At the start of every year, Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan publishes its annual list
of “Ten Banished Words for Misuse, Overuse, and Uselessness.” In their estimation, these are the words and phrases that have become insincere, useless, and cliché. And it might not surprise you that their most recent list was largely related to COVID-19.
Among the words and phrases were: “unprecedented,” “in these uncertain times,” “in an abundance of caution,” and “pivot.” And then there’s this one, which I probably heard more than any other one on the list:
“We’re all in this together.”
I’ll admit that I heard that phrase so often throughout 2020 that I felt a brain twitch every time, and I was unable to shake the annoying earworm of that song from “High School Musical” by the same name. So, I was pleased to see that phrase on the list, among others.
Except, here’s the problem: it’s true. Socially, emotionally – and most importantly, biblically – we really are in this together.
Read how Paul describes the ideal faith community to the church in Corinth:
“But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:24b-26, NRSV)
And Paul was clear with the Ephesians, that the way to be all in together was to pray for each other:
“Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers.” (Ephesians 6:18, CEB)
ALL IN TOGETHER
It is in that spirit that I invite you to join me in a special 22-Day journey of prayer starting this Sunday. You can go to this link right now to receive a daily message that will contain the following:
- a daily scripture;
- a particular aspect of our church that you can pray for;
- a brief sample prayer; and
- a powerful testimony from someone in our congregation or community that has been impacted by our church.
These 22 testimonies are amazing and deeply moving. We’ll hear from a person who experienced God’s love in the midst of personal crisis and grief; we’ll hear from a youth whose life has been changed through service in this church; we’ll hear from spiritual seekers who have had their unbelief transformed into a commitment to Jesus, all because of what God is doing through Hyde Park United Methodist.
You will not want to miss reading a single story or miss the opportunity to pray for the work and witness of this church. It will take you just a few minutes each day to make this journey a part of your daily practice. But by the end, we will all be moved and amazed by what God is doing through our faithfulness and generosity.
This is a central part of our Generosity Campaign this year, titled “All in Together,” and culminates in Commitment Sunday, November 14. I hope you’ll join us.
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING
The other way we can care for and love one another is to participate in a unique program we are offering for the first time. It is called Mental Health First Aid Training, known as the CPR of mental health. It is a national certification through the National Council for Behavioral Health and has proven effective in helping people recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors of mental illnesses and/or addictions.
I and most of the Program Staff have been certified in this program, and it is well worth your time. The workshop takes place via Zoom on November 6, from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. You can find more information and register here by Oct. 22.
It may be cliché to say it, but it is no less true. We really are “all in this together.” See you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,
Mission Smiles partners with local churches and ministries to provide dental clinics in various neighborhoods throughout Tampa Bay, bringing the hands of Jesus to those in need.
They provided this report of their visit on Oct. 3, 2021:
Mission Smiles served 17 guests and performed 30 extractions. The dollar value of dental services and volunteer hours provided to the community was $14,675. See the full report.
Trunk or treat event with photo-op, carnival games and more!
6 – 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29
- Trunk or Treat: Walk through the designated Trunk or Treat area to get treats from decorated cars or tents
- Best Decorated Trunk Contest: You be the judge! After getting treats at every “trunk”, you choose your favorite decorated car or tent! Top 3 winners get a prize!*
- Costume Contest: Take a photo at our photo-op area where we’ll be on the look out for best costume! Top 3 winners get a prize!*
- Carnival Games: Witch Hat Ring Toss and Ring Around the Pumpkins are just two of the five different games available to play.
- Even More Fun: Bubble Dance Party, Temporary Tattoo Station, Pumpkin Painting.
- Missions: We are joining the church-wide partnership with the Interfaith Refugee Committee to collect non-perishable food items for refugees. Items to bring for donation:
- Jasmine Rice
- Vegetable/Canola Oil
- Loose Leaf Green Tea
- Laundry Baskets
- $20 gift cards to Walmart
*Winners will be announced during CM Studio News on the Children’s Ministries YouTube channel on Nov. 5
Fun for the whole family!
To keep all our little ghouls and goblins, kings and queens safe, please follow these safety protocols:
- Stay together as a family throughout this Boo-tiful event.
- Let the Ghoul Times Roll as you use our hand sanitizing stations before and after each carnival game.
- Have a Skele-ton of fun at each “trunk” station, welcoming one family at a time.
- Witch Way to the Candy? Follow the “Trunk” signs to Trunk or Treat in number order.
- At this most Spook-tacular time of the year, all candy being passed out will be individually wrapped, store bought candy. (Nothing homemade)
- Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun! Everyone serving to pass out items will be wearing gloves.
- Happy Haunting back to your vehicle once your time slot has completed.
- RSVP here to sign up for a time slot for your family to attend this Fang-tastic event.
Want to participate as a “Trunk” for this event? Sign up here!
Want to serve at a Carnival Station? Contact Melissa.
*This is a fully outdoor event. There will be restrooms available in the Magnolia Building. Please plan accordingly.*
Questions? Contact Melissa.
Dear Hyde Park Family,
One of the joys of offering our online service every Sunday is the new sense of connection we have with people around the country. For the last several months, a couple from Virginia named Claudette and David Collins have not only been joining us online, but Claudette has been singing in our choir. Through the wonders of technology, our Director of Traditional Worship Michael Dougherty has been able to include her in a number of our virtual choir selections. Last week, David and Claudette made the trip to Tampa and joined us for in person worship last Sunday. It was a joy to meet them, and afterwards they went out to lunch with Michael.
This is where the story gets really good.
Over the course of the lunch, they revealed that they were related to a woman named Mary Collins, who was born in 1827. She was born in Decatur, Georgia, but eventually moved to Tampa and lived in a little house in the Hyde Park area.
It was in that home – the very home of Mary Collins – where a small group of Christians began to meet to form a community that would eventually become Hyde Park United Methodist Church. That little house sat on the very property where 122 years later, God’s love is being made real each and every Sunday.
This is a portion of the newspaper clipping from 1913 containing Mary’s obituary:
“Born in Decatur County, Georgia, Mrs. Collins drove thirty-seven years ago through the country in a covered wagon to Tampa. Her husband, W.B. Collins, died soon after the Confederate war of consumption. Settling here she went to live in a little house in what is now Hyde Park, but which then was a native wilderness. Ever since she was twelve years old, she has been a devout member of the Methodist church. Before a Methodist church was organized in this city, services were held in her Hyde Park home. When the Hyde Park Methodist church was dedicated, she was one of its first members.”
Needless to say, when we heard this story from the Collins’, we were awestruck
THE FUTURE OF OUR CAMPUS MASTER PLANS
Little could Mary Collins have imagined how her property would evolve into the dynamic campus that we have today. Ever since her time, generations of Hyde Park members have been stewards of the properties and facilities of this church. And today, we have the opportunity to exercise that same faithfulness for the future.
When our recent visioning process concluded last year, it ended prior to our acquisition of the Women’s Clinic last June. Now that we have acquired the entire DeLeon block, it is time to update the campus master plans of both the Hyde Park and Portico campuses. The last time our master plans were updated was over twenty years ago.
So, last Tuesday, the Ministry Leadership Council approved the start of a discernment process, which will have the following objectives:
- Cast the net wide throughout the congregation for input, discernment, and buy-in;
- Engage key constituents;
- Develop a prioritized and time-phased set of recommendations relative to Hyde Park properties and facilities, including improvements, divestures, purchases, and usage;
- Recommendations will be consistent with Hyde Park’s vision and mission and represent good stewardship of resources that is sustainable over the long term;
- Final recommendations will be delivered to the Ministry Leadership Council for approval by the end of June 2022.
If you would like to be a part of this process, we would love for you to let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us live out the example of our ancestral pioneers like Mary Collins, and carve out a future that will be claimed by future generations of this church.
Grace and Peace,
Go All In. Here are practical ways to strengthen your love of God with every aspect of your being. Join us in worship in person, online or on demand each week. Learn more about the 9:30 a.m. Contemporary, 11 a.m. Traditional and online services here. Participate with our daily readings and activities in one of two ways. Both contain 35 days for each of the five weeks of the series, each showing us how to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.
- Daily Emails – click here to subscribe
- Cards – Pick up a deck on Sunday morning or at the Ministry Offices during the week. – Please note, all cards have currently been picked up. More cards will be available starting Sunday, Sept. 26.
Each card and email contains a daily scripture reading and a unique, practical application for you to try throughout the day. By the end of the journey, you will discover new ways to grow deeper in your love for God and others, forming your own long-lasting daily spiritual rhythm. View All Daily Emails:
You are not alone.
In July 2021, an article by organizational psychologist Adam Grant, entitled “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing”, ran in the New York Times and finally put a name to the feeling many of us have experienced over the course of the past 18 months. While languishing is not a new idea, it aptly describes the feeling of apathy, stagnation, and sometimes joylessness a lot of people are experiencing at present due to the circumstances we’ve faced while trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the symptoms associated with languishing may not reach the level of severity associated with significant depression or anxiety, it is marked with a reduced sense of well-being and deficit in mental health. As languishing has also been shown to be a risk factor for depression and anxiety, identifying and addressing it is something best done sooner rather than later. With so many factors seemingly outside of our control at the present time, it is reassuring to know that there are many tools and strategies we can begin implementing right now to improve our mental health in our day to day lives.
Positive psychology, which focuses on enhancing overall well-being as opposed to just repairing psychological damage, provides us with a framework of how to start moving away from languishing towards flourishing if we find ourselves feeling less than our best in terms of our mental health. If we take a look at the “Five Pillars of Well-Being”, identified by psychologist Martin Seligman as the building blocks to flourishing and thriving, we can evaluate how fulfilled we are in each domain and identify which areas might benefit from a boost through small, action-oriented steps.
- Positive Emotion: Spend time identifying, acknowledging, and cultivating positive feelings. This can include mindfulness, becoming aware of the beauty in our day-to-day-lives, savoring pleasant sensations, seeking joy, and practicing gratitude. Find times throughout your day to step away from your phone and be fully present, even if its just for a few moments.
- Engagement: Carve out time to engage in activities that cultivate “flow”, a state in which your concentration and skills are directed towards an activity with a clear goal. Examples include playing a musical instrument, reading a book, sports training, painting, focusing on a work task, home improvement projects, etc. As flow is best achieved during periods of uninterrupted time, make space in your day to focus all of your attention on the identified activity to truly reap the benefits of engagement.
- Relationships: Connecting with others is one of the most reliable ways to improve mood yet it is also one of the aspects of life most impacted by the pandemic. Finding ways to engage with others, primarily those with whom you can enjoy a positive and healthy dynamic, is vital for feeling fulfilled in regards to our need for community and connection. As showing kindness towards others is a sure-fire way to increase well-being, committing to completing one act of kindness each day is a great small step in the direction of enhanced mental health.
- Meaning: Without a sense of purpose, our actions and behaviors may feel aimless and unfulfilling. While it is important to identify what brings meaning to your life, it is also imperative that we allow for shifts in our priorities and purpose as we enter different seasons of our lives. Meaning may be found within the home (taking care of and connecting with family, pets, loved ones, etc.) or on a larger scale (dedicating time and resources to community, religion, politics, social causes, philanthropy, etc.) or a combination of both.
- Achievement: Identifying and achieving goals is vital to gaining a sense of accomplishment. While languishing brings with it a sense of stagnation, achievement reminds us of the progress we are capable of making. These goals can be large or small: learning to play chess, mastering a new song on an instrument, reading two books each month, running a 5k, making the bed each morning, completing a crossword puzzle, etc. If larger goals seem daunting, start small with a few daily tasks that will slowly but surely move you closer to the best version of you.
When there is a deficit in one or more of these domains, our mental health is left off balance in the same way we will wobble if we sit on a stool with one leg that is slightly shorter than the others. While we can typically make-do with the lack of stability, it is far more comfortable when there is a solid foundation beneath us. Languishing may not come with the intensity we associate with significant mental illness, but by taking small daily steps towards enhancing our well-being we are able to move away from feelings of stagnation and towards the experience of flourishing.