April 17, 2020
Prayer from Rev. Dr. Karen L. Munson, Mid-Maine District Superintendent
Peace be with you.
Enter the locked spaces of our homes and hearts.
As you did not shrink from the terrible difficulties before you,
Show us how to rejoice now even in the presence of pain.
Peace be with you
Breathe on us, breathe of God.
Forgive us our fear, our reluctance, our willful denial
So that we may forgive others
Peace be with you
It's me, it's me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.
Stand with me again and again
Until I recognize you
And believe I may have life.
Scripture: John 20:19-31
On that first Easter, when Jesus' disciples were practicing social distancing out of fear, the Risen Christ entered their locked room and spoke words of comfort and assurance to them when he said, "peace be with you". The next thing that Jesus said might have filled them with even greater fear if it had not been for what he did next- he breathed on them and said, "receive the Holy Spirit". On the one hand, Jesus made it clear that they could not stay behind closed doors forever, rather they were to be a "sent" people- "as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you." They would not go in their own strength though but rather in the strength of the Holy Spirit whose presence would be a living fire within them.
As a "sent" people one of the most challenging things to hear is that we can do the greatest good at the moment by just staying home. Thankfully, we are all learning to reach out in new and creative ways that are the 21st century equivalent of going into all the world in the name of Jesus Christ. In fact, our outreach as a church is wider than it has ever been given that people across the worldwide web can experience worship, inspiration, and comfort through the live streaming of our worship services. We are living out our calling as a "sent" people, just in different ways than in the past.
Of course, this time of "staying at home" will pass at some point in the future and we will then have the opportunity to think again about what it means to be a "sent" people using all of the tools available to us both in person and virtually, in reaching out to others with the good news of God's love. When we do so, may we know without a doubt, that we go in the power of God's Spirit within us and in our world.
Sent Out in Jesus' Name,
4/19 The Second Sunday of Easter/ The Fifth Sunday in Exile
Special Music: Levitical Levites
Scripture: First Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-29
Theme: The Risen Christ Exhales the Spirit. For the gospel writer, John, what we equate with Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit, took place on the eve of the first Easter when the Risen Christ breathed on the disciples and spoke the words, "receive the Holy Spirit". What does this mean for us living in our own peculiar times? Let's explore this together on Sunday morning.
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