FanFan Janvier- Faith Academy- Haiti

I still clearly remember the first time I met Fanfan.  It was my first mission trip to Haiti. The airport in Port au Prince was hot, dusty and very third world.  As we struggled with our baggage, there was this tall, smiling Haitian waiting to greet us, relieve us of our load, toss it in the back of the truck that was to be our transport for the next week, and then help us climb in after it!

We got to see a lot of Fanfan that week.  He was there every day to take us to our workplace.  He spoke impeccable English and willingly answered the multitude of questions we had about everything to do with Haiti.

Gradually I learned his story.  His mother had put him in an orphanage when he was very young because she was not able to care for him.  The orphanage had become his home.  While he was there an American woman met him, saw his potential, and was moved to fund his education.  Education in Haiti is not free!  He learned to speak English and with those skills found work with the non-government organization that set up our mission trip.

But more than his past, I found that Fanfan had a dream. He is a man of faith.  Education had opened doors for him.  His dream was to make education available to more Haitians.  He managed to buy land outside of Port au Prince and, with help from a Methodist Church in Indiana, started to build his own school, Faith Academy!  We visited it on my first mission trip.  The first rooms were under construction.  We painted walls and filled potholes in the track outside that qualifies as a road in Haiti.  We did all this surrounded by crowds of laughing children, fascinated by our white skin and soft hands!

Over the next years I made several more trips to Haiti.  I saw Fanfan’s school grow from the few rooms we painted, to a two story complex that now provides education and a daily meal to over two hundred children. All this is possible because caring people in the States have helped with the funds for construction, for the staff and for the meals and materials to run the school.  Like most projects in Haiti, Fanfan is not finished!  He continues to grow the school and now wants to build a church next to his school!

If you are interested in particpating in future mission trips to Haiti, please contact Sarah Putman at sputman@hpcumc.org or 979-8162.

-John Moseley

John and his wife Vicki serve as liaisons to Haiti and Faith Academy.

 

Partnering with Samara, Russia

Part of the global outreach of HPCUMC involves a Methodist church in Samara, Russia. Our support to them has included helping them purchase a church building in 2001. Yet, even though they now have a church building, they are considered a sect by many because they are not part of the official government religion.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ are in many ways a first century church, not unlike what we read about in Romans or Corinthians. They live in a world where discussing their faith holds them up for ridicule from neighbors and co-workers, yet they proudly and boldly share their faith stories about how being a follower of Christ has changed their lives.

While they are relatively small in number – about one hundred adults – their commitment to sharing the love of Christ is anything but small, with sixty six  people actively involved in the church’s ministries. They feed the poor and homeless every week and offer as many Bible study courses as they can find translated into Russian. During the past year they started focusing on the importance of ministering to families in church by addressing issues like family relations, bringing up children and dealing with addiction, a major problem in Russia.

Anyone who has been on one of the mission teams to Samara can share stories of Samara’s radical hospitality.  One such story is that a young family with a two-year-old graciously gave up one of the two rooms in their small apartment to host members of Hyde Park Community UMC. Our partners at Samara UMC are empowered, energized and incredibly appreciative of our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.  Like those in the early church needed Paul, they need us. Speaking from personal experience, those of us who go to be in communion with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in Samara are always the richer for spending time with these new Christians.

The Russian Initiative, the program that reintroduced Methodism in Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union, holds a conference every two years. The next conference will be held May 15-16, 2015 in Russia for the first time. If you have an interest in attending this Moscow conference and then visiting Samara or to learn more about our partnership, please contact Nancy & Tom McOwen or me.

-Kevin Betts

 

Christian Love in Action in the Former East Germany

Freiberg UMCBeing in mission is a great privilege!! I grew up in Germany, and escaped communist East Germany in 1960. Since then it has been my privilege to partner with HPCUMC in four areas of Germany and to be able to return to do ministry with our German partners in Plauen, Frieberg, Augustusburg, and Chemnitz.

In June of 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I took thirty-two youth from HPCUMC to my home town church in Plauen. What an experience this was for our young people!! Then in 1995, the Cathedral Choir went to Plauen, and stayed with parishioners. We were welcomed with warm hearts, and many tears!!

In 1999 a group of sixteen volunteers from our church tore down an old house, built in 1849, in Freiberg, Germany, so that the small United Methodist congregation could build their own church. This was the first building they ever had because during the Communistic reign they were not allowed to worship. These small congregations are growing in an area where 89% of the population is atheist – a legacy of the East German regime (1945 to 1989). Several of the Freiberg UMC members told us: “You not only work hard for us so we can have our own church building, you give us hope and encouragement to carry on!!

In 2003 a group of twenty-five volunteers helped the Congregation in Augustusburg, with major improvements to their building, which had been in dire need of repair.

In the Fall of 2010 we also worked with a group of eight volunteers in Chemnitz, formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt, tearing down old concrete garages, so this congregation could build new space for youth and children’s work.

Being a part of the Germany mission team can be a life-changing experience. You will grow spiritually in new and exciting ways and make new friends on the team as well as in Germany. The experience is one of serving and sharing with others, working side-by-side and worshipping with Untied Methodists in another country.

-Gisela Gildemeister

 

It’s a New Thing! The Visitor Luncheon

After hearing a lot about Radical Hospitality you may be wondering, so what’s radical about our hospitality at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church? Something new we began this year is hosting a Visitor Luncheon.

Hospitality and friendship are our only goals for this event. We are not  recruiting new members or trying to sign people up for our mission projects. We merely want our visitors to feel welcome, to share a meal and have an opportunity to get acquainted. We have had two so far and are planning a third for November 2.

Lunch is a delicious home cooked meal with fabulous, radical desserts. We spend our time together getting to know each other. We share how we came to be part of HPCUMC.

We are developing our list of invitees for the November luncheon now. We will have invitations in the registration pads. If you are sitting in worship with a visitor please make sure they receive the invitation. Join your hospitality team in becoming radicals for welcoming all people into our community.

Jan Seymour

Nast Trinity Sunday Dinner Ministry

This week’s article is written by Ruth Young, who heads up the dinner ministry at the Nast Trinity Downtown Campus.

The Nast Trinity Sunday dinners started in 1983 when Sally and Ed Berg, Urban Missionaries who came to Cincinnati for one year but never left, felt called to feed the hungry neighbors they saw around the church every Sunday. Sally recruited partner churches and other organizations to provide food and volunteers every week. She supervised and hosted as the guests were served—no cafeteria line—hot meals. My 25+ years of serving in this ministry began when Hyde Park Community UMW answered Sally’s call. Our church has provided and served the meals at least three Sundays per year from the early days.

When Sally retired after 25 years of Sundays, it took four of us to replace her:  Mary Ann Foster, Jill Colaw, Diane Weaver, and I, joined more recently by Barbara and Jim Hunter,  taking turns confirming food and volunteers, hosting and assisting with serving each week. Yes, there are Sundays when I am dragging, wanting nothing more than a quiet afternoon at home, but once I get there I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I am always blessed by the energetic and committed volunteers and by the smiles of the friends I have made among our regular dinner guests. No, I don’t know all of their names or stories, but a warm hug and hello make all the difference.

Why does our church and others in the Cincinnati area continue to support this ministry? A couple shared these comments recently after their first experience of serving Sunday dinner:   “For the most part, the people we met warmed our hearts, broke our hearts and made us realize even more that we have so much to be thankful for.  As we were walking back to our car, we passed the City Gospel Mission and there were some men from the first table we served and they waved.  WOW!  We had made friends in that brief moment of time.  You can see and feel God working in this area of Cincinnati.”

How can you get involved? When we invite 250 guests for dinner every Sunday, we always need a lot of help! This means that HPCUMC serves about 750 dinners each year and Nast Trinity services almost 12,000 per year. On the Sundays when we provide and serve the meal, you can make a chicken casserole, bake brownies, or join the serving team. I also welcome offers of “call me if you need me” for those weeks when we need more help at the last minute.  If none of these work for you, we also welcome donations to cover the cost of paper products and beverages.  Before each Hyde Park serving week, you can ask questions and sign up for a task at our table in the Welcome Center.

The Nast Trinity Sunday Dinner Ministry has blessed my life in more ways that I can count,  and I would love to have the opportunity to share this blessing with you.

Ruth Young

Ronda Deel assisted in the writing of this article

Worship Hospitality

The hospitality we offer is an expression of our relationship with Jesus Christ and our desire to welcome others into that relationship.  Today, we celebrate the worship hospitality ministries of our church with this reflection from Beverly Good:

Being a member since 1975 has been a blessing.  I’ve received lots of support, Christian love and spiritual growth from my church family.  Serving as an usher has presented me with a great opportunity to greet, share and give hugs to many entering the sanctuary on Sundays.  A few years ago a wonderful Christian, Vera Hurd, shared a heart to heart hug with me and my hugging was changed forever.  This has been very meaningful as I show the love of God with a heart to heart.  I usher at the sanctuary door next to the elevator at 9:30 A.M., so if you need a hug you can get a heart to heart, they are no charge.  Thanks be to God for the things that He has done. 

There are many opportunities to welcome people to worship each week. Consider serving as an Usher, Communion Server, Liturgist, Choir member, on the Technology Team, on the Hospitality Team or on an Altar Guild which cares for the altar and the worship paraments.  Contact Lisa Foley in the church office at (513) 871-1345 for more information.

 

Interfaith Hospitality Network

Family homelessness exists in Cincinnati, and HPCUMC has chosen to be a part of the solution by volunteering as a “Host Congregation” for IHN, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati.  IHN is a family homeless shelter located in Walnut Hills at 990 Nassau St.in Walnut Hills.  Every year, HPCUMC commits to serve as a Host Congregation for 4 weeks.  I am grateful to the many volunteers (including staff) who serve for IHN and to our congregation for the financial support budgeted every year to support this ministry.

We just recently concluded our 2nd 2014 Host Week. During that week, we served 4 families; 3 single parents, 1 single grand-mother and 11 children (the 41 year old grandmother had 5 of her grandchildren with her).  Our guests stay with us at our Hyde Park campus during the week; arriving by bus around 5:15 p.m. each night.  We serve them dinner, visit with the adults, play with the children and provide warm, safe beds for the night (Sunday school classrooms are made up with beds and serve as the guests’ bedrooms for the week). After a breakfast on the go, the families leave around 6:45 a.m. to head back to the IHN Day Center where the parents work on their case plan, children are shuttled to school, etc.

Approximately 45 individuals from our church signed up to serve for our last host week: some prepared meals; some just came and ate with our families as our dinner hosts; some helped with the laundry after the week ended; some just came to play cards or color with the children; others donated to our pantry supplies; and still others volunteered to sleep over for the night (in their own room) in order to help get the guests off in the morning.  The grandmother (with 5 of her 10 grandchildren with her), could not have been more gracious and appreciative of our hospitality.  I was amazed by her love for her grandchildren. We all celebrated with her on Wednesday of the week as she had finally completed all the paperwork and purchased gym shoes so that all 5 children were able to go to school for their first day.  No easy feat when you are homeless, but she did it with a smile on her face.

God directs us specifically to care for the poor, feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.  Nothing could be more clear, and IHN enables us to do that in a caring and respectful manner.  As a volunteer, I consider it an honor to be able to serve these families, and I believe others would say the same.  Is it easy?  No, not always.  Do I have the time?  No, not usually.  Do I wish we could do more? Yes.  Do I wonder what will happen to Pedro, Margherita, Maria, Julianna and Erianna (the 5 grandchildren) who stayed with us last week? Yes.  Do I pray for them? Yes, always.

But 4 families at a time, one week at a time, HPCUMC makes a difference, and maybe one day Cincinnati won’t need IHN, but right now it does.  To find out more about IHN, please visit the website,  www.Ihncincinnati.org, and if you think this might be a ministry where your gifts could make a difference please contact me (laural.warren@ge.com) or Sarah Putman (871-1345; sputman@hpcumc.org)  and we promise to find a spot for you.    We have 2 more host weeks coming up before the end of the year: October 5th-12th and November 30th-Dec. 7th.

Laura Warren

 

 

Are You Guys Treasure Hunting?

On a beautiful Tuesday evening in May, a small circle of six people gathered and prayer- walked around the church building and the streets in this church neighborhood. Fresh air, sweet fragrance, and spring flowers seemed to rejoice with us as we blessed our neighbors, walked, talked, and enjoyed each other as we rejoiced in the Lord. Our Prayer Walk turned out to be a time of physical well-being, exercise, and friendship/fellowship. It was more than a spiritual practice. It was fun and joyful seeing neighbors’ colorful gardens and to greet some neighbors, who were sitting on their front porches and working in their front yards.

Suddenly, a lady smiled and asked, “Are you guys treasure hunting?” Someone in our group happily replied, “We are prayer walking, praying and blessing our neighbors!”

After a few moments of silence, all of us thought about the neighbor’s greeting to strangers. Her simple words remained in our hearts as it was singing into our souls. It seemed that the Holy Spirit was asking us, “Why are you doing what you are doing?” “Did you know you are not just walking but treasure hunting for My people?” No one said anything at first, but later we all agreed by saying, “That’s right, Yes, indeed! We are treasure hunting for God’s people. Praying for our neighbors is treasure hunting because they are precious treasures in the sight of God. It doesn’t matter whether our neighbors recognize that or not; we simply ask God to open their hearts so they can see the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ in their lives.

That’s what prayer is, developing a relationship with a loving God and with our neighbors and other believers in Christ. It is not an extra chore, but rather it’s a journey to grow and to bless the church families and friends, people in our neighborhood, city, and nation.

Prayer is plugging into the power of the Holy Spirit for renewal, revival, and transformation!

In order to “treasure hunt” more effectively and powerfully, the Congregational Care Prayer ministry team invites our church family to join one of the prayer gatherings we have launched:

If anyone would like to learn more about prayer and to overcome fear in praying with others, meet us in the Little Theater on Sundays at 9:30-10:30 am

We offer different styles of prayer at the Tuesday Evening Prayer Gathering from 6:307:30 pm in the Sanctuary

1st Tuesday —Prayer Walk

2nd Tuesday–Taize (No service in Summer)

3rd Tuesday- Pray with Scriptures and Songs

4th Tuesday-Contemporary Prayer and Praise

5th Tuesday—Contemplative Prayer

 

Other Prayer Groups are open to all through the week.

Sunday Morning Prayer (7:00 am),

Tuesday Morning Intercessory Prayer (9:00 am),

Prayer Shawl (2nd & 4th Tues. 6:30 pm),

Going Deeper (Wed 10:00 am),

Healing prayer (3rd Sunday at 11:00 am),

Inner City Prayer Walk (June 22 at 6:30 pm),

Email prayer Chain (Daily)

Prayer Wall -Welcome Center (Daily)

Please contact Sue Lee at sljin@hpcumc.org, 979-8186 for more information.

 

The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good fruit (Luke 6:45).

Jesus said not to store up earthy treasures, but to seek the real treasure in life, which is the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:19, 13:44).

In Christ,

Rev. Sue Lee Jin

Pastor of Care and Prayer Ministry

 

Living the Resurrection through Senior Ministry

What DOES the church offer seniors? Probably not enough. Having said THAT, let’s focus on what we do offer: On a social/fellowship level, our THURSDAY EDITION program meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday from 10 a.m. to Noon – Sept through May – decadent donuts, speakers – all both inspiring and fun! FIRST FRIDAY NITERS, a dinner/program evening on the first Friday of each month continues. This group was started over 60 years ago. Ron/Mary Ann Purdon and their crew have kept it afloat; the boat is now taking on water, however, and we are charting new ways in the Fall to do some repair work! Seniors are encouraged to join small/groups and Sunday School classes. The church provides transportation for them on Sunday mornings. An aside: Jim Kern, pushing 101 years, is the only senior who can crawl into the third seat of the church van! Some seniors in retirement homes keep tabs on each other and send updates/reports.

The Parish Visitor coordinates calling – hospitals, nursing homes, private homes and hospice. Pastors and volunteers help with this. We deal with end-of-life issues, funeral planning and grief counseling.

Senior ministry lives and breathes through many of you in this church – young people who care and reach out to individuals, those who quietly follow our chronic nursing home patients and report to the parish visitor. Both men and women make up this group. After a recent Thursday Edition meeting, I reviewed and pondered the following: Dr. Lowell McCoy(95) had eloquently prayed the invocation, George Keil(94) began the benediction with, “Oh Lord, we are so glad we could come to church today and be together.” And, recently at a graveside committal service, Bishop Colaw(92) quoted William Cullen Bryant’s, “Thanatopsis” – the most beautiful lines. Lee Jones(97) remains after Thursday Edition and sends the weekly bulletins to shut-ins and the sick. She includes with each a poem which she has selected and reproduced, and all with a personal hand-written note attached.

This is well known that we all are living longer and getting older – We are thankful that the members of Thursday Edition are getting older; of course, our members church/wide are getting older. We need more of you younger people – you who are in your 60’s and 70’s, you who are just retiring – we need you to stand on the shoulders of our “giants” – we need you to help define what senior ministry will look like l0 years from now! We will always be grateful for the leadership of Dr. McCoy and his support of all groups/levels; as he leaves for his new assignment, we are looking forward to new pastoral leadership with Dr. Cathy and Rev. Doug Johns. Sometime during the summer months, we hope to meet with them and discuss senior ministry. Call my office if you would like to be part of such a group – 979-8196.

In conclusion, Martin Luther’s l6th century hymn, based on Psalm l30 ends with this verse: “ And thus our hope is in the Lord, and not in our own merit; We rest upon his faithful word to them of contrite spirit. That he is merciful and just, Here is our comfort and our trust; His help we wait with patience.” Amen.

Senior Ministry in a Nutshell: We are all thankful, and we praise God for the privilege of growing older!

Marietta Garber

Parish Visitor

Living the Resurrection through Summer Impact

She was a young teenager, awkward, and very obviously out of her comfort zone.  She had signed up to participate in the Summer Impact program because she wanted to make a difference in the world.  But now that she was actually there in the Gathering Place of the Downtown Campus serving lunch to the Over-the-Rhine community, she was anxious.  Her stomach was a bundle of nerves.  She took a deep breath….IMG_5611

He was an older man, grisly, and very obviously at home in the Gathering Place. He had come to eat at the Downtown Campus because he was hungry, and he had heard he might find a good meal.  But now that he was actually there, he found himself sitting alone at a table.  As his hunger pains relented, he once again felt the familiar ache of loneliness.

They exchanged a greeting, unsure but pleasant, and she sat down next to him. She wondered if his small untidy bag of belongings was truly all he owned in the world.

The man looked up from his meal, smiled, and asked her if she ever read the Bible.

Yes,” she said.  “In Youth Group.”  But don’t ask me any questions, she thought.  I don’t know what to say.

He asked a question, “I just read Matthew 20:34, ‘Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.’  What do you make of that?”

She shrugged her shoulders and he laughed, and in that moment, everything changed.  As they launched deep into conversation, she realized she could be comfortable in the Gathering Place.  This was the same kind of conversation she had with her friends.  As he shared his ideas, he realized he had something to give.  Over a simple sandwich and a side of chips, he could offer a lifetime of faith.

SI WidgetSummer Impact at Hyde Park Community UMC is full of moments just like this one.  Through a daily rhythm of study, service and celebration, participants experience new and developing relationships, new and different ways to serve, new and deepening faith.  Since its inception in 2010, Summer Impact has become a launching point for groups and families to serve in Cincinnati and through their experience learn more about serving in their own communities.  Since 2010, our ministry partners have come to rely on the Summer Impact teams.

Click here to learn more about Summer Impact, or contact Sarah Putman, sputman@hpcumc.org or Cindy Ware, cware@hpcumc.org.