Main Street United Methodist Church in Downtown Nashua announces pastor change

Downtown church leader retires after remarkable tenure

NASHUA – The Rev. Richard Cullen, known affectionately to his congregation as Pastor Rich, will retire on June 14, having served since 2012 as spiritual leader of the Main Street United Methodist Church.

In his eight years as pastor, he presided over some of the most ambitious projects in the church’s history, including a $2 million capital campaign that transformed its footprint in the heart of Nashua’s busy downtown.

The project, five years in the making, include demolition of a small strip mall that once obscured a large portion of the church property, along with building renovations that improved accessibility and expanded the space for church activities into an adjacent building.

The Rev. Richard Cullen. “Pastor Rich” is retiring
from Main Street United Methodist Church after eight years.

The main church building was connected to the equally historic Wesley Building next door. The new connector building, its new nursery, new elevator and the new plaza fronting Main Street were completed in May of 2018, just in time for September’s 150th anniversary observance.

Pastor Rich also helped expand the church’s charitable activities in a wide range of areas, including creation of the Café Agape drop-in center for the homeless, reinforcing the mission of the “Church with a Heart in the Heart of Nashua.” Agape is a Greco-Christian term referring to “the highest form of love, charity.”

Under his leadership, the church also combined its food pantry with the Nashua Soup Kitchen for greater efficiency and accessibility.

Prior to his 2012 arrival in Nashua, he was pastor of the United Methodist Church of Auburn, Maine, from 1996 to 2012. A native of Rhode Island, he has a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University School of Theology.

In retirement, he plans to continue in service to a congregation in Hallowell, Maine.

The Rev. Kelly Turney. Rev. Kelly will replace
Pastor Rich at Main Street United Methodist Church on July 1.

New pastor named at Main Street United Methodist in Nashua

NASHUA – Main Street United Methodist Church welcomes the Rev. Kelly D. Turney as new pastor on July 1.

Rev. Kelly has served as pastor at the East Longmeadow United Methodist Church, near Springfield, MA, since 2005.

She earned her Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, in 1991. A graduate of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, she worked at both Vanderbilt and Emory University in Atlanta before coming to New England. She was an associate pastor at Trinity UMC in Springfield.

At Emory University, she served 10 years as an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action officer, a lecturer and trainer in anti-racism, preventing sexual misconduct, providing equal disability access and affirming diversity.

Her published works include, “Holy Conversations: Talking about Homosexuality,” and “Shaping Sanctuary: Proclaiming God’s Grace in an Inclusive Church.”

She has served on the National Reconciling Board of the United Methodist Church, and has been part of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition for the last six general conferences seeking to help the denomination live up to its motto of open hearts, open minds and open doors. She is also a certified fitness instructor.

Her husband, Steve Hilbun, is a math professor.

She is replacing the Rev. Richard Cullen, who served as pastor since 2012 and retired on June 14.

“I am looking forward to a fruitful partnership with Pastor Kelly, as the Main Street United Methodist Church continues the important work of sharing the love of God in our community,” said Jerry J. Harrow, Main Street Church Administrative Council Chair.

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