Leave A Legacy

On May 19 we celebrated “Legacy Sunday”, an annual observance, with thanksgiving, for those who have gone before us and continue to support the mission and ministry of the church they love, through the Endowment of HPCUMC.  Endowment programs have a positive impact on the life of a congregation.  Endowment programs offer families and individuals the opportunity to leave a legacy to their beloved church, a legacy that bears abundant fruit!  HPCUMC has been a transformative presence through the life-stages of many: birth, baptism, confirmation, graduation, marriage and death.  As a result, a deep and abiding love for our faith community has become the motivation for making a gift to the HPCUMC endowment, ensuring and enhancing the ministries of HPCUMC for future generations.

Hyde Park Community has been blessed by the foresight of those who have gone before us to leave such a legacy gift.  From the first gift, under the leadership of Bishop Emerson Colaw, to the 28 million dollar endowment it is today, the endowment has enhanced the vision and mission of HPCUMC.  From support of the facilities, to the support of our outreach/mission programs, and missionaries, the HPCUMC endowment has been a part of partnering with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. From scholarships awarded to our young adults in college to scholarships awarded to those interested in short term mission opportunities, the income from the HPCUMC endowment has been actively involved in making disciples and facilitating intellectual, and spiritual growth.

The beauty of the Endowment program is that no gift is too small, whether $5 or a million dollars the endowment program provides the opportunity for individuals and families to leave a legacy to the church they love.  We invite you to make a gift to the endowment, and/or including HPCUMC in your estate plans.  I would love to talk to you about your legacy gift.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Thoughts on Hope…

There are times in life we need to have hope. And in most cases when we do, we are wishing for a preferred future outcome. So where are you in need of hope? Is it in the area of your health, finances, or in a relationship? Do you need hope in your suffering?

Professor of Psychology Barbara Fredrickson argues that one way hope comes into its own is when crisis looms, opening us to new creative possibilities. Frederickson argues that with great need comes an unusually wide range of ideas, as well as such positive emotions as happiness and joy, courage, and empowerment, drawn from four different areas of one’s self: from a cognitive, psychological, social, or physical perspective. She said hopeful people are “like the little engine that could,” because they keep telling themselves “I think I can, I think I can.” Such positive thinking bears fruit when based on a realistic sense of optimism, or “real hope,” rather than a naive “false hope”.

Much of our hope is based on our own willpower or our self-motivation. We have aspirations to attain something and we set goals to get us there. For instance, “I hope to become a major league baseball or football player. Or I hope to become an accomplished singer or dancer.” We are driven by our own desires.

What about placing our hope in God? The Bible is full of stories of hope. God’s followers are hoping for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. Or, said another way, the Christian is hoping for the fruition of what has already begun, the full arrival of God’s Kingdom and we pin our hopes on the God of that Kingdom. Our hope in God is both a present and future reality.

The apostle Paul wrote in several places about what hope leads to or makes: patience, courage, and joy.  It is one of the three things which lasts: faith, hope, and love. We will begin a new sermon series titled the “Power of Hope” found in Paul’s writings this week in Romans 5: 1-5. Please join us in worship the next several weeks on a variety of topics that will focus on hope.

Hope to see you Sunday!

Pastor Dave Weaver

Update: Hyde Park Community’s Future/The United Methodist Church

In the wake of the Special Session of General Conference in February, many conversations have started to take place regarding the future of the United Methodist Church.  In February, delegates from around the world voted to embrace “The Traditional Plan” which tightens the ban on gay clergy and same-sex unions.  These changes to the United Methodist Book of Discipline go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Judicial Council, which is a diverse nine-member group of clergy and laity, met to review all of the legislation that was addressed at the Special Session in St. Louis in February.  They upheld the majority of the decisions made including an exit path for churches that choose to leave the denomination.

Conversations are taking place all over the country and the world regarding the future of United Methodism.  Here are a few gatherings that will help shape our future:

May 20-23: “UMC Next” will gather in Kansas City to pray and discern a way forward for congregations who seek a more inclusive path than the decision made by the Special Session of General Conference.  Invited representatives from annual conferences will gather at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection to worship, pray, and discern options.  Rev. Dr. Cathy Johns, one of our senior pastors, will be attending as one of West Ohio Conference’s representatives.

June 2 – 6:  West Ohio Annual Conference will be held at Lakeside.  Delegates will be elected to attend the General Conference in May 2020 in Minneapolis.

June 11: The HPC Way Forward Task Force, composed of nine laity and our senior pastors, will begin to meet.  They will explore options and seek direction as we move forward.   Dr. Al Painter, the chair of the Servant Leadership Board, will chair.

Summer/Fall: Listening Sessions will be held at Hyde Park Community to help discern our way forward as a faith community.  Multiple options will be discussed to continue as a strong, vibrant church that changes lives for Christ locally and globally.

A Church Conference will be held to vote on the recommendation of the HPC Way Forward Task Force.  All members will have voice and vote.        

Your prayers for bishops, church leaders, laity, clergy, and your church staff are deeply appreciated during this season of listening and waiting for God to direct our path.  As always, we are here to listen to your questions and concerns.

Through Christ,

Pastor Cathy & Pastor Doug

God as a Mother Hen

I remember one of those “light bulb”  moments from seminary.  My father, Don, was a faithful, gentle, loving man who deeply cared for his family.  As a child it was easy for me to have positive images of God as male because my earthly father was such a blessing.

My friend, Penny, had a much different experience growing up.  Her relationship with her family was strained and bordered on abusive.  Images of God as father did not work for her;  if fact, she shared that when God was mentioned as “father” painful memories flooded her soul.  It was then that I understood:  words matter.

Jesus uses a tender, female image to refer to God as he laments over Jerusalem:   “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”  In John’s gospel there are seven “I am” statements that reveal who Jesus is, including “I am the Good Shepherd.”  “I am the Bread of Life.”

As a person committed to preaching the good news of Christ’s love for all people, I invite people to expand their images of God.  Ron DelBene wrote a wonderful book called “The Breath Prayer.”  This simple, short prayer (7 words of less) is constructed based on what one needs.  The steps:

1)  Identify what I need

2)  Choose an action verb that identifies how God can meet my need

3)  Choose an image for God that connects with what you need

Several years ago I was given an appointment to a church which some colleagues thought was “a reach,” saying that I was too young to serve that church at the age of 35.  I wrote a breath prayer, using the formula above, and memorized it.  I took a deep breath and prayed it all day long – in traffic, while I was waiting in line at the grocery store.  I prayed:

“Prince of Peace, cast out my fear.”

Two weeks later I experienced complete peace.  The fear was gone.

May Jesus, the Prince of Peace, richly bless you this weekend.

Joy in our Risen Lord,

Pastor Cathy Johns

Living Out Our Mission of Putting Faith into Action

Over the last few months, you might have noticed something new in the News & Happenings. As a way to inform and encourage engagement in missional opportunities, the Monthly Mission Spotlight was created. Since its launch, Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Romania Partnership, and Habitat for Humanity has been featured. Each week, new information is shared regarding that particular ministry for the month and also gives specific ways people can get involved. After Interfaith Hospitality Network was featured, 10 new people served in some way during our last host week in March!

The mission of our church is a commitment to share the love of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati, and the world. Our hope at Hyde Park Community is that each person can find a meaningful way to serve that connects people’s passions and gifts to needs of the community and world. My relationship with Jesus became real when I had my first invitation to serve alongside others. My faith continues to grow as I put my discipleship into action and I find that the life that is most changed is not the people I’m serving with, but it is my own.

If there is a stirring in you to go deeper in your discipleship through service, I would love to meet with you! The monthly mission spotlight scratches the surface of all the ways one can use their gifts. With the variety of ways to get involved and serve, I believe there is a great fit for each person.

Finally, thank you to all who are already serving and being the church! Your passion, energy, and commitment is amazing and I’m beyond thankful for your ministry to the church, community, and world. Let’s continue to bring the Kingdom of God closer!

Peace,

Pastor Kate