Investing in Mission and Ministry

The ministry and outreach of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is  healthy.  Our mission is to “Share the love of Jesus to transform Lives, Cincinnati, and the World”.  It is bearing fruit in ways seen and unseen, touching people that we know by name and have never met.  Your financial investment in the mission and ministry of Hyde Park Community has ensured this current reality.  We celebrate how God has been at work in our lives this past year, and seek to follow where God is leading us in 2017.

On October 23 we were invited to make our 2017 financial commitments to God in worship.  Our worship was a celebration of God’s blessings and a response to God’s calling to be a blessing.  The commitments received to date bear witness to the generous hearts, and giving spirit of Hyde Park Community!

If you were unable to join us on October 23, or have not been able to make your 2017 financial commitment I invite you to prayerfully consider how you will support the mission and ministry of Hyde Park Community through your financial resources.  If you have already turned in your 2017 commitment, Thank You!  Thank you for your willingness to partner with God in the “marriage of heaven and earth”!

Through your extravagant generosity the broken are healed, the hungry are fe/d; children are encouraged and mentored, and our relationship with God and one another deepen.  Lives are transformed!  I look forward to where God is leading Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church in 2017, and count it a privilege to make the journey with you!  May God’s blessings abound as we commit ourselves to God’s calling.  I look forward to seeing you in Church!

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Praying for Our Nation

Praying for our Nation

As people who serve Christ, the Lord of all, I invite you to pray with me for our nation, especially this week:

O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments. We thank You for the privilege of voting freely in our nation. Thank You for Your law, which our founders acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law.  Bless our nation, O God.

We thank You for the opportunity to choose leaders who will work among us for the good of all. Guide our minds and hands to choose leaders who will seek to serve You. Awaken us, O God. Empower us to respond to Your call, not to be a sect running from the world, but a community of faith walking forward to renew the world. 

We rejoice that we are citizens of Your kingdom.  Remind us that we are, above all, Your beloved children. May our identity make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on earth. We pray in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ, Amen.


Pastor Cathy Johns

Church Conference and the Master Plan

On November 6 at 4:00 pm, Hyde Park Community/Over The Rhine Community United Methodist Church will hold our Annual Church Conference in the sanctuary.  The Annual Church Conference reviews the membership roll, elects the church leadership, sets the salary for the pastoral staff, and other items as needed.  On November 6, in addition to the above, Hyde Park Community will vote on moving forward with the Master Plan.

In 2013 Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church received, and approved, a recommendation from The Armstrong Group to:  “create a long term Master Plan with associated costing to lay a roadmap for future capital projects to meet evolving ministry and missional needs.”  Shortly after the decision was made, The MSA Architectural firm was engaged to lead HPCUMC in the creation of a Master Plan.

Late fall 2015 MSA Architects presented their report to the Servant Leadership Board, and with input from the Facilities Team the Servant Leadership Board approved the Master Plan as our road map into the future, aligning our facilities with our mission and ministry.  On November 6 the Church Conference will be asked to approve the formation of a building committee to phase the Master Plan, and create a plan for implementing the first phase; which includes, but is not limited to, a timeline, architectural and funding plans.

Every member of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is a voting member of the Church Conference.  Join us on November 6 at 4:00 pm in the Sanctuary, as we celebrate the ministry and mission of HPCUMC/OTRCC, and take this exciting step forward, living into our Master Plan. I look forward to seeing you at our Church Conference, may God’s blessings abound as we strive to be faithful to God’s calling.

Following in Bishop Colaw’s Footsteps

Bishop Emerson Colaw touched countless lives, including mine, and will be deeply missed.  At his memorial service last week, hundreds gathered to thank God for this man’s incredible life.  Bishop Colaw was:

  • a  modern day “Barnabas,” an encourager of laity and clergy
  • a beloved father, spouse, grandfather, brother, and cherished friend to many
  • a “dapper” man who always wore a blazer
  • a person who invested his life in building  community
  • a man whose quick wit and twinkle in his eye always lifted our spirits
  • an innovative leader who embraced the future
  • a person who loved sacrificially, following Christ’s example to serve others
  • a generous man who invested his time and resources in Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, a place where people find hope and healing in Jesus’ name.

How can I say thanks to God for Emerson?  By seeking to love, humbly and without condition, and by reflecting the love of Christ through my investment of time and money in what God is doing through Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church.

This Sunday is Commitment Sunday.  May our investments in building God’s kingdom in 2017 reflect both the love we have for Jesus, who is the Christ, and our desire to follow in the footsteps of the faithful who have gone before us.

May we, as Emerson did, embrace the future with hope as we seek to build God’s kingdom here on earth.


Pastor Cathy Johns

Prayer Labyrinth Re-Installed!

The Prayer Labyrinth, first put in use at the Erie facility, has found a new home at the Grace and Observatory location.  As you turn from Observatory onto Meier you will see the prayer labyrinth in the yard adjacent to the chapel.  When the Erie building was sold, the prayer labyrinth was disassembled and stored in the Peebles house garage.  The property team earlier this year approved the reinstallation of the prayer labyrinth at the current location.

What is a “prayer labyrinth”?  “A prayer labyrinth is a labyrinth used to facilitate prayer, meditation, and spiritual transformation.” The most famous prayer labyrinth is located in the cathedral of Chartres, France.  While prayer labyrinths have been used in Catholic cathedrals for centuries, the past decade has seen a resurgence in their popularity among mainline protestant denominations.

The prayer labyrinth (a gift to Hyde Park Community from one of our members) is an addition to the many ways a person can engage in the life of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church.  As individuals and groups use the prayer labyrinth in their discipleship journey, they find clarity of the call to love God, love neighbor, and love as Christ Jesus has loved us.  God speaks into our lives to participate in the mission of Hyde Park Community: To share the love of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati and the world!

I pray, in the days ahead, you will be able to enjoy the prayer labyrinth as an individual or as part of a group, and that it enriches your relationship with God and others!  See you in Church.

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

Jesus often taught about the kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God was not something afar and otherworldly; the Kingdom of God is here and now.  As beloved Children of God we are called, encouraged, coaxed into a relationship with God that leads to our participation in God’s “new creation.”  Begun at Jesus’ resurrection, God’s new creation continues through you and me; “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

As partners with God in revealing God’s new creation, we are participants in the Marriage of heaven and earth. Thus, the kingdom of God is a reality that we lean into as we love God, and we love those whom God loves. However, too often our human condition gets in the way.  Father Richard Rohr says it best, we live in a “winner-takes-all society” and we’ve embraced the secular teaching, “dignity must always be ‘acquired’ and earned”.

Father Rohr says, “We live in an affluent society that’s always expecting more, wanting more, and believes it even deserves more. But the more we own, ironically enough, the less we enjoy . . ..  If you don’t live from within your own center of connection and communion, you’ll go spinning around things.” (Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, Tuesday, October 4, 2016)  As we love God with all of who we are: our finances, our time; in our work and relationships we love holding onto hope, a hope that draws us back to the center of who we are, God’s beloved.  It is in this hope, grounded in God’s love, that we begin to experience God’s new creation and become partners in revealing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

All that we have, and all of who we are belongs to God, When we live life from the center of this reality, we possess a peace that the world cannot give, nor take away; we possess a joy that transcends our circumstances; we are a new creation participating in God’s new creation!  See you in church!

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Hope for The Blue Planet

During my doctoral studies at Chicago Theological Seminary I took a World Prayer class.  My colleagues in the course represented more than seven countries.  One of our assignments was to go and watch the IMAX film “The Blue Planet.”

It is an amazing film!  We were able to see what lightning strikes look like from space.  You could see the outline of the Great Wall of China.  We also, as the title suggests, saw a lot of blue, as nearly 71% of the earth’s surface is water!

When you consider God’s plan to send Jesus to this blue planet that we call home, did you ever wonder what would be on Jesus’ job description?   The answer is in the scripture for this Sunday.  Jesus stands up in Nazareth, reads from a scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and shares with everyone why He is here and what He came to do.

As 21st Century Christians who follow Jesus, claiming to be His disciples, we are called to continue the work He began.  Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ, started a revolution that changed the world.

This Sunday our faith community will bring a special offering to God:  our service commitments.  A simple list will be provided on an insert listing opportunities for you to serve Christ in the coming year.  God has blessed you with unique gifts, skills, and talents.  We are invited to change the world, in Jesus’ name, one life at a time.  Please join us this Sunday as we boldly claim allegiance to Jesus and join in His revolution to change the world.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!


Pastor Cathy

Deepening Relationships

Sunday, October 2 is World Wide Communion Sunday. World Wide Communion Sunday was set aside as an ecumenical expression of a spiritual reality in Christ Jesus.  Christians across the globe will celebrate communion on this day.  The prayer consecrating the bread and wine invokes God’s presence through the outpouring of God’s spirit; the bread and cup become the “Holy Essence” of Christ’s body and blood, and we who partake become the body of Christ, redeemed by His blood, to the world.

On October 2, at the 8:00 worship service we will celebrate World Wide Communion Sunday, via live stream, with our brothers and sisters at Samara United Methodist Church, Samara Russia.  We will share in the liturgy, and both the Wesley choir, and the Samara choir will offer God’s word through song.  As we worship together we grow together in faith and love.

In addition, as we seek to deepen our relationship with Samara UMC, we will have a Skype Conversation, Saturday, October 8, 9:00 am at the parsonage, 2928 Alpine Terrace.  If you are willing and able to join us on October 9, please rsvp by either calling the Church office: 513-871-1345, or use the comment section of the communication sheet!

Mission Trip to Romania 2017! As the Body of Christ in the Global Community we will send a team to our United Methodist churches in Romania.  Do you have a heart for missions? A call to minister to children? A passion for those who are vulnerable living in our Global Community? A heart for orphans? Are your spiritual gifts in leadership or discerning? Please prayerfully consider joining the mission team heading to Cluj, Romania on March 2 – 9, 2017.

In March we will be taking an exploratory trip to minister alongside our brothers and sisters as they reach out to the orphans in their city, and the Roma in their neighboring towns. We are seeking to explore whether God is calling HPCUMC into partnership with these Romanian churches.

If the Spirit is stirring in your heart, please pray about whether God is calling you to use your gifts to help minister in Romania and discern possible partnership on this upcoming trip. For more information, mark your calendars for October 9, 12:15 pm when there will be an informational meeting, or email Sarah Putman at

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Announcing: Ministry Fair 2016

You are a unique creation!  There will never be another you!  Each person in our community is also uniquely gifted.  What would happen if we all stepped forward, using our gifts, as the hands and feet of Christ?

In the next few weeks, you will be invited to consider how you would like to serve Christ in the coming year.

On September 25th we will host a Ministry Fair that:

Celebrates the work of various ministry teams in the Welcome Center

Provides a booklet and service inventory list describing ways to serve

Invites you to pray about how you would like to step forward to serve in 2017

On October 2nd we will:

Identify places where we feel called to serve Christ on service inventories list

Present our service inventories list to God in worship

After October 2:

Staff and team leaders will connect with persons expressing desire to serve

Additionally Servant Leadership Board criteria and applications are available in the church office and at the Welcome Center.  Please contact Greg Rogers, Chair of Servant Leadership Board, or Pastor Cathy Johns for additional information.

It is a joy to serve Christ with each one of you!  I am already praying for God to help you discover how to use your gifts in joyful service to Christ.


Pastor Cathy

Love in Action!

In recent months we’ve witnessed multiple disasters that have left physical, emotional and spiritual devastation.  As we pray for the survivors of these disasters, let us pray for God to show us how we can help.  Both the District and Conference have communicated how our United Methodist Churches can help:

Assisting our neighbors not only takes prayers and compassion, it takes financial resources.  None of these disasters are big enough for us to request UMCOR dollars.  It will take the response of our local congregations for us to extend the love and care of Christ to our neighbors within our communities. Your gifts to the West Ohio Conference Disaster Relief Fund will allow us to work alongside families and congregations seeking to recover from disasters. You can give online at or by check.  If you give by check please make the check payable to HPCUMC, (with Disaster relief in the memo line.) Clearly mark your envelope for disaster relief and place in the offering plate.

Collect Flood Buckets to replenish the UMCOR supply for the next round of floods whenever and wherever they happen:

Volunteer to help. Pam Follmer of the Monroe UMC is our Ohio River Valley District Disaster Response Coordinator. Pam has been in contact with the TriState COAD.  They work with the Red Cross and other agencies dealing with active disasters.  They have contacted Pam regarding the need to tear out drywall for homes of elderly and disabled folks affected in the region. They will be sending names and addresses to Pam to coordinate teams of volunteers to assist. If you (or a group from your congregation) would like to be on a team to address these needs, please contact Pam at 513-539-8691 or

Refer persons in need affected by the flood or storms. If you know of someone who has not yet been contacted by a community organization that is active in disasters, please contact Pam Follmer, ORV Disaster Response Coordinator ( and with the permission of the person affected, share that information with Pam.

As we walk this journey with our brothers and sisters most affected by the disaster they’ve faced, may they come to know of God’s love and presence.

In Christ,

Pastor Doug