"And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or clothing. You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
According to the Book of Acts, the apostle Paul stopped in the city of Ephesus while on his way back to Jerusalem so that he could see the leaders of the church there one last time (he was convinced that things were not going to go well in Jerusalem). Paul had a tear-filled farewell in which he reminisced about the three years that he had previously lived among the church folks in Ephesus and the many things that God had done during that time. In closing Paul commended these leaders "to God and to the message of his grace" and reminded them to follow both his example and that of "the Lord Jesus" who Paul quotes as having said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
As my eight years with you draws to a close I too find myself reminiscing and counting the many blessings that we have experienced together. While it would be only normal to consider the completion of our construction project and its accompanying renovations as the most significant thing that we have accomplished together, I find myself focusing more on a very different accomplishment- that of opening our doors to our neighbors, many of whom experience severe poverty and others of whom are homeless. The ministry of our food pantry and of Café Agape reflect the most significant change that took place in the last eight years. In adopting these ministries we went from a church that aspired to be "the church with a heart in the heart of Nashua" to truly being that church in both word and deed.
Of course, there were many other things that took place during these years that I will remember with fondness, but most of all I will remember the people, many of whom have gone on to their heavenly reward. I am grateful for each of you and for the relationship that we have had and the contributions you each have made. I stand amazed at your generosity, your commitment, and your compassion shown in so many ways. You are truly an amazing congregation and I am grateful to have served you as my final full-time appointment.
Now though it is time for me to say "farewell" as well. I will shed my share of tears in the time that remains although I will do so in private rather than in public. I recognize that we will not have the opportunity for the kind of closure that is needed, but somehow we will each need to move on to embrace a new pastor and, in my case, a new congregation. I look forward to hearing about the many new and different ways in which you and Pastor Kelly Turney will continue the mission and ministry of Christ in Nashua. I am excited for you and for the future. These may be challenging times to be beginning a new appointment, but I am confident that you will face these challenges with grace and determination and that in the end the Main Street United Methodist Church will thrive.
With Love and Appreciation,
WORSHIP IN JUNE
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.
6/7 Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-38
Theme: Compelled by God's Love
Closing Hymn: Jesus Loves Me UMH 191
6/14 The Second Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Second Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20
Theme: Jesus and Paul say "Good Bye"
Closing Hymn: Great Is Thy Faithfulness UMH 140
6/21 The Third Sunday after Pentecost
Guest preacher: Rev. David Svenson
6/28 The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Guest preacher: Rev. David Svenson
7/5 The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Guest preacher: Rev. Kristy Besada
Our new pastor, the Rev. Kelly Turney, will be participating in the service and introduced to the congregation as she begins this new appointment.
INTRODUCTION TO THE REV. KELLY TURNEY
Steve and I don't know you, but we already love you. We've been praying for you since January. We've already met several of your creative leaders. We've heard about you and your impressive ministries from others in the town and across the conference, and from Pastor Rich, who will miss you greatly. We've toured the building, worshiped with you, and seen the fruits of your labors. We've studied your history, admired your stained glass, and walked your Main Street, and we can't wait to listen and learn more.
We have moved across state lines three times, once just a few weeks after getting married in Denton, Texas when we loaded up a small u-haul trailer and headed to Nashville for Vanderbilt Divinity School. Then, upon graduation, when planning a return to the North Texas Conference we got detoured by a job transfer in international banking to midtown Atlanta. Ten years later we were recruited for pastoral ministry in New England. This time, we have no idea how to move and start again during a shelter-in-place pandemic. We could not have imagined how to say goodbye to my mother-in-law on Palm Sunday without being at her bedside. Or how to attend her graveside service by phone, or support Steve's father in his grief from afar.
Having never live-streamed our services before, there's been a steep learning curve these past months at a time that was supposed to include attending General Conference and a pilgrimage to Scotland. And there have been more funerals, more cancellations of ministry, more learning new ways to stay together while apart. Surrounded by boxes, with painters and floor installers working in masks, this all seems really awkward and hard. And yet, we can do hard things. It's one of my favorite children's books, I Can Do Hard Things. It's one of my favorite lessons from the scriptures. Over and over again, the people of faith, through the grace of God, surrounded by the community of faith, can manage to do hard things. Thank God we have their stories. Or we might wither in despair thinking we were the first to face hard times or that we are unique to question our faith or rail against God. We are not alone in finding ourselves in exile for longer than expected, or wandering in the desert lost, or praying for deliverance. We're not even the only ones tempted to hoard resources, or demand answers, or seek certainty in a world where God promises presence, not safety.
So while it is nearly impossible to say "goodbye" and "welcome," –to celebrate and grieve– in the midst of a virus shut-down, I lean into the anxiety and rest in the assurance of faith. Like the Biblical authors, I belong to a God who has pulled me through hard times and walked with me through the valley of death.
We look forward to making our home in New Hampshire. We're members of the Appalachian Mountain Club and have hiked some of your White Mountains. Steve has climbed Mt. Washington but our winter attempt at Monadnock was a bust. (A story for another time). We've seen the blossoming Rhododendron & Pisgah State Parks, taken youth groups to Camp Wanakee and Hampton Beach, and studied with colleagues beside Lake Spofford and Lake Winnipesaukee (where an otter came to greet me on a bolder whilst meditating). We've returned several times to Mountain View Grand Resort to enjoy ax throwing, hiking in the snow, gathering eggs in the morning, petting rabbits, visiting the goats and hairy cows, and learning how to correctly greet a llama. We're already familiar with Moat Mountain Brewing but Steve is excited to explore your many other breweries. We've discovered fabulous vegetarian food in your region – the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, Z & Republic Cafe in Manchester, and Riverwalk Café in Nashua. We've loved having a farm share in a local organic farm and our current church hosted a winter farmers' market (another story for another time). We look forward to all the Great American Downtown has to offer.
We've experienced the ministry of the region both in urban areas struggling to serve those without stable shelter and in towns addressing issues of access and immigration. I've worked with bishops and candidates in Concord, Manchester, Merrimack and Lebanon, and conducted a burial at sea to scatter ashes off the coast of Portsmouth. We do not know what our ministry among you will look like. Steve is leaving behind his tenured position as a math professor at Holyoke Community College for an uncertain future when colleges aren't hiring. But he's reinvented himself before, leaving banking for math, so we'll see what comes next. Having been trained in Southern hospitality and having hosted Bible studies and meetings at our parsonages, we're excited to settle in to Brick Manor Drive. And while we've already met our new neighbors, who knows when it will be safe to invite folks over. We've enjoyed our 19 years in the Pioneer Valley at Trinity Springfield and East Longmeadow and look forward to our shared ministry in the Merrimack Valley.
There's much that's uncertain in the immediate future, but what is clear is that the spirit has called MSUMC to be a heart in the heart of Nashua. With this church's history, its people, the new building, and your spirit, we are uniquely positioned to face together whatever lies ahead.
SO, WHEN WILL WE BE ABLE TO RESUME IN PERSON WORSHIP?
This is the question that is on all our minds as we continue to live with this pandemic. Unfortunately, there are no clear answers. By the time you read this our Church Council will have settled on a process to both determine when and how in person worship will resume. We will have to abide by the guidelines provided by the state of NH as well as those provided by Bishop Devadhar. In all likelihood the movement towards in person worship will happen incrementally over a few months time. As decisions are made you will be informed using all of the communication tools that are available to us. In the meantime, and afterwards as well, we will continue to live stream our worship service on Sunday morning. We hope that you are able to access the worship service either live via facebook or after the fact through our web site.
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; 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.
AN INVITATION TO MEET VIRTUALLY
As many of you are aware we have the ability to meet virtually using "Google Meets" which is similar to ZOOM. We have met in this way for Church Council meetings, Finance meetings, and other meetings as well. Any group can have a meeting scheduled through Google Meets- UMW, UMM, choirs, church committees, or just social groups of any make up.
Each Sunday we will be providing the links during the Facebook Live worship service that will allow us to have a virtual fellowship time right after the service. So, please plan to join in by clicking on one of the links (vestry, kitchen or lobby) once the service is over (you may want to get a cup of coffee first though).
If you would like to set up another meeting just be in touch with Jerry Harrow with the day, time, and names of those who you would like to meet with. An invitation with the details will be sent out and your meeting can commence at the appointed time.
In this unusual time of "sheltering in place" let us take advantage of the opportunities provided to us to stay connected as a congregation.
CHANGE OF CHURCH MAILING ADDRESS: On Tuesday, May 12th we discovered that our mail box at church had been broken into and the mail removed. Thankfully the person left behind the envelopes so that we could notify people that their checks written to the church had been stolen. If you happened to put anything in the mail to the church sometime around May 8th and haven't heard from us, please be attentive to whether your check gets cashed or not and notify us. We are certain that it was only one day's worth of mail that was vandalized.
Given this situation we have also begun to rent a Post Office Box at the Post Office. Therefore the church's new mailing address is:
PO Box 1517, Nashua, NH 03061. From now on please use this mailing address for all church mail. Please note if you have mailed to the old address mail is forwarded to the P.O. Box.
Thank you for your understanding and assistance in this matter.
ARE YOU IN NEED OF A FACE MASK?
As we increasingly look forward to the day when we can begin to get out more and hopefully even gather for worship in our sanctuary we are faced with a new reality- that of wearing face masks anytime we are in public places. In order to do this we will all need to have more than one cloth face mask available to us and we have a group of church folks who are gearing up to make some to have available both at church and to give out. If you would like to have a couple of the masks please call the church office at 882-3361 or e-mail the church office at email@example.com and your name will be added to the list. Once they are available we will be in touch with you and arrange to get the masks to you.
UNITED METHODIST MEN'S NEWS: It is with sincere regret that the annual United Methodist Men's Golf Tournament held in June each year will have to be postponed. It is hoped that it can be rescheduled for September so please stay tuned for more information.
June/July 2020 COVID-19 Update
Hi, Joe from Finance and Stewardship. I want to give an update on our COVID-19 planning in regards to the church. COVID-19 has placed hardships on all of us, from small business owners, to people losing their jobs, to overworked medical staff on the front lines, to food supply chain workers (such as grocery cashiers) in harm's way, to people isolated and lonely, and to the homeless who have lost their normal lines of support. As a church we have been crisis planning these past few months and have put more support in the food pantry.
As I write this, various states and countries are lifting restrictions and reopening select "non-essential" businesses. It's more of throwing in the towel rather than a return to safety. As I write this the number of active cases in the US is still rising. When we go out in the real world we need to be extra vigilant and wear our masks and wash our hands as the number of infected population is far higher now than when we first implemented our restrictions and closures.
Our church leadership has been attending online Zoom meetings and going through numbers as to how we navigate this crises. It's planning that every organization and business are also doing. We applied for a CARES loan of $37,385 and are now working to ensure that we apply these funds per the very tight restrictions that come with the loan.
Here are a few details as we currently stand. We are expecting a reduction in giving as many of our congregants have lost their jobs and we expect a loss of some offering given in person. In our revised budget, we've reduced ham and bean fundraising income. We've also reduced our Tithe Sunday amount accordingly.
We've received some relief from our New England Conference of the UMC in terms of reduction in CRSP Pension and Insurance. We've trimmed utilities expenses for the church property to reflect closure. We've taken the measures you would have expected us to take.
However some expenses are going up, which we have received some generous donations towards. As we welcome Pastor Kelley, we are obligated to pay for her moving expenses. After careful weighing of quotes, SPRC has determined that the moving expense is $5800. We needed to replace the very old appliances in the parsonage and do some electrical work, both of which totals about $2000. Because the parsonage will be occupied by two full-time rather than Pastor Rich part-time, we are projecting higher utilities.
All told, our new budget is about $471,000 as opposed to our original 2020 budget of $487,177. Notice that our projections may (and will) very easily change given the uncertainty of this virus and our response. Our approach is to remain agile and adjust accordingly. Or as they say in the military, no plan survives contact with the enemy, but it's important to start with a plan.
Please continue to support our ministries and missions if you are able so we can continue to fill a key void in many lives. We've amped up our online presence and online services with some very nice music thanks to our very talented music team. We've encouraged online giving and giving by mail. We email updated prayer lists and maintain contact with congregants by phone. Even when we return I expect our online faith to grow. Please let me know of your questions and comments.
Thank you, Joe Dechene.
April 2020 Finance Snapshot
General Fund (GF)
Total GF Income Received as of 4/30/2020: $156,388.84*
Total GF Income Budgeted through 4/30/2020: $151,906.00
Total GF Expenses Paid through 4/30/2020: $130,795.62**
Total GF Expenses Budgeted through 4/30/2020: $158,042.70
* Includes $23,302.30 received and designated for Heart of Nashua Continued
** A/C expenses (a nonbudgeted gift) not included; includes Heart of Nashua Cont. payments of $12,161.27
***Difference in GF income and GF expense includes designated HON Cont. funds ($11,242.03) for
future payments as well as GF money held for payroll and urgent expenses.
Notes on General Fund
- Current on most payments due to providers through April
- In April, funds were kept for payroll and expected expenses by delaying items which may be paid later.
- The New England Conference waived payment of three months of CRSP Pension payments of
$975.60/month and two months of Property Insurance of $2486/month and we used one month of
each in April. The conference also allowed us to delay payment of health insurance of $1522/month and in
April we did not pay it. We are likely to catch up Ministerial Support and health insurance in May.
- Ministerial Support ($2745.59/month) for April was not paid but we paid the balance of February and
all of March; World and New England Missions remain unpaid except $300 each previously paid using
Heart of Nashua 1 & 2 (GiF) (Capital Campaign/Elevator, Connector, Renovations)
- Balance Due on HON Loan as of 4/30/2020: $166,876.85
- In April the monthly payment of $1,769.53 was paid. We have enough to make payments almost through the
end of this year. Any amount more than needed for payments will go to principal pay down.
- 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 4/30/2020: $1,860,932.91
Funding for the Future, 100 for $150 (Endowment) – Received Jan.- April 30, 2020: $1545.00
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 appreciate the financial relief provided by the Conference (mentioned above) during this time.
- We received a CARES Act PPP loan May 1 which will cover May and June payroll and some utilities.
- Thank you for those who donate to the church to support our mission.
- Thank you for your support of this church and its members via phone calls, prayer, e-mail, etc.
- We continue to use money given to pay the snow plowing contract and used a portion in April.
- We need your continued financial support if you are able. Checks may be mailed to Main St. UMC,
PO Box 1571 Nashua, NH 03061, Attn.: Financial Secretary, or donations may be made using PayPal
or Vanco or by direct deposit to our bank account.
- Moving expenses for our new pastor will be around $5800.
- An electrical outlet at the parsonage for an electric car has been quoted at $400—more quotes have
been solicited. Someone has offered to contribute to this. if you would like to contribute, please
contact Donna Swanson or Paul Curtis.
- A new dishwasher, washer and dryer have been purchased for the parsonage to replace items that
saw a lot of use. The total cost including delivery, installation and removal of the old items is $1600.
To donate toward these purchases please contact Donna Swanson or Paul Curtis.
Mother/s Day/Blanket Sunday: Thank you for your generous gifts in support of Church World Service blankets. Somewhere in a refugee camp or a disaster area, a mother will be able to keep her children warm because you honored your mother with a gift on Blanket Sunday. We don't know the total yet for blankets donated through the church, and we will not know the total donated directly for those who used the CWS Blanket link, but thank you all!
Father's Day/Tools of Hope: But we can't leave fathers out!! On June 16, Father's Day, we will celebrate again with gifts that can purchase tools that will add to a family's ability to make a living. The tools may be hand tools for working the land or working with wood, fishing nets, a sewing machine, or even a well for a village. We will take a "tool" note to the bulletin board in the front of the church so that we can honor and remember our fathers and those who have acted as fathers to us if we happen to be back in church by then. If not, here is the link to the Tools donation part of the Church World Service site. https://cwstools.org/donate/
Food Pantry and Letter Carriers' Food Drive updates: We are waiting to hear about a new date for the Letter Carriers' Food Drive. If you wish to drop off granola bars, fruit snacks, or other single serve items that would work in kids lunches, you can ring the doorbell at the back of the Food pantry and drop them off there. Canned fruit, canned veggies, cereal, and mac and cheese are also needed. Food pantry hours are reduced to the following, but there are mobile food pantries that you might want to be aware of:
Pantry Services at the Soup Kitchen, 2 Quincy Street:
Non-perishable food boxes and fresh produce available:
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 12pm to 3pm
Mobile Fresh Produce Panty
2pm-3pm Fresh Produce distributed at:
Monday: Bronstein Apartments and St. Louis Church Hall
Tuesday: Major Drive and Dunkin Donuts at 74 Lowell Rd.
Wednesday: Rodgers Mobile Home Park and River Pines
Thursday: Sullivan Terrace
Mobile Fresh Produce and Children's Lunches
Available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12pm-2pm
Pennichuck Middle School Mt. Pleasant Elementary
Ledge Street Elementary Fairgrounds Elementary
Amherst Street Elementary Elm Street Middle School
Dr. Crisp Elementary