Last spring the Church Council approved the organizing of a Reconciling Congregations Committee here in the church in order to explore what it would mean for us to officially become a "reconciling" congregation. Led by Paul Pederzani, the committee has met regularly to learn more about the reconciling church movement in the United Methodist Church and to learn more about the challenges that face members of the LGBTQ community as members of the United Methodist Church. I approached the committee with the invitation to plan this year's Laity Sunday worship services which will take place on Sunday at 8:15am and 10:30am. These services will provide an opportunity for all of us to hear the stories of our LGBTQ members as well as some of their family members. It is important for us to move from seeing "homosexuality" as an issue that the church must face to seeing the faces of those who are hurt by the discriminatory practices that our denomination has in place. Ultimately, we are talking about people and the people we are talking about are our fellow church members, our families, our daughters and sons, and grandchildren, in other words, they are us!
It is my hope and prayer that you will make it a point to be in attendance this coming Sunday in order to hear the stories that are shared and consider what role you might be led to take on as we consider becoming a reconciling congregation. Please see below the information about the special Church Conference that will be held on Sunday, November 17th at which time the members of the Main Street UMC will have opportunity to cast their vote. In the meantime, I invite you to keep our LGBTQ members and their families in your prayers along with the entire congregation. Pray that we will indeed be open to the leading of God's Spirit in this time of decision and commitment.
10/27 The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Psalm 15; Mark 12:28-34; John 13:31-34
Theme: The Reconciling Congregations Committee has planned this service in which our LGBTQ members and family members will be sharing their stories.
SPECIAL SESSION OF CHURCH CONFERENCE CALLED
At the request of the Church Council our District Superintendent, Rev. Taesung Kang, has approved the calling of a special session of Church Conference to be held on Sunday, November 17th at noon. The sole purpose of this special session is to consider the motion to become a reconciling congregation. The motion will be made available through all of the usual channels (Mainstreeter; weekly blast; Sunday announcements) following the Church Council meeting on Monday, October 28th at which time it will be presented to the Council. Although anyone is welcome to attend the Special Session and to have voice, only those who are members of the Main Street UMC will be able to vote per the Discipline of the United Methodist Church. Should you have any questions please speak to Pastor Rich, Paul Pederzani or any member of the Reconciling Congregations Committee.
CONSECRATION SUNDAY REMINDER
Last Sunday we celebrated Consecration Sunday and presented our pledges of support to God for the year 2020. As of last Monday 56 pledges had been received in support of the General Fund in the amount of $176,273 and another 19 pledges were received towards the Heart of Nashua Campaign to pay down our debt in the amount of $24,760. If you have not as yet submitted your pledge card please do so as soon as possible by mailing it to the church office to the attention of Bill Francis, our Financial Secretary or by including it in the offering plate any Sunday. Your commitment and support are greatly appreciated.
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.
Although it is still a week away I wanted to highlight the need for volunteers to assist with the Ham and Bean Supper on Saturday, November 2nd. The sign up sheet will be out on Sunday for you to indicate when you can assist (Friday for preparations; Saturday morning for set up; and Saturday afternoon for serving or clean up). Your help is greatly appreciated.
OPERA ON MAIN STREET RETURNS
The next operatic concert to be hosted by the church will take place on Saturday, October 26th at 7:00pm in the sanctuary. "The Magic of Mozart" will consist of arias and duets from Mozart's most famous operas. The cost is $12.00 per person and $10.00 for senior citizens and students. Tickets are sold at the door only. You are welcome to join the F Troop members at 5:30pm for a potluck in the vestry prior to going to the concert.
UP-C0MING DISTRICT RESOURCE DAY
District Resource Days, no matter which district is sponsoring them, are open to anyone. The District Resource Day for the Metro Boston District will be of interest to many of our Vestry Adult Sunday School class members since it will feature Diana Butler Bass. The event will take place on Saturday, November 16th from 9:30am-2:30pm and it will be held at the Weston United Methodist Church, 377 North Ave., Weston, MA 02493. You do need to register and there is a $10.00 cost to cover the lunch that will be served. Please go to the following link to register or speak to Pastor Rich and he will register you-
https://neumc-reg.brtapp.com/MBHandCMADistrictResourceDaywithDianaButlerBass If you are interested in attending and desiring to car pool please speak to Pastor Rich. Here is what the Boston Metro District Website has to say about Dr. Bass: Dr. Butler Bass has authored many influential and poignant books on how to seek an authentic renewal of the practice of Christian faith and community. No matter what the future of UMC will look like, such a future has to come as the birth of a new spiritual awakening and practice as a Jesus movement. Time with Dr. Butler Bass will create an opening where we can prayerfully and practically engage in how we can usher in such future of God in our midst. Clergy and church leaders are encouraged to attend. Don't miss this great opportunity!
Diana Butler Bass (Ph.D. Duke University) is an award-winning author and internationally known public speaker and thought leader on issues of spirituality, religion, culture, and politics.
She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, CBS, and FOX, has been interviewed on numerous radio programs, including shows on NPR, CBC, and Sirius XM, and has work featured in numerous print and online newspapers and magazines including Time, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times.
From 1995-2000, she wrote a weekly column for the New York Times Syndicate. She was a founding blogger for both Beliefnet and Huffington Post religion. Her bylines include the Washington Post and Atlantic.com. She has preached and taught in hundreds of church, college, and conference venues in North America and beyond.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Diana Butler Bass was raised in Scottsdale, AZ, and loves Santa Barbara, CA, as her "soul" hometown. She lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband, Richard Bass, and their dog, Rowan. These days, she balances travel (which she loves) with her concerns for Virginia politics, a passion for environmental issues, supporting local farms, reading poetry, cooking, gardening, Washington Nationals baseball, and Duke basketball.
F Troop Put Luck and Night at the Opera
Saturday, October 26, 2019, 5:30 Pm Church Vestry
Please join the F Troop, our over 40 Fellowship group, for a potluck supper at 5:30. After the supper we will adjourn to the sanctuary and enjoy an evening with Mozart opera selections. A sign up sheet is posted on the bulletin board under the clock in the vestry. Join us for an evening of fellowship and music. We hope to see you there!
CROP Hunger Walk
In this 35th year of the CROP Hunger Walk in Nashua, we will step out from Temple Beth Abraham at 1:30 on October 27 to fight hunger in Nashua and beyond. The missions committee will provide a lunch for walkers, so just come to church ready to walk! If you haven't signed up yet, you can still do it on Sunday, October 20, or Sunday, October 27, and walk with our Main Street group. You can raise money for CROP online by going to http://nashuacropwalk.blogspot.com and clicking on the CROP stop sign, then find the Main Street UMC team! Add yourself if you want to walk! If you signed up to sponsor our CROP walk team, give your check to Nonny by October 27 since it must be turned in that day. If it's too late to do that, please support us online. If you have already signed up to walk or have sponsored a walker or our CROP Hunger Walk team from Main Street, thank you! Information is available after church in the vestry, and so are CROP Hunger Walk shirts!
Why Become Reconciling?
As you may realize by now, here at Main Street we're considering a Reconciling congregation. Part of that, as you may have read last week, involves being more intentional with our welcome to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community.
"But wait," you might be saying, "don't we already welcome LGBTQ people? Why do we need to do anything different?" The short answer is that we need to do this because of the General Conference vote earlier this year. It singled out the LGBTQ community as ineligible for ministry in the Book of Discipline while not singling out any other group as such.
While this restriction doesn't apply to LGBTQ laypersons, it nevertheless instills a feeling in them that they're a second class in the church. We must then go out of our way to make them feel welcome since, as Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, we are all one in Christ. We can't just wait for them to engage with us; if we want them to know that we welcome them, we need to let them know that before they even walk in the door.
Becoming Reconciling is one way for us to do that. The Reconciling Ministries Network provides resources for engaging with the LGBTQ community. Joining their network of LGBTQ-friendly congregations sends a signal that we truly believe Paul's words from Galatians.
Check back here next week for more information about becoming Reconciling leading up to the vote on November 17th