Sunday, February 25, 2018

Feb. 26 Mainstreeter Online


February 26, 2018

Words from the Pastor

When you are through changing, you are through. ~Bruce Barton

I am not sure who Bruce Barton is but I can say that I agree fully with this quote from him.  Both as human beings and as the institution of the church, when we are through changing, we are through! Needless to say, change is something that we are experiencing a lot of these days here at 154 Main Street. For the last seven weeks we have been worshiping in the vestry rather than in the sanctuary since the sanctuary was off limits while the fire suppression system was installed and the sanctuary was restored and painted (no more cracks and no more stains).  During this time we experienced worship using powerpoint slides rather than hymnals, had an opportunity to experience a greater sense of community, and were able to welcome many of our neighbors who came in for a cup of coffee and stayed to worship God.

By the time you read this we will be back in the sanctuary although not everything that is going to happen in the sanctuary space will be completed as yet. Still to come is a new sound system; a video projection system; and of course, air conditioning! The work for each of these things has already started but won't be completed until late in March.


If you happen to drive by the church, you will note that the landscaping out front has begun with the removal of all the shrubbery (including the cross). The two stained glass windows on the first floor in the front are now exposed for the first time in many, many years and they look wonderful. There is much more to come and, when all is said and done, the front of the church is going to be stunning.


Our hope is still to receive our "occupancy" permit by Easter and although it is possible that this will be the case, as they say, "there are no guarantees". While we wait with eager expectation for the building related changes that we hope and expect will enhance our mission and ministry for years to come, there are a few things to look forward to that I hope you will get onto your calendars now.


First, on Sunday, May 20th beginning in the 10:30am worship service and continuing afterwards, we will have a dedication of our new "complex" including the sound system, video system, and the elevator, all of which are being dedicated in memory of individuals whose families have given generously to make them happen. I hope that you will be able to join us on this day of celebration and thanksgiving.


Second, given that this is our 150th anniversary year we are planning many ways to celebrate this milestone. As you will note elsewhere, our big celebration will take place on the weekend of September 29th and 30th when we will have a banquet and special worship service in which our bishop will be our guest preacher. We are expecting that most of our former pastors will be with us for this occasion along with other former staff and many former members who have moved away.


Needless to say, change is in the wind here at the Main Street United Methodist Church. That said, I think that you will like what you see, not just in the new facilities and landscaping but also in the new ways that we are able to do what we have always done and the new opportunities that are being afforded us. We may be 150 years old but we are not ready to be through!


Changing with the Times,

Pastor Rich

Worship Ahead in February

3/4   The Third Sunday in Lent

Holy Communion

Scripture: First Corinthians 1:18-25

Theme: Choosing the Way of Foolishness:  In the mind of the apostle Paul the centrality of Jesus' death on a cross will always appear to be foolishness to others who do not embrace the Christian faith.  Why is this? What does the cross mean to Christians in the 21st century? We will explore these and other paradox's of the Christian faith as we continue our journey through Lent.


Calendar  for the Week of February 25

UMM Breakfast

Calling All United Methodist Men and Brothers and Sisters in Christ

The March United Methodist Men (UMM) Meeting and Breakfast will take place on Saturday, 3 March 2018 in the vestry at 8:30am. The Program for our meeting will be conducted by the Greater Nashua Continuum of Care, an organization consisting of more than 30 community agencies who work together to solve the problem of homelessness in the Greater Nashua Area. This organization supports the planning, coordination and implementation of strategies to reduce homelessness throughout our area. The Continuum of Care is responsible for sponsoring the Homeless Connect and Employment Connect Events here in Nashua for our citizens who are looking for homes and for jobs, oversees the federal HUD grant funding for many agencies to include Harbor Homes, runs the "coordinated entry" hotline to assist the homeless and annually conducts the point-in-time homeless count. Come and learn about the cooperation Continuum of Care champions throughout our area and how they work with so many agencies to accomplish their mission of 0 homeless persons in Nashua.


Come share a great hot breakfast prepared by our UMM Chef Jerry Harrow and enjoy the fellowship UMM provides to all.


Please RSVP to to let us know you are coming so we can prepare a seat for you at the table. If you don't have a computer, please call my telephone, 603-880-6289 or Cell, 508-414-7116 to reserve your place. All brothers and sisters in Christ are welcome to attend and share our fellowship. See you all on Saturday, 3 March 2018 at 8:30am.


We will also be setting up tables for the first 2018 Ham and Bean Support after our meeting.  We appreciate any of you who can stay a few minutes after our meeting to help us setup the tables and chairs.

-submitted by Kent Swanson

March Mission News

Food Assistance Ministry:  Thank you for your help with the Third Sunday Food Pantries in January and February. January's pantry helped 54 individuals or families and we had a smaller number for the February 18 pantry. The Soup Kitchen's monthly newsletter mentioned Main Street's partnership with the Nashua Soup Kitchen, particularly the third Sunday pantry.


Thanks again!  We had 321 rolls of toilet paper and 143 cans of tuna you rolled out, and it will be greatly appreciated at the Nashua Soup Kitchen.


And again!  Youth collected $478 (quietly) banging pots for our Souper Bowl of Caring. That money will be used for food pantry purchases for food used at the Nashua Soup Kitchen, especially Food Bank purchases.


Were you thinking of "giving up something" for Lent?  Maybe we should just give!! Here are three special Lenten opportunities:


1. UMCOR Sunday:  On March 11, we will celebrate UMCOR Sunday. UMCOR is the United Methodist Committee on Relief. This is a crucial Sunday for United Methodist Churches because it is the day we come together to empower our disaster relief arm of Global Ministries, UMCOR, for an entire year. If you remember:

When hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma slammed Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico in 2017—UMCOR was there.

When wildfires ravaged thousands of homes in the West and Southeast—UMCOR was there.

When refugees and migrants around the world needed help—UMCOR was there.

When a mudslide in Sierra Leone killed more than 500 people and destroyed 2,000 homes—UMCOR was there.

They were there because of UMCOR Sunday, formerly One Great Hour of Sharing. This Special Sunday covers the operating costs of UMCOR, which allows the relief agency to be where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, for as long as it needs to be there. It allows UMCOR to funnel earmarked donations directly to the designated project.

2. Heifer Project Easter Tree of Life:  Heifer International's mission is to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth using gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and training in sustainable agriculture community development projects to help millions of people become self-reliant. Since 1944, Heifer has helped transform the lives of more than 30 million families by giving them gifts of cows, goats and other livestock. Look for our Easter Tree of Life, and honor someone with the gift of an animal. Fill up our tree! We offer vegetarian options.


3. Health Kits for UMCOR:  Gallon Plastic Bags will be available with instructions in the vestry. We will collect the kits on Palm Sunday, March 25.

-submitted by Phyllis Appler




Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Preparing the Sanctuary for Sunday

I know you have all been waiting (im)patiently to see the results of the sanctuary repair and repainting.  Well, here's your chance!   On this coming Thursday and Friday, beginning at 9 AM, we will gather to do the final cleaning of the sanctuary to prepare it for services on Sunday, 25 February.  


We will be wiping down all of the pews, window sills, woodwork....anything that has dust on it.  I expect we will go through many buckets of water and Murphy's Oil Soap.  Yes, this will be cleaning the old fashioned way......meticulously and thoroughly, because construction dust gets into the craziest places.


Please bring rubber gloves (if you use them), a bucket, scrub rags, Q-tips, small soft paint brushes (clean) and your favorite clean dusting cloths.  We will provide the water, the dust and the oil soap.


In order to plan accordingly, please let me know who will be available and on which day.


Many hands will make light work....and it's fun when you have folks to work with.


Take care...I look forward to hearing from you.


Donna Swanson


Please note that we are also looking for help on Saturday morning at 10:00am to bring bibles, hymnals, etc. back to the sanctuary and get everything ready for Sunday.  Your help is greatly appreciated.


Pastor Rich

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Feb. 19 Mainstreeter Online

February 19, 2018

Words from the Pastor

"From dust you have come and to dust you shall return."

Genesis 2:6

This past Wednesday we gathered to observe Ash Wednesday, a day set apart to remind ourselves of our mortality and the need to depend utterly on God for all things. Earlier that day students, teachers, coaches, administrators, parents and family members of Parkland High School in Florida received a grim and tragic reminder of our human frailty and mortality when a former student killed 17 students and teachers in yet another act of senseless violence. As a nation we are still reeling and will do so until the next act of violence replaces this one in our collective memory.

Much has been written about this tragedy. Once again we are confronted with questions about mental illness, the prevalence of guns in our society, the reality that white males are more often the perpetrators of such acts of violence, and the struggles of youth who feel ostracized from their peers. These are all good questions that we need to struggle with as we seek to move from violence to shalom.

We, as a nation, need to have some serious conversations that lead to actions that will have positive results. We can't stick our heads in the sand any longer.

The struggle for us as people of faith is to also ask the question, "Where is God in such tragic events?" There are no easy answers. Yes, God was there in the helpers, as Mr. Rogers reminded us. Yes, God was there in the first responders who acted selflessly and sacrificially to assist the wounded and dying. Yes, God was present in the grieving parents and friends who cried out in anguish. Yes, God was present in the memorial gatherings as these young lives were celebrated and honored. And yes, God is present in the jail cell with the perpetrator of this tragic act and yes, God is present in the justice system that will have to decide his fate.  Still, what we desire most is that there be an end to such acts of violence and that our children be safe from such harm. This is where the words of Ash Wednesday serve as such a powerful reminder--"From dust you have come and to dust you shall return". God is with us in the ashes of our lives, present from birth to death, always a loving presence, even in the tragedies of life.

My hope and prayer for all of us as we journey through this season of Lent is that an awareness of our mortality will move us even more to act in ways that will address those ills that we face as the human family. My prayer is that each one of us will act in ways that reflect the love of God for all people--victims and perpetrators alike. May we align ourselves with the One who was the victim of senseless violence and death and yet could pray, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Worship Ahead in February

2/25 -- The Second Sunday in Lent

Scripture : Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Mark 8:31-38

Theme: Choosing the Way of the Cross--Following Jesus, being a disciple, requires that one choose the way of the cross. What does it mean to take up one's cross and follow Jesus? What does it mean to lose one's life in order to find it?


Calendar  for the Week of February 18

Confirmation Classes Have Begun

We have four youth who are participating in confirmation classes and preparing to be confirmed on Sunday, April 22nd. They are Grace Ivumva, John Sommer, Eric Romano, and Austin Borroto. Please keep each of these youth in your prayers throughout this time.

Finance News

Early one morning I compared what I do at work with what I do as a volunteer here at church. Both businesses and churches need to maintain current operations but also have an eye towards the future. What do I do at work?

About a third of my time is spent trying to understand market trends and shifts in order to align the company with the next big wave. Companies ignore vision at their peril, and even when they do their diligence, they can get it wrong. Nobody has made it big developing flying cars although many tried.

I also spend a significant amount of time trying to persuade the organization to pull resources away from profitable day-to-day operations, which have immediate financial returns, and instead invest a portion in highly uncertain and risky innovation.

I am David fighting Goliath otherwise known as Finance, Marketing, and Sales who are focused on refreshing or selling their existing product rather than putting a few resources to areas outside their comfort zones.

There are hazards to ignoring innovation. For example, Nokia was a world leader in cell phones and relied on keeping the status quo with an existing large customer base until the Apple iPhone came out and stole the market with their innovative product.

Once my company commits to innovation, I help execute the strategy with an eye towards our customer needs to ensure we fine tune as we innovate.

Execution is a science of its own. DEC had the vision to shift to microcomputers, but failed to make it a viable business. IBM successfully transformed itself from a computer maker to a leader in expert systems such as Watson. However, such technology is rapidly evolving, and that throws a wrench in execution.

So how does this apply to our church? Imagine an organization with stretched resources trying to adapt to changes, such as becoming relevant to young families in today's times. I wear the hat of the finance chair keeping a tight lid on expenses. Yet in the midst of this grind of spreadsheets tracking--where it comes from, where it goes, will we have enough?--I am keeping an eye on making sure we fund our growth items. Recently approved growth items include a youth group, extended nursery care hours, a nursery toilet, and outreach activities.

This takes a certain amount of faith that such extra-budget items will lead to growth, and that you will rally around this cause. Just as our members had concerns for safety and funded urgent electrical panel work, I suspect you will have similar concerns about attracting young families and keeping our institution of worship open in the next generation. I will give more growth strategy details in future columns. In the meantime, if you know junior and senior high youth interesting in joining our youth group, please send them towards Pastor Rich or me.

Thank you.

Joe Dechene

Ham & Bean Un-supper Update

Ham & Bean Un-Supper Closing Soon!

Time is running out on the Ham & Bean Un-Supper. We will be taking votes through 2/25, so if you want to make sure your favorite food item receives a vote, do it now! Currently, we have collected $199.

The standings of all the food items is:

       Ranking     Food Item          Votes


Potato Salad



Pea Beans    



Kidney Beans






Cole Slaw











To place your vote, see Phyllis Bowden or Susan McDonald.

But hurry - or you'll miss your chance!




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?


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 CafĂ© 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.


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!