A Word for Graduates

A Word for Graduates

Dear Hyde Park Family,

We are now in graduation season here in the Tampa Bay area, as we celebrate high school seniors embarking on an exciting and unfolding future. We will be honoring our seniors this Sunday in worship, as well as praying for graduating students at every level of education.

Yesterday I re-read a passage from Jeremiah that I have often turned to in times of transition and unsettledness in my life, which I also commended to Grace and Madelyn during their own recent graduations from high school:

“The Lord proclaims: Stop at the crossroads and look around; ask for the ancient paths. Where is the good way? Then walk in it and find a resting place for yourselves.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Addressing the Israelite exiles, who were at a significant crossroads of change and uncertainty, Jeremiah called them to look for the “ancient paths” and the “good way.” He encouraged them to lean into the values and principles that formed them and were imparted by their ancestors.

In that spirit, I offer these words of guidance to our graduates:

  • Look for the ancient paths. Remember the way integrity and obedience to God. Follow the path charted by all those who entrusted the faith to you, and you will always find “a resting place for yourselves.”
  • Cultivate the qualities of empathy, curiosity, and humility. These three will serve you well as you meet new people, navigate new challenges, and become a better human being.
  • Orient your life toward generosity and compassion toward others and toward yourself. Remember how the most important adults in your life demonstrated those qualities for you.
  • Enjoy the discovery of who you are, and who you are not.

  • Know that a life of independence will mean you can make many of your own choices, which means dealing with your own consequences.
  • Remember that sometimes the most important lessons will only be learned in the hardest of ways. You will succeed at times, and sometimes you will fail. You will gain great knowledge, as well as learn the limits of your understanding. You will sometimes come up short, even if you do all the right things.
  • Remember that you will never be alone. Your family and friends will cheer you on. You have a church that will be praying for you over the months to come and will always be a spiritual home that will welcome you back.
  • Recognize that your parents will be changing, too. They will be navigating a new kind of parenthood, shifting toward becoming more of your mentor, coach, and adviser. Give them grace, as they do the best they can.
  • Most of all, hold on to your faith. God began a good work in you from the moment you were born. As you stay faithful to your spiritual roots, you will discover God’s fruit born in and through you in ways you cannot imagine.

Friends, our future is bright because of these rising generations of young people. Born in the shadow of 9/11, raised during a major recession, educated during a global pandemic, and joining in the great social and political challenges of our day, their resilience and determination can give us hope. We pray for them and give thanks for the difference they will make in the world.

Happy Graduation!



Join us this Sunday as we near the conclusion of our worship series Rise: 12 Steps with Jesus. Many of you have shared what a meaningful and helpful series this has been. This Sunday, we will explore Steps 8 and 9, which call us to make amends with others. Download the Rise workbook  and catch up on any services that you missed on our YouTube page.


There Once was a Journey

There Once was a Journey


Dear Hyde Park Family,

Happy National Limerick Day!

I know; today’s observance was likely not on your calendar. It wasn’t on mine, either, until I randomly checked this website yesterday. In case you’re wondering, today is also International Nurses Day, National Odometer Day, and National Nutty Fudge Day.

So, to commemorate this weird convergence of celebrations, let me offer you this greeting:

When too many brownies immerse us,

And hospital care is disbursed us,

           With their cheery smile

           Going the extra mile

We give thanks for the work of our nurses!

Okay, I didn’t say I was good at writing limericks.

Maybe you could give it a try, and share with me anything fun and creative you come up with. In the meantime, as part of our current series Rise: 12 Steps with Jesus, I thought I would try writing a limerick for each of the steps we have covered so far:


Our sins feel like they will devour us,

They can even seem to overpower us.

           So, we must take a flier,

           On a Power that’s Higher,

And admit, against sin, we are powerless.


A Power that’s Higher? How can it be?

That amid all of my life’s inanity,

           I’ve come to perceive

           That I must believe

That God can restore me to sanity.


So instead of being a pretender,

And being a sin self-defender,

           I’ll give God my will

           And promise God still

To turn over my life in surrender.


With all my resentments and fears,

That I’ve carried on down through the years,

           I’ll write them all down,

           Do a thorough breakdown

In an inventory that’s plain and clear.


But I won’t keep this list to myself,

Tucked and hidden on some dusty shelf.

           This list, I won’t hide;

           In someone, I’ll confide.

Confession can bring hope, in itself.

Join us this Sunday as we continue our journey by exploring Steps 6 and 7, and discover new life one step at a time!


Grace and Peace,

The Rev. Magrey deVega

Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist


Starting Friday, June 3, Horizon Church (a United Methodist congregation) will be worshipping in our Magnolia building on Friday evenings for the next several months. Horizon will be moving to a permanent location off Gandy Blvd. later in 2022. Click here to watch a special announcement video featuring me and Horizon co-pastors Erica and Chris Allen. This is an opportunity for us to live out our core value of being Connection-Committed, and displaying the value of our United Methodist connectional system.





A Mother’s Day Prayer

A Mother’s Day Prayer

Dear Hyde Park Family,

In preparation for this Sunday, when we celebrate and honor the mothers and mother figures in our lives, here is a reprise of a prayer for Mother’s Day that I first offered years ago. May it guide us into a deeper appreciation for these special persons, and reflect on the character of God, who is like a mother to us all.


God of Provision and Unconditional Love,

On this day when we acknowledge the importance of motherhood among us, we first give thanks that you are a loving parent to us all. From your being all life was born, and from your bosom all creation is nurtured. You have formed us in your image as your children, and gathered us together as a brood under your wing. You have united us as kindred members of one human family, and we celebrate how your love is reflected in human expressions of motherhood.

We give you thanks for the mothers among us, and ask that you strengthen them in their daily tasks. Grant them wisdom in the lessons they teach, both by word and example. Give them patience in the discipline they provide, and persistence in their daily labors. May they be given the honor and thanks they deserve but often do not receive.

We thank you for all mother figures: grandmothers, aunts, sisters, wives, step-mothers, foster mothers, guardians, babysitters, teachers, neighbors, and friends, who practice self-sacrifice and compassion to all within their influence. Grant them vigor and satisfaction in their work.  

We acknowledge, God, that even amid our grateful celebration, many of us come with restless spirits, reluctant to name the difficulties of this day.

For some, this day brings the sorrowful awareness of their own inability to conceive biological children. Draw your spirit near their feelings of self-betrayal and grief, and remind them that those who struggle with infertility have always shared a special place in your heart. We pray for those who have suffered miscarriages, those fatigued by fertility treatments, and those struggling through the process of adoption. May they remember that in your power and through your church, they can still leave a lasting legacy beyond themselves.

For some, this day is marked by loneliness and grief, as they spend this first Mother’s Day as a widower, an orphan, or a parent who has lost a child. To those who live in the wake of the death of a loved one, grant glimpses of the resurrection. Bring to them a steady restoration of their broken hearts, allow them to live into their future with hope, and empower them to carry out the legacy of lessons instilled within them.

For some, this is a day that surfaces ongoing tensions that exist within our own families. We ask for healing from the wounds of our past, a path of forgiveness for wrongs both experienced and committed, and the rebuilding of trust forged in honesty, authenticity, and love.

We give you thanks for the wide spectrum of motherhood represented among us today: new mothers and young mothers whose children are in their most tender years; mothers of grown children who transition into empty nests and a new chapter of self-discovery; mothers and grandmothers of advanced years, whose twilight of life is marked by frailty of body but a potency of spirit. Theirs is a cumulative reminder that though our lives are marked by transition and change, your nurture and affection for all your children remains the same.

God, remind us to live with a child-like faith, curious to every wondrous mystery, attentive to your every instruction, obedient to your every command, and willing to share with every one of your children. We give you thanks, O God, who is a loving Mother and Father to us all, and in whose name we pray,



The Original Six-Word Story

The Original Six-Word Story

Dear Easter People,

There is a legend that someone once asked Ernest Hemingway to write a story using only six words. His response? “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Since then, the idea of a “Six-Word Story” has grown in popularity. One article defines it as “a short narrative that can have all of the emotional themes of longer stories—from funny to dramatic, sad to scary …. They have a subject and verb that give the reader a sense of what’s happened and a bit of conflict.”

Scan the internet for examples, and you’ll find lots of gems, from the funny (“Won food fight. Used canned vegetables.”) to the sorrowful (“The smallest coffins are the heaviest.”) to the poignant. (“He died happy, knowing he lived.”)

But did you know that the original six-word story, the most important in history, first coined two-thousand years ago, is in the Bible?

It is a simple, clear narrative that appears fourteen times in the gospels, in Acts, and in Paul’s letters:

“God raised Jesus from the dead.”

That’s it. That was Christianity in a nutshell over the first centuries of the church. When the first Christians gathered in house churches to worship, this was their creed. The resurrection was the central feature of the faith, and this six-word story reminded them that just as Jesus died a real death, he was brought back to real life.

And the most important part of that story is this: Jesus did not raise himself.

To put this six-word story in grammatical terms, Jesus was the direct object, not the subject. God did the raising; Jesus did the receiving. Of course, we can split theological hairs remembering that God the Father and God the Son are one in the same, so that technically, God did in fact rise from the dead.

But let’s not miss this important point: We cannot raise ourselves, either. God does the resurrecting, not us. We cannot rise on our own; we need the power of God to raise us to new life.





That conviction is at the heart of our current worship series, which we began last Sunday. From now through the end of May, we are exploring the spirituality of the acclaimed 12-step program, which has transformed the lives of many people in various kinds of addiction recovery.

But you don’t have to be in recovery to gain immense spiritual benefit from this journey. And this Sunday, we explore Steps 2 and 3, summarized as “God can” and “I will let God”:

  • Step 2: To believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
  • Step 3: To decide to turn our lives and will over to the care of God.

If you haven’t yet done so, pick up a copy of the personal workbook at the Hyde Park office this Sunday or during the week. It includes scripture readings, reflections, and exercises for you to live into each of the steps. Pick up copies to share with a friend, or find a digital copy on our website. We also invite you to take part in one of the small groups, which are currently forming. You can register here.

And of course, don’t miss a Sunday, as we explore each of these steps together, and give praise to the God who is still in the resurrection business. Open your heart and life to being the direct object of God’s resurrecting power, and discover your own six-word story of transformation.

See you Sunday!




Tonight at 7 p.m. in the Harnish Center, the Contemporary Band will be hosting an uplifting “Night of Praise.” Come together and celebrate the great things God is doing at Hyde Park through music and story and experience the joy of being a church family. All the fantastic singers and band members will be there, so come celebrate!



Last November, our Ministry Leadership Council (MLC) chartered a Facilities and Property Task Force to develop a prioritized and time-phased master plan for utilization, improvement and disposition of facilities and real property owned by Hyde Park United Methodist. To read more about their work and the latest updates, click here.


Top Serving Opportunities

Top Serving Opportunities

Are you looking to get connected or even looking for service hours? Here we have a list of our top serving opportunities that  you can get involved in!

Adult Bible Study Facilitator

Serve any day; lead a small group or class for adults; curriculum and training provided.


Children’s Ministries Room Organizer

Do you love to organize? Children’s ministries needs you!


Justice Team: Community Events

Serve on the Community Events Team. We will organize, coordinate, and partner with other organizations to hold events around justice. Email Thad Bereday gr8ful2gd@gmail.com for more info.


Mission Liaisons Needed!

Mission Liaisons are needed for Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries and Salvation Army. As a Mission Liaison you’ll serve as the link between our church and our mission partner. You’ll communicate with the partner, pray for them, receive updates and let others know when there are service opportunities or other needs. The schedule and frequency of engagement is up to you.


New Baby Ministry Team

Hyde Park’s Children’s Ministries is looking for team members for the New Baby Ministry. Volunteers will pick up a gift at the church provided by Children’s Ministries for new parents and deliver it to them in the South Tampa area.


Scripture or Prayer Reader for Online Worship

Reading scripture or prayers provided to you, video yourself at home or at the church with staff help; video will be shown during online worship.


Serve at Dunbar Elementary

Hyde Park United Methodist has partnered with Dunbar Elementary. Volunteers are needed for tutoring, help in the garden, visiting with students at lunch, administrative support, or volunteering in the office. Here are some specific needs as the school year comes to a close. 


Serve with Children’s Ministries

Children’s Ministries is only possible with our team of amazing volunteers!

Serving opportunities are available for school-year teams of small group shepherds, greeters and floor coordinators.

If you and/or your youth love kids and are excited to get more involved, Sign Up To Serve.

Not sure what role is best for you? Learn more about serving with Children’s Ministries!


Set Design and/or Construction for Contemporary Worship

Assistance needed quarterly.


Sunday Morning Hospitality at Hyde Park

Sundays, 9:30 or 11 a.m., serve on the Hospitality Team at Hyde Park. Serve as an Usher or Greeter. Training provided.


Volunteer Barista at The Portico Cafe

Serve up a daily perk while also giving back to your community!

Serve any day, Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Duties include running the cash register, making coffee and helping with coffee retail sales. Training provided.

Help this social enterprise gain momentum and craft our comeback in downtown Tampa.


To sign up for any of these Top Serving Opportunities click here


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