Dear Hyde Park Family,

Our church is joining the global efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus, protect those most vulnerable to disease, and mitigate undue stress on our medical systems. We have decided to suspend all on-campus programming, including worship and all other activities, until further notice.

Starting Wednesday, the Hyde Park campus will be closed to the public, and our staff will be working remotely. Programs and events at The Portico Campus are also suspended, but The Portico Café remains open for now. For the latest real-time updates and information, visit our website, or email your questions to info@hydeparkumc.org.

As I shared in my sermon last Sunday, this time of uncertainty provides an opportunity for us to both remember and demonstrate what makes Hyde Park United Methodist such a special church. It is not about bricks and mortar, or a full slate of onsite programming or outward appearances alone. Instead, it is your heart and mine, filled with a love for God and others, that serves as a beacon of hope for the world.

In other words, you and I can still demonstrate what is best about being the church, even while we are temporarily apart. Using the seven spiritual practices of our Discipleship Pathway, here are practical ways for you to grow deeper in your faith and wider in your sharing of God’s love:

Worship:

  • Join us online on our website or Facebook Live for live streamed services every Sunday at 9:30 and 11 a.m.
  • Starting Thursday, the clergy team will take turns offering live a brief time of prayer, scripture reading, and reflection every morning, Monday through Friday, on Facebook Live.

Small Groups:

  • We encourage your small group to stay connected and studying together, especially if you are part of the Bible Project. We encourage you to meet via email, Facebook or Zoom conference call.
  • Our Bible Project Facebook page can be a way for you to stay current on the readings and exchange ideas with one another.

Service:

  • Pay attention to the needs of people around you, especially those who are most vulnerable.
  • Be extra kind and patient with others, since they may be just as jittery as you.

Give Generously:

  • Keeping up with your financial contributions will be immensely helpful to the church during these unsteady times. You can give securely through our website.
  • Streamline your giving by setting up automatic electronic funds transfer, removing the need to write a check each week. Sign up with this form.

Read Scripture:

  • It is serendipitous that we are doing The Bible Project 2020 this year, as it gives us a way to be connected to each other through the practice of reading the Scripture every day.
  • Podcasts will continue to be uploaded every Monday morning, and the daily devotional and other resources can be found at bibleproject2020.com.

Invitation:

  • Does someone you know need a word of encouragement or hope? Share with them links to our worship service last Sunday, and invite them to join us online (hydeparkumc.org/live.)

Prayer:

  • Let us know what prayer concerns and pastoral needs you may have. Regulations from various hospitals may prohibit us from being able to visit you in the hospital, but we can pray for you and stay in contact with your family for updates. Share your prayer concerns through our website form.
    Finally, join us in reading and praying the words of Psalm 91 every day for the next 91 days.

Last week, Rev. Kathy Conner invited us and other area churches to join them in this effort. She and other clergy serving in Africa in 2014 during the deadly Ebola outbreak began reading Psalm 91 for 91 days. In the week of the 91st day, the New York Times reported that the Ebola virus was “finished” in the epicenter of Liberia, much to the amazement of health officials.

Now, more than ever, it is good to be the church.

Grace and Peace,

Magrey

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

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