May 2020 Mainstreeter
"Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you."
Second Corinthians 13:11-13
There was a time, not too long ago, when I envisioned that starting this month my primary task as pastor of the Main Street UMC would be to say "good bye". As I hope you are aware, back in January it was announced that I would be retiring from full-time ministry and therefore would no longer be your pastor. As is usually the case my retirement will become official June 30th although in my case my final Sunday with you will be earlier- on June 14th. Although I will continue to serve as a pastor part-time come July 1st it truly feels as though I am beginning a new phase of my life.
I believe that it is extremely important that pastors and congregations have a "good" farewell. It is important both as one pastoral relationship ends and as a new pastoral relationship begins. As we live through this unprecedented time of social distancing and virtual worship services my fear is that we will not have the necessary time and opportunities to adequately share our well wishes one for the other. It may mean that we will have to think more creatively about how one has a "good" transition in these uncertain and challenging times.
It has been my privilege to be your pastor for nearly eight years now. On the one hand, these years have passed rather quickly and yet, it is hard to remember what it was like at the very beginning. So much as happened and thankfully most of it has been really good. Although I hold fond memories of all of the churches that I have served in my 35 years of ministry I will always have a special fondness for the Main Street UMC- both for its wonderful people and for the ministry that we have done together.
It is my hope and prayer that we will have ample opportunity to express our good-byes to one another. Saying good-bye is painful, but necessary for one's health and well-being. I know that I will be a better pastor in the future because of what I have experienced with you and I expect that Pastor Kelly will find you to be a better congregation because of what we have learned together as well. Like the apostle Paul in his second letter written to the church in Corinth I want to conclude with the words, "Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell". May the quality of this farewell empower us to move forward in ministry in a way that will enrich the communities that we are a part of and the world in which we live.
With Love and Appreciation,
WORSHIP IN MAY
Each month I will include in the Mainstreeter an overview of what you can expect in worship for the coming month. The scripture readings are those suggested by the New Common Lectionary and provide guidance and direction for the rest of the worship experience. The theme of each service is one that you should be able to "see" in the choice of hymns; prayers; and sermon, but is not necessarily a sermon title! Special occasions will be noted as often as possible.
5/3 The Fourth Sunday of Easter
Scripture: Acts 2:42-47
Theme: The Practice of Christian "Socialism"
5/10 The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Scripture: First Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14
Theme: Building God's Big House
5/17 The Sixth Sunday of Easter
Scripture: Acts 17:22-31; John 14:15-21
Theme: Sharing the Good News in Different Contexts
5/24 Ascension Sunday
Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23; Acts 1:1-11
Theme: The Fullness of Christ
5/31 Pentecost Sunday
Scripture: First Corinthians 12:3b-13; Acts 2:1-21
Theme: To Be Chosen by Sunday School Committee
The Church with a Heart in the Heart of Nashua
Who knew that when a church hosts a Blanket Sunday for CWS it could come back and help them support their own community? Well, that is what happened at Main Street United Methodist Church in Nashua, NH. "We used to think of CWS Blankets going all over the world but now I see some are used here in the United States!" Phyllis Kline Appler, Missions Chairman at Main Street United Methodist shared. Main Street UMC's motto is, The Church with a Heart in the Heart of Nashua. And they really are a church with a heart. Phyllis has always been involved with mission work and enjoys doing it, "I remember as a kid, growing up, that I fill the Korean hospital mission barrel with rolled up bandages. My parents were always involved with mission work. We were a host family, too. It is just something I've always done."
Located in downtown Nashua for about 150 years, Main Street UMC has supported many mission programs over the years like CWS Blankets, CWS Tools, Heifer International, UMCOR, and hosting their own homeless outreach ministry, Cafe Agape. Cafe Agape is a drop-in spot for those who don't have a place to be such as those who are homeless. Individuals can drink coffee, eat a little pastry, and talk with others. They are open from 8 am to 10 am and many people show up. Court ordered community service can be accomplished here as well and resources for veterans are offered. Someone can pick up a guitar and strum a song or two. "It is a place where they are accepted without questions, they just need a quiet place," Phyllis expressed.
They also help refugee families resettle. "It all started 8 to 9 years ago – refugees from Burundi, who came from a refugee camp in Tanzania, walked into the church, down the aisle and handed an introduction letter to the pastor here from a pastor at the refugee camp. A member in the congregation could speak Swahili and so, they found out what was happening," Phyllis took a breath, "We figured out where they were living and we all really pitched in. They weren't living in the nicest housing since rent is so high, so we helped the families make a home by providing coats, bedding, replacing locks. They were given so little through refugee services, so we wanted to help provide."
"This is where the CWS Blankets come in. We were trying to keep up with the need for blankets when I realized I knew an organization! We have supported CWS Blankets many times over the years and I knew I had to put a request in. We were really happy that CWS, who we have been giving to, was able to respond and help us. We are able to see it in action," Phyllis noted.
CWS was able to provide Main Street UMC with 100 heavyweight blankets. Main Street UMC now has CWS Blankets, home furnishings, and the necessities for refugees, specifically from Burundi, Congo, and Tanzania. There is a room set aside for the home furnishings where families can look at what they need to live comfortably. "We really just want to help them be self-sufficient. There are little things that may be different here – like you shouldn't leave raw chicken out on the countertop. Where in their home country, everything is so fresh, they could! So, we are also just letting them know of the cultural differences here. We now have a community garden with the local high school so they can grow fresh produce too."
For the congregations who are hosting a Blanket Sunday, and donating funds to the Blanket ministry, thank you. You are supporting CWS' response in helping those in need. Just think, when you are hosting a Blanket Sunday, we could respond to your own community!
To support CWS Blankets, visit www.cwsblankets.org/order and host a Blanket Sunday!
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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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
General Fund (GF)
Total GF Income Received as of 3/31/2020: $120,878.34*
Total GF Income Budgeted through 3/31/2020: $110,632
Total GF Expenses Paid through 3/31/2020: $105,316.50**
Total GF Expenses Budgeted through 3/31/2020: $118,827.95
* Includes $20,404 received for Heart of Nashua Continued
** A/C Expenses (Non Budgeted Gift) not included; Heart of Nashua Cont. payments included
Notes on General Fund
- Current on most payments due to providers through March
- We did not pay Ministerial Support for March and owe for most of February; World and New
England Missions unpaid except $300 each paid for the year using designated donations. Thank you.
These expenses can be paid later in the year.
- We are trying to keep funds to pay for upcoming expenses by delaying items which can be
paid later, but this is not working well due to incoming expenses.
Heart of Nashua 1 & 2 (GiF) (Capital Campaign/Elevator, Connector, Renovations)
Balance Due on HON Loan as of 3/31/2020: $167,880.67
In March the monthly payment of $1,769.53 was paid. We have enough to pay several months.
Total Received Heart of Nashua 1 & 2 (2013-12/31/19): $1,848,782.64
Total Paid Out Using HON 1 & 2 Funds: (2013-1/27/2020): $1,848,782.64
Loan Received in 2018 for HON Construction: $358,343.45
Total Paid Using HON 1& 2 Funds and HON Continued as of 3/31/2020: $1,859,174.38
Funding for the Future, 100 for $150 (Endowment) – Received Jan.- March 31, 2020: $1395.00
Our goal is to have 100 people or families give $150 each year to this fund to grow our endowment for future generations of the church. Other amounts are gratefully accepted.
- We continue to be grateful for the gift of snow plowing as we pay a portion each month.
- Thank you for those who continue to donate to the church during this pandemic.
- Thank you for your support of this church and its members via phone calls, prayer, e-mail, etc.
- Despite social distancing, we need your continued financial support if you are able. Checks may be
mailed to Main St. UMC, 154 Main St., Nashua, NH 03060 Attn.: Financial Secretary, or
donations may be made using PayPal or Vanco or by direct deposit to our bank account.
- Our annual financial audit is currently scheduled for May and will cost a bit over $1000.
- Our new pastor is scheduled to be here in June and moving expenses will be around $5000.
- Installation of a phone jack for the receptionist will cost $500.
- We will need to catch up on CRSP pension payments, utilities, repair charges, ministerial support and
Mission News for May, 2020
Many thanks for your participation in our special Lenten Mission Projects. Stay tuned for updates. This is what has happened so far:
Blanket Sunday is scheduled for Mother's Day, May 10. If we are in church then, we will pin our pieces of blanket with our mother's name onto the bulletin board. If we are still worshipping remotely, we will find another way to honor our mothers or those who have served as mothers to us by purchasing blankets for Church World Service. When we needed extra blankets for our recently arrived refugee families, we called Church World Service, and Main St. UMC received 100 wool blend blankets! Now it is our turn to give back.
Health Kits: Several Health kits for UMCOR were brought to the church early, and we know that there are more kits out there! They will be welcome when we reopen our doors. The Missions Committee will check them, pack them, and take them to the UMCOR Depot at St. James UMC in Merrimack. In addition, United Methodist Women and their wonderful friends have been busy sewing gowns and shirts, knitting baby sweaters and blankets, and buying diapers and washcloth, so layette kits will be joining our health kits at the UMCOR Depot in Merrimack.
One Great Hour of Sharing/UMCOR Sunday gifts to UMCOR will be held later in the year.
Letter Carriers Food Drive: The Food Drive has been postponed. We will let you know when it is rescheduled.
Food Pantry Needs: Current needs at the Nashua Soup Kitchen's Food Pantry include Mac and Cheese, dry spaghetti, canned baked beans and black beans, and canned vegetables such as beets, mixed vegetables, corn, and carrots. You can drop them off at the back door by the loading dock M-F 9 to 4. Ring bell if you don't see anyone.
Heifer Project: In spite of the challenges of donating animals this Easter, we will be sending three flocks of chicks, 3 heifer shares, 5 sheep shares, 1 goat share, 5 rabbit shares, 1 flock of ducks, one flock of geese, and seeds to honor loved ones at Easter through our Heifer Easter Tree of Life project. A total of $670 will be sent to the Heifer Project to start the chain of caring for plants, animals, and each other. Thank you to each family for "Passing on the gift!" You are still welcome to donate to the Heifer project! We will update the totals if more animals, trees, or water pumps are added!
Heifer Alternative Easter Gifts
Sentiment Heifer Gift Donation by
In Memory of Virginia Frey Appler and Frey and Appler Grandparents Flock of Chicks David and Phyllis Appler
In Memory of Phyllis' Parents, Ralph and Beulah Kline Share of a Heifer, 5 shares of a sheep David and Phyllis Appler
In Memory of Millie Sarmas, William and Louise Johnson, and 2 Shares of a Heifer Karen L. Boyer
In Celebration of the Junior/Senior High Sunday School class
In Memory of Janet Simon Share of a Goat The Campbell Family
In Memory of Bert and Doris Campbell Flock of ducks The Campbell Family
In memory of Carolyn and Steve Campbell Flock of Geese The Campbell Family
In Honor of Geraldine Smedler 5 Shares of a Rabbit Al James
In Memory and Honor of the Caylor Family and a Celebration of Life Seeds Cynthia Magarell
In Memory of Abel Mazaiwana Flock of chicks Lydia Mazaiwana
In Memory of my father, Kip Cilley and my mother Shirley Cilley Flock of Chicks