Building News: Water Pipe Burst

Kitchen Water Damaage

Monday, December 21, 2020, was a difficult day for the church community in Townsend. In addition to the devastating fire at St. John’s Rectory, we had a water pipe burst above the kitchen. We were fortunate to have Lynne Connors and Al Harris discover the mess and acted quickly along with Al Higgins, Pastor Chris Jones, and Marsha Schofield to remedy the situation.

The Townsend Fire Department came and inspected the church and found the damage was contained to the kitchen, bathroom, the hallway, and parts of the teen room and meeting room. The upstairs sanctuary was free of harm. ServPro installed fans, dehumidifiers, and drying mats. Our insurance company will be visiting the church to assess the damage soon.

We are thankful that no one was harmed and look forward to coming together to overcome another challenge in 2020.

If you would like to support our ministry, please consider giving today. Charitable contributions may be sent to PO Box 497, Townsend, MA 01469. All donations to New Beginnings UMC are 100% tax-deductible and can be sent an end-of-year giving statement.


The United Methodist Council of Bishops has asked us to pray for healing and racial justice at 8:46 each day for the next 30 days.

Join us on the front lawn at 8:46 PM on Sunday, June 21st for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silent prayer.

Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing. New Beginnings UMC, 265 Main Street, Townsend, MA 01469.

If you cannot join us, please pray at home each day at 8:46 AM and PM.

Hilltops Views | How Stars are Made


During a recent date night, my wife and I saw the movie “A Star is Born” with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The movie depicts the journey of Ally, a young singer who finds fame beginning with a chance meeting of Jackson Maine, a successful country musician. A romantic relationship quickly blossoms, but the weight of his alcoholism leads Jackson’s career and their marriage down a dark path. Leslie and I enjoyed it partially because the director didn’t tell the whole story, instead, he left small spaces that allowed the audience to fill in the backstory. I find that the best books, movies, and songs have this common thread of audience participation woven into their stories and lyrics. The singer-songwriter John Mellencamp said it best in discussing his art,

“Keep it vague so people can include themselves into what you are saying, or what your singing, or what you’re painting. Don’t be so specific that it becomes exclusive to you.”

This resonates with me as I think of how we interact with each other and our community. As we continue to reach out to the community, interact with visitors, and participate in fellowship we must provide enough space to allow the other person to take part at the moment. In addition to giving the other person an opportunity to contribute their gifts to an activity, conversation, or project, space helps feed our own curiosity to develop an authentic interest in the individual.

While watching the movie “A Star is Born,” I thought about the risks that Ally took to become a pop star, and the support she received so she could take a risk. She received emotional support from a loving father and positive encouragement from her friends. When opportunity knocked at her door the encouragement had given her the strength to lean in, grab it, and move her life forward.

Community Outreach

Our community dinners are an example of how we are serving both the families we break bread with, and the volunteers who organize, cook and serve the delicious meals. Our mission statement is

“We are followers of Jesus, who tend God’s garden, serving the mind, body, and spirit of all God’s children.”

We are fulfilling our mission! The meals we serve nourish our neighbors’ bodies, and more importantly, the moments created in sharing a dinner together feed their spirit. We create a space for meaningful fellowship. A place where a woman who endures discrimination in her workplace feels welcome and her voice heard. We create a space for community reflection. A place where a cook admires the strength and perseverance of a neighbor’s quiet yet powerful work ethic. We create a space to breathe. A place where a mother can enjoy a meal with her young family in-between taxiing her boys from one extra-curricular activity to the next.

Have we created a space for you?

We are blessed to have a committed team of volunteers who have created a dependable process to serve 100 or so community members each month. Like tending a vegetable garden that has been well maintained, our community dinners will continuously need to be watered and weeded, but the hard work of rototilling the soil is done.

As we look to expand our community service and tend to God’s greater garden, there may be hard soil to be plowed or who knows, we may be fortunate enough to find fertile soil. Wherever we locate needy children, let us be sure to plant our vegetables with enough room for them to flourish. Let’s make sure we are not excluding the very ones we seek to serve or the people we need to accomplish our mission. Together let’s look to support individuals in ways that enable them to take life-altering risks; – investigate their faith, reach out to loved ones, seek help, try new careers, uncover hidden talents or find the strength to be vulnerable. As you walk through your week, ask yourself, ask a friend, or ask a colleague

“How can I serve my neighbor so he or she can take more chances to succeed?”

Remember, when we serve our neighbor, we shine a spotlight on love, and allow others to turn away from darkness and fear. Once a person feels heard, loved, and supported, the next opportunity does not feel as overwhelming. A safety net has been erected and tested, or a roadblock has been taken down, giving your neighbor the confidence to attempt something outside his or her comfort zone. Imagine what things you would try if you were free from the fear of failing? Would you make different decisions? If so, let us find ways to pay it forward!

Displaying Our Flag

USA Flag

Watching a torn flag in the wind

I was driving through Townsend Center recently, and looked up at our beautiful church sitting on top of the hill, with its tall, white steeple reaching up into a brilliant blue sky. A perfect picture I thought until I looked over at the flagpole with our country’s flag waving in the breeze. Usually, a nice sight to see, but not this day. The flag was torn, actually shredded, into what looked like strips. It was time to replace a worn out flag. Flags wear out quickly on this hill.  It’s elevated enough to catch any breeze and when the winds blow, the air whips the raised flag, sometimes violently. The flags flown here are displayed year round, day and night, in all kinds of New England weather. So flag replacement is needed often.

My aunt’s military funeral flag

I have a flag that was given to me at my aunt’s military funeral and wondered if it would be appropriate (or not), to donate it to fly over the church grounds. My aunt, a retired Army nurse, served in England, France, and Germany during WWII.  She was a devoted nurse and patriot. She grew up in Townsend and loved coming back “home” to spend time with family and friends during her Army life and retirement. It would be an honor to fly her flag here, I thought, which would overlook part of Townsend Center, a place she loved. I needed to find out what you can and can’t do with a “military funeral flag”. The internet gave me some information, saying there was nothing written to indicate you couldn’t fly this type of flag, and a veteran’s website said there was nothing wrong about displaying it as long as it was flown in honor of the deceased veteran.

Reaching out for help

I decided to talk to Russ Moore-QM, of the VFW in West Townsend, who would have the answers to the questions I had. He also said that as long as it was displayed in honor of the veteran, it would be okay, and we both agreed it would indeed be done to honor the veteran. Russ also told me they receive flags from the community, which are no longer in good condition to display, and that they have a special ceremony at the VFW to dispose of them properly. I believe it’s done on Veteran’s Day. So one day my aunt’s flag will fly over the church grounds overlooking Townsend Center. It will be in honor of her service and it will have meaning to her family.

If there is anyone interested in donating a flag such as the one I have, let me know. It will be displayed with honor and respect for the veteran it was given to.

Lynne Connors