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

April 4, 2007

 


Picture, if you will...

Picture, if you will, a 6 year old little boy who, at his father’s beckoning, is holding a kite above his head. The expression on his face tells it all, that he is full of doubt that it’s going to fly. But his father says, "Dennis, the wind will take it up. Just have faith." "Well," he said "it might help if you run a little (I was holding onto the string), let the wind catch it and pull it up." I tried it, it worked! Usually. Amazing. What makes a kite fly? I can't see the wind. Is it the faith of the father, of the son?

Maybe you are a 5 year old girl, standing in a field in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There is a huge pile of milled lumber lying on the ground. Your Amish mother tells you that the men are going to use their bare hands and their hand tools and, by the end of the day, there will be a barn raised where once there was just a pile of lumber. "Just have faith," mother says to daughter. "God will help them build it." Piece by piece, they put it together, hammering, moving about, persevering. It's like a well-oiled machine, but there is no electricity. No power tools. It works! Amazing. What makes it possible for a barn to be built, the wood to hold tons of hay, straw, horses, carriages, hopes, dreams, ...a future? Is it the faith of the mother, of the daughter, of the workers?

Picture standing on a piece of Vermont countryside where there lay on the fields a dozen large pieces of ripstop nylon or polyester, a light-weight and strong synthetic fabric. Beside these you see gondola baskets, burners, and propane tanks. People are milling about, lighting the burners which come alive with fire and flames. Hot air rises into the balloons, making them rise. The ballooners lift the fabric so that the unseen hot air rises into the balloons. It doesn't take long before the fabric is full of life, rising high into the air. Colorful fabrics and interesting shapes. Over the next hour the many balloons rise into the air, silently sliding across the Vermont countryside to a destination that will be determined only by the unseen wind. Chase cars follow to a destination yet unknown. Amazing! What makes the balloons fly, holding the weight of the basket, tanks, and people? Is it the faith or the magic of the ballooners? Did you know that hot air balloons have been known to fly as high as over 60,000 feet? Wanna ride?

And then, there is a tulip bulb, planted into the ground. Under the right conditions in the spring, it gives birth to a beautiful flower, a tulip. No mechanical action. Is it the faith of the gardener? Actually, faith isn't needed because the flowers just grow, without much human effort except to put the bulbs into the ground! Amazing! Up from the ground, the flower rises!

These are just some of the things I think about as Easter approaches. Did the kite fly, the barn get built, the hot air balloons fly over Stowe, Vermont, and the flowers make the garden beautiful? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Do I understand it? No, I don't. But, I've seen these things and now, I believe that despite forces that I cannot see, I believe they will happen again and again.

Now comes Easter. All of these previous experiences are akin to appetizers when it comes to what we are asked to believe on Easter. My appetite has come alive with hope that the impossible is possible. Resurrection comes in moments like these, somewhere between necessity, routine, and the unexpected, unrequested.

We are invited to believe, that Jesus died on a cross, was buried in a borrowed grave, and then, after three days, rose back to life. This was testified to by Mary of Magdala, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, who had brought aromatic oils intending to go and anoint the body of Jesus. It was very early Sunday morning, just after sunrise, when they came to the tomb. They found the stone at the tomb rolled away. They went into the tomb, where they saw a youth sitting on the right-hand side, wearing a white robe. They were dumbfounded. But he said to them "Fear nothing; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here; look, there is the place where they laid him.... He will go on before you into Galilee and you will see him there, as he told you."

So, picture, if you will, that you are standing at the tomb, the stone holding shut the entrance. You are there hoping for new life, new hope, the reality of Christ to be present to you, this Easter. You are praying and hoping for a resurrection! You are hoping that the stone will be moved away by some unseen force. Will it happen? Will it move? "Have faith," God says to you. It might come in the voice of your mother, your father, your neighbor, your own spirit, your preacher, a stranger, a teacher, a friend. It might come in the voice of a spring song bird or a dazzling sunrise or sunset. You might ask God to help you move those barriers to new life in your own life. You might just stand there and wait. You might write, run, ride, walk, and/or do whatever it takes to keep you awake and ready to witness what God has in store for you this Easter.

Picture, if you will, that Jesus Christ comes to you this Easter, as he has come to millions before you. He has risen and has gone ahead of you. As I have witnessed in my own life, Jesus had gone ahead of me, moved the stones, and via some unseen force, changed my life and the lives of others.

What about you? What stones would you like to push away? What new life do you seek? What barriers would you like to break? Easter means that you can break through the barriers of the expected and unexpected. Death, stones, assumptions do not have to hold you back. They didn't hold Jesus back. They need not hold you back. They need not hold back the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Picture it, if you will....

Happy Easter,
Dennis

 


 

IN THE SANCTUARY

April 5, 2007 – 7:00 p.m.
Maundy Thursday

Office of Tenebrae with Holy Communion

A service of lessons accompanied by the gradual extinguishing of the lights

 

April 8, 2007 – 7:30 a.m.
Easter Sunday
"Almost" Sunrise Service on the Front Lawn

An informal service of readings and music

 

April 8, 2007 – 10:00 a.m.
Easter Sunday

Festival Service of Morning Worship

Join us to be filled with the Good News that Jesus Christ has risen!

 

Service broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channel 10 (Comcast) or 28 (Verizon) at 7 p.m. on Thursday or Peabody Cable Channel 10 at 8 am on Sunday.

 


 

Easter Offering

Each year at Easter we take a special offering. Half of it goes to the operating budget of the church and the other half is designated for a mission project.

This year the Mission portion of the offering will be divided between Church World Service (for African concerns) and HAWC (Help for Abused Women and their Children) in Salem, MA.

You may use the special offering envelope in your envelope packet or an Easter offering envelope from the pew rack. Your generous contributions will be gratefully received.

 

 

Habitat for Humanity-Reading

All High School youth and adults who signed up for the Habitat workday should plan to meet at the church parking lot at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, April 7. Remember to dress in layers and wear sturdy boots or shoes. Lunch will be provided. We will finish up around 3 p.m.

 

 

Easter Fun Day

Easter Fun Day will be held Saturday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. in Todd Hall.  There will be Easter crafts, games and a story followed by an Easter Egg Hunt on the front lawn. The Rev. Dr. Calvin B. Kool will be on hand to join in the fun. Easter Fun Day is geared toward children 10 and under. Be sure to bring a basket or container for collecting eggs.

Middle School and High School youth volunteers will be meeting at 9:30 a.m. to set up for the event.

 

 

Easter Breakfast

The High School Youth Group will be sponsoring Easter Breakfast beginning at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 8. The menu will include egg casserole, muffins, fruit salad, coffee and juice. Please join us for food, fellowship and a great start to Easter Sunday. If you have volunteered to bring an egg casserole, you may bring it Saturday morning or by 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Youth volunteers are needed to help serve and clean up.

 

 

Youth Group News

There will be no Youth Groups on Sunday, April 8 (Easter) or Sunday, April 15 (school vacation). We will resume meeting on Sunday April 22 at the regular time 6-7:30 p.m.

 

 

News from Boy Scout Troop #48

Last week, Rev. Bailey spoke to the Scouts about backpacking. We ended our month of learning about backpacking with a trip to the Danvers Town Forest. It was a fabulous weekend. We built a replacement bridge over Norris Brook and then hiked to Richardson’s Farm for ice cream. Rev. Bailey joined us for the weekend and was able to share stories of his adventures backpacking and biking. In April we will be studying orienteering and preparing for a geocaching trip to New Hampshire. Orienteering used to be called "Map and Compass" until the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Geocaching is the sport of using GPS to locate previously hidden objects.

 

 

Spring Day of Renewal - April 28

Take a break from your usual Saturday routine and join us on April 28 for a Spring Day of Renewal. The Rev. Pat Bade will be our speaker. Pat (Keeper of the Spirit, the Owl Woman) is a teacher, wildlife rehabilitator and ordained minister of the Congregational Bible Church/Native American Church. She is a storyteller of Irish and Native American (Penobscot) ancestry.

For centuries Native People have lived in harmony with the world around them, living in rhythm with the seasons, plants and animals. This seems like the perfect time of year for us to be reminded of these connections.

We will gather at 9:30 a.m. for coffee and conversation. Pat will begin to share her stories with us at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be provided and we will conclude at 1:00 p.m. with the Seneca Prayer of Thanksgiving and a song. A freewill offering will be taken to defray costs. This will surely be a time of renewal for us all.

Please call Donna Marino (781-581-2022) or Susan Spear (781-334-3050) to let us know you can come.

 

 

News From Around the Parish

We extend our love and sympathy to Dorothy Robinson and her family upon the death of Dr. George Robinson, Sr. on March 26 in Florida. Dr. George and Dorothy were long-time residents of Lynnfield and members of Centre Church before their retirement. He became the town’s physician in 1932.

George Jr. tells us that he was the only doctor in town and that on at least one occasion he skied down Summer Street to deliver a baby. Many people still living in Lynnfield and/or their children were delivered by Dr. Robinson. The family has many fond memories of Centre Church, its people and its ministers. They wish to thank you for all of your prayers.

 

 

Thank You!!

We extend a Special Thank You to Harriet Holt for her generous help with Coffee Hour last week.

 

 


 

OUR OPPORTUNITIES

 

Maundy Thursday

April 5

7:00 pm

8:00 pm

Tenebrae Service - Sanctuary

Senior Choir – Choir Room

Good Friday

April 6

10:30 am

Scripture Study – Pastor’s Office
Saturday

April 7

8:15 am

10:00 am

11:00 am

Habitat for Humanity Work Day

Easter Fun Day – Todd Hall

Rehearsal for Early Easter Service

Easter

April 8

7:30 am

8:45 am

10:00 am

10:00 am

"Almost" Sunrise Service - Lawn

Easter Breakfast – Todd Hall

Easter Worship – Sanctuary

No Rotation Workshops Today

Monday

April 9

7:30 pm

Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
Tuesday

April 10

10:00 am

7:00 pm

Caregivers – Fireside Room

Knitting Group – Fireside Room

Wednesday

April 11

10:00 am

7:00 pm

Craft Group – Kitchen

Membership Committee – Pastor’s Office

Thursday

April 12

7:30 pm Senior Choir – Choir Room
Friday

April 13

10:30 am Scripture Study – Pastor’s Office

Our thoughts and prayers are with Marge Cole, Renaissance Gardens, 400 Brooksby Village Drive, Peabody, 01960; Gladys Davis, Haven Health Care, 20 Chester Road, Derry, NH 03038; Hal Holappa at the Veterans’ Hospital, 200 Springs Rd., Bedford, 01730; Catherine Newman at Oosterman’s 93 Laurel St., Melrose, 02176; Jack Turner at Arnold House, 490 William St., Stoneham, 02180. We also remember Michael Blute in Iraq.

Maundy Thursday – April 5, 2007 – 7:00 p.m.
Ushers: Linda Ladd, Mark Meehl, Karen Harrington, George Hayden

April 8, 2007 – Easter Worship 10:00 a.m.
Head Usher: Karen Harrington.
Lay Reader: Chris Lambe.