Pastor's Corner

Letter to Congregation - Next Steps for Hopewell - May 29, 2021

Dear Hopewell UMC Community,

I want to thank Raymond White for his leadership as Chair of SPPRC and for the letter he sent the congregation last Saturday. Indeed, silent concerns cannot be resolved. As he stated and as I spoke of in my sermon Sunday, there are challenges facing the United Methodist Church (UMC) and Hopewell. I am in continual prayer and discernment of how to best follow the lead of the Holy Spirt as I shepherd Hopewell UMC. I am still learning who Hopewell has been, who Hopewell is today, and am on a journey with you to discern who God is calling Hopewell to become.

In the midst of uncertainty, one thing is very clear to me—the Holy Spirit is alive, stirring, and has a path forward for both the UMC and Hopewell UMC! If you are wondering if there is a place for you in the Hopewell UMC community now and in the future, the answer is yes.

What changes the UMC will make (if any) regarding inclusion of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning) persons and what subsequent decisions (if any) Hopewell may need to make in response is yet to be determined. The General Conference, which makes legislative changes, will not meet until at least 2022. The path forward that has been affirmed by many of the largest interest groups in the church is called the "Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation." (Link to legislation:; link to frequently asked questions: This proposed legislation could change before General Conference meets and can be amended at General Conference.

Now is the time to prepare ourselves so that we can respond to the needs of the community and to changes in the UMC in ways that are true to who we are, how we see ourselves as followers of Jesus, and who the Spirit of God is leading Hopewell to become. Led by the Spirit, I am inviting you step into a journey of intentionally discerning God’s direction for us. This is sure to be challenging, exciting, and incredibly life-giving. Be not afraid to name your angst, embrace curiosity, work through resistance, take note of what you are learning, and be in communication with Raymond and me.

As I stated on Sunday, we cannot know fully where the Spirit is leading. All God asks of us is to take the next faithful step. I invite you to join me in grounding our movement in prayer. Please pray daily throughout the summer:

"Lord, I give thanks for the Hopewell community. Keep my heart open. Reveal to us who you are calling us to become. In the name of Jesus, Amen."

Ask Questions. This Sunday, the scripture is about Nicodemus, who brought his questions to Jesus in the dark of night. I encourage everyone (children too) to mail, email Pastor Wendy, or bring to worship Sunday, at least one question you are wrestling with (i.e. something you want to know about the UMC or about Hopewell, a theological question, a question about faith, the meaning of a particular scripture, why we change the colors on the altar, etc). Questions can be submitted anonymously. However, I prefer to be able to follow-up to receive clarity as needed so your questions can best be answered. I have already received some great questions! We will pray over the questions, which will be answered through:

- sermons in July and August,

- teachings later this summer on Methodism (historically and present-day),

- small group Bible studies in the fall,

- other communications

Raymond and I are both open to talking with you about concerns individually and in small groups. “We are the church.” And, what a beautiful church the Spirit is leading! Praise to be to God!

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Wendy Hansen-Smith

Lent Opportunities - February 14, 2021

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17th, and continues for 40 days (not counting Sundays), ending on Easter Sunday, April 4th. Lent is a season of self-examination, reflection and preparing our hearts for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The theme I have chosen to center on this season is Again & Again. There are several opportunities for spiritual growth this season, both individually and as a community. All are welcome! Invite a friend.

Upcoming Lenten Worship Services

Wed., February 17th, Ash Wednesday, options:

- 6:30pm, prerecorded service premiers on Youtube (watch anytime after 6:30)

- 6:30pm, in-person service with ashes & communion (weather permitting, we will determine by noon on Wednesday, following same covid safety protocols as last fall)

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Isaiah 58:1-12

"Again and Again, We're Invited In"

Sunday, February 21, First Sunday in Lent, Mark 1:9-15, Genesis 9:8-17

Again and Again, God Meets Us!

Sunday, February 28, Second Sunday in Lent, Mark 8:31-9:8, Psalm 22:23-31

Again and Again, We Are Called to Listen

Lenten 5-week Small Groups Studying the Scriptures for the Upcoming Sunday

Tuesdays, February 23 - March 23, 2:00pm at Hopewell or 7:00pm online via google meet (technical assistance is available to help connecting online). Youth are welcome to participate too. For more information and to sign-up, contact Pastor Wendy

Lenten Daily Devotional Cards

Choose a new card each day. Use as a family or on your own. Print your own set of cards by clicking the link below, pick up a set at the church at the Ash Wednesday service, or email to request delivery.

Click here to print the Daily Devotional Cards.

Message From Bishop Palmer - January 10, 2021

Grace and Peace to you!

As you attend worship this week, you will notice that there is no reference to the events of this week in the US Capitol. This is because the service was recorded on Tuesday. The church has a role to play moving forward to embody Jesus and promote healing, peace, and reconciliation. I encourage you to watch this video from Bishop Palmer He offers prayer, scripture, and theological reflection; and he challenges us to respond with prayer and action. I would love to hear your ideas on ways we can increase our capacity and skills to be "agents of reconciliation."

With hope,

Pastor Wendy


The angel said (to the startled and terrified shepherds), "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.

- Luke 2:10-11

Merry Christmas!

I pray that each of you will be startled by the Holy One. And, I pray that you will be filled with awe, wonder, curiosity, and overflowing joy as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior!

If you have a nativity set, I want you to take a good look at baby Jesus. If not, please imagine for a moment. In some sets, Jesus is swaddled as Luke describes. In others, baby Jesus' arms are wide open, as though they are reaching out to be picked up and embraced. I want to invite you to imagine baby Jesus' arms reaching out to you today, and picture yourself embracing him, holding him tight. Feel the love he offers you! And, give thanks to God.

Thank you for embracing me as your pastor and my family. Thank you also for the Christmas gift you gave us. It was quite a generous and joyful surprise!

With hope, peace, joy, and love,

Pastor Wendy


Online Only Worship - Beginning November 22, 2020

Hopewell Family,

It is a blessing to be your pastor!

As we head into Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to Kim Clements and Ron Delucia for making online worship available. Due to the Franklin County stay home advisory and Franklin County turning purple, starting this Sunday, November 22, worship will be online only. Kim will send the link out to the video when it is available. Please pray for the worship team. We are recording in advance hoping we can all worship together at 10:30 Sunday morning, from the safety of our homes. The order of worship will remain similar, and we will be blessed by the musical talents of Marla Rainier and Ron White. God will be present, and I hope you will be too!

One of the best ways we can love our neighbors is to follow the advice of local health officials to help slow down the spread of covid19. If you have questions about worship, please don't hesitate to contact me ( or 614-561-3471) or our worship leader, Gail White.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I am available for you via phone, text, Facetime and email. I would love to hear what you give God thanks for this Thanksgiving.

With gratitude,

Pastor Wendy

YouTube Channel: Hopewell UMC Groveport

October 11, 2020

Return to Sanctuary

A plan to worship indoors has been made by the Leadership Council! To comply with CDC and Ohio directives on Covid-19 expect changes to past practices. Safety in worshiping together is a top concern. As situations change, adaptations will be made and changes with them.

October 11, 2020 will be the first sanctuary service at 10:30. Doors open at 10:15.

- If you have a fever, Covid-19 symptoms, exposed or traveled to hot spots; stay home.

- Masks covering the face and nose will be required inside for all age 2 or older. Bring your own or one will be provided.

- Distancing outside and inside will be observed, use masks for socializing.

- Hand sanitizer and spray will be available.

- The pews, restrooms and lift will be cleaned. The basement will not be used.

- Attendance will be taken for health contact tracing purposes.

- If diagnosed with Covid-19, contact Pastor Wendy so compliance can be accomplished.

- Seating will be designated for families (piano side) and singles or pairs (pulpit side).

- Filling from the front to back will be encouraged for distancing purposes.

- Hymnals and Bibles will be removed. Bulletin will be online or onscreen, not printed.

- Children will remain with the family. No separate junior church at this time.

- Music will be instrumental, no choir for now, special music will be distanced.

- Worship service will be 30 to 50 minutes.

- Liturgy response will be by hand acknowledgement or movements.

- There will be a station for offerings and prayer request cards.

- Prayer requests can be made by email to

- Contact Pastor Wendy by text or call (614) 561-3471 for requests or concerns.

- Communion will be the first Sunday of the month with packaged elements.

- After benediction, exit by row from the back of the sanctuary to the front.

- We encourage you to socialize outdoors, as you are comfortable.

- We are hoping to record worship services so that those who are unable to attend can worship with us online.

This is a new challenge and a learning experience. Adaptations and changes will be made as experience dictates. The goal is for the Hopewell family to have a meaningful experience worshipping God together. If you are uncomfortable or have concerns, please contact me or any member of the Leadership Council. We understand that the safest place for persons who are at high risk of complications from covid-19 is at home. As your pastor, I want you to know that if you are unable to attend for any reason, your Hopewell Family loves you! May God continue to reveal Gods-self to us in unexpected ways!

Peace and Grace,

Pastor Wendy


- In lieu of singing you are invited to hum, clap, snap your fingers, tap your toe, sway, and/or read silently.

September 4, 2020

Grace and Peace to you!

I want to thank those who participated in the "Meet the Pastor Listening Sessions" in July and August via zoom or by providing me written answers to the questions I posed. I enjoyed getting to know you, answering your questions, and hearing about God's work in your lives, in the church, and in the community, as well as your hopes and dreams for Hopewell UMC.

Several of you told me you wanted to wait until we could meet more safely in person. I welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person in small groups in the church parking lot, in the church basement, on your back porch, or in your front yard. I can connect you to a small group or you can create your own. To promote safety and ensure there is ample time to listen to everyone, groups of 4-8 persons are ideal (10 max). I will be asking the same 6 questions at every meeting (see below). You are also welcomed to ask me questions too. I anticipate meetings will last about 1- 1¼ hours. I am generally available Sundays, Tuesday afternoons, and Thursday mornings and afternoons. Please call or text me at 614-561-3471 or email me at or talk with me on Sunday morning to schedule a time to meet with you.

If you are not comfortable meeting in person, I am happy to meet online or via conference call, or you can write out your responses and give them to me on Sunday morning or mail or email them to me. I would love to hear from everyone! Parents---children and youth are welcome too.

I ask that you spend time in prayer with these questions:

1. What does Hopewell UMC do well?

2. What is the biggest challenge or opportunity facing Hopewell UMC in the next 12-24 months?

3. If you had a magic wand and could perform a midsize miracle for this church, what would it be?

4. How has this church helped you grow spiritually—or how do you wish it would?

5. What would need to exist in this church so that you would want to invite a guest (or more guests) to come with you to Hopewell UMC?

6. What are you curious about that you wish the church would address? Or, fill in the blank, "I wonder what the UMC and/or the Bible says about ________."

With gratitude,

Pastor Wendy

July 16, 2020

Grace and Peace to you!

Last week's sermon, "Becoming Receptive," centered on the parable of the soils (Matthew 13:1-9). Through the parable of the soils, Jesus reminds us that we are continually being invited into the Kingdom of God and that our receptivity is related to the condition of the soil of our hearts, minds, and souls. Jesus tells of an astonishingly abundant harvest.

I share your hope of seeing a harvest of growth at Hopewell UMC as measured by attendance, baptisms, serving, praying, giving, and witnessing. I am excited to be your pastor, to lead and try new things with you. As a starting point, I would like to get to know you and invite you to engage in a process of assessing our soil. I am not digging for deficiencies. My goals are to see more clearly where there is richness, to learn more about where you have experienced growth recently, and to hear where the Spirit is stirring and planting seeds.

I am inviting you to attend a "Meet the Pastor Listening Session." To start, I will be conducting sessions online via google meet. To join with voice and video, you will need a computer, smart phone, tablet, i-pad or other electronic device with a camera and speaker. I am delaying offering sessions in-person due to rising spread of covid-19. Please let me know if you prefer to wait to attend a Meet the Pastor Listening Session in person. To ensure there is ample time to listen to everyone, I will be limiting in size to 10 people per session. I will be asking the same 6 questions at every session. I anticipate sessions will last about 1- 1 1/4 hours. I ask that you spend time in prayer with these questions:

1. What does Hopewell UMC do well?

2. What is the biggest challenge or opportunity facing Hopewell UMC in the next 12-24 months?

3. If you had a magic wand and could perform a midsize miracle for this church, what would it be?

4. How has this church helped you grow spiritually-or how do you wish it would?

5. What would need to exist in this church so that you would want to invite a guest (or more guests) to come with you to Hopewell UMC?

6. What are you curious about that you wish the church would address? Or, fill in the blank, "I wonder what the UMC and/or the Bible says about ________."

Days & Times for meetings held online:

Sunday, June 26, 7:00pm

Sunday, Aug. 3, 7:00pm

Tuesday, July 28, 4:30 pm

Tuesday, Aug. 4, 10:00 am

Thursday, July 30, 9am

Thursday, Aug. 6, 2:00pm

If you prefer to wait to meet in person, please let me know the times you are usually available to meet on a Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday.

All are invited to attend! Please RSVP to or by texting or leaving a message at 614-561-3471.

With gratitude,

Pastor Wendy

July 3, 2020


I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday morning! This week we will celebrate Holy Communion. Attached is the bulletin for this week.

Please email me joys and concerns and I will add them to the bulletin. If you have a joy or concern that you only want shared with me, please let me know that too!

Have a safe and joy-filled 4th of July!


Pastor Wendy

Bulletin July 5, 2020

June 25, 2020


I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday morning! Attached is the bulletin for this week. My goal is for you to receive the bulletin on Thursdays. Please email me joys and concerns throughout the week and I will add them to the bulletin.

Please continue to keep Niesel and her family in your prayers. Kim expects that Niesel will pass before the day is over. Niesel is very comfortable and amazingly no drugs have been necessary. God is preparing to receive her. Kim asks that you pray for God's will to be done.


Pastor Wendy

Bulletin June 28, 2020

June 24, 2020

Grace and Peace to you!

I am Rev. Wendy Hansen-Smith, but please, call me Pastor Wendy. My family and I are looking forward to becoming a part of the Hopewell UMC community. The past 4 years, I have served as Associate Pastor at North Broadway UMC in Columbus. I was ordained elder in 2019 and am a 2016 graduate of Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Prior to attending seminary, I had a career in human services management and was a member of North Broadway UMC.

I grew up in a farming community in Illinois. My husband Ed grew up in Pennsylvania. Ed and I met while doing mission work with the Appalachia Service Project in Tennessee. We were married in Kentucky and have now lived in Columbus for 20 years. We have two daughters. Ama is 13 and will be in the 8th grade at Marburn Academy in New Albany. Ama is very creative and loves to paint, draw, cook, sing, play sports, and listen to books. Olive is 8 and will be in the 4th grade at Ecole Kenwood Elementary, a French emersion school in Columbus. Olive loves stuffed animals, dancing, playing with friends, and riding on her tree swing.

Ed is a Senior Lecturer in physics at The Ohio State University in Newark. Ed enjoys running, reading, and playing the guitar. My favorite hobby is gardening. Together, we enjoy biking, canoeing, camping, and spending time outdoors.

I will be serving in a half-time appointment with you and half-time as the Executive Director of New Life Community Outreach (NLCO), a UMC District Mission Center located at the Short North Church in Columbus. NLCO provides food, clothing, healthcare, spiritual care, and access to legal assistance. Sunday mornings I will be serving with NLCO before coming to Hopewell. Mondays and Wednesdays, I will be there. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will focus on Hopewell and will be available to meet with you by appointment. Friday will be my Sabbath day and Saturday my day off.

We look forward to meeting you this Sunday!

Pastor Wendy

Pastor Wendy

June 22, 2020

Neisel had a stroke this morning. Please keep Neisel and family in your prayers that God's will to be done. Pastor Wendy, can be reached by email: and phone 614-561-3471.

Thank you all for the good send off yesterday. The 10 horn honk salute was great! Blessings to you all!

Pastor Barb

June 18, 2020

James 5:16

16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

Do have prayer concerns and joys that we can pray for? I need them by tomorrow so I may send out the bulletin early on Saturday. Thank you.


Pastor Barb

Stanley is asking for us to remember his daughter, Danetta. She has been hospitalized with COVID-19.

June 15, 2020

This Sunday, June 21st will be my last worship as your pastor at Hopewell UMC. You all have become family and have loved us well. My family and I are very thankful for the love, friendship, vision and ministry we have all shared together. ?Last week, Ron DeLucia, Steve Harshman, John Metcalf, and Rojer Moody came and planted a flowering Red Horse Chestnut tree in our yard as a living giving gift from Hopewell. Thank you so very much, it is beautiful!

Flowering Red Horse Chestnut Tree

Pastor Wendy Hansen-Smith is the new Pastor at Hopewell United Methodist Church. She comes from North Broadway United Methodist Church and New Life Breakfast program. Pastor Wendy will be 1/2 time at Hopewell and 1/2 time as director of the New Life Breakfast program. She lives in Columbus with her husband Ed Smith and their daughters Ama and Olive. Her first Sunday will be June 28th.

I know you will love Pastor Wendy and her family as you have loved us. Blessings on this new part of the journey.

Love to all,

Pastor Barb

Pastor Wendy Hansen-Smith

Pastor Wendy Hansen-Smith