Sunday, May 27, 2018

May 27, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 

May 27, 2018

     

Words from the Pastor

"Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"

Isaiah 43:18, 19

      One week ago we re-consecrated our newly refurbished sanctuary and dedicated our new spaces including the elevator and new nursery. With this momentous event behind us we will have the opportunity to begin to live into these new spaces in ways that are both expected and unexpected. At the same time we will begin to move into a time of celebration of our 150th anniversary as a congregation. Contrary to the advice given to the Israelite exiles in Isaiah 43 we will indeed "remember the former things." We will look back into our past, celebrate the saints who have gone before us, and learn from their faithfulness.

      While looking back is a wonderful thing to do when a church experiences such milestones as a 150th anniversary, we don't want to get stuck in the past. We need to be careful not to think that our best days are behind us and nothing that the future might bring could possibly compare. We need to embrace the second half of the message that the prophet spoke to the exiles—the message that God is "about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Even as we celebrate the past we want to keep one eye on the future and be alert to God's new thing for the Main Street UMC.

      It feels to me that this is a special time in the history of the Main Street UMC and that we are positioned well for growth in mission and ministry in the present and future. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. Our new spaces have created a much more attractive, inviting, safe, and visible facility that has both new spaces and spaces available for new uses. Our ministries have expanded to include a partnership with the Nashua Soup Kitchen and our own increasingly significant ministry to and with our neighbors through Café Agape. We have committed ourselves to improving our already good hospitality ministry so that it might become exceptional. We have a newly formed youth group and a renewed commitment to being an intergenerational congregation that values people of all ages.

      These are just some of the things that we know God is doing in our midst but we can expect that God will do far more as we open ourselves more fully to the leading of God's Spirit. Let us move into the next era of our history with a willingness to change when change is needed; be resilient when resilience is called for; and draw deeply from the well of our past when necessary as well.

     

Worship Ahead

6/3   Second Sunday after Pentecost

Celebrating the baptisms of Zoey and Madison Pederzani

Scripture: Second Corinthians 4:5-12

Theme: A Treasure in Clay Pots

The apostle Paul, in reflecting on the treasure that is ours in the gospel, nonetheless notes that we have this treasure in vessels, that like clay pots, are fragile and vulnerable. Nevertheless, God is able to work through such instruments to transform the world.

     

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of May 27

     

Children's Sunday and Recognition of John Pagett

On Sunday, June 10th during the 10:30am worship service our children will share in worship with music, dance, and a skit. We will also take the opportunity to acknowledge John Pagett for his nearly 10 years as our organist. John's last Sunday will be Sunday, July 1st with Emily Adams becoming our permanent organist on July 8th. June 10th will also be the final Sunday for our choir before they take a much needed break for the summer. This is a must attend worship service that you won't want to miss!

     

Summer Sunday School Schedule

The last Sunday for both children's and adult classes will be Sunday, June 10th. Classes for both will resume on Rally Day, Sunday, September 9th at the usual 9:00am time.

     

Finance

      Welcome to the Finance column for June and July, where I want to give an update on HON2, the second phase of our Heart of Nashua capital campaign.  

At the time of this writing, we just received our certificate of occupancy for our connector. We can expand our ministries and missions by our accessibility. We are more attractive to families with our upgraded nursery. We have two new bathrooms plus a family one. And we have new space.

      As I had presented in various church conferences, the cost for this welcome addition is higher than what we've pledged, resulting in additional debt. The total project cost was over $1.9 million, we've raised a good portion but not all that amount.

      Currently we have a loan balance of $292,343.45 with an additional bill from Northpoint for $93,144. We have some HON2 balance to apply to this bill. We also have considerable expenses for A/V and expect a gift to partially cover that amount. We must pay an interest-only charge of over $1200 per month to service our new debt. Naturally we want to manage and reduce our debt quickly, as such interest payments take away from our mission potential and our ability to pay down that debt.

      From reading the bulletin notice, it may appear that we've met our pledge figure for HON2.  However, we've received HON2 gifts from non-pledge sources that brought the amount received roughly equal to the pledge amount. I've asked that we clarify our HON2 in future bulletins with updated numbers. We still need every one of us to continue giving our individual pledge amount and beyond to HON2.

      In my personal case, my family has given half of our HON2 pledge so far, and we are committed to completing our pledge for as long as we are here as members of MSUMC.  In addition, we are working to set aside additional money as a family to go beyond our HON2 pledge to do our share in reducing the church debt.

      Our congregation has been very generous in supporting this construction and I trust that you too will also support HON until our debt is paid off. That will lessen the burden on our future general funds and allow us to focus on our ministries and missions.

      This building project has been our biggest capital campaign item in recent years. Past large capital items included purchase of the Wesley building and its subsequent upgrading in the 1990s. Of course, the largest capital item was construction of the church 150 years ago, where our founding members took out personal second mortgages to finance.

      I hope we can take a breather after our construction debt is paid off. However, in the future there may be smaller capital campaigns and/or maintenance activities for key infrastructure replacements or upgrades. All of this will be with church-wide discussions and commitments.

As always, I am open to your comments and questions, leading to improved missions and ministries in Nashua and in support for worldwide missions.

      Thank you.

      Joe Dechene

     

Historic Tidbit

With the upcoming 150th Anniversary celebration in September, the Anniversary Committee has gathered historic quotes to share, taken from Methodism in Nashua, 1831-1982, by J. Lawrence Hall. We will include one each week in the Mainstreeter Online.

     

1. "John and Charles Wesley came to Georgia in the year of 1735 to minister to the early settlers and Indians. John Wesley stayed for about a year but Charles soon left to return to England. On his way home he stopped in Boston. The records reveal that on September 16, 1736 he, being recognized as a member of the Church of England, was invited to preach at King's Chapel in Boston."


 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 

May 20, 2018

     

Words from the Pastor

The following prayer for Pentecost Sunday (which is today) seems to capture well a response to the question that was asked by many in the crowd, "What does this mean?" Pentecost should not be thought of as a one-time occurrence but as what happens whenever the church pays attention to the presence of God in its midst and opens itself up to the leading of the Spirit. This prayer is taken from For All Seasons by John Winn.


O Giver of Life,

We are the People

who have heard a word we cannot unhear;

who have felt a warmth that cannot be chilled;

even a fire that will not be quenched.


It moves among us

connecting us to one another,

despite our different languages,

our different races,

our different religions,

our different cultures.


It is a language that cleanses

like a spring shower,

and at the same time warms our heart

in a way that bonds us as One.

And no one can stop it from happening,

for at the heart of all Creation is a Unity

we are still discovering,

which instinctively we know will save our civilization.

Let us meet at that Center,

combining all the experiences that have made us who we are,

and sharing the many ways we have

heard that word, felt that warmth, and

been illuminated by the light from the fire.

Amen.

Worship Ahead

5/27        Trinity Sunday

Celebrating the Baptism of Carter Thomas

Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8; Romans 8:12-17

Theme:  "Of Visions and Callings"- While serving in the temple, the priest/prophet known to us as Isaiah of Jerusalem experiences a powerful vision that serves as a prelude to being called by God as a prophet. His prophetic job was to speak to a people who refused to hear what God had to say to them. The apostle Paul reminds us that we are all "led by the Spirit" to likewise bear witness to the Risen Christ by speaking a word that might not be welcome by others.

     

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of May 13

     


Dedication Accomplished

On Monday, May 14th we received our occupancy permit from the city which allowed us on May 20th (today) to re-consecrate our newly refurbished sanctuary along with the new sound system; video projector system and new nursery (an extension of our sanctuary for our children) along with the connector and elevator.  Although I am writing this the day before these long-awaited events will take place I think that I can say with some assurance that this has been a wonderful day of celebration.+ Now we have the opportunity to live into these new spaces in ways that hopefully will lead to many experiencing the love of God through worship, fellowship, nurture, education, and service.  We await God's future with expectancy and hope.

 

150th Anniversary Plans Continue to Unfold

Please save the date of Saturday and Sunday, September 28th and 29th for the major celebration of our 150th anniversary. Saturday will begin with a special concert in our sanctuary featuring Emily Adams. We will continue with an evening banquet that will be held in the St. Patrick's gymnasium located just up the street from us. It will be catered by Celebrations Catering and will provide an opportunity for many former pastors, staff, and members to return to join us in looking back to the past while preparing for a bright future. Finally, our Bishop, Sudarshana Devadhar will be our guest preacher on Sunday at the 10:30am worship service.  You won't want to miss this spectacular weekend!

PS: Just this week Pastor Sue Job (pastor from 2000-2008) confirmed that she and her husband, Don, are planning to be with us for the anniversary weekend in September!

     

Opportunities for us to Engage with our Community

  • Sunday, June 3rd at 5:00pm:  Hymns and Hops at the Peddler's Daughter

  • Saturday, June 9th from 2-6pm: Tree Streets Block Party

  • Sunday, June 17th through the middles of October: Farmers' Market on Main Street in front of the church

  • Saturday, June 30th, time yet to be determined: Gay Pride Gathering in front of city hall

     

Missions

Mother's Day/Blanket Sunday:  Thank you for your generous gifts of $1215 in support of Church World Service blankets. Somewhere in a refugee camp or a disaster area, a mother will be able to keep her children warm because you honored your mother with a gift on Blanket Sunday.

Father's Day/Tools of Hope:  But we can't leave fathers out!! On June 17, Father's Day, we will celebrate again with gifts that can purchase tools that will add to a family's ability to make a living. The tools may be hand tools for working the land or working with wood, fishing nets, a sewing machine, or even a well for a village. We will take a "tool" note to the bulletin board in the front of the church so that we can honor and remember our fathers and those who have acted as fathers to us. Children are very welcome to participate.

Food Pantry and Letter Carriers' Food Drive:  Thank you to everyone who remembered to put out a bag for this year's "Stamping Out Hunger" Food Drive by the Postal Service Letter Carriers. If you forgot to put out food for the letter carriers, please leave a bag of food in the blue bin in the vestry, and Nashua Soup Kitchen/Main Street volunteers will get it to the Soup Kitchen. Needed items usually include 2 pound bags of rice, canned baked beans, canned meat, and ramen noodles.

Save the date!  September 15 is the water walk! http://thankyouproject.org/waterwalk/will give you more information about this walk which will fund the installation of a second well in Nigeria. You can sign up on site or talk to Nonny Egbuono.

-submitted by Phyllis Appler

     


A Conversation with Steve

      "Freud had some crazy ideas, but he did have something right when he said it's all from the parent." Steve, a Café Agape regular, went on to explain that his father was a successful artist and designer, but a violent drunk. His Swiss mother, who has a degree in English literature from Notre Dame, suffered from manic-depression. Steve, the youngest of four children, didn't know any other family dynamic growing up, initially in Ballardvale, a part of Andover, MA and subsequently in many other places in the country where his well-to-do father had homes. They spent many years in Australia, and when they returned, Steve was about twelve years old. His mother and father divorced and he ended up being passed around between his parents and his older sister.

      When he was fourteen and his father went to Europe on business and left Steve and his older brother for three weeks with no food in the house--that was normal. When his father returned to find that they had skipped school and smoked his pot, he beat them with a 2 x 4. Steve ran for his life outside and had the neighbors call the cops to get his brother out.

      "Parents can mold you to believe anything--like this is a planet full of aliens and we are only food for them."

      When I asked if he had any happy memories of his father, Steve told me that once when he was five years old he went to the studio where his father was painting. He peeked in cautiously because his father was working, and he wanted to see what he was doing. His father told him to come in and gave him a lollipop.

      In the 70's one of his sisters became schizophrenic. Then a decade later his brother Scott, a paranoid schizophrenic, committed suicide. His father didn't go to the funeral.

      Steve said, "A small percentage of people are able to weather the miseries of life and function in a positive way, but the majority are severely affected by the things that happen to them in life."

      After attending Rivier College, U Mass Lowell, and University of Maine in Augusta seeking a degree in psychology and later engineering, Steve dropped out and got work in manufacturing for 20 years. He became a cable contractor and started a cable company, which he ran for ten years. At one time he managed six crews installing line and made lots of money.

      But he couldn't escape his upbringing. He has been to as many as eight psychiatrists with no success, and admitted that until he is willing to do the work to delve into his past and dig deeply to get it out, he won't be cured. In the meantime, he has diagnosed himself as having abandonment issues, self-sabotage, OCD, and ADD. Plus he has had multiple injuries and surgeries. He uses alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.

      Steve's number one goal is to get an income and a place to live. And he promised me that when he is ready, he will seek psychological help and do the difficult work it will take to get well.

-submitted by Mary Marchese


 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

May 13, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

 

May 13, 2018

     

Words from the Pastor

The following prayer was shared recently by Bishop Sudarshana Devedhar, resident bishop of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church. It captures well Bishop Devedhar's own heart. I am pleased that he will be with us in person on Sunday, September 30th to help us to celebrate our 150th anniversary of mission and ministry in downtown Nashua.

     

Creator God,

 who sees fit

   to make us in your image,

 who gazes with love upon what you make,

     and calls it good ...

     

Save us —

 from our myopic view

   of the Word and of the world,

 that we may see and know

   the wonder and splendor,

     of your company with us.

     

Crack us open —

 through unexpected encounters with you,

     in the other, the overlooked, the outsider,

 and heal us,

     from the inside

     out.

     

Remove from our eyes —

 blinding cataracts

   that keep us bound

 by the illusion

   of our separateness,

 blind to the beauty

    within and around us.

     

Move us —

  from the center to the margins,

    from apathy to engagement,

       from caution to courage.

    

Conform us —

  into the likeness of Christ,

  dead to death,

  risen to life,

  Word of love

  made flesh,

     made flesh,

       made flesh,

 who with you

 and the Holy Spirt

 lives and reigns

 here and now

 and forever

 and ever.

 Amen

     

     

Worship Ahead

5/29   Pentecost Sunday

Dedication of our new spaces

Scripture: Acts 2:1-21

Theme:  When the Spirit came upon the first disciples on the day of Pentecost, the room in which they were praying could no longer contain them. Moved by the Spirit, they moved outside to where the pilgrims from every nation had gathered and in doing so shared powerfully the message of God's all-inclusive love. As we re-consecrate the sacred spaces that have been home to the Main Street UMC for 150 years and dedicate newly created spaces, may we remember that when the Spirit moves, it will always move us outside of and beyond these walls.

     

Announcements

Calendar for the Week of May 13

     

Use of Connector and Elevator Pushed Back Again

This past Saturday the last of our landscaping was completed. Assuming the meeting with the Planning Board goes well on Monday, we will receive our occupancy permit. We have been assured that we will at least receive a temporary permit if necessary and will move into our new spaces for next Sunday's dedication. We hope that you will be with us for the inauguration of this new era in the history of the Main Street UMC!

     

Dedication of New Spaces Planned for May 20

Just a reminder that we will be dedicating our new spaces including the newly refurbished sanctuary; the new sound system and video system; the elevator and the connector itself on May 20th during the 10:30am worship service. We have extended the invitation to all who have worked on these projects with the hope that we can recognize each of them for their contributions. We will also have a number of special guests with us representing the city of Nashua; the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church; and the United Methodist Foundation. A reception will follow in the vestry.

     

Church School Activities

      The Main Street Church School students have been very busy since the new quarter began!  In addition to their usual classroom studies, they have been learning about all the missions our church is involved with.  They have learned about the Heifer Project and the Easter tree of life. They have helped pack health kits for Church World Service, and learned what goes into a layette kit for newborn babies, a mission project of the United Methodist Women. This past Sunday the students packed toiletry kits for clients of the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter;  these will be taken to the soup kitchen on our next service day, May 20.

      Now we are hard at work preparing for Children's Sunday on June 10, 2018.  Many of the children will be participating in the 10:30 service, and are eager to show the congregation how they have grown during this Sunday school year.

      Vacation Bible School, Rolling River Rampage, will be August 6-10, from 9:00 AM till 12:00 PM. Registration, both online and in person will begin within the next week or so. The age range will be 4 years old through entering grade 8.  If there is enough interest we would like to have a class for 2 and 3 year olds-please contact our VBS director, Mavis Pyle (860-9792 or email pylefamily@comcast.net) for more information. We are looking forward to the ride of a lifetime with God!

-submitted by Mavis Pyle

     

TED Talks This Tuesday—Denzel Washington

This coming Tuesday, May 15, at 10:30am, you are welcome to join us in the Chapel to watch Denzel Washington's commencement speech he gave last year at Dillard University. The speech is entitled, "Put God First."

     

We Are Looking for Historical Church Photos

If you have a photo of a Wedding, Baptism, or other church event, share it for use in our 150th anniversary celebration. If you have a digital version, upload it to the shared folder below. Fill in the photo description and give the year. If you only have a hard copy, we can scan it quickly in the church office during coffee hour. Contact Jerry Harrow (Jerry.Harrow@mainstreet-umc.org)  673-6024 for more information.

Album for contributing Historical Church Photos https://photos.app.goo.gl/QFEILDOIllOtnfrY2

     

We'd like to see your news and opinions. Consider sending an article to this weekly Mainstreeter Online. Send it by email to mainstreeter@mainstreet-umc.org