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Dear Hyde Park Family,

This Sunday our journey through the Bible makes a familiar stop at the story of Jonah. It’s a fun story that many of us have known since childhood, and has an endearing, “Aesop’s fable” kind of quality to it. It’s no wonder when the producers of the Veggie Tales decided to create their first full-length animated feature, this is the story they chose.

But make no mistake. Despite its light-hearted, whimsical qualities, the story of Jonah packs a whale of a punch. At its heart is condemnation of Jonah’s narrow view of God’s grace, and his even narrower view of who can receive it. He was unable to let go of his own prejudices and resentments against the Ninevites, a nation of people he was dead-set on hating.

Jonah’s hatred for those who were different from him and his finite view of God remind us that prejudice is a theological issue. If you have a limited view of God, you have a limited view of God’s love, and you therefore have a limited capacity to love other people.

It’s why Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the great leader in the fight against apartheid, has called racism the “ultimate blasphemy.” In a 2002 address to the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachussetts, the retired archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa said:

“Racism is the ultimate blasphemy, because it could make a child of God doubt that she or he was a child of God. Racism is never benign and conventional and acceptable, for it is racism that resulted in the awfulness of lynchings and the excesses of slavery; it spawned the Holocaust and apartheid and was responsible for ethnic cleansing. People of faith cannot be neutral on this issue. To stand on the sidelines is to be disobedient to the God who said we are created, all of us, in this God’s image.” [1]

What you believe about someone who is different from you is predicated by who you believe God is. If you believe in a God who is big enough to imprint God’s image on all of creation and call each of us as God’s children, then you must believe its corollary proposition, which is that we must love everyone.

Join us this Sunday as we do a deeper dive into the story of Jonah. We will discover some of its distinguishing features and find good news for some of the toughest questions we are facing today. We are just two Sundays away from beginning the New Testament on August 30! Let’s finish the Old Testament strong!

Grace and Peace,


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

After several online meetings and a called church conference that resulted in a vote to purchase the former Hyde Park Women’s Center, we have successfully acquired the property. Our thanks to the hard work and leadership from our Board of Trustees, the Committee on Finance, the Debt and Property Implementation Team, and Steve Gardner, Lay Delegate to the Annual Conference. Next steps include taking control of the property, petitioning the city to vacate the alley on the property and determining whether to use or demolish the existing structure. Our Board of Trustees will lead this effort. If you would like to make a special donation toward the purchase of the property, please complete this form. | More Information