"For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven."
The preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes rightly recognizes that there is a season for everything pertaining to our lives as human beings. The same can be said for congregations as well as the news of this past month has reflected. For our Administrative Assistant, Pam Axtell, her 12 year season of service to the Main Street UMC will come to an end on February 28th. Pam has served God and the church faithfully over the course of these many years and has witnessed much change as well as progress during this time. She has provided assistance to four pastors (Pastor Sue Job; Pastor Gwen Purshotham; Pastor Dave Svenson as an interim; and for myself for these last eight years). I can say without reservation that Pam has proven to be one of the finest Administrative Assistants that I have experienced. She has brought both the technical skills as well as the people skills that the position has required. Personally I cannot say enough about how much she is appreciated.
On the first Sunday of January Mike Brown, chairperson of our Staff Parish Relations Committee, shared with you that I too would be coming to the end of my season with you along with the end of a thirty-five year season as a full-time pastor in the UMC. I have been blessed beyond expectation in the eight years that I will have had with you and am grateful for all that we have accomplished together. While I look forward to retirement I do so with an awareness that there are yet new adventures in ministry to come although what they will be is still unknown.
On the second Sunday of January Mike shared the surprise announcement that the Bishop had already identified the person whom he intended to appoint as the next pastor of the Main Street UMC. The Rev. Kelly Turney currently serves as pastor of the East Longmeadow (MA) UMC where she has been pastor since 2005. For Pastor Kelly and the East Longmeadow congregation a long season of fifteen years will come to an end with her appointment here as of July 1st. As Mike pointed out Pastor Kelly received a thumbs up from the members of the Staff Parish Relations Committee who had met with she and her husband, Steve Bilbun, in early January.
Not to be outdone it was with sadness that I had to make the announcement on the third Sunday of January that our beloved choir director, Julie Oliver, would be leaving us effective the end of January. As Julie shared with us, out of the blue she had received the invitation to become the Music Director at the Hollis Congregational Church, a church where she had once served as Children's Choir Director some 35 years ago. Having given prayerful consideration she felt led to make this change after a season of five years as our Music Director. Julie had stepped into a challenging situation back in January of 2015 when she admirably filled the shoes of our previous choir director of 23 years, Glenda Aquino. During this time our choir has grown both in numbers and in ability and for that we will always be grateful to Julie.
So many seasons of change and all at once. How will we handle all of them? To begin with we will look to the able leadership that Mike Brown has shown during this time and to all of the members of the Staff Parish Relations Committee. Please keep them in your prayers. We are hoping to have a new Administrative Assistant in place by February 18th and have plenty of good candidates to consider for the position. As for the Music Director position we are pleased to share that Kelly Brown and Irene Harris, both of whom are members of the choir and who have choir directing experience will share the duties for the foreseeable future until the SPRC makes the decision as to when to hire a permanent replacement for Julie.
As with any time of change though we need to leave ourselves space to grieve that which is lost while preparing to welcome, in its own season, the new. Let us trust the God who is the same "yesterday, today, and forever" and whose faithfulness has sustained the Main Street UMC over the course of nearly 152 years.
With appreciation and gratitude,
1/26 The Third Sunday after Epiphany
Bell Choir Playing
Anthem- by the choir
Scripture: Isaiah 9:1-4; Matthew 4:12-23
Theme: Even Jesus Didn't Do It Alone- Jesus' ministry began, not with his baptism, but with the arrest of John the Baptist. His mission involved calling people to repentance and proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God. It was and is a big mission and required calling others to partner with him.
VESTRY ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS
TO ADDRESS THE TOPIC OF YOUNG ADULTS, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE CHURCH
During the months of January and February the Adult Sunday School class that meets in the vestry will be exploring the topic of "Young Adults, Social Justice, and the Church" using the Vital Conversations Series provided by the General Commission on Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church. In this series "millennial" pastors and lay members share what is important to them as they seek to be the church of Jesus Christ in the 21st century. They will touch on issues pertaining to racism, welcoming refugees, ethnic identity and diversity, welcoming differently abled persons, and other social justices concerns. As we seek to be a church that welcomes everyone we need to hear what our millennial members have to say about the importance of these and other social justice issues. Pastor Rich will lead this class with hopefully the assistance of some of our church millennials. The class on January 26th will be led by Pastor Rich and we will be viewing the video titled, "Ethnic Identity: What Are You?" which addresses the challenges faced by people who are multiracial or of differing ethnic backgrounds and how the church can better welcome them into the life of the church.
CONFIRMATION PLANS ANNOUNCED
Confirmation classes for youth in grades 7 – 12 will be held during the months of March and April. A planning meeting for parents and youth will take place on Sunday, January 26th at 11:45am in the chapel. It has already been decided that the classes will be offered during the regular Sunday School time at 9:00am each Sunday morning. Confirmation itself will take place on Sunday, April 19th. Classes will be led by Pastor Rich along with assistance from various members of the congregation.
OPERA ON MAIN STREET RETURNS
Our collaboration with Jane Cormier and the offering of a "salon" series of operatic concerts will resume this month. Here is the schedule for the winter and spring:
January 25 Opera Potpourri - selections from the world's opera favorites
February 29 Sacred Music selections from Malotte, Gounod, Hadyn, Schubert, and Mozart.
March 28 Presenting the Coffee and Peasant Cantatas by Bach.
April 25 Music from your favorite musicals including Webber, Rodgers, Bernstein, and others.
May 30 Concert presentation of Orfeo e Euridice by Gluck
All concerts take place in our sanctuary at 7:00pm. There is a cost of $12.00 per person or $10.00 for senior citizens with children and youth free. A portion of each ticket supports the church's organ fund.
Holy Land Journey and Pot Luck - Open to Everyone
Hosted by F Troop
Saturday, January 25, 12:00 PM, Church Vestry
Join us as we take a journey that spans thousands of years. Travel from the desert mountains of Jordan to the fertile plains of the Mediterranean. See cave hideouts, underground tunnels, amazing feats of engineering and construction. Our journey guides will be Pam and Brian Axtell telling the Biblical story through their recount of their trip to the Holy Land (Jordan, Israel, and Palestine).
We will not be checking IDs for this one-please come, whatever your age, but we do not provide child care!
We're on a mission… To Mars and Beyond, and we need YOUR help! We're collecting empty 2 Liter soda bottles in a box on the first floor of the Connector, so don't recycle those bottles yet! Let us creatively reuse them first! (We would greatly appreciate if they are rinsed out beforehand.)
MSUMC 2020 Youth Summer Mission Trip Fundraiser
Selling SUBS for Superbowl 2020
· Order Form due on 1/26/20
· Order form can be downloaded from the church website at https://www.mainstreet-umc.org/
· Order from now until 1/30/20, email Karrie Lam, Coordinator of Youth Ministry, email@example.com
Sunday School Sock Drive
The Sunday School children are hosting a Sock Drive from Sunday, January 26 – Sunday, February 16.
Looking for new packages of adult and children socks.
Any adult socks will be donated to the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. Any children socks will be donated to the Pass Along Project of Nashua, which is an organization that distributes clothing bundles to foster children.
There are donation bins in the Sunday School classroom, the lobby and the vestry.
Thank you for your help and support with this mission project.
Adult Study -Wednesday Evenings
January 29 to April 8
rom: 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Room 201
Please join us for this 11-session evening Adult Study, based on the book "It's Not Supposed to be this Way" by Lysa Terkeurst; New York Times Best Seller. Class facilitator is Mercedes Cernuda
Each session features a Scripture reference, a personal reading, questions for personal reflection or for group study/discussion, and we will close with prayer after sharing prayer concerns / celebrations for each week.
Description of Study: Lysa Terkeurst discovered that life's disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and with grit, vulnerability, and honest humor, helps us to see our lives in the context of God's bigger story. Whether we're dealing with daily disappointments or life-altering loss, we can find unexpected strength as we learn what it means to wrestle well between our faith and our feelings.
Look for Sign Up Sheet in the Vestry and / or email if interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
And, if you're unable to attend but are interested in joining us for this study we may possibly be able to conference you in.