Dear Hyde Park Family,

 As we start a new year together, I want to share some words of celebration with you about the church, including some opportunities for you to make God’s love real.

 1. Amazing Year-End Giving

Because of your financial generosity, and the careful stewardship of our resources by our staff and ministry leaders, we ended 2021 with a sizable surplus. This has allowed our Finance Committee and Board of Trustees to address our aging Sanctuary HVAC system, which will finally be replaced without incurring any expenditure from our capital reserve. Thank you!

 2. A Remarkable Stewardship Campaign

We had one of our most successful generosity campaigns in recent memory, with the highest total of dollars pledged ever, including 145 families who committed to an increase in their giving over last year. At last Sunday’s Church Conference, we approved a budget that will be supported by 85% of pledges, the highest percentage of support we have ever had.

 3. Open Arms and Cold Weather Shelter

We continue to serve unhoused persons in our community by serving meals and meeting other needs through Open Arms. To volunteer, click here. In addition, the county has used The Portico Community Hall as a cold night shelter for a few nights for unhoused persons during this current cold stretch. There will be a number of very cold nights in the coming days, and we need additional volunteers. If you would like to inquire about helping, please click here.

4. A New Youth Director!

We are grateful to announce Jodi McBryant as our new youth director! Read our recent Hyde Park eNews to learn more about her, and we are eager for her first day on the job on February 14. Welcome, Jodi!

5. Dunbar Elementary Book Drive

A year ago, we raised and donated over 300 books to the children of our partner school, Dunbar Elementary. We are grateful for those who have donated over 100 books so far this year, and there is still time for you to make an impact on the literacy and education of a child in our community. Simply click here for information on how to order swiftly and easily a donated book to a child. 

6. Homeless Memorial Service

Last Monday, we gathered again at The Portico in the presence of the Homeless Jesus sculpture to remember the over 90 unhoused persons in our community (that we are aware of) who died in the past year. It was a moving reminder that every person has a name and a story, and is worthy of dignity and remembrance.

7. Pilgrimage to the Legacy Museum

Last November 16, we partnered with local civic and religious leaders and the Equal Justice Initiative to remember Robert Johnson, an African-American gentleman who was lynched in our city in 1934. Soil from the location of that lynching was commemorated in that ceremony, and will be delivered to The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama on March 4, to be added to soil sites from around the country. To join in that journey, contact Chalette Davis.

8. Facilities Task Force

A specially elected team of people have been studying our facilities and properties, with an eye toward proposing an updated master plan for both campuses later this year. We are excited about all they have learned and discovered so far, and look forward to sharing updates and with the congregation and soliciting feedback over the coming months.

9. Robust Worship Attendance

Since unveiling our new worship schedule and venue, we have experienced robust worship attendance, with weekly attendance returning to and even exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Our online service continues to grow with more consistent attendance and a wider reach to persons near and far. And last Christmas Eve, close to 2,500 experience the good news of the birth of Christ.

10. Refugee Support and Disaster Relief

Last Thanksgiving, you provided food supplies to fill nearly 100 donation baskets to newly relocated refugee families in our area. And we give thanks for your generous response to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to aid with victims of the terrible tornadoes in the middle of our country back in December.

Whew! What a list! And this is all thanks to you, the grace of God, and the power of the Spirit among us. These are reasons for a joyful anticipation of the year ahead.

Thank you!



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