Midweek Message: “Seeds of Hope”

Midweek Message: “Seeds of Hope”

Dear Hyde Park Family,

A modern-day parable of hope, straight out of recent news headlines:

  • Last summer, a woman named Dr. Elaine Soloway harvested 111 dates from a date tree, then she sampled one. She said it had a “honey or caramel aftertaste.” Nothing really remarkable about that.
  • Those dates that she picked? They came from a pollination that occurred six years ago between two date trees, a male and a female. Nothing remarkable about that, either.
  • Those two date trees? One was named Methuselah, and the other Hannah. Why? Because they were each germinated from seeds that were lying dormant, discovered in part by an archaeologist named Yigal Yadin back in the 1960s. [1] Now it’s getting interesting.
  • Those seeds? They were discovered in the Holy Land and were dated (no pun intended) back to between 35 B.C. and 65 A.D. Hmmm.
  • So, imagine: These were 2,000-year-old date seeds, that were around at the time of Jesus, in the very land where Jesus walked, left to decompose for millennia, only to be rediscovered, germinated, and nurtured back to fruitfulness. But that’s still not the most remarkable thing.

Dr. Elaine Soloway? She works at the Areva Institute for Environmental Studies, which sits near the border of Israel and Jordan, along with students from different countries from throughout the Middle East. Picture young Jewish, Christian and Muslim students working together alongside Dr. Soloway and her colleagues to bring new life from the land, even from seeds that survived against the odds.


The Arava Institute reminds these students that there is much more to the land than the geo-political wars that are fought over the possession and control of its borders. When the land is viewed through the lens of environmental stewardship, people can come together, and the seeds of peace, beauty and hope that may have been lying dormant can be recovered, revived and rejuvenated.

Rabbi Michael M. Cohen, who teaches at the Arava Institute, put it this way: “Following the example of Muhammad, Muslims traditionally break their daily fast during Ramadan with a date. In the Jewish Torah, dates are considered one of the seven most important species of the Land of Israel. And Jesus was reportedly welcomed into Jerusalem with his supporters waving date palm branches.”

“Grown on this campus steeped in faith, the dates of Methuselah and Hannah, like all the great redemption stories, remind us that what today appears to be dead or beyond reach can in fact be revived to help create a better, more just, and redeemed tomorrow.” [2]


In all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, “the smallest of all seeds.” Yet, by God’s grace, and with enough attention, diligence and cooperation, that seed can bear fruit that will be a blessing for others.

These may be hard times. Hope can be hard to find, for many reasons, on many levels. But there are still seeds. Seeds of peace, justice, equality, joy and promise. They may be hidden under the surface, out of plain view. But if we keep digging, keep searching, keep believing, keep nurturing – and tear down the walls that would divide us so that we can work together – then new fruit can still be born, into a future that can be as sweet as honey and caramel.

So, don’t give up. Keep on digging. Together.


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



Parents: How to Care for the Soul

We usually talk about ways that you can invest in the spiritual lives of your children. This week we are flipping the script and working on you. Are you caring for your soul?

We hope you enjoy this video about Caring for your Soul.

How are you doing with soul care? We know you give and give and give all day long with your family. When is the last time you looked deeply into your soul to see how you are doing?

We heard some helpful steps to take to ensure we are caring for our souls as parents. If you are going to put any of those in motion, then you are going to have to make one first, brave step. Calendar it, and don’t apologize for blocking off time for you to take care of your soul. Things get very real when we sit down with our calendar, and we start blocking off time. We see that goal, and we have the chance to work toward that goal. When you calendar soul care, you always have the opportunity to say no to other opportunities because it’s on your calendar!

If we can help you process any of these ideas, please email us back. We are here to help, and we are cheering you on!

Changes in Online Giving

Changes in Online Giving

Hyde Park is changing the processor we use to receive online gifts. We are switching to Pushpay to make your online giving experience easier, faster and more secure. You may notice a different look the next time you make a donation. Our text to give number has also changed, as noted on the Hyde Park Giving page.

For those who give electronically on a recurring basis, expect to hear from us over the next few weeks with instructions on how to move your recurring gift on to the new Pushpay platform. It should take 10 minutes or less! If you have questions about this transition or giving in general, please contact  Lynn or Meagan.

Standing with Survivors of Fire, Wind and Rain

Standing with Survivors of Fire, Wind and Rain

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the humanitarian relief and development arm of The United Methodist Church, assists United Methodists and churches to become involved globally in direct ministry to persons in need. UMCOR responds to U.S. and international disasters, addresses diseases of poverty, ministers to refugees and immigrants, provides clean water and actively works to reduce hunger.

There latest message addresses the impact of catastrophic events around the globe:

We may run out of letters this year. It’s only September, and already we’re nearly through the alphabet!

For only the second time in history, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is so intense that the U.S. National Hurricane Center may resort to naming new storms using letters from the Greek alphabet.

And even as millions on the Gulf coasts are deluged with wind, rain, and flooding, as of this writing millions more out West flee massive wildfires. Across the globe, 2020 has seen massive monsoon flooding in South and Central Asia and torrential rains and catastrophic flooding throughout the African continent.

Discover the most dangerous thing a survivor can lose during a disaster and join millions of others who have responded for over 80 years.

Learn More and Donate

Linda Walker, Hillsborough House of Hope, in Sheen Magazine!

Linda Walker, our mission partner and Program Director of Hillsborough House of Hope, is featured in Sheen magazine.

Linda knows firsthand what it’s like to lose everything to addiction. Eventually hitting rock bottom and seeking help from local community programs in Tampa. Linda slowly rebuilt her life and now lives by the motto, “Choose to endure.” She is an outstanding icon in the community and proudly gives back to others as the Program Director for the Hillsborough House of Hope, as a Board Member with the Homeless Coalition, and as the founder of Linda’s Recovery Resources and the Faith Works Empowerment Initiative, Inc.

Read the article

Manna Bags Ministry

Manna Bags are a “grab and go” item that can be given to people experiencing homelessness on our streets. Each zippered storage bag contains Scriptures, local resource information, snacks, sunscreen and socks to give to those in need. A $5 donation per bag requested.

Email Emily Felgenhauer, Director of Youth Ministries, for more information or to help assemble the bags.

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