Plug in to the Power of Real Community

Celebrating Vital Signs

A church is a living, breathing organism with “vital signs.”  Each congregation has unique “DNA” and is equipped by God to bringing healing, hope, and grace to God’s people.  When you get a physical check-up, nurses and doctors will perform a blood pressure check and ask you to open your mouth and say “ah.”  They are checking for vital signs to evaluate your current health.

As we begin our ministry with you, here are a couple of “vital signs” that Doug and I celebrate in the Body of Christ here:

Laity and staff are strong and committed to excellence.  An eagerness to serve Christ faithfully is evident.  We have frequently heard the words from laity and staff often: “Let me know how I can help.”

The Servant Leadership Board is a diverse group of skilled and committed servants who bring outstanding leadership to the wider community.  On June 21, the Servant Leadership Board gathered together at the parsonage for a morning retreat.  Loving, learning, and leading were components of the day.

Loving God and one another:  We spent time in worship, small group reflection, and prayer, focusing on the words of Jesus to His disciples: “I am the vine and you are the branches.  Those who abide in me, and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Learning:  We discussed the expectations and roles for our senior pastors, prioritizing where the senior pastors should focus their time and energy. The articulated focus was to serve primarily as visionary leaders who preach, teach, lead, and equip the Body of Christ.

Leading:  We had a lively conversation around the strengths of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church and hopes and dreams for the future. We also discussed the need for a new chiller for the sanctuary and approved a plan to move forward to remedy the problem.

This Sunday the series “Plug into the Power of Christian Community” concludes with the message “Real Community.”  It is based on Acts 5:1-11.

As we move forward in ministry, please continue to pray for Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church. Pray for our congregation to welcome all who seek a deeper walk with God.  Pray for the laity, staff, and pastors to listen for God to direct our path so that we can be effective in ministry to those in our community. May God give us all wisdom, courage, and strength to serve our neighbors in a spirit of joy!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

 

Are You Guys Treasure Hunting?

On a beautiful Tuesday evening in May, a small circle of six people gathered and prayer- walked around the church building and the streets in this church neighborhood. Fresh air, sweet fragrance, and spring flowers seemed to rejoice with us as we blessed our neighbors, walked, talked, and enjoyed each other as we rejoiced in the Lord. Our Prayer Walk turned out to be a time of physical well-being, exercise, and friendship/fellowship. It was more than a spiritual practice. It was fun and joyful seeing neighbors’ colorful gardens and to greet some neighbors, who were sitting on their front porches and working in their front yards.

Suddenly, a lady smiled and asked, “Are you guys treasure hunting?” Someone in our group happily replied, “We are prayer walking, praying and blessing our neighbors!”

After a few moments of silence, all of us thought about the neighbor’s greeting to strangers. Her simple words remained in our hearts as it was singing into our souls. It seemed that the Holy Spirit was asking us, “Why are you doing what you are doing?” “Did you know you are not just walking but treasure hunting for My people?” No one said anything at first, but later we all agreed by saying, “That’s right, Yes, indeed! We are treasure hunting for God’s people. Praying for our neighbors is treasure hunting because they are precious treasures in the sight of God. It doesn’t matter whether our neighbors recognize that or not; we simply ask God to open their hearts so they can see the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ in their lives.

That’s what prayer is, developing a relationship with a loving God and with our neighbors and other believers in Christ. It is not an extra chore, but rather it’s a journey to grow and to bless the church families and friends, people in our neighborhood, city, and nation.

Prayer is plugging into the power of the Holy Spirit for renewal, revival, and transformation!

In order to “treasure hunt” more effectively and powerfully, the Congregational Care Prayer ministry team invites our church family to join one of the prayer gatherings we have launched:

If anyone would like to learn more about prayer and to overcome fear in praying with others, meet us in the Little Theater on Sundays at 9:30-10:30 am

We offer different styles of prayer at the Tuesday Evening Prayer Gathering from 6:307:30 pm in the Sanctuary

1st Tuesday —Prayer Walk

2nd Tuesday–Taize (No service in Summer)

3rd Tuesday- Pray with Scriptures and Songs

4th Tuesday-Contemporary Prayer and Praise

5th Tuesday—Contemplative Prayer

 

Other Prayer Groups are open to all through the week.

Sunday Morning Prayer (7:00 am),

Tuesday Morning Intercessory Prayer (9:00 am),

Prayer Shawl (2nd & 4th Tues. 6:30 pm),

Going Deeper (Wed 10:00 am),

Healing prayer (3rd Sunday at 11:00 am),

Inner City Prayer Walk (June 22 at 6:30 pm),

Email prayer Chain (Daily)

Prayer Wall -Welcome Center (Daily)

Please contact Sue Lee at sljin@hpcumc.org, 979-8186 for more information.

 

The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good fruit (Luke 6:45).

Jesus said not to store up earthy treasures, but to seek the real treasure in life, which is the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:19, 13:44).

In Christ,

Rev. Sue Lee Jin

Pastor of Care and Prayer Ministry

 

Plug In to the Power for Strength!

In Alaska there is a true story about a sled dog named Anna. Anna was a dog whose owner was uncertain that she was big enough or strong enough to serve on her team. As the team of dogs ran across the ice and snow they came across a patch of soft ice. Anna fell into the icy water. She was still connected to the team of dogs, putting all of them at risk. The other dogs began to pull and work together. In the middle of the crisis, Anna dug deep inside of her. She was determined not to give up. Eventually, with the help of the other dogs, she pulled her way out of the frozen lake back onto the ice. Anna shook off the icy water and was ready to run again. Her owner recognized the character and strength in Anna. She told her she was “big enough” and promoted her to lead dog.

This week I invite you to consider the times in your life when you need extra strength and power. What do you depend upon to get you through difficult times? When you face challenges at school, home, or work to whom do you turn?

On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came and blessed the community with power, the power of God. As Christians living in the 21st Century, this power is still available to us! God wants to move through us, giving us what we need, so that we can be empowered to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Doug and I thank you for the warm welcome to Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church. We look forward to getting to know you and your loved ones and serving Christ with you in the days ahead. May God richly bless you this week!

Peace,
Pastor Cathy Johns

Plug In to the Power!

Luke tells us in the second chapter of Acts about the day God anointed the disciples and all those gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost: the people were “Amazed and Perplexed”.  To this day, our experience of God’s “Holy Spirit anointing” is both “Amazing and Perplexing”!

Because we live in a world that demands an explanation for everything, we’re perplexed when the outpouring of God’s Spirit moves us in ways that cannot be explained.  Because we live in a culture that teaches individualism, and self-reliance, we’re perplexed when we experience the anointing of the Spirit of our living God that moves us to consider the greater good, and embrace the power of community! And yet we stand amazed!  Amazed at the joy that is ours when we allow ourselves to receive what God has to give.  Amazed at the abundant life we possess when God’s spirit moves in and through us.

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day God anointed God’s people with His Spirit, and the church was born!  Pentecost, a day of new beginnings and fresh starts; a day of empowerment, clarity, and direction; a day when God’s people were equipped with what they needed in order to go the places God was leading.

As we celebrate the day of Pentecost this Sunday, I’m reminded of God’s words in Isaiah: “See, I am doing a newthing! Now it springs up” (Isaiah 43:19a).   God invites us to “Plug Into His Power”!

It is comforting, to me, that on the day of Pentecost, Cathy and I come to Hyde Park.  These are Amazing and Perplexing times, but make no mistake about it, God is “doing a new thing!  Now it springs up”.

Hyde Park Community UMC has an amazing and storied history.  A history filled with persons, in love with God, willing to receive the outpouring of God’s spirit, and move beyond their comfort zone in order to partner with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.  Hyde Park Community UMC has been a community of grace, love and mercy, to the community in which God has placed it; a community amazed by God’s refreshing power!  It’s to this community of faith Cathy and I come, and with joy anticipate making the journey with you.

God has led Hyde Park Community UMC in powerful, and beautiful ways in the past; and God is “doing a new thing; now it springs up” as we move into the future!  Come Holy Spirit come; kindle in us the fire of your love!

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

‘Till We Meet Again

The time has passed by swiftly, since first being approached about coming to Cincinnati to serve you on an interim basis. I must admit I had to warm up to the idea as I had no prior interaction with HPCUMC and my only exposure to Cincinnati had been through limited very brief visits over the years.  Recalling news cycles of rioting in the city a few years back, along with the coded message of “Job’s friends,” being the most northern southern city furthered my apprehension.  It did not take any time to have my fears allayed.  Both Karen and I are eternally grateful for your warm welcome and most gracious hospitality.  You have reaffirmed my strong belief that the blessings in life and some God’s greatest gifts come from unexpected people in unexpected places.  I am indebted to both lay and clergy leadership who over the years have cultivated such warmth and openness. I have enjoyed getting to know you (members and clergy/lay staff alike) and the Greater Cincinnati area.

Know that it has been my high joy and privilege to serve with you over these last four months, and I will forever treasure the opportunity that has been mine. Thank you for allowing me to move beyond my comfort zone, and thank you for moving beyond your comfort zone as well. God is full of wonderful surprises!

Please know that I will hold you and Pastors Cathy and Doug in prayer in your ongoing journey.  I truly believe the ingredients are here to have your best days not in your past, but in your future.  I encourage you to do the following:

Please welcome your new Senior Pastors with the same warmth and welcome you have given me.  In fact do me a favor, andflood them with cards of welcome versus bending their ears with things you may not have liked in the past.

Embrace your past even as you change to claim the future.  Please don’t say, “We tried it, and it didn’t work,” or “we don’t do that here.”

Please forgive any hurts and slights from the past and move on with forgiveness and appreciation for all.

Wrap your hearts around both of your ministry/worship campuses and even their unique contexts.

Communicate!  Communicate!  Communicate!

Love and serve all of God’s people.

Find ways to bring the entire HPCUMC family together.

Keep growing in your inclusion of diversity (worship, music, and people).

Take seriously vows made to uphold the church with prayer, presence, gifts, and services.

Finally, may “God be with you till we meet again.”

-Myron McCoy

Living the Resurrection through Senior Ministry

What DOES the church offer seniors? Probably not enough. Having said THAT, let’s focus on what we do offer: On a social/fellowship level, our THURSDAY EDITION program meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday from 10 a.m. to Noon – Sept through May – decadent donuts, speakers – all both inspiring and fun! FIRST FRIDAY NITERS, a dinner/program evening on the first Friday of each month continues. This group was started over 60 years ago. Ron/Mary Ann Purdon and their crew have kept it afloat; the boat is now taking on water, however, and we are charting new ways in the Fall to do some repair work! Seniors are encouraged to join small/groups and Sunday School classes. The church provides transportation for them on Sunday mornings. An aside: Jim Kern, pushing 101 years, is the only senior who can crawl into the third seat of the church van! Some seniors in retirement homes keep tabs on each other and send updates/reports.

The Parish Visitor coordinates calling – hospitals, nursing homes, private homes and hospice. Pastors and volunteers help with this. We deal with end-of-life issues, funeral planning and grief counseling.

Senior ministry lives and breathes through many of you in this church – young people who care and reach out to individuals, those who quietly follow our chronic nursing home patients and report to the parish visitor. Both men and women make up this group. After a recent Thursday Edition meeting, I reviewed and pondered the following: Dr. Lowell McCoy(95) had eloquently prayed the invocation, George Keil(94) began the benediction with, “Oh Lord, we are so glad we could come to church today and be together.” And, recently at a graveside committal service, Bishop Colaw(92) quoted William Cullen Bryant’s, “Thanatopsis” – the most beautiful lines. Lee Jones(97) remains after Thursday Edition and sends the weekly bulletins to shut-ins and the sick. She includes with each a poem which she has selected and reproduced, and all with a personal hand-written note attached.

This is well known that we all are living longer and getting older – We are thankful that the members of Thursday Edition are getting older; of course, our members church/wide are getting older. We need more of you younger people – you who are in your 60’s and 70’s, you who are just retiring – we need you to stand on the shoulders of our “giants” – we need you to help define what senior ministry will look like l0 years from now! We will always be grateful for the leadership of Dr. McCoy and his support of all groups/levels; as he leaves for his new assignment, we are looking forward to new pastoral leadership with Dr. Cathy and Rev. Doug Johns. Sometime during the summer months, we hope to meet with them and discuss senior ministry. Call my office if you would like to be part of such a group – 979-8196.

In conclusion, Martin Luther’s l6th century hymn, based on Psalm l30 ends with this verse: “ And thus our hope is in the Lord, and not in our own merit; We rest upon his faithful word to them of contrite spirit. That he is merciful and just, Here is our comfort and our trust; His help we wait with patience.” Amen.

Senior Ministry in a Nutshell: We are all thankful, and we praise God for the privilege of growing older!

Marietta Garber

Parish Visitor

Living the Resurrection through Summer Impact

She was a young teenager, awkward, and very obviously out of her comfort zone.  She had signed up to participate in the Summer Impact program because she wanted to make a difference in the world.  But now that she was actually there in the Gathering Place of the Downtown Campus serving lunch to the Over-the-Rhine community, she was anxious.  Her stomach was a bundle of nerves.  She took a deep breath….IMG_5611

He was an older man, grisly, and very obviously at home in the Gathering Place. He had come to eat at the Downtown Campus because he was hungry, and he had heard he might find a good meal.  But now that he was actually there, he found himself sitting alone at a table.  As his hunger pains relented, he once again felt the familiar ache of loneliness.

They exchanged a greeting, unsure but pleasant, and she sat down next to him. She wondered if his small untidy bag of belongings was truly all he owned in the world.

The man looked up from his meal, smiled, and asked her if she ever read the Bible.

Yes,” she said.  “In Youth Group.”  But don’t ask me any questions, she thought.  I don’t know what to say.

He asked a question, “I just read Matthew 20:34, ‘Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.’  What do you make of that?”

She shrugged her shoulders and he laughed, and in that moment, everything changed.  As they launched deep into conversation, she realized she could be comfortable in the Gathering Place.  This was the same kind of conversation she had with her friends.  As he shared his ideas, he realized he had something to give.  Over a simple sandwich and a side of chips, he could offer a lifetime of faith.

SI WidgetSummer Impact at Hyde Park Community UMC is full of moments just like this one.  Through a daily rhythm of study, service and celebration, participants experience new and developing relationships, new and different ways to serve, new and deepening faith.  Since its inception in 2010, Summer Impact has become a launching point for groups and families to serve in Cincinnati and through their experience learn more about serving in their own communities.  Since 2010, our ministry partners have come to rely on the Summer Impact teams.

Click here to learn more about Summer Impact, or contact Sarah Putman, sputman@hpcumc.org or Cindy Ware, cware@hpcumc.org.

 

Living the Resurrection through Children and Family Ministry

SS-010.aDo you ever go down to the Lower Level of HPCUMC on a Sunday morning? If not, I recommend that you spend some time there between 9:15 AM and 10:30 AM. I understand that is the time that some of you are at worship, but I urge you to take a Sunday and spend some time roaming our Children’s SundaySchool before going to the 11 AM service. You will see some chaos, hear laughter, or even see kids fidgeting. One thing you will definitely see is JOY!

In the midst of all our transitions here at HPCUMC, sometimes the JOY of our faith gets lost. As a staff member, it can be frustrating during the week working on administrative tasks instead of “really” being in ministry. Sunday mornings make it all worth it. I truly love coming to the church on Sunday mornings to see our children. You NEVER know what you will hear come out of their mouths or see what they will attempt to do. I’ve heard things like, “I put my dress on for Jesus today,” or “Jesus is coming to my house because I like him,” or (my favorite) when talking about Jesus being left behind in the temple as a boy, “My dad remembers that. He was there.” The wisdom of our children always brings a smile.

Our Children’s Ministry at HPCUMC has such an amazing potential to have a huge impact not only on our own church, but in the community and even the world! We just wrapped up our Lenten Mission Offering Project – a “Quarter Challenge” among the kids. The kids were divided into 3 teams to represent our different Global Ministries: Team Haiti, Team Liberia, and Team Germany/Russia. Over the Sundays of Lent and even on Easter Sunday, our children “competed” against each other to bring in offering for their team – and as a congregation, we should all be proud of the kids. They brought in almost $400 – of their own accord. Our children are learning that they are helping kids in these other lands. I hope that when you see the kids over the next few Sundays that you will take a moment to congratulate them on a job well done.

We have some great things coming up in our Children’s Ministry over the summer. First on our calendar is Vacation Bible School. VBS is a BIG way to reach kids in the church and the community. This year our theme is Workshop of Wonders: Imagine and Build with God. Vacation Bible School is probably our most impactful event for the kids. Every year, parents tell us that they’re still listening to the VBS CD in their car from the previous summer.  If you feel called to serve our children by teaching or leading a station at VBS, please let me know because WE HAVE A PLACE FOR YOU! If, however, you cannot help with preparations or during the week of VBS, please keep an eye on our bulletin board in the hallway by the Welcome Center for items to donate. That’s a HUGE way of serving our kids too!

In addition to VBS we have many other events this summer. If you would like to serve by joining us in any of these events, we welcome you with open arms! Here’s a small list of what will be happening: Tweens Day at the Reds on June 22, Family Movie Night on July 18, Tween Camp at King’s Domain the week of July 20-25, Family Camp during August 1-9, and serving at State Avenue UMC on the fourth Sunday of each month at 11 AM.

In Children’s Ministry, there is never a shortage of places to serve. I pray that you will consider serving the children of HPCUMC. Spend some time with the kids on a Sunday and experience the JOY that you can only get from the kids.

Rebecca Homan, Interim Director of Children and Family Ministry
rhoman@hpcumc.org

 

Living the Resurrection through Student Ministry

I was blessed to see many of the young adults at Hyde Park lead us in worship last Sunday.  Our seniors shared about some of their fears, stress, and even at times spiritual laziness, but they also spoke powerfully about God’s presence in their life, and their assurance that His love and guidance will help them in the chapters ahead.  It makes me smile to know that these young adults believe in God and want to be faithful followers.

According to recent research done by Fuller Theological Seminary, nearly one in three church attending young people, for various reasons, walk away from their faith after high school.  I can be shaken by statistics, but I am moved to act when those numbers are replaced by real students with stories and names.  Names like Derek and Jack.  Both of these young adults are now in their early 20’s and both were active in my youth ministry in my past.  Jack is about to graduate from college and is living for God and sharing his faith with friends.  I think of Jack and I am proud to have played a small role in helping shape his faith.  Derek was Jack’s friend who also was in our youth group.   He however has struggled in life and has made some poor choices.  I occasionally talk with Derek, and I am not sure if he even believes in God.  I pray regularly for both of these young men and many others like them.

I know that God can do miracles in their lives, but sometimes the miracle God wants to use is the church.  It really does take a village to raise a child in the faith.  Read and consider the words of Deutronomy 6:4-9:

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The student ministry at Hyde Park Community UMC strives to come alongside parents and grandparents to teach about God, to shepherd young people and help  them feel love and belonging, and to model for them our Christian faith.  I am blessed to serve some amazing adult volunteers and teenagers.  I would like to invite you to join us on this journey.

The first invitation is that you help support us with prayer.  Pray for God to work in the lives our teenagers and for our teenagers to learn to trust and obey God.  Pray also for God to provide the leadership our student ministry needs.

Finally, if you have a heart for young people, consider joining our ministry team.  We  need adults to shepherd, teach, and model for our young adults.  We will help train you and encourage you along the way.  You don’t need to be a Bible scholar, but you need to have a heart for young people.  You will probably meet students like Derek who are distracted and lose their faith, but you will also have students like Jack who become young men and woman for God and make you smile as you think of them.  The more we work together the more Jacks we will have!

Ken Miller

The Resources We Give

In the Sunday School class Marcie and I attend we have many lively discussions about topics that help us grow to a deeper understanding of what it means to live our Christian faith in the 21st Century. We are currently discussing the book, “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammad Cross the Road,” by Brian McClaren. His purpose for writing the book is to challenge us to maintain a strong Christ-centered faith that is not hostile to other faiths (from which we might also learn about God).

Early in the book, McClaren recounts a conversation with a colleague who caused him to think about his own faith a little differently. The friend said, “Remember Brian: in a pluralistic world, a religion is judged by the benefits it brings to its nonmembers.” How we treat the “other” matters.

This certainly rings true with Jesus’s teachings. He  demonstrates reaching out to people cast as “the other” when he engaged the Samaritan woman, touched and healed the leper, included the tax collector and said, “When you do it for the least of these…you do it unto me…”

I am grateful for both the legacy and the ongoing ministry and mission of HPCUMC to reach-out to and serve many who are often seen as “the other” in our world. This is why we confidently make our giving to HPCUMC the priority for our philanthropic giving. Just last week I sat paying bills with six non-profit solicitations before me (often the case). You have probably been there many times as well. We give to many of them because they do good and important work.  But we know that our core beliefs are the core beliefs of this church we attend, and that the resources we give will be used to support those beliefs in our community and world. What priority do you make your offering to Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church where your core beliefs are shared?

Dr. McCoy reminded us on Easter that the Easter story is the proclamation that God is constantly “making moves” to overcome evil with good, fear with assurance, hopelessness with hope and death with life. As we give of our resources through the offering or make a planned gift to the Endowment Fund, we are partners in proclaiming our core belief, “Christ is risen!” Checkmate!

Michael Vilardo