An Update from Pastor Ian

Our first monthly Formation Gathering started us off strong! We had a solid group of folks attend in order to discuss how the vision for our church is developing and to hear of some big and exciting upcoming changes.

The gathering also benefited from the fantastic leadership of our church’s Launch Team. The Launch Team is a group of leaders from the church, collaborating around the question, “Who is God calling us, as a Body of believers, to be?” In other words, “What is our church identity?” Our Launch team includes:

Bobby                                                              Ian Strickland
Cathleen Fagan                                             Ally Senefeld-Naber
Andrew Fitspatrick                                       Kevin Morrow
Joel Miller                                                      Jan Peck
John Moseley                                                 Mary Viato

Below is a snapshot of what we discussed in the gathering. Be on the lookout for information on September’s Formation Gathering. All are encouraged to participate!

House Keeping Items:

There are a variety of improvements headed our way in terms of our church building;
-A new paint job of the entire interior of the church
-New tables for the Gathering Place
-A projection system in the sanctuary to replace the TV’s
-New carpet or refinished hardwood on the chancel
-The removal of the center kneeling rail in front of the chancel
-Sound Panels throughout the sanctuary

Church Name Change:

In all we do, we seek to be a church for our community. While our current name, “Nast Community Church” has a rich and important history, it has, unfortunately, served as a road block to our ability to connect with many OTR residents. For those who have never heard of our church, the name “Nast” sounds like a confusing acronym. Though we have no intention of losing our heritage as the birth of German Methodism in the U.S., the reverence of history can become harmful when valued more than our current call to be a community church in Over the Rhine. Therefore, after weeks of collaboration among the Launch Team, we have decided to change our church name to “Over the Rhine Community Church.” This name allows us to communicate who we are clearly and quickly to our neighborhood and larger community. While not exclusive to OTR, this name shows where our primary investment lies.

With this said, the Launch Team decided we could only move forward with a name change if we remained committed to developing creative ways in which to preserve our historic heritage. So far, ideas in preserving our “Nast” roots have been:

-Renaming the sanctuary or Gathering Place to “William Nast Memorial
_______”
-A dedicated web page on our site with historic information
-Incorporating our historic identity into future membership classes for
anyone who wishes to join our church
-Creating a small group and/or sermon series on where we come from as
a church

This is an exciting new season for our church as a whole as we continue the hard work of discerning and living into who God is calling us to be. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ian Strickland at istrickland@hpcumc.org as well as any member of the Launch Team. Let us pray that we continually step closer in our dedication to serving the community around us in all that we do.

Pastor Ian

Cultivating Friends

Created in God’s image we are “social beings”, meant to live in relationship with others. As a community of faith we are called to embrace the stranger in our midst, so that strangers become friends, friends become disciples of Jesus Christ, and disciples become agents of transformation. As Pastor Ian leads the faith community downtown, cultivating friends, building relationships, I share with you the following update and opportunity:

New Name . . . The New Church Start Launch Team, lead by Pastor Ian, is in the process of re-visioning, refocusing (re-branding), and strategically planning a way forward that embraces God’s preferred future.

Consequently, it has been decided to change the name of Nast Community to something that reflects the vision and mission of the Church in Over the Rhine. Pastor Ian writes:
“In all we do, we seek to be a church for our community. While our current name, ‘Nast Community Church’ has a rich and important history, it has unfortunately served as a road block to our ability to connect with many OTR residents. . . . Though we have no intention of losing our heritage as the birth of German Methodism, the reverence of history can become harmful when valued more than our current call to be a community church in Over the Rhine. Therefore, after weeks of collaboration among the Launch Team, we have decided to change our church name to ‘Over the Rhine Community Church. This name allows us to communicate who we are clearly and quickly to our neighborhood and larger community. While not exclusive to OTR, this name shows where our primary investment lies.”
Please pray for our brothers and sisters as they embrace new beginnings, and seek to embrace new friends in the Washington Park area of Over the Rhine.

Second Sunday on Main . . . Second Sunday on Main is a “Block Party” on Main St., between Liberty and 12th, September 13, Noon – 5:00 pm. Over The Rhine Community Church (Formally Nast Community) will host a “KidSquare” activity tent. If you are interested in volunteering,
contact Pastor Ian (istrickland@hpcumc.org), or Rev. Nancy Turner at Phrases@fuse.net.

I look forward to seeing you in Church. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance, or a neighbor to join you.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Education Ministry Report

Preschool: We have been keeping busy in the Preschool even though our doors are closed during the summer months. Enrollment continues to increase and we continue to welcome new families to our collective preschool family. We have been preparing for a new after-school program, ‘Explore More’, that will run from 11:45-1:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for our current preschool families. Summer Fun Camp was attended by 29 campers ages 3-5 the week of August 17-21. The first day of Preschool is September 8 and our enrollment will be near 190 children this year.

Children & Family Ministry. It has been a full and exciting summer for Children and Family Ministry. We started off the summer with an awesome VBS, where we climbed Everest and learned about God’s mighty power. It was a week to remember with many at HPC coming together to serve for VBS. An average of 152 children attended each evening. Children and Family Ministry ended the summer with our annual Family Camp. Twenty-nine families attended Family Camp, with a total of 51 children. Many memories were made, and faith and relationships grew. If you haven’t experienced Family Camp – you will have to come next summer! Children and Family Ministry will be starting September off with a bang! We are excited about our ministry team of 23 children’s Sunday School teachers, who will be teaching our children using the D6 curriculum. D6 emphasis Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and connects the church and the home to help our families live as disciples of Jesus. In addition to Sunday School beginning Rally Day, September 13th, 2nd Grade Communion Class and 3rd Grade Bible are also starting as special faith milestone classes for our children. Join us for Sunday School this year!

Student Ministry. We had many of our youth students serve in mentoring roles during VBS, where they were able to demonstrate God’s love to those in elementary school in our church and community. We also had an incredible trip to Haiti with 10 individuals who were able to share the love of Jesus with Haitian children in an outdoor VBS program and help construct three homes for Haitian families. We also had a time of building up our volunteer team of adult leaders.

All students in 7th through 12th grade, can be a part of the student ministry family. We have a new team of leaders and new curriculum to begin the new school year, and want you to be a part of the fun! On September 13th, Rally Day, we will combine middle school and high school for the annual “messy party clothes party.” Our middle school students will be using the D6 curriculum for their study time this year at church and at home. Our high school students will be using small group curriculum from Life Tree Café that will shape their faith. Both groups of students will share in a fellowship meal each week. We will have several new counselors joining the Student Ministry leadership team this year.

Adult Education. A few of our adult Sunday School classes and Connect Groups did not meet this summer. However, on Rally Day, September 13th, we get back in full swing with classes. There will be 3 adult classes at the 9:30 am hour and 3 adult classes at the 11:00 am hour on Sunday mornings. There will be 1 adult class on Sunday night, a Tuesday morning and a Tuesday evening study this year. More information about the variety of classes will be in an upcoming worship insert. All classes are open. Several of our Connect Groups are receiving new people in their groups. If they fill up, we’ll work to create new ones. We want you connected. It is our hope you will take one of these opportunities to grow in your faith and Christian discipleship.

Blessings, Pastor Dave Weaver

The Dollar in My Wallet

For several years I carried a dollar in my wallet that was a bit unusual. It was a real dollar, but my friend folded it in the shape of a shirt. He shared that he keeps one in his wallet to encourage him to be a generous person. It helped remind him of the teachings of Jesus who taught us to be willing to give the shirt off of our back as well as walk a second mile with someone who required us to walk one.

My father always taught that you can only spend a dollar once. Managing money is something that is easy for some and a challenge for others. The book of Proverbs, which is wisdom literature in the Bible, has wonderful guidance about how to be wise with money. On our dollar bills we read the words: “In God We Trust.”

This Sunday’s message, “Managing Your Money,” continues our series on Proverbs, “Lifelines: Ancient Wisdom for Today.” The scripture, Proverbs 3:9-10, helps us see God’s plan for money management.

For additional help: John Fillion, a dynamic leader here among us at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, will be leading a course this fall about money management. “Earn, Save, Give: Wesley’s Simple Rules for Money” will offer tools to help class members manage money in a way that brings joy and blesses others.

God has given us the wonderful resources of time and money. We are in the process of a building a church-wide data base of our congregation’s spiritual gifts. When people serve in their area of giftedness they find energy and joy; likewise, when people try to serve where they are not gifted they often feel discouraged and depleted of joy. As you identify your spiritual gifts, we pray that you will consider how you can step up as the hands and feet of Christ, blessing the world with the abilities and talents God has given you. Please fill out the spiritual gifts sheet in your bulletin or online and attend a spiritual gifts class, listed in your bulletin. We are creating a database of these spiritual gifts so that we can effectively mobilize our congregation to serve in their areas of passion, giftedness, and skill. As we move forward we will be helping to make these wonderful words of scripture come alive in our midst:

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10

May God fill you with wisdom, courage, and strength as you manage the gifts of time and money that God has given you.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

VIM Report

This year the Volunteers in Mission Mexico Medical Team served on a team composed of nineteen doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, nursing students, translators, and helping hands. We saw a total of 225 patients in the three days we worked, and we felt good about the care we were able to give. All worked very hard to make the mission fruitful, by making sandwiches for our patients, putting together gift bags of toothbrushes and paste, crayons and coloring pages, and the students created a video project as a class requirement which was awesome. You can watch this on the HPCUMC Facebook page.

We had many blessings on this mission, in addition to the video. One amazing moment was when we took $710 in Walmart gift cards from a church in Cincinnati to the store to pay the bill for our over-the-counter medications, and when the cashier finished, the bill was $713.36. Another poignant moment was when a photo was taken of our doctor, Kris Sandlund, and our translator from Harlingen, Texas, Pastor Jake Vincent, while they were praying for a patient. Following the clinic they reported that the patient with whom they were praying was held hostage by the drug cartel, and he is living in fear for his life and the lives of his family. He has much difficulty sleeping at night.

Our first day at El Buen Pastor Church in Colonia, Francisco Madera was at our base clinic, where all the supplies are kept. The day afforded us an opportunity to see our dear friends from Mexico and get our pharmacy and supplies in order. That day our very first patient proved to be the most difficult of the mission. Gorgonia has a large goiter, which has been aggravating her for the past two years. Please pray for her during this time of preparation for surgery. The money donated to this mission helped pay for the tests and her follow-uptreatment.

Our second day was spent at City Hall in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. It is always a privilege to be asked by government officials to work in a government-owned facility. We were very pleased to be able to work in the center of town and dispense some Christian love at the same time. Even more pleasing was the fact that we were treated to lunch by the Mayor of Nuevo Progreso.

Our third day of mission was spent at the Christian deportation camp, Senda De Vida. It is just across the border from the U.S. in Reynosa, Mexico. It is such a wonderful place for newly deported individuals to be housed while they figure out the next steps in their lives. We also see people from the neighborhood surrounding the center. Hector Silva, himself a deportee from the U.S., has built this beautiful, Christian Center for the people who come here, where the staff surrounds them with prayer, worship and counseling during their visit.

This team was blessed with many monetary donations, which pay for the things the team cost does not cover. The money goes to pay for a team fee to Manos Juntas, our Mexican Methodist partner in this mission. It covers all prescription medications, the fee for translators, our lab tech, and our Mexican doctor. The donations also cover the cost of over-the-counter medications (see above), labels and bags for the medication, sandwiches for our patients, gas for our vans, and extra laboratory and x-ray expenses, and a generous donation to Senda De Vida. Each team member pays his/her own expenses for the mission, which makes the help of our donors indispensible, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Dios les bendiga! God Bless you!
-Martha Brice, West Ohio Conference VIM Team Coordinator

Ancient Wisdom for Today: Making Decisions

The book of Proverbs is perhaps the best place in the Bible to learn of biblical wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 speaks of both biblical knowledge and wisdom: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, / but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” To fear the Lord is to start on the path to knowledge, and God can then begin to provide us with wisdom through Christ, who the Bible says is wisdom itself: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Knowledge is what is gathered over time through the study or searching of the Scriptures. It can be said that wisdom, in turn, acts properly upon that knowledge and the truth is revealed.

A couple of things: I challenge you to read the whole Book of Proverbs. Read a chapter a day and reflect upon the precepts or principles presented. My guess is you will gain wisdom, insight and likely some inspiration. Go for it!

I pose this question: With all the knowledge we have; “How do we make wise decisions? When you have multiple options in front of you, how do you determine which is the best choice? How do you avoid a bad choice?

If you are anything like me, you want to make wise decisions. There are times I have done very well in decision-making and there are times I have blown it big time. So I’ve had to teach myself how to make the best decision I possibly can. There’s a process in wise decision-making which I’ll briefly share with you this Sunday morning in worship. It has helped me in making better choices. It just might help you!

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Dave

Nast Community

Nast has a number of exciting updates from the last few months as we continue to open up the church doors and participate in the life of Over the Rhine(OTR) and Downtown Cincinnati. In June, Nast served as a site for Cincinnati’s Fringe Festival. Over the course of ten days, the Nast building was host to hundreds of residents as they gathered together to celebrate the city’s appreciation for performance arts. With around two performances each evening, Nast enjoyed the new life brought in by local actors, writers, dancers, and artists. As the event was organized by OTR’s Know Theatre, God is already providing strong connections between the church and neighborhood.

We’re also ramping up our dedication to prayer in the church. In May we held our first church-wide prayer service. In lue of the typical church service, we asked folks to celebrate together in song and pray throughout and around the church. The people of Nast participated in communal prayer, breath prayer around the outside of the church, and abstract prayer through the arts. In the end, we were left with four banners in our sanctuary with the names Worship, Community, Mission, and Equity. These were the four images that God has given us as we continue discerning our vision for the church.

These four banners will also serve as Nast’s first independent sermon series beginning on August 9. For eight weeks, we will focus on how God is calling Nast Community UMC into Worship, Community, Mission and Equity. This series will involve a number of communal responses including a forgiveness/healing service and prayer walking the neighborhood of OTR. All are welcome to join!

A very exciting development at Nast is our new Launch Team. Having identified Easter of 2016 as Nast’s “launch date” when we will celebrate how God has reformed Nast Community UMC into a new and revitalized congregation, we now see this current season as a “launch” period. The Launch Team, therefore, will serve until next Easter as a group of leaders and collaborators around further discerning our church identity and call. The Launch Team’s first official meeting met after service on July 26. This is a clear example of God’s raising up leadership from among the church, for the church!

As a final note and invitation, Lumenocity is coming to OTR this week, August 5-9, and Nast is eager to participate in the festivities. For the weekend, we will be hosting a hospitality tent on our vacant lot at 1330 Race Street. From Friday though Sunday, from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm, we will be handing out waters and other cold treats, hosting some fun yard games, and offering prayer for anyone in the area. We need volunteers! If you would like to join in, contact Pastor Ian at istrickland@hpcumc.org as soon as possible.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support from Hyde Park, and we look forward to seeing you on your next visit to Nast!

Pastor Ian Strickland

Ancient Wisdom for Today

Proverbs reminds us, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight. In the 21st century we’ve got it backwards: Get insight (knowledge) and whatever else you get, get wisdom. There’s a prevalent thought in society that wisdom comes with old age. Arguably, that is true; however, it is also true that one need not wait for old age before one gains wisdom. Wisdom that comes from God can be received at anytime, at any age.

It’s been said: “Knowledge is power”, and that may very well be true. But it is also true that Wisdom is power-full; annointed with God’s wisdom we are “power-filled”, empowered for life. Chuck Swindoll, in his book Wisdom for the Way writes:
“When we operate in the sphere of the wisdom of God,when it is at work in our minds and in our lives, we look at life through lenses of perception, and we respond to it in calm confidence. There’s a remarkable absence of fear. We are not seized with panic. . . . Why? Because we see it with God-given objectivity. And we handle it in God’s wisdom. . . . The wisdom of God gives us balance, strength, and insight. None of these is a natural trait, each is a by-product of wisdom.” (p.14-15)

There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. We can “know” a lot and yet remain captive to worry, uncertainty, and fear. Possessing God’s wisdom, we possess a certainty that overcomes our perceptions, and adds value to life.

Join us for our new sermon series: Lifelines: Ancient Wisdom for Today. See you in Church!

In Christ,
Pastor Doug