Dear Hyde Park Disciples,

From its inception, The Portico campus has presented us with unique opportunities to connect to the spiritual but not religious residents of downtown Tampa. When we began restoring the historic chapel on the downtown campus, we knew that it would be a place for contemplation and meditation. But we couldn’t have foreseen that for one resident across the street this restoration would be a new beginning for her faith.

Silvia Hale has lived in Vista 400, a community for senior adults, since 2011. Located directly across from The Portico, she had a bird’s eye view of the new construction. As soon as the Chapel opened for meditation in 2015, she went. Growing up, Silvia never gave religion or Jesus much thought. She had never attended church. But in that restored Chapel, she found an expression of faith and spirituality that drew her in.

Through the meditations, Silvia met Justin LaRosa. As someone in recovery, Silvia was intrigued by the thought of a pastor who was in recovery too. As they talked more, Silvia shared that she had never been baptized. According to her, “Justin jumped on that!” They began talking about what baptism meant and would mean for Silvia.

In December 2016, while worship was still happening on the second floor of the Admin Building, Silvia was baptized.

Silvia continues to be a vibrant part of the Portico community. She attends Tuesday meditation and the spiritual discussion afterwards. She continues to grow spiritually, “And hopefully it spills out into my everyday life.”
As she reflected on this journey to faith, Silvia said of The Portico, “It’s a wonderful community—I see nothing but good things coming out of this. I see tremendous potential for The Portico.”

You are a part of Silvia’s story too. Your financial generosity and support for all the ministries of Hyde Park United Methodist continue to transform lives and Make God’s Love Real.

Grace and peace,

The Portico Community

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