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

May 2, 2007

 


 

Money In My Life

My parents helped my brother and me save for our first car. While working on the family farm as children, our parents would put away money for us whenever the cattle were sold. The money was put into a savings account that would, eventually, help us buy our first car.

My maternal grandfather taught me about money by giving me a job, summers, weekends, and holidays, building new houses. In addition, he would, on occasion, pull me aside when I was in college and give me some spending money. It was his way of giving me encouragement, support, and, most of all, his love. He taught me that he loved to give and that money was one way of showing that love. He showed me love in many ways. He didn't hang on to his money. He used it for love.

I first came to terms with giving to the church when I was in college. I was sitting in the front row of the church with my brother and my cousin when it came to me. I didn't have a lot of money in those college days, but I wanted to take a leap of faith with regard to my giving. I wanted to find out, in part, what would happen to me if I gave more than was expected of me. So, sometime in the years 1967 to 1970, I decided to put $5.00 in the offering plate each week. That was at least 10 % of my weekly income of $30 to $50 in those days. Sometimes I would put in $10.00, pushing myself to give on a more serious level. Nothing terrible happened to me and I felt good.

I didn't tell anyone about this. I didn't get a receipt at the end of the year because it was just cash. I wanted to see if I could afford to do it, how I would feel about it. It wasn't, for me, about supporting the church as much as it was about my relationship with God. Could I follow Jesus not just in my heart, but in my giving and service to the church?

I was attending worship almost every Sunday and, for a few years, teaching the 5th to 6th grade Sunday School Class. Christianity became, for me, heart, service, and giving. It remains that way for me.

Apparently I could afford to give at the level of about 10% because I never filed for bankruptcy. Over the years I struggled with this as my financial responsibilities increased in marriage, with children, automobile and housing expenses, etc. No, I haven't always given at the 10% level, but I did come back to it early into my ministry and have tried to stick to it most of the time.

Church budget? How important is the church budget as it relates to my giving? I'm forced to look at and help with the church budget because I'm the pastor, an officer of the church. But, my decision about how much to pledge and give to the church continues to be decided upon by my relationship to God. Like you, I go through particular financial challenges and yet, my giving toward the church is and will continue to be one of the most important financial decisions I make this year. Not just because I'm a pastor but yes, because I am a pastor and need to be willing to set an example. I have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

What about you? When was money first given to you while you were growing up? What were the messages about money that you received? Was money seen as a gift? Was it something you always had to work for, do a chore for? And then, when you received the money, what was its purpose? Was some or all of it to be saved? Was it just for you, allowing you to use it for whatever you wanted? Did you spend it on food treats, movies, games, etc.?

The messages about money we receive growing up are very important and set the stage for what we believe about money for the rest of our lives. Preachers receive messages about money also. The message we receive is that people in our congregations don't like to hear us talk about money. And yet, secretly everyone wants to know what is expected financially by the church. Everyone wants to know what others give. And yet, we keep it all secret, confidential, saying, "it's no one's business what I give to the church."

We vaguely throw ideas around saying, "Give as much as you can," "Ten percent is offered in the Bible, ten percent of your income, a tithe," "make giving to the church a significant part of your financial agenda" (I often say this), "We are all expected to support the church financially as part of our membership," ...., on it goes.

Whether you believe that what you give to the church is anyone else's business or not, it is serious business, as per these words of Jesus, "Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are" (Matthew 6, TEV).

I don't like guilt trips about money or anything else. I hope that is not what you feel from me as your Pastor when I talk about money. Yet, this is a spiritual topic that comes with a lot of emotional baggage. Oh dear!!! Touchy, touchy, touchy!

This is what I ask of you, my friends, whether you belong to Centre Congregational Church or another church and are reading this. I ask you to come to terms with your giving, as did I while I was in college. Try the experiment. Take a leap of faith and give more than is expected of you. Try it. Try giving more than you think you can. Give to the relationship you have with God. The Stewardship Crew at Centre Church is asking us to consider a baseline of giving, increasing our giving by at least one percent of our income.

And, to this day, when I give, I think of my maternal grandfather, smiling, taking pride, as he gave of his love to me in heart, service (the jobs), and in money.

Join Hands. Share the Journey!

Yours in Christ,
Dennis

 


 

IN THE SANCTUARY

May 6, 2007 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

10:00 A.M. Holy Communion

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey

Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.

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.

 


 

 

Rotation Sensation

On Sunday, May 6 we will continue with our unit on Ruth.

All 8th grade youth are asked to be in church on Sunday, May 20. We need the cooperation of everyone at one time to plan for youth/children’s Sunday. We will work together in the Pastor’s outer office during our regular class time. Please mark your calendars!

 

 

Youth Group News

Those Middle School Youth who are going whitewater rafting will meet in the Narthex at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night, May 4. The signed liability waivers were due back by April 29. If you have not returned yours, kindly drop it off before Friday in the church office.

The Middle School Youth Group will go to My Brother’s Table in Lynn, MA on Saturday, May 12 where we will help to sort donated cans. We will meet in the chapel at 2:30 and return sometime between 6:00 and 6:30. A firm commitment is needed by Friday, May 4. Kindly call the church office to reserve a spot.

There will be no Youth Group Meetings on May 6.

 

 

Opera at Centre Church

On Saturday, May 5 the Young Opera Company of New England, led by Marie Stultz, will present Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell at Centre Church at 4:00 p.m. To order tickets call 1-978-296-8459. This concert is supported by a grant from the Lynnfield Cultural Council.

 

 

Mission Trip Luncheon

Highlights from the April Mission Trip will be presented at a luncheon after church on Sunday, June 3. (This was originally scheduled for May 6, but is being postponed due to several youth’s participation in the Boston Walk for Hunger).

 

 

Confirmation Reminders

Confirmands and Mentors will meet with the Diaconate on Sunday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fireside Room for presentation of papers.

The Confirmation Rehearsal is Saturday, May 12 from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Confirmands, Mentors and Deacons are required to attend.

Confirmation Sunday is May 13. At 9:00 a.m. Families, Confirmands and Mentors will meet for pictures. The Service of Confirmation is at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. We have 13 Confirmands this year.

 

 

Golfing With God

 Our annual golf program is starting up again on Thursday morning May 17.  We tee off at 6 AM sharp at Reedy Meadow Golf Course in Lynnfield center.  We play 9 holes under a best ball format.  All skill levels welcome.  We usually finish around 8:15 and then convene in the church basement for 30 minutes or so of bible study and discussion.  After our kick off on May 17 we then continue throughout the summer every other Thursday morning.  We conclude in September with an 18 hole tournament and dinner.  This year we look forward to welcoming Dennis Bailey to Golfing with God.  And we hope to be joined by other new players as well.

If you have questions please contact Phil Johnson (781-598-5678) or Chris Parker (781-334-4335).

 

 

News from Around the Parish

Our congratulations to Mike and Jill Watson of Rowley upon the birth of a daughter, Ashley Pamela Watson on April 20. Her proud big sisters are Julia and Ava, her grandparents are John and Pam Harris and her great-grandmother is Irene Allyn.

Our congratulations to Devon Abt, Andrew Decker, Alyssa Langill, Kaitlyn Morrissey, Diana Triffletti and William Vaughan who were recently inducted into National Honor Society at Lynnfield High.

 

 

From the Mailbox

Dear Centre Church,

Thank you for your kind thoughts and the beautiful flowers that I received. I’m sure that they helped me in my recovery. Karen Harrington

 

Dear Everyone who helped with the meal served at Maple Street Church in Danvers,

My husband Mark and I lost our home and most of our belongings on November 22. Our house is being torn down next week. We are living in an apartment and miss our neighbors and our neighborhood very much. Every Thursday we look forward to the reunion of our friends and neighbors. This is where we know people understand all we have gone through. It has helped us cope with the situation. We want to thank you for serving us supper. It meant more than you can know. We will always remember this generous gift.

Sincerely,
Janet Lettich,
12 Riverside St., Danvers

 

 

Spring Day of Renewal

Thank you all very much for coming to hear Rev. Pat Bade speak on Native American traditions last Saturday. I feel confident that she touched all of us in one way or another. A special thank you to Susan Spear, Grayce Kushmerek and Edie Richard for their help with lunch and the food. It was so nice to have long-time church members, newer members and friends of members in attendance.

Donna Marino

 

 

Centre Church Brick Patio

Take the opportunity now to create a lasting memorial to someone, to recognize someone, to celebrate an event or your life in Centre Church by ordering a brick for our patio. There is a 4" by 8" brick with up to 3 lines of engraving - 20 characters per line (including spaces and punctuation.) That brick costs $75. There is also an 8" x 8" brick offering up to 6 lines of engraving with 20 characters per line. That brick costs $125.

Your support of Centre Church in this way is most appreciated. Proceeds are used to offset the costs of the mortgage we took out to pay for the parking lot.

If you have any questions contact Phil Johnson at pcjohnson@meei.harvard.edu or at 781-598-5678.

 

 

Our Youth Are Going To Starve Hunger

High School Students in our congregation are choosing to make a difference. They are getting ready to take part in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. Because they are choosing to be a part of the solution, literally tons of food and other necessities will be provided to hungry and suffering children based on what they do.

Here’s where you come in.

  • First, please pray for those who will be participating in the Famine.

  • Second, prayerfully consider how you can come alongside them and offer your financial support to help save kids’ lives. In a world that loses over 29,000 children every day to hunger and disease, we all can make a difference.

  • The youth will be looking for sponsors after church on May 6. You may also mail a donation to the church office (check made out to the church with memo portion showing 30 Hour Famine.)

  • So much to do. So little time. But by taking the time – just one weekend – we will be making a difference in children’s lives.

    World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world's poor— regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

    Reminder to participants: You must turn in your parental consent form by May 6.

     

     

    Missions Pantry

    Open every day to receive Redeemable Bottles and Cans, AluminumvCan Pull Tabs, Used Eyeglasses, Non-Perishable Food, Travel Size Toiletries, Used Cell Phonesv(numbers erased with charger), knitted squares. Please Note that we will not receive donations of housewares for Bridge House until further notice.

     

     


     

    OUR OPPORTUNITIES

     

    Sunday

    May 6

    10:00 am

    10:00 am

    10:00 am

    11:30 am

    7:00 pm

    Holy Communion – Sanctuary

    Rotation Workshops

    Nursery – Room 14

    Youth Choir – Choir Room

    Confirmands & Deacons – Fireside

    Tuesday

    May 8

    10:00 am

    7:00 pm

    Caregivers – Fireside Room

    Knitting Group – Fireside Room

    Wednesday

    May 9

    10:00 am Craft Group – Todd Hall
    Thursday

    May 10

    7:30 pm Senior Choir – Choir Room
    Friday

    May 11

    10:30 am

    6:00 pm

    Scripture Study – Pastor’s Office

    Hi School 30 Hour-Famine Begins

    Saturday

    May 12

    12-1:30 pm

    2:30 pm

    Confirmation Class Rehearsal

    Middle School Youth to My

    Brother’s Table

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Marilyn Bommer at North Shore Medical Center-Salem Hospital, 81 Highland Ave., Salem 01970; Barbara Wright, Sawtelle Family Hospice House, 320 Haverhill St., Reading, 01867; 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.

     

    Sunday, May 6:
    Ushers
    : Jeff Law, George Hayden, Mark Meehl, Karen Harrington
    Lay Reader
    : Jason Cotting
    Coffee Hour
    : Debbie and Chuck Cotting
    Altar Flowers Provided by:
    Cheryl and Jim Wersackas
    Altar Flower Delivered by
    : Edie and Earl Richard