Dear Hyde Park Family,

With Advent starting this Sunday, it is the official start of the new Christian liturgical year. We look forward to a fresh arrival of Jesus Christ in our lives, and anticipate all that God will be doing in and through this church throughout the upcoming year.

So, in that spirit of anticipation, today’s Midweek Message is a sneak peek into an exciting year of worship in 2024:

2024 Worship Series

You are Not Alone: Spiritual Insights for Creating Community

January 7 to February 11

We crave connection with one another, along with healthy, life-giving relationships that enable us to live fully as God intends it. This series will explore various kinds of human connection and discover spiritual insights for helping us have healthier friendships and families, and a stronger social fabric.

January 7                       “You are Not Alone”                                       Genesis 2:15-25

January 14                    “Baptized into Community”                               Mark 4:1-11

January 21                     “Stronger Families”                                  Ephesians 5:21-33

January 28                     “Stronger Friendships”                         Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

February 4                     “A Stronger Social Fabric”                         Romans 12:9-21

 

 

In the Shadow of the Cross: Joining Jesus on the Road to Calvary

February 14 to March 24

Lent is a time of introspection and obedience. Each Sunday, we will center on various aspects of our lives that we should surrender to God, and exchange them for the cross. We will remember that Jesus not only died on the cross in our place, he showed us how to take up the cross and die to ourselves, so that we can experience the new life and transformation of Easter.

February 14                   Ashes to Ashes                                   Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

February 18                   How to Be Temptation Tough                         Mark 1:9-15

February 25                   Losing Life to Gain It                                          Mark 8:31-38

March 3                           The Tables Have (Over)turned                      John 2:13-22

March 10                        Preferring to Stay in the Dark                        John 3:14-21

March 17                       What Goes Down Will Come Up               John 12:20-33

March 24                       From Hosanna to Crucify Him                      Mark 11:1-11

March 31                       Easter Sunday: From Death to Life!              Mark 16:1-8

 

Life’s Highs and Lows: Navigating the Landscapes of the Soul

April 7 to May 12

From one day to the next, even one moment to the next, it can feel like going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. It is no surprise that the Bible is filled with numerous landscape images that depict the varieties of human experience. This series explores the various biblical settings that describe aspects of being human, and encourages us to trust in God and seek the companionship of others along the way.

April 7               Mountains: Moments of Celebration                              Psalm 121

April 14             Valleys: Seasons of Loss and Grief                                       Psalm 23

April 21             Deserts: Times of Loneliness and Anxiety          Psalm 107:1-9

April 28             Skies: Times of Hope and Promise                    1 Kings 18:42-46

May 5                 Rivers: Places of Refreshment and Renewal                   Psalm 1

May 12              Roads: Strength for the Journey Ahead         Psalm 119:27-40

May 19               The Power of the Spirit (Pentecost Sunday)           Acts 2:1-15

 

Hard to Believe: Essential But Challenging Aspects of the Faith

May 26 to June 23

The Christian faith is filled with many wondrous propositions, each of which stretch our thinking and remind us that God is beyond our ability to fully comprehend them. At the same time, these ideas can be so challenging that they prompt moments of skepticism, and even disbelief. Each of these Sundays explores a different, central aspect of the Christian faith and unpacks it using the resources of Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason, enabling us to embrace these essential tenets with a refreshed ability to believe.

May 26              The Trinity: How Can Three Equal One?

June 2                Human and Divine: How Could Jesus Be Both?

June 9                Qualities of God: All Present, Knowing, and Powerful?

June 16              Suffering and Evil: The Impossible Chess Match

June 23             Prayer: What Good Does it Do?

 

Voices of Inspiration: Great Lives that Light Our Way

June 30 to August 4

The history of the church is filled with luminaries of the faith, who reveal aspects of holy living that strengthen and encourage us. Each Sunday we will not just remember the story of their lives; we will lean into their example, and explore how we can carry on their legacy through the way we live.

June 30             Dietrich Bonhoeffer

July 7                 Mother Theresa

July 14               Howard Thurman

July 21               Mahalia Jackson

July 28               Mary McLeod Bethune

August 4            Oscar Romero

 

Branching Out: Our Place in the Faith Family Tree

August 11 to 25

As United Methodists, we recognize that we are part of a grander connection throughout the world, with people of faith beyond United Methodism and Christianity. This series explores “where we fit” in the family tree of Christian denominations, how we relate to people of other religions, and even our posture of humble witness and profession with people who are irreligious or formerly religious.

August 11        The Catholic Spirit: Our Relationship with Other             Denominations

August 18        Outside Christianity: Our Relationship with Other Faith Traditions

August 25         Out on a Limb: Our Relationship with Non-Believers

 

Foundations for the Future: Celebrating Our 125th Anniversary

September 1 to 15

In 1899, a group of 30 people from First Methodist in Tampa crossed the Hillsborough River to begin meeting in a two-room schoolhouse at the corner of Platt and Magnolia. 125 years later, we are living into a legacy that has proclaimed the good news of Jesus and built the kingdom of God for generations. This three-part worship series celebrates the grace of God and the history of our church, and points us toward an exciting future for generations to come.

September 1                 The Church’s One Foundation

September 8                 Making God’s Leave Real: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

September 15               I Love to Tell the Story: Our 125th Anniversary Celebration

 

Built to Last: Becoming the Church God Intends

September 22 to October 27

A natural and important follow-up to our 125th Anniversary Celebration is a season of recommitment to grow deeper as disciples, widen our reach to others, and be united in mission to love God and love all. This five-part series reviews the five-fold membership vow that declares our support to God’s mission in our church.

September 22               Prayers

September 29               Presence

October 6                       Gifts

October 13                     Service (Missions Celebration Sunday)

October 20                    Witness/Invitation

October 27                     Commitment Sunday

 

Not the End of the World: Hope in Jesus During Difficult Times

November 3-24

These scriptures invite us all to ask where God is when things go wrong. In a world caught up in a negative news cycle, the texts that speak to hopelessness, fear, and even the close of history can teach us much about remaining faithful in difficult times. This series will help us remain hopeful, even when the headlines seem out of control.

November 3                  The Work of Waiting                      Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4

November 10                 Skipping to the End                           2 Thess. 2:1-5, 13-17

November 17                 Full Disclosure                                                      Luke 21:5-19

November 24                Proving Who You Are                                     Luke 23:33-43

 

The Christmas Letters: An Advent Invitation from the Epistles

December 3 to 24

This Advent we will explore aspects of the incarnation of Jesus through scriptures from Romans, Colossians, Philippians, and 1 John, along with the birth narratives in the gospels. The series will be based on my upcoming book of the same title, to be published by Abingdon Press.

December 1            Good News: Hope for Salvation                        Romans 1:1-6

December 8            Love Incarnate: The Word of Life Reveale          1 John 3-4

December 15         Fully Human: Joy in Humility                     Philippians 2:1-11

December 22          Fully Divine: Peace through Christ        Colossians 2:6-15

December 24           God’s Downward Mobility                                      Luke 2:1-20

 

Next year promises to be filled with excitement, joy, and wisdom. I am eager to take this journey with you in 2024!

Grace and Peace,

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