April 14, 2020
"At the door we are commissioned, now the Easter victory's won, to restore a world divided to the peace of Christ as one. Alleluia! Alleluia! Easter's work must still be done."
Verse 4 of "At the Font We Start Our Journey", TFWS, #2114
Welcome to the Great Fifty Days of Easter. While the rest of the world has moved on to the next event on the calendar, we as Christians recognize Easter, not as a single day, but as a season lasting fifty days. During this season, which began with our celebration on Sunday of the resurrection and concludes with our celebration of Pentecost (on May 31st this year), we acknowledge the many ways in which we experience the Risen Christ as a living presence in our world and in our lives.
The final verse of the hymn that we will sing together this coming Sunday reminds us that "Easter's work must still be done." Unlike past years, the work of Easter this year must be done in new and creative ways as we seek during this time of "sheltering in place" to be about the work of doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with our God. What are some of the new and different ways that you have discovered to be about this important work? How are you making a difference that will have long lasting effects beyond today? What are the things that you are doing in order to stay connected to family and friends and to create new connections beyond your usual circle of influence.
One of the things that I have noticed as we have moved to live streaming our worship services through facebook is that we have reached a lot of new people beyond those we would normally see in worship on Sunday morning. Some of these new people are extended family members of some of you; others are former members who have moved away; and still others are people in the community who have somehow discovered our virtual presence and have chosen to connect with us. I find this to be a new and unexpected way in which we have been able to do the work of Easter.
I hope that you are looking for the many ways in which the Risen Christ is present to you and through you, to others, as you creatively connect with others during this unusual time. Know that this too will end and when it does we will know that it has not been in vain, but rather has provided us with opportunities and possibilities beyond anything we could have imagined otherwise.
Embracing the work of Easter,
Over the course of the "stay at home" time that we find ourselves in volunteers from the congregation have been reaching out by phone to our entire membership. One of things we have found though is that so many of you have given up your land lines or otherwise changed your phone number and we no longer have the correct number for you. We would love to up-date our data base with this correct information so please either e-mail the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 603-882-3361. We expect to begin round 2 of our calling soon and would love to connect with you!
Although we are no longer able to do the live streaming of our worship service from the sanctuary, Pastor Rich is live streaming a service from home which is available on-demand on Facebook shortly after the service. You can use the Facebook app on a smartphone, or a web browser on a computer. "Like" our page and you will be notified when we go live each Sunday.
If you choose to not use a Facebook login, you can still access the live stream during the service time from our web site home page by going to the box to the right (you may need to refresh the page if you arrive early). Previous worship services are available by scrolling down through the postings.
Please note that Pastor Rich is also live steaming a Wednesday morning devotional reflection each week as well. Just follow the directions above to watch it live or any time afterwards.
Giving During This Uncertain Time
Although we are scaling back most of our church activities which will reduce our expenses during this time, we still have staff who will be working- cleaning the church thoroughly; providing office assistance from home; offering music for our "virtual" worship services; providing pastoral care remotely, etc.- so we will still be incurring expenses that will need to be covered as best we can. To the extent that you are able please maintain your financial pledge or give regularly. Contributions can either be mailed in to the church or you can utilize our on-line giving options by going to the following web address:
Thank you for your on-going support, for your prayers, and for your faithfulness to God and one another.
MAY 2020 COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Hi, Joe from Finance. We interrupt our multi-month series on money and happiness to give you an urgent update on the church in light of our COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic. It is truly a pandemic, growing exponentially as I write this. Above all please stay safe and practice social distance and stay at home whenever possible.
I can't think of a time when churches have been closed for so many weeks. Of course, it's not just churches. Affected are businesses, homeless facilities, restaurants, government activities. Our health-care system is overloaded and our valuable health-care workers on the front lines are catching the COVID-19 disease in their line of service.
The effect on the economy is shocking. Each small business and restaurant represents someone's life savings on the line, and they are incurring expenses without the necessary revenues to support. Likewise, many staff in such service industries have been laid off and will miss rent payments and may be forced out of their homes. Even large corporations are reducing staff in preparation for scenarios of extended recession, making the job market much harder to go back into. When the economy restarts, it's not likely to be a smooth process.
Like all affected businesses, our church has a high proportion of fixed expenses that need to be paid regardless if we are open or not. We cut back where we can, like reducing heat and A/C. However our large bills remain even though we have closed our doors during the crises.
Like many individuals, small businesses, and other churches, Main Street will fall seriously short on our bills due to the necessary steps taken to curb the spread of COVID-19. This will be a rough road for all of us, and the Finance and Stewardship committee and other church leadership are studying all angles to get us through.
As we adjust to the new normal, organizations, businesses, groups, and our church are ramping up with an enhanced on-line presence. I enjoy our live on-line worship services presented by Pastor Rich and supported by our talented musical staff and volunteers. I clicked the link on our church website to pay my offering online using PayPal without needing to write a check or use a postage stamp. After hearing about PayPal delays, I've added Main Street United Methodist Church to the bill paying feature on my online bank account and pay my pledge at the same time I pay monthly bills. Giving is part of our service in Jesus's name.
Please attend our online worship, Sundays at 10:30 on our web site, mainstreet-umc.org. Or view the worship "on demand" recording when you have the opportunity. If you are able, please continue with your pledges, tithes, and gifts to the church. There are ways to give online or by check.
ON-LINE GIVING OPTIONS: We have three methods of online giving, easily accessible on our church website or by going directly to http://www.mainstreet-umc.org/giving
- If you prefer making a new donation by credit card each week or month, or if you want to give a one-time donation, then choose PayPal Giving Fund. PayPal covers all fees. Note that it takes about a month for your PayPal donation to reach the church, so please pay early.
- If you want to set up automatic periodic payments (such as weekly or monthly) from a credit card or checking account, then choose Vanco. There is a small fee for this option, and we ask that you consider adding the fee to your periodic donation.
- We also have the GIVE+ Mobile App, powered by Vanco, allowing you to make a donation anytime you feel like giving a little something extra.
You can still pay by check of course:
- By using your bank's on-line bill pay service from your checking account. Add Main Street United Methodist Church, 154 Main Street, Nashua, NH 03060 as a payee.
- By mailing your check to MSUMC, 154 Main St, Nashua, NH You can include your offering envelope if you wish.
At some date in the future we will look back at this as a history lesson not to forget. I hope that as a society we will be better prepared to head off the next pandemic. In the meantime, I hope that we find a cure, vaccine, and ways to reduce the spread soon. When it does settle, we will have improved our online presence and have renewed focus toward our community needs.
Please stay safe while we go through this crisis. As always I am open to your thoughts, comments, questions, and prayers. Thank you, Joe Dechene