Living the Resurrection through Children and Family Ministry

SS-010.aDo you ever go down to the Lower Level of HPCUMC on a Sunday morning? If not, I recommend that you spend some time there between 9:15 AM and 10:30 AM. I understand that is the time that some of you are at worship, but I urge you to take a Sunday and spend some time roaming our Children’s SundaySchool before going to the 11 AM service. You will see some chaos, hear laughter, or even see kids fidgeting. One thing you will definitely see is JOY!

In the midst of all our transitions here at HPCUMC, sometimes the JOY of our faith gets lost. As a staff member, it can be frustrating during the week working on administrative tasks instead of “really” being in ministry. Sunday mornings make it all worth it. I truly love coming to the church on Sunday mornings to see our children. You NEVER know what you will hear come out of their mouths or see what they will attempt to do. I’ve heard things like, “I put my dress on for Jesus today,” or “Jesus is coming to my house because I like him,” or (my favorite) when talking about Jesus being left behind in the temple as a boy, “My dad remembers that. He was there.” The wisdom of our children always brings a smile.

Our Children’s Ministry at HPCUMC has such an amazing potential to have a huge impact not only on our own church, but in the community and even the world! We just wrapped up our Lenten Mission Offering Project – a “Quarter Challenge” among the kids. The kids were divided into 3 teams to represent our different Global Ministries: Team Haiti, Team Liberia, and Team Germany/Russia. Over the Sundays of Lent and even on Easter Sunday, our children “competed” against each other to bring in offering for their team – and as a congregation, we should all be proud of the kids. They brought in almost $400 – of their own accord. Our children are learning that they are helping kids in these other lands. I hope that when you see the kids over the next few Sundays that you will take a moment to congratulate them on a job well done.

We have some great things coming up in our Children’s Ministry over the summer. First on our calendar is Vacation Bible School. VBS is a BIG way to reach kids in the church and the community. This year our theme is Workshop of Wonders: Imagine and Build with God. Vacation Bible School is probably our most impactful event for the kids. Every year, parents tell us that they’re still listening to the VBS CD in their car from the previous summer.  If you feel called to serve our children by teaching or leading a station at VBS, please let me know because WE HAVE A PLACE FOR YOU! If, however, you cannot help with preparations or during the week of VBS, please keep an eye on our bulletin board in the hallway by the Welcome Center for items to donate. That’s a HUGE way of serving our kids too!

In addition to VBS we have many other events this summer. If you would like to serve by joining us in any of these events, we welcome you with open arms! Here’s a small list of what will be happening: Tweens Day at the Reds on June 22, Family Movie Night on July 18, Tween Camp at King’s Domain the week of July 20-25, Family Camp during August 1-9, and serving at State Avenue UMC on the fourth Sunday of each month at 11 AM.

In Children’s Ministry, there is never a shortage of places to serve. I pray that you will consider serving the children of HPCUMC. Spend some time with the kids on a Sunday and experience the JOY that you can only get from the kids.

Rebecca Homan, Interim Director of Children and Family Ministry


Living the Resurrection through Student Ministry

I was blessed to see many of the young adults at Hyde Park lead us in worship last Sunday.  Our seniors shared about some of their fears, stress, and even at times spiritual laziness, but they also spoke powerfully about God’s presence in their life, and their assurance that His love and guidance will help them in the chapters ahead.  It makes me smile to know that these young adults believe in God and want to be faithful followers.

According to recent research done by Fuller Theological Seminary, nearly one in three church attending young people, for various reasons, walk away from their faith after high school.  I can be shaken by statistics, but I am moved to act when those numbers are replaced by real students with stories and names.  Names like Derek and Jack.  Both of these young adults are now in their early 20’s and both were active in my youth ministry in my past.  Jack is about to graduate from college and is living for God and sharing his faith with friends.  I think of Jack and I am proud to have played a small role in helping shape his faith.  Derek was Jack’s friend who also was in our youth group.   He however has struggled in life and has made some poor choices.  I occasionally talk with Derek, and I am not sure if he even believes in God.  I pray regularly for both of these young men and many others like them.

I know that God can do miracles in their lives, but sometimes the miracle God wants to use is the church.  It really does take a village to raise a child in the faith.  Read and consider the words of Deutronomy 6:4-9:

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The student ministry at Hyde Park Community UMC strives to come alongside parents and grandparents to teach about God, to shepherd young people and help  them feel love and belonging, and to model for them our Christian faith.  I am blessed to serve some amazing adult volunteers and teenagers.  I would like to invite you to join us on this journey.

The first invitation is that you help support us with prayer.  Pray for God to work in the lives our teenagers and for our teenagers to learn to trust and obey God.  Pray also for God to provide the leadership our student ministry needs.

Finally, if you have a heart for young people, consider joining our ministry team.  We  need adults to shepherd, teach, and model for our young adults.  We will help train you and encourage you along the way.  You don’t need to be a Bible scholar, but you need to have a heart for young people.  You will probably meet students like Derek who are distracted and lose their faith, but you will also have students like Jack who become young men and woman for God and make you smile as you think of them.  The more we work together the more Jacks we will have!

Ken Miller

The Resources We Give

In the Sunday School class Marcie and I attend we have many lively discussions about topics that help us grow to a deeper understanding of what it means to live our Christian faith in the 21st Century. We are currently discussing the book, “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammad Cross the Road,” by Brian McClaren. His purpose for writing the book is to challenge us to maintain a strong Christ-centered faith that is not hostile to other faiths (from which we might also learn about God).

Early in the book, McClaren recounts a conversation with a colleague who caused him to think about his own faith a little differently. The friend said, “Remember Brian: in a pluralistic world, a religion is judged by the benefits it brings to its nonmembers.” How we treat the “other” matters.

This certainly rings true with Jesus’s teachings. He  demonstrates reaching out to people cast as “the other” when he engaged the Samaritan woman, touched and healed the leper, included the tax collector and said, “When you do it for the least of these…you do it unto me…”

I am grateful for both the legacy and the ongoing ministry and mission of HPCUMC to reach-out to and serve many who are often seen as “the other” in our world. This is why we confidently make our giving to HPCUMC the priority for our philanthropic giving. Just last week I sat paying bills with six non-profit solicitations before me (often the case). You have probably been there many times as well. We give to many of them because they do good and important work.  But we know that our core beliefs are the core beliefs of this church we attend, and that the resources we give will be used to support those beliefs in our community and world. What priority do you make your offering to Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church where your core beliefs are shared?

Dr. McCoy reminded us on Easter that the Easter story is the proclamation that God is constantly “making moves” to overcome evil with good, fear with assurance, hopelessness with hope and death with life. As we give of our resources through the offering or make a planned gift to the Endowment Fund, we are partners in proclaiming our core belief, “Christ is risen!” Checkmate!

Michael Vilardo