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.

 

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
rhoman@hpcumc.org

 

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