Imagine No Malaria- A Concerted Effort

Imagine No Malaria is a concerted worldwide effort by the people of the United Methodist Church to end deaths from malaria in Africa. It has already shown positive results. However, there is still work to do. Every 60 seconds, someone dies from malaria even though it is a preventable and curable disease. The majority of deaths involve children under age 5 and pregnant women.

The approach by the United Methodist Church is comprehensive and involves 4 areas:

• Prevention: Nothing But Nets program providing mosquito nets, draining standing water, and proper sanitation.
• Education: Training community-based workers to recognize symptoms and dispel myths.
• Communication: Teaching the need for and how to use mosquito nets, radio broadcasting lifesaving information to communities.
• Treatment: Hospitals and clinics providing rapid diagnostic kits and lifesaving medications.

HPCUMC has committed to contribute $50,000 over the next two years to the Imagine No Malaria Conference Campaign. The Hyde Park Church Endowment will match dollar for dollar up to $25,000 for a total of $50,000.

The first phase of our campaign is the “Bring Change for Change.” This is a family affair involving the children and youth of our congregation. Fill those boxes with your change! The filled boxes will be consecrated during the church services on November 8th. Your change can make a real change.

Phase two of the campaign will involve a Christmas alternative giving opportunity. Christmas cards will be available in the Welcome Center during the holidays with the proceeds going to the Imagine No Malaria campaign. It is a true Christian gift that can mean so much. Imagine No Malaria will continue to be a visible way to put our faith into action to permanently eradicate malaria for our brothers and sisters in Africa. Just Imagine… No More Malaria!

Dr . Warren and Karen Webster

Join Us…

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church will be sending a mission team to Samara United Methodist Church in Samara, Russia, June 22 – June 30, 2016. The mission team will be lead by Kevin Betts and myself.

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, and Samara United Methodist Church have been ministry partners since 1996. This trip will mark the 20th anniversary of our first trip to Samara, Russia. We will work alongside our Russian brothers and sisters in Samara UMC’s Helping Hand ministry, and be involved in other areas of outreach as directed by the Pastor of Samara UMC. In addition we will be involved in some light renovation projects that will include painting. We will worship together, study together, and grow deeper in our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, together.

Samara is the sixth largest city in Russia, with a population of 1.2 million people. Government support for those in need is very limited, and Samara UMC has stepped in to fill the gap. Through our partnership, we provide the spiritual, financial, and psychological help that sends the message: “you are not alone”.

Kevin Betts will hold Informational Meetings on Sunday November 8 at 11:00 am and 12:00 pm in the Welcome Center. If you are interested in finding out more about the trip please join us for a time of information sharing and dialogue on November 8.

This is a great opportunity to serve, as the body of Christ, in another culture. Join us, June 22 – June 30, 2016! Let me know if you have any questions. May God’s blessings abound, as we love others, as Christ Jesus loves us. See you in Church!

In Christ,
Doug Johns

Go Share it on the Mountain…or Maybe Tweet about It?

Every week we leave worship with our mission to, “share the love of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati, and the world.” While the ways in which we carry out this mission have changed over the ages, the idea of sharing the good news has never been a foreign concept to Methodists. Since the denomination’s earliest beginnings, we have been all about sharing the news of Jesus with all that we can; but in today’s world with its constant distractions and commitments, it can be hard to decide where to even begin to share this good news.

Tasks that previously took multiple people and resources can now be accomplished with a magic screen kept in your pocket. New ways for people to interact with each other in the form of social media and personal technology make sure to keep us plugged in, connected and online at all times. All of this connection can certainly be overwhelming and often results in the question of, “what’s the point of [insert social media name here]?”

The history of social media and world is still being written. I think we are already able to see some of the reasons people turn to it. One reason is people desire community. No one likes to be alone, and we seek a sense of family and community in a group setting, even if the community exists digitally. Another reason people like to “connect,” is they also enjoy extending their real world community. Even if a particular club or activity group does not have an online presence, individual members of real world groups individually exist online and can still connect. While this social media engagement is cool and trendy, is it actually a tool we have to use to share the Good News?”

John Wesley writes in the preface to the 1739 edition of Hymns and Sacred Poems:
Solitary religion is not to be found there. ‘Holy solitaries’ is a phrase no more consistent with the gospel than holy adulterers. The gospel of Christ knows of no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness.

This bit of Wesleyan wisdom helps to shed some light on these new ways to connect. Just as Jesus connected with all that he could in His travels and teachings, we are not meant to go alone on our journey. As Wesley said, “holy solitaries” do not exist and we are tasked / should crave the opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. It doesn’t matter how we connect but only that we do connect. God calls us to know one another, love one another, and serve one another, and he does not care how we go about it. So tweet about it, share about it, write someone a letter, paint a sign, pin it, post it or shout about it; it doesn’t matter how we connect and share the love of Jesus with those around us, we just need to go out and fill them with the same social holiness we share with one another on Sunday.

Kyle Tieman

Reluctant Thanks

Two grandparents took their three year old to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza, flashing lights, and games. As the grandmother buckled her grandson into the car seat she said, “Now, be sure to say thank you to your Papa.”

Silence. No reaction from the child.

She said, “Did you hear me? Be sure to say thank you.”

Again silence.

She added, “Papa loves doing nice things for his grandchildren, especially when they say thank you.”

Still no response.

Now irritated, she raised her voice saying: “Are you ignoring me?”

The child responded, looked at his grandfather and said: “I’m thankful, Papa. I just don’t want to say it.”

This Sunday, Commitment Sunday, I invite you to say “thank you.” Thank God for your blessings, large and small, by investing in building God’s kingdom in our midst. Because you give, children will learn about Jesus. Because you give, youth will feel encouraged and loved, both inside and outside our walls. Because you give, souls will be nurtured through worship and praise. Because you give, countless lives, near and far, will be touched by the generosity of the people who call Hyde Park Community home.

It has been said that you cannot out give God. Let us respond with grateful, generous, glad hearts to a God who has abundantly blessed us!


Pastor Cathy

Over-the-Rhine Community Changes

Significant changes are on the horizon at Over-the-Rhine Community Church. Over the last few months, a group of nine leaders from the church and myself have formed a leadership team, which we have named our “Launch Team.” Our purpose is to discern what sort of church God is calling us to be as we re-new our church identity in the rapidly shifting landscape of Over-the-Rhine (OTR). In the process of this work, we have made the collaborative decision to make two foundational changes to our Sunday ministries:

1. Moving our worship time from 9:30 am to 10:30 am
2. Re-visioning our breakfast and dinner meals

The process began with realizing that a worship time of 9:30 am is ineffective when it comes to being a church accessible to our neighborhood. With this later worship time, it is our hope and expectation that more residents in OTR will participate in worship.

This change also opened up the door to discerning next steps for the Sunday breakfast and dinner that have been operating out of our church for over two decades. After much deliberation, we’ve decided the time has come to adapt these ministries into environments that call people into deeper relationship and church community. This means that the meals are going to function and look completely different from how we know them now.

Our new vision for the breakfast and dinner meals is for them to become gatherings that rely on people of all classes and economic status to both serve and eat together on equal ground. Our hope is to grow these meals into worshipful environments operating under the standard that as we show up to eat, we also show up to serve one-another.

Breakfast will move to 8:30 am and will essentially serve as the pre-worship experience to our service that will start at 10:30 am. This meal will be led by a small group from Over-the-Rhine Community Church and rely on weekly volunteers dedicated to our community, but mostly run by the people who show up for the meal.

The most significant change for dinner is that we will move this gathering outside of Sunday and the church building, most likely in people’s homes and public spaces. The vision for the dinner is to provide a space that our church can invite the people of our neighborhood to, which doesn’t look so much like “standard church.”

For all those involved in one or both of these ministries, please know you will always be welcome to participate in these new meals! The “work,” however, will be entirely different. Volunteering in these ministries will certainly include some prep work, cooking, and the sort; but most importantly it will mean the expectation of participating in a peer-to-peer gathering that is focused on building long-term and lasting relationships.

We would like to invite you all to a celebratory worship service after the final dinner on October 25 at 6:00 pm. This will be a service made up mostly of singing, prayer, and sharing testimonies around what God has been doing out of our church in OTR. It will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that God has done in the past, and where God is taking us in the future. We hope to see you there.

Ian Strickland
Pastor, Over-the-Rhine Community

Members and Friends of Hyde Park Community

With a grateful heart Cathy and I praise God, and give thanks for our shared ministry, and your commitment to this ministry. Reflecting upon the many ways God is at work at Hyde Park Community/Over-the-Rhine Community United Methodist Church, it is with a grateful heart we pray with King David:

“Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; . . .all things come from you, and of your own have we given you . . . I know, my God, that you search the heart, and take pleasure in uprightness; in the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.” (from 1 Chronicles 29:11-17)

From Abraham to Moses to David and Jesus, God’s people embraced the fact that all we have comes from God, and belongs to God. Therefore, it was with a grateful heart that they “freely and joyously” offered God their tithes.

You will receive in the mail a brochure that outlines a wide range of ministries we celebrate at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church; all made possible through your generosity in 2015. In addition one of the brochure panels is a 2016 commitment card.

We invite you to prayerfully consider how you will financially support the mission and ministry of Hyde Park Community/Over-The-Rhine Community United Methodist Church. With a grateful heart we invite you to join us in, “freely and joyously” committing the “tithe” (10% of your income), in 2016. If you are unable to commit to the tithe, we encourage you to take a percentage step towards tithing (see the chart in the brochure). Pray for God to guide your decision to invest sacrificially in the ministry of Jesus Christ; our prayers are with you!

Commitment Sunday is October 25. Please bring your commitment card to church with you, and together we will make our commitments to God in worship. If you are unable to be in Church October 25 please either mail, or bring your commitment to the church office. We count it a privilege to serve in ministry with you. See you in church, invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you for worship!

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Imagine No Malaria

Infected mosquitoes who bite children, youth, and adults – mosquitoes do not discriminate – are the cause of transmitting the disease of malaria.
Malaria was functionally eradicated in the United States in the 1950’s.
Africa, however, is still battling against this non-discriminatory disease that is claiming many lives.
Getting the help they need, not only in health treatment, but in prevention nets, education of families and health workers, and communication delivering messages about malaria and how to prevent it.
In the last decade, there has been a 50% reduction in malaria deaths worldwide. However, in 2013 there were nearly 200 million cases worldwide and an estimated 584,000 deaths.
Ninety percent of these deaths occurred in Africa and 430,000 of these malaria deaths were children before their fifth birthday.
Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies of malaria!

Now is the time to join in the movement to provide Prevention, Education, Communication, and Treatment in regards to malaria to the people of Africa.
Our West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church as well as Hyde Park Community UMC have joined the movement.

Make the choice to individually join in our efforts to BRING CHANGE to Africa.
An option to BRING CHANGE (alteration) to Africa is to literally BRING CHANGE (coins) to the church.
Let your red BRING CHANGE coin boxes sit in a prevalent place in your house.
At the end of each day, collect the change that you and your family members have accumulated over the course of the day and place it in the box.
Return your filled BRING CHANGE boxes to the church on November 8. Together, we will present them in worship this morning.
If you need to return them early, please place them on the Imagine No Malaria display table in the Welcome Center on Sunday mornings or bring them to the church office during the week.
Answer the call to help eradicate malaria in Africa!

He Chose Gratitude

Harry Genet in his book The Unlikely Thanker, writes:

“German pastor Martin Rinkart served in the walled town of Eilenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648. Eilenburg became an overcrowded refuge for the surrounding area. The fugitives suffered from epidemic and famine. At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg.

But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two. As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day—some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services.

Yet living in a world dominated by death, Pastor Rinkart wrote the following prayer for his children to offer to the Lord:

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.”

This Sunday we continue to study the blessings of a grateful heart. Join us as we explore “Managing Your Finances without losing your Soul,” based on I Timothy 6:6-10, 17-18.

May your week be filled with the outflowing of a grateful heart, following Paul’s instructs to the people of Thessaloniki: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (2 Thessalonians 5:15-17)

I am looking forward to celebrating the Lord’s Day with you this Sunday with joyful, grateful hearts!


Pastor Cathy Johns

“God’s Got This…”

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Over the last eight weeks my life has changed. I left a good and flourishing life in New York. I’ve had to say farewell to close friends and that has been painful. I have made painful changes before. But this was different, I felt a divine intensity pushing me.

This past July, my wife, Mary, our two boys, Oscar and Oliver, ages four and three respectively, made our yearly vacation home to Ohio. That meant we drove to Cleveland for her family or Cincinnati for mine. We loved coming to Ohio, and making memories here. For certainly the gulf of lost memories with family was widening as the years mounted, but when things are going fine, why upset the apple cart? When we returned home after this vacation, as we pulled up our driveway, we looked at each other and knew this was no longer our home.

The following week, my wife complained that she was incredibly distracted and couldn’t stop looking for work in Cincy. I didn’t dissuade her from being distracted. I felt it too. A week later she had a job. We snapped into action. And that, my friends, is an understatement. In less than five weeks from packing the first box to unloading the truck, we both had landed jobs, got our kids in school, and maneuvered a thousand other details- it all went off without a hitch.

And through those five weeks we knew we weren’t alone! We were being fed by an insuppressible joy! We were elated that we would be so close to family, creating memories. And I still hadn’t heard of Hyde Park UMC yet. However, we were not immune to the uncertain, the fear of the unknown. We did not know if we would find housing in Cincy, or a multitude of other stresses. But deep inside us we just kept moving forward knowing that questions would be answered and that no matter what, the answers would be fine.

On the phone each night, talking to one another seven hundred miles apart, we would bolster each other with a comforting reminder, “God’s got this.”

I admit, I was nervous during that time. I hadn’t a job. And I like to work. And then the job listing appeared, from my wife, in an email. Worship and Praise Leader/Producer. The job had all the ingredients of my vocational life, yet what will never cease to humble me, this was all His doing. Here He was directly answering years of prayers. And as this story ends, 10 days later, Praise God, your church offered me the job.

“God’s got this.”

In spite of the clear and tangible signs of His presence in the course of my life, I cannot tell you God’s will. All I can say is that I am certain that there are times when we are tapped into a river of faith so strong, that there is nothing to do but give yourself over to the current and see where you end up. If it means entertaining impossible thoughts, following that still small voice, and doing radical acts of love, so be it. If we believe that Jesus is God’s love incarnate, and we accept the change that Jesus brought and continues to bring millennia later, then there is nothing to fear in change. You might just find the coming “Worship at 11” speaking to your spirit in new ways. Come join us in the river or keep where you are. Either way, God’s got this.

Christopher Schaljo

Attitude of Gratitude!

It’s been said, “The heart of the matter, is a matter of the heart!” In life there is much we have no control of; for many anxiety abounds because life is “out of control”. The one thing we have 100% control over is our attitude. Our attitude affects our spiritual, physical, and mental health. Attitude is a powerful force in relationships. Attitude affects the heart, and touches the soul. When it comes to “attitude”, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart!

The attitude that will transform life more than any other is the attitude of gratitude. An attitude of gratitude will give us new eyes to see the world around us; a new strength to embrace the hardships before us; and a new joy that cannot be shaken or destroyed. Henri Nouwen writes,
Gratitude flows from the recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts to be received and shared. Gratitude releases us from the bonds of obligation and prepares us to offer ourselves freely and fully for the work of the kingdom. . . . The more we touch the intimate love of God which creates, sustains, and guides us, the more we recognize the multitude of fruits that come forth from that love. (A Spirituality of Fundraising, p. 57)

An attitude of gratitude frees us to experience a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, and encounter anew the power of God’s love; so that, “coming and going, we can remain secure in God’s love with our hearts set joyfully on the kingdom.” (A Spirituality of Fundraising, p. 58) Possessing an attitude of gratitude we live into the reality of what it means to be created in the “image and likeness of God”!

“The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart”, with grateful hearts we are transformational agents in our culture, partners with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

In Christ,
Pastor Doug