writes about “pressing on toward the goal.”  Join us this Sunday as we continue to study the book of Philippians, known as the epistle of joy.

Part of joy is celebration!  Join me in celebrating this week:

HOME GATHERINGS UPDATE:   The first five home gatherings were held this week in the homes of some of our members.  Thank you to our hosts and all who attended!   Groups shared joys from their connection with Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church and hopes and dreams for the future.    The information gleaned from these gatherings will be instrumental in bringing shape to the vision that we will share during a Vision Week/Weekend this fall.  Please sign up and participate in one of these gatherings this summer.  Pastor Doug and I want to listen and learn from you.

SUMMER IMPACT UPDATE:  Our congregation hosted missions teams this week from Arcola UMC in Illinois, Bethel UMC, and Water’s Edge UMC.  9 adults and 43 youth participated with us. They served at Stepping Stones, New Life Furniture, Hyde Park Center for Older Adults, the Downtown Campus of HPCUMC, Lakota Lakes Literacy Program, MEAC, Wesley Community’s Meals on Wheels program, Center for Respite Care, and Wesley Chapel Mission Center.  Thanks to everyone who has stepped up to serve this week and enable these youth and adults to make a difference in our community.

May God help you to choose joy this week – no matter what comes your way –  as you embrace your identity as a child of God!


Pastor Cathy Johns


24/7 JOY

Joy versus Happiness . . .

In today’s world we’ve come to confuse happiness and joy, and we need to be continually reminded that there is a difference.  I’ve come to appreciate and embrace the following distinction:  Happiness is dependent upon external things; Joy is internal.

My “happiness” is dependent on my circumstances. How “happy” I am is dependent on what I am experiencing in my life.  Thus, my external encounters shape, and form, my happiness.

My Joy in life comes from within; is present in spite of what is externally happening to me.  My Joy is a condition of my heart, and reflection of my soul, which is why the Psalmist proclaims: “Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  (Ps. 51:10)!  Joy is a gift of God, which allows us to live above our circumstances and not under them.  That’s why Nehemiah proclaims: “Do not grieve, for thejoyoftheLord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b)

Consequently, my joy is not dependent on my happiness, but the depth of my joy can alter the level of my happiness.  That’s why John Wesley (founding father of Methodism) can write:

“The sons and daughters of God are able in a sense to laugh at violence when it comes – to laugh at economic hardship, pain, hell, and the grave.  For they are already acquainted with the One who finally holds the keys of Death and Death’s domain.” (John Wesley’s Little Instruction Book, p.107)

We are beginning a six-week sermon series based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “24/7 Joy”.  Philippians has come to be known as “The Book of Joy”, because despite the hardships, disappointments, and discouragement Paul and the Christian community are facing, they refuse to allow the external circumstances of life rob them of their joy, which is found in, and empowered through, their relationship with God, and the anointing of God’s spirit!

I look forward to walking with you through the book of Philippians as we learn how to “live above our circumstances”.  Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance, or neighbor to join you in the coming weeks as we embrace what it means to move beyond happiness and possess an always everywhere, and at all times Joy!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Doug