Dear Hyde Park Family,
Starting Monday, June 13, I will begin a six-week period of study leave and renewal. It will be a time away from daily ministry at Hyde Park United Methodist, enabling me to return on August 1 with renewed clarity and energy for the long haul of ministry.
I am grateful for our Staff-Parish Relations Committee, who provided similar leaves for pastors Vicki, Sally, and Justin in 2019. I was approved for leave back in 2020, but for obvious reasons, I have had to delay that time until this year. Such periods of renewal are a provision in our Book of Discipline, which encourages clergy to have several weeks of spiritual growth and renewal every four years. (Paragraph 351.2)
A “THEATER” TO THE WORLD
During my time away, I will be exploring concepts of Christian character in the context of live theater. It is based on the work of Swiss theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, who equated the work of God and the formation of Christian character as that of director and actor. In the New Testament, Paul encouraged the Christians in Corinth to form holy character because “we have become a spectacle to the world,” using the Greek word “theatron“.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Florida Conference Passing the Torch Fund, I will be spending two of my six weeks traveling to London and New York with Grace and Madelyn, attending seven theatrical productions:
- London’s West End: Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, The Glass Menagerie.
- Broadway: The Music Man, Hadestown, Macbeth, American Buffalo.
Grace and Madelyn will be my conversation partners and co-writers of material that will be the basis for a worship series sometime next year, exploring concepts of Christian character through the lens of popular stage and theater productions.
I look forward to this time away for inspiration, study, rest, and renewal. Thank you for your prayers.
THIS SUMMER: HYDE PARK GOES TO HOLLYWOOD!
In the meantime, my absence doesn’t have to mean yours from the church! You can support my time away by maintaining your connection with the exciting ministries, programs, and worship services we are planning. Vacation Bible School is just around the corner, and our youth program has some wonderful upcoming missions opportunities. In worship, Sally and Justin will be preaching an exciting lineup of services that share spiritual insights illuminated by some recent popular films:
June 26: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (Sally)
July 3: “Come from Away” (Sally)
July 10: “The Batman” (Justin)
July 17: “Belfast” (Justin)
July 24: “Encanto” (Sally)
July 31: “Spiderman: No Way Home” (Justin)
As always, even if you are traveling, be sure to join us for worship online every Sunday morning, or through our YouTube page throughout the week. And you’ll definitely want to hear our District Superintendent Emily Hotho preach on July 19. She is a dynamite preacher and will bring a great word of inspiration to us.
I wish you and yours a restful and re-energizing summer season. May this be a time of renewed connection with God and the church, all summer long.
Grace and Peace,
THIS SUNDAY: PENTECOST!
Join us this Sunday as we celebrate the birthday of the church, and the moment in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit touched the earth and created the first Christian community. See you Sunday!
MIDWEEK MESSAGE TO RETURN IN AUGUST
In lieu of my study leave, I will be taking a break from the Midweek over the next few months. I look forward to resuming this message toward the end of the summer.