The Future of the United Methodist Church

The Future of The United Methodist Church

General Conference, which meets every four years to renew our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ and set our polity and doctrine, met this May in Portland, Oregon.  Delegates from all around the world came together to worship, pray, and make decisions.

Over 900 petitions regarding our theological understanding of human sexuality were discussed.  A variety of perspectives were shared; painful discussions took place.  Tears were shed.  There were some who believed that it was time for the United Methodist Church to move forward as separate groups while others fought for unity in the Body of Christ called United Methodism.

The Council of Bishops are appointing a diverse group to study all references to human sexuality in the United Methodist Book of Discipline and then come back with a recommendation (in 2018 or 2020) for a way forward.  This motion was approved by 32 votes.

These are difficult times for our denomination.  At Hyde Park Community United Methodist we are committed to seeking God’s wisdom through vigilant prayer.  We are a blessed, diverse community.  Bishop N.T. Wright offers a way forward as we seek God’s guidance in community:

“True wisdom is both bold and humble.  It is never afraid to say what it thinks it has seen, but will always cover other angles of vision.”

This week we conclude our sermon series “Tapping into the Power of the Hoy Spirit.”  Ephesians 6:10-20 helps us understand how to tap into the Spirit’s power for strength.  As United Methodists we need to put on the full armor of God and be ready to face the future without fear.  The full armor of God, according to Paul, includes these wonderful gifts from our God who loves us and equips us to be strong in the Lord:

  • the belt of truth
  • shoes of the gospel of peace
  • the breastplate of righteousness
  • the shield of faith
  • the helmet of salvation
  • the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God)
  • prayer

We, God’s people, will find strength in the Lord!  I look forward to celebrating the Lord’s Day with you.

Pastor Cathy Johns

Master Plan Update

In 2013 Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church received, and approved, a recommendation from The TAG (The Armstrong Group) Team to:  “create a long term Master Plan with associated costs to lay a roadmap for future capital projects to meet evolving ministry and missional needs.”  Shortly after the decision was made, The MSA Architectural firm was engaged to lead HPCUMC in the creation of a Master Plan.  Due to Pastoral changes in January 2014, the decision was made to wait until the new pastoral leadership was appointed before beginning the work of the Master Plan.

The Servant Leadership Board, in consultation with Pastor Cathy and me gave the green light to MSA Architects to begin the Master Plan process in the fall of 2014.  The following year,  MSA Architects met with a number of groups in the church for input on current and future facility needs/wishes/desires.  In late fall 2015, MSA Architects presented their report to the Servant Leadership Board.  Subsequently a group from The Servant Leadership Board and Facilities Team, led by Pastor Cathy, developed the following schedule for sharing the Master Plan.

Over the next couple of weeks a team of people will be equipped to share the Master Plan with various groups (Program/Fellowship/Administrative) of HPCUMC.  In addition, there will be two to three “All Church” gatherings.  Following the sharing sessions, a recommendation will go to the Annual Charge Conference (Late October or mid-November) to assemble a team that will create a plan to implement Phase One of the Master Plan, which will include, but not limited to, a timeline, architectural plans and funding plans.

We are excited to share this forward thinking plan with you.  Be on the lookout for the many opportunities you will have to hear the Master Plan.  I look forward to sharing in ministry with you in the months and years to come as we put in place the infrastructure to fulfill our calling with excellence!

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

A Prayer on Pentecost for the United Methodist Church

This Sunday is Pentecost, the birthday of the Church!  In Acts 2 we read the account of the Holy Spirit who empowered the people who were gathered all in one place.

There was the sound of a rushing wind and “divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, a a tongue rested on each one of them.” (Acts 2:3).

Once every four years the global United Methodist Church gathers.  At General Conference powerful worship will be experienced as the Church renews our commitment to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  Major decisions will be made which will impact individuals, families, churches, laity, pastors, and our life together as United Methodists.

The United Methodist Church needs your prayers this week.  Please join me in praying for General Conference:

God, Maker of heaven and earth, as the people called United Methodists gather in Portland, may Your Spirit rain down upon everyone.

As people gather from around the globe, renew the United Methodist Church in a powerful way, anointing us with fresh wind and fire as on the first Pentecost.

Jesus, Great shepherd of the sheep, watch over the delegation from West Ohio Conference, all voting members, and guests.

With Your gentle staff, direct them.  Lead them and guide their words, thoughts, and actions.  Protect them from harm.

Hold them in Your loving arms, especially when they are weary and need new strength.

Holy Spirit, Wonderful Counselor, flood every inch of General Conference with Your life-giving presence. 

Fill each delegate and guest with Your wisdom and strength.  Remind all who gather that You are a God who makes all things new. 

Help us to remember that with You all things are possible. 

Unite us.  Empower us.  Fill us with the peace of Christ, a peace that passes all understanding.

I offer this prayer in the name of our God, who created us, watches over us, and guides our steps.  Amen.

  

(offered by Rev. Dr. Cathy Johns)

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Zombies, or the walking dead, are part of a long-running television series.  I am not really a Zombie fan, but the special effects and costumes are fun to watch.  I am sure that the hair and make-up crew for Zombies enjoy letting their creative juices flow.

As we conclude the season of Eastertide, an important question arises:  “Are you alive or dead?”  It may seem to be a ridiculous question at first.   Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, tells his disciples “Because I live, you also will live.”   Are you just going through the motions of life, staggering around like a Zombie, or have you embraced your identity as one who is fully alive in Christ?

This weekend’s message concludes our sermon series “Who am I?”  The scripture from Ephesians 2 celebrates our identity in Christ: “Alive, not Dead.”

We are a  people who are alive and well, serving as the hands and feet of Christ to bless the world.

May God richly bless you this weekend!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy