Saturday, September 8, 2018

July 8, 2018 Mainstreeter Online

July 8, 2018 
 A Word from the Pastor

"Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead, find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed: Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be."
Verse one of "Come and Find the Quiet Center, TFWS, #2128
As the note found below from Mike Brown, chairperson of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, indicates, starting on July 23 I will be "released" from my duties as your pastor until the day after Labor Day, September 3. "Release Time" is recommended periodically for each pastor who is under appointment in the United Methodist Church primarily as an opportunity to step back from the normal day to day responsibilities of ministry in order to experience rest, renewal, and rejuvenation. This will be the third time in my 33 plus years as a pastor that I have experienced "release" time and I am hopeful that it will work its magic this time around just as it did the first two times I have experienced it.
While I have thoroughly enjoyed my first six years as your pastor the truth is that these have been extremely demanding years in terms of the kinds of ministry that I have been involved in. Two capital campaigns, a construction project, along with changes in the thrust of our ministry to be more community oriented has proved both challenging and rewarding. I have found myself needing, perhaps more than in the past, a time to "clear the chaos and the clutter" so that I can see more clearly the "things that really matter" for the future of the Main Street UMC.
So, what will I be doing during this time? Well, since I am fortunate to have a home in Maine, I will get to enjoy the rest of summer together with my wife, doing all of things that life in Maine offers during the summer months--a chance to "be at peace, and simply be"! We will have some beach time as we usually do each August, but most of our time will be at home where I can intersperse home responsibilities with some kayaking, hiking, and other outdoor experiences that I have always enjoyed. All four of our children are expected to make an appearance sometime in late August so we will have the opportunity to enjoy their company as well.
I am thankful for the understanding that the Staff Parish Relations Committee has had in honoring this request for "release" time and for the support offered by our District Superintendent, Jim McPhee and of course, Pastor Dave Svenson who has graciously agreed to once again fill in during the absence of the Main Street UMC's pastor. I cherish your prayers during this time and although I will think of you often (and probably worship with you occasionally via live streaming) I am grateful to have this time away and look forward to renewing our ministry together come September.
Worship Ahead
7/8 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
: Second Samuel 6:1-5; 12b-19; Ephesians 1:3-14
Theme: "Worship for a New Day": When King David brought the "ark of the covenant" from its temporary location to its more permanent location in Jerusalem he did so with much fanfare- shouts, trumpet blasts, and dancing! Needless to say, David's innovations in worship were not well received by everyone.  While the importance and meaning of worship do not change the experience of worship is always changing.  What might worship look like for us in this new day?
Notes from the Staff Parish Relations Comnittee
Emily Adams assumed the full time organist role beginning on July 1. As many of you are aware, over the past few months MSUMC had begun the organist transition from John Pagett to Emily Adams. John has played the first and third Sunday of each month while Emily has played the second and fourth Sunday. John will be retiring from the organist position after faithfully serving MSUMC from 2008 – 2018. All of us have appreciated John's beautiful music and dedication to the church over a long period of time. The transition has been seamless as we're very fortunate to have someone as talented as Emily to fill the organist role moving forward. Emily will bring to the church her vast musical talents that include vocals, organ and playing the piano. We thank John for his gift of music he has provided for many years to the church and welcome Emily.
Pastor Rich will be taking some much deserved release time from his position beginning on July 23 thru September 3. Pastor Rich will return to MSUMC on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Pastor Dave Svenson will assume Pastor Rich's responsibilities during his absence. In addition to his daily responsibilities, Pastor Rich has guided us faithfully thru some challenging years with his role in both Heart of Nashua Capital Campaigns, assistance with the UMC Foundation to secure the loan and the ongoing construction over the past year. Periodic release time is highly recommended by the United Methodist Church. We wish Pastor Rich well during his release time break and look forward to having Pastor Dave guide us in his absence.

-submitted by Mike Brown
Playground Set Donated to MSUMC
A sturdy, school-quality playground set has been donated to MSUMC and hopefully will be an added attraction for neighboring families. It will be set up in a fenced area on the far side of the Wesley Building after the grass seed has taken hold.

There is, however, a cost. A required chain link fence must go around the set and a cushioning mulch placed under it. If you'd like to contribute to these costs, specify "playground" on the envelope you place in the Sunday offering. If you'd like to help assemble it, let Donna Swanson know.

We look forward to having the playground draw children and their parents to our welcoming church.
A Conversation with Katie 
"So you want to know, like, how I got here?" Katie said after I asked if she'd like to be interviewed. I nodded. Katie comes often to Café Agape, sometimes with her service dog Bella, who was given to her by her dad. She has a car and used to have an apartment. Now Katie is homeless having been evicted more than once, has a criminal record, and bad credit.

But when she was in her 20's, she was doing all the right things. She was a military wife, had completed two years of college with an associate degree in criminal law, and worked a year at the Department of Corrections at Valley Street in Manchester. Then Katie and her husband divorced and she became a military au pair in Virginia. Through the family she worked for, she met David. They became engaged and he left for Iraq.

Soon afterwards everything came crashing down around her. David was killed in Iraq and the house where she worked burned down through no fault of hers. She lost faith in God. In fact she hated God and ended up having a breakdown. Her life fell apart. She decided to move back to Nashua, made some bad decisions and got arrested.

"When you have a criminal record, bad credit and evictions, that equals homelessness," Katie said. 'I still owe thousands of dollars in student loans for college, but how can I pay?"

She is using many of the resources available to her here in Nashua. She has a Bridge Grant and has connected with the Front Door Agency, but housing is very limited, so she lives in her car. To get by, she does para legal work, off and on, and her father helps her financially.

Katie is no longer angry at God. One of her favorite poems is Footprints by Mary Stevenson. She told me, "The homeless have to look to God for help."

-submitted by Mary Marchese
Update on Café Agapé
The number of people who come in each morning for coffee and snacks has not gone down even though the weather is warmer and many of them spend most of their time outdoors. We still get around 30 people each morning, many who don't stay long and come to get the sandwiches and hard boiled eggs we now offer. People have told us that because we offer "real food" now, they have something to take to work for lunch.
Sharon Chapman provides about two dozen sandwiches a day and other volunteers boil and serve as many as three dozen eggs at a time. In addition, we have replaced the commercial coffee maker with a new one for $280. This coffee maker is also the one used for the Sunday Coffee Hour each week but was paid for with Café Agapé funds.
Shirley Michael brought a guitar from home that nobody was using and now, people line up for the opportunity to play a little music. Initially there was competition over who got to play first, but because the guitar is readily available every day, we've seen cooperation grow and there have even been spontaneous singalongs.
The newest addition to Café Agapé is the prayer/discussion corner located in the old nursery. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nonny Egbuonu is available to talk or pray with people who come in. It's a peaceful, sheltered space where anyone is welcome. On Thursdays an offshoot called the Spirituality Group meets in the upstairs lobby at 10:30 for discussion. This is led by Dr. David Sundell of the Emmaus Institute, assisted by Nonny, and focuses on giving people a safe place in which they can explore their understanding of spirituality.

If you want to contribute to this continuing outreach to our neighbors, we'd love to have you volunteer. See Pastor Rich or Mary Marchese if you are interested. In addition, we appreciate monetary donations, coffee, sugar, teabags, paper plates, napkins, and toilet paper.

Feel free to drop by one day to meet our neighbors. We're open Monday through Thursday 8:00 to 10:00 in July.

-submitted by Mary Marchese
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 with each Mainstreeter Online.
"The Methodist Episcopal Society of Nashua was formed and so recorded with the purchase of a parcel of land on the north side of the river on Orange Street. Land owner, Benjamin L. Jones, purchased from the Nashua Manufacturing Company for the sum of $254.00 this plot of land and later resold a small section of it to Ezra Drown and others who were acting as Trustees of the new Society. The purpose was to build a place of worship according to the constitution and authority of the Methodist Episcopal Church." The small plot of land at the corner of Orange and Lowell Street was purchased for $150.00 in 1832. "The property became known as the Methodist Episcopal Society meeting house."

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