Sunday, March 25, 2018

March 26, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 

March 26, 2018

Words from the Pastor

"Thus we have the twofold theme that leads to Palm Sunday. Genuine discipleship, following Jesus, means following him to Jerusalem, the place of (1) confrontation with the domination system and (2) death and resurrection. These are the two themes of the week that follows, Holy Week. Indeed, these are the two themes of Lent and of the Christian life."

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, page 30 of "The Last Week"

 

      Today, Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of that roller coaster of a week known as holy week. The excitement and hopefulness of this day will gradually give way as we enter with Jesus into the humiliation and shame of his arrest, trial, and death on a cross. Yet, we know that death does not have the final word but that through death comes new life and new hope for a better day. May this week prove to be for each of you, a week in which you stand in opposition to the evil powers of this world while experiencing death and ultimately the new life of Easter. I wish you a "roller coaster" week of emotions that will bring you to a new place--one of joy, peace, and hope.


HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE

PALM SUNDAY     

8:15AM COMMUNION SERVICE

10:30AM TRADITIONAL WORSHIP

 5:00PM  PALM SUNDAY TAIZE SERVICE

MAUNDY THURSDAY

7:00PM SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION AND TENEBRAE HERE. A CHOIR CONSISTING OF MEMBERS FROM BOTH THE ARLINGTON STREET AND MAIN STREET UMC'S WILL SING.

GOOD FRIDAY

NOON ECUMENICAL WORSHIP SERVICE AT THE CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD ON MAIN STREET

EASTER SUNDAY

8:30AM TRADITIONAL SERVICE WITH HOLY COMMUNION AND CHOIR        

10:03AM TRADITIONAL SERVICE WITH HOLY COMMUNION AND CHOIR

Worship Ahead

4/1   Easter Sunday

Scripture: Mark 16:1-8

Theme: The Joke's on Whom? The juxtaposition of Easter Sunday and April Fool's Day is such that one cannot help but think of the Easter as God's joke, but on whom does this joke fall? Think about it!


Announcements  

Calendar  for the Week of March 25

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service Planned

      You are invited to join us for worship on Thursday, March 29th at 7:00pm in our sanctuary for a service of Holy Communion and Tenebrae. We will be joined by our sisters and brothers from the Arlington Street United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Book of Worship describes the service of Tenebrae in this way. A Service of Tenebrae, or "Darkness," is based on a twelfth–century late night/early morning service and is an extended meditation on the passion of Christ. The service includes the alternating of readings of the passion of Christ taken from the gospels with the extinguishing of candles until even the Christ candle is removed briefly. This is a very meaningful and powerful way to remember the death of Christ in preparation for the celebration of Easter joy.

Ecumenical Good Friday Service

      The annual Ecumenical Good Friday Service will take place at noon on March 30th at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church here on Main Street. The service will begin at noon and last for about one hour. Rev. Andy Armstrong, pastor of the First Church, United Church of Christ will be the preacher and Pastor Rich will participate in the service along with other area clergy.

Bills Never Stop Coming. . .

           Bills keep coming in be it home or the church. At home, I generally know what to expect in the way of income and expenses.  At church income is unpredictable and there are more surprises with bills. Despite your wonderful financial support, during the winter months, we need even more income because of higher heat and electric bills, snow plowing and other expenses.  Because of these higher expenses, we have delayed paying some bills including some of our church conference apportionments and bills due for services received (furnace repairs, snowplowing) and supplies purchased (trash bags, paper towels, floor wax, curriculum, bulletins, offering envelopes). Payroll, our largest single item is my highest payment priority. Utility bills have to be paid on time or the utilities will be cut off.  Other priorities include copier contract, phones, and parsonage mortgage.

      Next month, our books will be audited and that will be an expense of about $1100. We owe a $1400 balance on our snow plowing contract. We will be purchasing chemicals for the furnace (about $500).

      How can you help? If you can donate to the general fund, please do so (your Easter offering goes to the general fund).   If you are behind on your pledge, catch up if you can. Pray for us, help us to keep expenses down, use Amazon Smile, use the TD Bank Affinity Program, eat at the ham and bean suppers, donate to change for church.

      Thank you to all who are current on your pledge, to those of you who donate on tithe Sunday and at other times. The General Fund is the fund that pays the bills and which we ask you to support.

 

-submitted by Phyllis Bowden

A Conversation with Mary

My name is Craig Coulombe, a regular at Café Agape, and I had the pleasure of reading Mary Marchese's book, What Really Happened to Steve Nathan. It was a good read and very well put together. Concisely written with interesting characters, setting, and facts. It deals with the Vietnam War, coffee, food, socio-economic issues, and political implications of the era, among other things.

Craig:  What would you say the inspiration was for the topic of your book?

Mary:  The topic is completely fictional and the main characters are not based on anybody I know. I'm not sure what triggered the idea, but one day I started wondering what would happen if two half-siblings with the same father, who was a Vietnam War vet, met by chance in Vietnam. It was important that one of them be half Vietnamese. Having grown up in Vietnam and been very aware of the problems that Amerasian children faced after the war, I became intrigued with the idea. One of my goals in life is to try to help people be more accepting of others who are different from them. So I decided to base a book on this scenario, which would require a great deal of uncomfortable acceptance by both siblings after the initial jolt of realizing that they were family.

Craig:  You obviously put a lot of thought into the plot. How long did it take to conceive of the idea?

Mary:  After the initial idea, which actually started with two half-sisters, I toyed with it for about a month, changed it to a brother and sister and then began writing. The characters practically wrote their own stories and sometimes I had no idea what they were going to do next. From start to finish, it took about a year.

Craig:  There are two passages at the start of the book, one is obviously a quote from your book. The other is anonymous.  Did you come up with it also?

Mary:  Yes. I looked up life quotes on several sites on the Internet and couldn't find exactly what I wanted to say, so I wrote one myself. It's not perfect or profound, but it more accurately portrays the message I'd like people to take away from the book.

Craig:  The orchestra pieces you referenced--Smetana's Moldau and Dvorak's 6th Symphony--are the main character's favorite. Do they happen to be yours as well?

Mary:  I picked those pieces because the French horn, which the main character plays, is featured in them. I know nothing about playing the French horn, but I had recently been to a concert where those musical pieces were performed, and I liked them very much.

 

-submitted by Craig Coulombe

 

Note from Mary:  I debated about putting this in the Mainstreeter Online because it might be misconstrued as self-promoting my book. But if you could have seen the small square of scrap paper on which Craig wrote his questions, and the painstaking way he edited them with cross-outs so he would get the wording just right, you would understand how important it was for him to be featured.


 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 19 Mainstreeter Online

 

March 19, 2018

Words from the Pastor

"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.

Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." John 12:23-26

 

      If there is one theme that is found in most world religions it is the theme of death and new life. In other words, apart from death there can be no new life. Jesus expresses this belief when he reflects on his own impending death with these words, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit." Jesus understood that out of his own unjust and cruel death new life would spring.  This is not to say that Jesus' death was in any way necessary. I do not believe that it was in any way required by God for the salvation of humanity. That said, out of Jesus' death sprang new life for Jesus' followers and in many ways, for all of humanity.

      This past week thousands of students from all over the United States participated in an act of remembrance and protest in order to bring attention to the need for change that would, hopefully, result in the safety of students in the future. Out of the senseless and violent death of seventeen individuals in Parkland, Florida there is hope of new life for our nation's schools. These students deserve our applause for refusing to back down from anyone who is more fearful for their own rights than they may be for the safekeeping of our children.

      As Jesus goes on to note, "Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." We too are called to act in ways that, although they may not be in our own self-interest, nonetheless insure that life is extended to all. What selfless acts is God calling us to make in order to extend the gift of life to our neighbors?  What do we need to die to in order that we too might bear much fruit for the kingdom of God? Are we ready to follow Jesus through death to new life?

Worship Ahead

3/18   Palm Sunday

Scripture: Psalm 118:1, 2, 19-29; Mark 11:1-11

Theme: Choosing the Way of Humility and Peace: When Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey surrounded by peasants he did so in contrast to the arrival of Pilate riding on a stallion and surrounded by Roman soldiers. Jesus' way was not to be construed as a way of violence and intimidation, but as a way of humility and peace. There is more than one way to rule a kingdom and Jesus modeled a better way.

 

Announcements  

Calendar  for the Week of March 18

 

Taize Worship Service Planned for Palm Sunday

      A Lenten Taizé Worship experience will be offered on Sunday, March 25th at 5:00pm. Taizé worship is modeled on that experienced at the Taizé Ecumenical Community in France. We will sing some of the music of Taizé and there will be opportunities for quiet reflection as well.  The service will be held in the chapel on the first floor. All are welcome!

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service Planned

      You are invited to join us for worship on Thursday, March 29th at 7:00pm in our sanctuary for a service of Holy Communion and Tenebrae. We will be joined by our sisters and brothers from the Arlington Street United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Book of Worship describes the service of Tenebrae in this way. A Service of Tenebrae, or "Darkness," is based on a twelfth–century late night/early morning service and is an extended meditation on the passion of Christ. The service includes the alternating of readings of the passion of Christ taken from the gospels with the extinguishing of candles until even the Christ candle is removed briefly. This is a very meaningful and powerful way to remember the death of Christ in preparation for the celebration of Easter joy.

Ecumenical Good Friday Service

      The annual Ecumenical Good Friday Service will take place at noon on March 30th at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church here on Main Street. The service will begin at noon and last for about one hour. Rev. Andy Armstrong, pastor of the First Church, United Church of Christ will be the preacher and Pastor Rich will participate in the service along with other area clergy.

 

Welcome to the Finance Column

        Last month I wrote about setting aside some funding to help grow the church even in these very tight budget-conscious times. I would like to describe two of these items. One is a capital investment, and the other is a continuing expense.

      The first item is approving a special nursery toilet as part of our HON funded construction project. This is basically a one-time investment that upgrades our nursery to a more recent code. It allows toddlers to do their necessary matters without splitting our adult supervision. It gives the toddler privacy and provides appropriately proportioned fixtures. A young family "church shopping" and visiting us on a Sunday morning would peruse our facilities and check that off their list.

    I give such construction changes very serious consideration before voting. In the end we need your full support for such growth items (about $6000 for the nursery toilet change, which could increase our long term debt.

The second item is in discussion with Mike Brown, Chair of SPRC. He requested extended nursery hours for Rachel. I approve this item, remembering in my reading of church finance books (there are quite a few!) that recommended having nursery care during all church events. A young parent wanting to participate in our events, committees, or outreach would require such care. In an almost chicken-and-egg situation, I expect many events with empty nursery care until our growth takes hold.

      These items only enable growth, they do not guarantee growth. Professor Noriaki Kano would describe these as "must have" items. That if we have them, customers remain neutral. However, if we don't have them, "customers" (in our case young families) would be very dissatisfied and turn away. As a church we need to think very hard about our worship, missions, programs, and hospitality to provide those other attractive qualities for young families. With our complete package, they will continue to choose our church instead of another church or any number of alternative weekend activities.

      If we are serious about attracting young families (let's have a show of hands on this one) then we need to make these investments. It's a finance committee call to help shepherd these items and use stewardship moments to get overall support from you, our congregation.

      As always, I am open to your questions, comments, and prayers.

Thank you.

Joe Dechene

Vacation Bible School Update

      Come experience the ride of a lifetime with God at Rolling River Rampage Vacation Bible School here at Main Street UMC. This white water rafting adventure includes exciting music, amazing science, creative crafts, fun recreation and memorable Bible stories that will help children know that God is always with them as they ride the rapids of life.

Monday August 6 through August 10 2018

9:00 Am till 12:00 PM

Main Street UMC, 154 Main Street Nashua, NH

      Watch your Mainstreeter blasts and Sunday announcements for more details and get ready for the ride of a lifetime!

MSUMC Android App Launches!

      There's an app for that! There has long been lots of Main Street UMC on-line resources including the weekly announcements, order of worship, church calendar, and electronic giving options. Now there is an easy way to have all of them literally in the palm of your hand via the Main Street United Methodist Church Android app. The free app is now available on Google Play store. Search the play store, or go to http://www.mainstreet-umc.org/worship/mobile-app.

      For the Mainstreeter, the direct link to the Google Play Store page is

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mainstreet_umc.app

Some Reminders

Health/Hygiene Kits are available in the vestry after church with instructions and a gallon bag. If you cannot shop, you can donate the value of the kit, $12, and we will shop for you. We have Sunday School classes who would be happy to assemble the kits!

      Heifer animals are available in the vestry as well. Purchase your gift in honor, in memory, or in celebration of someone and hang a representative of that animal or well or tree or seeds on our Easter Tree of Life.

      Easter flowers can be ordered on forms inserted in your bulletins or available from Pam in the church office.


 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March 12 Mainstreeter Online

 

March 12, 2018

Words from the Pastor

"He drew a circle that shut me out--

Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in!"

From the Poem, Outwitted, by Edwin Markham

 

These words were shared by the preacher at my ordination service many years ago and have stuck with me ever since. Sometimes our tendency as human beings is to create small, comfortable circles where only those who are like us are included. But LOVE can never be limited to a select few. Indeed, as our gospel reading for the fourth Sunday in Lent reminds us "God so loved the world"- indeed God's circle is as large as a circle can be. Interestingly, those who tend to claim John 3:16 as their favorite verse in the bible often tend to understand God's love in very exclusive terms. God loves Christians but not people of other faiths. God loves Christians like me, but not those whose beliefs and practices may be different than mine. This verse cannot be clearer though--God loves the whole of God's creation, the world and all that is in it--the natural world, the animal world, human beings of all kinds.

How large is your circle? Does it include only people who are like you? Is it limited to those whose religious and political beliefs mirror your own? Is there room in your circle for people who make you uncomfortable perhaps people who even want to exclude you from their circle? We are called to be a people of ever-widening circles whose love for God and our neighbor requires that we enlarge our circles in ways that are more inclusive than exclusive. In doing so, we bear witness to the God who loved the world in Jesus Christ and offers to everyone eternal life.

Worship Ahead in March

3/18 The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 12:20-33

Theme: Choosing the Way of New Life:  The prophet Jeremiah speaks of a new covenant in which the law is written on the heart rather than on stones. Jesus speaks of new life growing out of the "death" of a seed planted in the earth. New life is waiting to break forth, not only as we welcome spring, but also as we complete our Lenten journey.


Announcements  

Calendar  for the Week of March 11

Easter Plant Order Form

The Main Street United Methodist Church is offering white lilies and tulip plants for the Easter Services. Perhaps you would like to provide a plant in honor of someone or in memory of a loved one. Please fill out the form below and enclose a check, payable to the Main Street United Methodist Church. Lilies are $13.00  and Tulips are $10.00 per plant. Place the order form and money in the offering plate or mail to the Church office. You may also call in your order to Terri at (603)-891-2526

Plants will be available at both the 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services. Each plant will have a label with your name on it.

The deadline for ordering is March 25th.

Thank you and enjoy the Easter Celebration ~ Worship Committee.

Name:_________________________________________________________

Telephone Number: __________________

Number of White Lilies: @$13.00_________

Number of Tulips: @$10.00___________

Total Enclosed: $__________________

In Memory of: ________________________________________________________________

In Honor of:  _________________________________________________________________

_____ Leave for a shut-in

Shop Amazon Smile and Donate to MSUMC

      Starting March 12 and continuing until the end of the month, Amazon Smile will triple donations to charities. That means if you sign up and make a purchase during this time period, 1.5% of the cost of your first eligible purchase will go to a charity.

      Main Street United Methodist Church is listed as one of the charities and so far, has received $97.95 from Amazon Smile.

 

To sign up for Amazon Smile:

1.   Go to Smile.Amazon.com.

2.   It will guide you to select a charity. If you want to donate to MSUMC, type in Nashua United Methodist Church and follow the directions.