Moveable Welcome Center

A couple months ago, one of the greeters from the Hospitality ministry joyfully stopped me as I was walking toward the sanctuary. Then she asked me, pointing toward the crowd in the Welcome Center, “Look, what do you see?” I replied, “Well, I see the people talking to one another gladly.” Then she said, “That’s my point!” Her eyes were almost in tears as she expressed her joy in seeing a “warm atmosphere” as people were laughing, welcoming, greeting, introducing each other, and sharing brief life stories with one another before or after worship services. Surely it was good to sense the welcoming spirit as we enjoyed friendship and fellowship.

At the same time, the Welcome Center can be one of the most intimidating places for some people, including visitors. When we, insiders, do not intentionally invite others into our circles of conversation or look for unfamiliar faces, it’s common to miss the opportunity. In addition, it is not easy for visitors to find the Welcome Center if they want to have a cup of coffee; however, we can extend the spirit of welcome if we continue to think creatively.

A study has shown that when people do not find friends in the church, they will likely go elsewhere; but, when they find a group of caring friends, they will stay and grow in maturity in Christ Jesus. I pray that we, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, will continue to pursue hospitality to all people, so that we can become mature Christians together in the coming year. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrew 13:2). In order to become more hospitable, let’s take the Welcome Center and “make it move”!

As we catch the spirit of radical hospitality, we become a “mobile Welcome Center” by taking action and inviting others to sit with us in our pews. We become Sanctuary Ambassadors for Christ as we relate to people.

Are you new to the church and looking for a place to belong and grow together for the coming year? Would you like to meet new people and welcome all people by joining our hospitality team?

Please contact me, SueLee Jin at sljin@hpcumc.org or Donna Dautermann at steve.dauterman@gmail.com or call the church office.

Have a blessed New Year!

SueLee Jin

2020: A Ministry to Young People in Trouble

“2020” is short for the Hamilton County Juvenile Court Youth Center, located at 2020 Auburn Avenue across from Christ Hospital. Young people are brought to this secure facility by police, after arrest, or by agencies of the Court. About 90 youth between the ages of 9 and 17 are incarcerated there for an average of 10 days as they await their Court appearance. Each year, more than 3,000 young people are held there.

Who are these youth? Those on the 2020 ministry team have found them to be like most kids, like our own kids, with one big exception. These young people have fallen through the usual safety nets of family, school, church and community, and landed on the wrong side of the Law and in 2020. This forced “time out” has a sobering and humbling effect on the vast majority of these kids. Those of us who have visited at 2020 have witnessed first-hand the special sensitivity and openness these young people have to receive God’s love. That’s why we keep coming back year-after-year. I’ve been blessed to visit 2020 monthly for 10 years.

Thirty years ago, George Keil, one of our members, answered God’s call to start this ministry at HPCUMC (thanks and blessings on you, George!). One evening each week, we send a rotating team to meet with a small group of youth for an hour. Through this ministry of presence, we convey that someone, including God and us, still cares for them. We meet in a safe place, smile, listen, share, pray, read Scripture, and give each young person a new Bible they can put their name in and keep (Bibles caringly given to 400-500 kids in trouble per year!). For New Year’s Eve, we treat the whole facility to a pizza party which kids and staff greatly appreciate.

We presently have vacancies on our team due to moves and health issues. So, we’re looking for several caring adults age 21 and older to join this vital caring ministry, either as a regular once/month visitor, or as an occasional fill-in.

If God has given you a love for young people and if you sense a “divine nudge” to invest an hour a month giving hope to kids with open minds and hearts who find themselves in trouble, we’re looking for you. If you sense God may be calling you to this ministry, or even if you’re not quite sure, we invite you to join us as a guest visitor. As a guest, you’ll be free to just observe, or join-in as you feel led and comfortable. Once you confirm God’s calling, we’ll get you on the team. Blessings on you, my friend!

Please contact Sarah Putman at 979-8162, sputman@hpcumc.org, or Dana Connolly at 827-0815, dana.connolly1@gmail.com for more information or to schedule a guest visit.

Wesley Chapel Mission Center

Wesley Chapel Mission Center (WCMC), one of HPCUMC’s inner city ministry partners, is located in the eastside of Over-the-Rhine (OTR). This area is not yet part of the new development taking place in OTR. In fact, since the OTR development began, many of the existing old buildings on the eastside have been converted into subsidized low-income apartments and many low-income families are moving into the eastside. Because of this influx of families, it is becoming more and more important for WCMC to be ministering in this area to the “marginal” residents of OTR.

In 2003, Becky Costello became the Executive Director of WCMC and it was established that the goal of the center would be to provide a safe, off the streets place to go for Christian education. This would be accomplished through enacting the mission statement of serving the OTR community by witnessing to Christ’s constant healing presence through spiritual nourishment, children’s educational programs (including enrichment programs) and collaboration with the community.

The heart of our ministry is the Monday-Thursday after school program (2:30-5:00pm) where the OTR children come to a safe haven as outlined in the mission statement. Not only do we have a daily Bible lesson, but we also emphasize education by having separate rooms set aside for help with the children’s school homework. The homework comes first, and then there is time for play, games, crafts, and enrichment activities as well as a generous and nutritional snack. During the summer, we have a summer camp program on Monday-Friday from Noon-3:00 pm.

Since WCMC was established, each year we see more and more children. The average attendance has grown from about 10-12 children in 2003 to 75-80 children this year. We have grown from one facility for all ages to now four separate facilities, two of which are divided by grade levels.

Currently, HPCUMC has a handful of faithful volunteers who work with the children on a daily or weekly basis. We also partner with WCMC’s Saturday STARClub a few times a year via our Ignite program. Our Children’s Ministry and Youth Program collaborated to provide a Super Saturday of fun and learning during the St. Patrick’s Day season this year. Summer Impact volunteers and participants work daily alongside WCMC to run the Summer Camp.

All of WCMC programs plus other community activities are run by a staff of 6 – 8 (mostly part time) faithful servants and a relatively small number of volunteers. With so many young children attending the programming each day we desperately need more help! Please contact Sarah Putman at 871-1345 or sputman@hpcumc.org for more information.

Lon Kaylor

The Center for Respite Care

The Center for Respite Care, one of HPCUMC’s ministry partners, is a home for those who need it more than anyone else – those who are homeless and sick. The purpose of the Center for Respite Care is to provide those suffering from homelessness a place to recuperate after a hospital stay instead of returning to the streets and ending up sick again. It is at Respite that people suffering from homelessness find identity and love that has been missing from their lives for so long. My experience with Respite has been one filled with laughter, stories, and new understanding.

Volunteering at Respite gave me a new perspective on the lives of those suffering from homelessness and it provided new insights to those who participated in Summer Impact. At the end of each week, we would recount the ups and downs of Summer Impact, and the most impactful experience. Countless times, the Center for Respite Care was named because of their unique mission and the new understanding it provided to the volunteers. It was in this safe environment we talked about the prejudice we began the day with, and the openness and love we felt at the end of the day. It was also through these talks that we saw the way God worked through our hearts and worked through the lives of these people.

The Center for Respite Care is unique in the services they offer. They help care for these clients who need medical help but have been discharged from the hospital. The center allows their clients to get back on their feet at their own pace. Additionally, Respite provides services to help get their clients into permanent homes and apartments as well as finding employment. Their goal is for holistic well-being of those who stay with them, and they do an excellent job of focusing on the entire individual.

One of my fondest memories while at The Center for Respite Care was playing cornhole. Since Respite is relatively small, the clients interact quite often with each other and enjoy the company of new friends. New friends also means new competition for cornhole! We played every single visit; the clients would get so competitive, and it was contagious! It was also a time to talk about what they do in their free time, and associate a face, a personality, and a person with the far-too-often-large concept of homelessness. To me, homelessness is no longer anonymous, thanks to the Center, with Respite Care. Please keep their clients and those people who suffer from homelessness in your prayers this Christmas season!

If you have a heart for those who are seeking to get back on their feet, or the desire to sit with those who are healing physically, emotionally, and often times spiritually, contact Sarah Putman at sputman@hpcumc.org.

Ministering with State Ave UMC

State Avenue UMC in Lower Price Hill is one of our church’s community ministry partners. Our partnership with them offers many ways to serve others and connect through service. Because State Avenue UMC serves and ministers to families in a socio-economically challenged area, finding ways to provide food assistance and other support is vitally important. As ministry partners with State Avenue UMC, we currently help them financially and with food donations.

Another opportunity to partner with State Avenue UMC is helping with their children’s Sunday School program on Sunday mornings. State Avenue UMC needs volunteers to invest in the lives of the kids attending State Avenue. There are many possibilities in serving the children at State Avenue UMC. Along with sharing a Bible story, you can share your own story about God’s working in your life. You can bring a special activity to do with the kids or share a hobby. You can bring a healthy snack, or a special treat, or you can help provide for other needs at the church. The best part of this partnership is building relationships with the people at State Avenue UMC. You might find a child in this socio-economically challenged area, who needs someone strong, someone encouraging, or someone who simply understand and listens. The kids at State Avenue need people willing to invest in their lives and share the love and character of Jesus with them.

We are currently in need of people who feel called to minister specifically to children in need, physically and spiritually, at State Avenue UMC. If you would like to help with this ministry, the need for programming is every 4th Sunday of the month. The time commitment is about two hours each month, from 10:30-12:30, which includes travel time to State Avenue UMC. The Children’s Ministry at HPCUMC can help provide lessons, craft ideas, and activities to help you serve the children. If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer to partner in this way with State Avenue, please contact Sara O’Connor at soconnor@hpcumc.org.

Sara O’Connor

Prayer Walking

Prayer Walking is for everyone. We all do it. If you walk to your car and ask God for protection on your ride home you were prayer walking. If you prayed for inner peace as you walked to your work place, you were prayer walking.

I began praying the pews several years ago at 7:00 am on Sunday mornings and as others joined we walked throughout the building praying for our ministers, choir, teachers, ushers, hospitality and greeters. After reading Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson we circled the Sanctuary every Sunday 7 times. We continue to bless and pray over the pews, classrooms and doors. What joy we have experienced praying for our clergy, congregation and each other.

We are expanding Prayer Walking to the interval between services at 10:30 am, beginning at the Prayer Wall across from the Welcome Center. We will Prayer Walk throughout HPCUMC, for the various ministries, and weather permitting around the building.

There will be prayer suggestions, but we will rely on the promptings of the Holy Spirit to lead us individually in our prayers for HPCUMC, our congregation, and community. We may walk as a group or on your own as you go to worship, classes or meetings.

Prayer Walking unites us for a common purpose, on a common route, toward a common destination. Join Prayer Walkers each Sunday at 7:00 am or 10:30 am at the Prayer Wall. Praying to see you there.

For more information contact Rev. Dr. Sue Lee Jin, sjin@hpcumc.org, 979-8186 or Sharon Michaelson.

Sharon Michaelson

Tuesday Evening Worship

The Prayer Ministries of HPCUMC have been in existence from the beginning of our founding members’ plans to build this church.  They prayed about every aspect of our building, windows, architecture, and ministries.

When I was approached to be a part of a prayer ministry team, my first thought was the same as a statement I read about prayer in church.  “I don’t feel adequate to pray”.  HPCUMC along with nine other churches participated in The Breakthrough Prayer Lab initiated by The West Ohio Conference to brainstorm and share about being praying congregations, and I became part of that team.

As a result, the Prayer Ministry team at HPCUMC has facilitated the forty day prayer challenge during Lent, two prayer classes, re-instituted the prayer wall across from the Welcome Center, and a prayer worship opportunity every Tuesday evening.  Our goal is to be a House of Prayer, moving toward a prayer-saturated congregation.

Every Tuesday our church has a prayer service:

The first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm is Prayer Walking to unite in intentional conversation with God for our church, community, neighborhood and ministries.   Prayer Walking isn’t just good for your heart, it’s good for your soul.

The second Tuesday at 7:30 pm we continue the tradition of Taizé worship.

The third Tuesday is prayer through worship in song and scripture at 6:30 pm.

The fourth Tuesday is contemporary worship and praise presented by the Healing Team at 6:30 pm.

The fifth Tuesday is contemplative worship and prayer at 6:30 pm.

While I still feel inadequate about my prayer life, I continue to pray, worship, and “practice”.  Please join us on Tuesdays to “practice” praying and becoming a House of Prayer.  For more information contact Rev. Dr. Sue Lee Jin, sjin@hpcumc.org, 513/979-8186, Diane Weaver or Sharon Michaelson.

Sharon Michaelson

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Gloria, an 84-year old loving wife and mother, was a resident in a dementia unit.  Her devoted husband visited her daily as she slipped further away from reality.  Gloria and her husband, Tom, had been members of Southminster Presbyterian Church for over 50 years.  One day when both Tom and their daughter were visiting Gloria, a member of the church who was part of the Prayer Shawl Ministry Team, brought a prayer shawl for Gloria.  This prayer shawl was filled with prayers from the congregation and was a symbol of God’s steadfast love and presence.  Though Gloria was unable to appreciate the intention of the prayer shawl, it brought great comfort to Tom and their daughter.

Seven months after Gloria died, Tom was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Southminister again surrounded the family with love and support.  Tom also received a prayer shawl that he wore on days when he was chilled or not feeling well from the radiation treatments.  The prayer shawl was covering him when he passed away.

Gloria and Tom were my parents and I am now the owner of these two beautiful prayer shawls.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry at Hyde Park Community UMC was started in September, 2006.  A prayer shawl is a symbol of God’s unconditional embracing love and a physical sign of community presence and support.  Prayer shawls are given not only to those facing life challenges, but also to those celebrating life joys, and to those serving God’s Kingdom.  As we knit or crochet a prayer shawl, we ask God’s blessings on our hearts and hands and on the heart of the recipient.  We use patterns of three to represent the Trinity and attach a cross and prayer cards on each shawl.  Once a prayer shawl is completed, the prayer shawl team has a blessing of the shawls celebration during which each team member lays hands on the shawl and offers a prayer asking for God’s blessing upon the recipient.  Thus each prayer shawl is bathed in prayer and blessing.  As of November, 2014, over 500 prayer shawls have been presented including those sent to our sister ministries in Germany and Russia. It is a great joy and blessing to be a part of this ministry that brings such comfort, support, affirmation, and joy to others.

The Prayer Shawl Team meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from 6:00 – 7:30 pm in the library.  If you are a knitter or a crocheter, please join us on a Tuesday evening.  You also may participate by completing a shawl at home and dropping it off at the church office.  If you don’t knit or crochet but would like to support this ministry, donations of yarn are greatly appreciated.   For questions or if you know someone you would like to receive a prayer shawl, email clm2804@gmail.com.

Christine McHenry

The Prayer Wall – Heaven on Earth

The bulletin board across from the Welcome Center has been used as a Prayer Wall throughout the past several years.  It is a place you and I can post our needs and praises, and where others can share in our burdens and joys by lifting them up in prayer.

This Prayer Wall is a visible sign of God’s presence in our midst.  It is a reminder that we can go to our Savior at any time to talk with Him about anything.  He is there every moment of every day—waiting and wanting us to turn to Him with our worries, concerns, joys, and celebrations.  We were not created to be alone and to deal with what life brings us by using just our own knowledge and skills, but to live through things in fellowship with God.

The Prayer Wall is also a reminder that we are in community with each other.  We not only need God–we also need each other.  We have the responsibility and the privilege of praying for others and them for us.  We have no idea how our prayers will impact the situation we lift up to God, but we do know God hears and will respond.  No prayer goes unheard or is wasted.

I joined the prayer ministry at a time when I felt “flat” with my prayer life.  I felt I was going through the motions without much personal growth.  So I joined the prayer ministry to meet my own needs but quickly learned it wasn’t about me.  It was about being in service to others through prayer and as a result, growing in my own prayer life.

Each of us is called to pray for each other.  Talking with God can be a quick, “Lord, help this person through this difficult time.”  Or, we can really let God have it when life is really bad and seems unfair.  And then there are times when we don’t have the words to say.  It is at this time that we sit quietly in the presence of God and let the Holy Spirit pray for us.

But when we see the Prayer Wall and ask for prayers or pray the requests of others, we open ourselves to the power of heaven, to the kingdom of God.  We bring ourselves into community with others and them with us.  And that, my friends, is heaven on earth.

-Diane Weaver

Ganta United Methodist Hospital, Ganta, Liberia

Ganta kids

How to Help in the Ebola Crisis

In February, 2012, a mission team of eight from HPUCMC visited Liberia.  Our trip allowed us an overview of the work of the UMC in the country of Liberia.

Our trip started in Monrovia, but our destination was the Ganta United Methodist Hospital.  Although Ganta, the second largest city in Liberia, is only 165 miles from Monrovia, the trip there takes six hours.  I would compare the drive to a combination of bumper cars and The Racer at Kings Island!  Eleven years of civil war have completely decimated the infrastructure of Liberia.  There are no systems for “city water”, roads outside Monrovia are mostly a series of potholes, and electricity is only available where individuals and/or businesses can afford a generator and fuel.  The Ganta Hospital, in northeast Liberia, is just across the border from the Guinea forest, and within easy travel to Cote d’Ivoire.  It is the only referral hospital (with approximately 140-150 beds), serving a region with a population of around 450,000.

At the Ganta Hospital, we helped sort donated medical supplies, toured the facilities, and talked with staff about the services provided, advances in treatment of chronic disease, and their continuing needs.  Dr. Warren Webster was able to join one of the staff physicians, seeing patients in the day clinic.  Perhaps the most memorable story from our visit, was when Dr. Willicor (UMC missionary and medical chief of staff) came by to “request the services of the general surgeon” (Dr. John Bossert).  When we next saw Dr. Bossert, we learned that he’d been pressed into service to perform an appendectomy on an emergency admission.  Before we left the hospital the following morning, Dr. Bossert went to check on his patient, who was in the main ward with numerous other male patients, and found, taped above the man’s hospital bed, a sign on which was printed, “ICU”.

We were fortunate to stay with Bishop John Innis, in Monrovia, at the beginning and end of our trip. While there, we visited the West Point slum. For the eight of us, it’s not hard to imagine just how quickly a disease like Ebola could spread in West Point! You may have heard Victor Taryor, the hospital administrator and UM missionary, speak to the congregation in late March of this year – and/or your elementary aged children may have heard him speak in their Sunday School class – about the continuing needs at the hospital, for both supplies and staff.  The Sunday School classes took on raising funds for malaria bed nets for children and families in the surrounding communities, prior to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

The Ebola epidemic has been devastating to Liberia, which was just beginning to make progress on rebuilding infrastructure and systems, after their civil war.  To help with the church’s efforts to support hospitals and health workers during this crisis, you can make contributions through UMCOR’s Ebola Emergency Advance or, you can write a check to HPCUMC, and mark “Ebola Advance” in the memo line.

-Barb Fillion, liaison to Liberia