Beyond the Green Doors – July/August 2014 Newsletter

Please enjoy our newsletter from July/August 2014.

Beyond the Green Doors - July/August 2014 Newsletter
Beyond the Green Doors – July/August 2014 Newsletter

Beyond the Green Doors
The newsletter of the Peterborough United Methodist Church
July – August 2014
Spread the good news!
July 12th: Imagine No Malaria bike ride
July 15th: Church Council 6:30 p.m.
September 2nd: Prayer Shawl Group
September 14th: Homecoming Sunday
October 6th: United Methodist Women
Laura Nerz
Gladys Bugler
Ed and Gail Hernandez
And, Michael Robidoux, who celebrated his confirmation as well as joined the church.
Please join us in welcoming these folks into our family!
Summer Worship You are welcome in worship this summer! Sunday school is planned to continue throughout the season. Special music started last week with inspiring duets offered by Pat Woodward and Martha Graham. Thank you for leading the way! We are looking for more volunteers to play and/or sing–contact Pastor Lourey if you are interested.
The season after Pentecost gives us the opportunity to study the Old Testament. Many of the characters from the first books in the Bible are personally inspiring, and have surprising witness to share. You are invited to follow along with your own Bible reading plan! Here is a forecast of the Scripture readings for July and August:
Noah and the Ark: Genesis 6-8
Jacob steals Esau’s birthright: Genesis 25
Jacob’s dream at Bethel: Genesis 28
Jacob marries Leah and Rachel: Genesis 29
Jacob wrestles with God: Genesis 32
Joseph is sold into slavery: Genesis 37
Joseph and his brothers are reconciled: Genesis 45
The need for Moses: Exodus 1&2
Moses’s calling: Exodus 3
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Lourey
Dear Church Family,
Subject: When we joined the Peterborough United Methodist Church, we made a covenant with God and the congregation to join a collective body of Christians. We pledged to be faithful to our church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness.
Most of us are pitching in and doing our part to honor each of these promises. We support the church by financial gifts and our time. We give willingly to witness our Christian beliefs and support the mission programs we sponsor. Last week at the New England Annual Conference (NEAC), I saw in real terms how our church is working to fulfill its commitment to Christ and to meet His challenge to transform the world.
At the last Church Council meeting Ken Schultz, Church Finance Secretary, announced that collections for pledges this year have kept pace with budget year thus far. This has come at increased sacrifice on the part of many in the church and we are all grateful for those contributions; thank you, thank you, thank you! Greg Robidoux, Church Treasurer, announced that we have been able to make two payments toward our mission shares allocation for 2014. This is substantially better than last reported and we hope with continued efforts this will improve as well. We are hopeful we will be able to meet our obligations as we did last year.
I am sure that some of you, as I, have wondered about what mission shares were and how these allocations are formulated and what it has to do with Peterborough United Methodist Church. Mission shares are based on a number of factors from information we provide to the district office which include: Pastor’s salary and benefits, Lay employees Compensation and benefits, Program expenses, and Operating expenses. The Conference then uses this data to determine our allocation amount. The formulation does not include: Mission Spending, Capital expenses, Loan payments, Endowment or Other Assets, Membership or Worship attendance. This has been confirmed by Pastor Lourey.
This year I was able to participate for the entire conference and I was impressed with the incredible work being performed by the NEAC across the planet and locally. The NEAC is making a difference in the lives of people, this includes:
a. In 2013, African University supported 1,480 full time students enrolled in higher education in 25 countries; resulting in graduating 450 students.
b. In 2014 alone, the Imagine No Malaria campaign has provided funds that will save the lives of 30,000 children. NEAC partnering with other agencies wants to make those one and a half million lives. The program is already having an effect: the death rate from Malaria has been reduced significantly from one child every 30 seconds to one child every 60 seconds. However, much more is needed. Our church has set a goal of $1,000.00 to stretch our participation this year. We want to save the lives of 100 children and young mothers. I have made a contribution to get the ball rolling and hope you will add your donation so this goal will be reached very soon. I know we can do this. We are being called to make a difference and do our part; a child’s life is just too important.
c. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere and NEAC has had an ongoing presence in Nicaragua for the last 28 years. Under the Nicaragua Covenant program, NEAC is bringing treated water and sanitation systems to communities that had access only to polluted water; carried over mud trails miles from their homes. Also, the Covenant is operating mobile health care clinics serving over 60 communities using local doctors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacist. Providing services where none existed before. The program is so successful it is doubling its capacity, enabling visits to villages every three weeks instead of six weeks. In addition, NEAC is feeding 450 elementary school children in six communities three times a week in an on-going mission. Further, the Covenant set up trade schools in four towns to teach women how to sew so they could help support their families. Forty women have taken the course and are employed or started their own businesses. Due to the generosity of a benefactor, the Covenant hosts mission teams in a state of the art facility so work can go on directly supporting the people in solving serious problems for Covenant area communities. NEAC is improving the lives of whole villages. Our support of our Mission Shares obligations is critical to not only these projects but many more programs that affect ministry programs here in New England.
Our support for Seminary programs, retreat facilities, and education for youth are critical to the overall mission of the United Methodist Church in New England. At home we struggle some times to meet our obligations but we can show our support by keeping contributions consistent and being as generous as our budgets will allow. This helps us meet our obligations to local vendors and the greater church.
Being a member of Peterborough United Methodist Church is not only a great lesson in humility, given the current programs now in motion in the greater church, but also one that says how important it is to belong to an organization that is greater than the sum of its membership. I hope you now have some understanding of the importance of Mission Shares and what it means to us all as we honor our commitment and pledge to the United Methodist Church. Please pray on this and don’t hesitate to ask questions about my experiences at the annual conference and the work of the church in meeting God’s challenge to love thy neighbor as thyself so we can transform the world.
Jim Poplin
As summer arrives we continue to focus on a few projects for the missions team. We have seen wonderful progress on several fronts and look forward to continuing to guide our congregation through some worthy undertakings.
Arun from World’s Children celebrated his 10th birthday in June. Our yearly goal for this mission is $360. If you would like to write to Arun the address is:
Arun Hanmanthu c/oWorld’s Children
PO Box 2708
Corvallis, OR 97339.
Please use the church address as your return address (PUMC, 43 Concord Street, Peterborough NH 03458)
We are excited to announce that the missions team is planning a bike ride on the Peterborough Rail Trail on Saturday July 12 at 9:30am. We will be accepting donations for Imagine No Malaria, and encourage our church family and friends alike to come join us.
We are looking for volunteers who would like to be team leaders for different ability levels on the bike ride. We have set an ambitious goal for fundraising for this charity, this is just the start of our campaign against Malaria.
We are wrapping up our UMCOR hygiene kit drive, and will soon be rolling out the cleaning kit handout. We greatly appreciate the items and donations that we have received thus far. We look forward to continuing to grow this humanitarian relief project.
We are also looking for volunteers for several projects for the missions team. You don’t have to make a big commitment to help!
Please contact Linda Wallenstein with any questions.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry began in 1998 as a GRASS_ROOTS effort. These shawls are made to be given away unconditionally and are not to be sold. Shawls can be crochet or knit, but are worked on with prayer in mind for those needing comfort. They can be given to those in need of healing, for those who mourn, for those who move away, or for happy times, such as a new baby, a graduation, or to newlyweds. Patterns can be for a rectangular stole, a small throw, a triangular shawl, or a wider scarf. They are usually knit in a pattern of 3 stitches, representing the Trinity, but not always.
Our church group began last fall, and currently includes eight women, who meet once a month to knit or crochet, encouraging each other, learning from each other, and generally enjoying good conversation. We are blest to have a congregation who has basically donated all the yarn so far. When we had completed 8 shawls, Pastor Lourey blessed them at a Sunday service, and having them over the altar rail gave everyone a chance to see our handiwork. We have given a shawl to three people for healing and comfort, and two shawls to people who had moved away. A typical letter accompanying the shawl might include this, or something similar.
This is one of our prayer shawls. Let it be a daily hug, a loving embrace. Each stitch carries a prayer from the heart through the hands of the knitter. This shawl has been blessed by the congregation.
As you cover yourself with this shawl, may you be Cradled in Hope, Kept in Joy, Graced with Peace, and Wrapped in Love.
Our group meets the 1st Tuesday of each month, Sept-June, and we welcome all- beginners and experienced alike!
United Methodist Women
The United Methodist Women met at Sue Norton’s home for the annual potluck salad supper in June. Sue presented a book by Thomas Moore and a nice discussion followed. The next meeting will be held in October. Stay tuned for specific details!
Finance Secretary Report as of JUNE 18, 2014 We are at 45.3% of the year and have received 43.4% toward our budget of $72,775 or $31,549.55. We have received 52.5% of the pledges or $18,927.00.
In addition to our weekly offering, we received $893.75 from the yard sale and $591.97 for Missions.
That having been said, we are rapidly moving into the summer months (always a time of reduced giving) while facing significant demands on our limited resources. To illustrate our current situation, Greg Robidoux, our treasurer, pointed out that last Sunday’s offering was just $485.00, with $385.00 available to meet important short-­‐term financial obligations such as taxes and salaries. The remaining $100.00 was designated as a much-­‐needed gift for No More Malaria. This is the lowest weekly giving this year and is far from meeting our obligations.
We passed a deficit budget for 2014, as we have done for a number of years now. In the past, we have carefully managed our resources to fund those projects and causes that have been most important to the congregation. PUMC leaders are working diligently, exploring all potential actions to ensure that we remain on-­‐track with the wishes of the congregation. With the exception of weather related costs, many of our financial obligations are consistent throughout the year and we are encouraging everyone to consider how they might help maintain a sufficient level of resources to enable us to meet our budgetary needs throughout the summer.
Thank you for your consideration,
Ken Schultz
A big THANK YOU to the 13 volunteers who participated in our Work Day activities recently. We accomplished the following: touched up paint in classroom; added filler strip to children’s bathroom door (to close the gap); wrapped pipes under handicap sink (per accessibility audit); tightened front door knobs; replaced the broken outlet cover on the altar; cleaned off mold and mildew and painted the inside of the front doors; pulled siding together on back side of sanctuary (left from the insulation blown in); replaced the missing fascia trim on the Wesley garage; cleaned out the window wells; installed a window well and cover on furnace room window (to stop the rainwater from coming in); added length of hose to dehumidifier to position closer to wet area and remove extension cord; raked; weeded and generally cleaned up back area; installed entry, exit and dog signs; sanded, stained and sealed the front thresholds with marine grade spar urethane; washed blinds and windows in fellowship hall, kitchen and classroom; sorted out the collection of keys; and scraped and painted the iron railing by curb in front of church. And THANKS to Laura Nerz for treating us to pizza and drinks for our efforts!
Hopefully by the time this hits the “newsstand” the driveway and parking areas will have been sealed and the parking space lines repainted. This should help maintain the pavement integrity for more years to come.
Painting of the balance of the interior of the sanctuary, including the pews, wainscoting, woodwork and floor are scheduled to begin in the next few weeks. Please excuse the disruption; it will take a few weeks to complete.
When the painting is done we will clean the carpets and have the vinyl floors stripped and waxed.
We’ve completed our Annual Facility Evaluation and determined that the drywall in the basement needs to be replaced due to mold that resulted from the periodic water problems we’ve had. Quotes are being solicited so we can get that done before the end of the year. And we hope the water problems are behind us as we’ve replaced both sump pumps, added a de-humidifier, and improved the exterior grade.
Finally, we are blessed to have William Robidoux performing our custodial duties while he is home for the summer. And thanks to Andy Dunbar for stepping up to take over that role starting in September.
Heaven is for Real
This spring, several movies with Christian themes debuted in mainstream theaters. Alongside epic bible character-based projects like Noah and Son of God was a much smaller film focusing on church and Christian life. Though I rarely see new movies, I was prompted by questions from some of our members to see Heaven is for Real for myself.
I’ll confess I did not walk into the theater with an open mind. I’ve observed that most religious-themed films from Hollywood favor drama over honesty, either painting faithful people as brainwashed lemmings or oversimplifying life’s struggles into neat endings with a clear moral. In the end, my initial suspicion made my experience richer.
Based on the real experiences of the family at the center of the film, Heaven is for Real depicts a lay pastor’s journey through Job-like trials which lead to a crisis of faith when his son claims to have seen heaven. The vision turns out to be a problem instead of a comfort, as it polarizes the church, the community, and the pastor’s own family. Turns out, there is little more personal than our feelings about life after death. The film depicts the way that bonds can strain and break, even among folks who are supposed to share the same faith. Some characters say and do hurtful things. People are overwhelmed with fear and doubt. Even when affection turns to defensiveness, there are no villains in this movie. Instead, some of the deepest pain is felt and caused by those who most deeply love.
The church in the movie is a Wesleyan church, and I found many of the settings and relationships recognizable. I was delighted to see that the project was made with respect and awe. The story felt honest, and resisted “preaching” a director’s view or simplified Gospel. The truth is, faith is full of questions, and we can trust that life and family will eventually test our most basic convictions. The drama is in how we weather the test. Will we help each other hope in what is not seen? Will we come to accept news that changes us?
Heaven is for Real is no longer in theaters, but will likely become available on DVD and online. I recommend it for individuals, friends, and families prepared to discuss the questions it raises. Nothing in the film is inappropriate for children, but it is made to communicate with adult experiences of parenthood, grief, and responsibility. One last tip: you may need tissues!
Pastor Lourey’s Office Hours Did you know you can reach Pastor Lourey any time by calling 603-892-3682? If you would like an in-person visit, all you need to do is call! Most often, Pastor Lourey is around town on Sundays and Thursdays, but an appointment can be scheduled for any day of the week.
Are you one of our many church elves? We would like to get an idea of any consumable items that are being donated to the church. Things such as coffee, paper goods, office supplies, etc. Please let Ken Schultz know so we can track what our true expenses are for the church.
Did you know that Pastor Lourey’s sermons are recorded (almost) every week and posted on the church website? Occasionally, the full service is recorded. The sermons/services are recorded to help make “church” accessible to folks who can’t attend church that week, our snow birds, etc. The recordings are not used for publicity or anything of that sort. Please let Pastor Lourey know if you have any questions about this process.
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This newsletter is compiled by Karen Keenan. Any concerns with content can be addressed with Karen, or with Pastor Lourey, or in person