Summer Is Finally Here!

Summer is Finally Here!

School is not in session. Preschoolers through seniors in high school have graduated. What an exciting time of celebration in their accomplishments. And “thank you teachers” too.

It also means summer vacations and family reunions. Travel safely. Take time to enjoy swimming pools, amusement parks, community festivals, and backyard cookouts. Summer is a great time to relax and be renewed.

Our Sunday morning and mid-week classes take a little break in the summer. However, every summer for many years here at Hyde Park Community UMC, Vacation Bible School (VBS) happens. It is a big part of reaching out into our community and opening wide the doors of the church. Dana Calhoun and Pam Pilger and a working team of parents, children and youth have been hard at work for months preparing for this amazing outreach church event.

The next two weeks the Refectory, Sanctuary, Little Theater, Welcome Center and Hallways will be decorated with an African theme. This includes a host of massive animal-like figures, a waterfall, a desert area, wall paintings, jungle music and scenes. The theme is titled “Roar: Life Is Wild, God Is Good!” We will have 150-175 children and volunteers in Vacation Bible School. So, “summer school” will be in session here at Hyde Park Community UMC.

We continue our sermon series theme this week on “Waking to God’s Wonders.” This Sunday we will focus primarily on the “Wonder of Prayer.” During the summer and all seasons of the year we might think of Hyde Park Community UMC being a school or a “House of Prayer.”

If you get a chance after worship this Sunday, I encourage everyone to walk the church and pray. Pray for all the children, parents and volunteers who will be here the next two weeks. Pray VBS will be filled with God’s Spirit and all will experience God’s goodness and grace.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave Weaver

Join Us In Welcoming our Russian Brothers and Sisters

The Samara United Methodist Church Pastors and Laity will be with us July 24 – August 1st!  For over 25 years, Hyde Park Community UMC has had a relationship with Samara UMC.  Over the years, teams from Samara and HPCUMC have visited the U.S. and Russia. Six of our brothers and sisters from Samara will be with us July 24 – August 1.

Mark your calendars! Sunday, July 28th, Pastor Natalia will preach followed by a meal in the refectory.  The congregation is invited to stay after worship to break bread and fellowship with our brothers and sisters from Samara. Meat and drinks will be provided. If you can help, we’re asking folks to bring an appetizer, salad or dessert to share.  A free will offering will be taken in support of UMW (United Methodist Women) missions.

You can RSVP one of three ways:

The HPCUMC website– Go to our website and find the registration link in the scrolling banner.

Friendship Pad in Worship– As you fill out the friendship sheet in worship, write in the comment section: I will attend the July 28 dinner.

Call the church office– Plan now to join us for this wonderful time of fellowship and learning after church on July 28.

In addition you are invited to join us for any and all of the following events:

Thursday, July 25, 6:30 pm, Worship at OTRCC/Summer Impact

Friday, July 26, 10:00 am-4:00 pm, Wesley Chapel Mission Center

Monday, July 29, 7:00 pm, Worship at HPCUMC

Tuesday, July 30, 9:00 am -3:00 pm, Wesley Community Services

Thursday, August 1, 8:30 am -2:00 pm Air Force Museum, Dayton

If you would like more information about joining us for any of the above contact Pastor Kate, Pastor Doug, or Kevin Betts.

Thank you in advance for being a part of showing our guests hospitality.  May God’s blessings abound, see you in Church!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

A Time to Be Silent

In the book of Ecclesiastes we read that there is a time for every purpose under heaven.  Included in the list is: “a time to be silent and a time to speak.”   

Here are a few of my favorite quotes on listening:

“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

In February of 2019, General Conference voted to tighten the ban on gay clergy and same-sex unions.  For some, the vote brought a time of relief and joy; for some, the vote brought disappointment and pain.  The global United Methodist Church has wrestled with questions of human sexuality since 1972.  It seems that attempts to bring unity are struggling; divisions seem to grow deeper between United Methodists who hold different biblical and theological perspectives.

Beginning on July 7, the HPC Way Forward Task Force, chaired by Dr. Al Painter, will hold six listening sessions.  Gathered around tables, church members will be invited to listen respectfully to the responses of others without judgment or comment.   People will be asked to share their thoughts and feelings after the vote in February as well as their thoughts regarding the response of Hyde Park Community UMC.  People will also be invited to speak of their hopes for the future.  All views and perspectives are welcomed and valued.  The Task Force will record all comments without identifying the speaker, seeking to understand our congregation as we stand at this intersection.   Laity will lead the gatherings; clergy will participate in the de-brief meetings following each listening session.

Please read the Listening Session article that is included in this issue of News and Happenings for more details.  Dates for the six sessions are listed. You are invited to join the Task Force for these holy conversations.

Thank you, in advance, for having both the courage to speak up and the courage to listen.

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Our Life Together

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Known as the “Great Commission”, these words become for all who follow Jesus our pathway of “discipleship”.

Notice the key components of the discipleship pathway: 1. “Go”- Leave that which is comfortable.  2. “Baptize” – Enter the flow of the Trinity, the incarnation of God’s love, where we are reminded we are a child of God, beloved by God.  3. “Teach” – What we’ve been commanded; what are we commanded? “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13:34-35)

As Hyde Park Community/Over the Rhine Community United Methodist Church, one church, two locations, we strive to be a faith community on this “discipleship pathway”.  Therefore, I take this opportunity to update you on three important happenings in our life together.

Samara United Methodist Church Visit. For over 25 years Hyde Park Community UMC has had a relationship with Samara UMC.  Over the years teams from Samara and HPCUMC have visited the US and Russia.  From July 24 – August 1st, six of our brothers and sisters from Samara will be with us.  Details are in process, look for more information in the near future. Mark your calendar: Sunday, July 28, Pastor Natalia will preach followed by a meal in the refectory.  Plan to join us for this wonderful time of fellowship and learning after church on July 28th.

HPCUMC Way Forward Listening Sessions. In this issue of News and Happenings you will find an article about the Listening Sessions our Way Forward Task Force will be holding. We need to hear from you as our beloved faith community charts a path forward, fulfilling the Great Commission.

Over The Rhine Community Church. The Servant Leadership Board has been in conversation with the Lead Team of OTRCC to determine the best path forward for fulfilling the Great Commission.  As of July 1, Zak McIntyre, will no longer be with us as the pastor of OTRCC.  The Servant Leadership Board will develop a time-line for the months ahead, and currently is in conversation with a clergy couple regarding the possibilities of bringing leadership to our second campus faith community.

HPCUMC fully embraces our partnership with God in God’s acts of new creation. There will be more information shared about the above in the days to come, until then if you would like to discuss any of the above please drop by my office.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Why God Made Puppies

On April 1, I was introduced to three puppies (from a litter of 12) that were seized from their owners in court because of neglect.  A rescue organization had pre-approved me and I was invited to come and meet these three puppies at a dog park in Newtown.  As I sat on the floor getting to know them, one of the puppies kept coming over to sit on my lap.  I anticipated adopting a female, but there was something about this male puppy; he seemed very loving and affectionate.   

The woman who was assisting the rescue organization asked me to pose for an “adoption day” photo.  Several minutes later I was driving away with a puppy on my lap.  He looked up at me with his caring brown eyes and seemed so incredibly happy.

I chose to name the puppy “Caspian,” after Prince Caspian of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Prince Caspian was once a refugee who summoned the kings and queens back to Narnia to restore the land and save the people.

As I played with Caspian I noticed something change in me:  I was laughing more.  His love and energy started to bless me in a way that is hard to explain.  A few days later I saw a bumper sticker on a car with a paw print.  It read: “Who rescued who?”

Caspian, the lab/golden mix puppy, may not realize it, but God has been working through him to rescue me.  When I am tempted to take things too seriously, Caspian wags his whole body, not just his tail, and makes me smile!  When life feels “heavy,” managing some of the challenges that come my way, both personally and as a United Methodist pastor in this season of “unknowns,” Caspian’s presence delivers unbridled joy and I find myself laughing out loud.  This bouncing, happy puppy is indeed a conduit for the joy of the Lord!  Nehemiah was right:  “The joy of the Lord is my strength!”

Our God, who created this wonderful world and all creatures within it, wants us to be filled with love, joy, and peace.  May we open ourselves to all the ways that God wants to shower us with blessings!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

UMC Next: Where are We Heading As United Methodists?

Last week I joined nearly 600 clergy and laity last week in Kansas City at Church of the Resurrection UMC. Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, and a diverse convening team of 17 individuals (clergy and lay) led us in powerful conversations about shaping an inclusive Methodist church. Table discussions were diverse and rich; they built community and gathered data that was forwarded to the convening team.

The February vote of the General Conference Special Session was a “tipping point” in The United Methodist Church. The passing of the Traditional Plan tightened the ban on gay clergy and imposed harsh penalties upon clergy who officiate at same-sex unions.  After the Traditional Plan was passed thousands of people around the world joined in the conversation.   Hamilton said, “I refuse to treat the LGBTQ community as second class.” Churches and Annual Conferences around the world have stood up in holy resistance, embracing our baptismal vows to resist evil and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. We discussed the need for contextual expressions of resistance.  A form of resistance, for example, that is appropriate in Seattle might not be appropriate in Athens, Georgia.  We also explored creating a new, fully inclusive Methodist Church.

The participants at the UMC Next Conference reached consensus on the following core values:

1.  We long to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ, committed to a Wesleyan vision of Christianity, anchored in scripture and informed by tradition, experience and reason as we live a life of personal piety and social holiness.

2.  We commit to resist evil, injustice and oppression in all forms and toward all people and build a church that affirms the full participation of all ages, nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities.

3.  We reject the Traditional Plan approved at General Conference 2019 as inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and will resist its implementation.

4.  We will work to eliminate discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding LGBTQ persons. We affirm the sacred worth of LGBTQ persons, celebrate their gifts, and commit to being in ministry together.

At Hyde Park Community, The HPC Way Forward Task Force will be holding listening sessions this summer and fall.  Please join us in prayer as we seek God’s path for us.     

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Leave A Legacy

On May 19 we celebrated “Legacy Sunday”, an annual observance, with thanksgiving, for those who have gone before us and continue to support the mission and ministry of the church they love, through the Endowment of HPCUMC.  Endowment programs have a positive impact on the life of a congregation.  Endowment programs offer families and individuals the opportunity to leave a legacy to their beloved church, a legacy that bears abundant fruit!  HPCUMC has been a transformative presence through the life-stages of many: birth, baptism, confirmation, graduation, marriage and death.  As a result, a deep and abiding love for our faith community has become the motivation for making a gift to the HPCUMC endowment, ensuring and enhancing the ministries of HPCUMC for future generations.

Hyde Park Community has been blessed by the foresight of those who have gone before us to leave such a legacy gift.  From the first gift, under the leadership of Bishop Emerson Colaw, to the 28 million dollar endowment it is today, the endowment has enhanced the vision and mission of HPCUMC.  From support of the facilities, to the support of our outreach/mission programs, and missionaries, the HPCUMC endowment has been a part of partnering with God to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. From scholarships awarded to our young adults in college to scholarships awarded to those interested in short term mission opportunities, the income from the HPCUMC endowment has been actively involved in making disciples and facilitating intellectual, and spiritual growth.

The beauty of the Endowment program is that no gift is too small, whether $5 or a million dollars the endowment program provides the opportunity for individuals and families to leave a legacy to the church they love.  We invite you to make a gift to the endowment, and/or including HPCUMC in your estate plans.  I would love to talk to you about your legacy gift.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Thoughts on Hope…

There are times in life we need to have hope. And in most cases when we do, we are wishing for a preferred future outcome. So where are you in need of hope? Is it in the area of your health, finances, or in a relationship? Do you need hope in your suffering?

Professor of Psychology Barbara Fredrickson argues that one way hope comes into its own is when crisis looms, opening us to new creative possibilities. Frederickson argues that with great need comes an unusually wide range of ideas, as well as such positive emotions as happiness and joy, courage, and empowerment, drawn from four different areas of one’s self: from a cognitive, psychological, social, or physical perspective. She said hopeful people are “like the little engine that could,” because they keep telling themselves “I think I can, I think I can.” Such positive thinking bears fruit when based on a realistic sense of optimism, or “real hope,” rather than a naive “false hope”.

Much of our hope is based on our own willpower or our self-motivation. We have aspirations to attain something and we set goals to get us there. For instance, “I hope to become a major league baseball or football player. Or I hope to become an accomplished singer or dancer.” We are driven by our own desires.

What about placing our hope in God? The Bible is full of stories of hope. God’s followers are hoping for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. Or, said another way, the Christian is hoping for the fruition of what has already begun, the full arrival of God’s Kingdom and we pin our hopes on the God of that Kingdom. Our hope in God is both a present and future reality.

The apostle Paul wrote in several places about what hope leads to or makes: patience, courage, and joy.  It is one of the three things which lasts: faith, hope, and love. We will begin a new sermon series titled the “Power of Hope” found in Paul’s writings this week in Romans 5: 1-5. Please join us in worship the next several weeks on a variety of topics that will focus on hope.

Hope to see you Sunday!

Pastor Dave Weaver

Update: Hyde Park Community’s Future/The United Methodist Church

In the wake of the Special Session of General Conference in February, many conversations have started to take place regarding the future of the United Methodist Church.  In February, delegates from around the world voted to embrace “The Traditional Plan” which tightens the ban on gay clergy and same-sex unions.  These changes to the United Methodist Book of Discipline go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Judicial Council, which is a diverse nine-member group of clergy and laity, met to review all of the legislation that was addressed at the Special Session in St. Louis in February.  They upheld the majority of the decisions made including an exit path for churches that choose to leave the denomination.

Conversations are taking place all over the country and the world regarding the future of United Methodism.  Here are a few gatherings that will help shape our future:

May 20-23: “UMC Next” will gather in Kansas City to pray and discern a way forward for congregations who seek a more inclusive path than the decision made by the Special Session of General Conference.  Invited representatives from annual conferences will gather at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection to worship, pray, and discern options.  Rev. Dr. Cathy Johns, one of our senior pastors, will be attending as one of West Ohio Conference’s representatives.

June 2 – 6:  West Ohio Annual Conference will be held at Lakeside.  Delegates will be elected to attend the General Conference in May 2020 in Minneapolis.

June 11: The HPC Way Forward Task Force, composed of nine laity and our senior pastors, will begin to meet.  They will explore options and seek direction as we move forward.   Dr. Al Painter, the chair of the Servant Leadership Board, will chair.

Summer/Fall: Listening Sessions will be held at Hyde Park Community to help discern our way forward as a faith community.  Multiple options will be discussed to continue as a strong, vibrant church that changes lives for Christ locally and globally.

A Church Conference will be held to vote on the recommendation of the HPC Way Forward Task Force.  All members will have voice and vote.        

Your prayers for bishops, church leaders, laity, clergy, and your church staff are deeply appreciated during this season of listening and waiting for God to direct our path.  As always, we are here to listen to your questions and concerns.

Through Christ,

Pastor Cathy & Pastor Doug

God as a Mother Hen

I remember one of those “light bulb”  moments from seminary.  My father, Don, was a faithful, gentle, loving man who deeply cared for his family.  As a child it was easy for me to have positive images of God as male because my earthly father was such a blessing.

My friend, Penny, had a much different experience growing up.  Her relationship with her family was strained and bordered on abusive.  Images of God as father did not work for her;  if fact, she shared that when God was mentioned as “father” painful memories flooded her soul.  It was then that I understood:  words matter.

Jesus uses a tender, female image to refer to God as he laments over Jerusalem:   “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”  In John’s gospel there are seven “I am” statements that reveal who Jesus is, including “I am the Good Shepherd.”  “I am the Bread of Life.”

As a person committed to preaching the good news of Christ’s love for all people, I invite people to expand their images of God.  Ron DelBene wrote a wonderful book called “The Breath Prayer.”  This simple, short prayer (7 words of less) is constructed based on what one needs.  The steps:

1)  Identify what I need

2)  Choose an action verb that identifies how God can meet my need

3)  Choose an image for God that connects with what you need

Several years ago I was given an appointment to a church which some colleagues thought was “a reach,” saying that I was too young to serve that church at the age of 35.  I wrote a breath prayer, using the formula above, and memorized it.  I took a deep breath and prayed it all day long – in traffic, while I was waiting in line at the grocery store.  I prayed:

“Prince of Peace, cast out my fear.”

Two weeks later I experienced complete peace.  The fear was gone.

May Jesus, the Prince of Peace, richly bless you this weekend.

Joy in our Risen Lord,

Pastor Cathy Johns