What Would Your Totem Pole Say?

The first week of August, Pastor Doug and I enjoyed a continuing education class at the University of British Columbia.  While we were on the campus we visited the Museum of Anthropology.  Beautiful totem poles were part of the museum that is devoted to honoring the first nations of the Pacific Northwest.

Totem poles are normally made of red cedar which are abundant in supply in the Pacific Northwest.  They would be placed visibly within a community.  Totem poles do not necessarily “speak,” telling a story, but they do serve to document the history and stories that are familiar to people from the family or members of the clan.

Symbolic forms, human, animal, or supernatural, adorn the totem poles. They show kinship, functioning as a type of family crest.

The thunderbird for example, would be a part of the Kwakwakawakw families of northern Vancouver, members of the Thunderbird Clan.  Killer whales, frogs, eagles, and beavers are common. Totem poles also honor specific events or significant individuals.

Sometimes we forget that our lives “tell a story.”  A totem pole communicates to others what is important.  As Christians who follow Jesus the Christ, we have the opportunity to be bearers of the gospel story. May our words and actions reflect the heart of Christ, the Lord of love who came to transform the world with life-giving love.

Please welcome Rev. Don Dixon, former pastor at Hyde Park Community United Methodist, as he preaches the message of God’s love and grace.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns

A Disciple-Making Church

The mission of the United Methodist Church is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Every local church in their own context is to be making, maturing and multiplying disciples. A church is always advancing the mission of Jesus Christ in transforming lives and communities.

So what is a disciple? A very simple dictionary definition describes a disciple as “a pupil or follower of a teacher.”  A Christian disciple is a follower of Jesus. We are not only to learn His teachings, but we are to live His teachings. Christian disciples are in the process of becoming more Christ-like. And Christ commissioned us “to make other disciples.”

When you joined Hyde Park Community UMC you took membership vows to give of your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Did you ever think of these as your “vows of discipleship?” Being a church member and part of this faith community is wonderful! Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is even better!

As the Pastor of Discipleship here at Hyde Park Community I challenge you to renew these “vows of discipleship.” As we continue to mature as disciples, we multiply and grow the church. This is our mission. Maybe Christ is calling you into the deeper waters of your baptismal vows of being a disciple.

Jesus said, “Follow me, I will make you fishers of people.” How will you respond to His calling?

As the church, let us continue on our journey of discipleship!

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Dave

God’s Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Psalm 136 is a Psalm of gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is life transforming, and moves us to proclaim with the Psalmist: “God’s steadfast love endures forever!” Consequently with a grateful heart I take this opportunity to say thank you for your acts of gratitude through your financial support of the mission and ministry of Hyde Park Community/Over The Rhine Community United Methodist Church. Through your generosity “God’s steadfast love endures forever!”  Because of your generosity, hospitality has been extended, and lives have been transformed . . .

Our Community Easter Egg Hunt offered an opportunity for our neighbors to experience the unconditional love of Hyde Park Community. 

Over 350 children, youth and adults experienced an amazing VBS: “Shipwrecked”.  The Church was transformed into God’s Island of love and acceptance.  Over the course of 5 days participants and volunteers experienced the transforming love of God. The children raised over $1,000 to supply the Faith Academy, Haiti, library with books.

20 adults participated in a Mission Trip to Haiti. The mission had a dual focus: 1). A Medical Mission – 5 doctors saw over 1,000 adults and children, and 2). Over 3,000 prescriptions were filled.

The annual Youth Mission Team traveled to Rural Mission, Johns Island, S.C.  Working in the rural areas of the Sea Islands of Charleston, our youth and adults extended love, care and support through home repair and renovations.

The Martz Scholarship Fund awarded 26 HPCUMC college students financial assistance (6 of the 26 are incoming freshmen).  The total awarded for the 2018-2019 school year is $78,500.

S.A.M. (Senior Adult Ministry) provided programing through First Friday Nighters and Thursday Edition.

Weekly worship connects God with God’s people, where we find renewal and strength through a fresh anointing of God’s spirit.

The fruit of your generosity is abundant, and “God’s steadfast love endures forever!” It’s a privilege to serve in ministry with you.  May God’s blessings abound as you choose a life of gratitude.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Update on Town Hall Meetings/ Master Plan

Nearly 150 people have attended Town Hall meetings in June and July to hear about the exciting report of the Building Committee. The group, chaired by Paul Lisi, has worked for nearly two years to formulate Phase 1 of the Master Plan. We are thankful for their creative vision which respects the integrity of our historical building while opening fresh spaces to welcome all in Christ’s name. The Master Plan is the long-range view that aligns our physical space so that we can fulfill our mission:  to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The Ohio River Valley District has enthusiastically endorsed this plan and given Hyde Park Community United Methodist permission to hold a Church Conference in September.  Each member has voice and vote.   

Next steps for moving forward:

Continue to pray for God to guide us as we seek to be faithful servants of Christ

August 26, 12:15 p.m. Final Town Hall Meeting prior to Church Conference.  All are welcome to come to the Little Theater to hear this exciting presentation.

September 16 Church Conference to vote on moving forward with a capital campaign for Phase 1 of the Master Plan.

First Quarter 2019  Capital Campaign begins (pending affirmation on September 16, 2018)

May God continue to fill us with vision, courage, and great joy as we seek to continue to faithfully serve our community with excellence, welcoming all in Christ’s name.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy Johns

Johns Island Mission Trip

“The passing over the coming back is the greatest spiritual adventure of our time.” John S. Dunne

A small, but mighty team left their Homeland to pass over to the wonderland of Johns Island, South Carolina in the middle of June. They were commissioned to serve alongside Rural Mission as they continued Kingdom work in the Sea Islands. While many people visit this area for vacation, there is a rich history with a diverse group of people. With the boom in the economy due to tourism, many are unable to keep up with the rise of prices of living costs and find themselves in need of assistance. Rural Mission has been active in the community since the 1960’s providing support and relief to their island neighbors.

The team was able to not only serve in the community, but support Rural Mission as well with a variety of work projects. One group helped with laying flooring and finishing up drywall for dorms on the grounds in order for more people to visit Rural Mission and serve. Other projects included installing a handrail outside a home so the neighbor can go up and down the stairs himself rather than being carried; building benches, and doing finishing touches on a roof for homeowners of the Johns Island community.

Work was only part of the trip. The team also spent plenty of time getting to know each other through team building activities and games. This very shy group transformed by the end of the week and laughter and conversation could be heard regularly. The teaching focus for the week was on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as a way to deepen their relationship and understanding of God. The group reflected on the Kingdom of God in their work, study, and play in the Wonderland.

The team came back to their Newfoundland in Cincinnati ready to continue with the momentum they had in building their relationship with God, each other, and serving in their community.

Peace,

Pastor Kate

Bishop Palmer Invites you into Conversation

In May of this year, the Council of Bishops voted on a recommendation from the Commission on the Way Forward re: United Methodism and human sexuality.  The Council of Bishops voted to recommend “The One Church Plan” to the special session of General Conference to be held in February, 2019 (to review the Council of Bishops decision, and read details of The One Church Plan, as well as the other two plans that were considered go to: umnews.org/en/news/bishops-propose-pl).

In an effort to communicate the decision/recommendation of the Council of Bishops to the West Ohio Conference, Bishop Palmer is going to travel across the Conference holding a series of gatherings, “I Believe in the Church”.  There will be two events in our District, Groesbeck UMC on September 5th; and Milford First UMC on September 25th. You are welcome to attend any event in the Conference, but participants are asked to register. To register, please go to the Conference website: westohioumc.org. At the top of the page there is a banner that scrolls various events. Click on the left or right arrow on the banner until you get to the “I Believe in the Church” and click. This will take you to the list of venues, click on the venue you wish to attend and follow the instructions.

This is your opportunity to hear from our Bishop, and the Bishop’s opportunity to hear from you.  There will be a lot of information from numerous sources leading up to the special session of General Conference, some reliable and some that are not.  Join your pastors at one of the evenings Bishop Palmer is in our District, and hear directly from one who was instrumental in the workings of both the Commission on the Way Forward and the workings of the Council of Bishops.

It is a privilege to serve in ministry with you; my door is always open for discussion.  Join your Pastors in prayer as we seek to be faithful to God’s calling, as a denomination, as a local church and as individual members of the body of Christ.  May God’s blessings abound as we place ourselves at the center of God’s will!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

The Psalms: How to Handle my Anger

Anger is a normal feeling. We all get angry at times. And everyone deals with anger a little differently. A simple definition is, “the strong human emotion that you feel when you think that someone (a person, a group, an organization or institution) has behaved in an unfair, cruel, or unacceptable way towards you or others. In many cases we feel we have been hurt by others words, actions or both. Anger is our response to this hurt. There is emotional, spiritual and physical consequences to our anger, if not handled properly.

Anger has been around from the beginning of time. However, it seems to me there is so much more anger today! Family anger! Workplace anger! Road rage anger! Social media anger! Racial anger! Political anger! Sad to say at times, there is even anger in the institutional church!

How can we get a handle on it?

I honestly confess, there are times I have been angry at someone or something that deeply concerns me. I usually do fairly well with channeling my anger. Other times it is “not pretty at all” and I need to seek forgiveness. We’ve all been there at one time or another. You may even be there right now.

I wonder what God thinks about all this uncontrolled anger and angst in our world today? Are we part of the problem or part of the solution to this problem? There is plenty of scripture that encourages us to deal with our anger. And as Christians, just maybe, we can find healthier ways to process our anger.

“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret, it leads only to evil.” Psalm 37: 8

Please join me in worship this week as I will be speaking to and preaching on this topic. It’s my hope you will take with you a better understanding of anger and “how better to handle it.”

Blessings,

Pastor Dave Weaver

Do You Have Joy Like A Fountain?

One of my favorite songs when I was a child was “Peace like a River.”  It was fun to sing the verses with the motions…”.I’ve got’:

Peace like a river (waves)

Joy like a Fountain (hands up like a fountain)

Love like an Ocean (arms make a big circle)

I once heard a speaker describe the first three fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, and peace – as the “big three.”  If you possess them, the speaker shared you can make it through anything.

When you meet someone who possesses true joy, you discover a powerful truth:  Joy allows us to rise above our circumstances.

There is a simple reason for this:  Joy that comes from God is constant and does not depend on what happens in our daily lives.  Someone put it well who said:

Joy is not the absence of suffering but the presence of God.

May God richly bless you today as you hold the hand of God, a God whose love for you will never end!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Over-the-Rhine Community United Methodist Church

Effective June 30th,  Rev. Ian and Kelly Strickland will step away from ministry at Over The Rhine Community United Methodist Church, our downtown location.  For over 3 years Ian has worked to build a faith community that values: Justice, Equity, Creativity, and Connection.  We celebrate the many ways Ian has been a vital partner with God in God’s acts of new creation in Over The Rhine.  As Ian and Kelly close this chapter in their lives and begin a new one, we pray God’s blessings upon them.

What are the next steps?  Pastor Cathy and I have been in conversation with our District Superintendent, Todd Anderson, and the West Ohio Conference New Church Start Director, Brad Aycock, about the criteria for a successor to Ian.  In the coming weeks there will be conversations with the OTRCC leadership, The Personnel Team, and The Servant Leadership Board identifying current and future needs in a pastor, and ultimately receiving the Pastor the Bishop appoints. Throughout the process, taking the time necessary to get the right person will be a priority.

This past week, the District Superintendent sent a document to the leadership of OTRCC to complete and return to the district office.  The document (called a Profile) allows the leadership to provide input into the type of clergy leadership the church needs, at this point in time, and moving forward.  Once the “profile” is received the District Superintendent will schedule a time to meet with the Leadership of OTRCC and the Personnel Team of The Servant Leadership Board, to discuss further the churches needs.  Subsequently, the District Superintendent, Cathy, and I will discuss individuals that fit the profile and identify the right person for the appointment.  This will be followed by the District Superintendent making a recommendation to the Bishop and Cabinet, at which time the Bishop will make the appointment.

Your prayers for wisdom and clarity are welcomed as the multiple conversations progress, and a decision is made.  OTRCC is an amazing presence of God’s love in Over The Rhine, may God find us faithful as we move into the future!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

The “Don’t Pee on my Church” Sign

Rev. Lou Seipel, once served Board Street United Methodist, an inner-city church in Columbus, Ohio.  They serve 25,000 meals to people without housing, offer a Freedom School to at-risk children, and provide legal assistance and ministry to single women struggling with mental health and recovery issues.

Pastor Lou shared that in a shielded corner of the parking lot, people would sometimes relieve themselves, using the church parking lot as a bathroom.  On a hot day in August she stepped across “the stream” and came inside to a Trustees meeting.  She told the Trustees, “I wish I had a sign that said, “Don’t Pee on my Church!”

One of the Trustees took her seriously and posted a sign on the building:

“Don’t Pee on my Church” including her name, “Pastor Lou.”

She was mortified.  She saw her own sin before her in print, realizing that her mouth had the power to make a sacred space unwelcoming through her words.  She realized that if the poor had a bathroom, they would have used it.  She told the Trustees to take down the sign immediately.

Hospitality to all of God’s children is what makes my heart sing!  It means taking inventory of how we “do Church,” always looking for more ways to eliminate barriers and embrace all as sisters and brothers in Christian love.

May God’s Spirit move among us as we strive to welcome all in the name of Christ.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy