A Conversation with Ian Clarke-Pounder
We all know Ian, who gives the best hugs of anyone in the congregation. Most of us also know that because of a donation from Ian in memory of his wife Brenda, our sanctuary was brought into the 21st century with larger than life audio-visual screens that display announcements, prayers, scripture readings, and the words to hymns as we sing them.
But did you know that Ian was a Brylcreem Boy back in Britain? Although deferred when drafted during WW II, he later served in the RAF. Apparently members of the Royal Air Force were called Brylcreem Boys after the British hair styling cream that had the jingle, "A Little Dab'll Do Ya!" And how about the fact that he and Brenda have five children, seventeen grandchildren, and seventeen great grandchildren—three born this year alone?
After church one Sunday, Ian told me that Brenda was a lifelong Methodist, so when they moved to Nashua from New Jersey in 1973, she initiated their transfer from Pennington, NJ UMC to MSUMC. Their family, which was down to three children living at home, became active in the church and for about ten years, Ian was the lay member representative to the General Conference.
When I asked what changes have occurred during his time here, Ian said that a significantly higher percentage of the congregation is hugging. When he started going to Brazil for business, Ian saw how common hugging was there and recognized it as an expression of love and honor. He is solely responsible for importing the Brazilian hug to Nashua MSUMC.
Other changes he noted were that there seems to be a higher attendance at church on Sundays, but he feels we need a better system to track it than pew books. Maybe coded badges collected after service? The removal of the storefronts, although a contentious issue at the time, was a good thing. The stores "were a mess and had poor drainage" and their removal has opened up the church and the Wesley Building to Main Street.
Friendliness and outreach has improved during Ian's time here. He credits that to good leadership, noting that Pastor Rich has instigated and encouraged teams that have made great change possible—including the use of audio-visuals in our worship service. Because people are looking up at the screens now instead of down at hymnals and Bibles, the service is more "uplifting".
Ian and Brenda have been beloved members here for over forty years. We miss you, Brenda, and thank you, Ian--for all your contributions!
-submitted by Mary Marchese
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