Sunday, June 10, 2018

June 10, 2018 Mainstreet Online

 

June 10, 2018

     

Words from the Pastor

      Later this week Lisa Svenson and I will be attending the Annual Conference of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church. This year's conference will once again be held in Manchester which is wonderful for both of us.  Lisa will go as the Lay Member to Annual Conference elected by you and representing the Main Street UMC. As pastor I am a member of the Annual Conference (rather than any individual local church) but nonetheless go representing you as well. The idea of an "annual" conference goes back to the earliest days of Methodism when John Wesley called together the leaders of the Methodist movement (all lay members in those days) for a time of "holy conferencing". It provided a time for leaders to gather for worship, to do the business of the church, and to hold each other accountable in the living out of their faith and ministry.

      Today's annual conferences would probably seem very strange to Wesley and the early Methodists but in most respects the focus is still the same. We will gather for moving and inspiring worship experiences with powerful preaching. We will do the business of the annual conference. We will reunite with other clergy and lay members who we may not have seen since last year's conference and hold each other accountable to the work that God has called us to. We will witness the ordination of new elders in the church and the consecration of deacons. We will eat together, laugh together, cry together, and at times complain together about the state of the church. While it is an exhausting few days it is also exhilarating to be together, nearly 1000 strong clergy and laity together.

      Since our annual conference is held in close proximity to Nashua, I hope that you might consider attending some of the sessions--they are open to everyone. If you can attend one of the worship experiences that would be even better--imagine nearly 1000 voices singing the great hymns of our faith--it would be well worth your while. For the annual conference schedule and information as to how you can "live stream" some of the events please visit the conference website at www.neumc.org and look for the annual conference section of the website. Personally, I'd love to see you there!

     

Worship Ahead

6/17 Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Father's Day

Scripture: Second Corinthians 5:6-17; Mark 4:26-34

Theme: "New Creations from Small Seeds"

The apostle Paul speaks of there being a "new creation" in Christ Jesus and Jesus likens the kingdom of God to the smallest of seeds. We are reminded that God doesn't need much to work with in bringing about the new world that we all long for.

     

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of June 10

     

Summer Worship Schedule

Beginning on Sunday, June 17th we will move to having only one Sunday morning worship service and it will be held at 9:30am.  We will resume our usual schedule on Sunday, September 9th with Rally Day and our annual picnic!

     

Summer Sunday School Schedule

The last Sunday for both children's and adult classes will be Sunday, June 10th. Classes for both will resume on Rally Day, Sunday, September 9th at the usual 9:00am time.

     

Staff Summer Vacation Plans

Pastor Rich will be on vacation from Wednesday, June 20th through Friday, June 29th.  Our lay leaders, Mark Morrissey, Susan McDonald, and Sharon Schmidt will lead the service and preach on Sunday, June 24th.

     

Annual Conference Schedule

Our lay member to the Annual Conference of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, Lisa Svenson, and Pastor Rich will be attendance at the conference beginning Wednesday, June13th and concluding on Saturday, June 16th.  Once again this year's annual conference will be held at the Radisson Hotel Manchester Downtown, 700 Elm St., Manchester, NH.  All sessions are open to visitors. The conference can be followed daily by going to the New England Conference web site: www.neumc.org

     

Heart of Nashua: Growing in Faith Campaign Update

      As we near the halfway point in this three year capital campaign there is reason to pause and celebrate the incredible generosity of the Main Street United Methodist Church members and friends. As you may recall this campaign, which began in December of 2016, had 73 pledges for approximately $797,000. Since that time approximately $650,000 has been received in pledged money leaving an outstanding balance of about $150,000. On top of the funds received from pledges we have also received approximately $150,000 in gifts to the campaign for a total of $800,000 received to date. This is amazing and as our capital campaign consultant, Tom Melzoni, pointed out when he was here for the dedication- a true miracle!

      This week we will pay the final invoices to Northpoint Construction and when all is said and done the construction project will have cost just over 2 million dollars (including the demolition and other work done in 2015). The difference between the cost and the money raised has been provided through a loan from the United Methodist Foundation of New England. Since the loan amount exceeds the outstanding balance of money expected from the outstanding pledges we still have some work to do in paying off our debt and putting ourselves into a positive financial situation moving forward.

      So, thank you once again for your generosity and faithfulness in funding this project that has already begun to bear fruit. If you have not as yet contributed to it please accept this as an invitation to join in along with the many others who have done so.

      In closing I want to share a story with you. On Sunday, June 3rd a couple returned to church whom we had not seen in nearly two years. Because one of these two individuals uses a motorized wheelchair to get around she had not been able to come to church because even our chair lift was inadequate to her needs. She expressed such great relief and gratitude that with the elevator she would now be able to come to church again. Her words made my day! Indeed, this, among many other reasons, is what the Heart of Nashua program is all about.

     

Children's Sunday

      Today as proud parents' and grandparents' phones flashed capturing the Children's Sunday highlights, the rest of the congregation was reminded once again about what a valuable commodity our young people are. Children participated in regular worship as well as in special activities, such as a beautifully performed liturgical dance that was a choreographed version of the Lord's Prayer, a skit that analyzed the Lord's Prayer phrase by phrase entitled The Lord's Prayer Dilemma, and a recitation of the books of the Bible.

      Mavis Pyle recounted highlights of the year and noted that many of the children started coming to church as babies to learn about God's love and service. This past year Sunday School participants served as acolytes, ushers, liturgists, and performed in the bell and chancel choirs, as well as helped to package health kits for UMCOR and assemble toiletry kits for the food pantry.

      As Sharon Schmidt said in a prayer, "our children love to learn and learn to love" here at the Main Street UMC. May we keep in mind that "it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs."

      -submitted by Mary Marchese

     

Historic Tidbit

With the upcoming 150th Anniversary celebration in September, the Anniversary Committee has gathered historic quotes to share, taken from Methodism in Nashua, 1831-1982, by J. Lawrence Hall. We will include with each Mainstreeter Online.

     

Two:

"In the late 1750's and early 1760's Methodist Societies sprang up in New York, Philadelphia and Virginia. Early religious inspiration was nurtured by individuals called 'itinerants' who travelled from place to place on horseback, visiting several settlements or communities which were Identified as 'circuits'. Thus becoming known as 'circuit riders'."

"Records show that the First Eastern Conference of the Methodist Churches.  One of sufficient interest that became of historical importance was that of the welfare of the 'itinerant' or 'circuit rider'." Those who were served were responsible for providing a horse, "six pounds and a quarter, besides his travelling expenses." Further that at each Easter the circuit's collection should be made to relieve the Chapel debt and the itinerants' wants (the Pennsylvania pound was equivalent to $2.60)."


 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

May 27, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 

May 27, 2018

     

Words from the Pastor

"Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"

Isaiah 43:18, 19

      One week ago we re-consecrated our newly refurbished sanctuary and dedicated our new spaces including the elevator and new nursery. With this momentous event behind us we will have the opportunity to begin to live into these new spaces in ways that are both expected and unexpected. At the same time we will begin to move into a time of celebration of our 150th anniversary as a congregation. Contrary to the advice given to the Israelite exiles in Isaiah 43 we will indeed "remember the former things." We will look back into our past, celebrate the saints who have gone before us, and learn from their faithfulness.

      While looking back is a wonderful thing to do when a church experiences such milestones as a 150th anniversary, we don't want to get stuck in the past. We need to be careful not to think that our best days are behind us and nothing that the future might bring could possibly compare. We need to embrace the second half of the message that the prophet spoke to the exiles—the message that God is "about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Even as we celebrate the past we want to keep one eye on the future and be alert to God's new thing for the Main Street UMC.

      It feels to me that this is a special time in the history of the Main Street UMC and that we are positioned well for growth in mission and ministry in the present and future. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. Our new spaces have created a much more attractive, inviting, safe, and visible facility that has both new spaces and spaces available for new uses. Our ministries have expanded to include a partnership with the Nashua Soup Kitchen and our own increasingly significant ministry to and with our neighbors through Café Agape. We have committed ourselves to improving our already good hospitality ministry so that it might become exceptional. We have a newly formed youth group and a renewed commitment to being an intergenerational congregation that values people of all ages.

      These are just some of the things that we know God is doing in our midst but we can expect that God will do far more as we open ourselves more fully to the leading of God's Spirit. Let us move into the next era of our history with a willingness to change when change is needed; be resilient when resilience is called for; and draw deeply from the well of our past when necessary as well.

     

Worship Ahead

6/3   Second Sunday after Pentecost

Celebrating the baptisms of Zoey and Madison Pederzani

Scripture: Second Corinthians 4:5-12

Theme: A Treasure in Clay Pots

The apostle Paul, in reflecting on the treasure that is ours in the gospel, nonetheless notes that we have this treasure in vessels, that like clay pots, are fragile and vulnerable. Nevertheless, God is able to work through such instruments to transform the world.

     

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of May 27

     

Children's Sunday and Recognition of John Pagett

On Sunday, June 10th during the 10:30am worship service our children will share in worship with music, dance, and a skit. We will also take the opportunity to acknowledge John Pagett for his nearly 10 years as our organist. John's last Sunday will be Sunday, July 1st with Emily Adams becoming our permanent organist on July 8th. June 10th will also be the final Sunday for our choir before they take a much needed break for the summer. This is a must attend worship service that you won't want to miss!

     

Summer Sunday School Schedule

The last Sunday for both children's and adult classes will be Sunday, June 10th. Classes for both will resume on Rally Day, Sunday, September 9th at the usual 9:00am time.

     

Finance

      Welcome to the Finance column for June and July, where I want to give an update on HON2, the second phase of our Heart of Nashua capital campaign.  

At the time of this writing, we just received our certificate of occupancy for our connector. We can expand our ministries and missions by our accessibility. We are more attractive to families with our upgraded nursery. We have two new bathrooms plus a family one. And we have new space.

      As I had presented in various church conferences, the cost for this welcome addition is higher than what we've pledged, resulting in additional debt. The total project cost was over $1.9 million, we've raised a good portion but not all that amount.

      Currently we have a loan balance of $292,343.45 with an additional bill from Northpoint for $93,144. We have some HON2 balance to apply to this bill. We also have considerable expenses for A/V and expect a gift to partially cover that amount. We must pay an interest-only charge of over $1200 per month to service our new debt. Naturally we want to manage and reduce our debt quickly, as such interest payments take away from our mission potential and our ability to pay down that debt.

      From reading the bulletin notice, it may appear that we've met our pledge figure for HON2.  However, we've received HON2 gifts from non-pledge sources that brought the amount received roughly equal to the pledge amount. I've asked that we clarify our HON2 in future bulletins with updated numbers. We still need every one of us to continue giving our individual pledge amount and beyond to HON2.

      In my personal case, my family has given half of our HON2 pledge so far, and we are committed to completing our pledge for as long as we are here as members of MSUMC.  In addition, we are working to set aside additional money as a family to go beyond our HON2 pledge to do our share in reducing the church debt.

      Our congregation has been very generous in supporting this construction and I trust that you too will also support HON until our debt is paid off. That will lessen the burden on our future general funds and allow us to focus on our ministries and missions.

      This building project has been our biggest capital campaign item in recent years. Past large capital items included purchase of the Wesley building and its subsequent upgrading in the 1990s. Of course, the largest capital item was construction of the church 150 years ago, where our founding members took out personal second mortgages to finance.

      I hope we can take a breather after our construction debt is paid off. However, in the future there may be smaller capital campaigns and/or maintenance activities for key infrastructure replacements or upgrades. All of this will be with church-wide discussions and commitments.

As always, I am open to your comments and questions, leading to improved missions and ministries in Nashua and in support for worldwide missions.

      Thank you.

      Joe Dechene

     

Historic Tidbit

With the upcoming 150th Anniversary celebration in September, the Anniversary Committee has gathered historic quotes to share, taken from Methodism in Nashua, 1831-1982, by J. Lawrence Hall. We will include one each week in the Mainstreeter Online.

     

1. "John and Charles Wesley came to Georgia in the year of 1735 to minister to the early settlers and Indians. John Wesley stayed for about a year but Charles soon left to return to England. On his way home he stopped in Boston. The records reveal that on September 16, 1736 he, being recognized as a member of the Church of England, was invited to preach at King's Chapel in Boston."


 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 

May 20, 2018

     

Words from the Pastor

The following prayer for Pentecost Sunday (which is today) seems to capture well a response to the question that was asked by many in the crowd, "What does this mean?" Pentecost should not be thought of as a one-time occurrence but as what happens whenever the church pays attention to the presence of God in its midst and opens itself up to the leading of the Spirit. This prayer is taken from For All Seasons by John Winn.


O Giver of Life,

We are the People

who have heard a word we cannot unhear;

who have felt a warmth that cannot be chilled;

even a fire that will not be quenched.


It moves among us

connecting us to one another,

despite our different languages,

our different races,

our different religions,

our different cultures.


It is a language that cleanses

like a spring shower,

and at the same time warms our heart

in a way that bonds us as One.

And no one can stop it from happening,

for at the heart of all Creation is a Unity

we are still discovering,

which instinctively we know will save our civilization.

Let us meet at that Center,

combining all the experiences that have made us who we are,

and sharing the many ways we have

heard that word, felt that warmth, and

been illuminated by the light from the fire.

Amen.

Worship Ahead

5/27        Trinity Sunday

Celebrating the Baptism of Carter Thomas

Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8; Romans 8:12-17

Theme:  "Of Visions and Callings"- While serving in the temple, the priest/prophet known to us as Isaiah of Jerusalem experiences a powerful vision that serves as a prelude to being called by God as a prophet. His prophetic job was to speak to a people who refused to hear what God had to say to them. The apostle Paul reminds us that we are all "led by the Spirit" to likewise bear witness to the Risen Christ by speaking a word that might not be welcome by others.

     

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of May 13

     


Dedication Accomplished

On Monday, May 14th we received our occupancy permit from the city which allowed us on May 20th (today) to re-consecrate our newly refurbished sanctuary along with the new sound system; video projector system and new nursery (an extension of our sanctuary for our children) along with the connector and elevator.  Although I am writing this the day before these long-awaited events will take place I think that I can say with some assurance that this has been a wonderful day of celebration.+ Now we have the opportunity to live into these new spaces in ways that hopefully will lead to many experiencing the love of God through worship, fellowship, nurture, education, and service.  We await God's future with expectancy and hope.

 

150th Anniversary Plans Continue to Unfold

Please save the date of Saturday and Sunday, September 28th and 29th for the major celebration of our 150th anniversary. Saturday will begin with a special concert in our sanctuary featuring Emily Adams. We will continue with an evening banquet that will be held in the St. Patrick's gymnasium located just up the street from us. It will be catered by Celebrations Catering and will provide an opportunity for many former pastors, staff, and members to return to join us in looking back to the past while preparing for a bright future. Finally, our Bishop, Sudarshana Devadhar will be our guest preacher on Sunday at the 10:30am worship service.  You won't want to miss this spectacular weekend!

PS: Just this week Pastor Sue Job (pastor from 2000-2008) confirmed that she and her husband, Don, are planning to be with us for the anniversary weekend in September!

     

Opportunities for us to Engage with our Community

  • Sunday, June 3rd at 5:00pm:  Hymns and Hops at the Peddler's Daughter

  • Saturday, June 9th from 2-6pm: Tree Streets Block Party

  • Sunday, June 17th through the middles of October: Farmers' Market on Main Street in front of the church

  • Saturday, June 30th, time yet to be determined: Gay Pride Gathering in front of city hall

     

Missions

Mother's Day/Blanket Sunday:  Thank you for your generous gifts of $1215 in support of Church World Service blankets. Somewhere in a refugee camp or a disaster area, a mother will be able to keep her children warm because you honored your mother with a gift on Blanket Sunday.

Father's Day/Tools of Hope:  But we can't leave fathers out!! On June 17, Father's Day, we will celebrate again with gifts that can purchase tools that will add to a family's ability to make a living. The tools may be hand tools for working the land or working with wood, fishing nets, a sewing machine, or even a well for a village. We will take a "tool" note to the bulletin board in the front of the church so that we can honor and remember our fathers and those who have acted as fathers to us. Children are very welcome to participate.

Food Pantry and Letter Carriers' Food Drive:  Thank you to everyone who remembered to put out a bag for this year's "Stamping Out Hunger" Food Drive by the Postal Service Letter Carriers. If you forgot to put out food for the letter carriers, please leave a bag of food in the blue bin in the vestry, and Nashua Soup Kitchen/Main Street volunteers will get it to the Soup Kitchen. Needed items usually include 2 pound bags of rice, canned baked beans, canned meat, and ramen noodles.

Save the date!  September 15 is the water walk! http://thankyouproject.org/waterwalk/will give you more information about this walk which will fund the installation of a second well in Nigeria. You can sign up on site or talk to Nonny Egbuono.

-submitted by Phyllis Appler

     


A Conversation with Steve

      "Freud had some crazy ideas, but he did have something right when he said it's all from the parent." Steve, a Café Agape regular, went on to explain that his father was a successful artist and designer, but a violent drunk. His Swiss mother, who has a degree in English literature from Notre Dame, suffered from manic-depression. Steve, the youngest of four children, didn't know any other family dynamic growing up, initially in Ballardvale, a part of Andover, MA and subsequently in many other places in the country where his well-to-do father had homes. They spent many years in Australia, and when they returned, Steve was about twelve years old. His mother and father divorced and he ended up being passed around between his parents and his older sister.

      When he was fourteen and his father went to Europe on business and left Steve and his older brother for three weeks with no food in the house--that was normal. When his father returned to find that they had skipped school and smoked his pot, he beat them with a 2 x 4. Steve ran for his life outside and had the neighbors call the cops to get his brother out.

      "Parents can mold you to believe anything--like this is a planet full of aliens and we are only food for them."

      When I asked if he had any happy memories of his father, Steve told me that once when he was five years old he went to the studio where his father was painting. He peeked in cautiously because his father was working, and he wanted to see what he was doing. His father told him to come in and gave him a lollipop.

      In the 70's one of his sisters became schizophrenic. Then a decade later his brother Scott, a paranoid schizophrenic, committed suicide. His father didn't go to the funeral.

      Steve said, "A small percentage of people are able to weather the miseries of life and function in a positive way, but the majority are severely affected by the things that happen to them in life."

      After attending Rivier College, U Mass Lowell, and University of Maine in Augusta seeking a degree in psychology and later engineering, Steve dropped out and got work in manufacturing for 20 years. He became a cable contractor and started a cable company, which he ran for ten years. At one time he managed six crews installing line and made lots of money.

      But he couldn't escape his upbringing. He has been to as many as eight psychiatrists with no success, and admitted that until he is willing to do the work to delve into his past and dig deeply to get it out, he won't be cured. In the meantime, he has diagnosed himself as having abandonment issues, self-sabotage, OCD, and ADD. Plus he has had multiple injuries and surgeries. He uses alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.

      Steve's number one goal is to get an income and a place to live. And he promised me that when he is ready, he will seek psychological help and do the difficult work it will take to get well.

-submitted by Mary Marchese