Thank you for your Faithfulness!

Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  I pray this finds you well as we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19.  I hope that you are enjoying these days of early summer.  Thank you for your extravagant generosity in the face of COVID-19, despite our inability to gather face to face as a community!  Your faithful financial support of the ministry and mission of  Hyde Park Community/The Warehouse is a gift that keeps giving in these critical days of uncertainty.  Because you gave . . .

  A daily devotion: “It is Well” is offered by Pastor Cathy, Pastor Doug, Pastor Dave, Pastor Kate, Pastor Pete Rudowski and Pastor Michael Vilardo.  Visit our website, hydeparkchurch.org, to hear a short message of encouragement

  HPCUMC partnered with UMC Foods to distribute meals to children as a way to stand in the gap while schools were closed and children were learning from home.  We provided meals for the Hyde Park/Mt. Lookout/Oakley/Madisonville area, at The Warehouse, our second campus in Over-The-Rhine, and at State Avenue UMC serving the Lower Price Hill neighborhood on the west side of Cincinnati.  We  distributed 8,008 meals, by 124 volunteers.

“Project 5000” bags  (non-perishable food items) were given to MEAC,our partner in Madisonville, along with financial support for their food pantry.

We continue to partner with Inter-Faith Hospitality Network (IHN) finding creative ways to meet the needs of homeless families.

•Both HPC and The Warehouse are able to offer inspiring Live-Stream worship, keeping us connected as a faith community.

•The Warehouse has offered Tuesday Table Talks – a weekly live stream program dealing with life issues compounded by COVID-19.

•We continue to strive to meet the needs of our homebound through weekly contact.

  A ministry to contact members of both HPC and The Warehouse by phone, email, or text keeps us connected.

  Small groups and Sunday School classes are meeting by Zoom.

  The Children’s ministry sends weekly resources to families for their use at home.

  Children/families encouraged our elderly quarantined in retirement centers and at home with cards/pictures.

In these days of unknowing and uncertainty the mission and ministry of HPCUMC continues in life transforming and powerful ways.  Your continued support is essential.  You can give in any of the following ways:  1. Go to our website and give online; 2. Use your bank’s “Bill Pay” feature; 3. Ann Lawson, Director of Finance, can assist you: call and leave a voice mail, or email: alawson@hpcumc.org. In this new reality we find ourselves we are God’s light, love and hope to the world.  Thank you, it is a privilege to serve in ministry with you!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Keeping You Safe

Dear Beloved of HPCUMC and The Warehouse:

Grace and peace to you through the risen Christ!  As we reflect upon the journey we’ve made together over the past three months we are grateful for your faithfulness to the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself”; and the New Commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Dr. Daniel Chin writes, “During this pandemic, love for ourselves is expressed in the ways we protect ourselves from getting infected.  In the same way, love for our neighbor is expressed in the ways we protect them from getting infected.”  We are honored to be able to live in solidarity with your commitment to your health, and the health and wellbeing of the community at large.  As we continue to navigate the waters of COVID-19, your resiliency and fortitude is inspiring.

As our nation continues to “re-open”, and Ohio, specifically, re-evaluates re-opening guidelines for public gatherings, the HPCUMC Task Force on COVID-19 has recommended “Guidelines for Moving Forward” to the Servant Leadership Board.  The guidelines are based on our values of hospitality, welcoming environment for all people, and safety.  In addition, the guidelines are based on the knowledge gathered from the 370 surveys we received, as well as state, local, and federal guidelines currently in place.

To review the guidelines adopted by the Servant Leadership Board please visit our website: hydeparkchurch.org  and click on: “Guidelines Moving Forward: Keeping You Safe.”

Thank you for your patience and perseverance as together we navigate our way through our current reality.  We will strive to keep you informed well in advance of changes to the guidelines as they come.  Over the past 3 months you have proven, once again, what an amazing faith community we have.  We look forward to the day we can give a hug, and/or shake hands.  Until then the church is still open as we offer God’s light and love to the world through our mission and ministry!  Stay healthy, safe and blessed!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

It Is Well With My Soul

Horatio Spafford wrote his timeless hymn, “It is Well With My Soul” after experiencing a number of personal and family tragedies within a short period of time.  In the midst of it all he was able to rest in the peace of God that passes all understanding.  In the aftermath, experiencing God’s eternal presence, buoyed by hope, Spafford was able to pen:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul

In the midst of the uncertainty and unknowing of our current reality, claiming the truth of Horatio Spafford’s words, over the past 3 months Pastors Cathy, Dave and Doug have offered a daily devotion, “It Is Well With My Soul.”  Monday thru Saturday at 10:00am you can join us by going to our web site: Hydeparkchurch.org.  On the home page click the “It is Well: Daily Devotion and Praise”.

We are pleased to announce that on June 15th, three additional pastors joined the team: The Rev. Kate Smith, The Rev. Dr. Michael Vilardo and the Rev. Dr. Pete Rudowski.  As we continue to provide an encouraging word for the day, grounded in scripture and prayer,  we welcome the addition of Kate, Michael and Pete.

Join us daily for this time of centering, gratitude and prayer.  The weekly schedule for the in-person recorded devotion is as follows:

Monday – Pastor Cathy

Tuesday – Pastor Dave

Wednesday – Pastor Doug

Thursday – Pastor Kate

Friday – Pastor Michael

Saturday – Pastor Pete

As we look to Sunday, June 21, Pastor Sadell Bradley (Pastor of The Warehouse, our second campus in OTR) will be with us as we continue our sermon series: “Working on Our Core”.  Her Sermon: Jesus: The Word Made Flesh, is based on  John 1:1-4.

Join us as we claim the presence of our healing Christ in these times of unknowing and uncertainty, and proclaim: It is well with my soul!  Happy Father’s Day!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

It’s Time…

As we conclude our sermon series on racism this weekend, it is not an end, but a beginning.  It’s time to invest ourselves in the transformation God seeks and God calls us to.  It’s time to name the systems and policies that divide and marginalize; it’s time to educate ourselves about systemic racism in our country; it’s time to stop pointing fingers, and engage in introspection, identifying where we’ve fallen short.  Courtney Ariel challenges:  It’s time to “listen more and talk less”; it’s time stop using dismissive language e.g. “I can’t believe that something like this would happen in this day and age!”(it’s been going on for over 400 years).  It’s time we “invested our time in educating ourselves”; It’s time to “stop talking about colorblindness” (people of color are crying out “See me”, see the beauty of my color).  The time is now; It’s time!

Pastor and friend Jeff Raker wrote: In the crypts of Westminster Abbey, the following words were written on the tomb of an Anglican bishop who lived in the 11th Century:  “When I was young and free my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew in my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realized: If I had only changed my self-first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed my world.” . . .  Start with yourself and you will have taken the first step to changing your world.

It’s time for the Body of Christ to stand with all of God’s beloved.  It’s time to partner with God for healing, wholeness and empowerment of those who have been marginalized and disenfranchised.  May God’s blessings abound as we join in this kingdom work.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

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