Centre Congregational Church
We Welcome Everyone: An "Open & Affirming" Church
Phone: (781) 334-3050; Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email:
Douglas W. Hodgkins: Organist/Choir Director
June 6, 2007
A Boy and His Dog
(In honor of Children's Sunday1)
Once upon a time a boy and his dog decided to go on a trip to visit the boy's mother who was recovering from an operation. The boy and his dog made all their preparations:
Directions for the trip
The boy readied his beast of burden, a ram, more commonly called a Dodge.
When everything was ready for the trip the boy and his dog went to sleep for the night. While they slept three angels visited the home of the boy and his dog. They left a box filled with travel blessings for the duo.
The next morning when the boy and his dog awoke they found the box that had been left by the three angels. They read the instructions which had been carefully written on the seal of the box.
The instructions read: “Do not open the box until you see the sign with a Green Hat while on your journey. Once sighted, the sign will assure you that you are on the correct path and that it is safe to open the box.”
The boy and his dog were puzzled, but read on... “If you open the box before you see the sign with the Green Hat the contents of the box will disappear the instant you open it.”
After reading the instructions on the box, the boy and his dog loaded all of their supplies and the box upon their ram for the journey and off they went. As they traveled they wondered where on their trip they would see the sign with the Green Hat. They each kept one keen eye open for the Green Hat and the other keen eye on the special box. It was very hard to be patient and resist the temptation to open the box too soon. Mile after mile they traveled, looking for a Green Hat.
Suddenly the boy's dog started to sneeze, then growl, and then, as if overcome by a spell, started barking without pause! No matter how hard the boy tried he couldn't comfort his dog so that she would stop barking.
“What's wrong,” asked the boy.
About that time the boy saw it, the Green Hat posted on a sign indicating that this was the road they were to take on the trip to his mother's house. The sign with the Green Hat? The Massachusetts Turnpike!
The boy brought his ram to a stop in front of the sign with the Green Hat. Now, when they looked at the box it was aglow and radiant as if it had become a magical box. And now they knew their patience had paid off. Excited and full of anticipation, the boy and his dog started to open the box.
As soon as they broke the seal on the box it was blown open as if by a magic wind from inside the box. Out of the box came several travel blessings. The blessings flew around the boy and his dog, coming to rest in a row in front of them.
The First Blessing the boy picked up was a container that the boy recognized. It was Dead Sea Tupperware. He carefully opened the container to find sweets of popcorn and candy, held together by a sweet caramel sauce. As he ate some of this blessing he was reminded of friends back home who stick together, no matter what.
The Second Travel Blessing was large and round. The boy knew at once what it was, homemade cheesecake! He tasted it immediately and recognized the taste as coming from one of his favorite bakers. His mouth watered as this was the best cheesecake he had ever tasted! As he ate it he was reminded of how important to him was the milk of human kindness.
The Third Travel Blessing was for the boy's dog. The dog was already poised beside this blessing impatiently waiting for the boy to open it. As he did the dog smiled and sat up knowing that she was in for a real treat. As the boy gave his dog one of the treats, sizzlin' with chicken flavor, basted with real chicken, he was reminded of how he knew that when he traveled he was never alone.
The Fourth Blessing the boy noticed was in six carefully prepared green containers. As he picked up one of the containers he realized it to be his favorite magic energy drink (Mountain Dew®). It was the drink that had helped him get through his school days, staying alert and awake while he studied and attended classes. It gave him courage and persistence for long journeys. It reminded the boy of the importance of being watchful and awake for whatever may come.
The Fifth, and what was thought to be the last, Blessing, was in a red box. The boy knew this was a good sign because red is his favorite color. Inside the box he found chocolate delights, each containing a cherry. The heavenly “vitamin balls” gave the boy all the energy, strength, and joy he would need to survive the dangers that might be faced on the long journey.
While the boy and his dog pondered all of these wonderful blessings they suddenly realized that there was a Sixth Blessing. Instead of being in front of the Green Hat, they were now in front of the boy's mother's house. The boy concluded that this last blessing, while having given them safe passage, was the love that had always safely carried him and his dog through their many travels together. That same love had carried them through another journey.
That night, as the boy and his dog knelt down at their bedside together to say their prayers, they thanked God for the box, the unexpected blessings, the safe and successful journey, and the love of the three angels that had created and delivered it. They didn't know exactly who it was, but they kind of figured it out to be the very same angels of God, especially appointed by God, who were the guardians over all traveling little boys and their dogs.
The boy and his dog ate and traveled safely together happily ever after.
1I wrote this story some years ago when some parishioners gave me and my late dog, “Fluffy,” an 8 lb. Pomeranian, a box of goodies for a trip I took to see my mother, recovering from knee surgery.
IN THE SANCTUARY
June 10, 2007 - Children’s Sunday
Deuteronomy 7:9, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Recognition of the Youth Choir, Leaders and Shepherds, and
Retiring Tower Day Teacher, Dorrie Lauzon
Special Music by the Youth Choir
All children Pre-K through Grade 8 will participate in the service.
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.
Children’s Sunday - June 10
On Sunday June 10 we will be holding a special worship service led by the children. Each class will participate. Ice cream will be served on the front lawn following the service. All children should plan to meet in the Narthex at 9:30 am.
The High School youth group will meet at 12 noon Friday June 15 for the Hershey Park Retreat. Please eat lunch before you come or bring a bag lunch.
Many thanks to all those who attended the Mission Trip Luncheon. We greatly appreciate the generous support of so many in our congregation.
Camp Caribou – Please let us know if you plan on attending the August (8/31) retreat to Camp Caribou. We need to have a count in by June 8.
Starting an ONA Discussion Series
You are invited to view the documentary “Straight From the Heart” in the Fireside Room on Sunday, June 17th at 10 a.m. (after our first 9 a.m. service in the Chapel.) This Academy-Award nominated documentary explores the difficulties of coming to terms with a gay or lesbian child.
Next fall I plan to present more films and speakers to promote discussion about the issues that have an effect on gay people in today’s society and how we as a church can live out our promise to be Open and Affirming. Please feel free to contact me, Mark Meehl, in church or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to your attendance, support, and interest in these programs.
Vacation Bible School
The Great Bible Reef is rolling into Centre Church July 9-July 13. We have extended the deadline for sign-up! Please get your child(ren) signed up by Wednesday, June 13th. We are excited about this week and hope your child(ren) can join us. Call the church office if you have any questions.
You Can Help
Outreach Ministries has 2 opportunities for you to make a difference.
On Thursday, June 14th we will be serving another meal at the Maple Street Church in Danvers to assist those who continue to be displaced by the explosion of last Thanksgiving. We will be serving a simple meal, and help is needed for preparation that afternoon, serving, and desserts, and of course financial contributions are always appreciated. Please see Mary Ann Parker or Chris Gehret for questions or to help.
Our help has been solicited to help a young mother in Lynn with triplets who have all been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Jane Truesdale Ellis, a local attorney who assists those with significant medical issues, is requesting help with laundry at this point. This seemingly small task will make a world of difference to this mother and the boys' four year old sister. Please call Chris Gehret (781-334-6737) for details.
As always thank you for your support.
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to Rev. Elva Merry Pawle upon the recent death of her mother, Harriet Merry. (Elva’s address is: 37 Ingersoll Dr., Westfield, MA 01085)
Our love and sympathy are with Camille Ernest and her family upon the death of her sister, Lucy Gaspar. A funeral service was held on Monday, June 4.
We rejoice with Rick and Heather Lowe upon the birth of a son, Devin Anthony Lowe on June 1. His proud big brother is Dylan.
Our congratulations and best wishes to Marion Barnes who will celebrate her 97th Birthday on June 14th.
Your Efforts Are Appreciated!
Thank you to the children of the church school, Evy Round and Pinky Warnock for beautifying the lawns with the lovely flowers. Thank you to Carol MacKendrick for her calligraphy on recent confirmation, wedding and baptism certificates.
Rev. Bailey is sorry to announce that due to personal circumstances he is not able to offer the planned backpacking trip this summer. He apologizes for this inconvenience but plans to offer it in the future. He may lead some Saturday hiking trips come August and/or September. If you are interested in a day hiking trip, please notify him by sending your name and phone to him directly, or by calling the church office.
UCC Open and Affirming Coalition
My name is Mark Meehl. I joined the church in 2006. I sing in the Church Choir, and am a member of the Diaconate. I will also be representing Centre Church at the National Gathering of the UCC (United Church of Christ) ONA (Open and Affirming) Coalition in Hartford Connecticut for 3 days this June 19 – 21. I expect to learn more about the ONA movement in the UCC there. No doubt I shall bring back videos, reading materials, stories, inspiration, and ideas to share with everyone in an effort to help us all more deeply understand the meaning of being an Open and Affirming church. For more information go to: www.ucccoalition.org.
If you have any questions or any ideas that you’d like me to discuss at the Coalition, please feel free to contact me, Mark Meehl, in church or via email: email@example.com
Lynnfield High School Coffee House
All are invited to a Coffee House at Lynnfield High School on Wednesday, June 13th at 7:00 p.m. Members of the High School Music Department (many of whom are Centre Church members) will provide the music. Admission is $5.00 and includes refreshments.
|Children’s Sunday – Sanctuary
Ice Cream Social – Front Lawn
|Safe Church Training – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|Caregivers – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Library
|10:30 am||Scripture Study – Pastor’s Office
High School Youth Group to Hershey, PA
Our thoughts and prayers are with Barbara Hoffman at Woodbriar of Wilmington, 90 West St., Wilmington, 01887; Lew Batchelder and Edith Reed at Rosewood Nursing and Rehab. Center, 22 Johnson St., W. Peabody, 01960; Martha Nelson and Madge Schwarz at Renaissance Gardens, 400 Brooksby Village Dr., Peabody, 01960; Gladys Davis at 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; and Elva Batchelder recuperating at home. We also remember Michael Blute in Iraq.
Sunday, June 10:
Ushers: Tyler Nardone, James Langill, Lindsay Jodoin and Jeff Couillard
Altar Flowers Provided by: Lola Leggett
Altar Flowers Delivered by: Chuck Cotting & Marybeth Weilandt