We Welcome Everyone: An
“Open & Affirming” Church
(781) 334-3050;Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email:
The Rev. Dr. A. Rand Peabody,
Interim Pastor - Pastor@centre-church.org
September 13, 2006
The "Ideas" section in this past Sunday’s Boston Globe (September 10) featured an article titled, "The War for Islam", by religious scholar, Resa Aslan.
The writer described how, in all sorts of ways, Islam is undergoing a thoroughly democratizing Reformation. Long a religion whose tenets were secure in the hands of an elite class of highly trained clerics, modern Islam is now transforming itself into a faith that is progressively marked, for better or worse, by a breadth of individualized interpretations.
Osama bin Laden is one such interpreter, he whose extremist vision is the full restoration of a broad and puritanically reconstituted Caliphate. And while bin Laden’s brand of insurgent "jihadism" is surely the most politicized and militant of current Koran-based understandings, it floats on a rising tide of Islamic trans-clericalism that is more and more depriving the religion of centralizing voices.
Now this trend in Islam can be somewhat likened to that democratizing movement in Christianity that spawned congregationally governed churches like Centre Church. I am speaking, of course, of the Protestant Reformation, which began when Martin Luther took sharp aim at the near-universal monopoly of Biblical interpretation on the part of high-handed clerics who were manipulating power by clinking the keys of the kingdom of Christ. For much as with the tectonic shift now affecting Islam, and surely for better or worse as well, the oft-violent energies of the Reformation were setting free a virus of individualized (and individualizing) Scriptural interpretation from its age-old bottle.
And you and I are the spiritual descendents of those who were directly infected with that virus.
Now I, for one, am glad to be in the lineage of those thus "infected", and I have spent much of my career trying to infect, or to re-infect, others. And why? Because I cannot read the Gospels, those accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, nor the epistles of Paul, without being impressed, and even imprinted, with the truth that God wants us to cultivate a thorough-going spiritual DEMOCRACY. How else to explain the broad distribution of what Paul enumerates as the gifts of the Spirit of God, that range of abilities and attributes described in such Biblical chapters as I Corinthians 12.
It’s what gives rise to the point I made in my sermon last Sunday, that we EACH are to consider ourselves to be MINISTERS in one way or another.
I talked in my previous Tower Notes column about the "synergism" of the church—that enhancement of power that derives from our working mutually together. Suffice it to say that the democracy of the Spirit makes all such synergizing far more effective. So in your soon-to-come new pastoral era, may you-- with a sanctuary banner proclaiming "Many Hands, Many Beliefs, One Journey"—keep right on embracing and embodying such a spiritual democracy, as you strive to be ever-responsible to the Christ who is "the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith". (Hebrews 12:2)
Your fellow minister-
IN THE SANCTUARY - 10:00 a.m.
September 17, 2006
Romans 12:9-13 II Corinthians 5:17-20
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Dedication of Church School Teachers and Students
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. A. Rand Peabody
"I, Paul, Ambassador for Christ"
Children may worship with their families before going to Rotation Workshops.
Service broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channel 10 (Comcast) & Channel 28 (Verizon)
and Peabody Cable Channel 10 at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Welcome back! We are very happy to be starting another season of Rotation Sensation. Our first session in this Rotation is an Overview of the Book of Exodus. On the bulletin board near the water bubbler you will find the schedule of workshops for children and youth ages PreK – 7th grade.
Registrations for all children and youth ages PreK-8th grade are now due. There will be a table set up in the Narthex on Sunday. Please drop off your completed form.
Eighth graders will be meeting in the Pastor’s Outer Office immediately following the children’s time. Mrs. Batchelder, Mrs. Nardone and Mrs. Jodoin will be leading this class throughout the year.
Sunday, September 17
The Worship Service will feature a Children’s Message on Commandments Five through Seven (regarding adultery, stealing, and false witness) and a first-person-style sermon time, "I, Paul, Ambassador for Christ", featuring writings of Paul as compiled by Rand Peabody into a portrait of the Apostle’s life and teachings.
The 4th Annual Centre Church Golf Tournament will be held once again at the Thomson Country Club in North Reading. The date will be Friday September 22 at 1 PM. We will follow a scramble/best ball format with a shotgun start. This tournament is not only a lot of fun, but the net proceeds are designated to our Missions program. The cost of $100 covers the greens and carts fees. There will be gifts and prizes and after the tournament there is a cookout at the Johnson’s.
To register please send a check payable to Centre Congregational Church to Phil Johnson, Chris Parker or Rick Carey. If you have any questions please contact Phil Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 781-598-5678.
Missions Notes for September
This month we are asking for donations of
*school supplies for Haven from Hunger*. Please drop off notebooks,
pens and pencils, small dictionaries, markers, etc. in the marked bin. These
will be greatly appreciated by students in the area who cannot afford to buy the
supplies they need.
The *Knitting Group* has started meeting weekly on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 in the Fireside Room. Knitters, experienced and new, are welcome. Beginners will learn to make squares to be donated to the Red Cross, and those who wish to move on to a new project will learn to make a sweater or afghan. Yarn is supplied.
The *Missions Commission* will meet Sunday September 17 following the Worship Service in order to plan for the up-coming year. New members are welcome, and ideas for projects are always considered. Please consider joining and make a difference.
Chris Gehret for the Missions Commission
Thursday Morning Scripture Seminars
Interim Pastor Rand Peabody continues to lead the Thursday Morning Scripture Seminars, running from 10:30 to approximately 11:45 a.m. each week. On September 21, the topic will be "A Survey of the Writings of Paul". It will aim to amplify the material in a first-person-style sermon, "I, Paul, Ambassador for Christ", that will have just been presented the previous Sunday, September 17.
And looking further ahead, the Seminar on Thursday, September 28, which will be Rand’s final session, will focus on the multiple "I-AM" statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
"I am the Resurrection and the Life."
"I am the Bread of Life"
"I am the Door of the Sheep".
"I am the Light of the World".
"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
We will examine these and other such statements with an eye to better understanding Jesus’ sense of His own messianic mission.
The Seminar convenes in the outer Pastor’s Office. "We want YOU!" Rand stresses once again. "It doesn’t matter what you already know or don’t know about the Bible. Just come!"
Mission Trip Appreciation Dinner
Please join the High School Youth on Sunday, September 24 at 6 p.m. for an appreciation dinner thanking all those who supported our fund raising efforts for the New York City Mission Trip. After dinner we will be giving a presentation of the highlights of our trip. Please call the church office by Tuesday, September 19 if you are planning on attending so that we will be sure to have enough food for all.
Each Sunday altar flowers are available to be delivered to church members who are ill, shut-in or recently bereaved. Our Caregivers Group could use additional help from time to time during the year and most especially at Christmas and Easter. If you are willing and able to help us, may we put your name on our list? Please call Edie Richard 781-334-3874 and offer to help. It will be our blessing. Thank you.
We will be meeting this Sunday, September 17 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Grades 5-8 will meet in Todd Hall for dinner and fun and grades 9-12 will meet in Richards Hall for dinner and activities.
We ask that the parents join us in Todd Hall at 7:00 with their calendars to review the year and sign up to provide a meal.
Flea Market Planning
Centre Church hopes to hold a Flea Market on November 3 and 4. An enthusiastic group will gather in the Library on Tuesday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss details. Join us and find out what you can do to help. If you have questions or suggestions, please call Evy Round at 781-334-7276.
Save the Date!
On Saturday evening, October 21, please plan to join us for an All-Church Progressive Dinner. In the past, this kind of evening of fellowship has proven to be a very enjoyable time. Please mark your calendars now. More details will follow!
From the Mailbox
My heart-felt thanks to everyone for caring after my recent hospitalization. I loved your cards, food, telephone calls and offers of transportation. A very special visit from Rand meant so-o-o much, and I’m grateful to have had so many caring friends!!
The Missions Pantry
Redeemable Bottles and Cans, Aluminum Can Pull Tabs, Used Cell Phones, Used Eyeglasses,
Non Perishable Food, Knitted Squares
(We will not receive donations of household items for Bridge House until further notice.)
Morning Worship- Sanctuary
Child Care – Room 14
Missions Commission - Pastor’s Office
Youth Groups – Lower Level
Flea Market Planning – Library
Knitting Group – Fireside
Scripture Seminar – Pastor’s Office
Senior Choir – Choir Room
Golf Tournament – Thomson
Club, North Reading
Our thoughts and prayers are with Hal Holappa at the Veterans’ Hospital, 200 Springs Rd., Bedford, 01730; Mildred Lisi at SunBridge, 134 North St., N. Reading, 01864; Catherine Newman at Oosterman’s, 93 Laurel St., Melrose, 02176; Jack Turner, at Arnold House, 490 William St., Stoneham, 02180.
We also remember in our prayers, Dana Robinson in Kuwait and Dana’s cousin Michael Propeck in Iraq.
In September, Rand Peabody will continue to be available at the Church Office on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings from 10 to noon, and at other times by appointment.
Church Office Hours are 9:00 am – 3:00 p.m.
Monday – Friday.