Centre Congregational Church
We Welcome Everyone:
An "Open & Affirming" Church
(781) 334-3050;Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email: Office@Centre-Church.org
The Rev. Dr. Dennis
C. Bailey, Pastor - Pastor@Centre-Church.org
December 6, 2006
Last week I went on a field trip with the kindergarten class of the Tower Day School. We went to the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a visit to learn about beavers, their habitats, and living habits and environment. While we walked through the sanctuary we were constantly being watched. No, not by high tech surveillance systems.
We were watched by Black-capped Chickadees, Massachusetts State Bird. Why were they watching us? They were watching us because they were hoping that we might have some food for them. If we had, they would have eaten the food, right out of our hands!
More than several years ago I took my granddaughter and one of her friends to this same sanctuary to feed the birds, Chickadees and Finches. It was wonderful to have the birds eat out of our hands! I couldn't believe that the birds would trust us so. The girls couldn't believe it, either. Such cute little birds landing in your hands. It's amazing! These sweet little birds sitting in the palm of our hands eating. Sometimes they stood in my hand eating several pieces at once before flying away.
Another amazing thing is that the Chickadees, 4.5 inches in size, are able to stay in New England throughout the winter without freezing. How is that possible? The Chickadees - so small, so cute, and seemingly so fragile. Yet, they trust us to befriend them. It is so renewing of my spirit and soul to be so close to these adorable birds. Even as I fed them, I was given new life!
So, too, are we in our relationship to the coming child, Jesus. Jesus comes so fragile and trusts us to care for him. He invites us to follow him. In so doing, Jesus tells us that he trusts us with his message, his gospel, and his work. Such an awesome responsibility. Even as we follow, we are given new life.
In Advent and Christmas we are reminded of the fragility of Jesus' human nature. It is amazing how Jesus life and message survives, even in the midst of the storms and cold of human sin, evil, rejection, short attention and commitment spans, and apathy.
Yet, like the Black-capped Chickadee, Jesus Christ, his message, and his gospel survive. Even through death and the cold nature of human sin, Jesus comes to us as a child. Such vulnerability. Such power. Such stamina. May we welcome the child, Jesus, his hope, his peace, his joy, his love, and his saving grace for us. Hold out your hand, open your heart, let the Christmas light come to you.
in the child, Jesus,
Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
IN THE SANCTUARY
December 10, 2006 Second Sunday in Advent
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Zechariah 2:1-13 Luke 1:5-13, 18-23
Sermon by the
Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
"Waiting in Silence"
Children may worship with their families before going to Chapel.
Service broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channel 10 (Comcast) or Channel 28 (Verizon) and Peabody Cable Channel 10 at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Christmas Eve Services
10:00 a.m. Christmas Pageant
5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Candlelight Services
"Give-a-Palooza" was a huge success, with fantastic participation from all. Generous donations in honor of friends and family, along with general contributions, were gratefully received. AND IT'S NOT TOO LATE!! You have the opportunity to purchase an honor card after church on Dec.10 and support Heifer International, Lynn Shelter Association, Church World Service (Pakistani relief), and/or "Hope Shall Bloom" (the UCCs hurricane relief drive) OR you may come by the church office between 9-3 during the week.
The Critter Raffle of the small, fluffy sheep, chick, pig and llama will continue before worship on Sunday, Dec. 10. Only 25 cents per chance! Names of the winners will be drawn following worship. Thanks and good luck to all who participate.
Thanks to Mike Arsnow, Rhett Batchelder and Meriam Gehret for their posters and "manning" of the tables, to Sally Flickinger for her posters and information on the Diamond Head LA project (to which contributions can also be made), to the Confirmation Class and the Lucias for providing coffee hour, and to all those who helped set-up and take-down. Finally thanks to Sandi Watson for the design of the honor cards. This truly was a whole-church effort.
Your Generosity is Most
Rotation Sensation News
As many of you know, pageant preparations are under way. We will continue to worship each Sunday briefly in the sanctuary before heading to the chapel to prepare. We have many opportunities for everyone!
Dec. 10 & 17 Pageant Preparation
Dec. 23 Pageant Rehearsal (10 am-Noon)
Dec. 24 Pageant Worship Service (10 a.m.)
8 OClock Wheel
The 8 OClock Wheel will gather at noon on Monday, December 11 at the Center Village clubhouse for their December meeting.
The Giving Tree
Reminder that gifts for the Crombie Street Salem Mission are being collected under the tree in the narthex through Sunday December 17 - socks, sweatshirts and underwear of any size, along with single sheets and blankets, hats, mittens and gloves.
Instead of sending individual Christmas cards to your church friends, why not send a single card to the church office with a contribution which will be sent to City Mission Society in Boston? A Christmas Greeting with the names of those contributing will be published in Tower Notes and your card will be displayed on the Giving Tree. Wed love to have the tree heavily decorated with your cards and send much-needed support to CMS. (Please make your check payable to Centre Church.)
Youth Group News
We have our Christmas Party this coming Sunday, December 10 from 6:00-7:30p.m. Please bring a wrapped gift (under $10.00 please) that is suitable for a boy or girl for our Yankee Swap. We will have a fun evening together. See you then.
On Sunday, Dec 17, we will hold our All-Church Cookie Swap. All youth group members are asked to bring 3-5 dozen cookies to church and bring them downstairs before 10 a.m. After Worship we will sell our decorated boxes which can be filled with cookies. There will be no evening youth groups so that everyone may enjoy the Christmas Concert at 6:30 p.m.
to all who helped put the wreaths up, the candles in the windows and to those who set up the crèche on the front lawn! Advent is truly here.
Wow, what a wonderful turnout for the Advent Workshop held this past Sunday. We had children making ornaments, decorating bags, creating cards and making Advent chains. The most popular activity was assembling the wooden mangers. Special thanks to Mr. Bob Shorey who worked so diligently on preparing each and every piece. Many thanks to all of our volunteers: Sue Nasson, Mary Ann Parker, Kim Nardone, Camille Ernest, Laura Langill and Ray Couillard for working at this event. Also, thank you to the many high school volunteers who chipped in to help assemble the mangers it was a lot of work and we couldnt have done it without you.
Christmas Project for the Patients of The Barbara McInnis House.
The Barbara McInnis House is a 90 bed respite care facility for people who are too sick to live in a shelter or on the streets, but not sick enough to be in the hospital. Last year the High School decorated stockings and asked the congregation for supplies to fill them. This year they are requesting that we provide Christmas Cards which include a $10.00 phone card and a $5.00 fast food coupon as well as a short note of hope and encouragement from one human being to another so that each patient can receive a treat on Christmas morning.
We have made 30 cards which are displayed in the narthex. Please take one home, add a short hand-written message, the 2 gift cards, and return them to the church office by Sunday, Dec. 17. Shopping by an individual or family could be undertaken as a spiritual exercise in gratitude and prayerful remembrance of those children of God who live like Jesus - without a roof over their head. Enclosing a short note is a simple way to show there are those who care. Please sign only first names. Call Barbara Langill at the church with any questions.
will be available after worship on Sundays
from members of the Get-Together Wheel.
The cost is $4.00 per bar.
Centre Church Cookbooks
available after church - $5.99 each
Coping With the Holidays
A free community presentation "Coping with the Holidays As You Grieve" will be offered on Tues. Dec. 12 from 10:30 a.m. - noon at Union Hospital. As many of us know, our grief may really be intense when it appears that the rest of the world is merrily sailing through the holiday season. This presentation allows people to share their insight and gain some suggestions as to how to get through the holidays. Please call 781-586-1608, extension 571 to reserve a space at the meeting.
Grief Counselor, All Care Hospice
Tax Deductions Available for 2006
If you have questions about where you stand on your current pledge or giving, or would like to receive a statement showing what you have given to date this year, please leave me a message at 781-598-5678 and I will get back to you as soon as I can. You can also leave a message for me at the church office.
Even though our pledge year is from July 2006 to June 2007, any donations you make by December 31 may be deductible on your 2006 tax return. Contributions for the second half of our pledge year can be prepaid before year end and will count toward your full year pledge. (Disclaimer - I am not a tax professional - please consult one if you have tax questions.)
We are always looking for people who would like to help out with ushering, reading scripture, hosting coffee hour, cooking for Bread and Roses or delivering flowers to shut-ins. You need not be a member of the church to do any of these things. We have an immediate need for help delivering poinsettias on Dec. 17 and for help with Coffee Hour on December 24 after the 10 a.m. service. Please call the church office for more information.
Worship - Sanctuary
Rotation Workshops- Chapel
Child Care Room 14
Youth Choir Choir Room
Church Info Seminar-Pastors Office
Youth Groups Christmas Party
|12:00 pm||8 OClock Wheel Center Village Clubhouse|
Knitting Group Fireside Room
|7:30 pm||Diaconate Meeting Pastors Office|
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir Choir Room|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study Pastors Office|
Our thoughts and prayers are with Marion Edkins 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 Oostermans 93 Laurel St., Melrose, 02176; Jack Turner at Arnold House, 490 William St., Stoneham, 02180; and Marge Cole, Carol Carter and Barbara Wright Watson recuperating at home.
We also remember in our prayers Michael Blute in Iraq.
Second Sunday in
Advent, December 10, 2006
Head Usher: Karen Harrington
Lay Reader: Seavey Bowdoin
Lighting the Advent Candles: The Vaughan Family
Coffee Hour: Meg and Barkey Gulezian
Flower Delivery: Sue Gustavsen and Phyllis Robinson