Sunday, February 11, 2018

Feb.12 Mainstreeter Online

 

February 12, 2018

Words from the Pastor

Blessing the Dust

A Blessing for Ash Wednesday
By Jan L. Richardson

All those days you felt like dust, like dirt,
as if all you had to do was turn your face
toward the wind and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

Did you not know what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour we are marked
by what has made it through the burning.

This is the moment we ask for the blessing
that lives within the ancient ashes,
that makes its home inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked not for sorrow.
And let us be marked not for shame.
Let us be marked not for false humility
or for thinking we are less
than we are

but for claiming what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world is made,
and the stars that blaze
in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. The ashes remind us both of our mortality--"from dust you have come and to dust you shall return"--and of our need to constantly be in an attitude of repentance reflecting the ancient practice of covering oneself in sackcloth and ashes. As mortal and fragile human beings, we recognize our finitude and ultimately, our dependence always on the God who has given us life. During this Lenten season it is my hope that we will be able to "claim what God can do within the dust, within the dirt, within the stuff of which the world is made." We may be finite and frail but God is able to do great things in and through our frailty. May you experience a blessed Lenten journey begun in dust and concluded in the assurances of an empty tomb.

Worship Ahead in February

2/18 The First Sunday in Lent
Scripture: Genesis 9:8-17; Mark 1:9-15
Theme: Wandering in the Wilderness of Lent.
Just as Jesus felt compelled to go into the wilderness following his baptism ("driven by the Spirit"), so too we are compelled to enter into the season of Lent in order to experience the spiritual benefits that this season has to offer. What spiritual practices might you adopt during this time in order to more fully experience God's presence in your life?

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of February 11

Ash Wednesday Service to be Held at the Arlington Street UMC

This year we will join our sister church, the Arlington Street UMC for our Ash Wednesday Service, which they will host. The service will be held on Wednesday, February 14th at 7:00pm and will include music by a joint choir and preaching by Pastor Rich. The disposition of ashes will be available for all who would like to receive them.

Ashes Available Wednesday Morning

In addition to the ashes available at the Wednesday evening service, ashes will be provided between 7:30am and 10:00am in the chapel. If you come before 8:00am, please use the front door; after 8:00am please use the rear door.

A Conversation with Corey

It started one morning at Café Agape with a general conversation about why people become homeless. Corey explained that it can happen to anybody for multiple reasons—loss of employment, addiction, mental illness, physical handicaps, poor judgement, and no support from family or friends. Once on the street, you expend most of your energy on surviving and don't have the energy to look for a job.

Craig chimed in, "And nobody wants to hire you if you look like you crawled out of a dumpster."

So what do you do? You can either search for help or give up entirely and find a way to escape your physical and mental pain—usually with something addictive.

Then Corey began a more personal conversation and told me his story of homelessness. His mother was fourteen when she became pregnant with him and his father was sixteen. He and his mother are very close, yet he hasn't seen her lately, because, he said, "I'm tired of breaking her heart."

Because Corey has ADHD, he needs a job that is physically active. He loves doing auto body work, especially painting cars. For two years he worked at TK Auto Body in Milford until they closed. Then he worked at Maaco for a year. He has worked in factories, but it was in a factory that he cracked his 4th and 5th lumbar, which put him out of commission for a while. His doctor prescribed Percocet for a year, and when she suddenly stopped renewing the prescription, he was in trouble. He had become addicted to Percocet and the cheapest replacement was heroin.

"Shooting heroin is like playing Russian Roulette," Corey said. "Every time you push in the needle, you don't know what it's going to do to you. The fifth time I almost died did it for me. It made me realize the lunacy of it all."

Corey went to Harbor Homes. After going cold turkey for a week, they gave him Vivitrol, which decreases the brain's cravings for opioids. That was eight months ago and now Corey is clean.

"So what's next?" I asked him.

In spite of lingering pain from his back injury and arthritis that is getting worse, Corey has been working with Donna at the Nashua Soup Kitchen to look for a job.

And I suggested he give his mother a call.

-submitted by Mary Marchese

Food Pantry Update

It has been nine months since our food pantry joined forces with the Nashua Soup Kitchen (NSK) and during that time, Charlie Flagler has made a visible difference. Most Monday mornings he arrives early to a scene of debris and jumbled cardboard boxes around the dumpsters. When he leaves several hours later, the area is orderly and swept clean.

Sometimes Charlie has help from one or two young men doing community service, but often it's just Charlie alone making the very noticeable improvement.

Charlie is one of seven stalwart volunteers from MSUMC who faithfully serve at the NSK at least once a week. Most show up twice a week. Their impact may not be as visible as Charlie's, but the blue-aproned Methodists are being noticed, not just by management at the NSK, but by very grateful clients who appreciate our welcoming and positive attitudes.

In addition, our Third Sunday Food Pantry is attracting a following. On January 21, twelve MSUMC volunteers served 54 clients and this was in spite of competition from the Patriots' AFC championship game!

Thanks to all who participate and keep this ministry alive! Everyone is welcome to join us and find out for yourselves that you will benefit as much, if not more, than the people you serve.

TP and Tuna Drive Next Sunday, February 18

The Nashua Soup Kitchen has rolled through the toilet paper that we collected back in September. We collected 408 rolls, but the NSK has asked if we could have another TP challenge. Tuna has also been an item that has been lacking at the NSK this month, so if you can bring TP or tuna and put it in the blue bin by the door in the vestry, it will soon be in circulation. Patrons at the NSK can receive a bag of toiletries each month, and that bag includes a roll of toilet paper.

-submitted by Phyllis Appler

 

 

 

 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Feb. 5 Mainstreeter Online

 

February 5, 2018

Words from the Pastor

A Prayer of St. Clare of Assisi

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!

Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!

Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance!

And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead

itself through contemplation!

So that you too may feel what His friends feel

as they taste the hidden sweetness

which God Himself reserved from the beginning

for those who love him.

St. Clare was one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi and herself founded a Benediction order for women known as the Order of Poor Ladies (now known as the Poor Clares).  Although St. Clare may not have had the events of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in mind when she wrote this prayer, it nevertheless expresses well the meaning behind this powerful and light-filled story. Just as Jesus' inner circle of disciples experienced the glory of God in the face of Jesus, so too we can be transformed through our contemplation of the "divine substance.

I invite you to experience the "brilliance of God's glory" as we reflect together in worship next Sunday on this very meaningful story of light, presence, and divine fellowship. We too can "taste the hidden sweetness" that God offers to all who dare to go up the mountain with Jesus. Perhaps we too will never be the same!

Worship Ahead in February

2/11  The Transfiguration of Our Lord

Scripture: Second Kings 2:1-12; Mark 9:2-9

Theme:  Encircled in the Light of the Glory of God

When the disciples joined Jesus on the mountain, they experienced the glory of God in the face of Jesus. Such experiences are not just a thing of the past but a present reality when we live our lives attentively to God's presence in the here and now.


Announcements  

Calendar  for the Week of February 4

Ash Wednesday Service at Arlington Street UMC

This year we will join our sister church, the Arlington Street UMC for our Ash Wednesday Service, which they will host. The service will be held on Wednesday, February 14th at 7:00pm and will include music by a joint choir and preaching by Pastor Rich. The disposition of ashes will be available for all who would like to receive them.

Building Update

Well folks, the connector is in the final phase of construction. The interior of the connector has been painted, which means all electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling work is complete. In addition, all cut-throughs between the church and the Wesley building are complete, making access between the two buildings seamless. Work in the sanctuary is well underway. The sprinkler system is complete and will be pressure tested by January 26 and may be loaded with water next week!

Painting in the sanctuary will also be completed within the next week. After the new A/V and sound system are installed, the sanctuary can have its final cleaning and make things ready for the staging to be removed, which will allow work on the A/C installation to begin. While the staging is available, there will be some maintenance work completed on the organ as well as cleaning the lights and replacing bulbs which no longer work.

This week the Building Committee reviewed all entry doors and is working on a keying strategy to enable NorthpointCM to order and install locks with new keys for the entire complex. NorthpointCM and Stanley continue to work out details on elevator installation issues, and although we are a week behind schedule on this one item, overall the project is on schedule as presented back in September. We are looking forward to reopening the sanctuary for use in just a few short weeks!

-submitted by Ted Luszey and Dave Svenson

Printed February Mainstreeter Available

Available at both entrances to the church. Be sure to pick one up!


 

 

 

 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Jan. 29 Mainstreeter Online

 

January 29, 2018

Words from the Pastor

God of winter sky, fill the night with stars,

for I need to lift my eyes and raise my weary soul

from shadows and short days,

from dreary tasks and unending lists.

Shine bright lights into the darkness and

remind me that new life and dormant seeds gather

strength in the depths of the earth.

Open me to the newness inside me waiting to be born. Amen.

A Prayer for February by the Rev. Larry J. Peacock taken from his book,

Openings: A Daybook of Saints, Sages, Psalms and Prayer Practices


Although the month of February is the shortest month of the year in terms of the number of days, for many people it seems to go on endlessly with dreary days, snowfall, and darkness. Yet, while we are hunkered down during this endless month, mother earth is hard at work preparing dormant seeds for new life. There is indeed much hope to be found in this time of waiting for longer days and more sunshine.

For us as Christians, February is almost always the month in which we begin our Lenten journey from the reminders of our mortality on Ash Wednesday to the joyous celebration of new life that we experience in our observance of Easter. We will mark this beginning with worship on February 14th--a day normally reserved for the celebration of human love. This year it will be a reminder that, just as Saint Valentine gave up his life as a martyr in faithful service to God, so too we are called to "take up our crosses and follow Christ." May our journey through Lent prove to be a meaningful time of self-sacrifice and self-denial as we move towards the "newness inside me waiting to be born."

Worship Ahead in February

2/4 The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Scripture: Mark 1:29-39

Theme:  Prayer and Healing in the Ministry of Jesus

Frequently, as in this story, we see a connection between Jesus' prayer life and his healing ministry. What does this mean for us as we seek to be a healing presence to others?


Announcements  

Calendar  for the Week of January 28

Ash Wednesday Service to be Held at the Arlington Street UMC

This year we will join our sister church, the Arlington Street UMC for our Ash Wednesday Service, which they will host. The service will be held on Wednesday, February 14th at 7:00pm and will include music by a joint choir and preaching by Pastor Rich. The disposition of ashes will be available for all who would like to receive them.

Finance News

Greetings and welcome to the finance column for February. Construction is well underway and we can see the progress of our vision. The estimate for phase 2 of our construction was $1.4M plus $89,000 (or $89k) for roof replacement. Part of the $1.4M is 100,000 for contingency for unexpected events. Every renovation project has its share of surprises, opportunities, and risks. That contingency is to cover the unknowns at time of estimation.

At the time of this writing, I have two lists in front of me, as presented to the Building Committee by Northpoint Construction Management, who is handling our renovation. The first sheet is a tracking sheet of "unanticipated costs" which goes against the above contingency. It includes items such as buried concrete that needed to be removed, rotted deck boards, and ductwork. It also has our sanctuary painting quote, which was not available at time of mortgage.

The second list is a list of possible changes and improvements. Such items include infrastructure items we should do, such as sealing the chimney where water has been leaking and damaging the sanctuary plaster. Site plan city fee is also needed for changes. Some items are "we should have thought of that" that became apparent only as construction revealed. This includes a toilet in the area that will be the nursery, an additional janitor closet, a closet in the connector, and costs associated with relocating our A/V sound booth. Some items are "nice to have" such as granite steps (instead of concrete) and a flagpole which are a bit more compelling as Northpoint is willing to donate a portion of the funds. Other items are, in my opinion, optional such as exterior architectural building lighting and moving our sign.

We still have risks remaining in the construction, particularly in the air conditioning, which is just underway. However tempting it is to select from our list of improvements until we reach $100k, we must continue to keep a lid on expenses.

Any additional expenses, even if they are within the $100k contingency, will add to our long term debt. Even expenses after construction is completed will result in debt. This includes furniture and drapes (we are looking for alternatives.) Debt is what is left over after our HON funds are exhausted and there is still a balance on our loan.

As the Finance Committee has said all along, we are keeping an eye on long term debt. Unchecked debt could add a big obligation to our future operating budgets. In a future column we will discuss debt service and strategies to address.

Thank you, Joe Dechene

A Conversation with Craig

This past week I had the opportunity to talk to Craig at Café Agape. He was meticulously coloring an intricate design in a coloring book for adults, one of the things we provide.

"Some people have the misconception that the homeless are lazy," he said. "But it's like a full time job to schedule your day to get what you need, starting with breakfast at the Soupie."

He went on to explain that he might want to sleep in one morning, but if he wants breakfast, he has to get up and go to the soup kitchen before 8:00am, whereas if he had a home, he could sleep as long as he liked and make breakfast anytime in his own kitchen.

Craig spends a lot of time at the Nashua library where he reads books like the one he showed me entitled Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time.

When it's really cold outside at night, he has to find a place to stay warm. When Craig was in Manchester recently and didn't have an emergency shelter to go to, he went to a Dunkin Donuts and asked the manager, very respectfully, if he could stay for a while to warm up. The manager was really nice and let him stay until the place closed. "I understand," Craig said, "if there had been like 40 of us, he couldn't do it because it impacts business."

From there Craig went to a laundromat where he stayed until it closed and then to the Red Arrow that stayed open all night. The lady there gave him two free cups of coffee and offered food--but he didn't want to push it. She said he had to leave before the first shift arrived.

Being respectful works. "If they say 'no', I don't argue or become angry. It doesn't do any good."

Craig has been homeless in Nashua for three years and before that, he was homeless off and on in Maine. He said that he doesn't choose to be homeless, although he knows people who do. He has held various jobs, mostly in factories, and at one time had an apartment, a car, and allowed friends without a home to couch-surf at his place. Now he's the one doing the couch-surfing.

"Everybody has hopes and dreams," he said. "My dream is to go back to school and learn enough to become self-employed." But because of physical and mental problems, it has been difficult.

Craig is creative and would love to learn a craft, such as wood-working, that would give him skills to produce items for sale. Music is another area that Craig enjoys as evidenced by the few occasions when he has access to a guitar.

Perhaps you've seen Craig at Café Agape, or possibly at Sunday School, or the 10:30 worship service. He's the one who hides under the big hoodie.

-submitted by Mary Marchese

Café Agape Needs

We have been getting record numbers of neighbors who come daily to Café Agape for coffee, snacks, and conversation. We average about 30 people a morning between 8:00 and 10:00am. If you would like to contribute, we can use the following:

Coffee

Hot chocolate

Sugar

Teabags

Crackers

Napkins and paper plates

Toilet paper

Toothbrushes

Travel-size toiletries


Thank you!

Calling All United Methodist Men and Women in Christ

Our United Methodist Men Breakfast and Meeting for February 2018 will take place at 0830 on Saturday, 3 February, in the vestry and MSUMC. Our program for February will be analyzing the federal income tax impact on individuals and businesses of the new 2018 Tax Reform Bill passed by the US Congress last month.

Our guest will be Mr. Dilip Patel, Senior Tax Analyst with H&R Block. Mr. Patel will share the highlights of the new tax legislation as it pertains mainly to individuals and enlighten us to tax strategies that we can use as we file our taxes next year. He can also answer any and all questions you might have concerning your tax responsibilities for the current tax filing season for Tax Year 2017.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at this event. If you don't have a computer and read this announcement in our weekly Bulletin or in the Weekly Blast from the church office, please call me at 603-880-6289 to let me know that you are coming. See you all on Saturday, 3 February, at the MSUMC Vestry.

-submitted by Kent Swanson

Leaders of the Church

It is time to submit your annual report for 2017 to the church office. You may email them as attachments (.doc) to office@mainstreet-umc.org or place it in the church office mailbox near the coatroom. In cases where leaders are new to their positions the predecessor should assist with the report. I will collect them and create the 2017 Annual Report Booklet.

Thank you, Pam


 

 

 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

January 22, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 

January 22, 2018

Words from the Pastor

El Credo del Inmigrante/The Immigrant Creed

- by Jose Luis Casal, General Missioner, Tres Rios Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church USA


"I believe in Almighty God, who guided the people in exile and in exodus, the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon, the god of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean, who was born away from his people and his home, who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger, and returning to his own country suffered the oppression of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power, who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured, accused and condemned to death unjustly.
But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the dead, not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal immigrant from God's kingdom among us, who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.
I believe that the church is the secure home for the foreigner and for all believers who constitute it, who speak the same language and have the same purpose.
I believe that the Communion of the Saints begins when we accept the diversity of the saints.
I believe in the forgiveness, which makes us all equal, and in the reconciliation, which identifies us more than does race, language or nationality.
I believe that in the Resurrection God will unite us as one people in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.

Beyond this world, I believe in Life Eternal in which no one will be an immigrant but all will be citizens of God's kingdom, which will never end. Amen."

In recent weeks we have heard much about the place of immigrants in our nation--DACA, the decision to send back to El Salvador 200,000 refugees who have called the United States home since the year 2001, changes in immigration policy that would allow for more immigrants who are like us than has been true in the past, and of course, the alleged statements of President Trump regarding the nation of Haiti and the continent of Africa. What are we to make of this in the light of our faith? The "Immigrant Creed" reminds us that our faith is grounded in a theology in which immigrant issues and concerns are central. I invite you to say this creed to yourself each day during this uncertain time for so many immigrants who would like to call our country home, if only we would let them. If our primary allegiance is to the God who left home to come to this world in order to show us a better way, what does that mean for us as we grapple with these issues that involve so many human lives who, like us, are God's beloved children? May our faith guide us as we seek to find a way forward that is compassionate and just.

Worship Ahead in January

1/28 The fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Scripture: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Mark 1:14-20
Theme: Called to Do Big Things

Sometimes we are called to do things that seem beyond either our physical, spiritual, or moral capacities. We are not alone as the prophet Jonah could attest. How do we respond to God in these instances?

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of January 21

Staff Transition to Begin February 1st

After serving as our organist for nearly ten years, John Pagett will begin transitioning to retirement. The Staff Parish Relations Committee is pleased to announce that Emily Adams, who has been playing piano at the 8:15am worship service and serving as our primary substitute organist for the last couple of years, will transition into the position of our permanent organist effective July 1st. Starting February 1st, John and Emily will play alternate Sundays, with John playing the first and third Sundays, and Emily playing the second, fourth, and fifth Sundays when applicable.

John Pagett began serving as our organist nearly ten years ago, after retiring as the Director of Music Ministry at the First Church, Congregational here in Nashua, and we are grateful for his years of service to the Main Street UMC.

Emily has both bachelor and master's degrees from the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. She has served as an organist at a United Methodist Church in New Jersey and, for the last couple of years, at the Nashua Church of Christ, Scientist. We look forward to enjoying her musical talents at Main Street for many years to come. Here is what Emily would like us to know about herself.

When I moved to Nashua two years ago, I had every intention of going "church shopping"—spending a Sunday at each local church and then figuring out where I best fit. It seems that God had other plans for me, however, since my very first Sunday was spent at Main Street United Methodist Church, and my search stopped there. The joy, love, and genuine passion for Jesus Christ immediately captured my attention, and after that first service I knew I had found my new church home.

I have also felt the call to minister as a church musician for over a decade, and began my first organist position at a United Methodist church in Allentown, NJ in 2010, shortly after finishing a Master's degree in music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. More recently, I have been serving as the organist at the Nashua Christian Science church as well as providing music for the 8:15 service as MSUMC.

In addition to my work as an organist, I also work as a ballet accompanist at the Boston Ballet School and a voice teacher at the Nashua Community School. When I'm not making music, I enjoy cooking and sewing and knitting my own clothes. I am thrilled to begin this new journey with you all as a worship leader at the 10:30 service.

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation."
Psalm 95:1

Please extend your words of gratitude to John and welcome to Emily during this time of transition.

Mission News

Food Pantry: The first Sunday Food Pantry of the new year for Main St. at the Nashua Soup Kitchen was held January 21. We will be serving again on February 18. Remember to sign up to help. We will train!! There are jobs for computer people, jobs for lifters, jobs for those helping to distribute food to boxes or from the meat or dairy coolers, and jobs for those who want to stand by the desserts, hand out numbers, collect carts, or smash cardboard!! And remember to let those who use the Nashua Soup Kitchen know that we are there from 2 to 4 on the third Sunday of each month. Canned tuna, chicken, and beans are almost completely missing from Soup Kitchen shelves at this time.

Kits heads up: We will be filling health kits for UMCOR this year. So if you see sales on hand towels, washcloths, combs, metal nail files or clippers, soap, toothbrushes, band aids on sale, start picking them up. http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/hygiene will give you the exact list.

Souper Bowl: Grab that cotton ball—Souper Bowl of Caring is coming up on February 4. Be prepared to contribute to the soup pots that will be circulated by our youth, (and probably banged).

-submitted by Phyllis Appler

Invitation to Helen Louderback's 70th Birthday Celebration

On Sunday, January 28th, you are invited to join us in celebrating Helen Louderback's 70th birthday both in worship and afterwards in a special reception in the vestry. There will be an "act of thanksgiving" during the worship service in which you are invited to make a contribution in Helen's honor, which will be presented to the church. The reception will feature Filipino food prepared by Celebration Catering. If you plan to attend please let Helen know no later than Sunday, January 21st by calling her at 603-554-1141 or via e-mail at Helen.M.Louderback@faa.gov

Your presence would make this day a special one for Helen.

Leaders of the Church

It is time to submit your annual report for 2017 to the church office. You may email them as attachments (.doc) to office@mainstreet-umc.org or place it in the church office mailbox near the coatroom. In cases where leaders are new to their positions the predecessor should assist with the report. I will collect them and create the 2017 Annual Report Booklet.

Thank you, Pam

2018 Offering Envelopes Available

The following people have 2018 offering envelopes available for pickup in the church office Sunday mornings and normal office hours during the week:
Clem Borrotto
Carrie Brown
Evelyn Colburn
Cil Corcoran
William Griswold
Frank Haskell
Jim Hinkle
Mark Hinkle
Virginia Lamb
Beth Marks
Chipo Mazhandu
Brent Morrison
Peter Parlow
Thomas Reed
Margaret Siesicki
Larry Tipton
Leona Wilson

Questions may be addressed to Bill Francis, BillFrancis50@gmail.com

 

 

 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January 15 Online Mainstreeter

 

January 15, 2018

Words from the Pastor

"Concerning the Silence of Moderates", Martin Luther King Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

"I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth of time…It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually time is neutral. It can either be used destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of bad people, but for the appalling silence of good people. We must come to see that human progress… must come through the tireless efforts and persistent work of people willing to be co-workers with God…"

I have always considered myself to be a "moderate". I have tried to understand all sides of whatever the "issue of the day" might be. In doing so, I have often found that there really are two sides to every story. When it comes to racism though, and discrimination, and oppression based on racist beliefs and attitudes, I realize that I cannot be a moderate. I have to take a stand. I have to let my voice be heard. I have to be a co-worker with the God who calls us to stand up for the oppressed and those who are discriminated against because of the color of their skin, their language, or their country of origin. The events of this past week, in the White House no less, require me to take a stand even if by doing so some may choose to call me a "radical" or worse. As Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out in his letter to the clergy of Birmingham in 1963 who called for unity rather than resistance, the "appalling silence of good people" must stop. Will you join me in taking a stand against racism?

Pastor Rich

Worship Ahead in January

1/21 The third Sunday after the Epiphany
Scripture: First Samuel 3:1-10; John 1:43-51
Theme: Variety of Calls

In baptism we have all been called into the general ministry of the church. I believe that God calls each of us in more unique ways also and to ministries that are very different. Our scripture readings for this service reflect the variety of ways in which others have experienced God's call in their lives and the very different ways in which they have lived out that call.

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of January 14

Annual Church Conference This Coming Thursday

Please plan to join us on Thursday, January 18th at 7:00pm here in the vestry for our annual Church Conference. Our District Superintendent, the Rev. Jim McPhee, will be presiding over the conference. It is an opportunity for us to celebrate all that God has been doing through the Main Street UMC in the past year while thinking together about the future. The Staff Parish Relations Committee members will be meeting with Rev. McPhee at 6pm in the nursery. (It is the only space available!). I look forward to seeing your then.

Invitation to Helen Louderback's 70th Birthday Celebration

On Sunday, January 28th, you are invited to join us in celebrating Helen Louderback's 70th birthday both in worship and afterwards in a special reception in the vestry. There will be an "act of thanksgiving" during the worship service in which you are invited to make a contribution in Helen's honor, which will be presented to the church. The reception will feature Filipino food prepared by Celebration Catering. If you plan to attend please let Helen know no later than Sunday, January 21st by calling her at 603-554-1141 or via e-mail at Helen.M.Louderback@faa.gov

Your presence would make this day a special one for Helen.

Confirmation Plans Announced

Confirmation classes for youth in grades 7 – 12 will be held during the months of February, March and April. A planning meeting for parents and youth will take place on Sunday, January 21st at 11:45am in the chapel. We will do our best to find agreeable dates for the six confirmation classes. Confirmation itself will take place on Sunday, April 22nd. Classes will be led by Pastor Rich along with assistance from various members of the congregation.

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 8, 2018

January 8, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 January 8, 2018

Words from the Pastor

The story comes again
an Epiphany poem by Maren Tirabassi

It's the story about the pregnant woman
whose fiancé married her anyway
and how they traveled together
to the crowded city
where an innkeeper offered a stable,
and animals, legends say, their strawspitality.
(or maybe the pair sneaked in to sleep rough
like homeless people always do
in abandoned buildings)

And there's the sequel about shepherds
who were watching their flocks by night
all seated on the ground
when the angels came harmonizing
SATB in the sky
and sent them to Bethlehem
to see the child born for them
and then to share those good, good tidings.

And that's what they did –
they went back to the fields all christmasy,
greeting everybody
with good will, peace on earth …
though probably not chestnuts.

But now there is the other plot line
that often gets folded into the bathrobe pageant
though it happened weeks
or even years later –
about the travelers and their gifts
and the detour home
to avoid the homicidal Herod.

And that's what makes us part of the story –
not because we are wise and
certainly not royal,
but because we're always late or lost,
and, if we arrive at the holiness of it at all,
we come with road dust on our feet,
and star dust in our hair.

In the earliest years of the Church, and still today in the Orthodox Church, the Epiphany of Our Lord took priority over celebrations of Jesus' birth. The story of the Magi introduces us to some less sentimental aspects of Jesus' arrival in the world--the conflict between all that Jesus stood for vs. that which Rome stood for as witnessed in the conniving and actions of King Herod the Great. Because of this story we are alerted to the reality that the world cannot handle two lords and therefore we each must renew our commitment to Jesus Christ as lord of our lives and lord of the world. May the start of this new year prove to be a time for us to recommit ourselves to all that Jesus taught, lived out, and died for--compassion for the most vulnerable, service as the key to power, and sacrifice as the way to new life.

Celebrating the Epiphany,
Pastor Rich

Worship Ahead

January 14
The Baptism of Our Lord
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11
Theme: New Beginnings

For Jesus, his baptism by John in the Jordan River proved to be life-changing. The vision that accompanied his baptism changed the trajectory of his life from that of a village carpenter to that of an itinerant preacher, teacher, healer, and visionary. It was, to say the least, a new beginning. On Sunday we will renew our baptismal vows and likewise commit ourselves to a new beginning. What will your new beginning look like?

Change of Worship Locations

Just a reminder that because of the work that is now taking place in the sanctuary we will be holding our worship services in alternate locations for the next six-eight weeks. The 8:15am service will be held in the chapel as will the 9:00am Swahili language worship service. The 10:30am worship service will be held in the vestry. Thank you for your patience as we eagerly await our return to the newly refurbished sanctuary sometime in February.

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of January 7

Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Planned

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration will once again take place at the First Baptist Church located on Manchester Street here in Nashua. The service takes place on Saturday, January 13th at 6:00pm. The theme for this service is "Love shall Win" and the keynote speaker is the Rev. Dr. Neal Pearson, the pastor of the St. John's Baptist Church in Woburn, MA. There is also plenty of great gospel music, including the Interfaith Choir which is led by our choir director, Julie Oliver and involves many of our choir members. A free dinner follows the service in the church's fellowship hall. All are welcome!

What Time is it? Children's Time!

It all started when Kathy Whitman had an idea for a Halloween contest for the Sunday School children where they would dress as Christian historical characters--ones who have influenced our Christian beliefs today. That idea spilled over into having a character appear during Children's Time as part of the church service.

Kathy began by playing Anna Howard Shaw, the first woman to become an ordained Methodist minister. The next Sunday, Lisa Svenson was the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. It was amazing how historical and Biblical characters were coming alive during our 10:30 worship service!

We met Martin Luther as played by Pastor Rich, who also portrayed a grateful leper--the only one of ten to return to thank Jesus for healing him. Zach Sommers was John Wesley, and Steve Rogers was a disciple of John Wesley.

Pastor Dave Svenson was Melchior, one of the three wisemen, whose camel waited for him outside. And who can forget King Herod as portrayed by Paul Pederzani.

In the future, more wisemen and other characters are coming to visit our congregation. Thanks to all of the actors and thanks to Lisa Svenson for her costume contributions. If you want to volunteer to be a historical figure, or if you have an idea for one, please contact Susan Pederzani or Mavis Pyle.

Meeting historical figures each Sunday helps to remind us that Christianity is not separate from everyday life and has been experienced by ordinary and extraordinary people for many centuries.

-submitted by Susan Pederzani and Mary Marchese

United Methodist Men's Breakfast

Due to the extreme cold last Saturday, the UMM's breakfast was postponed to this coming Saturday, January 13 at 8:30am. Dr. Ernie Marino will be speaking on the topic of Healthy Living for Seniors. All are welcome!

-submitted by Kent Swanson