Dear Hyde Park Family,

In case you missed it in worship last Sunday, the big announcement in my sermon was that we are starting a year-long visioning process in the church that will clarify the long-term strategic vision for this congregation. I invite you to watch the whole sermon here.

It was 25 years ago that Jim Harnish arrived to be the senior pastor that God had called to help this church discern its mission and vision. Shortly after his arrival, he and a gifted team of lay people called the 21st Century Task Force began a process of discerning this church’s mission, vision, and core values, and constructed a plan that would revitalize our programming, facilities, and witness to the world. Years later, we did that work again, in the form of the Acts 2 Task Force, which laid the groundwork for our discipleship pathway and the ministry at The Portico.

It is time to claim God’s vision for this church again.

Because when you think about it, much has changed in our world over these past 25 years. Our culture views religion with great skepticism at best, or downright disdain at worst. GenXers and Millennials together make up most of the population today, and bring with them an attitude of indifference toward the church. And the strategies that might have worked for the church in the world twenty-five years ago may be marginally effective today.

So, on October 1, at our annual church conference, this church voted to ask God to open our eyes to our future.

We approved the start of an intensive, comprehensive visioning process that will be led by a team of fourteen lay people, Rev. Kim Uchimura, and myself. It’s a team that will spend hours of time, with multiple meetings per month for a year or more, working together to help us all listen to God, to each other, and to the community around us.

Scott Meckley, Co-Chair
Cheryl Parrish, Co-Chair
Tom Aitken
Doretha Edgecomb
Eric Adams
Corry Maguire
Whitney Smith
David Burns
Nic Glover
Mary Lou Compton
Ericka Franz
Jess Johnson
Keather Snyder
Ted Kempton
Magrey deVega
Kim Uchimura

We will do a complete assessment of our programs, ministries, personnel, properties, and facilities, and then construct a long-term strategic plan for church-wide approval next year. Together, we will implement the plan and shape the future God has for us.

Your participation in this process will be critical. The team may be asking you to respond to a comprehensive congregational survey over the next few months. It is likely you will be invited to participate in a feedback group, or a listening session, at the beginning and at the end of this process.

So here’s your first assignment. If someone were to write a headline about this church 25 years from now, what do you think that headline would say? If a newspaper, or TV anchor, or online journalist were to write a headline about Hyde Park United Methodist Church, what do you imagine it might say?

Share that headline with the team by emailing it to, or write in on your connection card in worship on Sunday, or simply send it via social media using the hashtag #HydeParkUMC.

Second, please be in prayer for this process, every step of the way. Pray for the members of the vision team, the full engagement by the congregation, and that we will all be attentive to the Spirit throughout the whole process. In fact, if you are interested in being part of a special team whose sole task will be to offer targeted prayers related to specific aspects of the visioning process along the way, please let me know.

These are exciting and critical days to be the church, as we call out to God to open our eyes and claim our future together.

Grace and Peace,

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

With Hurricane Irma’s arrival a month ago, we needed to cancel worship on September 10. That, of course, means a Sunday without our usual collection of tithes and offerings, so we are grateful for all those who can catch up on their pledged financial commitments, or even give a little extra to help cover what would otherwise have been contributed as loose plate, non-pledged offering. Thank you, as always, for your faithful and diligent support of the mission of the church.

I will be traveling with a group of clergy to Northern Ireland from Oct. 16 to 23, to study peace and reconciliation with Rev. Gary Mason. I appreciate prayers for our safe travels, and for our families who remain while we are gone. I will be resuming the Midweek Message on Thursday, Nov. 2.


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