"Give thanks for tomorrow, full of surprises, for knowing whatever tomorrow may bring, The Word is our promise, always, forever; we rest in God's keeping and live in God's love." Verse 3 of "What Gift Can We Bring" UMH, #87
Last year at this time our 150th anniversary year was drawing to a close and we were continuing to celebrate our glorious past as a congregation here in downtown Nashua. We learned a lot about "those who had vision" and whose vision had led to what we experience today in the life of the church. We had much to give thanks for and it was a joyous and celebratory year for us and for the community. Our focus now needs to be more on the future than on the past. We can celebrate this future in advance, not because we know what it will bring, but because whatever it brings, "we rest in God's keeping and live in God's love."
I believe that the Main Street United Methodist Church is positioned well for growth in mission and ministry. Our financial situation is strong even if we can never let our guard down. We have extremely capable and engaged staff in the area of worship, music, and youth and our support staff continues to be superb in every way. Then there are the volunteers! What would we do without you? The volunteer hours that you give to the church's mission are impossible to number but they are numerous and without our volunteers we would not be able to do what we do. I am grateful for every one of you.
So, as we look to the future I cannot help but give thanks to God knowing that our future is bright. I cannot help but give thanks to you for you are those who will partner with God in creating this future. Let us celebrate the future even as we have celebrated the past knowing that it is God's love and faithfulness that will propel us forward.
11/3 All Saints' Sunday
Scripture: Luke 19:1-10
Theme: From "Sinner" to "Saint"- This familiar and playful story is one that has much to teach us about the power of hospitality to transform lives.
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 26th 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
Sunday, October 20, we celebrated Consecration Sunday and presented our pledges of support to God for the year 2020. As of last Monday 61 pledges had been received in support of the General Fund in the amount of $185,173 and another 20 pledges were received towards the Heart of Nashua Campaign to pay down our debt in the amount of $24,520. 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.
Our next Ham and Bean Supper will take place tomorrow. You can help set up at 10am (following the Men's breakfast); serve in the kitchen; wait on tables or with clean up afterwards. There is always need for more help. If you didn't get a chance to sign up in advance don't worry, just show up and you will be put to work! Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
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 will be put out in the near future as well. Thanks in advance for your support!
November Survival, Service, Growth
Hi, Joe from Finance and Stewardship. I have three thoughts about giving. Giving for survival, service, and for growth. Perhaps if I keep the "s" I would use the word succession for growth.
You've heard about giving for survival before. "Please give so we can pay our utilities and keep our church open!" We have occasion to voice that given our recent electrical issues that were well beyond our budget to handle. Where we appealed and your generosity helped us to repair. Perhaps we meant to say "Give so the building doesn't burn down!"
Having driven past so many closed-down churches recently, I can understand the threat to survival. It's gotten expensive to keep a church going. Each one of those closed churches no doubt had a finance committee and treasurer fighting to the very end. I would not be surprised that along the way such churches were forced to cut back on their ministries and missions in their communities. Once that happens, it's a managed decline as it's very difficult to recover once you cut back on such outreach.
Second thought about giving is to give for service. I'd say this is Main Street overall. These days we have plenty of opportunity to minister and serve in Nashua in a similar way that Jesus responded to those in need. As you may have heard in my Stewardship speech, it costs us more to keep our church open seven days a week in our community missions and ministries.
We have difficult times financially at our church to be sure, and when we are running short (as we are this year) I have a few choices. My first option is to appeal to the congregation to step up their support so we can meet our obligations. This has been the option I've used since I've been chair of Finance. My second option is to cut back on our community outreach, perhaps by partially closing the building and reducing staff hours. This option is quite painful for all those involved in the church ministries. Options after that only get more painful, which thankfully I've avoided here.
OK, OK what about growth, or succession? These are the items we invest in to be sure that our next generation has a healthy church to steward. I have to emphasize that these are growth enablers – we still have to play an active part to facilitate such growth and succession. Some of the items we've invested for growth include:
- Building our connector, allowing accessibility, safety, and influence for our services
- A new and better nursery
- Hiring our Youth coordinator, with increased youth participation in our missions
We would like to invest in an intergenerational director. It's so important that we get young families in this church for two reasons. First, of course, is to help make Disciples of Christ to people of all ages and backgrounds. Second is to have a new generation of church leaders to carry the message. Unfortunately our budget has been too tight to factor this position in for 2020. Perhaps when we pay our debt we will have a little room in our budget for this position in a future year. Debt payments for 2020 will be greater than the salary for this position would be.
As you plan your giving for the rest of the year and for 2020 – please take a moment to consider what is important to you. Is it merely to have a church to go to on Sunday? Is it because of all we do here in Nashua? Or is it to keep the church active for future generations? Please give it some thought. As always I am open to your feelings, comments, questions, and prayers. Thank you, Joe Dechene
Nashua Cancer Prayer and Support Group
The next Support Group meeting is November 6 from 6:30-8:00 PM, in the Chapel. This group is facilitated by Michael Gallaher, Nancy Long and Nonny Egbuonu.
This group is for anyone touched by cancer -- patients, survivors, caregivers or loved ones of a person affected by this devastating disease. Our meetings are open to any member of the community, from any church, any denomination (or not!) and of course, it is cost free! A portion of time in each meeting is also spent in prayer for anyone who has cancer.
So what would happen if we became Reconciling?
There's been a lot of talk about becoming a Reconciling congregation lately, but what would we actually do should the vote pass? Well, let's look at the motion to be presented, which can be found elsewhere in these announcements.
The first bullet talks about embracing and enacting our Welcoming Statement. "But don't we already do that? Isn't that why we enacted it in the first place?" Yes and no, but the General Conference vote earlier this year specifically called out the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community. As we are all children of God, it's our duty as Christians to ensure that we specifically extend our welcome to them in response.
Joining the Reconciling Ministries Network would be a part of that. It puts our church among the ranks of those where LGBTQ+ individuals can go and know that they will be welcomed and embraced as they are. From an outsider's perspective we currently look as though we agree with the outcome of the General Conference vote.
As for what else we would do to welcome the LGBTQ+ community, the motion as worded above compels us to be visible in our welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community. How we do that would be largely up to the Church Council, but rest assured that there are outspoken opponents as well as proponents of this measure in that body so any vote on this will be well-debated.
What is up to each of us, however, is that last bit: being intentional, discerning, and passionate in our welcoming of all people. This means not only welcoming those with whom we agree, but also those with whom we disagree. Notice it says all people; no one is excluded in a Reconciling church.
Check back here next week for additional information on becoming Reconciling, and make sure to join us at a special Church Conference for members to vote on the motion above on November 17th following the 10:30 service!
CALLING ALL UNITED METHODIST MEN AND BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST
The United Methodist Men Program for Saturday, 2 November, will begin with a hot breakfast prepared by our Chef in Residence, Jerry Harrow, at 8:30 a.m. followed by our program at 9:00 p.m. The November Program will be presented by Wendy Sage, Director of Client and Family Affairs, at Bridges by EPOCH, a memory care facility located here in Nashua that specializes in caring for people with memory impairments and their families. Bridges provides security, compassion, and comfort to their memory care clients and helps their caregivers with advice, resources, and means to support their family members while also caring for themselves. Though most of us know what memory impairments are (dementia and alzheimer's) many of us do not know how to deal with caregiver stress and how to lessen the impact of the pressures of stress on our own lives. Wendy will focus her presentation on this aspect of the Bridges Program which will provide us with valuable knowledge and resources about how to manage our own physical and mental wellbeing while caring for our loved ones.
If any of our attendees can come a little early around 8:00 a.m. to help with our table setup it would be greatly appreciated.
If you are coming please let either Kent Swanson, Galen Rose, or Jerry Harrow know you are coming so we can save you a seat at the table. If you need a ride to the meeting please let Kent Swanson know by calling 603-880-6289.
Following our program, please plan on staying a few minutes to help our Ham and Bean Supper Team setup for the Ham and Bean Supper which will take place later in the afternoon in our vestry.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Main Street United Methodist Church celebrates that all persons are created in God's image and are of sacred worth. We are a faith community that welcomes persons without regard to age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, family configuration, religious background, economic status, or developmental and physical ability. We welcome all who seek to love God and neighbor.
This is our church's Welcoming Statement. This is who we are, who we are called to be. This is reflective of what our New England Conference is. Unfortunately, because of last February's General Conference, this is not necessarily how we are seen by the outside world.
In order to correct any possible misconception of who we are as a Christian community of faith and practice, this year we have asked ourselves whether becoming a Reconciling Congregation makes sense for us. A committee was created to investigate and inform. A survey was done, guest speakers were invited, information was disseminated, opportunities were made to ask questions, and classes were held.
The time has come to make a decision. On Nov 17, 2019 a Special Charge Conference will be held after the 10:30 service and led by our District Superintendent, Rev. Taesung Kang.
The motion we will present is:
"That Main Street United Methodist Church become a Reconciling Congregation by:
- embracing and enacting our Welcoming Statement
- joining the Reconciling Ministries Network
- becoming visibly welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community
- being intentional, discerning and passionate in our welcoming of all people."
There will be opportunities on 11/3 and 11/10 after each service for questions and discussion. We hope all members of MSUMC will make it a point to be at the Special Charge Conference and vote their conscience.
Reconciling Congregation Committee
EAT MORE BEANS!!!
The next Ham and Bean Supper is tomorrow, November 2 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The meal is served family style and features ham, two kinds of beans, coleslaw, potato salad, beverage, bread, and pie. We need you and your friends, neighbors, and family to attend the Ham and Bean and make this supper a success!
Children 6 to 12: $4
Children 5 and under: Free!
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.