Tower Notes

Centre Congregational Church
United Church of Christ

We Welcome Everyone: An “Open & Affirming” Church
Handicap Accessible

Phone: (781) 334-3050;Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email: Office@Centre-Church.org
5 Summer Street, Lynnfield, Massachusetts 01940

The Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey, Pastor - Pastor@Centre-Church.org
Jill Couillard & Barbara Langill - Directors of Christian Education & Youth Ministry - ChristianEd@Centre-Church.org
Douglas W. Hodgkins: Organist/Choir Director
Sally MacDonald, Director of Tower Day School
Susan Spear, Secretary

November 22, 2006



Mercy!

The story of how Jesus healed ten lepers while "on the way to Jerusalem" (Luke 17:11-19) is an often referenced text when we speak of the spiritual themes in Thanksgiving. Ten lepers call out to Jesus for mercy. These beggars suffer from the disfiguring skin disease of leprosy. They are outcasts; considered worthless and undesirable. But Jesus stops to speak with them.

Already we see Jesus' great mercy. He could have said to them, "I'm a busy man, my destiny is Jerusalem. I'm going to sacrifice my life for you, for all humanity, to give you salvation in the life to come, for the forgiveness of your sins, so, my children, tough it out, chin up, and you will be better in the by and by, in the Kingdom to come. Nice to talk with you."

But Jesus stops, talks, and acts. He says, "Go and show yourselves to the priests" (v. 14). Jesus shows us the difference between sympathy and mercy. Sympathy stops, listens, and feels sorry. Mercy stops, listens, interrupts, and acts.

Mercy is interruptible and it also interrupts. The lepers cried out for mercy, not sympathy. They needed healing and help. As they go, as they move, as they go back home, they are healed.

Jesus stopped, talked, had mercy, gave direction to them, and, they obeyed. Their healing takes place as they act out of obedience to Jesus' direction. This is an act of faith because they knew that they could be stoned by going near the village, a place where they hadn't been permitted ever since their leprosy sickness was diagnosed. The ten lepers truly trusted that they would be healed. Great mercy. Great obedience. Both are very important for us as we take time to give God thanks.

A Moment of Grace: This past Sunday, as I was preparing for the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, the youth and their leaders showed me mercy. A representative was sent to my office at about 6:30 p.m. with a plate of three sandwiches. They knew that it was a very busy day for me, preaching one sermon in the morning and preaching another sermon in the evening, dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t's" just prior to the arrival of visiting clergy, making sure all was ready. They not only felt "sympathy" for me, but had "mercy" on me in giving me those sandwiches, which I thoroughly enjoyed back at my home, after my day's work was done. It was mercy that led them to action. Just thinking about how those sandwiches were waiting for me at the end of the evening's worship service, gave me energy, made me happy, and wow, they were so good, full of onions, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce...! To quote Bob of "Bob's Stores," "Now that's what I'm talking about!"

Holidays like Thanksgiving can be bittersweet times for many of us. Let us know and remember, we can always interrupt our Lord with our own cries for mercy and help. He will hear. He will act. And, let us also be willing to accept the mercy shown to us by our Lord, by friends, by neighbors. And, let us display a willingness to be interrupted, also, in order to do as the Lord has done toward us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey

 



IN THE SANCTUARY

November 26, 2006

10:00 A.M. MORNING WORSHIP

James 5:13-20 Mark 9:38-50

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
"Overwhelming"

Children may worship with their families for the entire service.

Service broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channel 10 (Comcast) or Channel 28 (Verizon) and Peabody Cable Channel 10 at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.

 


Happy Thanksgiving From the Children of Centre Church
via their Children’s Message on Nov. 19

Dear God,

We thank you for creating us, food and ice cream, healing our people, water, pets, keeping people safe in Iraq, houses and parents and nice family.

From yada yada, yada,
(all the people of our church),
Amen.

 

Looking Ahead

December 3, 2006

10:00 a.m. First Sunday in Advent

 

December 17, 2006

6:30 p.m. Christmas Concert

 

December 24, 2006

10:00 a.m. Christmas Pageant

5:00 p.m. Candlelight Service

11:00 p.m. Candlelight Service

 

 

New Bylaws Adopted

At a Special Congregational Meeting of our church on November 19, 2006 a revised set of bylaws were unanimously adopted.  This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort by Parish Council and others.  First, let me say thank you to everyone who participated in this project.  Second, these revised bylaws are intended to take us further down our journey together with a structure that more meaningfully reflects the ways in which our church operates and should operate today.

We had previously mailed a copy of these bylaws to everyone.  There were no changes subsequent to that mailing, so we are not going to re-mail them out.  If you don’t have a copy, please contact the church office and we will get a copy to you.

Phil Johnson, Moderator

 

Advent Services

The Worship Team is looking for people to light the Advent Wreath during Advent and at the Christmas Eve Services. Families, friends, neighbors or any other groups welcomed, especially if you have never done it before or haven’t done it in a very long time. The First Sunday in Advent is December 3rd. Please see Judith Doe after church or call her at 781-334-5766.

 

 

The Giving Tree

The Christmas Tree will soon appear in the narthex. This year we are collecting items for the Salem Mission. They need the following items:

  • Socks (all sizes)

  • Sweatshirts and Sweatpants (all sizes)

  • Underwear (all sizes)

  • Hats

  • Mittens and Gloves

  • Blankets & Sheets for the shelter

  •  

     

    From the Pastor's Corner

    I congratulate all who were part of the production of "Pajama Game" at Lynnfield High School. It was a wonderful musical presentation and opportunity for me to see the strength and talent of the staff, students, parents, and many volunteers of Lynnfield High. I felt excited to know some of the students, their families, and also Douglas Hodgkins, Producer and Director, and our church's talented Music Director.

    I am also grateful to Doug for leading the fine 50 member ecumenical choir Sunday evening for our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Awesome!!! And, despite Douglas' long hours this past week and weekend, he still had it in him to send me a zinger as I joked with him at the beginning of my sermon. I'm so proud of him, as are we all!

    Thanks, also, to the youth and youth leaders of our church for setting the reception table and sharing refreshments for the Interfaith Service Sunday. It was fine. They were fine. Nice refreshments, nice feeling in the narthex. Great job!

    I also want to thank Phil Johnson, our Church's Moderator, for leading our church through a significant time of transition. Phil has demonstrated real leadership, always believing in the process, in the members and other leaders of the church, and in the presence of the Holy Spirit to give what is needed. The passing of the Church's new by-laws, the 2006-2007 budget, and the election of the slate of officers is a great accomplishment. Phil's leadership has played the key role in all of this. Phil is quick to acknowledge the help of others, the support of other church officers, staff, and congregation, but the fact is, his role and work has been the key that has helped us turn this corner into our future together. Long before I met Phil, the Search Committee spoke of Phil's leadership and appropriate support toward their work and the church's life. Personally, Phil has been a huge support toward me as I have found it easy to move into my role as your Pastor. Phil successfully makes the rough places smooth.

    Dennis

     

    Rotation Sensation

    There are no workshops scheduled for Sunday, November 26. Please plan on worshipping with your family.

    On Sunday, December 3, the youth in Grades PreK-8th will begin preparing for the Christmas Pageant (to be presented on December 24 at 10:00 a.m.) Each Sunday when we leave worship we will all go to the Chapel and meet with Linda Ladd, our pageant director.

     

     

    Claxton Fruitcake

    will be available after worship on Sundays

    from members of the Get-Together Wheel.

    The cost is $4.00 per bar.

     

     

    Volunteers Needed

    Through Boston Urban Outreach, City Mission Society has become aware of the need for adult volunteers on weekdays. We are hoping that through our churches some adults will surface to serve at either of the following opportunities.

    November 27-Dec 1 from 10-4:00 volunteers are needed by HEARTH (Helping Elders at Risk Through Homes). HEARTH has just purchased their sixth home in Jamaica Plain and needs assistance preparing the home for fourteen elderly homeless people. If you can assist during this rehab project, please contact Jen Bonardi directly at jbonardi@hearth-home.org or 617-369-1558.

    December 19-22 for a few hours around noon time, volunteers are needed to spread Christmas cheer with elders in the Greater Boston Area. Ethos has several community centers that offer noon time meals for elders who are living in their own homes. These elders love to have visitors and would enjoy groups who come to share Christmas carols with them. If you or a group from your church are able to participate, please contact Olga Yulikova at 617-522-6700, ext. 323 or oyulikova@ethocare.org .

    Be sure to tell each of them that you were referred by City Mission Society.

    Carl McDonald,
    Dir., Boston Urban Outreach

     

    Advent Workshop and Alternative Giving Fair – December 3

    This year’s Advent Workshop will be held after Worship on Sunday, Dec. 3 in Richards Hall. We will have crafts, caroling and refreshments.

    At the same time, "Give-A-Palooza:  An Alternative Giving Fair" will be hosted by the Missions Commission in Todd Hall. Honor your family and friends with a donation to one or more of the following organizations-

    Honor cards for holiday giving will be available.  Please come and join the fun.

     

    Poinsettias

    If you would like to donate poinsettias to help grace the sanctuary this Christmas, please fill out the form available by clicking here and returning it to the office by Monday, December 4.

     



    OUR OPPORTUNITIES

     

    Sunday

    November 26

    10:00 am

    Morning Worship - Sanctuary

    No Rotations or Nursery

    No Youth Groups

    Tuesday

    November 28

    7:00 pm

    7:00 pm

    Knitting Group – Fireside Room

    Parish Council – Pastor’s Office

    Thursday

    November 30

    7:30 pm

    Senior Choir – Choir Room

    Friday

    December 1

    10:30 am

    Scripture Study – Pastor’s Office

    Saturday

    December 2

    9am-3pm

    Art Guild Show & Sale - Richards Hall

    Gingerbread House Contest – Narthex

     

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Marge Cole at Renaissance Gardens, 400 Brooksby Village Dr., Peabody, 01960; 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; and Barbara Wright Watson recuperating at home. We also remember in our prayers Michael Blute in Iraq and Dana Robinson who is home from Kuwait and Michael Propeck who is home from Iraq.

     

    November 26, 2006
    Head Usher
    : Marge Robins.
    Coffee Hour: Lynne Forgione.
    Reader
    : Mike Timmons.
    Flower Delivery
    : Karen Harrington