Last night, around 100 folks from across the state gathered online to learn how to have a "difficult, but faithful, conversations about race." Sponsored by the NH Council of Churches, it was an encouraging step as church people explored conversational norms to help us navigate such loaded discussions and confess barriers to daring such interactions. In our random groups, I was paired with a woman representing the Racial Justice team of another United Methodist congregation in the state (and a reconciling congregation also). What are the odds?
We discussed the need to create courageous spaces for us to address racial injustice and to process recent events like the trial of Officer Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.
The verdict holding Chauvin responsible for Floyd's death, didn't feel like justice so much as some beginning accountability, like finally, there were consequences for his death in a way there wasn't for Trayvon Martin or Brianna Taylor or Ahmed Aubrey, or any number of others. The verdict may have come with a sigh of relief but it didn't feel like a celebration because George Floyd is still gone... and even while the trial was going on, there was Daunte Wright & Adam Toledo.
There's a sense we're mourning a collective trauma that is still ongoing. Yet we practice collective solidarity in grief. And I believe there is power and peace and passion in the gathering of our tears.
This is an unimaginable horror for the families who have lost their loved ones. There is a terror these deaths cause for Black and brown people in this country trying to go about their daily lives afraid to drive, or jog, or visit their grandmother, or go out for skittles or even sleep in their own homes.
We can be clear that this fear of blackness is a problem for all of us, not just the police. They are a part of our society, which suffers from racism, from unconscious bias, from the consequences of a long history of systems in this country built on the idea that one racial group is superior to all others.
And we're all guilty of the consequences of such a system. I say this not because I think we should feel guilty for these irrational fears of others but because we need to recognize the problem and how it affects us all in order to address it. Otherwise, we can think there's just a few bad apples we can root out and be done with it, but there's a larger system of inequality at work that we must address in ourselves, in the unconscious bias that has been handed down to us, and that persists in our culture and in our systems.
We ALL suffer when the gifts and graces of an entire group of people aren't seen or valued because of the color of their skin. It's a loss for all of us.
So I invite you to be part of the work to address an unjust system that privileges some and dehumanizes others. Join with other people of faith emboldened by the inclusive love of the gospel and called by Christ to speak out on behalf of the least of these... who are working for something that better resembles the kin-dom of God.
Join the Council of Churches discussions, or Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), the Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) all addressing injustices. Rolling Ridge Retreat Center also has an online "Voices and Stories" series studying the racial history in this country beginning May 6 with the Chinese Exclusion Act. You can find out more on these organization's websites.
In the meantime, let's call on the hope of the prophets–a hope that is neither naive nor escapist. A hope that acknowledges the suffering of the world and draws us to one another, to make connections, build trust and nurture relationships across our differences.
From the "Enfleshed" community comes this liturgy that builds courage and grows communities where justice can flourish:
This is the ancient cry of the prophets. This is the holy proclamation of our time. This is the call upon our lives: Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. We will keep laboring together to make it so. No act of love is made in vain. Harboring each other, let us keep reaching for God's future. Let us encourage one another in the slow and long labors of love. Through honest witness to loss, to bearing together through grief, to remembering what still can become, let us press on in the work of drawing God's future near. Never alone, never without hope, the Spirit sends us with peace.
We are expecting beautiful weather for our Monson Center hike! This location offers so much, wonderful trails to explore, benches to rest along the way, a stunning field for frisbee, kits, and picnics. Dogs are welcome. The ground is still a little damp, so sneakers or boots are helpful. There is limited parking so carpool if you are able/comfortable (double mask). We hope that you will join us this Saturday.
You are invited to join us on Zoom for an inspiring program to honor our mothers, daughter and friends. The UMW Spring Meeting will take place on Saturday, May 1st from 10:00 am - 12:00pm.
To register, please email Graniteumwomen@comcast.net If you require a phone number, please call Mary Jane Anderson (District Treasurer) at (603) 568-2688.
There is no fee for the meeting, but we request, if you are able, to give an offering to your favorite charity or food bank within your community. Pastor Kelly will be leading the Communion Service (be sure to have bread/cracker and water/juice ready).
We can use additional support in the following ways:
Personal Hole Sponsors @ $50.00/sign
Corporate Hole Sponsors @ $75.00/sign
Each sign is 8-1/2 x 11 laminated and attached to a sign board.
To register or for more information call of email Mark Morrissey (603) 244-0738,firstname.lastname@example.org
We had at least 21 Mainstreeters join us this past Tuesday at Casa Vieja! If we keep these numbers on the rise, we may have to bring chairs and have a taco tailgate at our next location! Get ready to meet/order takeout from California Burritos (101 Factory Street, Nashua) next week on Tuesday, April 27th. We also love to see your photos of homemade tacos. If you have questions, need information, or have photos to share send them to email@example.com
Nora Campbell and one of her Junior Troop-mates are conducting this blanket drive to earn their Junior Girl Scout Bronze Award. If you are interested in participating, please see the video below. Blankets can be dropped off in the MSUMC Main Lobby or at the locations listed above. For more information please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Linus Blanket Making Video
March 2021 Finance Snapshot:
General Fund (GF)
Total GF Income Received as of 3/31/2021: $123,611.12*
Total GF Income Budgeted through 3/31/2021: $107,812.00
Total GF Expenses Paid through 3/31/2021: $103,633.39
Total GF Expenses Budgeted through 3/31/2021: $116,805.19
* Includes $8651.00 designated for Heart of Nashua Continued and CARES Act PPP
Draw 2 Funds of $18,630.67 received and used for GF expenses.
Notes on General Fund
In March we paid two months (January and February) of World and New England Mission Shares and have received a donation in April that will be sent to the Conference toward another month.
We started using the Cares Act PPP funds in March for payroll and utilities and will continue to use it in April.
In March we received complete forgiveness for the Cares Act PPP Loan received in 2020.
We are current on other expenses.
Heart of Nashua 1 & 2 (GiF) & HON Cont. (Capital Campaign/Elevator, Connector, Renovations)
Balance Due on HON Loan as of 3/31/2021: $144,216.24 (Loan was $358,343.45)
In March the $1,769.53 monthly payment was paid. HON Cont. funds on hand 3/31/2021 ($10,626.78) will cover payments for six months.
Total Paid (including interest) Using HON 1, 2 & Continued as of 3/31/2021: $1,889,888.59
Funding for the Future, 100 for $150 (Endowment) – Received this year as of 3/31/2021: $1405
Please be one of 100 people or families giving $150 each year (or donate any amount) to grow our endowment for our future.
The two AEDs have been purchased and installed. Thank you UMM and others who made donations for these.
We received another $1000 donation toward the I-wave air purifiers in April. Thank you.
Thank you to all who give to support this congregation. Your financial gifts, service and prayers are all appreciated.
If you are planning to schedule a meeting, please remember to check with the office first. The meetings are entered on the church calendar and this way conflicts can be avoided. If the office is closed, please refer to the church calendar on our websitehttp://www.mainstreet-umc.org