Community Highlight

As a church, we are looking forward to the Worship @ 11 service that will be beginning sometime in the fall. Many are asking God that this service will meet a need for worship within our current congregation and reach out to meet the needs of our community to bring more people to Christ. Some have asked how the Worship @ 11 service will affect our Children and Family programs during the 11:00 am hour. We think the Worship @ 11 service will be positive change for our children and families, and here is why.

Both Children’s Choirs, the Sunshine Choir (3rd-6th grades) and the Joy Singers (K-2nd grade) will continue to meet during the 11:00 hour after the Worship @ 11 service begins. Because it is important for children to be a part of the church in worship and to learn to worship God by attending services with their families, children will attend the first part of the Worship @ 11 service with their families. This is a continuation of what are doing now at the 11:00 service. After the Children’s Moment during the Worship @ 11 service, children will be invited to either attend choir or stay in the service with their parents.
Our Children’s Choirs are a wonderful way for our kids to learn about worship. Children’s Choirs will be singing in worship services many times throughout the year. It is always a joy to have our children lead us in worshipping God!

Preschool Worship is taking the place of Kids Worship this fall and is for preschool age children (3-5 years old) during the current 11:00 worship service and will continue with the new Worship @ 11 service. Preschoolers will be invited to attend Preschool Worship, like Children’s Choir, if they do not stay in worship with their family.

For families that are worshipping together during the Worship @ 11 service, updated Children’s Worship Bags will be provided for services, and a weekly Children’s Bulletin that goes along with the sermon will be available for children attending the service.

Our 9:30 Sunday School will remain unchanged by the start of the Worship @ 11 service. This hour is a designated educational hour for both children and adults – a time for faith development and relationship development.

We hope you will join us at the Worship @ 11 service and for Sunday School at 9:30! Together we will grow in our love and understanding of Jesus and as a church that loves others as we worship!

Sara O’ Connor
Director of Children’s Ministries

What is Worship?

“Worship is delighting in the love of God.” (Jerry Haas)

“Worship is an encounter with the living God through the risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, who moves them to worship in diverse ways according to their needs.” (United Methodist Book of Worship)

“Worship is the gathering of God’s people around Word and Sacrament. Here the community affirms its calling, receives gifts of grace, is nourished and strengthened, and sent back into the world to love as God loves.” (Michael W. Foss, ELCA pastor)

Each worship service contains these basic elements: Entrance (coming together in God’s name for prayer, praise, music, and song), Proclamation and Response (scripture, preaching, music, offerings of gifts, prayer, and service for the world and for one another), Thanksgiving and Communion (in services in which Holy Communion is not observed, thanks for God’s mighty acts in Christ are shared), and Sending Forth (God’s people are sent into ministry with the blessing of the Lord).

As we enter the fall, I celebrate the following:

  • Our music staff of Neal Hamlin, Director of Music, Brenda Portman, organist and Chris Schaljo, our new worship leader for Worship @ 11. Neal and Brenda continue to bless us with their strong musical ability and their commitment to serve Christ with excellence. Chris comes to us with a Masters of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with strength in a variety of music styles including jazz, blues, and gospel. The first gathering for “The Gift,” the musicians who will serve at Worship @ 11, will be held on October 3.
  • Our faithful ushers, greeters, hospitality servants, Viox staff, sanctuary care volunteers, and many who step forward to welcome people into God’s house each week.
  • Our congregation who longs to be a community church who reaches more people for Christ and is committed to expanding worship offerings to connect with more people from our neighborhood through worship. By Christmas we will offer three styles of worship: 8:00 and 9:30 am: Liturgical and Traditional; Worship @ 11, a new worship expression with various styles of music, and Over-the-Rhine Community Church, the new church start where contemporary and gospel music blesses worshipers.
  • Upcoming Vision gatherings, held on Sunday, October 4 and Wednesday, October 7, where Doug and I will share a vision for where God is leading us in 2016.

This Sunday, we will look at what it means to live God’s grace as United Methodists. Come and join us as we celebrate our heritage and what it means to follow Jesus daily.
May God richly bless you this week!
Peace,
Pastor Cathy Johns

Over- the- Rhine Community Church

We have officially and publicly changed our church name from “Nast Community UMC” to “Over-the-Rhine Community Church”. While this is an exciting step in our calling as a new church start, continuing to grow into a community church for Over-the-Rhine and the city of Cincinnati, this shift can bring with it many questions. To serve as a source of clarity around this decision, I’d like to share some of the reasons behind the name change, as well as plans to maintain our connection to the historic Nast-Trinity UMC.

This decision has been a remarkably collaborative process. Over-the-Rhine Community Church has been blessed with many profoundly devoted people who are truly committed to what God is doing in Over-the-Rhine. The name change came out of significant conversation and reflection among the church’s Launch Team, made up of 9 leaders from the church and myself. The purpose of this collaboration was to insure that significant changes, such as this name change, had ownership from the church community.

The primary reason for this name change is to better reach the current demographic of Over-the-Rhine. The name “Nast-Trinity” still carries much familiarity and appreciation among the faithful church-goers who have been affiliated with this historic community for decades and even generations. However, for many of the residents of Over-the-Rhine, both new and long-term, who do not identify with a church community, the name and history of Nast-Trinity is simply unknown. While these assumptions should not cast a negative light on the history of Nast-Trinity UMC, they do represent a disconnection between the church and those outside of the church.

While the heritage belonging to the name Nast-Trinity is significant and unique, maintaining it as the primary identifier of this local church has been causing unfortunate stumbling blocks to connecting with the community. Eliminating confusion and clarifying who we are as a church for the neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine will allow us to more fluidly touch the lives of the people living here. This is the primary reason for the Launch Team’s decision to change the church name to Over-the-Rhine Community Church.

With that said, this decision was made with the caveat that we would do all we could to maintain a rich and active appreciation for our historic heritage. So far, ideas for maintaining the history of Nast-Trinity have been including historic information on the new website, renaming the sanctuary or Gathering Place “Nast Memorial”, and including this information in future new membership classes, so that anyone joining this church will know where we began. This is where the historic information, much of which has been maintained by Hyde Park Community UMC, will prove invaluable in this transition. I truly believe that by changing the name to a neutral Over-the-Rhine Community Church, we will be able to be more intentional in remembering our living heritage as the first German-Methodist Church.

In response to our connection with the United Methodist Church, the title “UMC” was left off the new name of Over-the-Rhine Community church intentionally. The reason for this is that the primary demographic moving into Over-the-Rhine tends to, at best, not identify with a church denomination and, at worst, has had negative experiences with denominations and, therefore, may initially be turned off by a church tied to one. In light of this reality, the Launch Team decided the simple title “Over-the-Rhine Community Church”, would best represent the church we are hoping to become. The bottom line is that we’re hoping to make this church as welcoming and hospitable to the community as possible, while not losing our theological and heritage integrity.

Over-the-Rhine Community Church is and will continue to be a United Methodist Church. We are in full connection to the district, conference and overall Church and have no intention of hiding that component of our identity. It will be clear in any information about the church on the website, and we will maintain all of the UMC policy, theology, and doctrine.

Dropping UMC from the front sign is simply a way of being able to control this part of our church identity in an environment where folks may have assumptions and misconceptions of what the UMC is.

I hope this information is helpful in understanding why we’ve made these changes and how we intend to appreciate and respect our identity as a United Methodist Church, coming from the historic Nast-Trinity UMC.

Pastor Ian Strickland

Amazing Grace!

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night; thine eye diffused a quick-ening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee.” The fourth verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn “And Can It Be that I should Gain” reflects one of the pillars of Methodist theology: a life bathed in God’s grace!

John Wesley (1703-1791), the founding father of Methodism, and brother of Charles Wesley, says, “It was free grace that formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into him a living soul and stamped on that soul the image of God . . . The same free grace continues to us . . . for there is nothing we are, or have, or do which can deserve the least thing at God’s hand.”(John Wesley’s Little Instruction Book, page 34-35) God’s “means of grace” leads to a transformational experience of God’s grace. Transformed through the grace of God, we are compelled to partner with God in working to bring the kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven!

For the Wesley’s (John and Charles), and United Methodism today, Ephesians 2:8-10 defines our relationship with God, and our relationship with others:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It’s God’s amazing grace that redeems, restores, and makes us whole. It’s God’s amazing grace that clothes us in love, to be ambassadors of love!

This week, “The Methodist Way: Understanding God’s Grace,” focuses on the stages of God’s grace as we live in relationship with God. Next week, “Living God’s Grace”, will focus on the fruits of God’s grace as we live in relationship with one another. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you for worship!

In Christ,
Doug

“Workin’ 9 to 5!”

The chorus of this song continues: “It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it!”

Whether you work at home, at school, or in an office, we all have daily demands. Our “to do” lists seem endless regardless of our season in life.

This Sunday’s message, “Ancient Wisdom for Today: First Things First,”reminds us that all work is holy. Proverbs reminds us: “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Our Servant Leadership Board, pastors, and staff are delighted to welcome new people to the music staff. Christopher Schaljo, who holds a Masters of Music from Oberlin College, joins us as the new Worship Leader/Producer for Worship @ 11. This new worship expression, planned to begin in late fall, will be blessed by his vocal and keyboard skills and experience in leading praise and worship teams. Christopher will also bring leadership to our handbell ringers as our Carillon Choir director. We also welcome Elizabeth Hickerson, a trained music educator, who joins us as the new director of Joy Singers. Additionally, Neal Hamlin welcomes five new choral scholars: Chelsea Duval-Major, mezzo-soprano; Rob Stahley, tenor; Colleen Beucher, soprano; Stephen Variames, bass; and Tina Kerstan, soprano; all offering vocal leadership in the Choir as we enter the fall.

May God fill you with peace as you commit your work to the Lord this week.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns

The Word for This Week

This Sunday’s message, “The Weight of Words,” reminds us that the language we use to express our thoughts is powerful. When we gather to worship we seek to find words to express our thanks to God, articulate our needs to God, and celebrate the joy of Christian fellowship.

Celebrate which means to rejoice, show happiness at something, praise something is an appropriate word for us to consider. We have many things to celebrate here at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church:

In August our church family hosted a great celebration, a block party for our community, welcoming our neighbors with music, free food, games, and fun. Thanks to all who served!

Our personnel team of the Servant Leadership Board and music staff celebrates the addition of new staff: Elizabeth Hickerson, the new director of Joy Singers and two new choral scholars to the Cathedral Choir. In addition, we welcome Christopher Schaljo, our new Worship Leader /Producer for Worship @ 11. Christopher will also serve as our new hand bell director for the Carillon Choir. He will be introduced on Sunday, September 13. Thanks to all who served on the interview team and participated the nights of the auditions.

We celebrate our mentoring relationship with Rothenburg Preparatory Academy in Over-the-Rhine. Forty mentors from our church family have been tutoring these at-risk children, most of them beginning with second grade students who are now in fifth or sixth grade. Each mentor is paired with one student for 45 – 50 minutes once per week. We are praying for another group of mentors to begin with this year’s second graders. Please contact Sarah Putnam for details: sputman@hpcumc.org.

When we gather for worship we will celebrate both the life-giving power of the Word of God and the strengthening power of the Table of Christ as we celebrate Holy Communion as God’s family.

I look forward to celebrating the Lord’s Day with you this weekend!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy