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

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