Dear Hyde Park Family,

By the time you read this, I will be in Orlando at the latest gathering of the Florida Annual Conference, along with your other clergy, your lay delegates, and about a thousand other United Methodists from around the state. It is always an important time for us to reconnect with colleagues and friends, sharing the highs and lows of life and ministry over the past year.

Sometimes, the conversations that take place in the hallways of Conference are as fruitful and cathartic as what happens in the main sessions. These moments remind us that pastors everywhere need the prayers of the people they serve. So, perhaps you can take some time today and in upcoming weeks to keep the six of us in your prayers, as well as any other pastors that you know.

I offer the following prayer to you, which you may use to spur your own prayerful imagination. Writing this prayer and offering it you remind me of the way Charles Finney described the power of a praying community: “Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.”

A PRAYER FOR PASTORS

Gracious God,

We thank you for your church, the living embodiment of Christ, empowered by your Spirit to reach a hurting world. We thank you for the women and men who serve as clergy and lay preachers, remembering that theirs is a holy calling, for the work of challenging, nurturing and ordering the life of your people. You have composed a rich and diverse covenantal communion, displaying a wide range of skills and passions, from all walks and seasons of life.

We thank you for those who are newly licensed, commissioned, and ordained for ministry, who are entering the tender years of their work.

We thank you for those who have entered or are nearing retirement, for their long years of service. May they continue to serve your Kingdom in renewed ways, contributing their energies and expertise for years to come.

We thank you for all those clergy persons and clergy spouses who have died in the past year, joining the great cloud of witness that accompanies us. May their ongoing legacy be a continued blessing to us, exemplifying faithfulness in service and witness.

We thank you for your presence during transition, acknowledging clergy who are moving to new churches and for congregations receiving new pastors. Bless all spouses and families impacted by these changes, and grant to all people strength for the journey ahead, and a confidence that your Kingdom will be built by the best people serving in the right places.

Even amid our gratitude, we acknowledge hardship. We recognize that the journey is often difficult for those who pursue your call. We pray for those who are dealing with physical, relational, emotional, mental, or financial strains. Grant them courage to face their limitations, wisdom to make the tough choices, supportive loved ones to surround them in their darkest days, renewed strength for their moments of fatigue, and the willingness to make necessary changes toward health and wholeness.

We pray for pastors whose current spiritual state is likened to a dry, parched wilderness. For those whose difficult years in ministry have sapped them of joy, creativity, and innovation, we ask that you restore their energies and inspire them to new ways of serving your church. Buoy them with hope, fill them with optimism and holy humor, and remind them that “the joy of the Lord is their strength.”

We pray for those struggling to find adequate balance between the demands of leadership and their responsibilities to family and self-care. Grant them the ability to discern healthy choices, prioritize what is most important, and to tend to those areas of life that nourish their souls and nurture their relationships.

Renew within your pastors a holy passion for the Scriptures. Open their eyes to new interpretive possibilities, and fill them with new zeal for its preaching, its teaching, and its embodiment through their example. May they fall in love once again with the beauty of language, and its power to name and sustain our commitment to be your people.

And in this local congregation, thank you for Magrey, Sally, Vicki, Kim, Justin, and Debbie. Thank you that they have been reappointed to serve here for another year, and bless them in their ongoing work among us. We give you thanks for all you have done in and through the faithfulness of the clergy and lay people of Hyde Park United Methodist throughout the years. May we continue to serve as the living expression of your love, made real for the world to see.

May all of us be led by the one whom you sent for our sake, Jesus the Christ, who is the head of the church, and in whose name we pray, Amen.

Grace and Peace,

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


STARTING THIS SUNDAY: PICTURES OF JOY!

This Sunday we start a four-part series on the book of Philippians, Paul’s most joyful letter. We will discover that a life of true joy comes at the intersection of God’s gracious work in our lives, with our willingness to participate in obedience.

Now, here’s where you come in! Every day starting Sunday, we have a key word that is related to the upcoming worship service, and you are invited to submit pictures on social media that you think connect to each of those words, using the hashtag #hydeparkumc. The preachers will use those images you submit to interpret the Bible passages, and your pictures may even be used as part of the sermon!

For a list of the keywords, visit this page.


 

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