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Dear Hyde Park Family,

Today I am remembering some very special people in my life.

I remember the woman who worked in the church nursery when I was just a small child. I don’t remember her name, but I can still recollect her face and her smile. She welcomed me when my parents dropped me off prior to attending worship at Pasadena Community Church in St. Petersburg.

I remember a woman named Ruth, who told me a story about Jesus when I was in her classroom at just six years old. She asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus into their heart. I raised my hand. I said a prayer. She gave me a hug. I wrote the date in my Bible: January 7, 1979.

I remember two women named Jackie and Carol. They were volunteer youth leaders at Pasadena when I ventured enough courage to attend Sunday night youth group for the first time. They welcomed me, introduced me to the other kids, led in some games, and then threw a whipped cream pie in my face. I was hooked, and kept coming back to that youth group.

I remember a couple named Nancy and Mike Gilson. Nancy was the youth director at the church; Mike, her husband. Together they modeled Christ’s love and offered warm acceptance of all the teens, including me. They recruited, trained and encouraged youth volunteers. I eventually became a volunteer myself.

Now, I am serving in a church that is built on a legacy of faithful children and youth volunteers. I like to think that the same Spirit of God that called Ruth, Jackie, Carol, Nancy and Mike is still calling forth people to serve this most precious generation of Christians.

Perhaps that can include people like you.

Do you have such faithful people in your past who have shaped you? More importantly, would you consider volunteering in children or youth ministry? We have an amazing staff of people who would love to work with you, discover your interest and passions, and steer you toward making a profound difference in the life of a young person.

To sign up or to learn more, click here.

By volunteering for children and youth ministry, you can literally shape the future. Just like people did for you and me.

Grace and Peace,




This Sunday we have the privilege of welcoming Rev. Gary Mason as our guest preacher. He is the director of Rethinking Conflict in Belfast, Northern Ireland, an internationally recognized advocate for peace and reconciliation in conflicts around the world. Gary played a central role in navigating the Good Friday Peace Accords that ended the 30-Year War in Belfast known as “The Troubles.” He will speak to us about the power and calling of United Methodists to impact the public sphere through mission and witness.