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.
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.
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.
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.
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."