Hospitality and Connecting Ministries


The Gospel of Luke tells us that Simeon was “righteous and devout . . . and the Holy Spirit rested on him” (Luke 2:25); consequently Simeon lived in hope. Upon seeing the infant Jesus, he praised God, with what we now call the song of Simeon:

“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)

Simeon’s song is our song in these waning days of Advent as we prepare for God to break through the darkness of our world. Making final preparations for the celebration of Christ Jesus’ birth, our waiting and preparing is grounded in hope. Modeling the hope of Simeon we:

  • Are confident that God’s peace is our peace.
  • Trust in God to bring healing and wholeness (Salvation).
  • We expect a Theophany (Theophany: a manifestation of God that is tangible to the human senses); we expect God to be revealed in our lives.

Hope is not a wished for reality. Hope in the Bible, Simeon’s hope, is expectant, and implies a confidence in God’s preferred reality that is to come. The hope of Simeon is the same hope that kept Moses going as he lead the Israelites to the promised land. It’s the same hope that kept the Disciples going after Jesus’ death. It’s the same hope that keeps you and me going in the dark days of life. It’s a hope that is grounded in the fact that it is God who created you, it is God who sustains you, and it is God who reveals God’s will to you; and it is a light illuminating the path you travel.

Simeon took Jesus in his arms, praised God and sang a song of Hope for all ages. As we travel these final days of Advent may Simeon’s song of hope facilitate God’s light and love breaking anew into our lives on Christmas! I look forward to seeing you in church on this fourth Sunday of Advent, and on Christmas Eve!

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Worship @ 11 Update

On Monday evening our greeters, ushers, and liturgists gathered for training and an information update. A detailed green handout, “Questions and Answers: Worship @ 11”” is available at the Welcome Center if you would like more information. A general update follows:

Vision: To reach more people for Christ by adding another option for Sunday morning worship.

First Service: January 24, 2016 in the sanctuary

History: After summer conversations in homes of members in 2014, our pastors cast a vision in the fall of 2014 which included the formation of a worship task force. The task force was asked to evaluate our current worship offerings and to seek ways that we could reach more people for Christ through worship. Congregational input gatherings were held in June to consider their proposal. The Servant Leadership Board voted unanimously to move forward with this new worship initiative.

Order of Worship: Prayers, scripture, a time for children, preaching from the senior pastors, and music will be included.

Music: Chris Schaljo, the director of “The Gift,” our instrumental and vocal team, will bring leadership to music incorporating contemporary Christian music, jazz, blues, and gospel music.

All are welcome: People of all ages are invited to “Come as you are;” dress up or dress casual.

Multi-media capacity: Two screens will be installed, the hardware casing mounted on the outside walls of the sanctuary. Professional engineers and architects have designed a way to carefully incorporate multi-media use in our beautiful sanctuary while the cross, altar, and stained glass windows remained unobstructed.

Servant Volunteer Needs: People to assist in set-up, sound and light crews, Power Point and camera operation are a few of the current needs. Please contact Chris Schaljo for details:

May God open our hearts and our doors, working through servant volunteers, musicians, our members and staff so that new people will be welcomed into God’s house and experience the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.

Extraordinary Giving this Christmas Season!

As the Christmas season approaches and begins to ascend into full swing merriment, we would like to invite you to partner with us, in the spirit of giving, to support the Global Outreach ministries that we have here at our church.

We have a strong history of faithfully providing for our global partners in meeting the various needs that they have. We invite you to prayerfully seek in giving an extraordinary gift this Christmas season to the Global Outreach Ministry Partners at Hyde Park Community UMC.

In giving to our Christmas offering for Global Ministry Partners, you will be supporting:

The Samara United Methodist Church and the Volga District of Eurasia Central Conference, Russia.
The United Methodist Churches in Chemnitz, Freiberg, Plauen, and Augustusburg, Germany.
Faith Academy, Haiti.
The Henrys in Asia Minor.
The Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission, Kentucky.

Our specific goal for providing for the needs of all of our Global Ministry Partners is $60,000. With your generous support we will provide leadership training, education for those in poverty, supplies and staffing resources for health needs, as well as training and care for those who need support.

You can make your donation to the Global Ministry Partners by writing your check to Hyde Park Community UMC. Please use the enclosed envelope or mark your check Christmas Global Offering. Bring it with you to church or mail it to the church office. To provide the most assistance to our partners, we will use your gift where it can do the most good by combining it with the gifts of others to fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Your faithfulness in giving above and beyond this Christmas season may save the life of a person in Africa from malaria, enhance the lives of children in Haiti, provide a Christ-centered place of worship amidst predominantly atheistic surroundings in Russia and Germany, or help to maintain the health and wellness of Americans who have followed God into full-time missions in Asia Minor. Keep Christ at the center of your Christmas and into the New Year. Join us and be a part of making a difference.

In Christ,

Rev. Doug Johns & Sarah Putman
Co-Senior Pastor/Community Ministry & Global Outreach Ministry Assistant

The Season of Advent

Dear Friends in Christ,

There’s a song in the air!

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ, whose love transforms our lives, we hear beautiful songs of Christmas everywhere we go.

This Advent, join us as we go back to the “Original Christmas Album” to remember the songs of the people who were present the first Christmas:

  • Zechariah, whose song of faith helped to prepare the way for the birth of Jesus.
  • The Angels, whose joyful song broke through the Bethlehem skies as they announced the coming of the Prince of Peace.
  • Mary, who sang a simple song of trust as she responded with obedience to God’s call upon her life.
  • Simeon, whose song reminds us of the salvation of our God and the hope that is ours through the coming of Christ.

This season of the year people are very open to invitations from their friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors to join them in worship. The music and joy of the season will lift your spirits and will inspire your guests. Invite someone new to join you, to share this season of hope, love, joy, and peace.

This season is also a time to celebrate the birth of the Christ-Child by giving a gift to the reason for the season: Jesus. It is a perfect time to share our blessings with our mission partners who extend the love of Christ to those in need of hope and healing.

May God richly bless you this season as you respond to God’s gift of Jesus with a compassionate heart and a song of joy!

In Christmas Joy,
Cathy and Doug Johns, Senior Pastors

Joy Abounds in Service

The heart for service and meeting needs runs deep in this congregation. Two seasonally appropriate areas where this has been most evident for me over the last two years in my position as the Community Ministry and Global Outreach Ministry Assistant have been in the Thanksgiving Baskets project and in providing Christmas gifts for the students at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy. The bounty and enthusiasm of responses to these two ministry areas impress me every year.

The Thanksgiving Baskets project began in 1991. Over the course of the last twenty-four years, HPCUMC has provided 7877 baskets to families in need of meals for Thanksgiving and raised over $350,000 to help fund the provision of these meals. Each year, we set up an assembly line in the parking lot to pack, in this year’s case, over 550 baskets to be picked up by agencies around the Cincinnati area or delivered to individual’s homes. While the logistics and set up of this process have been refined over the years, the heart and desire to provide food for families who would otherwise not be able to sit down to a Thanksgiving meal together has remained constant.

The Thanksgiving Baskets assembly and delivery is taking place today! If you would like to be part of something bigger than yourself and provide for families in need this Thanksgiving season, join us in the back parking lot for assembling at 10:30 am and/or delivery at 12:00 pm. The more hands and hearts we have involved in this ministry, the more joy and blessing abound in both our lives and in the lives of those for which we provide food.

The second seasonal serving endeavor whose response never ceases to amaze me is that of providing Christmas gifts to the students at Rothenberg. For the last five years, we have helped to provide Christmas gifts to the grades which we mentor at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy. This year, we have claimed responsibility for all of the 5th and 6th grade students – 95 in total. About one-third of these students have a mentor. The provision of the rest of these gifts falls to the congregation at HPCUMC, and you have yet to disappoint.

If you are interested in partnering with this ministry to provide gifts for the students at Rothenberg, please visit the Christmas tree in the Welcome Center. You will find ornaments with student’s names, gender, and wish list items (which should total around $20). Please take a (or multiple) ornament(s) from the tree, sign your name next to the student’s name(s) and provide contact information on the black board located to the right of the tree. Gifts are to be returned by December 6th to Sarah Putman in the main office. The joy on these student’s faces as we open gifts at our annual Christmas party with mentors and students is so encouraging.

Come be part of the joy that is given to families in our neighborhood and students in Over-the-Rhine. Help us continue to build a legacy of joy and provision to our neighbors.

Sarah Putman

Update on Worship @ 11

The vision: To reach more people for Christ, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is expanding our worship options on Sunday morning. The Servant Leadership Board, after receiving a proposal from the Worship Task Force in July 2015, voted to offer two traditional services(8:00 and 9:30 am) and a new option on Sunday morning: “Worship @ 11.”

The music: Chris Schaljo, who holds a masters degree from Oberlin College, Conservatory of Music, was hired in September as the Worship Leader/Producer for this new worship experience. “The Gift,” the new addition to our music ensembles, will lead worship, incorporating many styles including contemporary Christian, jazz, gospel, and global music. Occasionally, various choirs will be invited to help lead worship.

Multi-media: The Servant Leadership Board embraced the full report of the Worship Task Force, including the recommendation of adding screens and projectors to the sanctuary. Extreme care has been taken to explore all options, valuing the integrity of the beauty of the sanctuary, under the guidance of professional engineers and architects. When the screens are not in use, they will be nearly invisible. When the screens are in use, the stained glass window and the cross above the altar will still be visible.

Marketing and Evangelism: The marketing team is designing some creative ways to get the word out about our worship offerings. The hope is to attract new people to join us in worship by promoting all of our worship offerings including Taize, traditional worship, and Worship @ 11.

First Worship @ 11: The first service will be held shortly after the installation of the screens and projectors; the official start date is dependent on the schedules of the contractors. The first Worship @ 11 is tentatively set for late January 2016.

Ambassadors for Worship @ 11: Chris Schaljo, and a team of servants, is helping to prepare for this new worship offering. If you would like to serve as an Ambassador for Worship @ 11, please contact Chris at

Thank you for your prayers and support of the servant leaders and staff during this exciting chapter in the life of our church family! Stay tuned for more details.


Pastor Cathy

Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission

The Community Ministry/Global Outreach team of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church develops strategies for supporting local, national, and international partners who make up the core of our outreach ministry.

Two of our Global Partners are Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission in rural Appalachia, Kentucky. Both partners seek to meet the needs of those in poverty.

The Henderson Settlement seeks to provide for basic needs (education, housing, food, clothing, jobs) of residents in the community, as the church offers God’s love through acts of service and financial support.

The Red Bird Mission School has educated and shaped the faith of children from families of coal miners and loggers from three different counties in the Appalachia region of Kentucky.

Twice a year Bob Keith, member of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, and adjunct Professor and Director of Audiology Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cincinnati, organizes a team of student clinicians (Doctor of Audiology students), to minister at Red Bird mission. The teams provide hearing health care. In addition to hearing screening, the teams are involved in hearing testing, removal of ear wax, hearing aid fitting, ear molds, checking previous hearing aids to be sure they are functioning and making minor adjustments if necessary.

I invite you to pray with me as Bob leads a group of students to serve the communities of Red Bird Mission November 17-19. We will take a moment to commission Bob to the work he will lead, on Sunday, November 15 at 9:30 am. As Bob prepares to lead this group, we pray that God will bless Bob and the group with wisdom and strength.

Thank you for your support of Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission over the years. We look forward to deepening our relationship with the communities they serve in the years to come.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Imagine No Malaria- A Concerted Effort

Imagine No Malaria is a concerted worldwide effort by the people of the United Methodist Church to end deaths from malaria in Africa. It has already shown positive results. However, there is still work to do. Every 60 seconds, someone dies from malaria even though it is a preventable and curable disease. The majority of deaths involve children under age 5 and pregnant women.

The approach by the United Methodist Church is comprehensive and involves 4 areas:

• Prevention: Nothing But Nets program providing mosquito nets, draining standing water, and proper sanitation.
• Education: Training community-based workers to recognize symptoms and dispel myths.
• Communication: Teaching the need for and how to use mosquito nets, radio broadcasting lifesaving information to communities.
• Treatment: Hospitals and clinics providing rapid diagnostic kits and lifesaving medications.

HPCUMC has committed to contribute $50,000 over the next two years to the Imagine No Malaria Conference Campaign. The Hyde Park Church Endowment will match dollar for dollar up to $25,000 for a total of $50,000.

The first phase of our campaign is the “Bring Change for Change.” This is a family affair involving the children and youth of our congregation. Fill those boxes with your change! The filled boxes will be consecrated during the church services on November 8th. Your change can make a real change.

Phase two of the campaign will involve a Christmas alternative giving opportunity. Christmas cards will be available in the Welcome Center during the holidays with the proceeds going to the Imagine No Malaria campaign. It is a true Christian gift that can mean so much. Imagine No Malaria will continue to be a visible way to put our faith into action to permanently eradicate malaria for our brothers and sisters in Africa. Just Imagine… No More Malaria!

Dr . Warren and Karen Webster

Go Share it on the Mountain…or Maybe Tweet about It?

Every week we leave worship with our mission to, “share the love of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati, and the world.” While the ways in which we carry out this mission have changed over the ages, the idea of sharing the good news has never been a foreign concept to Methodists. Since the denomination’s earliest beginnings, we have been all about sharing the news of Jesus with all that we can; but in today’s world with its constant distractions and commitments, it can be hard to decide where to even begin to share this good news.

Tasks that previously took multiple people and resources can now be accomplished with a magic screen kept in your pocket. New ways for people to interact with each other in the form of social media and personal technology make sure to keep us plugged in, connected and online at all times. All of this connection can certainly be overwhelming and often results in the question of, “what’s the point of [insert social media name here]?”

The history of social media and world is still being written. I think we are already able to see some of the reasons people turn to it. One reason is people desire community. No one likes to be alone, and we seek a sense of family and community in a group setting, even if the community exists digitally. Another reason people like to “connect,” is they also enjoy extending their real world community. Even if a particular club or activity group does not have an online presence, individual members of real world groups individually exist online and can still connect. While this social media engagement is cool and trendy, is it actually a tool we have to use to share the Good News?”

John Wesley writes in the preface to the 1739 edition of Hymns and Sacred Poems:
Solitary religion is not to be found there. ‘Holy solitaries’ is a phrase no more consistent with the gospel than holy adulterers. The gospel of Christ knows of no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness.

This bit of Wesleyan wisdom helps to shed some light on these new ways to connect. Just as Jesus connected with all that he could in His travels and teachings, we are not meant to go alone on our journey. As Wesley said, “holy solitaries” do not exist and we are tasked / should crave the opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. It doesn’t matter how we connect but only that we do connect. God calls us to know one another, love one another, and serve one another, and he does not care how we go about it. So tweet about it, share about it, write someone a letter, paint a sign, pin it, post it or shout about it; it doesn’t matter how we connect and share the love of Jesus with those around us, we just need to go out and fill them with the same social holiness we share with one another on Sunday.

Kyle Tieman

Over-the-Rhine Community Changes

Significant changes are on the horizon at Over-the-Rhine Community Church. Over the last few months, a group of nine leaders from the church and myself have formed a leadership team, which we have named our “Launch Team.” Our purpose is to discern what sort of church God is calling us to be as we re-new our church identity in the rapidly shifting landscape of Over-the-Rhine (OTR). In the process of this work, we have made the collaborative decision to make two foundational changes to our Sunday ministries:

1. Moving our worship time from 9:30 am to 10:30 am
2. Re-visioning our breakfast and dinner meals

The process began with realizing that a worship time of 9:30 am is ineffective when it comes to being a church accessible to our neighborhood. With this later worship time, it is our hope and expectation that more residents in OTR will participate in worship.

This change also opened up the door to discerning next steps for the Sunday breakfast and dinner that have been operating out of our church for over two decades. After much deliberation, we’ve decided the time has come to adapt these ministries into environments that call people into deeper relationship and church community. This means that the meals are going to function and look completely different from how we know them now.

Our new vision for the breakfast and dinner meals is for them to become gatherings that rely on people of all classes and economic status to both serve and eat together on equal ground. Our hope is to grow these meals into worshipful environments operating under the standard that as we show up to eat, we also show up to serve one-another.

Breakfast will move to 8:30 am and will essentially serve as the pre-worship experience to our service that will start at 10:30 am. This meal will be led by a small group from Over-the-Rhine Community Church and rely on weekly volunteers dedicated to our community, but mostly run by the people who show up for the meal.

The most significant change for dinner is that we will move this gathering outside of Sunday and the church building, most likely in people’s homes and public spaces. The vision for the dinner is to provide a space that our church can invite the people of our neighborhood to, which doesn’t look so much like “standard church.”

For all those involved in one or both of these ministries, please know you will always be welcome to participate in these new meals! The “work,” however, will be entirely different. Volunteering in these ministries will certainly include some prep work, cooking, and the sort; but most importantly it will mean the expectation of participating in a peer-to-peer gathering that is focused on building long-term and lasting relationships.

We would like to invite you all to a celebratory worship service after the final dinner on October 25 at 6:00 pm. This will be a service made up mostly of singing, prayer, and sharing testimonies around what God has been doing out of our church in OTR. It will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that God has done in the past, and where God is taking us in the future. We hope to see you there.

Ian Strickland
Pastor, Over-the-Rhine Community