Dear Hyde Park Family,

Sitting at my desk, staring at the stack of books awaiting my eager attention this summer:

“Bid Our Jarring Conflicts Cease: A Wesleyan Theology and Praxis of Church Unity” by David Field. My continuing work with “the broad center” of the denomination has garnered this book recommendation from many in the group. After reading a fifth of the book this past week, I can now see why. Dr. Field calls the denomination to a renewed emphasis on personal and social holiness, which can best be achieved through an embrace of the church’s diversity. This book already feels like it will have staying power in my ministry.

“The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. When Rev. Michelle Shrader was our guest preacher two weeks ago (view the sermon here), she based part of her sermon on this book, which is a conversation between two of the most influential spiritual leaders of our time. Those of you who have already read the book have affirmed how good it is.

“The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness” by Paula Poundstone. I have been a fan of this comedian for a long time, more recently through her guest stints on National Public Radio’s Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me! Her latest book details her hilarious self-immersion into the great lengths people will go to find happiness. It’s a timely read given our current worship series on joy, and so far, this book is quintessential Paula.

“The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals” by Chris McChesney and Sean Covey. Justin LaRosa brought this book to my attention and shared it with some of the staff leadership. Some in the church have applied its principles to their business, reorienting the way they work toward achieving measurable goals. We will be exploring how we use the book together here in the office.

“Not in God’s Name” by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and “Making Sense of the Troubles” by David McKittrick. I have been invited to participate in a small cohort of Florida United Methodist clergy that has been studying issues of reconciliation and justice. Part of that experience will be a trip to Northern Ireland, sponsored by the Marcy Fellowship and the Candler School of Theology, and led by our friend Rev. Gary Mason. Preparations for that trip include these two books. “Making Sense of the Trouble” offers a comprehensive history of the long, brutal conflict in Northern Ireland, and “Not in God’s Name” explores the role that unhealthy theology can play in propagating violence.

I realize the list doesn’t include any fiction, which I hope to remedy at some point. In fact, if you have a book that has captivated you over the past year or a book you are hoping to get to this summer, fiction or non-fiction, let me know!

Happy Summer, and Happy Reading!

Grace and Peace,

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

Thank you for the impressive volume of pictures you all have been submitting as part of Joy! daily picture challenge. The words below are connected to the scripture text for Sunday, July 2 from Philippians 4:4-9. Find pictures online or around you that support these words, and submit them via social media using the hashtag #hydeparkumc.

June 23 – Rejoice
June 24 – Prayer
June 25 – Gratitude
June 26 – Worry
June 27 – True
June 28 – Gentleness
June 29 – Pure
June 30 – Praise

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