Today is Veterans' Day--a day to remember and give thanks to those who have served our nation in the Armed Forces. As a congregation we have many veterans whose presence and service to God and the church is obvious to all. Included below is a prayer that I have shared each Veterans Day since I have been pastor of the Main Street UMC. It captures both the gratitude that is owed to our veterans and the particular concerns that are reflected in our veteran population. Please join me in praying this prayer for them today and often.
God of compassion, God of dignity and strength, watch over the veterans of the United States in recognition of their loyal service to our nation. Bless them with wholeness and love. Shelter them. Heal their wounds. Comfort their hearts. Grant them peace. God of justice and truth, Rock of our lives, bless our veterans, these men and women of courage and valor, with a deep and abiding understanding of our profound gratitude. Protect them and their families from loneliness and want. Grant them lives of joy and bounty. May their dedication and honor be remembered as a blessing from generation to generation. Blessed are You, Protector and Redeemer, our Shield and our Stronghold. Amen.
11/18 Thanksgiving Sunday Reception of New Members Presentation of Quilts of Valor Scripture: First Timothy 2:1-7; Matthew 6:25-33 Theme: Prayers of Thanksgiving in Anxious Times--What is the role of thanksgiving when living in anxious times? Jesus weighs in with the famous words, "do not worry about anything…but strive first for the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you as well." First Timothy reminds us to offer "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings" for everyone, including the ruler of the Roman Empire--talk about anxious times!
Quilts of Valor Presentation Next Sunday
The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a grass-roots organization that began with a dream. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing "Quilts of Valor". The first Quilt of Valor was awarded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in November, 2003. Since then, over 200,000 quilts have been awarded.
Next Sunday we will recognize three of our Main Street UMC veterans have been nominated to receive a Quilt of Valor. The quilts will be presented by Donna Swanson, chair of the NH Chapter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation to James A. Hinkle, Stephen W. Rogers, and Redding Thompson. Let us join in celebrating these three veterans who we recognize for their service.
Up-coming Dates for the St. Joe's Mobile Clinic
The Mobile Health Van from St. Joe's Hospital will be set up behind the church on the following dates in November--the 12th; the 19th; and the 28th. They are open from 8:30am-12:30pm. Screenings including blood pressure; diabetes; cholesterol and Body Mass Index and are done for free. You do not need to provide identification and no insurance is required. Pass the word that this service is now available at the church.
Volunteers Needed for Up-coming Events
We are still in need of volunteers to assist with the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 20th and with the Holiday Stroll on Saturday, November 24th. We need folks to primarily be greeters and for the Thanksgiving Service also need volunteers to bring refreshments and/or help to service the refreshments. The Thanksgiving Service is at 7:00pm and the Holiday Stroll goes from 4-8pm with clean up afterwards. There are sign up sheets located on the table in the lobby. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
November – Budget Increases
Welcome to the November Finance column. Today I will explain budget increases we will have to negotiate for 2019. As you know, the Finance committee is very tight when it comes to allocating our scarce dollars – we want every outlay to go towards our primary mission to make Disciples of Christ, and toward the causes that Jesus himself supported, highlighted in our support to help people with their addictions, meet their basic needs, and show the community our love in his name.
You may have learned that it's expensive to maintain a church building and staff, but it's the bedrock of our community programs, ministries, and missions. Pastor Rich put it well "People need to understand that this has to be our first priority because it is the engine that drives our ability to be in mission and ministry as a church." I will detail the changes for 2019 (and what we've experienced in the second half of 2018.)
We've increased our accessibility and our space, and some of our programs are putting that space to good use. For example, I volunteer at the Circles Greater Nashua program that our church hosts. Circles GN uses the kitchen, vestry, and rooms in the Wesley wing. It really facilitates moving to the different rooms without having to put on jackets and going outside in the parking lot. (As predicted, our new space is making such programs possible!) However such space incurs extra expenses in maintaining.
Such costs include about $18,000 to maintain the elevator, utilities, irrigation, and security. We've added about $9000 for additional janitor hours. It might be tempting to try to get away with less maintenance since the facility is new, and try to spread out our existing janitor to cover the new space. That would be uninviting to any new patrons or visitors when they would notice a general unkempt experience. I've learned my lesson here.
We've also added to the budget for basic childcare during some of our community sessions, a key enabler for attracting young families to our church. We've had other increases such as mission shares by about $3500, health insurance for over $2000, and miscellaneous expenses. These expenses described so far require our giving to increase about 8%. Instead of insisting on a percentage increase, we've tied it to our 150th anniversary. Please consider giving $150 dollars more a year, quarter, or month to help us meet our ministries and missions.
Finally we've discussed adding a position to serve youth or inter-generational needs. The right person hired into this position would do wonders for church growth. However I could not ask the whole congregation to fund such an increase when I'm already asking for your generosity for the items above. Instead, I am appealing to those so drawn to the cause and able to support in an extra-mile giving effort to a general fund Loaves and Fishes campaign. I will discuss more about that in a future column.
As always, we are here to serve regardless of one's ability to contribute toward our missions.
Please consider your time, talent, and tithe in your give-back to God and our missions. With thoughts, prayers, and especially thankfulness for your commitment and generosity.
Very truly yours – Joe Dechene
What Do You Know?
How good are you with important facts? For example, in 1965 when the Wesley Building and the five stores were purchased for $136,000, did the parking lot come with the purchase?
With this year being our 150th Anniversary, 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 MainstreeterOnline.
"At the December 26, 1962 meeting the writer, a member of the Trustees, was appointed as a committee of one to investigate the property adjoining the church [Spalding house] as a possible investment as well as an opportunity for future growth… With the full approval of the church membership a tentative offer of $124,000.00 was submitted to the Nashua Trust Company. This was rejected. Lengthy discussion and a review was given and the final offer of "$136,000.00 was submitted by our lawyer, Harrison Smith."
Church plans were finally formalized whereby a building fund drive with pledges, extended for a period of three years, was presented to the official board and accepted. This fund became identified as our 'Crusade Fund'. The 'news' of this purchase was released to the local press and radio station on June 8, 1965…While many suggestions were presented for the naming of our new building, once the home of W.E Spalding, it became identified by the church members as the 'Wesley Building'."