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
January 3, 2007
Doing A New Thing
The prophet Isaiah recorded the following reflection, The LORD says, 'Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already you can see it now!' (Isaiah 43:18-19, TEV).
I remember when I first came to New England in the fall of 1971 to begin my studies at Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, MA. I was very scared! I had never been to New England. I had no family or friends in Massachusetts. And, I wasn't even sure what the word theology meant. I was in over my head, attending graduate school, going toward ministry, and I knew it. How on earth would I survive? How did I manage?
The first thing was to ask for help. I intentionally arrived 2 days early at Andover Newton. I had no place to stay and no idea about how I would find a place. I thought the school would find a place for me, but they had no idea that I was arriving early. So, driving up to the school I saw a nice lady, Alma, working outside on the shrubbery. I introduced myself and told her that I was early. She found a place for me to stay in one of the rooms on campus with the understanding that I would tell no one that I was there, especially the man who was the manger of Buildings and Grounds. Phew! God had prepared a place for me and Alma's face will forever be etched in my mind as the face of God.
The second thing I did was to get acquainted with my surroundings. After putting my luggage into my temporary room I drove all over Boston. I wanted to find my way around, get a sense of the geography, etc. I was excited to be living in the Boston area and wanted to learn the roads. Somehow I ended up on Huntington Ave., near the Fine Arts Museum, in a phone booth in front of a Boston Fire Station where I called my mother to tell her that I had arrived and I was fine. She was glad to hear from me. I will always remember that pay phone in front of that Fire Station. When my classmates arrived from out of town, I was able to help them find their way around, making instant friends.
The third thing I did was to enjoy my security. It was nice to go back to my hide-a-way room, compliments of Alma. There I could relax, feel safe, and feel relief that I had safely arrived, as I was now on the threshold of my new journey attempting to follow the will of God for my life.
Within a couple of days, registration, orientation, and meeting new friends began. I was given a room on the third floor in Farewell Hall. I met and made friends with David, from Texas, Joe, from Pennsylvania, and Jeff from Walpole, MA. We were, it seemed to me, a weird lot. David had tried out and been given a spot on a minor league baseball team, but gave it up to attend Theological School. Joe was from rural surroundings in Pennsylvania. Jeff was a math major in college and I wondered, how does that help him prepare for ministry? I had majored in Sociology in college, which I felt helped to prepare me for the work of understanding community dynamics as it relates to ministry. Out of the four of us, David had some religious studies background, at least, and was the best prepared for the academics. I felt the least prepared for the academics among the lot of us.
Together, with others, we were doing a new thing. I was overwhelmed with the work required of me, the theological concepts being spoken of (what on earth is eschatology?), going back to my room in Farewell Hall every day with a headache, the first week of classes. How would I manage? Where would I get the resources to do this new thing? Would I be swallowed by the demands of all of the reading, exams, papers to write, not to mention understanding the concepts of systematic theology. Oh my goodness!
Well, apparently I did manage the new thing(s). I believed that God would see me through this challenge of new life. I had financial and prayerful support from my home church. My mother believed in me (she had a choice??)! Meeting and making new friends I discovered how God had influenced them as God had influenced me, to try this course toward ministry. I felt strong in my call to ministry, my relationship with God, and in my ability to see a challenge as an opportunity.
I invite you to join with me in the new thing(s) God is giving to us in 2007. I do not believe we have gotten to this place by accident. I believe that we will find the resources we need to face every challenge. God is our greatest resource. And then we each have resources to share. I ask you to share yours as I agree to share mine, in service to Jesus Christ.
Yours in Christ,
P.S.: My friends? David eventually went on to get a Ph.D from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, now a Professor in Church History at Oral Roberts University. Joe did a new thing, just not in ministry, returning to his native Pennsylvania, finding meaning in another line of work. Jeff, like me, has been in ministry for over 30 years in Massachusetts.
IN THE SANCTUARY
January 7, 2007
First Sunday after Epiphany
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Sermon by the Rev.
Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
Why the Magi?
Children may worship with families before going to an Epiphany Celebration.
Service broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channels 10 or 28 and Peabody Cable Channel 10 at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.
You Can Say Yes At The NO Fair
Recent bylaw changes have opened up new opportunities for members and non-members to serve the church. Do you want to learn more about these opportunities? Would you consider serving on a ministry team? We invite you to explore the possibilities at the NO (New Opportunities) Fair on Sunday, January 7 following worship. Ministry Team Chairs will be available in the narthex to discuss the responsibilities of each ministry team:
On January 7, children in Pre-K through 8th Grade will be celebrating Epiphany. Each child is asked to bring a canned or non-perishable item with them when we leave to go to the Chapel. These will be offered as gifts and later donated to a local food pantry.
Parenting Teens Seminar
Beginning January 22 Mary Ann Parker and Barbara Nickerson will lead a parenting seminar covering topics such as identity, turmoil, rebellion and legacy. The leaders will also examine scripture to find helpful tools for good parenting. Please join us each Monday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Movie Room on the 2nd floor.
The High School and Middle School Youth Groups will meet on Sunday, Jan. 7 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Please join us.
Fourteen youth and 3 adults spent Friday afternoon and evening preparing and serving a meal to more than 120 guests at My Brothers Table in Lynn. Thanks to Kim Morrissey for driving and chaperoning.
Jeff and Barbara Langill
More Christmas/New Year Greetings
In Lieu of Individual Cards
The Durkee Family
Donna and Jack Marino
Linda, Jess, Emily &
Arliene and Ray Thorn
These additional donations make it possible for us to send over $800.00 to City Mission Society for their ongoing work.
Class One of Confirmation begins this Sunday, January 7, 11:30 a.m. in the Pastor's outer office. All confirmands and mentors are asked to attend bringing with them their Bibles, a three-ring binder, paper, pens, pencils. There will be a light lunch provided at 11:30 a.m. with the class ending at 1:30 p.m. Class One will also be offered the next day, Monday, January 8, at 6:00 pm for those who cannot attend the Sunday Session. A light snack will be provided.
Food for the Spiritually Hungry Needed!
We need support for this year's Confirmation Class in the form of a light lunch for the Sunday after-church class and a light snack for the Monday evening class. Mary Ann Parker is handling the organization of this.
If you can help, please call or
email Mary Ann:
Tower Day School
Tower Day School is accepting applications from church members and present Tower Day School families for enrollment for the 2007-2008 academic year. We have programs for 3 year olds, 4 year olds and kindergarten students. Please call the school office (781-334-5576) to receive an application.
News From Around the Parish
We extend our sympathy and prayers to Ella Wests family upon the occasion of her death on December 26. A Memorial Service was held at Centre Church on December 29.
Environmentally Aware? We Need You!
The 8th Grade Class will be learning about environmental issues and how we are taking care of Gods world. We are looking for an environmental expert/enthusiast to talk with the class on Feb. 11. If you, or someone you know, fits this description, please contact Jill Couillard or Barbara Langill.
Thanks for Kindnesses
I wish to thank members of the parish for their many and generous kindnesses toward me during the Advent and Christmas Season, including the gift of the donation of a Heifer Project Lama. It's doing nicely in the straw and comfort of my garage. As soon as it's full grown, it will be shipped to somewhere in the world and put to good use. In the meantime, you may see me riding it to church.
Especially touching has been the joy of sharing in the traditions of Centre Church's Advent and Christmas. The Pageant, Music, Staff, and People of Centre Church have been my most special Christmas gift! - Dennis
Pageant Thank You
To all the children, parents and others involved in the Christmas Pageant THANK YOU for your efforts. Your dedication produced a wonderful and unique dramatization of the Christmas story.
Id also like to thank Barbara Langill, Jill Couillard, Sandi Watson and all the children in the pageant who honored me with 4 shares of Heifer sheep! I will treasure the card bearing each and every one of your signatures all so stealthily gathered by Sandi! Thank you all! Love, Linda Ladd
Open every day to receive Redeemable Bottles and Cans, Aluminum Can Pull Tabs, Used Eyeglasses, Non-Perishable Food, Travel Size Toiletries, Used Cell Phones (numbers erased with charger), knitted squares.
Epiphany Celebration - Chapel
Nursery Room 14
NO Fair - Narthex
Youth Choir Choir Room
Confirmation Class #1 - Pastors Office
Youth Groups Lower Level
|6:00 pm||Confirmation Class #1 Pastors Office|
|7:00 pm||Knitting Group Fireside Room|
|7:30 pm||Diaconate Pastors Office|
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir Choir Room|
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 Oostermans 93 Laurel St., Melrose, 02176; Jack Turner at Arnold House, 490 William St., Stoneham, 02180; and Anne Gist and Marion Edkins recuperating at home.
We also remember Michael Blute in Iraq.
Please see the bulletin board outside the library for the many thank you notes for poinsettias received.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Ushers: George Hayden, Michelle Hagerty, Mark Meehl and Linda Ladd.
Lay Reader: Michelle Hagerty
Coffee Hour: Marcia Stevens and Phyllis Robinson
Flower Delivery: Marybeth Weilandt and Chuck Cotting