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
September 12, 2007
Shopping for Furniture
How do you find what you are looking for when you are shopping for new furniture for your living room, dining room and/or bedroom? Do you go on the Internet or to the stores to see what's out there? Do you take paint samples, wallpaper, swatches of material, and try to match the colors, look for certain styles, look for furniture with solid colors or a pattern of colors?
I built a whole new house in 2004, demolishing the old and starting all over. The hardest part of the project for me was decorating the house, selecting colors for walls, mirrors, knobs for the cabinets, etc. I was fortunate to have a friend who was extremely helpful to me with regard to colors and design. She was skillful in asking me the right questions to get a sense of what I wanted for colors and such. She knew that painting the walls all white was not my heart's desire. My friend visited the local painting departments of the big home stores and brought me swatches of color, teaching me how to match colors. What a project!!! One room after another we made choices. Most of the choices were good ones.
It was my job to find mirrors for 2 ½ bathrooms. The Master bath had two sinks, requiring two mirrors. It was not easy finding two mirrors exactly alike! I toured all of the Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Home Goods, etc. stores I could find. Just when I found one mirror I liked, I was hard pressed to find two alike. I spent a lot of time and money on gasoline driving all over to find a pair of perfect mirrors. Finally, it happened. I was in a Burlington Coat Factory in Revere, MA and from afar I saw two mirrors alike that looked like the perfect fit. Cautiously I walked down the aisle to them, afraid all the while that something would be wrong with one of them. I took them both down and closely examined them. And...., YES!!! They were fine.
Leading up to this I had bought one mirror after another, hoping to find a companion in one of the other company stores. Needless to say, I did a lot of returns! Phone calls yielded only frustration. So when I finally found the right pair, I was very excited, pleased, and happy. I felt like holding a party to celebrate my find!
I sit here today thinking about all of the time and energy I spent finding just the right things for my house. So now, I am asking myself about the more important things in my life. How much time do I spend thinking about how to be a blessing to my family and friends, to God's people. Yes, like many of you, I'm sure, I have spent a lot of time and effort finding just the right things.
As a spiritual person, how much time do I spend thinking about how to give myself to the important things in life? How much time do I spend thinking about and pursuing how to use my life for the benefit of others? Do I seek after that as I sought after the perfect mirrors? Do you spend that same amount of time seeking to please God as you do seeking the right color and style for the things in your life? Do you spend the same kind of money and effort seeking the answer to “To what does God want me to give my life?” as you do when setting up your computer, selecting a new car?
While you and I are out there seeking the perfect things, God is standing there with us asking us to seek to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all our soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
Jesus once commanded, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 4:48). Whoa, that's pretty challenging! How can Jesus expect perfection? We are humans, after all.
In the fourth century men and women were called from ordinary life to go into the desert and meditate on such verses of scripture, in search of the way toward perfection in God's eyes. To us it suggests legalism, strict rules, too narrow for our modern lifestyles. Yet, God doesn't offer these things to us to make our lives limiting, but rather, to expand our lives into greater purpose and joy.
“You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, and with ALL your soul, and with ALL your strength, and with ALL your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Does that sound limiting to you? It doesn't to me. That word “ALL” is huge! Give it everything you’ve got and God will give you more.
I searched for mirrors, cabinet knobs, and such with ALL of my mind, heart, soul, fingers on the Internet, feet in all of the hardware and home stores I could find. I gave it everything and, in the end, I was pleased, very pleased, with my effort. The reviews were excellent! “Where did you get those cute baby blue, glass knobs?” Actually, on the Internet and (what I didn't say) they were the cheapest compared to the pewter and brass knobs. I was spent, but I was pleased.
Are you and I ready to spend ALL of ourselves in allowing God to find us and use us for the greater and greatest purposes we've ever had? God asked our sisters and brothers in the fourth century to give their ALL and seek perfection. I'm not sure they achieved perfection, but unless we give our ALL to something, seeking the very highest possible goal, we will never know exactly what is possible.
Last week I spoke about teaching 5th and 6th grade boys when I was but a teen. Yes, it was hard and I didn't know what I was doing, at first. But it became the stepping stone to my growth toward Christian Ministry. Because I said “yes” to that, a whole new and exciting world was opened to me and I wouldn't be enjoying what I do today if I had refused to accept what God was giving to me.To what does God want you to give your ALL?
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
September 16, 2007
Luke 15: 1-10
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“The Value of Lost and Found”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
Wow! What a wonderful turnout we had for our first Sunday back. The children enjoyed their workshops with lots of enthusiasm and energy! It was great to see all of the kids and their families. This Sunday we continue with our unit on Abraham and Sarah. Families will worship together briefly in the Sanctuary and then the children will move to the Chapel following the children’s sermon.
We still need one person to lead the Upper Room for our next rotation unit. If you like reading stories and enjoy working with children, please call Jill Couillard or Barbara Langill to volunteer your time. The next rotation unit focuses on the story of Esther and will run from October 14 to November 4 (just a short 4 week commitment). Give us a call.
Golf Tournament September 21
Our 5th Annual Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, Sept. 21 at 1 PM at Thomson Country Club in North Reading. This is a scramble/best ball format. The entry fee which gets you 18 holes of golf, cart rental and dinner afterwards is only $125. All net proceeds go to support the Missions program at Centre Church. Call Phil Johnson (781-598-5678) for more information.
Wine Tasting Two
Saturday Sept. 22, 2007
from: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
in the Narthex and Fireside Room
This event is open to Church members and their friends
Suggested donation is $20.00 to defray expenses
Youth Group News
Parents and youth of Grades 5-12 are invited to our first youth group meeting this Sunday, Sept. 16 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. We will meet in Todd Hall for pizza and fun. Parents will be asked to provide meals throughout the year for the groups, so we encourage you to bring your calendars. This year our groups will be structured as follows:
9th-12th Grades: will meet each Sunday for a meal and activity. 6th-8th Grades: will meet each Sunday for a meal and activity. 5th Grade: will meet approx. 2 Sundays a month for a meal and activity.
Schedules and registration forms will be provided at the meeting on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Many thanks to everyone for donating over 40 beach towels. The Middle School will be set to work on their first mission project by boxing the towels up and mailing them with letters to Warm Blankets, an organization set up to help orphans in Cambodia.
A Workshop to construct “sewless” fleece blankets for the Linus Project will be held Wednesday, September 25 in the Library at 7:00 p.m. Join us!
We continue to provide support to a family in Lynn with 3 ill children. Many have assisted with numerous loads of laundry, gas cards and casseroles. Help is still needed. Please call Chris Gehret (781-334-6737) if you can volunteer. You can make a huge difference to this mom.
The Tuesday evening Knitting Group is continuing each week at 7:00 p.m. in the Fireside Room. Patterns for many projects to be given to those in need are provided. Stop in whenever you can or get the patterns and knit at home. Call Chris Gehret for details. (781-334-6737).
ONA Video Film Festival
The first video in this weekly series (October 7) will be “Making History in Massachusetts – the Governor’s Commission on Gay & Lesbian Youth.” That will be followed on October 14 by high school student Corey Johnson’s coming out story which was nationally broadcast on ABC’s 20/20. Everybody is welcome to attend.
Mark Meehl firstname.lastname@example.org
CMYC: Centre Model Yacht Club
If you are interested in building model boats, remote controlled model boats and/or planes, then we would like to hear from you. We would like to make you a CHARTER member of the CMYC, the Centre Model Yacht Club. The club would be for the purpose of social support and interaction (making friends) and enjoying each other's company. Ideas for model building would be shared. Encouragement offered. The Club could meet in the church on a regular schedule. Events for sailing and/or flying would be planned. If you are interested, send us an email, give us a call. We currently have two people interested who have built many of their own remote controlled models. They would like to share their experiences and fun with others. Call: 781-334-3050; email: Pastor@centre-church.org
New Members Welcomed
On Sunday, September 9 we welcomed the following new members:
Addresses, phone numbers and family information for these members is in the newest edition of our directory, The People Book, which is now available in the church office or on the literature table in the Narthex.
From the Mailbox
Thank you to everyone for all your calls, visits and prayers. Centre Church is there for us once again.
Dear Friends of North Shore Youth:
The donations you made to our fundraising day
Means improved quality of life in such a big way.
Your caring & sharing makes a difference you see
To the very special youth
who live in our community.
I send heartfelt thanks, deep gratitude to all
For your generosity when you answered the call.
With sincerest thanks, Fran Soderberg
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Rotation Sensation Workshops
Nursery Care – Room 14
Youth Groups and Parents – Lower Level
|7:00 pm||Knitting Group – Fireside Room|
|Craft Group - Todd Hall
Parish Council – Pastor’s Office
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
Centre Church Golf Tournament – Thomson Country Club
|6:30 - 8:30 pm||Wine Tasting – Narthex & Fireside Room|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
SAVE THE DATE! Reports from Committees, Election of Officers Approval of 2007-08 Budget Printed Annual Reports available Sunday, Sept. 16 and in the Church Office during the week.
Annual Meeting of the Congregation
September 23, 2007 After Worship
Reports from Committees, Election of Officers Approval of 2007-08 Budget
Printed Annual Reports available Sunday, Sept. 16 and in the Church Office during the week.