Vacation Bible School 2017

Vacation Bible School 2017

June 26-30, 2017
9 a.m. – Noon*

Cost: $40 – 4 yr old (by June 1, 2017) through rising 4th grade

$60 – rising 5th & 6th grade

*Rising 5th and 6th graders stay until 3 p.m. Tuesday & Thursday

Don’t miss this amazing adventure that will help kids begin or deepen their faith by discovering that our loving God made each of us for a purpose! It’s going to be a wildly creative, inventive, interactive adventure with God!

Register below:

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND USING FIREFOX AS YOUR BROWSER WHEN REGISTERING.  You may encounter issues with the forms if using Explorer or Chrome.

Youth and Adult Volunteers

Adult volunteers (18 years of age by June 1, 2017 or older) sign up here. If you are new to serving with us or haven’t done a Background Check in the last five years, you will need to complete the form and return to Emily Nelson.

Youth volunteers (rising 7th grade for the 2017-18 school year through age 17) sign up here.


Rising 5th and 6th graders (kids going into 5th or 6th grade for the 2017-18 school year.) Please note:

  • Campers in this age category will have extend hours (until 3 p.m.) on two of the days that week. More details to follow.
  • There is a $60 registration fee per child.

Rising 3rd and 4th graders (kids going into 3rd or 4th grade for the 2017-18 school year.)

  • There is a $40 registration fee per child.

Rising 1st and 2nd graders (kids going into 1st for 2nd grade for the 2017-18 school year.)

  • There is a $40 registration fee per child.

4 & 5 year olds and Rising K (kids going into Kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year). Please note:

  • Children must be 4 years old by June 1, 2017
  • There is a $40 registration fee per child.

“Mini” VBS for children (ages 2 & 3 years old) of VBS Volunteers. Please note:

  • Children must be 2 years old by June 1, 2017
  • This program is only for children of our adult VBS volunteers. It is not a drop-off program.
  • There is a $20 registration/supply fee for this program.

Nursery care for children of VBS Volunteers. Please note: this free service is only for children of our adult VBS Volunteers.

U2Charist 7 p.m. March 24

U2Charist 7 p.m. March 24

The Portico campus of Hyde Park United Methodist will host a unique event that will blend U2’s music and the sacrament of Communion at U2Charist 7 p.m. Friday, March 24 in the Community Hall. During the event, the Lakeland-based band Fount will perform U2 music and the clergy of Hyde Park United Methodist will offer the sacrament of Communion.

“When you read the lyrics, a lot of U2’s songs have a spiritual undertone,” explained Jeremy Hearn, member of Fount. “Some U2 songs were inspired by ‘the troubles’ of Northern Ireland. I have personally been there and have experienced firsthand the religious and political tension that is still alive in Belfast, North Ireland. I believe these songs are timeless and will speak to the current tensions and ‘troubles’ we are facing here in our own country.”

Lakeland-based band, Fount.

Lakeland-based band, Fount.

U2Charist is part of the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s “Fourth Friday” for the month of March. Admission to the event is free. An offering will be taken to benefit Love, Inc., a nonprofit that benefits the vulnerable in our city.

The Portico is a gathering space where people come together for conversation, connection and community change. It is committed to enhancing the social, artistic and spiritual fabric of Tampa. The Portico is located in downtown Tampa at 1001 N. Florida Ave. For more information, visit The Portico’s website.

Midweek Message: 10 Other Things You Might Give Up for Lent

Midweek Message: 10 Other Things You Might Give Up for Lent

10 Other Things You Might Give Up for Lent

Dear Lenten Pilgrims,

A recent online, non-scientific survey [link provided below] by Christianity Today revealed the most popular things people give up for Lent: 1) social networking, 2) chocolate, 3) Twitter, 4) alcohol, and 5) chips. I for one am giving up the use of electronic devices at the dinner table, much to the delight of my two daughters. Madelyn is giving up playing games on her smartphone, and Grace is giving up afternoon snacks. I had to convince them that giving up homework was not an appropriate Lenten discipline.

As I’ve thought about it, there are some deeper parts of your life that you might consider giving up for Lent, for the sake of your own spiritual maturity and personal development. In no particular order, and by no means exhaustive, here are some things I thought of that you might want to consider as part of your Lenten journey this year:

1. Give up the need to be right all the time.  

Business author Patrick Lencioni said, “People don’t need to feel like they are right, as much as they need to feel like they’ve been heard.” Yes, claim your voice, assert your convictions, and engage the issues that matter to you. But once you’ve been heard, consider the possibility that you might have something to learn from someone who disagrees with you. That’s often how we learn our most important lessons in life. (James 1:19)

2. Give up your reluctance to ask for help.

It is true that giving up something for Lent requires discipline, will, and self-mastery. But it also requires the recognition that we cannot always be self-sufficient. You are not superhuman. You do not have inexhaustible reserves. Turn to loved ones for support, seek the wise counsel of others, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Psalm 69)

3. Give up your fear of failure.

Mother Theresa said, “God does not call us to be successful; God calls us to be faithful.” You may sometimes gauge your self-worth by what you have achieved and how you have succeeded. You might subconsciously depend on the affirmation of others to feel good about yourself. But your worth does not equal your work, nor are you defined by your failures. Some people live a whole lifetime before they come to realize that. Save yourself the heartache later. Learn it now. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

4. Give up comparing yourself to others.

Forget the Joneses. They are not worth keeping up with. Find contentment in what you have, and who God has created you to be. You do not need the envious admiration of others. You need not be defined by what you do not have. While there is nothing wrong with being self-motivated and goal-oriented, don’t evaluate your life in comparison to others. It’s not worth it.  (James 4:2-3)

5. Give up the need to have things all figured out.


Embrace mystery. Dance with your doubts. Acknowledge that you do not and cannot know it all. Resist the temptation to rationalize the irrational parts of your faith, and recognize that some of the greatest things in life are those things that cannot be explained or fully understood. Things like God’s love for you, and how God is with you even when you don’t believe it. (Romans 11:33-36)

6. Give up your fears of the future.


I get it. These are frightening times for many people. There is great nervousness about the way things are in the world. And I would guess that you are dealing with fears yourself. I have learned over my twenty years of parish ministry that everyone – without exception – has something that they are dealing with. We all have our fears, but we don’t need to be defined by them. For God is a God of hope. (Matthew 6:33-34)

7. Give up anesthetizing yourself to pain and suffering.


The long shadow of suffering is cast in many shades. Like loneliness, grief, abandonment, and betrayal. None of us enjoys going through difficulties, and our instinct is often to numb ourselves from the pain in ways that are actually self-destructive: giving in to addictions, accumulating possessions, pursuing temporal pleasures, and cocooning ourselves from the rest of the world. These might anesthetize us in the short term, but they prevent us from allowing that pain to help us stretch, grow, and trust in God. (Romans 5:3-5)

8. Give up the need to be in control.

This one is at the heart of the season of Lent. It is a reminder that we ultimately are not in control of what happens to us. We cannot control others, and we can hardly claim to have full control of ourselves and our future. Let the Covenant Prayer of Wesley be your guide, to remind you that you are not your own; you belong to God. For we must ultimately surrender our control over to a God who has created us and claimed us from the beginning. (Matthew 16:24-25)

9. Give up the need to make everyone happy.

It’s not like you can, anyway. You may have a knack for understanding what others want from you, but you must also claim your own convictions and understand your limitations. Your job is not to be all things to all people and please everyone you know. God calls you to live a life of integrity, uncompromising in your commitment to Jesus Christ. For God, after all, is the only one you need to please.  (Galatians 1:10)

10. Give up all the non-essential noise in your life.

This may be the toughest thing of all to give up, but it may be the key to a deeply moving Lenten season for you. Your life is inundated by competing voices and blaring noises from the culture around you. Pay attention to your breath. Take walks. Drive without the radio on. Set the cell phone down when you’re at the family table. Watch less television, read more newspapers and books, and look people in the eye when you talk to them. Most of all, pray to God, “Silence all voices but your own.” Turn down the volume of your life, and connect to a God who knows you better than you know yourself. (Psalm 46:10)

Blessings to you on your Lenten journey!


“What to give up for Lent” – Christianity Today

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
Midweek Message: A Guide to Prayer for a Way Forward

Midweek Message: A Guide to Prayer for a Way Forward


Feb. 23, 2017

Dear Hyde Park Family,

“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike?
May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?
Without all doubt, we may.”

— John Wesley, “On Catholic Spirit”

It is likely no surprise to you that the United Methodist Church has hit an impasse on the question of human sexuality and gender identity. The most recent General Conference last May was as contentious as ever, with the denomination at one point on the precipice of schism.

Saving the church from irreparable division was the proposal for The Commission on a Way Forward, composed of 32 clergy and lay people from around the world and across the theological spectrum. They have been charged with discerning consensus on these important matters, which will ultimately guide the Council of Bishops as they seek to lead the church through this impasse. You can read about the purpose of their work here.

Every Annual Conference has been designated with a week to pray for the Commission as it continues its work over the next several months. We have been asked to pray together as a Florida Conference next week, February 26 to March 4, which times perfectly with the next gathering of the Commission from February 27 to March 2 in Atlanta. It is also quite timely that our week of prayer corresponds with the beginning of Lent next Wednesday.

Regardless of your position on this and any other issue that we face as a church, I invite us all to join in prayer throughout the week. To guide you in that process, I have put together a set of daily exercises, which you might choose to follow.


Sunday, February 26: Pray for the Church
I have written this prayer which you might pray at some point today and throughout the week, or you can offer your own for the unity of the church and our discernment of God’s Spirit:

O Holy God,
You are the source of all life and giver of all good and perfect gifts. Through your Son Jesus Christ, and with your Holy Spirit, you have drawn us together to be your church, to be a witness to the world of your glory, to reflect your love, and to convey your grace. We thank you especially for the United Methodist Church, and its ongoing commitment to both social holiness and vital piety.
(Pause for silent reflection on the ways in which you are grateful for what the United Methodist Church has meant in your life.)
We remember that your desire is for us to be in relationships with one another that are life giving and soul renewing. Yet, we have allowed our kinship to other believers to be defined more by our differences than by our commonalities. Forgive us for binary thinking, conditioned in us by a culture beset by winners and losers. Show us the way of love, which is the only way that saves and the only basis for relationships in your kingdom. (Pause for silent reflection on your relationships with others in the church with whom you disagree.)
We pray for your church. We pray for those who have been marginalized by Christians on the basis of their sexual orientation. We pray for a return to Biblical literacy as a standard for discipleship. We pray for a renewal of the church’s witness, that it may not be governed by culture, but a transformer of it. We pray for the people called Methodist, that as your Spirit guides each of us toward perfection in love, we might move closer to holiness in heart and life. (Pause for silent prayer for the United Methodist Church, for gay and lesbian persons and for the strengthening of your own discipleship.)
Over this upcoming week, illuminate my heart through prayer, and guide me in praying for The Commission on a Way Forward. And show me how I might make your love real in ways both significant and small, for the sake of your kingdom.

Monday, February 27: Scripture Reflection
Read Galatians 1-3. This is the text that the Commission will be studying together at the outset of its gathering next week, and we have all been invited to read and reflect on it as well. As you read it today, consider the connections you might make between this epistle and our world today. What do you think is Paul’s central message to the Galatian church? In what ways does the division within that church echo that in our denomination? What is Paul’s remedy for such division?

In particular, reflect on these words. You might even choose to commit them to memory for this week:

You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Now if you belong to Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

Tuesday, February 28: Pray for this Local Church
Read the following Chinese prayer called “For Unity of Christ’s Body,” from No. 564 of our Hymnal:

“Help each of us, gracious God,
to live in such magnanimity and restraint
that the Head of the church may never have cause
to say to any one of us,
‘This is my body, broken by you.’ Amen”

Offer a prayer for this local church, Hyde Park United Methodist. Pray that all people, including LGBTQ persons, might have a warm-hearted, open-minded experience of God’s love in this congregation.

Wednesday, March 1: Ash Wednesday
Attend one of our three Ash Wednesday services: 12:15 p.m. at The Portico campus, 12:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Hyde Park Campus, or 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. During that time of somber reflection and penitence, take time to confess ways that you have contributed to unhealthy divisions of any kind in your relationships, in the community, and in the country.

Thursday, March 2: Fast
This is one of the most prevalent but underutilized spiritual disciplines in the church. Fasting is the temporary suspension of some regular physical experience, in order to renew one’s spiritual focus. You might choose to fast from eating from dusk to dawn today. Or you may choose to fast from some other activity, like watching television or going on the internet. You might even choose a 24-hour fast, from noon today until noon tomorrow. Whatever format you choose, use the time to intentionally center your focus on God’s voice. Listen for what God reveals to you about the nature and mission of the church, and the role God is calling you to play in it.

Friday, March 3: Pray for the Commission
Spend some time praying for the members of the Commission by name, including our own Bishop Ken Carter, who is one of the moderators. Pray for their wisdom and discernment. Pray for the building of relationships among them which are forged by a mutual love for the church and are nurtured by their trust in each other. Pray that their conduct might model the kind of holy conversation that all local churches might follow in discussing polarizing issues. Pray for an openness to new possibilities, and a hope for the future:

Jorge Acevedo; Brian Adkins; Jacques Umembudi Akasa; Tom Berlin; Matt Berryman; Helen Cunanan; David Field; Peter Torio; Grant Hagiya; Aka Dago-Akribi Hortense; Scott Johnson; Jessica LaGrone; Thomas Lambrecht; MyungRae Kim Lee; Julie Hager Love; Mazvita Machinga; Patricia Miller; Mande Guy Muyombo; Eben Nhiwatiwa; Dave Nuckols; Casey Langley Orr; Gregory Palmer; Donna Pritchard; Tom Salsgiver; Robert Schnase; Jasmine Rose Smothers; Leah Taylor; Debra Wallace-Padgett; Rosemarie Wenner; Alice Williams; John Wesley Yohanna; Alfiado S. Zunguza

Moderators: Bishops Ken Carter, Sandra Steiner Ball, and David Yemba.

Saturday, March 4: Personal Prayer
Take time today to offer a prayer that names your own personal connections to the matters that the Commission will be discussing. Pray for the gay and lesbian persons that you know in your life. Pray for those you know with whom you disagree, either in this matter or any other issue the church is facing. Pray for God to reveal ways that you can be proactive in resolving differences, in advocating for justice, and in bringing healing to others.

Conclude the week with the reading (or even the singing) of this hymn:

“I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”

I love thy kingdom, Lord,
the house of thine abode,
the church our blest Redeemer saved
with his own precious blood.

I love thy church, O God.
Her walls before thee stand,
dear as the apple of thine eye,
and graven on thy hand.

For her my tears shall fall;
for her my prayers ascend;
to her my cares and toils be given,
till toils and cares shall end.

Beyond my highest joy
I prize her heavenly ways:
her sweet communion, solemn vows,

her hymns of love and praise.
Sure as thy truth shall last,
to Zion shall be given
the brightest glories earth can yield,
and brighter bliss of heaven.


Grace and Peace,

Magrey CC

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

“Thank you” from a Good Samaritan Scholarship Recipient

“Thank you” from a Good Samaritan Scholarship Recipient

Good Samaritan Mission Ministers to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of farm worker families and those at or below the poverty level. The mission offers multiple outreach services, including a scholarship program. The scholarship is funded by the Hyde Park United Methodist Congregation, our Missions Committee & the Free Spirit Bible Class.

Below is a great story shared with us by Diane Dykema showing the stewardship of our support of the Good Samaritan Scholarship Fund:

Good Evening Jennifer Daly,
My name is Adriana Yanez and I am in my second semester at Hillsborough Community College. I was a recipient of the Good Samaritan Scholarship last April and since then I have been awarded part of my generous scholarship in the Fall.

I would like to update you and this wonderful organization of my progress at HCC and on the amazing opportunities I have received. I received an overall GPA of a 4.0 for my Fall 2016 semester and I became an active student in the Honors program. I have attached my transcript and my Honors director’s contact information if there are any questions or comments regarding my experience in the college so far.

If there are any requirements or updates that I need to provide to ensure the second half of my scholarship gets transferred to my HCC account for the Spring semester, please notify me and I will be glad to do so. And last but certainly not least, please notify me if the organization is having any upcoming events or reunions in which I can partake in! I would be extremely excited to share my experiences with my donors and this positive organization.
With care and gratitude,
Adriana Yanez

Adriana is an exceptional student who has big dreams to make a positive impact in the world.  She graduated high school with a 3.7 GPA, was in the top 3% of her graduating class and was Vice President of her high school’s National Honor Society. She is pursuing a career in radiation therapy to, in her own words, “work alongside individuals fighting for a better understanding towards the body’s particular conditions, cancer in particular.”  She seeks to live out her Christian faith by serving others in need through her career.

Homeless Point-in-Time Count Feb. 23

Homeless Point-in-Time Count Feb. 23

At Hyde Park United Methodist, our vision includes transforming lives and healing our city. One of the ways we do this is by providing support to our homeless community.

Bring healing by volunteering your time or personal hygiene items to the Hillsborough Homeless Point in Time Count Feb. 23.

From the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative Website:

The annual Homeless Count in Hillsborough County is coordinated by the Tampa/Hillsborough County Continuum of Care (CoC), led by the Tampa Homeless Initiative in conjunction with community partners. The data, collected through a short survey and observation during the Homeless Count, provides a Point-In-Time (PIT) ‘snapshot’ as to what the homeless population in our community looks like during a single, 24-hour period to help community planners better understand, through demographic information, who is homeless, why, and for how long.

You can support the count in one of three ways:

  1. Volunteer to be a part of the count on Feb. 23
  2. Donate travel-sized items to be given to homeless persons who participate in the survey: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Sanitary Wipes (Baby Wipes), Deodorant, Ponchos and Combs/Brushes
  3. Make a monetary contribution toward the initiative

Learn more or sign up now on the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative Website.

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