Shalom XX Coalition Habitat House Update

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church has been involved with the Shalom Coalition Habitat for Humanity since its inception over 19 years ago. This year the Shalom Coalition plans to build the 20th home. In celebration of Shalom XX, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church has committed $25,000.

The Community Ministry and Global Outreach team budgeted $5,000, and the challenge to the congregation was to raise an additional $20,000 from May 24 to June 14. The total cost to build Shalom XX is $90,000.

To date, we have raised $14,300! Thank you for your generosity as we partner with other churches and individuals to make Shalom XX a reality! You have responded in a powerful way to God’s call to be a transforming presence in our community.

If your intention was to give to Shalom XX, but have not yet done so, it is not too late. Please write your check to HPCUMC, and write in the memo line (and/or on the envelope) Habitat Shalom XX.

Together we make a difference. May God’s blessings abound as we partner with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven! See you in Church!

Love in Christ,
Pastor Doug

Annual Conference Highlights

The West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church held Annual Conference June 7 – 10, on the shores of Lake Erie, Lakeside, Ohio.  Over 1600 Lay and Clergy gathered to worship, approve a budget, hear reports of mission and ministry, and elect delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences (Denominational Conferences held every four years).  As I reflect on our time together, I share with you some of the highlights of this year’s Conference:

Two years ago West Ohio Conference set a goal of 3.5 million dollars for the eradication of Malaria on the continent of Africa (Imagine No Malaria).  At the start of the Conference, West Ohio was short of the goal by a little over $250,000 (includes pledges and cash).  The offering from Tuesday morning worship went to “Imagine No Malaria”, collecting $403,733.

Rev. Dr. Thomas Long, Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, was our teaching pastor, leading us in a refreshing look at the four Gospels.

Bishop Palmer inspired us in worship, under the theme of “Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given”, reminding us we are the Body of Christ, privileged to be a part of God’s redemptive work in the world.

We honored retirees (the retiring class, collectively, had over 700 years of service), ordained, and commissioned clergy.

We Elected 8 Clergy, and 8 Lay representatives to General Conference, and an additional 8 Clergy, and 8 Lay representatives to Jurisdictional Conference.

It was reported that West Ohio Conference led the denomination in Advance Special giving (Missional support given above and beyond apportionment giving), giving $2,568,210 in 2014.

Bishop Palmer read and fixed the appointments of all Clergy.  Cathy, Dave Weaver and I are privileged and honored to return to Hyde Park for another year of ministry.

God continues to refresh, empower, and inspire God’s church.  In God’s grace we partner with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!  See you in Church!

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

When the Wind Blows

There’s nothing quite like a fresh breeze blowing through the trees to refresh your spirit! When I look around I see God’s Spirit has been moving among us:

Beth Viera, a member of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, will be commissioned this year at Annual Conference and will begin serving the Fort Jefferson UMC near Greenville, OH on June 21. Beth was honored at the Ohio River Valley Spring Gathering on May 31. She is pursuing ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church. Beth looks forward to serving Christ in a beautiful setting, bringing pastoral leadership to a congregation of over 100. She is thankful for Hyde Park Community UMC, her home church. Please join us in praying for Beth as she steps forward to serve in her new appointment and and celebrating Beth’s new chapter of ministry!

Vacation Bible School, June 15 – June 19, has already been blessed with a high early registration of children and many wonderful servants who have stepped forward to share the love of Christ with the children in our community.

The Worship Task Force, formed after Vision Weekend 2015, was charged to: “evaluate our current worship opportunities, and then create, design and recommend worship options that reflect our diversity and will engage and inspire.” A diverse team has faithfully served since fall of 2014 and has presented its report and recommendation to the Worship Planning Team and the Servant Leadership Board. It has been approved by the Worship Planning Team, composed of our musicians, pastors, and key laity and received with joy and thanksgiving at the Servant Leadership Board on June 1. The congregation is invited to hear the report and proposal and offer input at two congregational Worship Conversations on:

June 28, Sunday, 12:15 pm in the Little Theater
July 7, Tuesday, 7:00 pm in the Little Theater

We hope to see you this Sunday as we celebrate Holy Communion, honor the class of 2015, and celebrate a God who is our refuge and strength. Please read Psalm 91 to prepare for worship. Have a blessed weekend!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Celebration of Ministry- SueLee Jin

Today, Hyde Park Community UMC will celebrate the ministry of SueLee Jin. SueLee has been an integral part of the life and mission of the church for over five years, most recently serving as the Pastor for Congregational Care and Hospitality. On Sunday mornings, SueLee was always looking for a first time visitor to welcome with warm smile. She has been instrumental in starting our expanding prayer and healing services and activities for first time visitors.

Today is SueLee’s last Sunday at HPCUMC. We will recognize her ministry during worship and celebrate in the Welcome Center between services. There are baskets for you to leave her cards or special love offerings. There is also a large poster for you to add your good wishes and prayers.

We are grateful for all the contributions SueLee has made in our life together in Christ and for all the wonderful relationships she has nurtured in our church community. Our prayers go with her as she listens for God’s call on her ministry.

In Christ,
Rev. Cathy Johns and Rev. Doug Johns

A Case of Mission Drift

It can happen to businesses. It can happen to universities. It can happen to churches. This well-known university has the following mission statement:

“To be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of your life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ.”

After its founding in 1636, the university emphasized the building of moral character and placed a strong emphasis on equipping ministers to share the good news of Christ. Every diploma contained the words: “Christo et Ecclesiae Veritas” meaning “Truth for Christ and the Church.

80 years after its founding, a group of New England pastors felt that Harvard had drifted too far from its original mission. They, with the help of a wealthy philanthropist named Elihu Yale, launched a new college. Yale’s motto was “Lux and Veritas,” (truth and light).

Although their reputations for academic excellence are respected world-wide, neither school reflects the intent of their founders today. At the 350 anniversary of the founding of Harvard, Steven Muller, a former president of John Hopkins University shared these profound words: “The bad news is the university has become godless.” A former president of Harvard admitted, “Things divine have been central neither to my professional nor to my personal life.”

Both schools were clear in their goals: Christian formation and academic excellence. They were both victims of mission drift.

This Sunday we celebrate the third great feast of the Christian year: Pentecost. Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, and Pentecost is all about God’s power blowing life, energy, and mission into the early church.

May God inspire us this Pentecost Sunday to stay true to our mission: to be the Church and step out into the world, carrying the love and light of Christ to everyone!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Anointed Beloved Chosen!

God is never satisfied with the status quo. God is always moving forward, creating and re-creating, anointing and empowering God’s beloved. We are God’s beloved, chosen and blessed! However, too often we are pre-occupied with clinging to the old, and unable to embrace the “Newness” God has to offer. Richard Rohr in his book, Eager to Love, quotes Neale Donald Walsch:

“Yearning for a new way will not produce it. Only ending the old way can do that. You cannot hold onto the old, all the while declaring that you want something new. The old will defy the new; the old will deny the new; the old will decry the new. There is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it. (page Xiii)

As we strive to make our way in life, God’s grace is abundant, God’s mercy is wide and God’s love is unconditional. As we make the journey with Jesus Christ at the center of life, we make room for the new; remembering the words of Paul: we are a new creation! This is something that God alone does; it’s all about God!

When we allow God to do a new thing in us, we experience the majesty of God. Experiencing the majesty of God, life is transformed, and our joy is made complete. This Sunday we start a new sermon series: “It’s All About God”. Let us move beyond “yearning for a new way”, and make room for a new way through a fresh anointing of God’s spirit, experiencing the fullness of God’s majesty.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Even Presidents Have to Listen to their Mothers

When Laura Bush was First Lady she recalled one overnight visit with her husband in the home of his parents, the former President and Mrs. Bush.

“George woke up at 6:00 am as usual and went downstairs to get a cup of coffee,” Laura shared. “And he sat down on the sofa with his parents and put his feet up. And all of a sudden, Barbara Bush yelled, ‘Put your feet down!’
“George’s dad replied, ‘For goodness’ sake, Barbara, he’s the President of the United States.’
“And Barbara said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t want his feet on my table.'”
The president promptly did as he was told, for as Mrs. Bush observed, “Even Presidents have to listen to their mothers.”
(from John McCaslin, The Washington Times “Inside the Beltway” (11-12-03)

This Sunday Rev. Don Dixon, who served here at Hyde Park Community United Methodist for fifteen years, will preach a sermon based on Matthew 25. His message, “God still speaking,” will invite us to open our minds and hearts to what God is doing in and around us today. God is ever-present in our world and invites us to step into what God is already doing. Invite a friend to join you; and mothers, enjoy your special day!

Pastor Cathy

Strength in God

What happens when the bottom drops out of your life? When you experience a great calamity like the loss of your home through a fire or a flood? Or suffer through an unwanted divorce, or worse, the death of a loved one who meant the world to you? What happens when you must undergo lingering, intense personal illness or pain that just won’t go away? Some lose their faith in God when they go through times like these. Others, however, find hope and the strength to endure, often discovering a deeper meaning to life as a result of their strong, deeply spiritual and moral convictions. These brave souls see the proof that God is alive and is compassionate during those terrible times, as God cares for our needs.
All our power and strength comes from God who carries us through all suffering. As Christians we surrender to the strength that God provides and God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. As you read through these scripture passages about strength, be encouraged in that it is not your strength that is needed, but the strength that God willingly supplies. All our strength comes from God.

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” — Exodus 15:2

“God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect.” — 2 Samuel 22:33

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” — Philippians 4:13

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”– Psalms 46:1

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.” — Ephesians 6:10

At times we must wait patiently and remember, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” –Isaiah 40:31. Lastly, allow the Spirit of God to intercede in prayer on our behalf and God will see us through all our suffering.

Like you, I’ve experienced emotional, physical, and at times, spiritual suffering in my life. But through it all God has responded. God’s strength is greater than my strength. It’s my prayer that God’s strength will be your strength. Because He Lives….We live in his victorious power and resurrection strength that gives us hope both now and forever.

In Christ’s Care,
Dave Weaver

With Glad and Generous Hearts

We read in the second chapter of Acts that the followers of “The Way” (followers of Jesus) met daily in the temple, broke bread together, praised God together, and reached out in concern and service to all people with “glad and generous hearts”! As followers of Jesus Christ in the 21st century, are we able to say the same?

This morning Dr. Brian McClaren, prominent Christian theologian, author, speaker and pastor, will preach at the 9:30 and 11:00 am worship services (Sponsored by The Emerson and Jane Colaw Lectureship Endowment Fund). Dr. McClaren will preach on Acts 2:40-47, sermon titled: “We Make the Road by Walking”.

Because Jesus lives, we live with “glad and generous hearts,” and the alleluias of Easter transform life. As the hymn proclaims; ” Because Jesus lives I can face tomorrow; because he lives all fear is gone! ” Join us this Sunday as we continue to celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you!

Sharing a Joy . . . I take this opportunity to share with you a joy, in the form of an update. Last year early June, our chiller went down. Over the past ten months the Property Team has performed the due diligence necessary to install a new chiller.

With joy I can report that the work began April 6. The Property Team reports: “Work is progressing well on the Chiller and Electrical Upgrade infrastructure project. The electrical service/infrastructure upgrades are underway . . . Rooftop work for the new air conditioning condenser units is progressing. Components for the new expandable chiller system and piping upgrades are on-site and are being installed by the contractor.” The work should be completed by the fourth week of May. Although the completion date has the potential to take us into the early days of high temperatures and high humidity, I encourage you to join me in praying for patience as the project is completed!

Thank you for your “glad and generous hearts” that have supported this project with your patience, prayers, and your financial gifts. Thank you to the Property Team and their tireless efforts in moving the project forward to completion.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Bridge over Troubled Water

Visitors to the Grand Canyon all find themselves saying the same thing: “This is really big!” The towering walls of the canyon separated by several miles take our breath away. One of the seven wonders of the world, the canyon is about 227 miles long, 18 miles wide, and is 5,000 miles deep.

Have there been times when you felt separated from God, as if God were standing on one side of the Grand Canyon and miles and miles divided you?

This Sunday’s scripture from Romans 8:31-39 proclaims “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” How is that possible? Human beings are capable of doing awful things to one another! Paul explains that nothing in all creation, not life, not death, not things from the past, not things in the present, not principalities (territories) or powers, nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God through our Risen Christ.

Jesus, who is the Christ, God’s Son, came to us to teach us to love God and one another and to set us free from sin and death. He laid down His very body, to reveal the depth of God’s love for us. Jesus’ body closed the gap that we created between us and God and makes a bridge that unites us with our loving God, who longs to be in an intimate relationship with us.

Simon and Garfunkel released a song in January 1970 that is a timeless classic. The refrain gives us a wonderful picture of theology, a glimpse of God’s relationship with humanity:

“Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”

“Because He Lives,” our new sermon series continues this weekend. Celebrate the joy that we experience because of the relationship we have with God through our Risen Christ. No matter how sad or broken you feel, know that God loves you and will never let you go. Come and walk across the bridge to God. God is waiting and eager to welcome you home.
Joy in our Risen Lord,

Pastor Cathy