For most people in our culture, Christmas will be over by noon on Christmas day. Presents will have been opened; the Christmas meal prepared; and for some, the Christmas tree will already be taken down. For Christians though, Christmas day marks the first day of Christmas rather than the last and the season of Christmas will linger on until Epiphany, January 6th. Of course, what we learn from our celebration of the birth of Jesus should go with us beyond Epiphany as well. Indeed, we hope that the Christmas spirit can stay with us through the whole year. May the One who became flesh and dwells among us continue to be the center of our world and our lives.
Merry Twelve Days of Christmas,
A Prayer for Christmas Eve Rev. Wes Jamison
Persistent God, after the carols have been sung, the presents opened, and the feasts shared, let us not lose the truth of this holy night: that you become vulnerable to heal this world and you invite us to discover in that vulnerability the true strength of the ages. Transform us, O God, until we are one with you, one with each other, and one with all the world, through Jesus Christ, who unites heaven and earth, through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
12/24 Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (There will be two services; a family service at 7:00pm and a communion service at 10:00pm. Both services will include candlelighting) Lighting the Christ Candle Special Music: Jeff Steiner, violin (at the family service); Bell Choir and Choral Choir (at the communion service) Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:1-20 Theme: Non-Sentimental Themes for Non-Sentimental Times--Our tendency is to romanticize and sentimentalize the story of Jesus' birth, but the reality is anything but sentimental. We will look at the various themes found in the birth story from a non-sentimental perspective and ask how these themes might resonate with us in these non-sentimental times.
12/30 First Sunday after Christmas (10:30am only) A Service of Lessons and Carols
Please note that there will only be one service on December 30th at 10:30am. The 8:15am worship service will resume on Sunday, Jan. 6th.
1/6 The Epiphany of our Lord Holy Communion Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12 Theme: Diversity of People and Gifts in the Story of the Magi--Everything about this story makes no sense given that we have Gentile magi announcing the birth of a Jewish king and presenting the most ridiculous of gifts to the Christ child. None of this is what we might have expected, but then, it is a reflection of the God who is at the heart of this story.
Vestry Adult Sunday School Class to Address the Topic of Homosexuality and the United Methodist Church
During the months of January and February the Adult Sunday School class that meets in the vestry will be exploring the topic of homosexuality and the United Methodist Church. We will look at homosexuality using the quadrilateral--scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. We will also look at the United Methodist position on homosexuality from the Book of Resolutions and the Book of Discipline. Finally, we will look at the proposals that will come before the special session of General Conference in February of 2019. All are invited to be part of this class which will be led by Pastor Rich with assistance from Paul Pederzani and other class members. Please direct any questions to Pastor Rich.
Staff Changes Announced
Recently the Staff Parish Relations Committee, after a year-long period of discernment, decided to create two new positions that would replace the former Director of Christian Education position. The first of these positions to be filled is that of the Coordinator of Youth Ministries (the second position, that of Coordinator of Intergenerational Ministries remains open). As of January 1st, Karrie Lam will be serving in this twelve hour per week position. Originally from Hong Kong, Karrie and her husband Ken have been in the United States since the 1980's. They have one son, Tinson, who is in college at Asbury College in Kentucky. Karrie is a music teacher in the Lowell school system and has previously served as a music director at United Methodist Churches in Lowell and Westford, MA. Karrie first learned about this position when she and Ken visited the church back in September. Having met with the Staff Parish Relations Committee and the Church Council, we can say with confidence that Karrie is bursting with enthusiasm and ideas. She will be working closely with Pastor Rich, Joe Dechene, and others who are involved in youth ministry in the church. We expect to form a youth council as well consisting of teens, parents, interested adults and both Karrie and Pastor Rich in order to guide the ministry of youth in the future. If you are interested in being a part of this council, please speak to Pastor Rich. In the meantime, please give Karrie a warm welcome.
Loaves and Fishes Campaign
The story of the feeding of the 5000 is one of the few stories about Jesus that is found in all four of our gospels. It is a story that reflects our experience that when we offer to God the little bit that we have, God is able to take our little and make it enough to meet the needs of any particular time and people. The Main Street United Methodist Church has had a long history of offering "loaves and fishes" campaigns in order to address specific needs at specific times. The Church Council has approved, at the Finance Committee's request, the start of a "loaves and fishes" campaign in order to fund the Coordinator of Youth Ministry position for which Karrie Lam has recently been hired.
The loaves and fishes campaign is understood to be second mile giving which means that it is intended to be over and above one's usual giving. If you have a passion for young people and desire to see our youth fully engaged in the mission and ministry of the church, then this is an opportunity for you to fund your passion. It is our hope and prayer that this new staff position will serve as a catalyst for church growth, not just in terms of numbers, but also in fully engaging our youth in the life of the church.
Should you choose to support this endeavor, please include your gift in an envelope marked "loaves and fishes". You can make a one-time gift; regular gifts; or gifts given as you are able. What you can know for sure is that God will multiply your gifts and through them enable us to be a church whose young people are engaged, empowered, and Spirit-led. Thank you in advance for your contributions and your prayers.
What Do You Know?
How good are you with important facts? For example, when were the beautiful memorial stained glass windows installed?
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 have included one each week and this is the last.
Twenty-Eight and final:
[In 1981] "Special 'Lexan' outside windows were installed to not only favor the heating cost, but carried the added feature of storm and vandalism protection. A new roof and signs were installed on the five stores, and in the latter part of 1982 the stores fronts were completely refurbished somewhat against the city's downtown specifications. Pastor Phil's design and perseverance proved to have given an unusual improvement to the buildings."
"The resurfacing of the entire parking lot and a multitude of other programs and needs gave our membership a house of worship unexcelled in beauty…The Main Street United Methodist Church is a living memorial to all of its faithful members who have shared their lives in Christian love in the various ministries of our church through the years. It is a church that has sought to preach the Gospel, meet people's spiritual needs, and to serve people from all walks of life."