November 22, 2019
"It is the heart that gives the fingers just let go."
Ibo proverb from Nigeria
In his book, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, the monk and spiritual writer, Brother David Steindl-Rast shares the above proverb as he talks about giving whether this act of giving be the sharing of our words of thanksgiving, the sharing of our resources, or the sharing of our forgiveness. He points out that "giving is something that only the heart can do". So, how can we teach our hearts to give? First and foremost, we do so when we recognize that all of life is a gift and that this gift cannot be earned but comes to us as the gratuitousness of the universe. Brother David goes on to say, "In gratefulness we open ourselves to this gratuitous universe and so we become fully graced with it. And in doing so we learn to move gracefully with its flow, as in a universal dance."
As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving may we truly learn to move gracefully through life with a heart filled with the desire to give- to given thanks to God and each other; to give of our resources to help our most vulnerable fellow human beings; and to offer forgiveness to those who have offended or hurt us. May our hearts truly know the gift and the giver and may our mouths and our fingers freely let go.
May you and your loved ones experience fully the joy and peace of this time of thanksgiving.
11/24 Thanksgiving Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Philippians 4:4-9
Theme: Peace through Prayer and Gratitude- "Don't worry, be happy" was a big hit for the singer, Bobby McFerrin. The apostle Paul has a similar twist on things when he says, "don't worry, pray with gratitude instead" and you will experience the "peace of God". We will explore just what Paul means by all of this and discover a secret well worth knowing.
12/1 The First Sunday of Advent
Lighting the First Advent Candle
Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5
Theme: A Vision of Peace- The prophet Isaiah, writing in the midst of a time when Jerusalem and Judah were threatened by foreign powers who were much stronger than the army of Israel dares to envision a day when peace would reign, not through violence, but through learning God's ways and walking in God's paths thus leading to day when nations "shall learn war no more."
CONSECRATION SUNDAY REMINDER
On October 20th we celebrated Consecration Sunday and presented our pledges of support to God for the year 2020. As of November 18th 70 pledges had been received in support of the General Fund in the amount of $217,213 and another 22 pledges were received towards the Heart of Nashua Campaign to pay down our debt in the amount of $25,820. 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.
This coming Sunday we will be having our annual Souper lunch and Greening of the Church starting right at noon. Our over 40's group, F Troop, will be providing the soup and bread but we are need of as many hands as possible to assist in preparing the church for the up-coming Advent and Christmas seasons. Please plan to stay, whether for 20 minutes, an hour, or more.
The following Saturday (see below) is the annual Holiday Stroll when the church is one of the host sites for concerts, children's activities and fundraising activities. We are in need of lots of help to welcome the hundreds of people who will come to the church that night. Once again, you can plan to help for a short amount of time or all evening. Please sign up now!
INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE FIRST CHURCH, CONGREGATIONAL
The annual community Thanksgiving worship service, offered by the Nashua Area Interfaith Council, will be held on Tuesday, November 26th at 7:00pm. The service will be held at the First Church at the top of Library Hill. The Interfaith Choir, led by Julie Oliver, will be participating in the service. Refreshments will be served afterwards.
HOLIDAY STROLL NEEDS
We will once again be a host site for various Holiday Stroll performances which will take place in our sanctuary. The date of this year's stroll is Saturday, Nov. 30th. With our expanded space we will need more volunteers than usual. We usually try to have people serve for two hour stints: from 4-6pm; and 6-8pm. We are also in need of folks to help with the clean up after 8pm.
If you are willing to help out please speak to Deb Luszey or Pastor Rich. A sign up sheet can be found in the vestry to indicate your time preferences. Thanks in advance for your support!
We will be filling Thanksgiving baskets for our newer refugee neighbors this year. We will be getting turkeys and some vegetables from the NH Food Bank through the Soup Kitchen, but will need rice in 2 to 5 lb. bags, oil, juice, dried beans, coffee and tea, butter or margarine, cookies, sugar, salt, flour, and fresh fruit and vegetables such as onions, squash, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, oranges or other fruit. Encourage children to help choose items from the bulletin board in the vestry, then bring them in on ingathering Sunday. We also are happy to receive cash donations to purchase milk, rolls, and eggs on the day of distribution and to fill in missing items. Ingathering Sunday for Thanksgiving is this Sunday, November 24. Baskets will be distributed to those families on the same day so that we can distribute the perishable vegetables.
Advent Study: All is One
Wednesdays, December 4, 11, 18
10:30-Noon, Church Vestry
Come join us for a day time Advent Study exploring how mindful awareness of nature can stimulate mindful awareness of God's presence in all. God reveals God's self in nature then through nature appears as Jesus Christ. Now we know God as Emmanuel with and within us. Rather than a class book we will use music and readings from the Bible and multicultural sacred texts. Your creative juices will flow as we create nature collage mandalas over the course of the 3 classes.
Please bring a small nature item or photo to the first class and plan to share its significance to you. A signup sheet will be in the vestry during coffee hour to help us with space and class material planning as well as child care needs. Class facilitator is Pam Breniser.
VESTRY ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS
LIGHT OF THE WORLD- Join Amy-Jill Levine as she traces the Christmas narrative through the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, the journey to Bethlehem, and the visit of the Magi. This DVD based class will be led Paul Pederzani with assistance from Pastor Rich on December 8th. Amy-Jill Levine has the distinction of being one of the few New Testament scholars who are Jewish. She is a New Testament professor at Vanderbilt University. The class begins on Sunday, December 1st and concludes on Sunday, December 22nd. There is no vestry class on December 29th.
ADVENT TAIZE SERVICE PLANNED
Are you looking for a bit of peace and quiet in the midst of the hectic Christmas season? If so, we have just what you need! On Sunday, December 15th at 5:00pm we will hold an Advent Taizé Service featuring calming music, time for quiet reflection, meaningful prayers and readings, and all in a candle lit setting. Come find your quiet center in the midst of this Christmas Season. This service will be held in the second floor lobby. This year we will have live music led by Irene Harris and other church musicians.
Looking for Nativity Sets
Again this year we would like to fill the cabinet in the ladies' parlor with nativity sets, probably through Epiphany in January. If you have a small set that you would be willing to share for a few weeks, please bring it to the church office marked for Pam Breniser. If you can include a note about their origin or special significance to your family that would be helpful. Please be sure your name is on/with it. We are hoping to get some from other countries or made from unusual materials. Bring them in any time now. However, they won't be put in the cabinet until after the Christmas Stroll.
An Open Letter from the MSUMC Reconciling Committee to the Entire,
Beloved Community at MSUMC:
As our congregation continues to walk through a challenging crossroads, the Reconciling Committee wants to thank everyone in our community for your role in our recent vote to become a Reconciling Congregation. No one was untouched by this process, and it was work to understand our community's many different perspectives respectfully in Christian love. Since the Early Church, communities of Christians have needed to work together in the context of strong differences of opinion.
We would like to offer special recognition and thanks to those in our traditionalist community. We are at this crossroads because we value diversity, and as part of that value we cherish those who uphold, live by, and give voice to our most orthodox, most ancient traditions. We have been personally touched by those who maintain orthodox beliefs and still make every effort to understand, care for, and be in community with those pushing at the edges of our faith. We want to use this letter to especially let our traditionalist members know that we think that your perspective, voice, tradition, and role in our community is a special and important part of our community. Working with multiple Christian ideas helps all of us to grow as Christians. Please accept this letter as an expression of profound love, respect, and recognition of your important role in the body of Christ. You are dear to all of us and always will be.
In Christ's Abundant Love,
The Reconciling Committee
Baked for the Fair
Helped with Fair Setup or Cleanup
Made amazing crafts for our tables
Donated something wonderful to Grandma's Attic
Donated soup, eggs, dessert, tuna or time to Holly's Kitchen
Shared greenery from your garden
Came to the fair and shopped, ate, or brought a friend
Thank you from the United Methodist Women
Would your child like to be an acolyte for the church? Acolytes bring light into the sanctuary as a reminder that God is with us in worship, and carry the light out of the sanctuary at the end of the service as a reminder that God is with us in the world. Special training is required before a child can serve as an acolyte. Acolyte training is available to all children after they begin third grade. One parent or guardian must also attend the training session with the child
To schedule an acolyte training session on a date and time convenient for you and your child, please email Ann Rose at email@example.com
CROP Hunger Walk
Many thanks to Nonny Egbuono, our CROP Hunger recruiter, and Erica Borroto, who organized money on the day of the walk. Thanks especially to all of our soggy walkers, who raised $2030 with the help of the rest of Main Street UMC!!
Café Agape has had some changes in leadership. We thank Shirley Michael for all of her dedicated service as she steps back from her leadership role with Pat Kerrigan. We welcome Deb Andrews as our new co-coordinator. If you would like to donate a small gift item, such as a local fast food gift card, to our Café Agape patrons for Christmas, please see Pat Kerrigan.
Scouting for Food
Thank you for remembering to put out your bag for Scouting for Food. If you forgot, you can always bring in a bag for us to take along to the food pantry!
December 2019 Odd year out
Hi, Joe from Finance and Stewardship. As we near the end of 2019 I've reflected on my columns this year, and also looked at what I wrote in previous years. I've been writing these columns since 2016! It's very interesting to gauge the progress we've made since then.
I've also reviewed my committee meeting notes and my overall memory of past years. I've noticed a trend: Our odd years have been more financially challenging than even years. Our even years (2014, 2016, 2018) have been difficult enough, but our odd years (2015, 2017) have been very challenging indeed.
Let's say that again: our odd years have been more financially challenging. I've gone back to 2014 and the pattern has been consistent. 2017 has been our most difficult year in this period, at one point we were $50,000 behind in our ministries and missions funding.
I can't pin why odd years have been more difficult. Perhaps it's the cycle in our Heart of Nashua capital campaign that caused particular stress. Maybe it's related to the income cycle of some very generous benefactors to the church. It could be some other reason. It is very interesting however.
As you know, 2019 is an odd year. And sure enough, we are tracking behind in our ministries and missions funding (general fund on your envelope) as our other odd years. Not as dire as 2017, but we are still behind at this point. As in other years (odd or even), I plan to make a year-end appeal to our congregation for our end-of-year ministries and missions.
Please take heed in my upcoming year-end appeal. In addition, Phyllis Bowden, our treasurer, updates a nice summary in the weekly bulletin. Please read her summary, with an eye towards an area you feel committed towards. In the past she's mentioned our overall ministries and missions (general fund), Heart of Nashua status (including loan balance), and items in particular that need your support. Many generous givers have identified with key needs and supported accordingly.
It's because of your generosity that we've been able to meet our mission obligations year after year. You know the good work our church does in our community and in the missions we support. You've come through in the end every year. I look forward to your generosity again this year.
Rada Knife Sale
United Methodist Women are running a Rada Knife and other kitchen supplies order sale. This is the final 2 weeks, so please look over the catalog and place your order. These items will be here in time for Christmas Gift Giving. (There are boxed knife sets, wood blocks, baking pans, as well as individual items that make great gifts and stocking stuffers). Look for the catalogs and order forms on the piano in the Vestry following both services. All orders must be turned in by December 1!
Gift Card Fundraiser
Beginning now and throughout the Holiday Season, MSUMC will be participating in a gift card fundraiser with a company called Scrip. Scrip is fundraising while you shop.
Here's how it works: Our members can buy gift cards, e-gift cards or mobile gift cards through the program. You'll pay the full face value, but earn an immediate rebate percentage amount for MSUMC that's typically between 2% and 16% depending on the retailer. Then, use that gift card on your normal purchases or give it as a gift. So, for instance, you could buy bagels and coffee from Panera Bread with Scrip and earn 8%. You're not spending any extra time or money— it's just earning for our church!
Sign-up by visiting https://shop.shopwithscrip.com/ and clicking on the REGISTER button. The MSUMC Enrollment Code needed to sign up is 7EF7366757686
There is also a mobile app called MyScripWallet that is available for both Apple and Android Devices that can be used to participate on a mobile device.
NEW THIS YEAR is also the ability to pay for online orders using a credit card so you do not have to be limited to writing a check or linking your checking account info to make a purchase!
During the month of November, a paper order form with a limited amount of gift card choices will also be available in the vestry for those who would rather participate that way.
Questions? Contact our Scrips program coordinator (Laura Graudons) at LauraG1973@comcast.net or 595-2412.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Mainstreeter Online Blast on November 29.