24/7 Help

During the time when our nation was suffering through polio, many people had to live in iron lungs.  Powered by electricity, these iron lungs helped people keep breathing.  Hospitals installed battery powered units to protect against power outages.  Family members who cared for a loved one at home would use hand pumps to keep the patient breathing in case the electricity failed.

During this season of stress and tension, it is tempting to believe that we are weak and that our power is limited.  As God’s children we are promised that we have power accessible to us at all times; The Holy Spirit is standing by, ready to come to our aid.  It is power that not only lifts us up and encourages us, but gives us strength to transform the world with the love of God.

In the book of Acts we read these words of Jesus to His disciples: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

This weekend we will continue our series called “Working our Core.”  As we continue our study on core beliefs, we will explore the most misunderstood part of the Trinity:  The Holy Spirit.

The gospel lesson for this weekend is John 14:15-27, part of Jesus’ farewell discourse to his disciples prior to His crucifixion.

Please join us online at 9:30 am  or 11:00 am through our website(hydeparkchurch.org) or our Facebook page.

I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday morning!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

It Is Well With My Soul

Horatio Spafford wrote his timeless hymn, “It is Well With My Soul” after experiencing a number of personal and family tragedies within a short period of time.  In the midst of it all he was able to rest in the peace of God that passes all understanding.  In the aftermath, experiencing God’s eternal presence, buoyed by hope, Spafford was able to pen:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul

In the midst of the uncertainty and unknowing of our current reality, claiming the truth of Horatio Spafford’s words, over the past 3 months Pastors Cathy, Dave and Doug have offered a daily devotion, “It Is Well With My Soul.”  Monday thru Saturday at 10:00am you can join us by going to our web site: Hydeparkchurch.org.  On the home page click the “It is Well: Daily Devotion and Praise”.

We are pleased to announce that on June 15th, three additional pastors joined the team: The Rev. Kate Smith, The Rev. Dr. Michael Vilardo and the Rev. Dr. Pete Rudowski.  As we continue to provide an encouraging word for the day, grounded in scripture and prayer,  we welcome the addition of Kate, Michael and Pete.

Join us daily for this time of centering, gratitude and prayer.  The weekly schedule for the in-person recorded devotion is as follows:

Monday – Pastor Cathy

Tuesday – Pastor Dave

Wednesday – Pastor Doug

Thursday – Pastor Kate

Friday – Pastor Michael

Saturday – Pastor Pete

As we look to Sunday, June 21, Pastor Sadell Bradley (Pastor of The Warehouse, our second campus in OTR) will be with us as we continue our sermon series: “Working on Our Core”.  Her Sermon: Jesus: The Word Made Flesh, is based on  John 1:1-4.

Join us as we claim the presence of our healing Christ in these times of unknowing and uncertainty, and proclaim: It is well with my soul!  Happy Father’s Day!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Working our Core

The Mayo Clinic has the following statement on their website:

“Core exercises improve your balance and stability.”

People in the health care industry and physical trainers are all in agreement: Working our core is critical to our physical health. Millions of dollars has been made selling programs such as “Abs of Steel.”  Strengthening exercises for our core are abundant and easily accessible.

What would happen if we apply the statement above to our minds and spirits, examining our faith and values?   

What would happen if we were willing to step back and examine what we believe so that we solidify our core – our core beliefs?

This weekend I invite you to join us as we begin a sermon series designed to strengthen our core.  We live our lives, day to day, based on what we believe.  We respond to what is happening in the world because of the values that we hold dear.  Jesus, the Christ, taught us to love God and neighbor, set the oppressed free, and work for healing, hope, and peace for all.

Each week we will take a deep dive into central beliefs of the Christian faith.  This week we explore the meaning of “The Glory of God,” studying both the biblical understanding as well as how it applies to our daily lives.

The times we live in can threaten to shake us, to throw off our balance.  I pray that during this challenging season you will join us for this sermon series that takes us back to the basics:  the core beliefs of the follower of Christ. 

May God richly bless you this week and always!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

It’s Time…

As we conclude our sermon series on racism this weekend, it is not an end, but a beginning.  It’s time to invest ourselves in the transformation God seeks and God calls us to.  It’s time to name the systems and policies that divide and marginalize; it’s time to educate ourselves about systemic racism in our country; it’s time to stop pointing fingers, and engage in introspection, identifying where we’ve fallen short.  Courtney Ariel challenges:  It’s time to “listen more and talk less”; it’s time stop using dismissive language e.g. “I can’t believe that something like this would happen in this day and age!”(it’s been going on for over 400 years).  It’s time we “invested our time in educating ourselves”; It’s time to “stop talking about colorblindness” (people of color are crying out “See me”, see the beauty of my color).  The time is now; It’s time!

Pastor and friend Jeff Raker wrote: In the crypts of Westminster Abbey, the following words were written on the tomb of an Anglican bishop who lived in the 11th Century:  “When I was young and free my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew in my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realized: If I had only changed my self-first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed my world.” . . .  Start with yourself and you will have taken the first step to changing your world.

It’s time for the Body of Christ to stand with all of God’s beloved.  It’s time to partner with God for healing, wholeness and empowerment of those who have been marginalized and disenfranchised.  May God’s blessings abound as we join in this kingdom work.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

No Distancing Allowed!

This Sunday Christians around the world will celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church.  It is, however, an ancient festival among people of faith.  First century Jews came to Jerusalem for the Feast of the First Fruits, the celebration of the spring harvest.    The Feast of Pentecost is also the culmination of what began on Passover, a time to remember the deliverance of the people from slavery in Egypt.

On Pentecost, nearly two thousand years ago, Peter was preaching in Jerusalem.  In the midst of a very diverse crowd, the Holy Spirit descended on the people gathered.  A mighty wind moved among them and tongues of fire came to rest over the head of each person.

It was a diverse crowd – people from many races and nations had gathering for the celebration – yet everyone heard the message in their own language.  Peter preached with holy boldness; more than 3,000 people were added to the Church on Pentecost.

In these days of separating ourselves, for health reasons, we see many divisions today.  COVID-19 has exposed vulnerable, at-risk populations that some may have preferred to not see.   Although the coronavirus is an equal opportunity infector, the death rates reveal substantially higher risk to African-Americans, the elderly, and people caught in poverty.   The news continues to expose the racism in our nation.  Our hearts broke this week as we saw four officers in Minnesota hold down an African American male so brutally that it resulted in his death.

This weekend we will explore an important account in the book of Acts:  The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.  I look forward to “wading in the water” with you, exploring the power of the Holy Spirit to unite and heal all of humanity.

May God richly bless you today; I look forward to connecting with you in worship online on Sunday through www.hydeparkchurch.org via live stream or through our Facebook page.  Thank you for continuing to support the church’s ministry through your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness during this season of challenges.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns

Lessons We Can Learn

In these days of continued uncertainty and unknowing, anxiety grows and frustrations fester.  Underlying the anxiety and frustration are questions of “why” and “when.”  I submit we will never know meaningful answers to the “why?”; and any meaningful answer to the “when?” will not be soon enough.  Therefore, I encourage us to reframe our current circumstances and ask a different question: What can I learn in these days of COVID-19?  In answering this question, I offer the following, written by Bill Gates.

What is the Corona/ Covid-19 Virus Really Teaching us?

1) It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.

2) It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.

3) It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet rolls.

4) It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials that we need (food, water, medicine)as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.

5) It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses so we can rebuild them into our home and to strengthen our family unit.

6) It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what we do, not what we were created to do.  Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.

7) It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to hoard, to look after only our self. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.

8) Whereas many see the Corona/ Covid-19 virus as a great disaster, I prefer to see it as a “great corrector.”

How would you add to the list?  I too believe this is an opportunity for us to reset, renew, and restore.  This is a time for us to take seriously God’s call to partner with God in God’s acts of new creation.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Doing Our Own Work in Learning and Sharing

We are starting a new sermon series on race, because we believe it is important for white Christians to learn and talk about race/racism. As we do this work, I encourage you to educate yourself by seeking out resources (books, podcasts, articles) by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). The resources below are a starting point. Moving forward, share what you’ve learned with other white people, push through the discomfort to engage in courageous conversations in your circles.

Books:

·  I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

·  How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

·  When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

·  Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

·  Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric      Dyson

·  So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

·  Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris

Podcasts:

·  All My Relations hosted by two Native women, Matika Wilbur and Adrienne Keene

·  Latinos Who Lunch discuss issues related to the intersectionality between queer, Latinx, and Spanglish voices hosted by FavyFav and Bavelito

·  Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories hosted by Cathy Erway tackles today’s tough questions about identity, cultural change, and nationhood.

·  The Stoop highlights Blackness by digging deeper into stories we don’t hear enough about by Leila Day and Hana Baba

Webinar:

·  COVID-19: Pre-existing Disparities Exposed presented by Church & Society of the UMC

·  A free 5 week series on Thursdays from May 21 to June 18 from 2:00-3:15pm

·  To learn more and sign up please click here.

What are You Spreading?

When life gets turned upside down, choices are made.  Some withdraw in fear and hide.  Others step forward in courage to lift up those around them.

A calling ministry, with over 55 servant volunteers, stepped forward to connect with our church family.  One of them expressed:  “I was blessed to be part of the call team. Even though it was at times uncomfortable calling people I did not know, I am a caregiver by nature and I was glad to be able to do something to feel like I was helping while maintaining physical distance.”

Another caller wrote this, entitled “A Greater Purpose”:

God so loves us through it all, regardless of the day.

From soaring highs to troubled times, He always shows the way.

God has taught us what to do, to be His hands and feet.

Especially in uncertain times to everyone we meet.

And now today, in scary times, when viruses abound,

A call, a card to those in need, we’re friends that others found.

Groceries, games, and household goods appear as simple gifts.

But when another has the need it’s just the perfect lift!

Time that’s spent in listening too, can calm a troubled heart.

Imagine what can happen when we each will do our part!

By spreading love to others, we can follow as we’re led

And learn from God’s own teaching from the thousands that He fed.

We must remember why we’re here, and focus on the goal:

To carry out God’s mission that will imprint on our soul.

I, for one, stand amazed at how Hyde Park Community UMC has stepped forward to respond to needs in our community.  You have shared God’s love in significant ways!  This weekend we will gather online for a Celebration of God’s Love.  We hope to connect with you at 9:30 or 11:00 a.m. on Sunday (www.hydeparkchurch.org or our Facebook page.)

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns

A Message from Pastor Dave

As a congregation over the last two months we have had to practice social distancing for our own health and safety, and for others. This has meant we have not been able to gather in fellowship or sit side by side as a community of faith. I praise God for the way you have embraced online worship and the ongoing support of the mission and ministry of HPCUMC.   We are the Body of Christ!

There are two sacraments we practice in the United Methodist Church. They are Baptism and Holy Communion (Lord’s Supper, Eucharist). As a community of faith, through these sacraments, we experience the mystery of God’s grace in its fullest form. We are connected through the power of the Holy Spirit in these sacred moments in worship.  We are the Body of Christ!

Because of the COVID-19 virus we have not had the opportunity to gather in worship to celebrate holy communion as a congregation. Bishop Palmer knows the importance of the rich ritual tradition of the church in sharing this communal meal. Therefore, under this extreme situation, he is giving pastors the authority to consecrate the elements, thus extending the table from the sanctuary worship space into our homes.

The Lord’s Supper reminds us that Jesus Christ is the host and that we participate in Christ’s invitation. We are invited to the table as participates in remembering Jesus ate with his disciples the night before his crucifixion. He broke bread and shared the cup at the table. The bread reminds of us his broken body and the juice reminds us of his shed blood.

In communion God’s mercy, love, and grace is being poured out. We experience his holy presence and the assurance of pardon and forgiveness. When we gather at this table we are “remembering” him, and all those who have gone before us. At the same time, through the Holy Spirit, we are also “re-membered,” or being made whole again individually and communally.   We are the Body of Christ!

This Sunday I also look forward to bringing the final message of our “It Is Well” sermon series. The focus will be on “Wisdom.”

See you soon, live and online!

Blessings,

Pastor Dave

A Letter from Pastors Doug and Cathy

Dear Hyde Park Community and Warehouse Brothers and Sisters:

Greetings in the name of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ!  We pray that this finds you well and safe as you journey through this time of uncertainty.  The mission and ministry of HPCUMC/Warehouse strives to deepen relationships with God and one another.  From our weekly worship together , to the offering of daily devotions; from Children, Youth, and Adult ministries to our Outreach and Mission, we strive to be God’s light, hope and love in a world so easily given over to fear and despair.

All that we do is possible because of your financial investment in the mission and ministry of HPCUMC/Warehouse.  Because you financially support HPCUMC/Warehouse you embody the words of Jesus: “You are the light of the world . . . the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-14)  Thank you!  We write to provide an update on our financial position, financial plans for the coming months, and offer encouragement as you invest in the mission and ministry of HPCUMC/Warehouse.

Current Status: We ended the first quarter of 2020 in a solid position; although revenue is considerably down compared to our 2020 financial plan, our expenses have been down as well.  Consequently, we ended the 1st quarter in a positive position.  However, as the finance team projects revenue (based on the first quarter) we project we will end the year with a $106,000 deficit.

The Finance Team of the Servant Leadership Board has implemented a “spending freeze” for all non-essentials. In addition, we have applied for the “Payroll Protection Program” grant, which is a part of the legislation Congress passed earlier this month.  If we are approved, we will be able to avoid furloughing staff.  The Finance Team is reviewing our budget to identify other areas to reduce expenses.

Your continued Investment is critical . . . If you have made a financial commitment and are up to date on the commitment, or if you give regularly and have maintained your level of giving to date, thank you. If you have made a financial commitment, or give regularly but find you have not yet financially supported HPCUMC, The Warehouse in 2020, or are behind in your commitment, we encourage you to make support of HPCUMC, The Warehouse a priority.  If you can give above and beyond your commitment and/or planned giving your second mile giving will go a long way in ensuring God’s light and love are shared through HPCUMC/Warehouse throughout 2020.  We encourage you to give in one the following ways:  1. Mail your check to the church, or 2. Go to our website and give on line.

Thank you for your faithfulness in these uncertain days.  It is a privilege to serve in ministry with you!  May our God of resurrection, bless you abundantly with resurrection living!

Though Christ,

Pastor Doug