June 12, 2020
A Word from the Pastor
"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…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
When the apostle Paul wants to take his leave literarily from the Christians in Corinth he uses a Greek word that can be translated in a variety of ways in English. The word, kairete, can sometimes mean "hello" or "good-bye" or "farewell" or even "rejoice". It seems to me that each of these translations are appropriate both to what the apostle Paul wanted to say to the Corinthians and to what I want to say to you in this final e-mail blast. On the one hand, it wasn't too long ago that we did indeed say "hello" to one another. These last eight years have gone by quickly though and now it is time to say "farewell". In doing so, we can also "rejoice" in that we have had a good season of ministry together and although we will both continue our ministry separately, we will nonetheless continue to serve God as we have been doing already.
We have been blessed to accomplish a great deal together over these last eight years beginning with the momentous decision made in April of 2013 to recommit ourselves to being a downtown church and to begin a capital campaign that would allow us to both renovate the existing spaces and create new spaces that would better allow the church to serve the community well into the future. In what seems short order now, although at the time it seemed to drag on, we were able to demolish the storefronts in front of the Wesley Building, create greenspace on Main Street, build the connector with an elevator and accessible bathrooms, totally renovate the sanctuary with the addition of a new sound system and projectors and screens, and make innumerable other changes to both the church and Wesley Buildings.
All the while we continued to focus on the ministry of showing hospitality to our neighbours through our food pantry ministry and Café Agape. Through these efforts we were able to provide food both for the body and for the soul. We came to know many of our neighbours by name and to include them in the life of the church- Big Paul and little Paul, Craig and Justin, Joe and Kristy, and others along with them whose presence has enriched our life together. Likewise we continued to be called upon to open our hearts and our doors to new refugee families, this time from the Congo, Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan. These too along with our Burundian friends added more spice to our lives together.
What is clear to me is that I have a life time of memories to look back upon and at the heart of them all is a beautiful people from many different states, countries, cultures, and ethnicities, all of whom have enabled me to grow as a person and as a pastor. I will cherish these memories and I trust that they will sustain me for a long time to come.
As I say "goodbye" to you I am also preparing to say "hello" to others of God's saints who are members of the Cox Memorial United Methodist Church located in Hallowell, Maine. Just as I will have to say goodbye to you "virtually" rather than in person so too I will have to say hello to them virtually rather than in person. It is a strange way to transition from one community of God's children to another, but it is what our current situation requires and with that we will each have to be content.
While I will no longer be your pastor (I officially retire on June 30th, but unofficially on June 14th when my vacation begins) I hope that you will continue to be in touch. I would love to know how you are doing from time to time and especially hear about the accomplishments of your children and grandchildren. My contact information is as follows:
Rev. Richard Cullen
80 Grant Road
Litchfield, ME 04350
I am excited for the Main Street United Methodist Church as you begin a new chapter in the long history of the congregation. I have been favourably impressed by Pastor Kelly and the gifts that she will bring to providing pastoral leadership for the church. Embrace her as you have embraced me and although these are strange times in which to be welcoming someone new into the community of faith know that "this too shall pass" and hopefully you will have a long ministry together.
I leave with no regrets (although there seem to be hundreds of loose ends) and am grateful for each of you. May God's richest blessing be upon you, your family, and the family of faith known as the Main Street United Methodist Church.
With Love and Appreciation,
6/14 The Second Sunday after Pentecost/ The Thirteenth Sunday in Exile
Special Music: Levitical Levites
Scripture: Second Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20
Theme: Jesus, Paul and Pastor Rich Say Farewell. Saying goodbye is an important thing to do when people who have been in a relationship with each other know that that relationship is changing or ceasing. Jesus, the apostle Paul, and pastors have all had to say "good-bye" and as this is my last Sunday with you I will do my best to have a "good" farewell.
Worship Visuals Sunday June 14
Our worship area has an international flair today. Not only does it remind us of the diversity of our church family, but of the words in Matthew 18:19 as Jesus says goodbye to the disciples "...go and make disciples of all nations..." The altar is filled with colorful cloths from other countries and there are banners from Zimbabwe on the lectern and pulpit. The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit that is always with us all, hovers over the world. Above the altar are words in many languages that mean goodbye. We think of our saying "goodbye" to Pastor Rich and of his "goodbye" to us as we hear the reading of Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth 13:11. "Finally, brothers and sisters, goodbye. Put things in order, respond to my encouragement, be in harmony with each other, and live in peace--and the God of love and peace will be with you." (CEB version)
According to Webster's dictionary, the word goodbye was an altered version of "God be with you" starting around 1580. Here are the words for goodbye and the language they are in: Addio - Italian, Adios - Spanish, Annyeong - Korean, Auf Wiedersehen - German, Au revoir - French, Cehecares – Mvscogee Creek (means I'll see you soon, no word for goodbye), Kwaheri - Swahili, Paalam – Filipino/Tagalog, Zaijian - Chinese. The unusual writing is Hindi. The colorful hands are signing "goodbye". In the center right above the altar reading right to left, are the Hebrew words Shabbot Shalom, Sabbath Peace.
The flowers on the altar, a butterfly garden, are in honor of Pastor Rich, his love of nature and enjoyment of the outdoors.
Farewell Pastor Rich - Virtual Coffee Hour- Sunday June 14
Stop by the virtual Vestry on this Sunday, June 14th immediately after worship and wish Pastor Rich well on his "semi-retirement" in Maine. Bring your own Coffee, Snacks, and good wishes for our beloved Pastor.
Connect with https://meet.google.com/qmq-zxbb-sye
or by phone +1 617-675-4444 PIN: ?415 456 786 8524#
Father's Day/Tools of Hope:
On June 21, Father's Day, we will celebrate 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. Normally, we would 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. Since we can't do that this year, here is the link to the Tools donation part of the Church World Service site. https://cwstools.org/donate/ Please write your father's name in the chat section of the Facebook live stream so that we can all remember and celebrate. You can also mail your check to the Church with CWS Tools of Hope in the memo line. Thank you!
SUMMER WORSHIP SCHEDULE BEGINS JUNE 21ST
Commencing with the worship service on June 21st and through Labor Day Sunday, the worship service will live stream at 9:30am each Sunday morning. Of course, it can be viewed on Facebook or from the home page on the church website at any time.
6/21 and 6/28 Pastor Dave Svenson will be guest preacher.
7/5 Rev. Kristy Besada will be our guest preacher and introduce the Rev. Kelly Turney as she commences her ministry at the Main Street UMC.
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 have begun round 2 of our calling and hope 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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for your understanding and assistance in this matter.