Midweek Message: Duck Hunter Shoots Angel

Midweek Message: Duck Hunter Shoots Angel

Dear Hyde Park Family,

It’s hard to explain to you what the play Duck Hunter Shoots Angel is about without giving away all the fun. The title alone should be enough to suggest that if you watch the production at The Portico on April 27-28, you will walk away thinking you’ve never quite seen anything like it. That’s assuming you are still able to think straight after laughing so hard.

It’s a story by Mitch Albom about two cheerfully clueless Alabama duck hunters who think they’ve shot an angel and the sensationalist tabloid newspaper chasing the story. What results is a chuckle-inducing culture clash, along lines of race, geography, religion, sibling rivalries and tawdry journalism. It will show you how to laugh at the many ways our stereotypes inhibit us from learning about ourselves and each other. And it will remind us that some of our most important lessons come from the most surprising places.

Oh, and I should mention that I’m in the play.

My character is “Lester,” the gruff, go-getting editor of the tabloid publication willing to do anything to spin out a good story in order to increase his audience, even if it means stretching the truth.

I would like to think I was not typecast for the role.

I hope you’ll consider watching the production. It’s a staged reading, meaning actors perform with scripts in hand but with full blocking, costumes and a minimalist set. The performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28. Tickets are $30, limited to 99 seats each night, and can be purchased through this link.

It may feel like a far cry from the kind of conventional ministries churches like ours offer. However, a key part of The Portico’s mission is to be a conduit through which the arts can speak to social issues. Not only does the content of the play spark insights about the human condition and our relationships with each other, a portion of the proceeds will also support Metropolitan Ministries. We are honored to work with Stageworks Theatre and their talented cast and crew to offer this wonderful event.

So join us for a time of laughter, with a whole lot of heart!


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

P.S. If you have any difficulty with the link, please contact Andrea Graham, the Stageworks producer for this production, at grahamandi@aol.com (phone 813.784.6832) and she will assist you.

Vacation Bible School 2018

Vacation Bible School 2018

June 25-29, 2018 9 a.m. – Noon*

Join us for Shipwrecked! Rescued by Jesus. Spark Imagination With Faith-Building Fun at Shipwrecked Vacation Bible School! Venture onto an uncharted island where kids survive and thrive. Anchor kids in the truth that Jesus carries them through life’s storms.


Resources for Dealing with Gun Violence

Resources for Dealing with Gun Violence

We join in sympathy and grief with our fellow Floridians in the wake of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida.

>> As people of faith, we are called to respond. Together, we are called to make a difference, in this broken and hurting world.

By the request of our Bishop Ken Carter, we read the names of the 17 individuals who were killed in the shooting during services on Sunday, Feb. 18.

>> Bishop Carter has set a goal for Florida United Methodists to send 5,000 letters to government officials as a plea for legislation to end gun violence. Let’s join with other United Methodist around the state and make a difference together. Please let us know how many letters you sent and to whom by completing this form. Many thanks!

Learn more at 5000letters.com

Here is a sample letter for you to download, customize and mail:

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Marco Rubio
317 Hart Bldg,
Washington, DC 20510

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Representative Kathy Castor
4144 N Armenia Ave.
Tampa, FL 33607

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Here are links to email our government officials:

Want to contact your state representative or senator?


A resolution titled A Call to End Gun Violence was adopted by our most recent General Conference in 2016.

What the Bible and The United Methodist Church Say:
The prophet Micah casts a hopeful vision of the future where nations will “beat their swords into iron plows, and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Micah 4:3) Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

The United Methodist Church urges “congregations to advocate at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence.” Read more details about what can be done.


Emily’s Youth Message – No Perfect Parent

Emily’s Youth Message – No Perfect Parent

No matter how great a parent you are, how many books you read on the subject of parenting, how many conferences you attend, and how much you pour into your child’s life, there is no recipe for perfect parenting.

There are amazing, godly couples who have a child in prison. Pastors have children who are lukewarm toward God or outright agnostic. Did they do something wrong in how they parented? Rather than striving to be a “perfect” parent, how about striving to be a godly parent—and leave the outcome to the One who made your tween/teen.

There will always be people whose tweens/teens are more obedient, more compliant, more joyful, and more “perfect” than ours. Our job is to be faithful to the task we have been given: to raise the tween or teen under our roof as well as we can, and trust God with the outcome. There is only so much influence a parent can have; we are not sovereign over our tweens/teens—only God is.

In her article “The Myth of the Perfect Parent” Leslie Leyland Fields wrote, “It is faith rather than formula, grace rather than guarantees, steadfastness rather than success that bridges the gap between our own parenting efforts, and what, by God’s grace, our children grow up to become.”

The quest for perfection goes back to the beginning of time. We want to be everything to everyone—the perfect friend, the perfect wife or husband, the perfect employee, and yes, the perfect parent. Of course, it’s normal to desire to be loved and to belong, but striving for perfection is a goal that will never be met.
When we hold unattainable expectations about our children, we are bound to be let down and feel like we have failed. If you struggle with this feeling, consider spending some time reflecting on what your expectations are for yourself as a parent. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Am I expecting to never make mistakes? Does this line up with God’s Word? (See Romans 3:23)
• Are my expectations realistic?
• How can I revise my expectations of myself?

The apostle Paul warned Jesus’ disciples about trying to “think more of oneself” than is necessary. He said, “I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind” (Romans 12:3). Paul encouraged excellence, but not perfection.
Consider what Gigi Graham Tchividjian said about perfectionism:

“We don’t have to be perfect to be a blessing. We are asked only to be real, trusting in His perfection to cover our imperfection, knowing that one day we will finally be all that Christ saved us for and wants us to be.”
Meditate on God’s view of what He expects of you. Ask Him to help you set realistic expectations of yourself as a parent, and to rest in the fact that at the end of the day, you have done enough. Not only that, you are enough. Parenting will be a lot more fun when you let the only One who is perfect have a bit more control!
Raising tweens/teens is not easy, and without realizing it, we can become swept up in trying to control how they turn out. I am praying for you as you consider this topic this month, that God will release you from trying to be more than what He expects you to be, and that you will trust in His perfection.

My encouragement is that you will embrace this idea as you press on in your parenting. God does not require you to be flawless . . . only faithful.

I am here to help and am always praying.

Click here to check out this week’s online parenting class.

Ash Wednesday Services Feb. 14

Ash Wednesday Services Feb. 14

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter used for personal reflection and spiritual growth.

Join us for one of three services on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14. Each service will include powerful Scripture, moving music, a practical homily and the traditional imposition of ashes.  All are welcome.

• 12:15 p.m. The Portico campus Chapel
• 12:15 p.m. Hyde Park campus Chapel
• 6:30 p.m. Hyde Park campus Sanctuary

Children and families are welcome in every service, but childcare will be available at the 6:30 p.m. service at the Hyde Park campus. Learn more about our Children’s Ministries.

The season of Lent continues with our Lenten worship series, “Embracing the Uncertain,” written by our senior pastor, the Rev. Magrey deVega. Learn more about our Sunday services.

Lent 2018  //  Feb. 18 – March 25

Lent 2018 // Feb. 18 – March 25

This Lent, we invite you to go deeper.

Acknowledge those fragile, tenuous parts of your life, rather than run away from them.

Surrender your limitations over to God’s limitless love, and offer your toughest questions to a God whose faithfulness will sustain you.

In other words, embrace your uncertainties.

Embracing the Uncertain is the name of our Lenten series this year.

Each week, we will explore a different way that life feels uncertain, based on a different biblical encounter with Jesus in the gospels:

  • Feb. 18: Embrace the uncertainty of doubt, through a father’s desperate plea: “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”
  • Feb. 25: Embrace the uncertainty of forgiveness, through Peter’s question about how many times we are to forgive.
  • March 4: Embrace the uncertainty of worry, as Jesus teaches the crowd to consider the lilies and the sparrows.
  • March 11: Embrace the uncertainty of mortality, through the grieving of Mary and Martha over the death of their brother Lazarus.
  • March 18: Embrace the uncertainty of surrender, through the powerful transformation of a sinner named Zacchaeus.
  • March 25: Embrace the uncertainty of obedience, through the poignant prayer of Jesus himself, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Each week, this series will invite you to acknowledge, and ultimately embrace, an area of your life filled with uncertainty.

And together, we will experience hope and new life through the certainty of the resurrection on Easter.

Easter Sunday is April 1. Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus with us at 6:30, 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m.

Pin It on Pinterest