Job Search Focus Group: Hope, Help & Healing for the Unemployed

Unemployment is tough…it’s an emotional roller coaster …it harms self-esteem…it’s confusing and frustrating. It’s also a time for self-discovery – for resurrecting dreams – for finding Purposeful Employment.

Advice – Accountability – Achievement
As the largest, longest running job search support group in America, JSFG provides weekly advice, resources, connections to employers, and a positive environment for job seekers to find their way.
JSFG Graduate Testimonies
“I can honestly say I used a piece of everything at some point. From the Strength Finder workshops, through the resume writing workshops, to networking, and ending using what I learned in the negotiation workshops.”

“JSFG is a great group of folks who provide encouragement and tools to help in a process that can be daunting and discouraging.”

“This is truly a special group and a blessing to have in Cincinnati. God Bless You!”

“What impressed me was the emphasis on helping others: people from the Job Search Focus Group reached out time and again to help me, encourage me, or give me a lead on a company or a job posting. You can pay someone to help you polish a resume but you can’t pay someone to give a dang about you.”

Join us Mondays @ Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church.
8:00 am Welcome Orientation for 1st timers.
9:00 am Advice, Networking, Speakers, Seminars.
11:30 am Workshops: Strengths, Resume, Networking, Interviewing, Negotiating, Financial and more.

For additional information go to the JSFG website,
www.JobSearchFocusGroup.com.

Bob Pautke

The Parlor Group

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Most 12-Step meetings start or end with the Serenity Prayer. Learning to ACCEPT myself for whom I was/am and to ACCEPT “people, places and things exactly as they are” was key to finding the necessary strength and courage to face my own alcoholism. I had to become comfortable with “I am Mary and I am an alcoholic.” It was a very difficult concept to embrace, but essential to sustaining sobriety.

When I moved here in 2008, I was dialoguing with one of my AA peers about our mutual spiritual stagnation. She elected to go back to meetings; I decided to return to Church. I also became a part of the Parlor Group.

Anyone’s journey to sobriety and serenity is not easy; it takes willingness and courage – and requires work. It is, however, a true example of “when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.” I am very grateful for the people who have been part of my recovery. Although I have been sober for more than 25 years, much of it has been involved, as stated in Alcoholics Anonymous’ BIG BOOK, participating in a spiritual fellowship, that together, “trudges” the happy road to destiny. Sobriety, like spirituality, requires ongoing effort. AA’s eleventh step states “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

The Parlor Group initially explored the relationship between 12-step programs and the Bible. A 12-step Bible Study Guide was developed; the curriculum is inclusive for any faith and/or any 12-step program. The Parlor Group also evolved into a core group duplicating the anonymity and confidentiality practiced in any of the 12-step programs. The format of listening and “thank you for sharing” provides a safe environment to provide and/or receive spiritual strength and support.

In January 2015, the Parlor Group will continue to meet every Friday Night. However, the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month will be focused on “Grief,” utilizing Julie Yarbrough’s book entitled Beyond the Broken Heart.
It is very apropos that the Parlor Group aligns itself with “grief.” When one elects to become sober from any substance or practice, it is “losing” a very important part of their existence. Although the loss of a loved one is physically different, the use of a spiritual foundation and “accepting the loss” is something that can be shared.

Currently, I am the only group member that has an issue with alcohol. The 12-steps and acceptance are a spiritual framework that can enhance anyone’s daily life. These meetings have been and are always open to anyone.
For more information contact Lisa Rabinowitz at 979-8192 or Mary Meish at 375-2327 or mmeisch12@msn.com.

Mary Meisch

Stephen Ministry

Very soon after my husband Neil and I became members of this church, I learned about a ministry in which lay people could be trained to provide a warm space for listening to and caring for another person during a time of personal crisis or upheaval.

That program, called Stephen Ministry, appealed to me for several reasons. I was a counselor and a mediator, but this volunteer opportunity was different. The requirements were a commitment to training and supervision, an ability to listen without judgment, and regular visits with a care receiver until he/she felt ready to move ahead independently. Confidentiality is valued above all.

An oft-heard phrase to describe the program is that God is the Cure Giver, Stephen Ministers are the Care Givers who assist pastors in congregational care.

Over the years I have experienced stressful periods and indecision about how to respond in ways that would help healing, for myself and the others involved. Even as I prayed for answers I also received encouragement in sharing my situation with another whose faith and Christian practices I respected. Together we experienced God’s love.

Stephen Ministers do not provide answers. They are trained over several months on how to provide a safe place in which two people listen together to God’s direction. In that setting the care receiver no longer needs to feel isolated or fearful. I have been blessed as a Stephen Minister to know young mothers, midlife career changers, and women facing health issues that constrain their daily lives. Each pairing has been a privilege beyond measure. God has been at the center of every meeting.

Stephen Ministers have experienced many of the daily challenges that can seem overwhelming. We are privileged to be called to walk with another through a difficult time, providing comfort and consistent care.
If you would like to know more about this ministry, please contact Bonnie Stowell at twinklingb@yahoo.com or Rev. Dave Weaver at dweaver@hpcumc.org.

Sarah Thorburn

Madisonville Education and Assistance Center

MEAC provides vital assistance to people who reside in Madisonville (45227 zip code) and surrounding communities (45226, 45208, 45209 zip codes). Through the support of our sponsors, donors and volunteers, MEAC offers a variety of programs focused on families and individuals within our service area.

MEAC has numerous programming set up to meet the needs of its clients. MEAC’s Programs are:
Basic Material Needs: Choice Food Pantry, Household Items, Clothing, Community Meals
Financial Assistance: Rent, Utilities, Birth Certificates, Bus Tickets
Education: Money Talk$ Financial Program, Early and Adult Literacy Programs, Getting Ahead self-sufficiency Program
Connections: Application Assistance for Public Benefits (through Ohio Benefit Bank), Referrals
Holiday Programs: Thanksgiving Baskets, Happy Holiday Shop, Santa’s Secret Workshop, Holiday Parties

MEAC’s Mission is to offer help and hope to our neighbors in crisis by meeting their basic needs and providing education that enables them to navigate their way out of poverty.

Through the generosity of our donors and volunteers in 2013, MEAC was able to provide:
3,495 families (almost 7,200 people) with food from our Choice Food Pantry
3,263 people (1,222 children) warm, home-cooked dinners through our Monday Night Community Dinner meal program
2,863 people with clothing and household items from our MEAC Boutique
328 families with a Thanksgiving meal
190 individual with financial assistance
85 children with early literacy education

Every year, MEAC has been able to reach more families through new and growing programs. In 2014, MEAC, in partnership with The Literacy Network, launched a new Basic Reading Program for adults. These specialized classes teach basic reading skills free of charge to people with profound reading difficulties.

MEAC would love for you to be a part of the work that they are doing! You may get involved by donating, volunteering and staying connected. If you are interested in helping or would like more information, please contact Sarah Putman at sputman@hpcumc.org or 871-1345.

Carolyn Moseley

2020: A Ministry to Young People in Trouble

“2020” is short for the Hamilton County Juvenile Court Youth Center, located at 2020 Auburn Avenue across from Christ Hospital. Young people are brought to this secure facility by police, after arrest, or by agencies of the Court. About 90 youth between the ages of 9 and 17 are incarcerated there for an average of 10 days as they await their Court appearance. Each year, more than 3,000 young people are held there.

Who are these youth? Those on the 2020 ministry team have found them to be like most kids, like our own kids, with one big exception. These young people have fallen through the usual safety nets of family, school, church and community, and landed on the wrong side of the Law and in 2020. This forced “time out” has a sobering and humbling effect on the vast majority of these kids. Those of us who have visited at 2020 have witnessed first-hand the special sensitivity and openness these young people have to receive God’s love. That’s why we keep coming back year-after-year. I’ve been blessed to visit 2020 monthly for 10 years.

Thirty years ago, George Keil, one of our members, answered God’s call to start this ministry at HPCUMC (thanks and blessings on you, George!). One evening each week, we send a rotating team to meet with a small group of youth for an hour. Through this ministry of presence, we convey that someone, including God and us, still cares for them. We meet in a safe place, smile, listen, share, pray, read Scripture, and give each young person a new Bible they can put their name in and keep (Bibles caringly given to 400-500 kids in trouble per year!). For New Year’s Eve, we treat the whole facility to a pizza party which kids and staff greatly appreciate.

We presently have vacancies on our team due to moves and health issues. So, we’re looking for several caring adults age 21 and older to join this vital caring ministry, either as a regular once/month visitor, or as an occasional fill-in.

If God has given you a love for young people and if you sense a “divine nudge” to invest an hour a month giving hope to kids with open minds and hearts who find themselves in trouble, we’re looking for you. If you sense God may be calling you to this ministry, or even if you’re not quite sure, we invite you to join us as a guest visitor. As a guest, you’ll be free to just observe, or join-in as you feel led and comfortable. Once you confirm God’s calling, we’ll get you on the team. Blessings on you, my friend!

Please contact Sarah Putman at 979-8162, sputman@hpcumc.org, or Dana Connolly at 827-0815, dana.connolly1@gmail.com for more information or to schedule a guest visit.

Wesley Chapel Mission Center

Wesley Chapel Mission Center (WCMC), one of HPCUMC’s inner city ministry partners, is located in the eastside of Over-the-Rhine (OTR). This area is not yet part of the new development taking place in OTR. In fact, since the OTR development began, many of the existing old buildings on the eastside have been converted into subsidized low-income apartments and many low-income families are moving into the eastside. Because of this influx of families, it is becoming more and more important for WCMC to be ministering in this area to the “marginal” residents of OTR.

In 2003, Becky Costello became the Executive Director of WCMC and it was established that the goal of the center would be to provide a safe, off the streets place to go for Christian education. This would be accomplished through enacting the mission statement of serving the OTR community by witnessing to Christ’s constant healing presence through spiritual nourishment, children’s educational programs (including enrichment programs) and collaboration with the community.

The heart of our ministry is the Monday-Thursday after school program (2:30-5:00pm) where the OTR children come to a safe haven as outlined in the mission statement. Not only do we have a daily Bible lesson, but we also emphasize education by having separate rooms set aside for help with the children’s school homework. The homework comes first, and then there is time for play, games, crafts, and enrichment activities as well as a generous and nutritional snack. During the summer, we have a summer camp program on Monday-Friday from Noon-3:00 pm.

Since WCMC was established, each year we see more and more children. The average attendance has grown from about 10-12 children in 2003 to 75-80 children this year. We have grown from one facility for all ages to now four separate facilities, two of which are divided by grade levels.

Currently, HPCUMC has a handful of faithful volunteers who work with the children on a daily or weekly basis. We also partner with WCMC’s Saturday STARClub a few times a year via our Ignite program. Our Children’s Ministry and Youth Program collaborated to provide a Super Saturday of fun and learning during the St. Patrick’s Day season this year. Summer Impact volunteers and participants work daily alongside WCMC to run the Summer Camp.

All of WCMC programs plus other community activities are run by a staff of 6 – 8 (mostly part time) faithful servants and a relatively small number of volunteers. With so many young children attending the programming each day we desperately need more help! Please contact Sarah Putman at 871-1345 or sputman@hpcumc.org for more information.

Lon Kaylor

The Center for Respite Care

The Center for Respite Care, one of HPCUMC’s ministry partners, is a home for those who need it more than anyone else – those who are homeless and sick. The purpose of the Center for Respite Care is to provide those suffering from homelessness a place to recuperate after a hospital stay instead of returning to the streets and ending up sick again. It is at Respite that people suffering from homelessness find identity and love that has been missing from their lives for so long. My experience with Respite has been one filled with laughter, stories, and new understanding.

Volunteering at Respite gave me a new perspective on the lives of those suffering from homelessness and it provided new insights to those who participated in Summer Impact. At the end of each week, we would recount the ups and downs of Summer Impact, and the most impactful experience. Countless times, the Center for Respite Care was named because of their unique mission and the new understanding it provided to the volunteers. It was in this safe environment we talked about the prejudice we began the day with, and the openness and love we felt at the end of the day. It was also through these talks that we saw the way God worked through our hearts and worked through the lives of these people.

The Center for Respite Care is unique in the services they offer. They help care for these clients who need medical help but have been discharged from the hospital. The center allows their clients to get back on their feet at their own pace. Additionally, Respite provides services to help get their clients into permanent homes and apartments as well as finding employment. Their goal is for holistic well-being of those who stay with them, and they do an excellent job of focusing on the entire individual.

One of my fondest memories while at The Center for Respite Care was playing cornhole. Since Respite is relatively small, the clients interact quite often with each other and enjoy the company of new friends. New friends also means new competition for cornhole! We played every single visit; the clients would get so competitive, and it was contagious! It was also a time to talk about what they do in their free time, and associate a face, a personality, and a person with the far-too-often-large concept of homelessness. To me, homelessness is no longer anonymous, thanks to the Center, with Respite Care. Please keep their clients and those people who suffer from homelessness in your prayers this Christmas season!

If you have a heart for those who are seeking to get back on their feet, or the desire to sit with those who are healing physically, emotionally, and often times spiritually, contact Sarah Putman at sputman@hpcumc.org.

Ministering with State Ave UMC

State Avenue UMC in Lower Price Hill is one of our church’s community ministry partners. Our partnership with them offers many ways to serve others and connect through service. Because State Avenue UMC serves and ministers to families in a socio-economically challenged area, finding ways to provide food assistance and other support is vitally important. As ministry partners with State Avenue UMC, we currently help them financially and with food donations.

Another opportunity to partner with State Avenue UMC is helping with their children’s Sunday School program on Sunday mornings. State Avenue UMC needs volunteers to invest in the lives of the kids attending State Avenue. There are many possibilities in serving the children at State Avenue UMC. Along with sharing a Bible story, you can share your own story about God’s working in your life. You can bring a special activity to do with the kids or share a hobby. You can bring a healthy snack, or a special treat, or you can help provide for other needs at the church. The best part of this partnership is building relationships with the people at State Avenue UMC. You might find a child in this socio-economically challenged area, who needs someone strong, someone encouraging, or someone who simply understand and listens. The kids at State Avenue need people willing to invest in their lives and share the love and character of Jesus with them.

We are currently in need of people who feel called to minister specifically to children in need, physically and spiritually, at State Avenue UMC. If you would like to help with this ministry, the need for programming is every 4th Sunday of the month. The time commitment is about two hours each month, from 10:30-12:30, which includes travel time to State Avenue UMC. The Children’s Ministry at HPCUMC can help provide lessons, craft ideas, and activities to help you serve the children. If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer to partner in this way with State Avenue, please contact Sara O’Connor at soconnor@hpcumc.org.

Sara O’Connor

Prayer Walking

Prayer Walking is for everyone. We all do it. If you walk to your car and ask God for protection on your ride home you were prayer walking. If you prayed for inner peace as you walked to your work place, you were prayer walking.

I began praying the pews several years ago at 7:00 am on Sunday mornings and as others joined we walked throughout the building praying for our ministers, choir, teachers, ushers, hospitality and greeters. After reading Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson we circled the Sanctuary every Sunday 7 times. We continue to bless and pray over the pews, classrooms and doors. What joy we have experienced praying for our clergy, congregation and each other.

We are expanding Prayer Walking to the interval between services at 10:30 am, beginning at the Prayer Wall across from the Welcome Center. We will Prayer Walk throughout HPCUMC, for the various ministries, and weather permitting around the building.

There will be prayer suggestions, but we will rely on the promptings of the Holy Spirit to lead us individually in our prayers for HPCUMC, our congregation, and community. We may walk as a group or on your own as you go to worship, classes or meetings.

Prayer Walking unites us for a common purpose, on a common route, toward a common destination. Join Prayer Walkers each Sunday at 7:00 am or 10:30 am at the Prayer Wall. Praying to see you there.

For more information contact Rev. Dr. Sue Lee Jin, sjin@hpcumc.org, 979-8186 or Sharon Michaelson.

Sharon Michaelson

Tuesday Evening Worship

The Prayer Ministries of HPCUMC have been in existence from the beginning of our founding members’ plans to build this church.  They prayed about every aspect of our building, windows, architecture, and ministries.

When I was approached to be a part of a prayer ministry team, my first thought was the same as a statement I read about prayer in church.  “I don’t feel adequate to pray”.  HPCUMC along with nine other churches participated in The Breakthrough Prayer Lab initiated by The West Ohio Conference to brainstorm and share about being praying congregations, and I became part of that team.

As a result, the Prayer Ministry team at HPCUMC has facilitated the forty day prayer challenge during Lent, two prayer classes, re-instituted the prayer wall across from the Welcome Center, and a prayer worship opportunity every Tuesday evening.  Our goal is to be a House of Prayer, moving toward a prayer-saturated congregation.

Every Tuesday our church has a prayer service:

The first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm is Prayer Walking to unite in intentional conversation with God for our church, community, neighborhood and ministries.   Prayer Walking isn’t just good for your heart, it’s good for your soul.

The second Tuesday at 7:30 pm we continue the tradition of Taizé worship.

The third Tuesday is prayer through worship in song and scripture at 6:30 pm.

The fourth Tuesday is contemporary worship and praise presented by the Healing Team at 6:30 pm.

The fifth Tuesday is contemplative worship and prayer at 6:30 pm.

While I still feel inadequate about my prayer life, I continue to pray, worship, and “practice”.  Please join us on Tuesdays to “practice” praying and becoming a House of Prayer.  For more information contact Rev. Dr. Sue Lee Jin, sjin@hpcumc.org, 513/979-8186, Diane Weaver or Sharon Michaelson.

Sharon Michaelson