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, www.centralinsulation.com) 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


A Life Full of Care and Free From Worry

A Life Full of Care and Free From Worry

My brother and I are 15 months apart, practically Irish twins, and you couldn’t get more Irish with names like Katie and Patrick and my brother being born on St. Patrick’s Day. While we grew up in the same household and share the same parents, there are more ways that we are different than we are alike. While we share having curly hair, the same nose, and blue eyes -even standing next to each other people wouldn’t believe we were related. When it comes to disposition, we were on opposite ends of the spectrum as children. Being the older sibling, teachers having my brother the next year were often shocked to find out that we were related.

Growing up we both shared a love of climbing any and all things but mostly trees! While we both started out fearless in conquering the scaling of branches and seeing how high we could get, our reaction to getting down was much different. Sure, it was all fun and games when we were climbing and looking out into the world from new heights, but I found myself paralyzed with fear when it was time to descend. I believe that fear is the root of our worry and I couldn’t begin to count how many worries I had at the top of the tree. It would be so embarrassing to have to have another person, often my grandfather, come and help me down. When I got too high up, a ladder would have to be brought out with a lecture on how I shouldn’t climb trees or things that I wasn’t willing to climb down myself. My brother on the other hand, continued to be so fearless that he wouldn’t climb down either. Instead he would JUMP down! He also received lectures, although it usually happened at an Urgent Care.

When I think back on those events, I realize my brother and I illustrate the spectrum of fear. On one end is paralyzing worry and the other end is careless action or non-action. I don’t believe a person is or experiences either/or but lives a life of both/and. However, I believe our sweet spot is learning to lead a life of care which will bring purpose and focus. We are to live a life full of care and free from worry.


Pastor Kate Smith


Trapeze Artists: How to Trust our Future

Henri Nouwen was once deeply moved by a performance of the Rodleighs, a troupe of flying trapeze artists.  One of the artists explained to Nouwen that the flyer can do nothing but trust that the catcher will catch him.  The timing is crucial.  If the flyer tries to catch the catcher they could both be seriously hurt.   But if the flyer waits, extends their arms and waits to be caught, his partner can deliver him back to the safety of the platform.

That period of waiting to be caught and land safely is hard.  It’s all about trust.  Nathan Kirkpatrick writes that we trust people who are competent, have our best interest at heart, people of integrity (open and transparent), and reliable in their performance and predictable in their behavior.

This year is a year of high anxiety for many.  It feels like an “in between time,” a season of not quite yet.  Some long for new people to be elected to public office while others yearn for a resolution to the present theological impasse in the United Methodist Church.   Regardless of how much we want it be sooner, General Conference will be held  May 5-15, 2020 and the next general election will be on November 3, 2020.  When you find yourself in that place of anxiety or worry, remember the words of Psalm 46:  “Be still, and know that I am God.”

At Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, the Way Forward Task Force has been listening to both the pain and the hopes for this community of faith.  We hope you will attend one of the three remaining listening sessions:  Sunday, August 25, 12:15, Wednesday, August 28, 6:30 p.m., or Sunday, September 8, 12:15 p.m.

This fall the task force will make a recommendation to the Servant Leadership Board about how we will move forward as a congregation, ready to respond swiftly to the options available to us after General Conference meets in May 2020.

We serve a God who invites us to let go and trust God.  We are invited to take God’s hand and step into the future with confidence and deep, abiding joy.   Let us continue to serve Christ, love one another, and open ourselves to be vessels of grace and love for all of God’s people.


Rev. Dr. Cathy Johns

Introducing the Warehouse… formerly Over-the-Rhine Community Church

The name The Warehouse was a Holy Spirit download. A warehouse is a large building where raw materials or manufactured goods may be stored before their export for distribution. According to Scripture, God is our Manufacturer, the Maker of Heaven and earth. (Psalm 95:6; 121:2) He has created and formed us in His image and after His likeness. (Gen. 1:26)  We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for the good works He’s prepared for us. (Ephesians 2:10). The Warehouse will be a place where we will gather as our raw selves and be shaped by the Word of God, in the presence of God, along with a loving community. We will be equipped and deployed for the LORD’s Kingdom purposes, with leaders going in and out spreading the Gospel in places where it has not been. (Romans 15:20)

The Warehouse is a multi-ethnic, inter-generational, multi-class community that will thrive in the heart of OTR, but have impact beyond the walls of 1310 Race Street and even beyond Cincinnati.

Multi-Ethnic Martin Luther King, Jr. said that it’s appalling that 11:00 am on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. That was in 1960 and 59 years later, 86.3% of US churches are still mono-ethnic. This is the deepest divide in our country, city, and unfortunately in the Church and does not reflect the teaching of Jesus. We believe that UNITY in the Body is the prayer that Jesus prayed for (John 17:20-23). In Heaven worshippers from every tribe, language, people and nation whom Jesus has purchased with His precious blood will gather before the throne. (Rev. 7:9; 5:9)

Inter-Generational – The US church also separates by generation, particularly with music (traditional and contemporary) and experiences. Scripture expresses the value that is present in all generations: the strength of the young and the wisdom of the old. (Prov. 20:29) It declares that, “One generation will commend your mighty works to another; they will tell of Your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4)

Multi-Class – The work of Jesus and His Apostles did much to close the class and status gaps of the day: ethnic and racial, class and gender. These are still prevalent in our society. The Word humbles and challenges those in positions of power, and dignifies the weak and disenfranchised. There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, but ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28) We are blessed when we consider the poor. (Psalm 41:1-3)  Those that are rich in this world have a responsibility to share and do good works. (1 Tim. 6:17-19)

That’s a synopsis of The Warehouse. We believe that God will add to the church daily those who are being saved, (Acts 2:47) and we solicit your prayers for more laborers for this ripe harvest. (Matthew 9:37-8)

-Pastor Sadell Bradley


Where Fred Got it Right

Fred Rogers, the star of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, reminded us of the importance of community.  After last week’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton, we struggle to get our bearings.  News of multiple deaths, injured bodies, and countless victims ripped across lives just as tornadoes tore through the northern edge of Dayton just weeks ago.

Mr. Rogers was a bearer of light and hope.  He was interested in building healthy lives and strong communities.  Some of my favorite quotes of Fred Rogers are below:

“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world.  That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors – in our own way, each of us is a giver and a receiver.”

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero.”

“Listening is where love begins:  listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.”

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is committed to being a loving neighbor to people in need.  Giving ourselves away, we seek to bless those around us.  I celebrate the many ways our faith community extends its love to our neighbors, including:

Summer Jam, August 22, a free concert where we invite our neighbors to come and enjoy music on the church lawn

Free Vacation Bible School each summer, touching more than 300 lives with God’s love

Inter-Faith Hospitality, a ministry where we open our doors to families in need of shelter and food

Stephen Ministers, trained lay-care givers, who listen to people in times of change, grief, and loss

Grief and Loss Seminars, inviting our neighbors to find healing in seasons of pain

I am thankful to call you my neighbor.  Let us hold onto God’s hand and one another’s hands during these troubling times.


Pastor Cathy

Thank You for Caring!

We all are aware of the devastation left behind in our local communities from the tornadoes of late May, early June.  Many of the families impacted were low-income families struggling to make ends meet and now find themselves struggling with the despair of a natural disaster.  The West Ohio Conference and our District Superintendent has asked HPCUMC to commit $10,000 to the relief effort (which will be on going for years to come).  In consultation with the chair of our Mission and Outreach Team, it has been agreed to use the Flick Endowment (designated to help people with basic needs) to match dollar for dollar, up to $5,000, to meet the $10,000 challenge.

Your passion for walking alongside the broken hearted, those living under the weight of discouragement, and offering hope in the face of hopelessness has become a real presence to thousands.  Through your generosity, we have answered the call to help with this multi-year recovery.  The true heart and character of Hyde Park Community shines like a beacon of light for those who literally and figuratively found/find themselves walking in darkness.

As of this writing we successfully raised $5,000, and the Flick Endowment Fund matched the $5,000 for a total of $10,000.  Because you gave:

  Water and food were provided to those suddenly left without.

  Temporary housing is provided.

  Restoration and renovation of homes has begun.

  Families are reunited.

  Communities rebuilt.

  Hope fanned from a flicker to a flame.

  People know they are loved.

Thank you for your support for this initiative of restoration.  The body of Christ is alive and well in places we have never been and uplifting people we do not know their names, but have encountered the living Christ!  May God’s blessings abound as we continue to live into God’s call to partner with God in God’s acts of new creation.

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug


Join Us in Welcoming our Brothers and Sisters from Samara, Russia

Over the past five years I have been to Samara, Russia twice.  Both trips were transformative, exceeding my expectations of deepening our relationships with one another, and solidifying our partnership, as together we bring alive the words of Jesus, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.  No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

The Samara United Methodist Church Pastors and Laity will be with us July 24 – August 1!  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.  Six of our brothers and sisters from Samara will be with us July 24 – August 1.

Today, Pastor Natalia will preach followed by a meal in the refectory.  The congregation is invited to stay after worship to break bread and fellowship.  In addition, you are invited to join us for any and all of the following events:

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

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

Thursday, August 1, 8:30 -2:00, 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.

May God’s blessings abound, see you in Church!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

Love that Descends

He loved her, without a doubt.

Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher of the 19th Century, wrote of a dilemma faced by a king who loved a humble maiden.  He was a great king and could have whatever he wanted.  Foreign states trembled at his power.  Every statesman feared his wrath.  All would send ambassadors to his wedding.

He realized that if he asked the members of his court about following through on marrying this humble woman that they would respond, “Your majesty is about to confer an honor upon the maiden for which she can never be sufficiently grateful her whole life long!”

The dilemma was simple:  Even if she did want to come with him and join him in marriage, he could never be sure that she loved him for himself.  He wrestled and agonized in his mind.

Finally he decided. If she could not come up to his high station in life and be sure to love him freely, he must descend to hers.  He must descend stripped of all royalty and power, for only then would he know that his beloved loved him freely, as equals.

The king made his choice:  he laid aside all his power and privileges and came to her as her equal, for the sole purpose of winning her love.

Thirty-five years ago this Sunday, July 21, I married my best friend, Doug Johns. Every day I thank God for his love, his laughter, and the joy that he brings to my heart and soul.  Words cannot express my gratitude for his presence in my life and in the life of our family.

May God richly bless you and those whom you love.

Your Servant in Christ,

Pastor Cathy