Perfect Christmas Gift!

I am sure I am not alone in asking the question: What do you get someone who has everything for Christmas?  Our Alternative Christmas Giving has the answer: The transformation of a life!  Hyde Park Community U.M.C. has offered “Alternative Christmas Giving” for a number of years.  This year Alternative Christmas Giving donations will go to help provide much needed Christian curriculum translated into Russian.  By participating in the Alternative Christmas Giving program, a $10 donation will cover the cost of printing one book.

God is raising up new leaders in countries with long histories of persecuting Christians.  The emerging churches in countries like Russia mirrors the churches described in the book of Acts in the first century.  For over 70 years Christianity was forbidden in Russia. With the fall of communism the United Methodist Church was provided the opportunity to form faith communities based on the Wesleyan understanding of Grace.

The United Methodist Church in Russia, and other eastern block nations, is a very young church.  The leadership of Samara UMC is pleading for their brothers and sisters in the west to teach, guide, and mentor.  They yearn for resources in their language to be used in training leaders, and discipleship resources to assist in deepening their walk with God through Jesus Christ.

As HPCUMC deepens our relationship with Samara UMC we have committed to help the Samara UMC translate resources in leadership development, marriage and family, divorce care, and youth/young adult ministry.   Your Alternative Christmas Gift of $10 will go a long way in equipping our Christian brothers and sisters in Samara for mission and ministry.  With each donation of $10 or more you will receive a Christmas card to give to your loved one acknowledging the gift.

You can make your donation to the Alternative Christmas Giving program in the Welcome Center Sunday mornings, or stop in the office during the week.  May God bless you this Advent season as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

My Flash Mob Experience: An Advent Memory

We had finished eating our pizza after the basketball game.  Backing away from the table at the local Pizza Hut, we quickly got our pitch, stood up, and then broke out singing:

“Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!   For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!   King of Kings, forever and ever….And Lord of Lords, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!……And He shall reign for ever and ever……Hallelujah!”

It was a great experience!  People in the Pizza Hut watched in amazement, enjoyed the music, and clapped enthusiastically for us when we were finished.   It was before the term “flash mob” was born, but it certainly was an unexpected surprise for the patrons of Pizza Hut.  It broke through the mundane and flooded the dining room with love, light, and joy.

This Sunday we celebrate the beginning of the Advent season.  A time of longing for Christ to come, remembering his first coming as a babe in Bethlehem and his second coming when he returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Our sermon series examines, “Questions of Christmas,” that may have been asked by those in the first Christmas story.

The love of God can break through in strange places and at odd times.   This Advent season, I invite you to consider how God can “sing” through your life, using you as a vessel of love, light and joy this season.

Jesus calls his disciples to be “salt” and “light.”  This Christmas season I invite you to choose to be generous and include a gift to missions in honor of Christ’s birth on your shopping list.

‘Tis the season to be salt and light!   

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Dear Friends, ‘Tis the Thanksgiving Season

I do not know about you, but Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. Yes, I enjoy the food, football, and playing cards. (No gambling, I’m a good United Methodist.) But more importantly, I enjoy the family connections and conversations at the table, in the living room, or the kitchen. It’s a very laid back kind of day.

I’m not sure what your family tradition is around Thanksgiving Day. It may be similar, or much different. You may be married and part of a large family and have to make a couple of stops to visit folks. It could be you are a single person and hanging out with friends. And if you choose to be alone this Thanksgiving Day, that’s okay too.

But whatever you decide to do or who you choose to be with, “be thankful, give thanks to God.” There is always much to be thankful for if we only stop and think about it. Start a new tradition this Thanksgiving. Do it in the form of a praise prayer to God or take a moment and jot down or journal your thankfulness down on paper. Share it silently or shout it out to God.

I’m very thankful to God for each of you. The family of faith here at Hyde Park Community is a gift. I thank God for our times of worship, study, faith-sharing, prayer, celebration, and the ways we are in service in our city and in other parts of the world. I praise God for our theological diversity, servant leadership, caring hearts, and our spiritual connectedness, lived out in Christian community. We are a blessed and beloved people. I am thankful. I’m sure many of you feel the same way I do about our church family. Give thanks to God!

Psalm 100: 4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise; give him thanks and praise his name. “

It’s my hope and prayer that you and your families have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Bountiful Blessings,

Pastor Dave Weaver

Investing in Mission and Ministry

The ministry and outreach of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is  healthy.  Our mission is to “Share the love of Jesus to transform Lives, Cincinnati, and the World”.  It is bearing fruit in ways seen and unseen, touching people that we know by name and have never met.  Your financial investment in the mission and ministry of Hyde Park Community has ensured this current reality.  We celebrate how God has been at work in our lives this past year, and seek to follow where God is leading us in 2017.

On October 23 we were invited to make our 2017 financial commitments to God in worship.  Our worship was a celebration of God’s blessings and a response to God’s calling to be a blessing.  The commitments received to date bear witness to the generous hearts, and giving spirit of Hyde Park Community!

If you were unable to join us on October 23, or have not been able to make your 2017 financial commitment I invite you to prayerfully consider how you will support the mission and ministry of Hyde Park Community through your financial resources.  If you have already turned in your 2017 commitment, Thank You!  Thank you for your willingness to partner with God in the “marriage of heaven and earth”!

Through your extravagant generosity the broken are healed, the hungry are fe/d; children are encouraged and mentored, and our relationship with God and one another deepen.  Lives are transformed!  I look forward to where God is leading Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church in 2017, and count it a privilege to make the journey with you!  May God’s blessings abound as we commit ourselves to God’s calling.  I look forward to seeing you in Church!

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Praying for Our Nation

Praying for our Nation

As people who serve Christ, the Lord of all, I invite you to pray with me for our nation, especially this week:

O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments. We thank You for the privilege of voting freely in our nation. Thank You for Your law, which our founders acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law.  Bless our nation, O God.

We thank You for the opportunity to choose leaders who will work among us for the good of all. Guide our minds and hands to choose leaders who will seek to serve You. Awaken us, O God. Empower us to respond to Your call, not to be a sect running from the world, but a community of faith walking forward to renew the world. 

We rejoice that we are citizens of Your kingdom.  Remind us that we are, above all, Your beloved children. May our identity make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on earth. We pray in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ, Amen.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns