Tuesday night, I reflected with a colleague who had recently led a Bible Study on Revelation, the last book in our Biblical canon. We marveled at how a book so full of dire warnings, terrifying beasts, and surreal battles was meant to reassure and positively motivate its readers. Similar to Jewish apocalyptic writings of the time, it maintained that the heavenly realm was operating in perfect order, even while the world might feel out-of-control to everyone else.
The struggle with topsy-turvy times is age-old, and humanity has endured many challenging seasons since. Just today, I read Howard Thurman's meditation from 1969:
"Our hearts are filled with praise and thanksgiving because we made it. We were not sure a week ago that we would. Again there is anxiety–deep, searching anxiety–not because it is not well with us, but because we feel within our spirits at the very core of our being the great sickness and distress by which our land is visited during these fateful days and fateful months. There is a great uneasiness, a sense of waiting, some dimension of quiet foreboding, some whispering of hope that dares not make itself too articulate, as we anticipate tomorrow and what it will bring…We do not know what to think; how to feel, what to feel. There seems to be no guidance, no voice lifted. All of this is in our minds and in our spirits…"
Though Thurman's context in 1969 was profoundly different from today's, I feel as if his words could have been written to describe our own time. When I listen to people, not only in this congregation but also outside of it, and when I read accounts of these times published around the world, I sense that same feeling–that deep, searching anxiety–that not knowing what to think or how to feel. While I am less poetic than John of Patmos and Howard Thurman, I think it helps to name the pain in plain language: we are hurting and afraid, and it just stinks!
If you are suffering through anxious, ambiguous, or ambivalent feelings right now, you are certainly not alone. There is much to be concerned about that reaches far beyond COVID. Regardless of perspective, we worry over the state of our governance and economy at every level. We shudder at the old, familiar saber-rattling sounds of impending war. And maybe unlike the past, we also grieve the deep undermining of the trust we once held for institutions and even for one another–trust that has been damaged by the eroding spirit of division that is grinding across every part of our society. We are no longer sure who to trust, and while I assure you that God is still God, it can feel as if God is on sabbatical, not answering our emails.
Thankfully, at the edges of the conversations I'm having and even in between the lines of my reading, I still sense the flickering, whispering of hope. While we don't know the whens and the hows, we know that better days will come. They always do. Our tradition teaches that, while God is the author and creator of all, we are also called to bring our gifts to the table, participating creatively in bringing God's dreams to fruition–not through clever tactical action, nor by annihilation of the other, but by opening ourselves to allow God's grace to move us, to flow through us and out into the world that so desperately needs it. It is in the spirit grace and hope that I both validate the anxiety and pain of these days and also return to Howard Thurman, not with a cheap and easy 3-step solution for our stress, but with a prayer to comfort and motivate us as we await and even edge toward God's vision for healing and restoration in the days to come:
"Brooding spirit of the brooding Father, breathe into us, Thy children, the wisdom which Thou hast suffered in seeing Thy children stumble, fall, rise again, trying to understand Thy will and to do Thy will. Leave us not to the desolation of our anxieties and the depths of our fears, but gentle our spirits with Thy love so that our minds may be stimulated and inspired, that what we do this day and tomorrow and tomorrow will make Thy work and the hard places where Thou dost labor a little easier. For us to do this, O God, our Father, is enough."
In these troubling times, may we lean into God's gracious dream for us. And may our living and working, however humble, be enough for now. Amen.
In the love of Christ,
Fellowship Virtual Coffee Hour
Be sure to join us for our Virtual Coffee Hour and Fellowship Time following the 10:30 am service. We look forward to seeing you there!
We could really use people to record the scripture readings (from home or away or even the sanctuary if you want to come in during the week) -- so that we have readings without a mask on to help those who have a hard time hearing when they can't see a mouth. Just pick a week's scripture, film it using your phone and upload to the shared drive "Drawn In" folder. If you need help with this process, please contact the Main Office at (603) 882-3361.
HELP WANTED/HELP NEEDED- I am sure by now all of you have seen these signs everywhere and heard frequent stories about this in the news. Unfortunately, MSUMC is in the same position as we are in desperate need of counters.
The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church and the Financial Guidelines state:
No immediate family members of any appointed clergy may serve as counter
The committee on finance will appoint at least two people (preferably more) to assist in the counting and depositing
Counters cannot be related to the treasurer or financial secretary
There should always be at least two unrelated people performing the count
Preferably, the counters should be rotated from one week to the next
Preferably, the count should take place in a secure location at the church as soon as possible following the offering
Volunteers who handle money should not hold positions for more than three consecutive years
Qualifications helpful (but not necessary) for the job include:
Spiritual gifts of administration, helping, giving, and faith
Experience or interest in financial record keeping and the ability to keep detailed/accurate records
The willingness and capability to maintain appropriate confidentiality (this is critical and necessary)
The ability to work with other individuals and the Financial Secretary
The willingness and ability to work on Sundays after church services are completed for approximately one hour
Ten fingers and ten toes (just kidding to see if you are still reading 😊)
The desired goal is to have enough counters so no one needs to work more than one Sunday per month.
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides…" (1 Peter, 4:10-11).
So, if you have the desire, ability, or willingness to serve MSUMC as a counter please let me know by email@example.com calling the church at 603-882-3361 and leaving me a message.
Paul MSUMC Financial Secretary
This week on our altar we have another of Beverly Fazio's quilt tops, lovely with birds and orange tones. Next is Emily's amazing embroidery that was part of her sermon last Sunday. The two knitted hats are just some of Sandy Myers work. We will see more in weeks to come. She has been a member of Main Street Church for MANY years. Her adult children (Linda & Michael) attended Sunday School at Main Street. They both now live in Florida. Sandy expresses her creativity by crocheting and knitting hats, gloves and scarves. She started out making gifts for family and friends (afghans, etc.). She then progressed to being a Craft Fair Vendor at local Holiday Events. She also donates many items to the United Methodist Women's Yuletide Fair. Stuffed Tigger is a part of a Winnie the Pooh and Friends collection that Pam Breniser sewed for fun in High School (using a pattern), perfect for an orange color theme!
Creating banners is a way that Sharon Rose has expressed her creativity. The communion banner hanging behind the piano this week often hangs over the organ pipes for communion Sunday. Sharon has made many other seasonal banners, some with the assistance of Sara Chambers.
We still welcome your art for the altar, especially from children. Artwork and photos do not need to be framed, just large enough to see on the altar.
If you have any creative objects to share for one Sunday on the altar such as pottery, baskets, weaving, sewing, knitting, painting, drawing, wood working, stained glass and the like, please contact Pam firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love children's art and any stories that go along with these creations.
The city of Nashua has extended the indoor mask mandate through the end of February which includes the speakers in the sanctuary. We realize this makes it difficult for some to understand speakers without seeing their mouths... so we continue to try to record some of our speakers ahead to offer a mix of live speakers with masks and recorded speakers without masks. Stick with us, we're doing our best to respond to the current infection data and to provide the safest environment possible. Those who can't access worship online or who need an in-person experience, join our small crew in the sanctuary on Sundays.
"On January 25th, 2022, the City of Nashua Board of Alderman met and discussed extending the mask ordinance. The Board of Alderman voted in favor of extending the ordinance through the month of February. This order applies to all individuals over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status. The ordinance is effective through February 28th, 2022."
Just because the building is closed, due to weather, DOES NOT mean that worship is canceled.
You can use the listed resources to see if the building is going to be closed: WMUR, the MSUMC website, or our Facebook page. In the event that the building is closed, the service will ALWAYS be live-streamed.
If you happen to find out that the building is closed and are worried that others might not know, be sure to text or call and spread the news!
United Methodist Women's News Next Meeting Feb. 16, 2022 7 PM via Zoom
At our January meeting we planned out our budget for the year based on funds in hand. We will dedicate part of the February meeting to planning an outline of meetings and events through June. We may consider a spring fundraiser. Some time will be spent in learning self-care and we hope to share information about one of the community programs we contribute to. The ZOOM link will be sent via email closer to the meeting.
We are more than a monthly meeting! We have 6 people participating in our twice a month (weather permitting) Writer's Circle. Thanks to Lynn Moseley for hosting. Thanks to Maggie Dechene for leading a book study on Right Here, Right Now, The Practice of Christian Mindfulness by Amy Oden. This is part of the UMW Reading Program. We had 9 participants! We have several members volunteering at the Soup Kitchen and Day Cafe and many others around town.
All are welcome. If you would like to be added to the UMW email list, please let the office know at email@example.com.
We are looking at the last few days to donate to our MSUMC Strangely Warm Frogs team!! Sunday, February 6th we will be on the move and ready to go!
All youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 35 are invited to join a life-changing pilgrimage to Taizé, France, a place which is filled with deep Christian spirituality and broad ecumenism. This week-long experience will be led by Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar. The 2022 Pilgrimage is July 22 to Aug. 1. Deadline to register is Feb. 15, 2022. Learn more and register https://www.neumc.org/taize
Save the date!!!
We are looking forward to our 2nd Annual MSUMC at the Silver Knights evening!!
Tickets are $7/each (under 3 yr are free). Spread the news, plan a night out with the family or date night. Grab a bite to eat downtown before the game, or munch on game snacks! It is sure to be a fabulous time with Emily Adams singing the National Anthem.
Be sure to include "Silver Knights Game" in the memo line.
December 2021 Finance Snapshot:
General Fund (GF) Total GF Income Received as of 12/31/2021: $399,679.24* Total GF Income Budgeted through 12/31/2021: $444,288.47 Total GF Expenses Paid through 12/31/2021: $391,358.70 Total GF Expenses Budgeted through 12/31/2021: $413,918.70 * Includes $4,159 designated for Heart of Nashua Continued and CARES Act PPP Draw 2 Funds of $41,352.00 received and used for GF expenses. All Cares Act funds were spent and we received forgiveness from the SBA for the loan which is marked "Paid."
Notes on General Fund At year's end, we were current on all bills received and paid all mission shares in full. (Some bills typically received in December did not arrive and were paid in January when they showed up as late on the next invoice.)
Heart of Nashua 1 & 2 (GiF) & HON Cont. (Capital Campaign/Elevator, Connector, Renovations) - Balance Due on HON Loan as of 12/31/2021: $131,747.49 (Loan was $358,343.45) - In December the monthly payment was paid. HON Cont. funds on hand 12/31/2021 ($10,209.01) will cover payments for about six months. - Total Paid (including interest) Using HON 1, 2 & Continued as of 12/31/2021: $1,905,814.36
Funding for the Future, 100 for $150(Endowment) – Received this year as of 12/31/2021: $2485 Anyone can be one of 100 people or families giving $150 each year (or any amount) to grow our endowment for our future.
Parsonage Mortgage– As of 12/31/2021 we owed $62,466.73 on the parsonage. Payments are $896.22 per month. At the present rate, the parsonage will be paid off on 1/23/29. We have used income from the Scrip gift card program to pay extra on the mortgage principal.
Your Continuing Help Needed We typically begin each year with general funds at a low and high utility bills for the winter. The General Fund pays utilities, maintenance, insurance and staff as well as connectional obligations to the New England Conference of the UMC. This fund can be used to pay any expense rather than being directed to specific uses.
Thank You Thank you to all who support this congregation. In December, we received extra giving to support missions and to help provide a salary in 2022 for our associate pastor. Thanks to those who donated to Heart of Nashua Continued supporting the connector and elevator renovation. We appreciate those who carefully consider the needs and resources of the church when making purchases for the church. Thank you to all those who volunteer.
Recent and Current Expenses Utility bills have been high in January. Some bills typically received in December did not arrive or came in late and were paid in January. Thanks to your donations we were able to pay them. In January we paid $2507.09 for gas and $2129.08 for electricity. Other expenses include $410 for wiring changes for office lights and boiler room outlets and $178.20 for new office lights. Boiler chemicals and their delivery was $645.31. Electrical panel repair was $1020 and dishwasher service was $353.
Pastor's Sabbath Days: Pastor Kelly: Tuesday Pastor Kristy: Friday
Days to Reach Pastors Pastor Kelly: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Pastor Kristy: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Mainstreet United Methodist Church · PO Box 1517 · Nashua, NH 03061-1517 · USA