Last Sunday marked the beginning of the new Christian year and the beginning of Advent. The first Sunday of Advent focuses our attention on God's continuing work in the world as God brings to completion God's desire for the world that God has made. Bishop Devadhar's Advent Prayer reminds us that we each have a part to play in this work. May your Advent be filled with contributions made to bringing our world to the place where there is peace and justice for all God's children.
Advent Prayer--Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
Gracious God, We are ready — to receive you; when you come, in whatever way you come. We are ready — to be your angels, your messengers, your bearers of glad tidings. We are ready, God, to be — your light, where there is darkness, your way, where there is no clear path, your hope, where the future is uncertain, your peace, where there is conflict, your truth, where there is injustice. Come, Lord Jesus, come — be among us as God, made flesh, in the power of the Holy Spirit, AMEN.
12/16 Third Sunday of Advent Lighting the Third Advent Candle Bell Choir playing (10:30am service only) Scripture: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Luke 3:7-18 Theme: The Lord is in Your Midst--The prophet Zephaniah offers comfort and hope to the Hebrew people following their exile in Babylon. He reminds them that "the Lord is in your midst" and therefore will "deliver the lame" and "gather the outcast." God will also "create calm with his love and will rejoice over them with singing." What a wonderful message to hear and proclaim during this Advent season.
Christmas Season Schedule
12/24 Christmas Eve Candlelight Services (There will be two services, at 7:00pm and at 10:00pm. The 10:00pm service will include Holy Communion.) Lighting the Christ Candle Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Luke 2:1-20 Theme: Non-Sentimental Christmas Themes for 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.
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
On Sunday, December 2nd Mike Brown, chairperson of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, introduced two new staff persons. Chuck Colianno has joined us as a part-time custodian. Chuck recently retired as head custodian at Alvirne High School in Hudson and brings over 40 years of experience as a custodian to his work here at the church. Chuck works 10 hours per week. Meanwhile our regular custodian, Joe Valentino, has had an increase in hours to 35 hours per week. These changes reflect the addition of new space and the increased use of already existing spaces.
Also announced was the hiring of Karrie Lam as our new Coordinator of Youth Ministries. Karrie will officially begin on January 1st and will be working 12 hours per week focusing on the establishing of a vibrant youth ministry here at the Main Street UMC. Karrie is a music teacher in the Lowell Public School system and has previously served on the music staff of two United Methodist Churches in Massachusetts. Karrie and her husband Ken were introduced to the congregation and have already been making the acquaintance of many of our members since first coming to the church back in September.
Please join in extending a warm welcome to both Chuck and Karrie along with their families.
December Finance - HON and Debt
As we approach December, I have to think about our personal Heart of Nashua capital campaign gift among our other expenses wuch as Christmas gifts, taxes, and a large purchase I need to pay off. Even though our personal expenses are high, we will meet our pledge payment, which we make twice a year. Next year 2019 will result in two more payments for our original HON2 pledge amount.
However we plan to continue to give additionally beyond 2019, and beyond our pledged amount, to help pay off our church construction loan. This is because yours and our combined pledges will get us to perhaps another $100,000--well short of paying off our construction loan.
Our loan amount is illustrated by a paper chain graciously made by the youth of our church. Our youth labelled each loop with its debt figure. Each paper loop represents $5000 in HON debt. We started at considerable length, 67 loops, or almost $335,000 in debt. At the time of this writing we are at loop 64 or $320,000. Our December pledge amount plus your pledge giving will help reduce our debt and representative number of links.
The paper chain is ideal in giving a visual for our debt. In the beginning the length can be daunting, but as the chain gets smaller, I expect to show real progress in eliminating our construction debt. A smaller debt also means less of our money going to pay interest. At the beginning our interest payments were over $1200/month. As we pay down our debt, more of our payment goes toward principal. Your home mortgage or credit card debt (assuming no new monthly purchases) works in the same way.
Your continued giving to HON beyond your pledge amount and schedule will help remove additional construction mortgage strain from our general fund in 2020 and beyond. If we stopped our campaign after 2019, such increase would add a considerable amount to our general fund for years to come, through good times and bad times, and put us at risk. It makes sense to pay off our construction loan as soon as possible and leave a legacy of accessibility and outreach rather than debt.
What are ways for you to give to HON? First is to continue to honor or increase your existing HON pledge. If you haven't pledged yet, please use a time and talent card to write down a pledge amount, and give at least to that figure. Second is to give additional HON beyond 2019 in a manner to pay down our debt. Third is to give as you can to the HON via our two gift boxes. One gift box with a cross-shaped slot is on the narrow stand that we keep in our new space. The second is our scale model of the church building with the slot. These specifically go to our HON capital fund, which is our "second mile" giving over our general fund (which pays for our annual church operating expenses.)
I want to thank you for your generosity, which has allowed our construction and our foundation to loan us the money in good faith that we will pay them back.
Thank you, Joe Dechene
What Do You Know?
How good are you with important facts? For example, after the first time in 1975, when did the church again decide to remain as a downtown church?
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.
"In February 1975, the church made its decision to stay downtown and to renovate, and not to move and build. Thus began major renovations on the church and Wesley Building, and later the parsonage at 39 Wellington Street. Church renovations included painting the entire exterior and interior, full insulation, heating modifications, pointing brick and a complete new roof."
"The Wesley Building has been renovated, papered, painted, and some remodeling done. Presently the basement rest rooms and hall are being remodeled. All buildings have had major overhaul of plumbing, heating and electrical work."