Reluctant Thanks

Two grandparents took their three year old to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza, flashing lights, and games. As the grandmother buckled her grandson into the car seat she said, “Now, be sure to say thank you to your Papa.”

Silence. No reaction from the child.

She said, “Did you hear me? Be sure to say thank you.”

Again silence.

She added, “Papa loves doing nice things for his grandchildren, especially when they say thank you.”

Still no response.

Now irritated, she raised her voice saying: “Are you ignoring me?”

The child responded, looked at his grandfather and said: “I’m thankful, Papa. I just don’t want to say it.”

This Sunday, Commitment Sunday, I invite you to say “thank you.” Thank God for your blessings, large and small, by investing in building God’s kingdom in our midst. Because you give, children will learn about Jesus. Because you give, youth will feel encouraged and loved, both inside and outside our walls. Because you give, souls will be nurtured through worship and praise. Because you give, countless lives, near and far, will be touched by the generosity of the people who call Hyde Park Community home.

It has been said that you cannot out give God. Let us respond with grateful, generous, glad hearts to a God who has abundantly blessed us!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

He Chose Gratitude

Harry Genet in his book The Unlikely Thanker, writes:

“German pastor Martin Rinkart served in the walled town of Eilenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648. Eilenburg became an overcrowded refuge for the surrounding area. The fugitives suffered from epidemic and famine. At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg.

But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two. As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day—some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services.

Yet living in a world dominated by death, Pastor Rinkart wrote the following prayer for his children to offer to the Lord:

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.”

This Sunday we continue to study the blessings of a grateful heart. Join us as we explore “Managing Your Finances without losing your Soul,” based on I Timothy 6:6-10, 17-18.

May your week be filled with the outflowing of a grateful heart, following Paul’s instructs to the people of Thessaloniki: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (2 Thessalonians 5:15-17)

I am looking forward to celebrating the Lord’s Day with you this Sunday with joyful, grateful hearts!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns

What is Worship?

“Worship is delighting in the love of God.” (Jerry Haas)

“Worship is an encounter with the living God through the risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, who moves them to worship in diverse ways according to their needs.” (United Methodist Book of Worship)

“Worship is the gathering of God’s people around Word and Sacrament. Here the community affirms its calling, receives gifts of grace, is nourished and strengthened, and sent back into the world to love as God loves.” (Michael W. Foss, ELCA pastor)

Each worship service contains these basic elements: Entrance (coming together in God’s name for prayer, praise, music, and song), Proclamation and Response (scripture, preaching, music, offerings of gifts, prayer, and service for the world and for one another), Thanksgiving and Communion (in services in which Holy Communion is not observed, thanks for God’s mighty acts in Christ are shared), and Sending Forth (God’s people are sent into ministry with the blessing of the Lord).

As we enter the fall, I celebrate the following:

  • Our music staff of Neal Hamlin, Director of Music, Brenda Portman, organist and Chris Schaljo, our new worship leader for Worship @ 11. Neal and Brenda continue to bless us with their strong musical ability and their commitment to serve Christ with excellence. Chris comes to us with a Masters of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with strength in a variety of music styles including jazz, blues, and gospel. The first gathering for “The Gift,” the musicians who will serve at Worship @ 11, will be held on October 3.
  • Our faithful ushers, greeters, hospitality servants, Viox staff, sanctuary care volunteers, and many who step forward to welcome people into God’s house each week.
  • Our congregation who longs to be a community church who reaches more people for Christ and is committed to expanding worship offerings to connect with more people from our neighborhood through worship. By Christmas we will offer three styles of worship: 8:00 and 9:30 am: Liturgical and Traditional; Worship @ 11, a new worship expression with various styles of music, and Over-the-Rhine Community Church, the new church start where contemporary and gospel music blesses worshipers.
  • Upcoming Vision gatherings, held on Sunday, October 4 and Wednesday, October 7, where Doug and I will share a vision for where God is leading us in 2016.

This Sunday, we will look at what it means to live God’s grace as United Methodists. Come and join us as we celebrate our heritage and what it means to follow Jesus daily.
May God richly bless you this week!
Peace,
Pastor Cathy Johns

“Workin’ 9 to 5!”

The chorus of this song continues: “It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it!”

Whether you work at home, at school, or in an office, we all have daily demands. Our “to do” lists seem endless regardless of our season in life.

This Sunday’s message, “Ancient Wisdom for Today: First Things First,”reminds us that all work is holy. Proverbs reminds us: “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Our Servant Leadership Board, pastors, and staff are delighted to welcome new people to the music staff. Christopher Schaljo, who holds a Masters of Music from Oberlin College, joins us as the new Worship Leader/Producer for Worship @ 11. This new worship expression, planned to begin in late fall, will be blessed by his vocal and keyboard skills and experience in leading praise and worship teams. Christopher will also bring leadership to our handbell ringers as our Carillon Choir director. We also welcome Elizabeth Hickerson, a trained music educator, who joins us as the new director of Joy Singers. Additionally, Neal Hamlin welcomes five new choral scholars: Chelsea Duval-Major, mezzo-soprano; Rob Stahley, tenor; Colleen Beucher, soprano; Stephen Variames, bass; and Tina Kerstan, soprano; all offering vocal leadership in the Choir as we enter the fall.

May God fill you with peace as you commit your work to the Lord this week.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns

The Word for This Week

This Sunday’s message, “The Weight of Words,” reminds us that the language we use to express our thoughts is powerful. When we gather to worship we seek to find words to express our thanks to God, articulate our needs to God, and celebrate the joy of Christian fellowship.

Celebrate which means to rejoice, show happiness at something, praise something is an appropriate word for us to consider. We have many things to celebrate here at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church:

In August our church family hosted a great celebration, a block party for our community, welcoming our neighbors with music, free food, games, and fun. Thanks to all who served!

Our personnel team of the Servant Leadership Board and music staff celebrates the addition of new staff: Elizabeth Hickerson, the new director of Joy Singers and two new choral scholars to the Cathedral Choir. In addition, we welcome Christopher Schaljo, our new Worship Leader /Producer for Worship @ 11. Christopher will also serve as our new hand bell director for the Carillon Choir. He will be introduced on Sunday, September 13. Thanks to all who served on the interview team and participated the nights of the auditions.

We celebrate our mentoring relationship with Rothenburg Preparatory Academy in Over-the-Rhine. Forty mentors from our church family have been tutoring these at-risk children, most of them beginning with second grade students who are now in fifth or sixth grade. Each mentor is paired with one student for 45 – 50 minutes once per week. We are praying for another group of mentors to begin with this year’s second graders. Please contact Sarah Putnam for details: sputman@hpcumc.org.

When we gather for worship we will celebrate both the life-giving power of the Word of God and the strengthening power of the Table of Christ as we celebrate Holy Communion as God’s family.

I look forward to celebrating the Lord’s Day with you this weekend!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

The Dollar in My Wallet

For several years I carried a dollar in my wallet that was a bit unusual. It was a real dollar, but my friend folded it in the shape of a shirt. He shared that he keeps one in his wallet to encourage him to be a generous person. It helped remind him of the teachings of Jesus who taught us to be willing to give the shirt off of our back as well as walk a second mile with someone who required us to walk one.

My father always taught that you can only spend a dollar once. Managing money is something that is easy for some and a challenge for others. The book of Proverbs, which is wisdom literature in the Bible, has wonderful guidance about how to be wise with money. On our dollar bills we read the words: “In God We Trust.”

This Sunday’s message, “Managing Your Money,” continues our series on Proverbs, “Lifelines: Ancient Wisdom for Today.” The scripture, Proverbs 3:9-10, helps us see God’s plan for money management.

For additional help: John Fillion, a dynamic leader here among us at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, will be leading a course this fall about money management. “Earn, Save, Give: Wesley’s Simple Rules for Money” will offer tools to help class members manage money in a way that brings joy and blesses others.

God has given us the wonderful resources of time and money. We are in the process of a building a church-wide data base of our congregation’s spiritual gifts. When people serve in their area of giftedness they find energy and joy; likewise, when people try to serve where they are not gifted they often feel discouraged and depleted of joy. As you identify your spiritual gifts, we pray that you will consider how you can step up as the hands and feet of Christ, blessing the world with the abilities and talents God has given you. Please fill out the spiritual gifts sheet in your bulletin or online and attend a spiritual gifts class, listed in your bulletin. We are creating a database of these spiritual gifts so that we can effectively mobilize our congregation to serve in their areas of passion, giftedness, and skill. As we move forward we will be helping to make these wonderful words of scripture come alive in our midst:

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10

May God fill you with wisdom, courage, and strength as you manage the gifts of time and money that God has given you.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Denzel Washington’s Barnabas

Denzel Washington, the world-renowned actor, spoke this spring at a college graduation:

“When I was young and started really making it as an actor, I came and talked to my mother and said, ‘Mom, did you think this was going to happen? I’d be so big and I’ll be able to take care of everybody and I can do this and I can do that.'”

Mama Washington reprimanded her son: “Oh, you did it all by yourself? I’ll tell you what you can do by yourself: Go outside and get a mop and bucket and clean these windows—you can do that by yourself, superstar.”

She said, “Boy, stop it right there, stop it right there, stop it right there!” She said, “If you only knew how many people been praying for you.” How many prayer groups she put together, how many prayer talks she gave, how many times she splashed me with holy water to save my sorry behind.” (from Michael W. Chapman, reporter)

Denzel Washington reminds us of this truth: Everyone needs someone to encourage them, pray for them, and cheer them on for this journey called life. Everyone needs a Barnabas.

Today’s message, part of the series “Friends for the Journey, is based on Acts 9:26-27, Acts 11:22-26. Discover the value of giving and receiving encouragement.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Update On New Worship Service: Worship @ 11

On Monday, July 13, The Servant Leadership Board of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church officially accepted the recommendation of the Worship Task Force to expand our worship offerings, offering traditional worship at 8:00 and 9:30 am with a new casual service at 11 am in the sanctuary. They also approved a proposal brought by the Personnel Team to hire a part-time Praise and Worship Leader/Producer who will bring leadership to the musicians at the new service as well as care for our media and technical needs for all of our Sunday morning worship services. Please pass this new job opening on to interested, qualified people:

Praise and Worship Leader/Producer, Cincinnati, OH. Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, a 2,000+ member congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio, is seeking a skilled musician for our new Worship @ 11 service. This part-time position, 28 hours per week, will develop and shape our emerging, casual service and provide technical support for all Sunday worship services. The ability to lead a worship team of volunteer musicians in a variety of musical styles, including the latest Christian contemporary music and fresh arrangements of traditional hymns, is essential. Knowledge of worship presentation software, such as Media Shout and Power Point, is required. Knowledge of live streaming and worship technology is preferred. Full job description at: http://hydeparkchurch.org/employment. Salary commensurate with experience. Please send cover letter, resume, and sample of musical ability to: Rev. Dr. Cathy Johns, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, 1345 Grace Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208 (cjohns@hpcumc.org)

Please pray for our musicians, vocalists, instrumentalists, leaders, and current/future staff as we prepare to reach more people for Christ by widening the door of worship options to welcome more people into God’s house. Our hope is to begin the new Worship @ 11 service by mid-November. Thank you for your questions, prayers, support, and encouragement as we strive to reach new people for Christ this fall. The full report of the work of the Worship Task Force and the proposal for Worship @ 11 are available in the church office. Electronic copies are also available by contacting Lindsay Garrison at lgarrison@hpcumc.org.

Michael Jackson’s Best Sermon

He has many names, including “The King of Pop.” Born in Gary Indiana, he became an international music star.

One of his songs reflects the intent of John Wesley, one of the founders of American Methodism. Wesley invited people to examine their consciences daily. Michael Jackson sang these powerful words:

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

Nathan, the prophet in the Old Testament who confronted King David, is the kind of friend that you and I need to have. David, the shepherd boy who became king of Israel, broke God’s heart and God’s Law. Nathan confronted him with the truth and helped bring healing to David.

Later in his troubled life, Michael Jackson needed a Nathan! He needed someone to help him really look at the man in the mirror and make a change!

As we continue to study “Friends for the Journey,” I invite you to prepare your heart for worship this week by reading 2 Samuel 12:1-15.

I am looking forward to celebrating our amazing God with you this Sunday!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

New Worship Service: Frequently Asked Questions

Preface: Last summer Pastors Cathy and Doug Johns participated in 21 group listening sessions. The conversations shaped the Vision 2015 document that was presented last October. Areas of focus were shared including the formation of a marketing team, a team to re-vision Nast Community UMC, and a team to study and evaluate our current worship offerings, seeking ways to reach more people for Christ through worship. The Worship Task Force has submitted their recommendation to the Servant Leadership Board. The Worship Planning Team, consisting of our lay and clergy staff with music and worship responsibilities, has endorsed this recommendation. Three additional sessions were held for input, one for choir members and two congregational worship conversations for input. The feedback has been positive and several important gleanings were discovered through these meetings. This article is a response to questions that arose during those gatherings:

Who is the new service trying to reach?
People who do not currently attend church or Hyde Park Community United Methodist as well as people who formerly attended our Blended Family Worship service which was cancelled in April. People of all ages are invited and welcome. We are hopeful that the new service will attract young adults and young families.

Why is this needed?
The worship task force discovered a 20-year difference between the average age of the person who worships within our walls and the average age of people who lives within two miles of our congregation. We want to share Christ’s love with our neighbors and truly be a community church.

How will we invite new people to attend the service?
The marketing team, which has been formed to share the Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church story, is exploring creative ways to announce this new worship offering. One key strategy is to describe each worship service effectively on our website so that guests know what to expect prior to their first visit.

What time will the new service meet? What will be the new Sunday morning worship schedule?
Worship @ 11 is the current working name of the service and it will take place at 11:00 am. The Sunday morning design of worship for 8:00 and 9:30 am will be unchanged.

Where will the new service be held?
The sanctuary. It is a beautiful, unique space in the city of Cincinnati. This also sends the message that our congregation is serious about the new service.

Will there be screens at the service? How will this affect the sanctuary?
The integrity of the sanctuary is an essential value. We are exploring the use of screens that would be both retractable and invisible when they are not in use.

What style of music will be a part of Worship @ 11?
A worship team, composed of instrumentalists and vocalists, will bring leadership to the service. Contemporary Christian music as well as fresh arrangements of traditional hymns will be included. The style of music will fit the acoustics of the sanctuary while expanding the range of ways we worship at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church.

When will the new service begin?
Our hope is mid-fall, somewhere between late October and mid-November 2015.

Will there be one sermon for the day or different messages?
We value being a unified congregation. The lead pastors will preach the same message each Sunday although it will be delivered in a more casual format at 11 am.

What staff and teams will be needed?
We plan to hire a part-time staff member to be the Coordinator of Worship @ 11 and Technical Support. It will have no effect on this year’s budget. Teams of greeters, ushers, tech support and hospitality are valuable and will be needed to support the new worship experience.

What are the next steps?
The proposal for the new staff person will be approved at the July 13 Servant Leadership Board meeting and the position will be posted. A Worship @ 11 team is forming to help implement the new service.

How can I find out more?
The full report and proposal are available in the church office. Please contact Lindsay Garrison who will be happy to email you an electronic copy of both the work of the task force and the proposal: lgarrison@hpcumc.org.

Who will answer my questions and concerns?
Please contact Pastor Cathy or any member of the Worship Task Force.

How can I help with Worship @ 11?
Please contact Pastor Cathy at cjohns@hpcumc.org or 513-871-1345.