The Funny Thing about Love

Kim Caasali, a New Zealand native, was a cartoonist who wrote love notes to her future husband in the late sixties.  Her cartoons shed light on what love is all about.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Love is…having your picnic indoors on a rainy day

Love is…accepting that no one is perfect

Love is…someone to get goofy with

Love is…putting some money in his pocket when he’s tapped out

Love is…what overcomes everything

This Sunday, Pastor Sherman Bradley, of our second campus, The Warehouse, will bring a powerful message about what it means to Love God and neighbor.  Sherman is the founder of Consider the Poor, has rich experience in working with people in Over-The-Rhine, including leadership roles with City Gospel Mission.

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church has partnered with Sherman and Sadell Bradley, our new pastors in Over-The-Rhine, to launch a new multi-ethnic, multi-socio-economic, diverse faith community to reach new people for Christ.  Renovations are currently underway and they hope to have a “soft launch” for worship at “The Warehouse” in late November.  The official public launch is scheduled for Easter 2020.

Your prayers and support of the birthing of this new faith community are appreciated.  We are delighted to see how God will move to transform lives through the Bradleys and this fresh expression of faith through The Warehouse.  Please extend a warm welcome to Sherman as he brings God’s Word to us this weekend.   


Pastor Cathy

Are We Able?

When Jesus was confronted and questioned by the religious elite about which law/commandment was the greatest (there were about 897 individual laws at that point) Jesus proclaims that the entirety of the law is summed up in two, “to love God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your whole mind (Mark adds strength); and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus proclaims in the “sermon on the mount”: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17)

The Christ comes to fulfill the law: Love God and love those God loves.  In doing so Christ invites us to follow.  Are we able?  In answering the question one 20th Century theologian invites us to consider, “Remember, as soon as your ‘love’ needs or wants a reward in return, you have backed away from Divine Love, which is why even our common notion of a ‘reward in heaven’ can keep us from the actual love of God or neighbor!  A pure act of love is its own reward, and needs nothing in return.  Love is shown precisely in an eagerness to love.”

Let’s do it!  Let us answer the call to follow Jesus in this way of love. Let us embrace a love for “the other” that reflects how we have been loved by Christ.  Let us embrace a love for our enemies, and those who persecute us, that reflects the unmerited, undeserving love of God.  As we embrace our own belovedness, let us embrace all God has created and calls beloved!  To this end we are in this together; it is a privilege to serve in ministry with you, see you in church.

Through Christ,

Pastors Cathy and Doug Johns

All Saints Day

This Sunday, November 3, we will observe All Saints Day by remembering those of our Hyde Park Church family who have entered eternal life during the past year. The reading of the roll of the departed will be included in the Sacrament of Holy Communion in all three worship services:

At 8:00 am and 11:00 am:  New sermon series: “ Let’s Do It” begins.

This new sermon series examines the Great Commandment found in Mark 12:28-30 that invites us to Love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

9:30:  Fauré Requiem with Cathedral Choir and  13-piece orchestra.

The 9:30 am worship liturgy is interlaced with the presentation of the contemplative Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, sung by the Cathedral Choir and soloists, with chamber orchestra and organ. Among the most revered works in choral literature, the Fauré Requiem in its final form was first performed in Paris in 1893. The sheer  beauty of the music ignores any passage of time and, combined with our worship, will lift our hearts as we celebrate the lives of the faithful departed.

I am looking forward to sharing The Lord’s Day with you,

Pastor Cathy Johns

Members and Friends of Hyde Park Community:

Peter writes in his first Epistle: “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you have received.” (1 Peter 4:10) We celebrate how God has been at work through the ministry and mission of Hyde Park Community this past year.  We look forward to 2020 with expectation as we embrace “the manifold grace of God,” and “serve one another with whatever gift each of us have received.”

We invite you to prayerfully consider how you will support the mission and ministry of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church in 2020. Through your commitment we move closer to fulfilling our mission and vision, and in doing so express our gratitude for the “manifold grace of God”.

There are three ways to make your 2020 commitment: Through your REALM account (online); in Worship, Commitment Sunday, October 27; or Mail/drop off your commitment card at the Church office.

We encourage you to join us in committing the “tithe” (10% of your income) in 2020.  If you are unable to commit to tithing, we encourage you to take a percentage step towards a tithe.  If you presently give 2% of your annual income, take a step forward and give 3 or 4%.  We pray with you for God’s guidance as you make your decision to invest in the ministry of Jesus Christ at HPCUMC.

Through Christ,

Pastors Cathy and Doug Johns

Our Invitation

In 1927 the following became the invitation and mission of HPCUMC: “To all who mourn and need comfort – To all who are tired and need rest – To all who are friendless and want  friendship – To all who are lonely and want companionship – To all who are homeless and want sheltering love – To all who pray, and to all who do not, but ought – To all who sin and need a Saviour and to who – so – ever will, this church opens wide its doors, and in the name of Jesus, our Lord, bids WELCOME!”  As a vibrant faith community in 2019 our “Invitation” remains the same and our mission reframed, “To share the love of Jesus to transform Lives, Cincinnati and the World.”

We are grateful for your generosity over this past year that has allowed our ministries at HPC to flourish.  Because you gave:

  The Senior Adult Ministry offered: “Walking with Paul” a Health and Wellness program; and a Blood Drive resulting in 114 potential lives saved.

  Partnering with MEAC (Madisonville Education and Assistance Center), over 901 unduplicated households were served across all MEAC programs; and 163 households in crisis were served with Emergency Financial Assistance.

  HPC partnering with IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network) provided 1,820 bed nights and 5,460 meals over the course of a year.

  Summer Impact connected 154 people (13 different groups, from3 different states) in ministry, offering the light of Christ to the most vulnerable.

  We partnered with the Summer Reading Camp and Wesley Chapel Mission Center to improve and enhance the reading abilities of at-risk children in OTR.  The class average is 281% improvement in sounding out words, 15% in reading words and 44% in oral reading fluency. This is in contrast to the 10% summer learning loss for children in under-resourced neighborhoods.

  Our Preschool maintains the highest ranking in the State of Ohio (5 star), with over 97 children participating in the Summer Camp.

  Our Adult Discipleship Ministry, through 5 Sunday morning classes, 4 midweek classes, 10 Bi-weekly Connect Groups and 2 retreats, deepened the relationships of 2,442 lives with God and one another.

  237 children lead by over 100 volunteers learned about and embraced God’s Unfailing Love through Vacation Bible School: “ROAR”.

  The Organ Concert Series begins its Sixteenth season hosting internationally acclaimed concert artists.

  Inspiring worship is offered weekly through music and the spoken word.

We look forward to what God will do through HPCUMC in 2020 as we “bid Welcome” to all God calls beloved, transforming lives, Cincinnati, and the world!

Through Christ,

Pastors Cathy and Doug

Turtles on the Beach

This week I participated in a spiritual retreat in North Carolina.  The daily rhythm of worship, teaching, silent reflection, and sharing in community are life-giving to my body, mind, and spirit. Nearly each day I was able to walk the beach, sometimes alone and sometimes with a trusted soul-friend.

Earlier this week Jan pointed out something that I had missed. There was a protective fence, stakes and red tape, set up right in the sand, around a deep hole.   It was to protect turtle eggs buried on the beach.

Healthy churches practice the building of hedges or fences around the vulnerable, creating a safe space where those at risk can thrive.  I am thankful today for every Interfaith Hospitality Servant, Stephen minister, children, youth, or adult leader who creates a safe place where members of the community can feel safe. Thank you, Hyde Park Community United Methodist, for your commitment to be a place that protects the vulnerable so life can thrive.

In Christ’s Joy,

Pastor Cathy

Hyde Park Community Task Force on a Way Forward

The Task Force on a Way Forward has been hard at work listening to, and soliciting individual thoughts, hopes and dreams of the congregation.  On October 3, the Task Force met to work on a recommendation to the October 14th Servant Leadership Board meeting.  Thank you for your participation in this process.  In addition to the listening sessions, and the congregational survey, Hyde Park community sent a delegation of 3 people (Al Painter, Servant Leadership Board Chair, Pastor Cathy Johns, and Pastor Doug Johns) to the Leadership Institute 2019, hosted by The Rev. Adam Hamilton, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leewood, Kansas.

Over 2,500 United Methodist, from across the USA gathered to worship together, hear proposals forwarded to the 2020 General Conference and had dialogue with the “United Methodist Next” leadership with regard to plans leading up to, and beyond the 2020 General Conference.  Over the course of 3 days, 4 major proposals going to General Conference were discussed:  The UMC Next Plan; The Indianapolis Plan; The Connectional Table Plan; and the N.E.W. Plan (Details of each plan can be found at  Speakers included: The Rev. Adam Hamilton, author and columnist David Brooks, and a number of U.M. Bishops.  There was a panel of clergy and laity who presented historical and cultural pressure points the United Methodist Church has faced and overcome: Pre and Post Slavery, The Civil Rights era, the Ordination of Women and Women in leadership.

The Conference helped to bring clarity for the 2,500 attendees (including this Pastor) regarding a healthy, vibrant, and vital path forward as the church (both the UMC and HPC) strives to be faithful to God’s call to partner with God in God’s acts of New Creation and Resurrection Living. I invite, and encourage, you to go to , click on “Leadership Institute 2019” and listen to Adam Hamilton’s opening remarks (Wednesday evening), and David Brooks (Thursday afternoon).

As we strive to chart a path forward that is welcoming, inclusive, and diverse I invite you to pray for wisdom as we strive to mirror to the world God’s love; loving as we have been loved. As we live into God’s preferred future, additional resources available to you can be found at the following:  May God’s blessings abound as we participate in bringing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug


Lessons about Leadership from Walking Dogs

This summer I became reacquainted with one of my favorite tasks:  training a puppy.  Caspian, our yellow lab rescue puppy joined our family on April 1.  He was named after C.S. Lewis’ fictional prince in the Chronicles of Narnia.  Every prince needs a princess so when our Golden Retriever female puppy joined our family in late August, we named her Zara.  It means “princess” in Hebrew.

Training puppies is a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun!  It is a joy to see them learn new things each day.  They can both sit, stay, shake my hand, come, lay down, and know what to do when I say “treats for good dogs.”  They run as quickly as they can toward me, anxious to receive a small piece of a dog biscuit, a reward for their good behavior.

One thing that is a little tricky is encouraging a new puppy to walk on a leash.  If the puppy does not want to move forward, it simply sits down and looks at you.  What follows is the awkward moment of a stare down.  The puppy looks at you as if to say, “Not happening.  I am not moving.”  At this point you have a few choices:  go and pick up the dog, pull the dog, or encourage the dog to walk where you would like them to go.

The third option is best for dogs and amazingly enough for people.  Most people generally do not like to be picked up or pulled! Henry and Richard Blackaby offer this great definition of spiritual leadership:  “moving people on to God’s agenda.”  They add that the spiritual leaders task is to “move people from where they are to where God wants them to be.”

God may be calling you to a role of servant leadership.  Our Servant Leadership Board has three openings for persons who are highly committed to Hyde Park Community UMC and feel called to the role of servant leader.  It is a three-year commitment.  Applications and criteria for the Servant Leadership Board are available at the Welcome Center and in the church office.  Please submit your application by October 15.

May God richly bless you as you lead those around you, moving people to God’s agenda as you shine brightly for Christ.


Pastor Cathy Johns

HVAC Pipe Replacement to Begin in Refectory

Hyde Park Community is a beautiful, awe inspiring, and historic facility through which ministry extends into the community, our city, nation and world.  Caring for our facilities, The Property Team, of the Servant Leadership Board, has contracted with Peck Hannaford + Briggs to replace the HVAC pipes in the refectory (Phase 1 of 3); and Central Insulation Systems, Inc. (CIS, to abate the asbestos that lies in the pathway of the pipe work.

CIS will begin the asbestos abatement on October 1, with an anticipated completion date of October 25.  During this time the Refectory will be closed to the public.  For a building the age of HPC, asbestos abatement is common and safe.

CIS will work on the abatement Monday – Friday, Noon – 8: 30pm, in compliance with all EPA regulations. All ministries and programs will continue, with alternatives/adjustments for those who use the refectory.  In addition, as a second layer of safety, the Property Team is in the process of securing a bid from Sierra Environment Group to have oversight of, and test weekly, the air quality surrounding the refectory.

Upon the completion of the asbestos abatement Peck Hannaford + Briggs will begin the HVAC pipe replacement.  The pipe replacement is expected to take three weeks with an anticipated completion date of November 15.  During this phase of the work the Refectory will be closed to the public.  In addition Peck, Hannaford + Briggs will create 4 zones, installing controls that will allow us to adjust temperature in one zone without effecting another.   

As we begin this work we appreciate your patience and understanding as it relates to the inaccessibility of the refectory.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  May God’s blessings abound as HPCUMC continues to be a transforming presence in our community, nation, and world.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Property Team Projects Update

Hyde Park Community is a beautiful, awe inspiring, and historic facility through which ministry extends into the community, our city, nation and world.  As is the case with all “old homes”, there are maintenance items that can no longer be deferred, and must be addressed.

The Property Team, of the Servant Leadership Board, has been hard at work seeking to address two major projects this year, and we are on the verge of commencing work on both:

1.   Cleaning, repair, and sealing of the exterior stone.  We are in the final stages of reviewing bids from Hart Restoration and Hummel Restoration.

2.  Replacement of the HVAC pipes.  Over the last couple of years, we have been having issues with pipes breaking every time we switched from air conditioning to heat and from heat to air conditioning.  The time has come to replace the HVAC pipes throughout our facilities.  Phase one of this project will be the 1927 portion of the building.  However, prior to the start of the project we will need to remediate asbestos.  We are in the final stages of reviewing the preferred bid from CSI (asbestos abatement), and Peck Hannaford + Briggs for phase one of the pipe replacement.   

Additional projects that will need to be completed in the next 2-3 years include:

1.  Sanctuary Stain Glass Windows.  We have recently been made aware of  two issues with the stain glass in the sanctuary:  the original mortar glaze/caulking is beginning to crack and fall out.  In addition, some of the windows are exhibiting buckling/warping.  We are in the process of firming up quotes from Stain Glass Restoration companies.

2.   HVAC Pipe Replacement, Phase 2 and 3.  The remaining pipes outside of the scope of Phase 1 will be replaced.

This past July we communicated to the congregation the above needs, asking for your financial assistance.  As of September 4th, we have raised $120,069 for the Property Team projects.  Thank You!  Your support of these projects guarantees the viability of Hyde Park Community’s mission and ministry.  If you have been planning to help support this need, we look forward to hearing from you.  If you have yet to make the decision to help, I welcome the opportunity to have conversation with you and answer your questions.  All checks/envelopes need to be clearly marked: Property Team Projects.  It is a privilege to be in ministry with you!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug