A Future With Hope

Church Conference Report:

The prophet Jeremiah spoke God’s reassuring words to the people during a season of rebuilding:

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

On Sunday, November 16, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church voted to accept the invitation of the Ohio River Valley district for Nast Trinity to become a new church start in partnership with Hyde Park Community UMC. The vote, 73 in favor, 0 against with 0 abstentions, will allow a full-time pastor to begin on March 1, serving the community in Over-the-Rhine.

The Nast Trinity Task Force, chaired by Pastor Doug Johns, will be happy to respond to your questions.

Black: The Color of Strength

In the Navajo culture the color black is a symbol of physical strength. As the Body of Christ we can finish 2014 with strength, “in the black!”

As of this writing we are $183,565 in the red.

Thank you to all who have given generously all year. Thank you, too, for those who can help our church finish 2014 with strength through your faithful end-of-the-year giving.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

A Future with Hope

Church Conference Report:

The prophet Jeremiah spoke God’s reassuring words to the people during a season of rebuilding:

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

On Sunday, November 16, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church voted to accept the invitation of the Ohio River Valley district for Nast Trinity to become a new church start in partnership with Hyde Park Community UMC. The vote, 73 in favor, 0 against with 0 abstentions, will allow a full-time pastor to begin on March 1, serving the community in Over-the-Rhine.

The Nast Trinity Task Force, chaired by Pastor Doug Johns, will be happy to respond to your questions.

Black: The Color of Strength

In the Navajo culture the color black is a symbol of physical strength. As the Body of Christ we can finish 2014 with strength, “in the black!”

As of this writing we are $183,565 in the red.

Thank you to all who have given generously all year. Thank you, too, for those who can help our church finish 2014 with strength through your faithful end-of-the-year giving.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

The Truth About The Pilgrims

The winters in New England can be brutal.

The truth about the experience of the first Pilgrims is captured by H.W. Westermeyer below:

The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts…nevertheless, [they] set aside a day of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is more than one day!  Giving thanks to God brought joy to those first pilgrims and it can bring deep, abiding joy to us.  We experience Thanksgiving when we….

  • Pray daily to God, thanking God for all our blessings.
  • Commit a financial tithe to the Church, acknowledging that everything we have is from our generous God.
  • Attend worship weekly to draw closer to God.

Stewardship Campaign Update:

As the pilgrims brought their food to the table with thankful hearts, people in our faithful community are bringing in their pledges for the healing, transforming work of God through Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church for 2015.

Here is the latest update:
Pledges Received through 11/12: 247
Income Pledged for 2105 through 11/12:  $1,157,462

To those of you who have stepped forward with your commitments to God’s work among us, thank you!

May God continue to move among us, stirring us to give thanks as the pilgrims did – with glad and generous hearts.

Peace,
Pastor Cathy Johns

Salty Saints

This Sunday is All Saints Sunday. The United Methodist Book of Worship explains:

“All Saints (November 1 or the first Sunday of November) is a day of remembrance for all the saints, with the New Testament meaning of all Christian people of every time and place. We celebrate the communion of saints as we remember the faithful departed, both of the Church universal and of our local congregations.”

Jesus teaches us to be the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth.” Salt adds flavor and also preserves. Here are a few “salty saints” who have blessed my life, sometimes adding flavor, and sometimes preserving me through times of trial:

Don, my father, who taught me the importance of trusting God, always, and responding to God’s goodness with a glad and generous heart.

Sue, a cancer patient, who continued to come to church and set the table for Holy Communion until the last month of her life.

Steve, who served as a Stephen Minister and never wavered in his devotion to always serve Christ with passion and joy.

Deb, whose life was a song of joy, who sang on a praise team and encouraged many, including me, to keep the faith during tough seasons of life.

Today I invite you to come up with your own list of “salty saints,” people who have blessed your life. Stop and give thanks to God for each life that has flavored and preserved you. Finally, pray for God to help you step up as you strive to give your life away for others so that some day you will be remembered as a “salty saint!”

Cathy Johns

From the Pastors: Vision Weekend Report

Over 250 people gathered at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church last weekend, seeking God’s preferred vision for our future.

Over the summer we participated in twenty home gatherings and one at Nast Trinity. We asked three questions: What do you celebrate as a church? What challenges/obstacles do we currently face? What would be a mid-sized miracle that you would like to see?

As we listened, common themes became evident. From these articulated concerns, hopes, and dreams a vision began to develop based on who we are today and God’s preferred path for our future as a congregation.

Five major concerns were expressed. The vision, God’s preferred reality for us, emerged out of these concerns. The concern and strategies for implementation are shared here in a very condensed form:

Moving Forward in 2015:
Transparency
Strategy: Make financial data and other information clear and accessible to members so that trust is built, fueling passion and energizing us for mission and ministry as we make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Communication
Strategy: Explore innovative and effective ways to connect people with our congregation through digital, electronic, and print media so that current members and guests can deepen their walk with God.

Marketing/Public Relations.
Strategy: Form a team to develop effective ways to share our story with our community.

Worship
Strategy: Form a team to explore ways we can enhance our worship, seeking to align our resources and values, so that we can reach new people in our community for Jesus Christ.

Nast Trinity Downtown Campus
Strategy: Form a team to shape a new, clear vision for our partnership with Nast Trinity’s Downtown Campus so that we can effectively serve Christ and our neighbors in Over-the-Rhine.

VISION REPORT: Please pick up an executive summary of the findings from summer gatherings in homes and one at Nast Trinity. They are available in the Welcome Center and in the church office. The report and the Celebration of Ministry video are also available online: www.hydeparkchurch.org/vision-weekend. If you would like to see the complete raw data (40+ pages), Lindsay Garrison, who serves in the office, will be happy to print a copy of it for you.

We look forward to this journey with you! Praying for you with great joy for all that has been and all that God will call us to be in the future.

Peace,
Pastors Doug and Cathy Johns

Listening Well

Pastor Cathy Johns

A wise pastor once told me, “Cathy, just remember as you begin your studies to become a pastor…God gave us two ears and one mouth.” As an extrovert, I struggle to listen twice as much as I speak. Listening well is important to me, but sometimes it is a challenge.

When Jesus talks with the woman from Samaria at the well, Jesus shows us how to listen well:

L ook at the other person (John 4:7)
I nvest in people (John 4:13-14)
S top whatever else you are doing (John 4:9)
T hink about them and what they are saying (John 4:25-26)
E mpathize with them (John 4:18)
N otice their body language

Listening is an act of hospitality. When we listen to another person, really hearing them share from their hearts, it is a way of honoring them. It also extends authentic hospitality.

May God help us to use our ears and our hearts as we lovingly listen to each other.

Peace,
Pastor Cathy

A Review of a South Carolina Gem: The McCutchen House

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Our son, Blake, is a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.  During one visit we discovered “The McCutchen House” right on the “Horseshoe” of campus, a lovely, open green space.  It is a part of the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management.  Students who are studying to be chefs, owners of clubs, and those majoring in Hospitality Management are able to work in this lovely, charming Southern gem.

The service was gracious and attentive and the food was outstanding, not to mention reasonable. As I was leaving I found myself thinking, “You can practice on me any day….that was amazing!”

As a Christian what does it mean to embrace and practice radical hospitality?  The Benedictine monks seem to understand this, both in theory and practice.  Several years ago I attended a seminar at a Benedictine monastery.  Within ten minutes of my arrival, I happy that I was there.  The welcome was genuine; the food was delightful.  I felt as if I was among old friends yet I had just met these gracious people.  They exceeded my expectations in every way.

What would happen if we as God’s representatives in the world exceeded the expectations of each person who came through the doors of our homes and our churches? For the month of September we will be exploring what it means to be a person of hospitality in the world and in the Church.  We can be part of the transforming love of God as strangers become friends, friends become disciples, and disciples change the world.

May God richly bless you this week and always!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Psalms: Rx for Life

What is your favorite psalm? Most people find strength in the psalms and find them to be comforting. They help us put words to the human condition, giving us strength and courage for the twists and turns of life.

This week we begin our sermon series with the message “When Life Makes Sense.” Dr. Walter Brueggemann, a delightful biblical scholar, reflects on the psalms based on an individual’s orientation, or how one sees the world in her/his present state.

As you prepare your heart for worship this Sunday, come with a heart that is open to receive what God has to offer: strength for the weary, hope for the discouraged, and grace and restoration for all of us who stand before God in our brokenness. May God richly bless you this week!
Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Staff Updates/Celebrating our Ministry to Children and Youth

Our full staff meets twice a month, first and third Wednesdays.  We have chosen to step out in mission on “Fifth Wednesdays.”  This week we served lunch to people at the Center for Respite Care, one of our mission partners.  Their ministry offers a place for persons without a residence to recover after a major hospital stay.

One man once told me after a powerful concert of a large youth choir:  “We need to focus on children and youth ministry; they are the future!”  While he was well-intentioned,  I gently want to lift up another lens.  Children and youth of any age are a valued part of our community today.  Their contributions bless us now and we are thankful!   We are a richer, stronger church family because they are an integral  part of who we are.

I invite you to pray for and encourage all members of the church staff.  Please remember those who faithfully serve our children and youth:

Sara O’Connor,  our new Director of Children’s and Family Ministry.  She officially became a part of the Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church staff on August 1.  Please extend a warm welcome to Sara and her family.  We are thankful for her leadership and passion to serve Christ with excellence.

Rebecca Homan, who has faithfully served as our Interim Director, will continue to serve on the staff  as the Assistant to Children’s and Family Ministry.  Under her leadership a record number of families will be attending Family Camp at the Aldersgate United Methodist Camp in Kentucky this week.

Ken Miller, our Director of Student Ministry, brought leadership to a powerful youth mission trip in late July.  The group served as the hands and feet of Christ at mission sites, worshipped and prayed together, and built friendships.  Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, through their efforts, even made the local television news in Lima Ohio!

We are thankful for the contributions of the church staff.   This Sunday’s message, “Facing Stress,” is based on Philippians 4:4-8.  Pastor Cathy Johns will preach at the Grace Campus and Pastor Doug Johns will preach at our Nast Trinity Campus.    May God richly bless you and your loved ones this week!

 

Peace,

 

Pastor Cathy

 

 

The 20,000 Foot View

What is a 20,000 foot view?   If you can remember your last flight in an airplane you know that things look much different from 4 ½ miles up!  There are also beautiful patterns that come from ordinary fields of soybeans and corn.  The squarely cut fields form a mosaic.

As Doug mentioned last week we value communication and transparency.  Here are a few “big picture” views to help you better understand the current reality at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church:

+Our People Several vital ministries are supported by Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church because our people have stepped up to offer their time, talents, and money, including:  The Center for Respite Care, Stephen Ministry (placing compassionate, trained listeners with people in a time of need), Job Search Focus Group, Interfaith Hospitality Network (offering food and shelter for those in need), Madison Education and Assistance Center, Wesley Chapel Mission Center, Wesley Services, Rothenberg School Tutoring Program, The Hyde Park Center for Older Adults, Habitat for Humanity, and the Downtown Campus at Nast Trinity which coordinates the serving of breakfast and dinner each Sunday.   Global missions that we support include Germany, Haiti, Liberia, and Russia.

+Our Finances Our budgeted needs through July 20th are $1,434,500.  We have received $1,246,470. Our apportionments, Hyde Park Community United Methodist’s district and annual conference commitments that support mission and ministry, are paid quarterly and for the first half of the year was $160,567, which has been paid in full.

+Our Building Renovations on the bathrooms continue to move forward with excellence.  Preliminary conversations about the Master Plan for our building will begin this fall.  Bill Baker and Greg Rogers, from the Servant Leadership Board and the Property Team, are bringing leadership to this process.

This Sunday’s message, “24/7 Joy:  Reducing Conflict,” is based on Philippians 2:1-8.   May God richly bless you and your loved ones with deep, abiding joy!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Choosing Joy

Most of us would like to believe that joy is a by-product of a good day.  The opposite is true:  if you choose to claim the joy that is yours as a child of God, then you will have a good day!  William Barclay wrote: “We are chosen for joy. However hard the Christian way, it is both in the traveling and in the goal, the way of joy.”

Joy, simply put, is realizing who and whose we are: children of the living God.

Paul, the greatest missionary of all time, writes about “pressing on toward the goal.”  Join us this Sunday as we continue to study the book of Philippians, known as the epistle of joy.

Part of joy is celebration!  Join me in celebrating this week:

HOME GATHERINGS UPDATE:   The first five home gatherings were held this week in the homes of some of our members.  Thank you to our hosts and all who attended!   Groups shared joys from their connection with Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church and hopes and dreams for the future.    The information gleaned from these gatherings will be instrumental in bringing shape to the vision that we will share during a Vision Week/Weekend this fall.  Please sign up and participate in one of these gatherings this summer.  Pastor Doug and I want to listen and learn from you.

SUMMER IMPACT UPDATE:  Our congregation hosted missions teams this week from Arcola UMC in Illinois, Bethel UMC, and Water’s Edge UMC.  9 adults and 43 youth participated with us. They served at Stepping Stones, New Life Furniture, Hyde Park Center for Older Adults, the Downtown Campus of HPCUMC, Lakota Lakes Literacy Program, MEAC, Wesley Community’s Meals on Wheels program, Center for Respite Care, and Wesley Chapel Mission Center.  Thanks to everyone who has stepped up to serve this week and enable these youth and adults to make a difference in our community.

May God help you to choose joy this week – no matter what comes your way –  as you embrace your identity as a child of God!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns