Sunday, December 17, 2017

12/18/2017 Mainstreeter Online

 

December 18, 2017

Words from the Pastor

O God,
As Mary and Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem
and there found no room;
so Jesus went from Nazareth to Jerusalem
and was despised and rejected.

As in the poverty of a stable Jesus was born,
so by the richness of his life, death, and resurrection are we saved.

And, dear God, as we come this day to make room for love in our lives,
so may we also, with thankful hearts,
open ourselves to the New Beginning we are being offered now,
in Jesus' name. Amen.

Like Mary and Joseph of old, we too are slowly making our way to Bethlehem and to the celebration of a birth. We always need to remember that Jesus' birth was not the end of the story but just the beginning. We need to continue our journey with the holy family beyond Bethlehem to Egypt, where they lived as refugees seeking deliverance from the tyranny of King Herod and on to Nazareth, where Jesus learned the ways of his Jewish faith before heeding the call of John the Baptist to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins in the Jordan River. This journey will ultimately take us, like Jesus, to Jerusalem and the way of sacrifice and death. May our experience of Christmas prove to be a new beginning for us as we recommit ourselves to the One who lived his life fully in the awareness of the divine presence and followed where he was led. May we too follow where we are led in the new year ahead.

Blessings on this Christmas Journey,

Pastor Rich

Worship Ahead in December

12/24 Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lighting the Fourth Advent Candle
Children's Pageant
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38; 46b-55
Theme: All Things are Possible for God

12/24 Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (One service only at 7:00pm)
Lighting the Christ Candle
Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Luke 2:1-20
Theme: The Light that Illumines the Darkness

12/31 First Sunday after Christmas (10:30am only)

A Service of Lessons and Carols

Please note that there will only be one service on December 31st at 10:30am. The 8:15am worship service will resume on Sunday, January 7th.

Enlisting Your Help!

Following the Lessons and Carols service on December 31st, we need to clear the sanctuary since work will be starting in the sanctuary on January 2nd. If you are able, please carry your hymnals, bibles, pew cards, and prayer cards downstairs where you will be instructed as to where to put them. Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of December 17

December Mission News

Food Pantry: Main St. volunteers worked at the Nashua Soup Kitchen Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 to organize shelves and put away donations to help the Soup Kitchen prepare for distribution of Christmas boxes. Thanks to everyone who brought food for sharing in those boxes. Distribution of boxes will be December 19 to 22, Tuesday through Friday, of next week from 11am to 2:00pm. We will not be organizing boxes ourselves, but will help with distribution from the Soup Kitchen.

Anyone who has previously gotten a Christmas food box from Main St. UMC, or anyone who needs a box this Christmas, is welcome to go to the Soup Kitchen and get one. Please tell people you know who may need that food box. There are fairly long lines, but you will be able to choose the kinds of food that are most useful to you.

Thanks to all of those "blue apron" folks who help out at the Soup Kitchen during the week. Whether you are recycling boxes, moving produce, distributing food, handing out numbers, answering the phone, or checking folks in at the computer, you are doing a great job! If you happen to be a student home for Christmas break, you are welcome to help either Sunday afternoon January 21 or during the Tuesday to Friday distribution days.

Gifts for the King: Thank you for providing Gifts for the King on December 10. Gifts ranged from easels and tents to Legos, make-up, and warm winter clothing. We estimated that we had at least $1000 in toys and clothing to deliver to the Front Door Agency, as well as another $400 in cash plus more gifts for the Nashua Children's Home. And thanks to the children of the church for their assistance in blowing out the candles on our Gifts for the King Birthday cake for Jesus!

If you are looking for a special Christmas gift, you can always go to the Heifer.org website and buy someone a goat that will start a family on the road to self-sufficiency!

Merry Christmas from Missions.

-submitted by Phyllis Appler

Please note:

If there are other members of your household who use email and would like to receive the Mainstreeter Online, let Pam in the office know:

(603) 882-3361, or office@mainstreet-umc.org

 

 

 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

12/11/17 Mainstreeter Online

 

December 11, 2017

Words from the Pastor

In his daily e-mail reflection for November 30th, Father Richard Rohr speaks of the need to return to the essentials as the church. He concludes his reflection by quoting from a Quaker pastor who seeks to sum up what spirituality and church are all about in the 21st century. What do you think?

"Practical, practice-based Christianity has been avoided, denied, minimized, ignored, delayed, and sidelined for too many centuries, by too many Christians who were never told Christianity was anything more than a belonging or belief system. Now we know that there is no Methodist or Catholic way of loving. There is no Orthodox or Presbyterian way of living a simple and nonviolent life. There is no Lutheran or Evangelical way of showing mercy. There is no Baptist or Episcopalian way of visiting the imprisoned. If there is, we are invariably emphasizing the accidentals, which distract us from the very "marrow of the Gospel," as St. Francis called it. We have made this mistake for too long. We cannot keep avoiding what Jesus actually emphasized and mandated. In this most urgent time, 'it is the very love of Christ that now urges us' (2 Corinthians 5:14)."

"Quaker pastor Philip Gulley superbly summarizes how we must rebuild spirituality from the bottom up in his book, If the Church Were Christian.[2] Here I (Richard Rohr) take the liberty of using my own words to restate his message, which offers a rather excellent description of Emerging Christianity:"

1. Jesus is a model for living more than an object of worship.
2. Affirming people's potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.
3. The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments.
4. Gracious behavior is more important than right belief.
5. Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.
6. Encouraging the personal search is more important than group uniformity.
7. Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.
8. Peacemaking is more important than power.
9. We should care more about love and less about sex.
10. Life in this world is more important than the afterlife (eternity is God's work anyway).

Pastor Rich

Worship Next Sunday – December 17

Third Sunday of Advent
Christmas Cantata (10:30am service only)
Lighting the Third Advent Candle
Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; John 1:6-8, 19-28
Theme: Testifying to the Light (8:15am service only)

The gospel of John is clear, both that John the Baptist was sent by God to testify to the light and that John was not THE light. The prophet known as Second Isaiah speaks of God's anointing, an anointing that the earliest Christians came to associate with Jesus of Nazareth. What does it mean for us to "testify to the light"? Are we, like the prophet of old and Jesus, also anointed by God?

Christmas Day/Eve Schedule

There will be our usual two services on Christmas Eve morning at 8:15am and 10:30am with the Children's Christmas pageant taking place in the 10:30am service.

There will only be one Christmas Eve service and it will be at 7:00pm. The service will include the choir, other special music and candle-lighting.

Our annual Lessons and Carols Service will take place on Sunday, Dec. 31st at 10:30am. There is no 8:15am service on this day and no Sunday School classes.

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of December 10

UMW Mini-Fair and Bake Sale, Sunday, Dec. 17
before and after the 10:30 service

Building Update

- Sprinkler system in new construction is complete.
- Sprinkler work in Wesley building begins this week.
- Stained glass window is installed on rear of new construction.
- Wiring and plumbing in new construction complete.
- Opening for door into Wesley building has been cut.
- Brick work will be taken down this week after front glass is installed.
- Sheet rock work will begin this week.

-submitted by Ted Luszey

Circles® Greater Nashua Perseveres!

After a few unfortunate setbacks, Circles Greater Nashua begins its first cohort of future Circle Leaders and volunteers on February 13, 2018! With the full support of Harbor Homes Inc., we are ready to launch the very exciting journey toward eliminating poverty in Greater Nashua!

Circle Leaders (low-income individuals or families) are those who commit to learning how to set achievable goals that will lead to a more stable, fulfilling life for themselves and their families. Every Tuesday evening from 6-8pm, Circle Leaders and their families share a meal with Circles Allies and other volunteers, and participate in meaningful dialogue and activities to support their journey from poverty to self-sufficiency.

The time has come for Circles Greater Nashua to ask for your commitment to work with us to make this long-worked-for program a reality. Circles is volunteer-based, and requires many people to make it successful. Our first and greatest need right now is for 30+volunteers to step forward to become Circle Allies (i.e., intentional friends to our Circle Leaders). We also need 6-8 volunteers to work with the children of our Circle Leaders on the same, age-appropriate skills their parents will be using to reach their goals.

On Tuesday, January 9, at 6pm we invite you to join us at the Main Street United Methodist Church, 154 Main Street (rear entrance), Nashua to learn about Circles Greater Nashua and the role of volunteers. This space has been graciously donated to house this initiative. Refreshments will be served.

Call Laurie Skibba, Chapter Coordinator at 603.820.5688 for information or to sign up for the January 9th introductory session, or send an email to Laurie@circlesgn.org. We also encourage you to visit www.circlesusa.org and www.circlesgn.org for more detailed information.

Many of us are longing for a reason to contribute our time to something that will truly make a difference. In this era of division in multiple forms, Circles provides a way for all kinds of people to come together to show that we have much more in common than what divides us.

-submitted by Laurie Skibba

F Troop Christmas Brunch

Saturday December 16, 2017
11:00am, Church Vestry

Please join the F Troop (our over 40 Fellowship group) for our annual Christmas brunch. In addition to a delicious meal and fellowship, we will prepare the candles for the 7:00 pm Christmas Eve service, and then, weather permitting, we will go caroling on the front sidewalk of the church. Please sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board under the clock in the vestry if you plan to attend! Merry Christmas to all!

-submitted by Mavis Pyle

Blue Christmas Service

Londonderry United Methodist Church
258 Mammoth Road, Londonderry

For many, the approaching Christmas holiday does not bring with it the joy and happiness as shown on television or in Christmas cards. You, or someone you know, may have experienced a difficult year due to a death of a loved one, illness, a broken relationship, a move, or any number of situations that have caused stress and challenges.

On Wednesday, December 13, at 7:00 pm, the Londonderry United Methodist Church will hold their annual Blue Christmas service to provide a service for reflection, healing, and hope. The liturgy and music will focus on the comfort God offers to us during dark times, acknowledging and honoring the reality that not everyone is upbeat and cheery during the Christmas season. No matter what your situation may be, you are invited to come in the stillness of the night and worship God, who ultimately knows your need. Come yourself, or bring someone you know who is hurting. Stephen Ministers will be on hand afterwards. Light refreshments will be served.

-submitted by Pam Axtell

Fundraising Updates

Heart of Nashua: Growing in Faith:
72 pledges for: $779.285
Amount received:--$492,288

Heart of Nashua I:
Amount received: - $941,634

SCRIPS (as of 12/4):
285 card purchased
$4,397.00 total value
$275.35 church rebate

Please note:

If there are other members of your household who use email and would like to receive the Mainstreeter Online, let Pam in the office know:

(603) 882-3361, or office@mainstreet-umc.org

 

 

 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

12/4/2017 Mainstreeter Online

 

December 4, 2017

Words from the Pastor

A Prayer for December

Winter God,
in the darkest time of year
you brought in starlight,
angel song, and baby cries.
Stay with me as I journey to new birth
and celebrate this year of saints, psalms and prayer.
In the silence and stillness,
fashion my prayer into a carol of praise
and focus my life so that I may act as a herald of Christ,
the child of peace and the prophet of justice. Amen

Taken from Openings: A Daybook of Saints, Sages, Psalms and Prayer Practices by Rev. Larry J. Peacock. Second Edition. Skylight Paths Publishing

It is fitting that the church chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the One who is the light of the world, in the midst of the darkest month of the year. Don't let the snow and cold of December keep you from experiencing the warmth and light of God's coming to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Come celebrate the Advent Season in worship, study, prayer, and service through the many opportunities that are afforded to us in and through the Main Street UMC. May you discover, as the author of the Gospel of John declares, that "the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it."(John 1:5)

Pastor Rich

Worship Next Sunday – December 10

Second Sunday of Advent

Tithe Sunday
Lighting the Second Advent Candle
Gifts for the King
Christmas Ingathering
Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-11; Mark 1:1-8
Theme: Preparing God's Way

The prophet known as "second Isaiah" and John the Baptist both announce the coming of the Lord and the need to prepare God's way. How do we prepare ourselves to experience God's coming and presence in this season of Advent? How can we prepare the way for others to experience God's presence as well?

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of December 3

Important Notice

Everyone who has responded to Nonny Egbuonu and is attending the wedding of her daughter Phyllis and Ejikeme next Saturday, December 9 at 2pm, please take note. The venue for the reception and time has changed. It will now be at:

White Birch Catering
222 Central Street
Hudson, NH

From 5 – 9pm

There will be light refreshment catered by San Francisco Kitchen immediately following the church ceremony in the vestry.

Anyone who wishes to give a wedding gift, please make a donation instead to Main Street United Methodist Church with a notation #Phyllis' Wedding Gift.

What's New for Christian Education?

According to the Discipline of the United Methodist Church, the purpose of Christian Education is to provide "essential support for the lifelong process of being transformed by God's grace into the likeness of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Ministries are to be planned to assist persons in developing their relationship with God and in living faithfully in the world. The ministries are to help children, youth and adults grow in knowledge of the Scripture and tradition; develop skills for practicing the means of grace; and gain the abilities to live as accountable disciples."

You may now be aware that our Director of Christian Education, Kathy Whitman, is no longer with us at Main Street. Our Christian Education committee will be responsible for the day to day running of our education programs, under the direction of co-chairs Susan Pederzani and Mavis Pyle, and with the guidance and supervision of Pastor Rich. We, as a committee, take our purpose, as stated above, very seriously, and will do our best to ensure our programs meet these goals.

Children's Time will continue to have special guests visiting during the season of Advent and there will be a world premiere of a new children's pageant on December 24th during the 10:30 service. You won't want to miss it!

Advent is a time of preparation for a blessed event, and is also the beginning a new church year. Make it a new beginning for church attendance if you haven't been here in a while, and see what's been going on. You won't be disappointed!

And remember, there is no Church school on December 31!

-submitted by Susan Pederzani and Mavis Pyle

Altar Flowers

The 2018 Flower Calendar is available for sign-ups. It is located on the bulletin board in the hall across from the church office. Forms for the office are located next to the poster; take one with you when you sign up. Please include your name, phone number, and the message you want printed in the bulletin. The cost for the church to order is $22.50. Please turn in completed forms and money (checks should be made out to Fortin-Gage) at least two weeks prior to the Sunday you sign up.

Reminders

Next Sunday, December 10, is both Gifts for the King and an Ingathering of Food for the Christmas boxes at Nashua Soup Kitchen. To help you remember what items are needed, a bulletin board of baskets is posted by the vestry doors. The boxes given at Christmas include all of the regular food items distributed in a monthly box, plus those needed for Christmas. Everyone also receives milk, eggs, and a turkey or other meat. Gravy, stuffing, mashed or scalloped potatoes in a box, seem to be the items that ran low during distribution week in November. In the "regular" category, canned tuna supplies are very low. Cash will also be very helpful.

Folks who have in the past received Christmas baskets at Main St. are invited to go to the Soup Kitchen during the week before Christmas to receive a very generous box.

Bring your unwrapped gift for the Front Door Agency or Nashua Children's Home to the sanctuary on December 10. Be sure the tag with the number on it is attached to Front Door children's gifts! Gift wrap or gift bags will be appreciated. As your birthday month is called, bring your gift forward and put it under the Chrismon Tree. You can also donate toward a special gift for a child at either location.

Our Gifts for the King celebration has been helping others have a better Christmas for at least forty years, when we began taking gifts to residents of Laconia State School. Thank you for continuing this tradition.

-submitted by Phyllis Appler