Hope for The Blue Planet

During my doctoral studies at Chicago Theological Seminary I took a World Prayer class.  My colleagues in the course represented more than seven countries.  One of our assignments was to go and watch the IMAX film “The Blue Planet.”

It is an amazing film!  We were able to see what lightning strikes look like from space.  You could see the outline of the Great Wall of China.  We also, as the title suggests, saw a lot of blue, as nearly 71% of the earth’s surface is water!

When you consider God’s plan to send Jesus to this blue planet that we call home, did you ever wonder what would be on Jesus’ job description?   The answer is in the scripture for this Sunday.  Jesus stands up in Nazareth, reads from a scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and shares with everyone why He is here and what He came to do.

As 21st Century Christians who follow Jesus, claiming to be His disciples, we are called to continue the work He began.  Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ, started a revolution that changed the world.

This Sunday our faith community will bring a special offering to God:  our service commitments.  A simple list will be provided on an insert listing opportunities for you to serve Christ in the coming year.  God has blessed you with unique gifts, skills, and talents.  We are invited to change the world, in Jesus’ name, one life at a time.  Please join us this Sunday as we boldly claim allegiance to Jesus and join in His revolution to change the world.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Deepening Relationships

Sunday, October 2 is World Wide Communion Sunday. World Wide Communion Sunday was set aside as an ecumenical expression of a spiritual reality in Christ Jesus.  Christians across the globe will celebrate communion on this day.  The prayer consecrating the bread and wine invokes God’s presence through the outpouring of God’s spirit; the bread and cup become the “Holy Essence” of Christ’s body and blood, and we who partake become the body of Christ, redeemed by His blood, to the world.

On October 2, at the 8:00 worship service we will celebrate World Wide Communion Sunday, via live stream, with our brothers and sisters at Samara United Methodist Church, Samara Russia.  We will share in the liturgy, and both the Wesley choir, and the Samara choir will offer God’s word through song.  As we worship together we grow together in faith and love.

In addition, as we seek to deepen our relationship with Samara UMC, we will have a Skype Conversation, Saturday, October 8, 9:00 am at the parsonage, 2928 Alpine Terrace.  If you are willing and able to join us on October 9, please rsvp by either calling the Church office: 513-871-1345, or use the comment section of the communication sheet!

Mission Trip to Romania 2017! As the Body of Christ in the Global Community we will send a team to our United Methodist churches in Romania.  Do you have a heart for missions? A call to minister to children? A passion for those who are vulnerable living in our Global Community? A heart for orphans? Are your spiritual gifts in leadership or discerning? Please prayerfully consider joining the mission team heading to Cluj, Romania on March 2 – 9, 2017.

In March we will be taking an exploratory trip to minister alongside our brothers and sisters as they reach out to the orphans in their city, and the Roma in their neighboring towns. We are seeking to explore whether God is calling HPCUMC into partnership with these Romanian churches.

If the Spirit is stirring in your heart, please pray about whether God is calling you to use your gifts to help minister in Romania and discern possible partnership on this upcoming trip. For more information, mark your calendars for October 9, 12:15 pm when there will be an informational meeting, or email Sarah Putman at sputman@hpcumc.org.

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Announcing: Ministry Fair 2016

You are a unique creation!  There will never be another you!  Each person in our community is also uniquely gifted.  What would happen if we all stepped forward, using our gifts, as the hands and feet of Christ?

In the next few weeks, you will be invited to consider how you would like to serve Christ in the coming year.

On September 25th we will host a Ministry Fair that:

Celebrates the work of various ministry teams in the Welcome Center

Provides a booklet and service inventory list describing ways to serve

Invites you to pray about how you would like to step forward to serve in 2017

On October 2nd we will:

Identify places where we feel called to serve Christ on service inventories list

Present our service inventories list to God in worship

After October 2:

Staff and team leaders will connect with persons expressing desire to serve

Additionally Servant Leadership Board criteria and applications are available in the church office and at the Welcome Center.  Please contact Greg Rogers, Chair of Servant Leadership Board, or Pastor Cathy Johns for additional information.

It is a joy to serve Christ with each one of you!  I am already praying for God to help you discover how to use your gifts in joyful service to Christ.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Love in Action!

In recent months we’ve witnessed multiple disasters that have left physical, emotional and spiritual devastation.  As we pray for the survivors of these disasters, let us pray for God to show us how we can help.  Both the District and Conference have communicated how our United Methodist Churches can help:

Assisting our neighbors not only takes prayers and compassion, it takes financial resources.  None of these disasters are big enough for us to request UMCOR dollars.  It will take the response of our local congregations for us to extend the love and care of Christ to our neighbors within our communities. Your gifts to the West Ohio Conference Disaster Relief Fund will allow us to work alongside families and congregations seeking to recover from disasters. You can give online at westohioumc.org or by check.  If you give by check please make the check payable to HPCUMC, (with Disaster relief in the memo line.) Clearly mark your envelope for disaster relief and place in the offering plate.

Collect Flood Buckets to replenish the UMCOR supply for the next round of floods whenever and wherever they happen: http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/Cleaning

Volunteer to help. Pam Follmer of the Monroe UMC is our Ohio River Valley District Disaster Response Coordinator. Pam has been in contact with the TriState COAD.  They work with the Red Cross and other agencies dealing with active disasters.  They have contacted Pam regarding the need to tear out drywall for homes of elderly and disabled folks affected in the region. They will be sending names and addresses to Pam to coordinate teams of volunteers to assist. If you (or a group from your congregation) would like to be on a team to address these needs, please contact Pam at 513-539-8691 or pfollmer@cinci.rr.com

Refer persons in need affected by the flood or storms. If you know of someone who has not yet been contacted by a community organization that is active in disasters, please contact Pam Follmer, ORV Disaster Response Coordinator (pfollmer@cinci.rr.com) and with the permission of the person affected, share that information with Pam.

As we walk this journey with our brothers and sisters most affected by the disaster they’ve faced, may they come to know of God’s love and presence.

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Worn Out Bibles, Worn out People, and You

It has been said, “People who own worn out Bibles are not!”  It is almost Fall and many are headed back to school.  As adults, it is tempting to see education as something children do.  All of us, young and old alike, can grow in our faith through Bible study.

For me, Bible study enriches my life in many ways, but especially as a guide for my life.  Benefits include:

New Friendships

Offering and receiving support for current challenges in my life

Growth in my understanding of God’s Word

Trying to navigate life as a Christian without studying God’s Word is like walking through an uncharted forest without a map!   Many Bible studies and small groups begin soon. Please check out the Discipleship booklet and classes posted online and register for class.  Members, guests, and friends are all welcome!

This weekend we begin a new sermon series, “Playing in God’s Symphony.”  Each week we will be studying various ways that Jesus strengthened his spirit and discover ways we can strengthen ours today.   This Sunday’s message, “Observing the Rests,” is based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy