The View from the Ground

When Jesus went into the desert to fast for 40 days, at the end of his time when he was most hungry, thirsty and tired; Satan approached him with a series of offers. One of these offers was to take Jesus to the top of a high mountain to show him all of the Kingdoms below offering them as a prize if only Jesus was willing to fall down and worship him. Of course Jesus responds by quickly and loudly sending Satan away, seeing this offer as the temptation that it was.

In reading this story I always like to think I can easily identify with Jesus. And yet, in reality, sometimes it’s just hard to not believe the lie that we can own all of the kingdoms. That if only we climb high enough, work hard enough, put in the hours and will power; that we can somehow make it on our own.

When we reach these high places of our own making and look around at the “kingdoms” beneath us, it’s easy to feel safe and secure. The problem is that when we build a tower on our own foundation, they tend to collapse pretty quickly. Whether it’s our career, relationships, even spiritual identity. If we’re seeking to get the highest view, eventually we will be brought low.

The irony, however, is that the view from below is far more beautiful than the one from up high. We just need to know what to look for. Instead of trying to master the world and gaze upon a vast array of land and power, when we’re on the ground we get to gaze upon the intricacies of our fellow sisters and brothers. A parent playing with their child, someone helping a neighbor in town, a young couple falling in love. While being brought low may be painful and wreak havoc on our ego, it reminds us that we cannot truly separate ourselves from our fellow people. To succeed in this life is to live in community with one another.

This is the gift I have been given in the last three 1/2 years as pastor of OTR Community Church. Living downtown in Over the Rhine while pastoring a faith community right in the neighborhood has provided a beautifully transformational season where I learned to rely completely upon the people around me. Both Kelly and I have been blessed beyond measure during our time in Over the Rhine and in community with Hyde Park Community UMC.

And now, as God calls us onward to a new stage, we will take the deep life lessons gifted to us over the last few years. God has done miraculous things during our time here and it has been an honor to serve alongside all of you. Thank you all for the gift that has been to be church with you.

Pastor Ian

Innies or Outies?

Your body has one: an “inny” or an “outty.”   It is easy to tell.  When you look at your waistline your belly button either goes in or it pops out.

Churches are the same way:  they either face in or they face out.  Remember the rhyme and what you did with your hands: “Here is the church and here is the steeple…open the doors and see all the people?”

This week the program staff of our congregation studied a church that boldly states:  We strive to be a relentlessly outwardly focused church to reach people for Jesus Christ. Through wonderful ministries of hospitality, discipleship, and mission, Church of the Resurrection, a new United Methodist Church plant in 1990, has grown to 20,000 people.

What’s the secret sauce?  They align their resources:  people, their building, programs, ministries, and finances to accomplish their mission: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

This week you are invited to the first of two Town Hall Meetings offered in the next several weeks.  You will hear about the exciting plan for our building, the result of several years of work from many church leaders at Hyde Park Community United Methodist.  You will hear how our building can be restored, renovated, and also open up new, fresh space to welcome new people into our faith community.

You are invited on Wednesday evening, May 23, at 7:00 pm or Thursday, May 24 at 10:30 am for an exciting presentation. These town hall meetings will be offered through June. In late summer or early fall, church members will have the opportunity to officially vote to move forward with a capital campaign.

This is a congregation that is grounded in faith and growing to serve; I am excited to be a part of it!  I hope you will come to a Town Hall Meeting soon to hear about where God may be leading us!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Confirmation Sunday

Hyde Park Community is steeped in tradition. One of the most celebrated traditions in the life of the church is Confirmation Sunday. Not only is it a celebration for the youth and their families, it is a joyous occasion for the church family as well. We have the opportunity to welcome new members in the life of the church and affirm their profession of faith in Jesus for themselves.

The word “confirmation” literally means “to make firm.” Confirmation seeks to make firm that which has gone before. It is closely linked to, and dependent on, what has taken place in the youth’s life already, including God’s prevenient grace, the sacrament of baptism, and the Christian nurture of the family with the support of the faith community. It is also an anticipatory occasion of what is to come-acting as an important marker (not graduation) along their spiritual journeys as the Holy Spirit strengthens the youth in his or her lifelong discipleship of Jesus.

Our journey in the Christian faith is not intended to be a solo venture and the youth did not travel this part of the journey alone. Faithful leaders walked alongside them this year to encourage and challenge each student. Please join me in thanking co-leader Chuck Brandt and small group leaders Mackenzie Fahey, Gretchen and Paul Lisi, Al Painter, and Abby Warren.

Confirmation Sunday is not just for the youth and their families! Church family, this Sunday we have the privilege to honor and encourage the young people’s commitment to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and to renew our commitment to do the same!

Congratulations to the Confirmation Class of 2018!

Veronica Grace Bigger

Cara Elizabeth Coy

Samantha Ellen Ellis

Sam Gneuhs

Ryan Meador

Aimee Joy Payling

Audrey Elizabeth Potter

Trevor Benjamin Stith

Bennett Taylor Turan

Noah John Vanags

Amanda M. Yeung

Emily M. Yeung

DO JUSTICE, LOVE KINDNESS, and WALK HUMBLY WITH GOD

When the Prophet Micah proclaims “Do Justice”, Micah is not talking about “retributive” justice; but the “justice” of God: “Distributive Justice, and Restorative Righteousness.”  Recently HPCUMC launched a Justice Ministry.  I offer the following from the Leadership Team, and invite you to participate.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

What Can I DO?

Justice Ministry Update

HPCUMC’s Justice Ministry is working hard with the AMOS Project to gather signatures for the Safe and Healthy Ohio Ballot Initiative.  This amendment will reduce mass incarceration and overburdened jails by reducing penalties for non-violent drug offenses and redirect resources toward mental health, drug treatment, rehabilitation and victims’ rights programs.  HPCUMC has committed to supply 750 signatures to get the initiative on the November ballot.  Here is how YOU can help:

Make sure you have signed the petition.  You will find an opportunity in the Welcome Center if you haven’t already!

Help us collect signatures.  To get an official petition book and instructions see Jill Colaw between services in the Welcome Center or contact her: jillcolaw@yahoo.com, or 513-265-1110.

Volunteer to take a shift at the Board of Elections May 8th.  The following is a link that will make it easy to sign up and let them know you can take a two hour shift: www.surveymonkey.com/r/5ZP8663

What Else Can I Do?

Vote on May 8!

If you’d like to be added to the Justice Ministry distribution list contact Janice Kummer: janicekumer@gmail.com or 513-439-2253.  We periodically send emails with opportunities to serve.

Make Knowledge and awareness a priority!  Social justice was Jesus’ mission and we are called as the body of Christ to work toward that end.  The Justice ministry has several exciting programs we will offer in the coming months.

We invite you to join us and “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.”

HPCUMC Justice Ministry Leadership Team

Jill/David Colaw, Janice/Stan Kummer, Joyce Miyasato, Jan Seymour, Cathie Shick

You are Invited: An Update On Phase 1 of the Master Plan

In 2013, the Armstrong Group recommended multiple initiatives for our congregation to fulfill our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  To move forward with excellence we need to:

  • Maximize our Facilities for Ministry
  • Develop Multi-Site Ministries
  • Equip Leaders for ministries in fulfilling our mission
  • Connect people to care, grow and serve

In 2015, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church contracted with MSA Architects to develop a Master Plan, a long-range (15-20 year) projection of our needs for our facility.  The congregation expressed its priorities for security for children, flexible space, and additional space for ministries to children and families.  In 2016, after approving this report, the Servant Leadership Board commissioned a Building Committee to phase the plan, considering the order of priorities carefully.   In March 2018, the Servant Leadership Board received the report of the Building Committee and their recommendation to proceed with Phase 1 of the Master Plan.

Communicating this exciting vision will take place soon at Town Hall Meetings.  Members of our congregation and church family are invited to come to see and hear about this proposal.   The purpose of the Town Hall meetings is to educate our congregation prior to voting at a Church Conference in late August or early September.  Members will be voting on authorizing the church to hold a Capital Campaign, embracing the vision of Phase 1 of the Master Plan.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us:

May 23, 7:00 p.m.

June 3, 7:00 p.m.

June 13, 7 p.m.

June 17, 12:15 p.m.

June 27, 12:15 p.m.

Joy in our Risen Lord,

Pastor Cathy

A Good Samaritan Story

Free-lance writer, Shane Claiborne, who spent a summer in the poorest section of Calcutta, India with Mother Teresa wrote about his once-in-a- lifetime experience with the saint.

“People would often ask me what Mother Teresa was like.  Did she glow in the dark or have a halo?  I would tell them that she was short, wrinkled and precious, maybe a little ornery like a beautiful wise old granny.

But there is one thing I will never forget and that was her feet. They were deformed.  Each morning during Mass, I would stare at those feet.  I wondered if Mother Teresa had leprosy.  Of course, I wasn’t going to ask.

One day a sister asked a group of us, ‘Have you noticed Mother’s feet?’ We nodded.  She said, “Her feet are deformed because we get just enough donated shoes for everyone and Mother does not want anyone to get stuck with the worst pairs, so she digs through and finds those.  Years of wearing bad shoes have deformed her feet.’   That was typical Mother Teresa and that was what made her great.  She placed the needs of others above her own.”

This week the sermon will be on the text in Luke 10:25-37. It is one of the most familiar of Jesus’ parables. It is known as “the Good Samaritan Story.” Mother Teresa, in my mind, was a Good Samaritan. All were her neighbors, especially those who were sick and dying with leprosy, and seen as unclean outcasts in the community. She was willing to do what it took to show care and compassion to make a Kingdom of God difference in their lives.

It is my hope you will join us in worship on Sunday to hear this parable in a way that challenges us to think more broadly upon the story. There are several approaches we can take in speaking to this text. I even encourage you to read through the parable before you arrive on Sunday. Where are you in the story? How would you respond to “who is my neighbor?” How have you been a “good Samaritan?” I look forward to sharing more with you on Sunday!

Blessings,

Pastor Dave

Leave A Legacy

Endowment programs have a positive impact on the life of a congregation.  Endowment programs offer families and individuals the opportunity to leave a legacy to their beloved church, a legacy that bears abundant fruit!

HPCUMC has been a transformative presence through the life-stages of many: birth, baptism, confirmation, graduation, marriage and death.  As a result, a deep and abiding love for our faith community has become the motivation for making a gift to the HPCUMC endowment, ensuring and enhancing the ministries of HPCUMC for future generations.

Hyde Park Community has been blessed by the foresight of those who have gone before us to leave such a legacy gift.  From the first gift, under the leadership of Bishop Emerson Colaw, to the 28 million dollar endowment it is today, the endowment has enhanced the vision and mission of HPCUMC.  From support of the facilities, to the support of our outreach/mission programs, and missionaries, the HPCUMC endowment has been a part of partnering with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. From scholarships awarded to our young adults in college to scholarships awarded to those interested in short term mission opportunities, the income from the HPCUMC endowment has been actively involved in making disciples and facilitating intellectual, and spiritual growth.

The beauty of the Endowment program is that no gift is too small. Whether $5 or one million dollars, the endowment program provides the opportunity for individuals and families to leave a legacy to the church they love.  We invite you to make a gift to the endowment, and/or including HPCUMC in your estate plans.  I would love to talk to you about your legacy gift.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Embracing the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr

The life of Martin Luther King Jr. means many things to many people.  However, far too many forget that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a follower of Jesus Christ.  As an ordained pastor in the Baptist church, he stood firmly on the ground of the non-violent revolution Jesus began in the early years of the first century A.D.

The Rev. Peter Mathews, Pastor and Director of the Center for Global Renewal and Missions writes, “50 years later, 50 years after the tragic demise of Martin Luther King Jr. . .  50 years later are we any closer to living into King’s beloved community? . .  His faith was not only the source of his strength but also the fuel for his vision of a more humane planet.”

On Sunday, April 8, we partner with United Theological Seminary and the Center for Global Renewal and Missions as part of the Bishop Emerson Colaw Lecture series.  We welcome Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders, the Chief Executive Officer of the internationally acclaimed Dayton Contemporary Dance Company as we remember and honor the life and death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years ago.

Under the leadership of Ms. Hawes-Saunders, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company adopted an innovative and revenue-producing business model by partnering with colleges and universities.  She also instituted “Women in Motion: Empowered by Dance”, a program that uses creative dance movement and informative lectures to address cardiovascular disease among African-American and Hispanic women.

Ms. Hawes-Saunders will remind us through word and dance of Jesus’ call to collaborate with God in God’s acts of new creation, and partner with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven.  I look forward to seeing you in Church!

Through the Risen Christ,

Pastor Doug

Easter As New Creation

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  This simple, but yet profound proclamation is both personal and communal, and claims our place in creation and God’s acts of new creation!  It is a proclamation of victory, and at the same time a statement of faith.

As we proclaim: “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!” we affirm our participation in Christ’s resurrection.  As participants we are a new creation; as a new creation we participate in God’s acts of new creation.

Easter is about victory and collaboration.  It’s about restoration and reconciliation, new life and new beginnings. Bishop N.T. Wright in his book, co-written with Marcus Borg, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, reflects on the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus:

“The deepest meanings of the resurrection have to do with new creation. . .   It was the first day of God’s new week, the moment of sunrise after the long night, the time of new meetings, new meals, of reconciliation and new commissioning.  It was the beginning of the new creation. . .  What is done to the glory of God in the present is genuinely building for God’s future.  Acts of justice and mercy, the creation of beauty and the celebration of truth, deeds of love and the creation of communities of kindness and forgiveness – these all matter, and they matter forever.” (p.126)

The resurrection brings personal transformation, absolutely.  However, it is not exclusively personal.  To say “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!” is to say God is making all things new, and I am God’s partner in God’s acts of new creation. Alleluia!  I look forward to seeing you in church!

Through the Risen Christ,

Pastor Doug

Why Holy Week Takes my Breath Away

Holy Week begins with a parade, filled with excitement and joy…lots of energy…children laughing and playing in the streets as people shout “Hosanna” (“Pray, save us) to Jesus as he humbly rides a donkey.

You can feel tension mounting as conflict arises among the Pharisees and scribes about what to do about Jesus, the One whom the crowd adores. Jesus’s disciples begin to fall away although some remain close.

By Thursday, Jesus, the humble servant, washes their feet and takes symbols from the Passover and explains the new covenant, his body and blood, and invites them to take, eat, and remember.

Thursday evening, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, another moment of awe. He asks for the cup of suffering to be removed, but surrenders completely, the King who chooses to give up his life for his people. His arrest and imprisonment lead us to the horror of Friday.

After 39 brutal lashes, Jesus carries his cross through the streets of Jerusalem.  As his hands and feet are nailed to the Cross, I lose my breath again, hearing his words of love:  “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

With his death, we believe that the story is over;  the stone is rolled to seal the tomb.  My breath will be taken away again with the dawn of Easter morning when we hear the words again: “Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!”

This Holy Week in worship we will walk all the way to Gethsemane, the Cross, and to the Empty Tomb.  Open yourself to the power of Christ this week; God wants to move you deeply and take your breath away!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy