A Discipling Church

As the Pastor of Discipleship Ministry at HPCUMC I wish to share a few comments about discipleship. First, a definition: a disciple is a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or a philosopher. To say we are Christian disciples means we are personal followers of Jesus Christ. We follow his teachings, follow how he lived his life, and follow how he shared his love. The church is to model his life and love so that others might come to know him.

Our mission statement at Hyde Park Community is to “share the love of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati, and the world.”  The Mission of the West Ohio Conference of United Methodist congregations is, “to equip local churches to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world… A world of justice, love, and peace filled with people growing in the likeness of Jesus Christ.” Both of these mission statements are about being disciples and transformation.

At HPCUMC we are engaged in growing as disciples from kindergarteners to senior adults and everyone in between. Our faith development and spiritual formation is an ongoing journey. We never quite arrive. However, deeper discovery opportunities of transformation abound here. We need to be more intentional about how we are growing as disciples of Jesus Christ.

It is my hope you will seek opportunities to engage in a Bible study, a Sunday school class, join a small connect or contemplative prayer group, attend a seasonal retreat, or the Walk to Emmaus. All of these are ways to become the disciple Christ would have you be. Honestly examine your heart. Pray about where you are on your journey of transformation. We all have room for growth as disciples.

In the life of the church the beauty of it all is we listen, learn, love and disciple one another in Christian community. As our lives are transformed we are then sent out to “light the way” of transformation in our community and the world.

Stay on the journey of discipleship!

In Christ,

Dave Weaver

Gratitude’s Health Benefits

With all of the hate, division, and violence in today’s world, it is tempting to cave into despair.  The world is a mess! The good news is we can make a difference!  Research indicates that there are actual health benefits to practicing gratitude.

One study by Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Mike McCullough invited participants to keep a short journal each week.  One group recorded five things they were grateful for in the past week.  A second group recorded five hassles from the previous week that caused unhappiness.   The third, a neutral group, simply recorded five events that affected them in some way.  After ten weeks, those in the gratitude group reported feeling 25% better about their lives than the group that recorded hassles.  Additionally, they reported fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more than the other groups.

Ocean Robbins, a noted author and speaker puts it well:  “Thankfulness feels good, it’s good for you and it’s a blessing for the people around you, too. It’s such a win-win-win that I’d say we have cause for gratitude.”

This Sunday is Commitment Sunday.  You are invited to step forward, in a spirit of gratitude, to invest in what God is doing through Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church.  Because of your gift, countless lives will be touched with the love of God, the healing and hope of Christ, and the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit.

In our world that has been described as a “selfie” culture, you are invited to step forward with a grateful heart and invest in building God’s kingdom here on earth.

Thank you, in advance, for your generous investment as together we lift our candles to the darkness and light the way for Christ in 2018.  May God bless you with all the benefits of a heart filled with gratitude!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Eleanor’s Advice: What to Do With Your Candle

Eleanor Roosevelt, the first lady during some of the most tumultuous years of the 20th Century, was a determined, strong woman.  No matter how many struggles she faced, she strove to hold onto a positive attitude and sought to make the world a better place.  She once said:

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

The world, friends, seems to be deepening its bent toward hate, division, and violence.  Millions are struggling in the wake of shootings and natural disasters.  What are we as the Church to do?

Jesus is clear:  “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hid.  Let your light so shine so that everyone may see your good works and give glory to God in heaven.” (from Matthew 5)

What does shining in the darkness look like?  Here are a couple of ideas:

Bring in a card to Pastor Cathy’s office for United Methodist pastors in Las Vegas who are serving in the wake of the violence. “Thinking of You” and “Praying for You” cards will be sent from our congregation to United Methodist pastors who are serving their city in the aftermath of the shooting earlier this month.  Please bring your cards in to the church office by Monday, October 23.  They will be put in large envelopes and mailed to the Las Vegas pastors with a letter from our congregation.  The church will pay postage.

Make a contribution to UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief which is responding to needs in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Florida, and Texas.  When national or international disasters come, the United Methodist Church shows up with blankets, water, medicine, and personnel to serve as the hands and feet of Christ.  Please send your check through Hyde Park Community UMC marked for UMCOR Relief in the area of your choice.  Our  finance office will forward your gift to UMCOR.  100% of your gift will aid those in need.

Thanks for being a congregation that is willing to stand up and hold up candles to the darkness!   Shine on!

Peace,

Pastors Cathy and Doug

Sally Snowman: Light Keeper

America’s first lighthouse, Boston Light, celebrated its 300th anniversary in September of 2016.  Sally Snowman (her real name) is the keeper of the lighthouse.  The original tower was built in 1716; it was blown up by the British in 1776.  Sally is the 70th keeper of the lighthouse.   While the roles have changed with automation, Sally takes her role seriously.  She gives tours, maintains the grounds, and manages 90 volunteers.

I invite you to consider your role in the Body of Christ this month.  Are you a keeper of the light of Christ?  Do your thoughts, words, and deeds send out light and encouragement? Are you sharing the light of Christ with others or hiding it under a bushel?

At Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church we are committed to shine the light of Christ – here in our neighborhood, in the city, in our nation, and around the world.  This is more than just a “cute slogan;” it is our mission.  We are not a church that focuses inwardly, simply concerned with ourselves, but outwardly – committed to loving God and neighbor.  We are a community of faith that is committed to bringing heaven to earth and walking outside our walls with candles of hope, to bring healing and hope to as many people as we can.

I am praying for you and your family as you consider how you want to share Christ’s light.   When you support the ministry of the church with your prayers, presence, financial gifts, service, and witness, you are brightening the world with the love of Christ.

Rejoicing in the Light of Christ,

Pastor Cathy