Joy Abounds in Service

The heart for service and meeting needs runs deep in this congregation. Two seasonally appropriate areas where this has been most evident for me over the last two years in my position as the Community Ministry and Global Outreach Ministry Assistant have been in the Thanksgiving Baskets project and in providing Christmas gifts for the students at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy. The bounty and enthusiasm of responses to these two ministry areas impress me every year.

The Thanksgiving Baskets project began in 1991. Over the course of the last twenty-four years, HPCUMC has provided 7877 baskets to families in need of meals for Thanksgiving and raised over $350,000 to help fund the provision of these meals. Each year, we set up an assembly line in the parking lot to pack, in this year’s case, over 550 baskets to be picked up by agencies around the Cincinnati area or delivered to individual’s homes. While the logistics and set up of this process have been refined over the years, the heart and desire to provide food for families who would otherwise not be able to sit down to a Thanksgiving meal together has remained constant.

The Thanksgiving Baskets assembly and delivery is taking place today! If you would like to be part of something bigger than yourself and provide for families in need this Thanksgiving season, join us in the back parking lot for assembling at 10:30 am and/or delivery at 12:00 pm. The more hands and hearts we have involved in this ministry, the more joy and blessing abound in both our lives and in the lives of those for which we provide food.

The second seasonal serving endeavor whose response never ceases to amaze me is that of providing Christmas gifts to the students at Rothenberg. For the last five years, we have helped to provide Christmas gifts to the grades which we mentor at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy. This year, we have claimed responsibility for all of the 5th and 6th grade students – 95 in total. About one-third of these students have a mentor. The provision of the rest of these gifts falls to the congregation at HPCUMC, and you have yet to disappoint.

If you are interested in partnering with this ministry to provide gifts for the students at Rothenberg, please visit the Christmas tree in the Welcome Center. You will find ornaments with student’s names, gender, and wish list items (which should total around $20). Please take a (or multiple) ornament(s) from the tree, sign your name next to the student’s name(s) and provide contact information on the black board located to the right of the tree. Gifts are to be returned by December 6th to Sarah Putman in the main office. The joy on these student’s faces as we open gifts at our annual Christmas party with mentors and students is so encouraging.

Come be part of the joy that is given to families in our neighborhood and students in Over-the-Rhine. Help us continue to build a legacy of joy and provision to our neighbors.

Sarah Putman

Update on Worship @ 11

The vision: To reach more people for Christ, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is expanding our worship options on Sunday morning. The Servant Leadership Board, after receiving a proposal from the Worship Task Force in July 2015, voted to offer two traditional services(8:00 and 9:30 am) and a new option on Sunday morning: “Worship @ 11.”

The music: Chris Schaljo, who holds a masters degree from Oberlin College, Conservatory of Music, was hired in September as the Worship Leader/Producer for this new worship experience. “The Gift,” the new addition to our music ensembles, will lead worship, incorporating many styles including contemporary Christian, jazz, gospel, and global music. Occasionally, various choirs will be invited to help lead worship.

Multi-media: The Servant Leadership Board embraced the full report of the Worship Task Force, including the recommendation of adding screens and projectors to the sanctuary. Extreme care has been taken to explore all options, valuing the integrity of the beauty of the sanctuary, under the guidance of professional engineers and architects. When the screens are not in use, they will be nearly invisible. When the screens are in use, the stained glass window and the cross above the altar will still be visible.

Marketing and Evangelism: The marketing team is designing some creative ways to get the word out about our worship offerings. The hope is to attract new people to join us in worship by promoting all of our worship offerings including Taize, traditional worship, and Worship @ 11.

First Worship @ 11: The first service will be held shortly after the installation of the screens and projectors; the official start date is dependent on the schedules of the contractors. The first Worship @ 11 is tentatively set for late January 2016.

Ambassadors for Worship @ 11: Chris Schaljo, and a team of servants, is helping to prepare for this new worship offering. If you would like to serve as an Ambassador for Worship @ 11, please contact Chris at

Thank you for your prayers and support of the servant leaders and staff during this exciting chapter in the life of our church family! Stay tuned for more details.


Pastor Cathy

Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission

The Community Ministry/Global Outreach team of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church develops strategies for supporting local, national, and international partners who make up the core of our outreach ministry.

Two of our Global Partners are Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission in rural Appalachia, Kentucky. Both partners seek to meet the needs of those in poverty.

The Henderson Settlement seeks to provide for basic needs (education, housing, food, clothing, jobs) of residents in the community, as the church offers God’s love through acts of service and financial support.

The Red Bird Mission School has educated and shaped the faith of children from families of coal miners and loggers from three different counties in the Appalachia region of Kentucky.

Twice a year Bob Keith, member of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, and adjunct Professor and Director of Audiology Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cincinnati, organizes a team of student clinicians (Doctor of Audiology students), to minister at Red Bird mission. The teams provide hearing health care. In addition to hearing screening, the teams are involved in hearing testing, removal of ear wax, hearing aid fitting, ear molds, checking previous hearing aids to be sure they are functioning and making minor adjustments if necessary.

I invite you to pray with me as Bob leads a group of students to serve the communities of Red Bird Mission November 17-19. We will take a moment to commission Bob to the work he will lead, on Sunday, November 15 at 9:30 am. As Bob prepares to lead this group, we pray that God will bless Bob and the group with wisdom and strength.

Thank you for your support of Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission over the years. We look forward to deepening our relationship with the communities they serve in the years to come.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Imagine No Malaria- A Concerted Effort

Imagine No Malaria is a concerted worldwide effort by the people of the United Methodist Church to end deaths from malaria in Africa. It has already shown positive results. However, there is still work to do. Every 60 seconds, someone dies from malaria even though it is a preventable and curable disease. The majority of deaths involve children under age 5 and pregnant women.

The approach by the United Methodist Church is comprehensive and involves 4 areas:

• Prevention: Nothing But Nets program providing mosquito nets, draining standing water, and proper sanitation.
• Education: Training community-based workers to recognize symptoms and dispel myths.
• Communication: Teaching the need for and how to use mosquito nets, radio broadcasting lifesaving information to communities.
• Treatment: Hospitals and clinics providing rapid diagnostic kits and lifesaving medications.

HPCUMC has committed to contribute $50,000 over the next two years to the Imagine No Malaria Conference Campaign. The Hyde Park Church Endowment will match dollar for dollar up to $25,000 for a total of $50,000.

The first phase of our campaign is the “Bring Change for Change.” This is a family affair involving the children and youth of our congregation. Fill those boxes with your change! The filled boxes will be consecrated during the church services on November 8th. Your change can make a real change.

Phase two of the campaign will involve a Christmas alternative giving opportunity. Christmas cards will be available in the Welcome Center during the holidays with the proceeds going to the Imagine No Malaria campaign. It is a true Christian gift that can mean so much. Imagine No Malaria will continue to be a visible way to put our faith into action to permanently eradicate malaria for our brothers and sisters in Africa. Just Imagine… No More Malaria!

Dr . Warren and Karen Webster

Go Share it on the Mountain…or Maybe Tweet about It?

Every week we leave worship with our mission to, “share the love of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati, and the world.” While the ways in which we carry out this mission have changed over the ages, the idea of sharing the good news has never been a foreign concept to Methodists. Since the denomination’s earliest beginnings, we have been all about sharing the news of Jesus with all that we can; but in today’s world with its constant distractions and commitments, it can be hard to decide where to even begin to share this good news.

Tasks that previously took multiple people and resources can now be accomplished with a magic screen kept in your pocket. New ways for people to interact with each other in the form of social media and personal technology make sure to keep us plugged in, connected and online at all times. All of this connection can certainly be overwhelming and often results in the question of, “what’s the point of [insert social media name here]?”

The history of social media and world is still being written. I think we are already able to see some of the reasons people turn to it. One reason is people desire community. No one likes to be alone, and we seek a sense of family and community in a group setting, even if the community exists digitally. Another reason people like to “connect,” is they also enjoy extending their real world community. Even if a particular club or activity group does not have an online presence, individual members of real world groups individually exist online and can still connect. While this social media engagement is cool and trendy, is it actually a tool we have to use to share the Good News?”

John Wesley writes in the preface to the 1739 edition of Hymns and Sacred Poems:
Solitary religion is not to be found there. ‘Holy solitaries’ is a phrase no more consistent with the gospel than holy adulterers. The gospel of Christ knows of no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness.

This bit of Wesleyan wisdom helps to shed some light on these new ways to connect. Just as Jesus connected with all that he could in His travels and teachings, we are not meant to go alone on our journey. As Wesley said, “holy solitaries” do not exist and we are tasked / should crave the opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. It doesn’t matter how we connect but only that we do connect. God calls us to know one another, love one another, and serve one another, and he does not care how we go about it. So tweet about it, share about it, write someone a letter, paint a sign, pin it, post it or shout about it; it doesn’t matter how we connect and share the love of Jesus with those around us, we just need to go out and fill them with the same social holiness we share with one another on Sunday.

Kyle Tieman

Over-the-Rhine Community Changes

Significant changes are on the horizon at Over-the-Rhine Community Church. Over the last few months, a group of nine leaders from the church and myself have formed a leadership team, which we have named our “Launch Team.” Our purpose is to discern what sort of church God is calling us to be as we re-new our church identity in the rapidly shifting landscape of Over-the-Rhine (OTR). In the process of this work, we have made the collaborative decision to make two foundational changes to our Sunday ministries:

1. Moving our worship time from 9:30 am to 10:30 am
2. Re-visioning our breakfast and dinner meals

The process began with realizing that a worship time of 9:30 am is ineffective when it comes to being a church accessible to our neighborhood. With this later worship time, it is our hope and expectation that more residents in OTR will participate in worship.

This change also opened up the door to discerning next steps for the Sunday breakfast and dinner that have been operating out of our church for over two decades. After much deliberation, we’ve decided the time has come to adapt these ministries into environments that call people into deeper relationship and church community. This means that the meals are going to function and look completely different from how we know them now.

Our new vision for the breakfast and dinner meals is for them to become gatherings that rely on people of all classes and economic status to both serve and eat together on equal ground. Our hope is to grow these meals into worshipful environments operating under the standard that as we show up to eat, we also show up to serve one-another.

Breakfast will move to 8:30 am and will essentially serve as the pre-worship experience to our service that will start at 10:30 am. This meal will be led by a small group from Over-the-Rhine Community Church and rely on weekly volunteers dedicated to our community, but mostly run by the people who show up for the meal.

The most significant change for dinner is that we will move this gathering outside of Sunday and the church building, most likely in people’s homes and public spaces. The vision for the dinner is to provide a space that our church can invite the people of our neighborhood to, which doesn’t look so much like “standard church.”

For all those involved in one or both of these ministries, please know you will always be welcome to participate in these new meals! The “work,” however, will be entirely different. Volunteering in these ministries will certainly include some prep work, cooking, and the sort; but most importantly it will mean the expectation of participating in a peer-to-peer gathering that is focused on building long-term and lasting relationships.

We would like to invite you all to a celebratory worship service after the final dinner on October 25 at 6:00 pm. This will be a service made up mostly of singing, prayer, and sharing testimonies around what God has been doing out of our church in OTR. It will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that God has done in the past, and where God is taking us in the future. We hope to see you there.

Ian Strickland
Pastor, Over-the-Rhine Community

Imagine No Malaria

Infected mosquitoes who bite children, youth, and adults – mosquitoes do not discriminate – are the cause of transmitting the disease of malaria.
Malaria was functionally eradicated in the United States in the 1950’s.
Africa, however, is still battling against this non-discriminatory disease that is claiming many lives.
Getting the help they need, not only in health treatment, but in prevention nets, education of families and health workers, and communication delivering messages about malaria and how to prevent it.
In the last decade, there has been a 50% reduction in malaria deaths worldwide. However, in 2013 there were nearly 200 million cases worldwide and an estimated 584,000 deaths.
Ninety percent of these deaths occurred in Africa and 430,000 of these malaria deaths were children before their fifth birthday.
Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies of malaria!

Now is the time to join in the movement to provide Prevention, Education, Communication, and Treatment in regards to malaria to the people of Africa.
Our West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church as well as Hyde Park Community UMC have joined the movement.

Make the choice to individually join in our efforts to BRING CHANGE to Africa.
An option to BRING CHANGE (alteration) to Africa is to literally BRING CHANGE (coins) to the church.
Let your red BRING CHANGE coin boxes sit in a prevalent place in your house.
At the end of each day, collect the change that you and your family members have accumulated over the course of the day and place it in the box.
Return your filled BRING CHANGE boxes to the church on November 8. Together, we will present them in worship this morning.
If you need to return them early, please place them on the Imagine No Malaria display table in the Welcome Center on Sunday mornings or bring them to the church office during the week.
Answer the call to help eradicate malaria in Africa!

“God’s Got This…”

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Over the last eight weeks my life has changed. I left a good and flourishing life in New York. I’ve had to say farewell to close friends and that has been painful. I have made painful changes before. But this was different, I felt a divine intensity pushing me.

This past July, my wife, Mary, our two boys, Oscar and Oliver, ages four and three respectively, made our yearly vacation home to Ohio. That meant we drove to Cleveland for her family or Cincinnati for mine. We loved coming to Ohio, and making memories here. For certainly the gulf of lost memories with family was widening as the years mounted, but when things are going fine, why upset the apple cart? When we returned home after this vacation, as we pulled up our driveway, we looked at each other and knew this was no longer our home.

The following week, my wife complained that she was incredibly distracted and couldn’t stop looking for work in Cincy. I didn’t dissuade her from being distracted. I felt it too. A week later she had a job. We snapped into action. And that, my friends, is an understatement. In less than five weeks from packing the first box to unloading the truck, we both had landed jobs, got our kids in school, and maneuvered a thousand other details- it all went off without a hitch.

And through those five weeks we knew we weren’t alone! We were being fed by an insuppressible joy! We were elated that we would be so close to family, creating memories. And I still hadn’t heard of Hyde Park UMC yet. However, we were not immune to the uncertain, the fear of the unknown. We did not know if we would find housing in Cincy, or a multitude of other stresses. But deep inside us we just kept moving forward knowing that questions would be answered and that no matter what, the answers would be fine.

On the phone each night, talking to one another seven hundred miles apart, we would bolster each other with a comforting reminder, “God’s got this.”

I admit, I was nervous during that time. I hadn’t a job. And I like to work. And then the job listing appeared, from my wife, in an email. Worship and Praise Leader/Producer. The job had all the ingredients of my vocational life, yet what will never cease to humble me, this was all His doing. Here He was directly answering years of prayers. And as this story ends, 10 days later, Praise God, your church offered me the job.

“God’s got this.”

In spite of the clear and tangible signs of His presence in the course of my life, I cannot tell you God’s will. All I can say is that I am certain that there are times when we are tapped into a river of faith so strong, that there is nothing to do but give yourself over to the current and see where you end up. If it means entertaining impossible thoughts, following that still small voice, and doing radical acts of love, so be it. If we believe that Jesus is God’s love incarnate, and we accept the change that Jesus brought and continues to bring millennia later, then there is nothing to fear in change. You might just find the coming “Worship at 11” speaking to your spirit in new ways. Come join us in the river or keep where you are. Either way, God’s got this.

Christopher Schaljo

Community Highlight

As a church, we are looking forward to the Worship @ 11 service that will be beginning sometime in the fall. Many are asking God that this service will meet a need for worship within our current congregation and reach out to meet the needs of our community to bring more people to Christ. Some have asked how the Worship @ 11 service will affect our Children and Family programs during the 11:00 am hour. We think the Worship @ 11 service will be positive change for our children and families, and here is why.

Both Children’s Choirs, the Sunshine Choir (3rd-6th grades) and the Joy Singers (K-2nd grade) will continue to meet during the 11:00 hour after the Worship @ 11 service begins. Because it is important for children to be a part of the church in worship and to learn to worship God by attending services with their families, children will attend the first part of the Worship @ 11 service with their families. This is a continuation of what are doing now at the 11:00 service. After the Children’s Moment during the Worship @ 11 service, children will be invited to either attend choir or stay in the service with their parents.
Our Children’s Choirs are a wonderful way for our kids to learn about worship. Children’s Choirs will be singing in worship services many times throughout the year. It is always a joy to have our children lead us in worshipping God!

Preschool Worship is taking the place of Kids Worship this fall and is for preschool age children (3-5 years old) during the current 11:00 worship service and will continue with the new Worship @ 11 service. Preschoolers will be invited to attend Preschool Worship, like Children’s Choir, if they do not stay in worship with their family.

For families that are worshipping together during the Worship @ 11 service, updated Children’s Worship Bags will be provided for services, and a weekly Children’s Bulletin that goes along with the sermon will be available for children attending the service.

Our 9:30 Sunday School will remain unchanged by the start of the Worship @ 11 service. This hour is a designated educational hour for both children and adults – a time for faith development and relationship development.

We hope you will join us at the Worship @ 11 service and for Sunday School at 9:30! Together we will grow in our love and understanding of Jesus and as a church that loves others as we worship!

Sara O’ Connor
Director of Children’s Ministries

Over- the- Rhine Community Church

We have officially and publicly changed our church name from “Nast Community UMC” to “Over-the-Rhine Community Church”. While this is an exciting step in our calling as a new church start, continuing to grow into a community church for Over-the-Rhine and the city of Cincinnati, this shift can bring with it many questions. To serve as a source of clarity around this decision, I’d like to share some of the reasons behind the name change, as well as plans to maintain our connection to the historic Nast-Trinity UMC.

This decision has been a remarkably collaborative process. Over-the-Rhine Community Church has been blessed with many profoundly devoted people who are truly committed to what God is doing in Over-the-Rhine. The name change came out of significant conversation and reflection among the church’s Launch Team, made up of 9 leaders from the church and myself. The purpose of this collaboration was to insure that significant changes, such as this name change, had ownership from the church community.

The primary reason for this name change is to better reach the current demographic of Over-the-Rhine. The name “Nast-Trinity” still carries much familiarity and appreciation among the faithful church-goers who have been affiliated with this historic community for decades and even generations. However, for many of the residents of Over-the-Rhine, both new and long-term, who do not identify with a church community, the name and history of Nast-Trinity is simply unknown. While these assumptions should not cast a negative light on the history of Nast-Trinity UMC, they do represent a disconnection between the church and those outside of the church.

While the heritage belonging to the name Nast-Trinity is significant and unique, maintaining it as the primary identifier of this local church has been causing unfortunate stumbling blocks to connecting with the community. Eliminating confusion and clarifying who we are as a church for the neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine will allow us to more fluidly touch the lives of the people living here. This is the primary reason for the Launch Team’s decision to change the church name to Over-the-Rhine Community Church.

With that said, this decision was made with the caveat that we would do all we could to maintain a rich and active appreciation for our historic heritage. So far, ideas for maintaining the history of Nast-Trinity have been including historic information on the new website, renaming the sanctuary or Gathering Place “Nast Memorial”, and including this information in future new membership classes, so that anyone joining this church will know where we began. This is where the historic information, much of which has been maintained by Hyde Park Community UMC, will prove invaluable in this transition. I truly believe that by changing the name to a neutral Over-the-Rhine Community Church, we will be able to be more intentional in remembering our living heritage as the first German-Methodist Church.

In response to our connection with the United Methodist Church, the title “UMC” was left off the new name of Over-the-Rhine Community church intentionally. The reason for this is that the primary demographic moving into Over-the-Rhine tends to, at best, not identify with a church denomination and, at worst, has had negative experiences with denominations and, therefore, may initially be turned off by a church tied to one. In light of this reality, the Launch Team decided the simple title “Over-the-Rhine Community Church”, would best represent the church we are hoping to become. The bottom line is that we’re hoping to make this church as welcoming and hospitable to the community as possible, while not losing our theological and heritage integrity.

Over-the-Rhine Community Church is and will continue to be a United Methodist Church. We are in full connection to the district, conference and overall Church and have no intention of hiding that component of our identity. It will be clear in any information about the church on the website, and we will maintain all of the UMC policy, theology, and doctrine.

Dropping UMC from the front sign is simply a way of being able to control this part of our church identity in an environment where folks may have assumptions and misconceptions of what the UMC is.

I hope this information is helpful in understanding why we’ve made these changes and how we intend to appreciate and respect our identity as a United Methodist Church, coming from the historic Nast-Trinity UMC.

Pastor Ian Strickland