March 5, 2018
Words from the Pastor
"Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact,
will do greater works than these, because I am going to the father."
Next Sunday we will observe "UMCOR" Sunday, what used to be called "One Great Hour of Sharing". Our special offering on this occasion will support the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief which is the relief arm of the United Methodist Church. Together with thousands of other United Methodist Churches across the country we will raise the funds that will, together with our General Church Mission Shares, provide the overhead for this important program. What this means is that whenever there is a natural disaster, refugee crisis, or any number of other tragedies, we as United Methodists are able to respond immediately. We are on the spot sometimes within hours. Likewise, when you give to a particular crisis you can give with the assurance that what you give will go entirely to that cause. Quite an assurance don't you think!
I have always been a strong supporter of this offering (although, truth be told, I prefer the old name). If there is only one special offering that you choose to give to during the course of the year I would encourage you to make this the one. Your dollars will do a lot of good. When my donation is added to that of others in the congregation and these in turn are added to others in our denomination, then we can do far more than any one of us could ever hope to do alone. This, at least in part, is what Jesus meant when he said that those who believe in him will do greater things than he himself had done.
I invite you then to come prepared to participate wholeheartedly in the UMCOR Sunday special offering knowing that whatever you give will be multiplied many times over and will have the opportunity to bring healing and hope to those who are in dire need. Imagine yourself in their shoes and give thanks for the generosity of United Methodists across the country and for the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Thanks be to God!
Worship Ahead in March
3/11 The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Daylight Saving Time Begins (Spring ahead!)
UMCOR Sunday/Title Sunday
Scripture: Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-21
Theme: Choosing the Way of Eternal Life: Most often when we think about eternal life our focus is on what is going to happen to us after we die. Is this what Jesus meant by this term though or is there more to it? We will explore these questions and more next Sunday in worship.
Calendar for the Week of March 4
Sunday, February 25, 2018 we resumed Sunday Worship services in the Sanctuary after the sprinkler system was installed, painted and cleaned. And how wonderful it looked!
So just where are we with the building project? Well, the elevator will be adjusted, the finished millwork and sprinkler work in the Wesley Building and the elevator pit will be completed over the next couple of weeks. From the middle of the month to the end of the month the remaining items like light fixtures, network wiring, touch up painting, installation of door lock sets, Sanctuary A/C ductwork and sound system will be completed. While all this is going on, landscaping is underway. In the rear of the building the ramp will be installed as well as loam will be put down. In the front of the building final landscaping is taking place.
We did run into one significant issue. When the old walkway was removed the front stairs began collapsing. As it turned out, there is no solid material or foundation under these stairs. So, if you walk by the front you'll see these stairs have been removed and a solid foundation is being created to insure these stairs and the foundation under the front doors is solid. This work is estimated to impact our opening of the new entrance by two to three weeks. If nothing else pops up, we are expecting to open the connector by week three of April.
-submitted by Ted Luszey
So What Do We Do at the Nashua Soup Kitchen?
Volunteering at the Nashua Soup Kitchen takes stamina, resolve, and a sense of humor. But the seven regular blue-aproned Methodists have all that--and more.
Compared to the relative calm of our food pantry when we ran it in the vestry at MSUMC, volunteering at the Nashua Soup Kitchen can feel like a three-ring circus. As many as 150 clients pass through each weekday between 11:00am and 2:45pm.
Around 9:00am, before the pantry opens, volunteers sort food that came in earlier on the refrigerated truck that made its rounds to Walmart, Costco, Wholefoods, and Trader Joe's. There are banana boxes full of mixed produce—oranges, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, pears, etc. These need to be sorted with rotten stuff removed for the pig farmer, and the rest separated into its own banana box. Other incoming boxes contain premade salads, cheeses, yogurt, desserts, hummus, sandwiches—whatever is near the expiration date and has to be moved out of the grocery store. All this is in addition to boxes of meat, bread, muffins, desserts, and even large frozen bags we call UFOs (unidentified frozen objects) from Olive Garden.
Usually there is someone in the "diaper room" making bags of toiletries that contain toilet paper, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and sometimes razors. And as the room's name implies, there are shelves and shelves of diapers organized into six-packs of all sizes. Clients are allowed to pick up diapers every other day.
By 10:30 most of the food has been sorted and placed on racks or in refrigerated units, and the rest stored in the walk-in freezer and refrigerator. Other volunteers and people doing community service show up and are assigned a station. Meanwhile clients who have signed up for a shower or to use the laundry room are escorted to the appropriate room. Others come through looking for help finding a job or asking to sign up for a birthday party for their child.
At 10:50, a volunteer goes to the dining room where the clients wait for a number that determines the order in which they come through the food pantry. Numbers on small squares of laminated plastic are given out.
It's 11:00 and the person at the computer takes the first client who gives a registration number, previously assigned and stored in the computer. If the person has not received a box for the month, he/she can get a color-coded card that indicates the size of the family—1-4 or 5 and more. Larger families get more items. The monthly box allows a person to take more than the fresh produce, one meat, and miscellaneous refrigerated items allowed twice a week. A box includes non-perishable items, such as rice, cereal, pasta, tuna, peanut butter, canned vegetables, fruit, and soup, plus more meat.
After a couple hours of checking in clients and having them pass by the stations in an orderly fashion filling up boxes and bags with food, someone will shout "Truck's here!" The second truck of the day has arrived and about half the volunteers exit to unload and begin the process of food sorting and distribution all over again to refill shelves that often are nearly empty.
Volunteering at the Nashua Soup Kitchen is very different and on a larger scale than volunteering for the food pantry we ran. But we serve the same clients and many others, and the scope is broader and more far-reaching. The best part is that we still receive smiles of recognition from our former clients, the ones we came to know when they visited us in the vestry.
-submitted by Mary Marchese
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.
UMCOR Sunday is next Sunday, March 11.
March Mainstreeter Available
Don't forget to pick up your printed version of the Mainstreeter at either entrance to the church!