Dear Hyde Park Family,
“AHHHH-LEX-AHHHHH … STOP!”
I have discovered the joys of teaching my elderly parents how to use the Alexa app on their Amazon Echo. I purchased it for them a few weeks ago to give them a way of playing Filipino music by their favorite artists.
The lessons have gone as you might expect. It’s Alexa, not Amanda. Yes, it should understand your accent. No, you don’t have to yell. Don’t forget to start with Alexa; simply saying “Play Rey Valera” won’t do.
I will give them credit. After a few days, they figured it out. “Oh, Magrey,” my Mom told me a few days ago, “this is the best gift. We are listening to it all the time.” And then she recounts for me all the artists, all the albums, and all the songs they have listened to, most of which I’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce. My Dad, more the pragmatist, wonders how Amazon makes money allowing access to all this music. Oh, they make their money, we decided.
Then last Monday night, I had probably the best laugh I’ve had in months.
My older daughter Grace, a student at San Diego State University, reached out to let me know that apparently, my parents’ Amazon Echo had somehow logged into her Spotify music streaming service. Grace was on Spotify on her computer, and suddenly it started playing whatever my parents were listening to.
Now, you need to know that Grace is not a pretentious person by nature. But when it comes to her Spotify music, she can be fiercely protective. She has carefully curated her music selections to provide ready access to whatever playlist fits her mood and activity in the moment. She has her classical music, her Broadway showtunes, her pop hits, her select artists, albums, and genres, ready to go, literally at the push of a button. And given Spotify’s carefully crafted algorithms, she is even particular about the music that Spotify recommends for her to listen to.
This is all to say that since figuring out how to use their newly beloved Amazon Echo, my parents have been interjecting music into Grace’s Spotify account. This prompted this hilariously frantic text message from her to me last Monday:
“Okay. Yes, please fix it, because it keeps cutting out what I’m listening to, and playing songs in Tagalog, And now I’m getting recommendations for Tagalog songs, too. It is quite jarring to go from “Pictures at an Exhibition” to “Saang Linggong Pag-Ibig.”
This is easily my favorite text message of the whole year.
I called my parents, while still texting Grace, to figure out what to do. I explained to my mother that somehow, Grace was hearing whatever songs they were listening to. “Oh,” my mother said, half-concerned, “Grace would love Celine Dion.”
But here is where the story goes from merely comical, to a whole new stratosphere of hilarity. Grace discovered this problem while at work, at the tutoring center on campus where she is employed by the university. It was her night to provide background music for the center, and she had hooked up her computer to the public sound system.
So, you guessed it. All the students in the room were being treated to spontaneous musical interruptions by certain Filipino artists, along with Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and Barry Manilow.
Grace was mortified.
I fell asleep laughing Monday night, and woke up Tuesday morning laughing all over again.
I don’t know what to do with this story; all I know is that writing it out and archiving it as a Midweek Message helps me preserve it for future use. Maybe someday it will become a sermon illustration. Perhaps you can resonate with the challenges of being in the middle generation, parenting your children, while also caring for your parents.
Or, maybe, you just needed a good laugh. I did, and for that reason, I’m grateful. And as one of my Facebook friends said afterwards, it is a sign of good parenthood that I can still find a way to embarrass my child 3000 miles away.
Alas, my only regret is that this was all unintentional.
Grace and Peace,
There’s no suitable segue into this, but this Sunday is Commitment Sunday. Thank you for filling out your Estimate of Giving Card, which you can fill out online. Our Finance Committee plans all its funding for ministries and programs based on your giving estimates, so every card goes a long way toward making a big difference. Join us this Sunday for worship as we celebrate God’s goodness and claim the bright future God has for us. See you Sunday!
Dear Hyde Park Family,
With Halloween behind us and the month of November ahead, we enter a season of gratitude that culminates with the observance of Thanksgiving. I hope you will take time to acknowledge the many blessings of God that we might otherwise overlook.
Let’s remember that gratitude is more than just giving thanks. It is also about doing thanks. It is about performing acts of gratitude, as generosity and gratitude are intrinsically linked. Numerous studies over recent years conclude that people who live gratefully are more likely to demonstrate generosity.
The link between gratitude and generosity is also part of our primitive ancestry. Columnist Kira Newman, co-editor of The Gratitude Project, says, “Evolutionary theorists suggest that gratitude and generosity have long been intertwined. Gratitude could have facilitated the process of reciprocal altruism, whereby one person’s generous behavior inspires the other to act in kind. Our ancestors who participated in this cycle of gratitude and generosity were more likely to survive, the theory goes.”
So, as we enter this month of thanksgiving, here are three simple ways that you can not only give thanks and feel thankful, but actually practice gratitude through generosity:
- SIGN UP FOR SERVE DAY
Once again, we are partnering with Metropolitan Ministries to fill volunteer shifts in their annual Holiday Tent, on Sunday, November 21. We sort food, direct cars, hand out turkeys, and more to help families in need. With just a few hours of your time, you can make a big difference.
Registration for SERVE day is through the Metropolitan Ministries website and requires each person to have an account. Click here to register for SERVE Day. Participants wear red “Making God’s Love Real” t-shirts, which you can purchase for $10 in the church’s coffee shop.
Shift 1: 10:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (offers outside jobs)
Shift 2: 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (offers indoor jobs only)
Shift 3: 2 – 5:30 p.m. (offers outside jobs)
Shift 4: 3 – 6:30 p.m. (offers indoor jobs only)
If you registered for SERVE Day in previous years, you can access your account. Simply click the link, enter your password, and modify as needed. If you need any assistance with this process, please contact Nathan Gula, Director of Volunteer Services, Metropolitan Ministries, 813.209.1035 or Nathan.Gula@metromin.org.
DONATE FOOD ITEMS FOR LOCAL REFUGEE
We are partnering with a local ecumenical effort to provide basic food supplies for the roughly 2,300 refugees that have arrived in the county from Afghanistan, Haiti, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Syria, Ethiopia and Venezuela.
We have set a goal of providing 100 refugee families with the following:
*5 lbs. Jasmine Rice
*1 Gallon Vegetable/Canola Oil
*5 lbs. Dry Beans/Canned Beans
*1 lb. Loose Leaf Green Tea
*5 lbs. Flour
*5 lbs. Lentils
*$20 Walmart gift card for the family.
We invite you to bring donation items to the ministry office. To learn more, or to make a financial donation, click here.
TURN IN AN ESTIMATE OF GIVING CARD FOR 2022
As I shared in my sermon last Sunday, this current generosity campaign is one of the most important church campaigns in recent years. Let us be motivated to turn in an estimate of giving card primarily out of gratitude for what God has given to us, and in recognition that all that we have belongs to God to begin with.
We invite you to view our exciting Celebration of Impact that celebrates all that our generosity has accomplished together. Click here to turn in an estimate of giving for 2022 by November 14, so that we can properly plan a Missions and Ministry budget that will accomplish all that God intends for us next year.
Every giving estimate makes a huge difference. Your act of generosity and gratitude really matters.
Let’s go all in together.
Grace and Peace,
First, here’s a reminder that if you have not already, please subscribe to receive the daily prayer emails that will guide us on our 22-Day Prayer Journey. Each message includes a powerful testimonial of life change from someone in our church or community because of your generosity. If you’ve missed any of the prior messages, they are available here (scroll down to see the link to the message.)
I’ve never known quite what to do with “Clergy Appreciation Month” every October. It feels quite self-serving to say anything about it. I also wish there was a corresponding “Laity Appreciation Month” – or even better, months – to sufficiently acknowledge the vital role that laity like you play in the health of a congregation.
I also know that at a church like ours is blessed by more than its clergy. There is an entire team of amazing, high-achieving, faithful, and joyful staff members who are employed by this church. I can attest first-hand that one of the key reasons Hyde Park United Methodist has been able to function at such a high level during this pandemic is because of the innovation, determination, and adaptive leadership of this whole staff. They continue to learn new skills, engage people in different ways, and somehow – somehow – do it all with patience, courage, and a sense of camaraderie.
So, with all due respect to whoever first invented “Clergy Appreciation Month,” I’d like to re-designate it as “Church Staff Appreciation Month,” with an invitation for you to reach out with encouragement and gratitude to them.
Most of the staff are listed on our website , along with their email addresses. I’ve also named them here below:
Peggy Hisey, Executive Director
Meagan Kempton, Business Administrator
John Barolo, Discipleship
Melissa Torres, Children
Kim Apthorp, Children
Ginger Griggs, Children
Amanda Galbreath, Nursery
Mac Charalambous, Youth
Michael Dougherty, Traditional Music
Colleen Schmitt, Contemporary Music
Mat Hotho, Worship Technology
Lynn Osborne, Comptroller
Gwen Lindsey, Pastoral Staff Assistant
Kim Harcrow, Administration
Emily Nelson, Membership
Rich Howard-Allen, Facilities
Isabela Schlabach, Small Blessings Preschool
Bob Douglass, Portico
Chalette Davis, Portico
Mindi Vaughn, Portico
Shawn Rogers, Video
Vicki Walker, Clergy
Sally Campbell-Evans, Clergy
Justin LaRosa, Clergy
Bill Roth, Hospitality
Let them know how much you appreciate them. Your encouragement keeps all of us going.
Thank you, fellow staffers, for your hard work, patience, collegiality, and commitment to the mission of the church. It is an honor to make God’s love real with you.
Grace and Peace,