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.


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

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.


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




Monday, January 1, 2018

1/2/2018 Mainstreeter Online


January 2, 2018

Words from the Pastor

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart."

Howard Thurman

For most people Christmas is just a day. For the church, though, Christmas is a season that lasts through the Epiphany of our Lord on January 6th. Christmas is not something that we celebrate on one day and then move on from but a beginning of a recommitment to the ministry to which Jesus is calling us. No one has captured this more poignantly than Howard Thurman in his poem shared above. May we at the Main Street UMC continue the work of Christmas as we recommit ourselves to the mission that we have sensed God calling us to--the ministry of finding the lost, healing the broken, feeding the hungry, releasing those who are imprisoned, and yes, rebuilding our nation and bringing peace among all God's children while making music in the heart.

Reclaiming the work of Christmas,

Pastor Rich

Worship Ahead in January

1/7 The Epiphany of Our Lord
Holy Communion
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12
Theme: What Gift Will You Present to the Christ?

Most of us make some kind of resolutions each year on the first day of the year and in no time at all these resolutions are forgotten. What if we were to think of our resolutions as gifts that we are presenting to the Christ rather than as choices that are dependent on our will power? Could this change of perspective perhaps enable us to follow through on these resolutions in a way that we might not otherwise?

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.


Calendar for the Week of January 1

Staff Thank You

On behalf of the staff members of the Main Street UMC, I would like to express gratitude for your very generous Christmas gift. We are pleased to be able to serve both God and you through our work. We appreciate your thoughtfulness both in the giving of this gift and in the many other ways that you have shown appreciation and support. We look forward to the year ahead and all of the blessings that can be expected as we work together.

Thanks again, Pastor Rich

Finance News

My Parents and Giving

I am in Florida visiting my brother and mom as I write this. My mom is doing pretty well considering her age.

A long time ago, my mom left an abusive marriage and raised her large family on her own. Without up-to-date skills, she worked for the local newspaper for minimum wage. I admire her courage to do such a thing--she did not face easy choices. Money was tight, which was a gross understatement. Food was scarce--let's just say I weigh a lot more now than I did in my senior year of high school.

Through thick and thin, my mom supported the church. She has been passionate about ministries outside the church walls and directed a large portion of her offering to that cause. My mom also furthered her career, moving up to work at an insurance company and bank. She studied to be a CLU or Chartered Life Underwriter and other certifications, gradually rising up in her ability to live and to give.

My dad, on the other hand, seemed to be awash with cash. He lived well. However, throughout my childhood it was very clear whose money it was. He would remind me if I ate any food at his house. Even in college, I could not get any money from him to pay for tuition or books, or a suit for an interview after I was through. I don't remember a commitment to church from my dad, or to any particular cause.

You would expect my dad to be rich and my mom to remain poor, given her commitment to ministries. But that's not the way it turned out.

My dad died this year, and as far as I can tell, without any significant money. On the other hand, my mom is doing just fine. Yesterday she told me "If you make room for the church (and for God), the other things will just come."

This is not an isolated story. I've heard many similar stories from people right here at MSUMC, and elsewhere. When you put God as a priority and not your money, changes indeed happen!

So where are your priorities? Do you have a cause for a mission or ministry like my mom? Have you taken a leap of faith as my mom has (in several dimensions?) If you haven't, I suggest that 2018 be a good year to do just that.

Thank you,

Joe Dechene

Ted Talks to Resume Tuesday, January 9, 10:30am

After taking a break for the Advent study, TED Talks will resume next Tuesday, January 9 at 10:30am in the chapel. Pat Kerrigan is taking Jane Lapointe's place as co-leader because Jane moved to Shrewsbury. Bring your ideas for talk suggestions and topics. Everyone is welcome!

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 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

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.