Lessons We Can Learn

In these days of continued uncertainty and unknowing, anxiety grows and frustrations fester.  Underlying the anxiety and frustration are questions of “why” and “when.”  I submit we will never know meaningful answers to the “why?”; and any meaningful answer to the “when?” will not be soon enough.  Therefore, I encourage us to reframe our current circumstances and ask a different question: What can I learn in these days of COVID-19?  In answering this question, I offer the following, written by Bill Gates.

What is the Corona/ Covid-19 Virus Really Teaching us?

1) It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.

2) It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.

3) It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet rolls.

4) It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials that we need (food, water, medicine)as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.

5) It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses so we can rebuild them into our home and to strengthen our family unit.

6) It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what we do, not what we were created to do.  Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.

7) It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to hoard, to look after only our self. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.

8) Whereas many see the Corona/ Covid-19 virus as a great disaster, I prefer to see it as a “great corrector.”

How would you add to the list?  I too believe this is an opportunity for us to reset, renew, and restore.  This is a time for us to take seriously God’s call to partner with God in God’s acts of new creation.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

A Letter from Pastors Doug and Cathy

Dear Hyde Park Community and Warehouse Brothers and Sisters:

Greetings in the name of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ!  We pray that this finds you well and safe as you journey through this time of uncertainty.  The mission and ministry of HPCUMC/Warehouse strives to deepen relationships with God and one another.  From our weekly worship together , to the offering of daily devotions; from Children, Youth, and Adult ministries to our Outreach and Mission, we strive to be God’s light, hope and love in a world so easily given over to fear and despair.

All that we do is possible because of your financial investment in the mission and ministry of HPCUMC/Warehouse.  Because you financially support HPCUMC/Warehouse you embody the words of Jesus: “You are the light of the world . . . the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-14)  Thank you!  We write to provide an update on our financial position, financial plans for the coming months, and offer encouragement as you invest in the mission and ministry of HPCUMC/Warehouse.

Current Status: We ended the first quarter of 2020 in a solid position; although revenue is considerably down compared to our 2020 financial plan, our expenses have been down as well.  Consequently, we ended the 1st quarter in a positive position.  However, as the finance team projects revenue (based on the first quarter) we project we will end the year with a $106,000 deficit.

The Finance Team of the Servant Leadership Board has implemented a “spending freeze” for all non-essentials. In addition, we have applied for the “Payroll Protection Program” grant, which is a part of the legislation Congress passed earlier this month.  If we are approved, we will be able to avoid furloughing staff.  The Finance Team is reviewing our budget to identify other areas to reduce expenses.

Your continued Investment is critical . . . If you have made a financial commitment and are up to date on the commitment, or if you give regularly and have maintained your level of giving to date, thank you. If you have made a financial commitment, or give regularly but find you have not yet financially supported HPCUMC, The Warehouse in 2020, or are behind in your commitment, we encourage you to make support of HPCUMC, The Warehouse a priority.  If you can give above and beyond your commitment and/or planned giving your second mile giving will go a long way in ensuring God’s light and love are shared through HPCUMC/Warehouse throughout 2020.  We encourage you to give in one the following ways:  1. Mail your check to the church, or 2. Go to our website and give on line.

Thank you for your faithfulness in these uncertain days.  It is a privilege to serve in ministry with you!  May our God of resurrection, bless you abundantly with resurrection living!

Though Christ,

Pastor Doug

Resurrection Hope, Resurrection Living . . .

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  This is the proclamation of the women who visited the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning.  This is the great Easter proclamation of the first century church, and the church of the twenty first century!  It is a proclamation of a current reality and a future hope.  No matter who we are, or the circumstances we face, the dead ends of life, the lost relationship, or the physical and figurative “death” we encounter, death does not have the final say.  God is a God of resurrection.  God makes all things new, re-creating, and calling us to be partners in God’s re-creation!  The resurrection brings hope, today, tomorrow, and forever.  A hope, Paul says, that “will not disappoint us.”

However, from the time of the Epicurean philosophers to the “age of enlightenment”, and continuing in the twenty first century, there are voices that would have us believe that God is not actively involved with God’s creation but has created and left us to our own devices; God is separated from the world, and remains uninvolved with the world.  Therefore, if true, the resurrection of Jesus couldn’t possibly have anything to do with us today.

In his book, Surprised By Hope, Bishop N.T. Wright offers the following:

“”Who, after all, was it who didn’t want the dead to be raised?  Not simply the intellectually timid or the rationalists.  It was, and is, those in power, the social and intellectual tyrants and bullies; the Caesars who would be threatened by a Lord of the world who had defeated the tyrant’s last weapon, death itself; the Herods who would be horrified at the postmortem validation of the true King of the Jews.  And this is the point where believing in the resurrection of Jesus suddenly ceases to be a matter of inquiring about an odd event in the first century and becomes a matter of rediscovering hope in the twenty-first century.  Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that different worldview is possible, a worldview in which the rich, the powerful, and the unscrupulous do not after all have the last word.  The same worldview shift that is demanded by the resurrection of Jesus is the shift that will enable us to transform the world.” (P.75)

Through the resurrection of Jesus we possess the power of the resurrection today, and resurrection hope tomorrow.  Resurrection hope transforms our worldview, and we become partners in God’s acts of new creation!  Join us by Live Stream for our Easter Celebration.  To God be the glory!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Psalm 46: 1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”

Psalm 46 is a wonderful Psalm of remembrance, and in our remembering strength, for the journey before us.  In these days of “social distancing”, filled with uncertainty, anxiety, dis-ease, and frustration; the church offers hope, perspective, rest, and comfort.

As we continue to worship together, study together, support and encourage one another through the amazing technological tools at our disposal, I encourage you to join us for our Live Stream Services (Join us via the website or on our Facebook page):

March 31, 9:30am, (re-broadcast at 11:00)

Palm Sunday, April 5, 9:30am (re-broadcast at 11:00)

Good Friday, April 10, 7:30pm

Easter Celebration, April 12, 9:30am (re-broadcast at 11:00)

(All services will be archived on our Website and Facebook page)

In addition, the following are ways we can participate in and ensure the ongoing mission and ministry of HPCUMC:   

Your Financial Gifts.  The mission and ministry of HPCUMC continues and your financial support is as vital now as it has ever been.  Please make your gifts in one of the following ways:  Online via the website; Use the QR code; or mail your contribution to the Church office.

Daily Devotion.  Pastor Cathy, Pastor Dave, and Pastor Doug will offer a live stream daily devotion: “It is Well: Daily Prayer and Praise” is offered every morning March 23 – April 18.  Join us through the web site or on the HPCUMC Facebook page (To view later in the day “It Is Well” will be archived on both sites).

Follow the CDC guidelines. There is a lot of mis-information on the inter-net, be aware of and follow the CDC guidelines.

Encourage One Another.  An email of encouragement, a phone call, a note in the mail, or sharing a devotion goes a long way in lifting the spirits of one another.

May the opening verse of Psalm 46 be your “breath prayer” (a short, one sentence statement that can be prayed over and over, as a means of centering oneself in the presence of God): “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”.  Our prayers continue for you, our faith community, state, nation and globe.  I encourage you to embrace the concluding words of Psalm 46: “Be still, and know that I am God . . .  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (v.10-11).   

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

HPCUMC and the Corona virus

Dear Hyde Park Community Family:

Grace and peace to you through our Lord, Jesus Christ.  In these anxious days, fueled by the COVID-19 virus, these words of Paul in Philippians come to mind:  “In our anxious thoughts and worry, God will guard our hearts and offer us peace. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Last night our Bishop, Gregory Palmer, sent an email to the churches of West Ohio Conference:

Dear Partners in Ministry,

Times like these require unprecedented measures. I am strongly urging West Ohio Conference churches to cancel public worship for the next two weeks. This is not a decision I have taken lightly. These precautions are not only important for your own safety but for the health and welfare of the entire community. Please use your discretion regarding smaller group gatherings such as bible studies, etc. I am not asking you to cease operations completely but to avoid large group gatherings.

As we take precautions, let us must remember the poor and marginalized still depend on our churches.  The need may increase due to company shutdowns and closures for any period of time. In the days to come, the conference website and social media channels will have additional resources for you and your local church.

In the service of Christ,

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer

In light of Bishop Palmer’s letter, in addition to Governor DeWine and Mayor Cranley’s press conferences, Hyde Park Community will cease public worship this Sunday, March 15, and the following Sunday, March 22.  We will evaluate, and decide on future Sundays after consulting with the Ohio Department of Health, the Bishop’s and District Superintendent’s offices.   It is our responsibility to care for those in our church, community and world by limiting our contact as a sign of our love of neighbor.
Worship With us Online:  www.hydeparkchurch.org (click on Media – click on Live Stream) . . .  Although we will not have public worship we will have worship, online, via Live Stream this Sunday, March 15 and March 22.  We will live stream worship at 9:30 (the service will be archived if you desire to join worship at 11:00).  As you participate in the Live Stream please make sure you record your attendance.  In addition, you will find the opportunity to make your offering online.

 Once again, there will be no public worship services this Sunday, March 15,  and March 22.  You are encouraged to join us by Live Stream.

 During this time, we are asking you to help stop the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  1. Stay at home when you or a family member are sick.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  3. Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your elbow.
  4. Get in the habit of NOT touching your face so often.
  5. Forgo shaking hands.
  6. If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved and take any necessary precautions here at HPCUMC.

Please know that our prayers are with you and your loved ones during this challenging time.   During the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was in the boat with the disciples and commanded the wind and waves to “be still.”  Jesus is in the boat with us.  If this news or concerns are causing you to fear, please email one of the pastors and we can connect.  May God’s blessings abound as we make this journey together.

Through Christ,

Pastors Cathy and Doug

Senior Pastors

 

HPCUMC and the Coronavirus Virus:

In light of the continuing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) I take this opportunity to communicate our current and developing plans for addressing healthy habits and maximizing efforts to prevent the spread of harmful germs. The staff and leadership will continue to monitor and follow the guidance of the US Center for Disease Control in our response to coronavirus.  The following are actions each of us can take to ensure our personal health and the health of those around us:

US Center for Disease Control and The Ohio Department of Health recommends precautions used for reducing the risk of infection for other illnesses, such as flu:

  Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.

  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

  Avoid contact with people who are sick.

  Stay home while you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and to avoid contact with others.

  Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

  Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

HPCUMC encourages the following practices as we worship, learn and fellowship with one another over the next couple of months:

  Our janitorial crew is diligently cleaning common areas with appropriate sanitizing agents.

  Holy Communion in April 5 and Maundy Thursday (May 3 if warranted) will be served using individually wrapped wafer and cup.

  As we greet one another at the beginning of our worship we encourage you to either bow, or bump elbows.

  If you need to stay home on Sunday morning join us for worship via our Live Stream (9:30 and 11:00 worship).  Go to hydeparkcurch.org – click on Media, click on Live Stream, or Facebook (Hyde Park Community).  Be sure to let us know you are worshiping via Live Stream by recording your attendance.

  Give On Line or by using the QR code found in this issue of News and Happenings.  The mission and ministry of HPC depends on your financial investment.  Your faithful giving to HPC will ensure that the transforming ministries of HPC continue, as we strive to be God’s light and love to Cincinnati and the world.

We are a multi-generational church family, as each of us takes care of our personal health we participate in caring for those who have vulnerable immune systems.  Together we can help prevent/minimize the spread of the coronavirus.  I look forward to seeing you in Church.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Re-Launch of Our Second Campus

The Warehouse, our second campus in Over-the-Rhine, under the leadership of Pastor Sherman Bradley and Pastor Sadell Bradley, resumed worship in OTR December 8.  This is a “soft launch” that paves the way to the public launch on Easter Sunday, April 12.

Pastors Sadell and Sherman share that the name The Warehouse was “a Holy Spirit download”.  They state: “A warehouse is a large building where raw materials or manufactured goods may be stored before their export for distribution.  According to Scripture, God is our Manufacturer, the Maker of Heaven and earth. (Psalm 95:6, 121:2)  God has created and formed us in God’s image and after God’s likeness. (Gen. 1:26)  We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for the good works God has prepared for us. (Ephesians 2:10).  The Warehouse will be a place where we will gather as our raw selves and be shaped by the Word of God, in the presence of God, along with a loving community.  We will be equipped and deployed for the LORD’S Kingdom purposes, with leaders going in and out spreading the Gospel in places where it has not been.  (Romans 15:20) . . .  The Warehouse is a multi-ethnic, inter-generational, multi-class community that will thrive in the heart of OTR, but have impact beyond the walls of 1310 Race Street and even beyond Cincinnati.”

The re-launch of a worshiping congregation in the Washington Park neighborhood of OTR is a God lead, spirit-filled, disciple making partnership with God in God’s acts of new creation; and YOU can be a vital part of the success of God’s transforming presence through The Warehouse!

Here’s how you can help:

1.  Pray – Pray for wisdom, and strength for Pastor’s Sadell and Sherman, the Leadership of The Warehouse, and the Leadership of HPCUMC.  Pray, seeking God’s guidance as you discern how you can help The Warehouse fulfill her mission and ministry.

2.  Attend Worship – I invite all of us to worship at The Warehouse at least once between now and April 1.  By doing so we each are able to share, from our experience, the beauty of The Warehouse’s mission and mission.  In addition, we seek folks who are able to committee to worshiping at The Warehouse once a month; weekly for the next 3 months; and weekly for the next 6 months.  The Warehouse worship time is 11:00 and typically is an hour and half worship service.

3.  Serve – Pastor’s Sadell and Sherman will form a “Launch Team” which will identify pre-launch opportunities, Easter Sunday Launch opportunities, and post-launch opportunities to serve.  When the opportunities arise, and the spirit leads, sign up to serve.

This is an exciting time in the life of HPCUMC/The Warehouse as together we strive to be a Multi-Ethnic, Inter-Generational, Multi-Class faith Community.  God is doing a new thing in our midst.  May what we do honor God!

Pastor Doug

Fruit That Will Last!

In John’s Gospel he quotes Jesus: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 15:16) Paul in Galatians 5:22 names the “fruit” we are called to bear, one of which is “Generosity.”  Through your faithful generosity, you are an active part of bearing “fruit that will last.”  Because you gave:

  Our partnership with Rothenberg Preparatory Academy flourishes.

  We provided over 540 families a Thanksgiving meal; and over 200 people helped assemble and deliver the boxes.

  Our Preschool flourishes with a near capacity enrollment, led by caring and compassionate teachers, staff and Director.

  We offer a bi-monthly Chapel to our pre-school children, led by our Director of Family Ministries, offering God’s love through worship designed for preschoolers.

  The Christmas offering surpassed expectations, claiming our place in the Global Village we live, as we partner with our brothers and sisters in Samara, Russia; Cluj, Romania; Tajuana, Mexico and Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.

  The Young Adult Ministry continues to attract Young Adults from across the city as they deepen relationships with one another and God

  The Third Sunday of Advent the music ministry offered an inspiring  time of  worship: “The Light of Christmas.”

  Christmas Eve worship was an inspiring celebration of the redemption of all creation through the birth of the Christ Child.

  The Worship @ 11 Band continues to lead worship that is inspiring and powerful.

  First Friday Nighters and Thursday Edition offer quality programming and fellowship for our Senior Adults.

  The Christmas Bash welcomed over 300 children and their families.   

  We fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and provided compassionate care to the sick and lonely through our partnerships with Center for Respite Care, MEAC, Wesley Chapel Mission Center, Wesley Education Center, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Habitat for Humanity, and Hyde Park Center for Older Adults; as well as tornado relief to our Sisters and Brothers in Dayton.

Thank you for bearing fruit that will last.  Your generosity is abundant and everlasting; it is a privilege to serve in ministry with you!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Over-the-Rhine Campus Re-Launch

The Warehouse, our second campus in Over-the-Rhine, under the leadership of Pastor Sherman Bradley and Pastor Sadell Bradley, resumed worship in OTR December 8.  This is a “soft launch” that paves the way to the public launch on Easter Sunday, April 12.

Pastors Sadell and Sherman share that the name The Warehouse was “a Holy Spirit download”.  They state: “A warehouse is a large building where raw materials or manufactured goods may be stored before their export for distribution.  According to Scripture, God is our Manufacturer, the Maker of Heaven and earth. (Psalm 95:6, 121:2)  God has created and formed us in God’s image and after God’s likeness. (Gen. 1:26)  We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for the good works God has prepared for us. (Ephesians 2:10).  The Warehouse will be a place where we will gather as our raw selves and be shaped by the Word of God, in the presence of God, along with a loving community.  We will be equipped and deployed for the LORD’S Kingdom purposes, with leaders going in and out spreading the Gospel in places where it has not been.  (Romans 15:20) . . .  The Warehouse is a multi-ethnic, inter-generational, multi-class community that will thrive in the heart of OTR, but have impact beyond the walls of 1310 Race Street and even beyond Cincinnati.”

The re-launch of a worshiping congregation in the Washington Park neighborhood of OTR is a God lead, spirit-filled, disciple making partnership with God in God’s acts of new creation; and YOU can be a vital part of the success of God’s transforming presence through The Warehouse!

Here’s how you can help:

1.  Pray – Pray for wisdom, and strength for Pastor’s Sadell and Sherman, the Leadership of The Warehouse, and the Leadership of HPCUMC.

2.  Attend Worship – I invite all of us to worship at The Warehouse at least once between now and April 1.  By doing so we each are able to share, from our experience, the beauty of The Warehouse’s mission and mission.  In addition, we seek folks who are able to committee to worshiping at The Warehouse once a month; weekly for the next 3 months; and weekly for the next 6 months.  The Warehouse worship time is 11:00 and typically is an hour and half worship service.

3.  Serve – Pastor’s Sadell and Sherman will form a “Launch Team” which will identify pre-launch opportunities, Easter Sunday Launch opportunities, and post-launch opportunities to serve.  When the opportunities arise, and the spirit leads, sign up to serve.

This is an exciting time in the life of HPCUMC/The Warehouse as together we strive to be a Multi-Ethnic, Inter-Generational, Multi-Class faith Community.  May what we do honor God!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

  

Love Came Down At Christmas!

As we make our final preparations to receive The Christ the classic carol comes to mind: “Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine; Love was born at Christmas; star and angels gave the sign.”  Preparing to receive such Love, otherwise known as the “Incarnation”, we in the depths of our being sense a stirring in our soul to become incarnational; bathed in love we become love to the world!

The early church father, St. John Chrysostom (born in Antioch 349A.D.) wrote:

“I behold a new and wondrous mystery.  My ears resound to the shepherds’ song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.  The angels sing.  The archangels blend their voice in harmony.  The cherubim hymn their joyful praise.  The seraphim exalt his glory.  All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth . . .  God who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised up.” (Watch For The Light, p. 225-226)

Love came down at Christmas and we “behold a new and wondrous mystery.”  In God’s descending we experience the holy; invited into the flow of creation and God’s acts of new creation!

With anticipation we wait, and with humility we receive, Love came down at Christmas!  I pray that you are able to give yourself over to this holy mystery of incarnation.   Allow yourself to experience God’s love in a new way, become a participant in the flow of God’s love, and in our becoming we become God’s incarnation to the world.

Christmas Blessings,

Pastor Doug