Midweek Message: Making Their Story Our Own

Midweek Message: Making Their Story Our Own

Aug. 15, 2019

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Last Sunday, we started a new worship series titled “Hall of Faith,” based on the Bible’s “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11. In that sermon,  I reminisced about my visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 1996, to visit the statue of long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneer Lee Roy Selmon, who was inducted the year before.

His induction speech included all the usual elements. He thanked his teammates, he praised his coaches. But he also did something unusual. He made a lengthy biblical reference to two of his personal biblical heroes, Abraham and Sarah. Here’s what he said:

The God that I believe in and my family believes in works in impossible types of situations. And it reminds me of a story in the Bible about Abraham and Sarah. When God promised them a child and it seemed like that would not occur because of the age of both Abraham and Sarah. But even in that difficult, unlikely situation, they were granted a child. I look at this situation and I feel much like Abraham and Sarah probably felt. They had a son named Isaac and Isaac stands for laughter and joy. I’m sure the community that knew them joined in their joy. I’m happy to see my family here. My mom and brothers and sisters and fans and friends from all over the state of Oklahoma and Tampa Bay here to join me in this very joyful moment. But I realize this is not something that I have done, but God has done for me. He has put a lot of angels in my pathway, in life’s path that has made these types of things happen. – from Lee Roy Selmon’s Hall of Fame page.

Amazing. Right in the middle of his hall of fame speech, with millions of people watching, Lee Roy Selmon not only told the whole story of Abraham and Sarah, he found his story in theirs, and made their story his own.

That’s at the heart of our new worship series. By following the examples of these remarkable men and women in the Bible, we can have a faith that helps us endure through the tough times, keeps our eyes fixed on Jesus, and recognizes all that God has done for us.

So join us this Sunday as we dive deeper into the lives of Abraham and Sarah, and make their story our own.


It is with gratitude and sadness that we share the news that our Director of Communications John Barolo has accepted a position with Hillsborough County Public Schools as the Assist. Dept. Manager for Marketing. This Sunday, Aug. 18 will be his last, and his last day in the office will be Thursday, Aug. 22.

Fifteen years ago, this congregation was blessed with John and Nicole’s arrival. They started attending conneXion, our Friday night worship service that would become a precursor to our 11Magnolia service today, and they quickly became an integral part of this congregation.

John was first hired to be part of our administrative team, then became the Director of Adult Education, then was a member of our Communications team, and ultimately served as our Director of Communications since November, 2016. This diversity of roles and responsibilities has afforded him a broad exposure to many ministries of this church, each of which have been shaped by his insightful guidance. Many in the congregation have benefited greatly from John’s friendship, counsel and commitment to the church’s mission.

John, Nicole, and their children will be missed, and we are grateful for the extraordinary impact he has made among us. The Staff-Parish Relations Committee will oversee a process to ensure that all of John’s responsibilities are covered over the near and long term. Join us this Sunday as we thank John for all he has meant to this church.

Thank you, John!

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

Blessing of the Backpacks

Blessing of the Backpacks

Join us Sunday, Aug. 11, for a special Blessing of the Backpacks in all worship services. Elementary, Middle, High School, and school teachers and staff are invited to bring their backpack or briefcase and participate. We will pray that joy will surround each person in the months ahead. The Blessing will take place in all services: 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m. services at our Hyde Park campus and 5:30 p.m. at The Portico campus.

Blessing of the Backpacks Litany

Hyde Park BBQ Aug. 21

Hyde Park BBQ Aug. 21

You’re invited to our Hyde Park BBQ 5:30 p.m Wednesday, Aug. 21. It will be a great chance to ‘get social’ in real life with old and new friends from your church. All ages are welcome.
Join us for:
  • Smoked BBQ meats
  • Delicious, comfort-food sides
  • Delectable desserts
  • Children’s activities (high chairs available)

Price: $8/adults, $5/children
RSVP here

For more information, please email Nicki Taylor or call 813.253.5388.
Midweek Message: A Time for Renewal

Midweek Message: A Time for Renewal

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Happy Independence Day! I hope this day brings you moments of celebration, connection with friends and family, and gratitude for the freedom to live into your God-given potential. Let us remember that our truest and most enduring freedom is that which comes from Jesus alone, for “it is for freedom that Christ set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)

I also want to offer you this special Midweek Message to share with you an important message regarding members of our clergy team.


In his book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, Wayne Mueller talks about the benefits of honoring the biblical command to observe Sabbath rest:

“Sabbath is more than the absence of work; it is not just a day off, when we catch up on television or errands. It is the presence of something that arises when we consecrate a period of time to listen to what is most deeply beautiful, nourishing, or true. It is time consecrated with our attention, our mindfulness, honoring those quiet forces of grace or spirit that sustain and heal us.”

Many of the commandments of God are difficult to keep, but Sabbath keeping may be the easiest to overlook, particularly for those called to church ministry.

Many clergy suffer from emotional burnout, workaholism and depression, likely due in part to a reluctance to regularly observe a focused time of spiritual renewal. This article from the Sojourners website provides additional insight.

To address this pervasive problem, the United Methodist Book of Discipline encourages clergy to have several weeks of spiritual growth and renewal every four years. (Paragraph 351.2) Historically, clergy at Hyde Park have not observed this provision in the discipline, despite working long hours every week, season after season.


I think you would agree that among the many blessings of this church is the amazing dedication and talents of ministers Sally Campbell-Evans, Vicki Walker, Justin LaRosa, and Debbie Casanzio. Over the past several months, the Staff-Parish Relations Committee has encouraged and approved each of them to observe the time of renewal that the Discipline provides. It offers the following statement:

“The Staff-Parish Relations Committee strongly believes in healthy, rested and vital clergy. Clergy burnout is a well-documented phenomenon, and this Committee wants our clergy to have renewal leaves that provide rest and growth.”

So, here is the general time frame for those four clergy:

  • Vicki Walker: July 21 to Aug. 31, 2019
  • Sally Campbell-Evans: Sept. 25 to Nov. 5, 2019
  • Justin LaRosa: Summer 2020
  • Debbie Casanzio: Fall 2020

You can pray for each of them, that this will be a holy and sacred time, that the Holy Spirit might provide them with spiritual, emotional and physical rejuvenation for their ongoing work among us.

And as you negotiate the busyness of your life, remember to observe the Sabbath yourself. Find time to disconnect from your daily pressures and create a way for you to “listen to what is most deeply beautiful, nourishing, or true.”

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

Azeele Street – Now Open Sunday Mornings

Azeele Street – Now Open Sunday Mornings

Help Reduce Traffic and Increase Safety by entering and exiting the main parking lot from the south (Horatio) or west (Magnolia) entrances.

Remember to use the designated crosswalks.

We are no longer able to close Azeele St. to through traffic.

Seeking Stillness: The Practice of Christian Meditation

Seeking Stillness: The Practice of Christian Meditation

We don’t experience much silence in our lives. This retreat provides an opportunity to gather together and pursue an inner quiet.

This Seeking Stillness retreat is for anyone wanting to experience silence in a busy world: from life-long practitioners to those just beginning to explore meditation. The event features a talk and instruction from Carl McColman, contemplative writer, speaker, retreat leader and host of podcast “Encountering Silence.” This retreat will teach contemplation, centering prayer and a variety of different methods, including meditation’s Christian foundation.

Carl McColman is a prolific author and Lay Cistercian who helps people reclaim the heritage of Christian contemplative spirituality through teachings of the Christian mystics, the practice of silent prayer, and the revival of ancient practices like Lectio Divina.

Time/Date/Place: 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 29 and 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, March 30.

The Portico – Community Room
1001 N Florida Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33602

  • Friday evening only $25 (per person)
  • Friday evening and Saturday with lunch $49 (per person)

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