September 27, 2019
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard."
This weekend many of the communities of faith in Nashua will have a common focus in their worship experiences- that of housing justice. The choice of this particular focus came about as a group of Nashua area clergy gathered regularly to discuss the areas of concern that are prevalent in our community. While hunger, poverty, and homelessness are so often thought of as the primary areas of need another concern rose to the surface- the lack of affordable housing in our city. In his editorial in the Nashua Telegraph on September 22nd, Rabbi Jon Spira-Savett had this to say, "Housing doesn't have the same emotional pull on us as hunger and disease. Housing is structural, literally and figuratively.
It is one of the foundations under everything else in our community." As Rabbi Jon points out, housing is "foundational". When a community has issues around housing everything else suffers as well.
As we worship together on Sunday I would like to ask you to think about what having adequate housing as meant for you and your family throughout your life. How would things be different if you had to spend so much money on housing that you needed to depend on food pantries for your food? What would your education have been like if your family needed to move every few months in search of a more affordable apartment? What are the effects of a lack of affordable housing on the stability of our community? We will spend some time exploring these and other questions as we ponder the question of "housing" justice.
In Isaiah 58 the prophet notes that the kind of fast that God desires is not one in which we skip a meal every once and a while, but rather it is the fast that acts of behalf of others in ways that help to insure that they have the basic necessities of life- food, shelter, clothing, community. What can we do- individually, as a church, and as a community, to address the lack of affordable housing in Nashua and surrounding communities? Let us commit ourselves to being a part of the solution to this complicated and complex challenge.
In search of justice,
P.S. A follow up gathering to have further discussion about affordable housing will take place on Sunday, October 20th from 4-5:30pm at Temple Beth Abraham, 4 Raymond Street in Nashua. All are invited to be a part of this conversation.
9/29 The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Fall Stewardship Campaign Continues: Stewardship speakers- Dave Wilson (8:15am) and Laura Graudons (10:30am)
Scripture: Isaiah 58:6-12; Matthew 25:31-40
Theme: Repairing Our Foundations- An Introduction to Housing Justice: Congregations throughout the city of Nashua will be focusing on this theme in worship this coming weekend. The prophet in Isaiah 58 reminds us that the fast that God desires is not an absence of food, but rather a renewed commitment to justice for everyone. What might justice look like in the area of housing? We will explore this theme together in worship and preaching.
OPPORTUNITY OF THE WEEK
Each week we will try to highlight a particular opportunity for you to serve in and through the Main Street UMC.
Do you enjoy spending time with young children? Are you looking to feel younger? Then, we have just the opportunity for you! Every Sunday morning we need to have two nursery care people so that parents can attend Sunday School classes and worship. We need two people from 9-10am during the Sunday School hour and another two people from 10am- 11:30am during the worship service. There is a sign up sheet on the table under the clock in the vestry. All nursery care workers do need to attend the Safe Sanctuary training and have a background check done (at no cost). If interested and you have already done the training then just sign up for whatever Sunday(s) is good for you. If interested, but have not had the training yet please speak to Mavis Pyle and/or Pastor Rich and it will be arranged. Thank you for helping to make MSUMC a child friendly church.
PASTOR'S VACATION PLANS
Pastor Rich will be on vacation beginning Tuesday, October 1st through Friday, October 11th. Rev. Dave Svenson will be our guest preacher for both the 8:15am and 10:30am services on Sunday, October 6th.
CAFÉ AGAPE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Café Agape, our outreach to our neighbors both homeless and those in vulnerable situations, has once again closed for the month of August but will re-open on Tuesday, September 3rd. Café Agape is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am-10:00am and provides a safe place for our neighbors to gather for coffee, food, and conversation. We are in need of some more volunteers. You can volunteer one day a month; one day a week; or however often you would like. If interested please be in touch with either Pat Kerrigan or Shirley Michael . Their e-mail addresses respectively are: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Thank you for your consideration!
POWER CHAIR AND SCOOTER AVAILABLE
Are you or someone you know in need of a battery powered wheel chair or scooter? Charles Kenney has both and is making them available for $2,500 for both or if you only want one you can make an offer. They both include battery chargers. The scooter was only used a few times and was purchased in 2018. The chair was purchased in 2019. Charles also has available a portable ramp that he would give free of charge. There is a warranty on both the scooter and the chair. If interested or would like more information please call Charles at 603-718-1015.
ANNUAL BLESSING OF THE CREATURES: Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 3pm, rain or shine!
Typically this event is held in the Autumn around the birthdate of St. Francis of Assisi which is in October. There will be a Creature Reiki Practitioner who is delighted to share reiki love with your creature family members. If your creature companion cannot attend in "person" then you could bring a photo or their ashes, or something that was special to them: a toy, blanket, pillow… Posthumous blessings grace your creature and all of the Divine Realm. If your creature is wild, consider bringing a feather, or a piece of fur, a leaf from a tree under which they pass, a stone from one of their favorite resting places, a flower which has shared its nectar.
The Blessing of the Creatures can feature music, festivities, and the Procession of the Blessing, with Pastor Rich offering a blessing prayer with each creature. The event will be held on the plaza in front of the church, Sunday October 13, 3pm. For the safety and comfort of all, please note that living creatures must be on a leash or in a carrier.
Please join in the joy of encouraging and supporting ALL God's creatures!
NEW MEMBER CLASSES TO BE OFFERED
Are you interested in becoming a member of the Main Street United Methodist Church? Interested in knowing more about the United Methodist Church itself? Interested in a refresher course on faith and church? If so, please plan to attend the series of two classes that will be offered on Sunday, October 13th and Sunday, October 20th. The classes will take place from 9am – 10am in Pastor Rich's office and will be led by Pastor Rich with assistance from our lay leaders and other active church members. Those who choose to join the church will be received as new members on Sunday, October 20th during the 10:30am worship service. Please sign up in advance using the sheet that is located on the bulletin board under the clock in the vestry.
ANNUAL CHURCH CONFERENCE DATE SET
Our annual Church/Charge Conference date has been set for Sunday, October 20th following the 10:30am worship service. Our new District Superintendent, Rev. Taesung Kang will meet with the Staff Parish Relations Committee at 9:00am. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a church community to celebrate our ministries and prepare for the future. All are encouraged to attend.
UP-COMING DISTRICT EVENTS
The next District Resource Day will be held on Saturday, October 5th from 9am-3pm at the Eliot, ME United Methodist Church. The focus of this day will be on a "How to Reach New People" and will be led by nationally known church consultant, Rev. Paul Nickerson.
Twenty-two Main Street UMC members walked on Saturday, September 14, to raise money to build wells for safe drinking water in Nigeria. United Methodist Women also made donations of packaged snacks to the Water Walkers.
Thank you for your donations to Africa University Sunday and to the victims of Hurricane Dorian through UMCOR. Totals available soon!
NASHUA CANCER PRAYER AND SUPPORT GROUP
The next meeting of this ministry will be held on Wednesday, October 2nd at 6:30pm in the chapel. This group is facilitated by Michael Gallaher, Nancy Long and Nonny Egbuonu.
SEX AND MARRIAGE —a Conversation Just for Traditionalists
Have you been raised to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman? Are you struggling to understand the diversity of beliefs about homosexual practice and identity that are suddenly at the forefront of church conversations? Do you need a safe space to ask questions and seek a place of clarity as the congregation discerns about becoming a Reconciling Congregation? Do you want to understand where the progressive point of view is coming from?
If these questions describe you, then this group is specially designed for you and others who share these questions. This covenanted, four-week study and discussion group will use a variety of resources to examine attitudes toward LGBTQ inclusion/restriction in the church. Information and tools will be shared so that each person can not only refine but also support her/his own beliefs. All will be done in the spirit of prayer, love, and discernment.
Class members will utilize a variety of resources, including (and not limited to) the Bible, writings from evangelical ethicist David P. Gushee's books Kingdom Ethics and Changing Our Mind, an exploration of "the celibacy option," and of course, discussions about marriage. Confidentiality within the group will be expected. Completion of reading assignments will be manageable and necessary. Participation will make the group fruitful!
Rev. Kristy Besada will facilitate the group. Wednesday nights, October 2nd – 23rd at 7:00 p.m.
Please sign up in the vestry by Sept 22, so that an appropriate number of books and materials can be obtained.
An additional group may be added if interest necessitates it. Limit: 10 people per session.
Hi, Joe from Finance and Stewardship.
It's pledge time again, and we have a vision for 2020 (we're calling it 2020 Vision.) That includes continuing the wonderful ministries and missions we do in Nashua and working to add more emphasis to young families for 2020.
In 2019 we had the vision of helping our youth to grow as disciples, and we hired a part-time staffer. You've begun to see the fruits of our actions, with our Youth mission trip and other activities.
Previously we've had the vision of increased accessibility and use of our facilities made possible by our connector. I am happy to report that programs like Circles Greater Nashua use these facilities to help families out of poverty. Fulfilling these visions requires your continued and extended financial support
I could appeal to our congregants who already go beyond their tithes in cheerfully supporting our ministries and missions through their General Fund pledging, and then go even beyond that in helping us reduce our debt with our Heart of Nashua campaign and fund. It's only logical that if I go to this group, our most ardent supporters are our best chance for success in growing our ministries and missions.
Such generous givers come from all walks and economic levels and they understand the successes we've had in our community and service. They are at a point in their faith journey and will often give more when they see and participate in the vision.
Instead, I want to appeal to those of us who are unsure where our hard-earned money (not to mention time) goes when it comes to church. Perhaps some of us are not seeing the connection between the money we give from our scarce funds and the "feel-good" knowing that it's going towards someone helping themselves out of poverty, hosting folks actively and successfully dealing with their addiction, or serving in other ways that Jesus wants to.
Perhaps some don't notice our new church attendees, some of whom are finding Christ for the first time. A few of these attendees may become members, but more will attend and be part of the church without the formality of membership.
Our church changes many lives in the programs we do, support, or sponsor. We support world programs such as UMCOR and Africa University. Locally, the church is open and active seven days a week in these programs:
- We do many activities ourselves such as Café Agape, Ministries, cancer support groups and a host of other programs.
- We support through our work with Nashua Soup Kitchen our Sunday Food Pantry, greater downtown services and ministries, CROP Hunger Walk, Water Walk, and other items.
- We host programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Circles GN.
We are active in our world and community and will strive to do so even better thanks to our 2020 Vision. I hope you will see your part in this vision and support its success.
Please consider a well-rounded experience with God that includes prayer, church attendance, service, and your increased financial support. You can commit today to a higher pledge on the orange pledge card, or decide to give more even if you are not in a place to commit to a pledge. As always I am open to your thoughts, prayer, concerns, and questions. Thank you, Joe Dechene