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April 27, 2023

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Last Monday, I filmed an interview with a clergy colleague who is hosting a series of conversations about the United Methodist Church, and a hopeful vision of its future. If you are interested in watching that interview, let me know and I will send you a link when it debuts next Monday.

Preparing for that interview prompted me to think of the many reasons why I became a United Methodist in the first place, and why I am excited to be part of the continuing United Methodist Church today, even as we navigate disagreements over LGBTQ inclusion and the departures of churches for whom this is a church-dividing issue.


The interviewer asked me, “What do you love about the United Methodist Church?” I replied that among the many reasons was John Wesley’s emphasis on both personal and holiness. We care for both a person’s individual relationship with Jesus along with the social fabric that connects us all. This is not an either/or proposition for us. We do not skew toward individual salvation; nor do we exist solely for social service or advocacy. God’s redemption is for each of us separately, and all of us together.

At the elected leadership gathering last February, I shared that this emphasis on personal and social holiness is found in our denomination’s mission statement, to “make disciples of Jesus Christ (personal holiness) for the transformation of the world (social holiness).”

This also echoes the renewed vision of this church back in 2018, when our Vision Plan called us to grow “Deeper” (personal holiness, to make discipleship) and “Wider” (social holiness, to transform the world) as a means of becoming “United” in common witness.

Personal and social holiness are in no way contradictory, and in every way complementary. Here at Hyde Park United Methodist, we care about helping you grow in your love of God (worship, prayer, scripture reading) and your love of others (small groups, service, financial generosity, and invitation). We have programs and ministries to deepen your faith, along with work that addresses homelessness, education, and poverty, and a witness that addresses anti-racism and an inclusion of all people. We are not perfect in this work; no church is. But by God’s grace, in the words of Wesley, we are moving on to perfection together.


In the next Midweek Message, I’ll offer more insights that I shared from that interview, with further reasons I am grateful to be part of the continuing United Methodist Church. I may have more to say in the weeks beyond that. For now, if you are interested in pondering more with me about the values and beauty of being United Methodist, join me for a two-session book study on Bishop Ken Carter’s book Unrelenting Grace at the end of this month. 

See you Sunday!


The Rev. Magrey deVega

Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist