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."
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,
Worship Ahead in January
1/7 The Epiphany of Our Lord
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.
Announcements 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
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.
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) firstname.lastname@example.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
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.