Hyde Park Community UMC celebrates anniversary of Worship@11

Another option for Sunday worship that welcomes all

by Anita Guy Burgess
photos by Scott McHenry Photography

line

  • Praise band members Josh Cook on drums, Tom Jordon on keys,  Cullen Blain on bass and David Abraham on percussion Praise band members Josh Cook on drums, Tom Jordon on keys, Cullen Blain on bass and David Abraham on percussion
  • Dan Pessell and Barb Fillion work on harmonies with Dave Colaw (left) and Matthew Covert (right) on guitars. Dan Pessell and Barb Fillion work on harmonies with Dave Colaw (left) and Matthew Covert (right) on guitars.
  • Some members of the praise band gather after a recent practice. From left rear: Tom Jordon, Cullen Blain, Matthew Covert, Josh Cook, Barb Fillion, Dan Pessell, Dave Colaw, Zeke Plymesser and David Abraham. Front: Alisa Snow. Some members of the praise band gather after a recent practice. From left rear: Tom Jordon, Cullen Blain, Matthew Covert, Josh Cook, Barb Fillion, Dan Pessell, Dave Colaw, Zeke Plymesser and David Abraham. Front: Alisa Snow.
  • The beautiful sanctuary - the church, built in 1927, is on the National Historic Registry. The beautiful sanctuary - the church, built in 1927, is on the National Historic Registry.
  • According to Pastor Cathy Johns, worship services at HPCUMC are designed to help people connect with God and connect as a community. By worshiping together, people know they are not alone. “What we want to build here is a real sense of community. And one way we do it is through worship.” According to Pastor Cathy Johns, worship services at HPCUMC are designed to help people connect with God and connect as a community. By worshiping together, people know they are not alone. “What we want to build here is a real sense of community. And one way we do it is through worship.”
     

January 24, 2017 marked the one-year anniversary of a new worship experience at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church (HPCUMC) at 11 a.m. on Sundays. It’s been described as a creative, fresh way of worshiping in a very traditional space.

Worship@11 is family-friendly and casual. It includes traditional elements such as scripture, prayer, a children’s message, offering and communion on the first Sunday of the month; but the music is contemporary in style and led by a praise band. The contemporary music creates a unique worship experience in the beautiful sanctuary of this historic church built in 1927 and on the national Historic Register.

Pastor Cathy Johns explained Worship@11 offers “an alternative worship choice designed to help people connect with God and connect as a community. In that way, people know they are not alone. What we want to build here is a real sense of community. And one way we do it is through worship.”

Worship leader Matthew Covert said, “My goal is to create a welcoming atmosphere and promote participation through the music. We strive to find something people can latch onto and enjoy the experience. Some people clap along while others dance in the aisles. Our music has a more modern feel to it. Some is contemporary Christian; some is fresh arrangements of traditional hymns. For example, we recently modernized the hymn ‘It is well with my soul.’ It was familiar to many of the worshipers so they could participate.

“We pursue excellence in everything we do here [at HPCUMC]. Whether it is the choirs led by Neal Hamlin, Director of Music, or the organ music by Dr. Brenda Portman, Organist and Director of our Organ Concert Series, we pursue excellence in everything we do here. The music team for Worship@11 is part of that excellence.”

Matthew has assembled an eclectic and accomplished team to collaborate on the music. Instrumentalists include Tom Jordon on keys, David Abraham and Josh Cook on percussion and drums, Cullen Blain on bass and Dave Colaw on acoustic guitar. Matthew is also an accomplished musician on electric and acoustic guitar. He has fond memories growing up playing guitar with his mother, Linda Covert, the pianist for a small church in Elmwood. When not at HPCUMC, Matthew can be found teaching guitar at the School of Rock in Mason.

The service also features multi-media screens for audiovisuals and graphics uniquely mounted in in a way they don’t obstruct the beauty of the stained-glass windows and the altar. The lighting and speakers also were designed to blend in with the traditional look of the historic sanctuary.

Worship@11 has been extremely well received within HPCUMC and the local community. Matthew views the acceptance in this way, “In my opinion, many young people are turning away from the lights out, rock concert atmosphere of contemporary worship. When the lights are up, people can connect with one another and feel like part of the experience and the community.”

Pastor Cathy added, “We’re finding a lot of young adults like the traditional space with a casual experience and fresh music.”

“Even worshipers who typically attend the traditional 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. service really enjoy the experience of Worship@11. One person who typically attends at 9:30 a.m. was running late and decided to check out Worship@11 and really loved it,” added Matthew.

“It helps that the church is behind us 100%,” said Pastor Cathy.

This is very likely due to the approach Pastor Cathy took in researching and proposing the new service to the congregation. In December 2014, shortly after she and her husband Pastor Doug Johns arrived at HPCUMC, Pastor Cathy formed a 12-member team to answer several questions: If we were to offer an additional worship service, what would it look like, when would we offer it and how would we accomplish it? She explained, “I definitely didn’t want to start a church war. Instead, I wanted the team to pray about it and study it, see where it led us and come up with a recommendation the entire congregation could embrace.”

The team visited 14 other churches in the Greater Cincinnati area to gather information and experience what they were offering their communities. After the research was completed, each member was asked to draw up their own proposal to address the questions.

“I was out of the country at the time, so I couldn’t influence their responses even if I had wanted to. And it was really amazing! Each proposal was essentially the same. They wanted to add a new service, have it in the sanctuary, have it be liturgical in its foundation, but offer contemporary music and offer it at 11 a.m. on Sundays,” recalled Pastor Cathy.

The proposal for Worship@11 was submitted to the Servant Leadership Board in June 2015 and received unanimous approval. The first service was held on Sunday, January 24, 2016.

Everyone is invited to Worship@11 at HPCUMC located at 1345 Grace Avenue. Services are also broadcast live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HPCUMC/. For more information, contact Pastor Cathy Johns at 513-97-.8182 or visit www.hydeparkchurch.org .


  • />