Ships into Submarines

Ships into Submarines

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Today’s Midweek Message contains a final update and word of celebration about our visioning process, a link to an important announcement video sharing some exciting news, the latest update on resuming indoor ministries on campus, and finally, a personal word from me.


A few years ago, I had a conversation with a friend who was bemoaning the state of the Christian church in our country and our world. It was hard to avoid the statistics of membership decline, the loss of the church’s significance in our culture, and the general indifference people have toward organized religion.

“It feels like a sinking ship,” my friend said.

After a bit of a pause, searching for something to say that was both authentic and hopeful, I replied with a statement that I didn’t quite understand, even as I was saying it.

“Well, maybe the church isn’t a sinking ship, as much as it is God’s way of transforming it into a submarine.”

We looked at each other, my face just as puzzled as his.

Since then, I’ve had a chance to reflect on what I said, and frankly, it seems truer now than when I first said it. What if God is calling the church to change, not just in response to a pandemic (which is temporary) but in order to reach vast oceans of new people? People who live in a culture far below the surface of where the church has been operating? People who live, breathe, and view the world in such a different way that the only way to reach them is through risk and adaptation?

These were the kinds of questions that were in our minds back in 2016, as we laid the groundwork for what would be the start of our visioning process the following year. We then adopted a vision plan in December 2018 that would frame our future around four pillars: 1) deepen the discipleship of our congregation, 2) widen the reach of God’s love to new people, 3) unite together in common purpose, and 4) adapt to changes in our culture.

In 2019, a team of gifted and committed lay people got to work as our Vision Implementation Team, working steadily and deliberately, organizing more than 80 people in 12 initiative teams to fulfill the charge of the vision plan.

And even when the pandemic hit us in early 2020, we were already discovering ways to adapt that would enable us to not only survive but thrive during such a season of uncertainty.

Now, after two years of prayer and hard work, this week our Vision Implementation Team is sharing its final reports, which chronicle all that we have achieved as a church and the exciting plans that will guide us into the future.

You can visit the Vision page of our website, where you will see the report in three forms:

  • A brief, one-page set of bullet points that highlight the results of the Implementation Team’s work;
  • A ten-page executive summary, with further details about each of the initiative teams’ activities and actions;
  • A 70-page full report, with full narratives about the work of each team.

And, you can watch a recently produced 20-minute video that announces many of the exciting changes we are working on as we prepare to return to indoor, in-person ministries.


Our Executive Team, made up mostly of lay people serving as chairs of our major committees, continues to monitor the latest COVID statistics in our area. Like all of us, the team is happy to see the steady and clear decline in our local positivity rate, which is our chief criteria for deciding when to resume onsite ministries. The rate was 14% last month, is currently between 7-8%, and we are hopeful that it will continue to trend toward the consistent sub-5% threshold advised by the Centers for Disease Control. So, while we can’t yet predict when that will be, we are accelerating our preparations for that joyous return.


Oh, friends. I know this has been a long, hard season for all of us. We are all experiencing grief and fear in some way, and adaptive change of any kind is itself a kind of loss. We find ourselves digging for resolve from reserves we never knew we had. That is true for all of us, including myself. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this has been the most challenging season of ministry I have ever faced. But I’m heartened by the thought that we are in this together, praying for each other, working through the hard stuff together, and looking forward to a future with hope. Perhaps John Wesley said it best: “The best of all is, God is with us.”

Grace and peace,


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


Merge Family Movie Night

Merge Family Movie Night

Join us for Merge Family Movie Night 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28 in the Magnolia Parking Lot. We’ll be watching the PG movie “BreakThrough” on our blow-up screen with speakers and a projector. This is a great opportunity to invite your friends and their families!

Families are encouraged to bring:

  • Your own lawn chairs
  • Your own dinner to have together as a family
  • Masks are required when not eating or drinking
  • Blankets if it gets cold

Questions? Please email Emily Felgenhauer, Director of Youth Ministries

Lent 2021 // Feb. 17 – April 3

Lent 2021 // Feb. 17 – April 3

This season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17 and ends on Saturday, April 3.
Easter Sunday is April 4, 2021.

Lent is a season of spiritual gardening, of inviting God to unearth in us what lies fallow, what needs to be tended, and what needs to die for new life to emerge. This Lent, we’re embracing the literal and spiritual practices of cultivating and letting go.

Worship with us Sundays in Lent

  • Online at 9:30 and 11 a.m.
  • Onsite at 9:30 a.m.
  • Find out more about our Sunday services.


Take your next step during Lent:

Read and pray:

  • 40-Day Inspirational Email during Lent includes readings, poetry, art, devotions and prayers. Arrives Feb. 17 – April 3, 2021. Subscribe now
  • Weekly Devotional Guide that connects with the weekly sermon themes. Can be printed or used directly on a computer or tablet. Download

Take a Class.
Learn, grow and meet new people:

  • “Savior” Lenten study written by the Rev. Magrey deVega. Includes discussion and videos. Six weeks.
    • 5 p.m. Sundays | 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays | 10 a.m. Wednesdays | 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays
    • Classes start week of Feb. 21
    • Register now
  • “Remembering Your Story” Spiritual Writing ClassDiscover deeper memories of God’s presence in all portions of your life. Includes workbook.

a Friend to Worship. Ask them ahead of time to watch with you on Facebook or through our website.



Here’s a listing of weekly gatherings and live worship streaming. Just click on the linked text and your browser will take you to that page or application.

Monday, Feb. 22

  • Hyde Park and The Portico’s Ministry Offices open // Safety Protocols Observed

Tuesday, Feb. 23

  • Hyde Park and The Portico’s Ministry Offices open // Safety Protocols Observed
  • 12:15 p.m. // Midday Meditation (Facebook)
  • 5:30 p.m. // Merge Youth Council Live Devos (Merge Instagram)
  • 6:30 p.m. // Seeking Redemption: Connecting Faith to Justice (Details)
  • Children’s Ministries // Talk About It Tuesday! (Facebook)

Wednesday, Feb. 24

  • Hyde Park and The Portico’s Ministry Offices open // Safety Protocols Observed
  • 6:30 p.m. // Merge Games Night (Zoom Meeting ID 432 313 460)
  • 6:30 p.m. // Children’s Ministries Game Time (Zoom)

Thursday, Feb. 25

  • Hyde Park and The Portico’s Ministry Offices open // Safety Protocols Observed
  • 12:15 p.m. // Midday Meditation (Facebook)

Friday, Feb. 26

  • Hyde Park and The Portico’s Ministry Offices open // Safety Protocols Observed

Saturday, Feb. 27

  • No events or activities scheduled

Sunday, Feb. 28

  • 9:30 a.m. // Online Worship (Website)
  • 9:30 a.m. // Onsite Worship (RSVP) – Safety Protocols Observed
  • 10:15 a.m. // Children’s Ministries – Virtual Sunday Morning Live (Zoom)
  • 11 a.m. // Online Worship (Website)
  • 11 a.m. // Picture Bible Giveaway – Ministry Offices tent, Hyde Park location
  • 5:30 p.m. // MERGE Family Movie Night – Magnolia parking lot (Details)

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