It’s a New Thing! The Visitor Luncheon

After hearing a lot about Radical Hospitality you may be wondering, so what’s radical about our hospitality at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church? Something new we began this year is hosting a Visitor Luncheon.

Hospitality and friendship are our only goals for this event. We are not  recruiting new members or trying to sign people up for our mission projects. We merely want our visitors to feel welcome, to share a meal and have an opportunity to get acquainted. We have had two so far and are planning a third for November 2.

Lunch is a delicious home cooked meal with fabulous, radical desserts. We spend our time together getting to know each other. We share how we came to be part of HPCUMC.

We are developing our list of invitees for the November luncheon now. We will have invitations in the registration pads. If you are sitting in worship with a visitor please make sure they receive the invitation. Join your hospitality team in becoming radicals for welcoming all people into our community.

Jan Seymour

Stay in Love With God

Bishop Rueben Job wrote a book, “Three Simple Rules”, based on the teachings of John Wesley (father of Methodism): Do no harm, Do good, Stay in love with God.

The “Three Simple Rules” are discipleship pathways based on the teachings of Jesus. In Luke’s account of Jesus’ teaching on judging others (Luke 6:37-42), we see with new eyes, and hear with new ears, what it means to “stay in love with God.”

Judgment, we have convinced ourselves, is a way for us to gain superior moral footing. However, in reality, it is a way to marginalize those unlike us, and disenfranchise others based on stereotypes, accusation, rumors, and perception. Consequently, we all judge others, but yet we dislike being judged.

If we’re to “stay in love with God” we will embrace God’s call to love as we’ve been loved. Bishop Job writes:
“The question Jesus asked of Peter in John 21:15ff, “Do you love me?”reveals a great deal about the essentials of our relationship with God. Three times Jesus asked, “Do you love me?” and three times Peter answered in the affirmative. Staying in love with God was the primary issue of a faithful life then, and it is today. For from such a life of love for God will flow the goodness and love of God to the world.” (p.57)

Practicing Radical Hospitality moves me away from a life of exclusion to a life of embracing. Embracing the stranger, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the lonely, and the vulnerable in our midst, is the way of love; and a way of “staying in love with God”! In love with God, there’s no room for judgmentalism and condemnation.

I look forward to seeing you in church as we strive to stay in love with God by embracing God’s call to radical hospitality! Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance, or neighbor to join you!

In Christ,
Doug

Nast Trinity Sunday Dinner Ministry

This week’s article is written by Ruth Young, who heads up the dinner ministry at the Nast Trinity Downtown Campus.

The Nast Trinity Sunday dinners started in 1983 when Sally and Ed Berg, Urban Missionaries who came to Cincinnati for one year but never left, felt called to feed the hungry neighbors they saw around the church every Sunday. Sally recruited partner churches and other organizations to provide food and volunteers every week. She supervised and hosted as the guests were served—no cafeteria line—hot meals. My 25+ years of serving in this ministry began when Hyde Park Community UMW answered Sally’s call. Our church has provided and served the meals at least three Sundays per year from the early days.

When Sally retired after 25 years of Sundays, it took four of us to replace her:  Mary Ann Foster, Jill Colaw, Diane Weaver, and I, joined more recently by Barbara and Jim Hunter,  taking turns confirming food and volunteers, hosting and assisting with serving each week. Yes, there are Sundays when I am dragging, wanting nothing more than a quiet afternoon at home, but once I get there I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I am always blessed by the energetic and committed volunteers and by the smiles of the friends I have made among our regular dinner guests. No, I don’t know all of their names or stories, but a warm hug and hello make all the difference.

Why does our church and others in the Cincinnati area continue to support this ministry? A couple shared these comments recently after their first experience of serving Sunday dinner:   “For the most part, the people we met warmed our hearts, broke our hearts and made us realize even more that we have so much to be thankful for.  As we were walking back to our car, we passed the City Gospel Mission and there were some men from the first table we served and they waved.  WOW!  We had made friends in that brief moment of time.  You can see and feel God working in this area of Cincinnati.”

How can you get involved? When we invite 250 guests for dinner every Sunday, we always need a lot of help! This means that HPCUMC serves about 750 dinners each year and Nast Trinity services almost 12,000 per year. On the Sundays when we provide and serve the meal, you can make a chicken casserole, bake brownies, or join the serving team. I also welcome offers of “call me if you need me” for those weeks when we need more help at the last minute.  If none of these work for you, we also welcome donations to cover the cost of paper products and beverages.  Before each Hyde Park serving week, you can ask questions and sign up for a task at our table in the Welcome Center.

The Nast Trinity Sunday Dinner Ministry has blessed my life in more ways that I can count,  and I would love to have the opportunity to share this blessing with you.

Ruth Young

Ronda Deel assisted in the writing of this article

Listening Well

Pastor Cathy Johns

A wise pastor once told me, “Cathy, just remember as you begin your studies to become a pastor…God gave us two ears and one mouth.” As an extrovert, I struggle to listen twice as much as I speak. Listening well is important to me, but sometimes it is a challenge.

When Jesus talks with the woman from Samaria at the well, Jesus shows us how to listen well:

L ook at the other person (John 4:7)
I nvest in people (John 4:13-14)
S top whatever else you are doing (John 4:9)
T hink about them and what they are saying (John 4:25-26)
E mpathize with them (John 4:18)
N otice their body language

Listening is an act of hospitality. When we listen to another person, really hearing them share from their hearts, it is a way of honoring them. It also extends authentic hospitality.

May God help us to use our ears and our hearts as we lovingly listen to each other.

Peace,
Pastor Cathy

Worship Hospitality

The hospitality we offer is an expression of our relationship with Jesus Christ and our desire to welcome others into that relationship.  Today, we celebrate the worship hospitality ministries of our church with this reflection from Beverly Good:

Being a member since 1975 has been a blessing.  I’ve received lots of support, Christian love and spiritual growth from my church family.  Serving as an usher has presented me with a great opportunity to greet, share and give hugs to many entering the sanctuary on Sundays.  A few years ago a wonderful Christian, Vera Hurd, shared a heart to heart hug with me and my hugging was changed forever.  This has been very meaningful as I show the love of God with a heart to heart.  I usher at the sanctuary door next to the elevator at 9:30 A.M., so if you need a hug you can get a heart to heart, they are no charge.  Thanks be to God for the things that He has done. 

There are many opportunities to welcome people to worship each week. Consider serving as an Usher, Communion Server, Liturgist, Choir member, on the Technology Team, on the Hospitality Team or on an Altar Guild which cares for the altar and the worship paraments.  Contact Lisa Foley in the church office at (513) 871-1345 for more information.

 

Welcoming the Other

Over the course of my ministry I’ve had the opportunity to visit a lot of churches, and have been involved in numerous conversations with regard to the identity and character of a particular faith community.  Inevitably I would hear: “we are a friendly church”  or, “we are an inviting and welcoming church”, only to find out through a visit on Sunday morning: welcoming, inviting, and friendly to those they know, yes.  Welcoming, inviting, and friendly to the stranger in their midst, well, not so much!

Radical Hospitality, the kind of hospitality God calls us to, is a hospitality that goes beyond just being, nice.  As followers of Christ radical hospitality is extended through our actions: “If you’ve done it to the least of these brothers and sisters, you’ve done it to me” (Matthew 25:40); and in our prayers: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).  Radical Hospitality involves embracing diversity – the kind of diversity we learned through song as a child:  Red and yellow black and white all are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world!  As followers of Christ we are to, as St. Benedict puts it: “Welcome the other”!

The question we should always be asking ourselves (individually and as a community of faith) is are we are practicing the hospitality of Jesus?  Answering this question starts by embracing our diversity.  Father Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt in their book, Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love, write:

“The hardest thing about all these people is their absolute otherliness, which cannot be tamed or ignored.  They are going to remain unlike us.  We are not going to understand them.  We should celebrate this.  We need them to be different from us.  It fits in the way the universe has been designed.” (p.85)

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is a diverse community of faith; and God is calling us to widen our circle further.  I look forward to serving in ministry with you as we partner with God to bring His “kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven”.  See you in church!

In Christ,
Doug

 

Interfaith Hospitality Network

Family homelessness exists in Cincinnati, and HPCUMC has chosen to be a part of the solution by volunteering as a “Host Congregation” for IHN, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati.  IHN is a family homeless shelter located in Walnut Hills at 990 Nassau St.in Walnut Hills.  Every year, HPCUMC commits to serve as a Host Congregation for 4 weeks.  I am grateful to the many volunteers (including staff) who serve for IHN and to our congregation for the financial support budgeted every year to support this ministry.

We just recently concluded our 2nd 2014 Host Week. During that week, we served 4 families; 3 single parents, 1 single grand-mother and 11 children (the 41 year old grandmother had 5 of her grandchildren with her).  Our guests stay with us at our Hyde Park campus during the week; arriving by bus around 5:15 p.m. each night.  We serve them dinner, visit with the adults, play with the children and provide warm, safe beds for the night (Sunday school classrooms are made up with beds and serve as the guests’ bedrooms for the week). After a breakfast on the go, the families leave around 6:45 a.m. to head back to the IHN Day Center where the parents work on their case plan, children are shuttled to school, etc.

Approximately 45 individuals from our church signed up to serve for our last host week: some prepared meals; some just came and ate with our families as our dinner hosts; some helped with the laundry after the week ended; some just came to play cards or color with the children; others donated to our pantry supplies; and still others volunteered to sleep over for the night (in their own room) in order to help get the guests off in the morning.  The grandmother (with 5 of her 10 grandchildren with her), could not have been more gracious and appreciative of our hospitality.  I was amazed by her love for her grandchildren. We all celebrated with her on Wednesday of the week as she had finally completed all the paperwork and purchased gym shoes so that all 5 children were able to go to school for their first day.  No easy feat when you are homeless, but she did it with a smile on her face.

God directs us specifically to care for the poor, feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.  Nothing could be more clear, and IHN enables us to do that in a caring and respectful manner.  As a volunteer, I consider it an honor to be able to serve these families, and I believe others would say the same.  Is it easy?  No, not always.  Do I have the time?  No, not usually.  Do I wish we could do more? Yes.  Do I wonder what will happen to Pedro, Margherita, Maria, Julianna and Erianna (the 5 grandchildren) who stayed with us last week? Yes.  Do I pray for them? Yes, always.

But 4 families at a time, one week at a time, HPCUMC makes a difference, and maybe one day Cincinnati won’t need IHN, but right now it does.  To find out more about IHN, please visit the website,  www.Ihncincinnati.org, and if you think this might be a ministry where your gifts could make a difference please contact me (laural.warren@ge.com) or Sarah Putman (871-1345; sputman@hpcumc.org)  and we promise to find a spot for you.    We have 2 more host weeks coming up before the end of the year: October 5th-12th and November 30th-Dec. 7th.

Laura Warren

 

 

A Review of a South Carolina Gem: The McCutchen House

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Our son, Blake, is a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.  During one visit we discovered “The McCutchen House” right on the “Horseshoe” of campus, a lovely, open green space.  It is a part of the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management.  Students who are studying to be chefs, owners of clubs, and those majoring in Hospitality Management are able to work in this lovely, charming Southern gem.

The service was gracious and attentive and the food was outstanding, not to mention reasonable. As I was leaving I found myself thinking, “You can practice on me any day….that was amazing!”

As a Christian what does it mean to embrace and practice radical hospitality?  The Benedictine monks seem to understand this, both in theory and practice.  Several years ago I attended a seminar at a Benedictine monastery.  Within ten minutes of my arrival, I happy that I was there.  The welcome was genuine; the food was delightful.  I felt as if I was among old friends yet I had just met these gracious people.  They exceeded my expectations in every way.

What would happen if we as God’s representatives in the world exceeded the expectations of each person who came through the doors of our homes and our churches? For the month of September we will be exploring what it means to be a person of hospitality in the world and in the Church.  We can be part of the transforming love of God as strangers become friends, friends become disciples, and disciples change the world.

May God richly bless you this week and always!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy