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
October 10, 2007
Well, I'm deeply involved in house work these days: painting exterior doors, scraping wallpaper off walls, priming same walls, overseeing a new roof and hardwood floor refinishing, installing new door hardware, locks....
Have you ever done something once, made mistakes, and then, had the opportunity to do it again, but better the next time. It's learning from your mistakes.
Today I continued to work on my exterior doors, applying the second coat of paint. But first, this time, I worked harder on the preparation: scraping old paint off the glass, scraping new paint off the glass and then, doing a much better job at taping. I also did some sanding of the rough spots off the doors. I carefully taped the new hardware I just installed so as to avoid getting paint on it, something I didn't do the first time but, after all, it was old hardware. The painting actually took about one-third the time of the preparation, but, a much better result. Just two more coats of paint and I should be set.
God has given us the ability to learn from our experiences. When I first started backpacking on the Appalachian Trail I would take photos of beautiful scenes, scenery, smiling hikers, smiling me. Well, after taking a few hundred photos of nothing but pure happiness and beauty it kept bothering me that I didn't have any photos of the moments and experiences that were the most memorable. What were they? Were they the pretty, beautiful, happy hiker pictures? No. They were not. The most memorable experiences, the ones that I talked about the most, were the challenging experiences, the hard and horrible days on the trail, when the weather was very hot and humid and the trail unrelenting. The times when I fell, when I bled, when I wished I was home, the times when it was very wet and very cold, when after days and nights of rain, every piece of clothing I had was wet, including my sleeping bag.
So, I decided to try to remember to take pictures of these events, these experiences. I captured the agonized face of a friend, Frank, who, after a too-long day of hiking in Pennsylvania developed blisters on his feet. He should not have been hiking with blisters. It was my fault he was there and I thought that if I snapped that picture he was going to be mad at me forever. No sooner than I had taken that picture did he reach into his backpack and ask me to take one for him. I still have that picture. Another friend, Laurel, fell and fractured her arm. While being safely tended to by my more experienced partner... “Snap.” And yet another fell down a set of stairs on the trail in Maine at the end of the day. I heard it happen, turned around, saw him sitting at the base of the stairs after going head over heels a couple of times. He had a few cuts and scrapes but all his parts were working. I asked him, “Are you okay, Jim?” “Yes.” “Snap.”
You may think me cruel, weird, even sadistic. But, it helps me remember how these friends endured and went on to greater things. Frank was enrolled in Theological School. He graduated and became an ordained minister. It didn't work out for him. After about a year he left the ministry permanently, going into another line of work. It was my fault he went into the ministry. Yet, he endured and has had a happy marriage, successful career, and raised a bright and happy daughter.
Laurel? She became a PhD and continues to teach, as a professor, at a well-known University. I performed her wedding, became godparent to their first child and remain friends to this day. Her husband has had life-changing medical challenges. She, through faith, has endured many, many challenges. We continue to talk about that day that she fractured her arm on the trail in Vermont and had to find some willing volunteers passing by on the road who would take her to the hospital for X-rays and treatment. I'm glad I have the picture.
Jim? Well, he continued hiking, all the way to Nepal. He was a very quiet man who, when I invited anyone interested from my first parish in Jamaica Plain, came to me and inquired about my offer of a 4-day backpacking trip in the Berkshires. That's where it started. Jim had never backpacked, but he was a natural. Because I invited, Jim went. If I had never invited Jim, he would never have gone hiking in the Berkshires, in Vermont, in New Hampshire, in Connecticut, in Maine and, in Nepal. Nepal, where the altitudes were 15,000 to more than 20,000 feet. While I have never been to Nepal, I was very, very excited that Jim got to go. Jim had gone to church, accepted an invitation to backpack through the woods and it took him to the other side of the world, to trek on some of the most renowned mountainscapes in the world.
I'm glad that I learned to take a different kind of picture. I'm glad my friends learned to get up and try again and again. I'm glad they remained my friends, after I took those pictures! I'm glad I became a minister and met these very special people. I'm glad I witnessed their “falls” and their successes. I'm glad they have faith.
Jim died a few years ago. While I was not able to attend his funeral, his Nepal trekking buddies were there to remember him and celebrate his life, his enduring spirit, his persevering spirit, his courage. These qualities
were there, inside of him all along, but no one, not even Jim, knew about them until he laced up his hiking books, put on a backpack, and started walking.
What invitations are coming your way? What invitations can you extend to give life, faith, hope, and adventure to another? What do you have that can be shared so that others will also learn, perhaps from their mistakes, their falls, their scrapes and bruises?
I'm glad I started taking a different kind of picture. My friends still get mad at me when I have my
camera aimed at them as they walk across a narrow log over a stream, just in case they slip and fall. I have learned that such a fall can change a life, inspire a journey, give way to something more and maybe, just maybe, a mountain top experience of a spiritual kind.
Never underestimate the power of an invitation, an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, and the ability to endure a fall.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
October 14, 2007
Jeremiah 17:5-10 Luke 6:17-26
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“The Importance of Geography”
Children’s Message: “True Happiness”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
We begin our new Rotation Unit – ESTHER this Sunday. We welcome all children and youth through Grade 8 to join us! We will learn about Esther through Art, Upper Room, Movie and Cooking.
Infants and toddlers through age 3 are welcomed in the Nursery each Sunday morning.
Youth Group Car Wash
This Sunday morning, October 14, get your car sparkling clean while you attend worship! Your car will be hand washed by a talented, dedicated group of young people and their adult supervisors. Just bring your car to the church parking lot and someone will direct you to the wash area. Your car will be washed and parked (by an adult) by the time service ends. All donations will go toward this year’s High School Mission Trip.
If you do not want your car washed on Sunday morning, and if you are able, we would appreciate it if you could please park behind the library, in the town hall parking lot, or in front of the church. Thank you.
Film Festival Continues
Eighteen-year-old Corey Johnson was the clean-cut co-captain of Masconomet Regional High School’s football team with Tommy Hilfiger good looks. He became the first high school football player in the country to come out and became an instant gay hero who was profiled in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and he spoke at the Millennium March in Washington, D.C. This Sunday October 14th we will view the nationally broadcast 20/20 TV Program’s coverage of Corey’s coming out story. Special guest speaker Ann Richardson (Corey’s mom) will view the video with us and share her experience about how The Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students made relationships better for Corey, her family, and the larger community. This video is the second in our ONA Video Film Festival Series. It will be held in the Fireside Room immediately after Sunday Service.
Centre Church “Chowdafest”
Sunday October 21, 2007 from: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Join us in Richards Hall.
The menu includes Clam Chowder, Crackers, Corn Bread, Water or Coffee with Cranberry Crumble or Brownies for dessert – all for $6.00. You may eat in or take away!
See any member of the Membership Committee to volunteer or sign up in the Narthex after church services.
Chuck Cotting, Doreen DiFillippo, Sue Lambe, Kristen Robinson, Laurie Timmons, Cindy Trayers
New from Boy Scout Troop #48
Last weekend the Troop had a very successful bicycle trip to Martha’s Vineyard. They returned home early on Columbus Day to recognize Jason Pescione and Liam Kochocli who had earned their Eagle Scout badges. Selectman Arthur Bourque presented the awards at the Court of Honor
Your Help is Needed!
We are still looking for a few facilitators to get discussions flowing for a Sunday morning High School group. The discussions will center around the scripture readings for the morning. If you are interested in facilitating this group and would like to work with other volunteers, please call Jill Couillard or Barbara Langill. Call today, the youth are waiting! It is important to note that we are looking for several facilitators in order that everyone has a chance to work with the group and also be able to frequently attend worship in the sanctuary.
Youth Group News
All groups will meet on October 14 from 6:00-7:30. The 5th Grade will be in the kitchen downstairs. The 6th-8th Grade will meet in Todd Hall and the High School will meet in Richards Hall. Remember, we will share a meal together and participate in fellowship and fun. See you then.
Special Note: Any 5th Grader who did not attend the first meeting is welcome to join at any time. We encourage anyone in the group to bring a friend. The group promises to be a lot of fun with activities like laser tag, pumpkin carving, movies, snow tubing with more being planned. Come see what it is all about!
New Sign to be Installed
Thanks to Bob Shorey and Jack Marino we have a new sign for Centre Church and Tower Day School for the entrance to the parking lot. Your help is needed either Saturday Oct. 20 or 27 to install it. Many hands will make the job go quickly. Please let me know if you can help. Phil Johnson, Chair Finance Ministries
Eight O’Clock Wheel
The 8 O’Clock Wheel will meet for lunch a Brooksby Village on Monday, October 15 at 11:30 a.m. Please call Elouise Bjorkman for more information.
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to the family and friends of Bill Flight who died on September 29. Bill is survived by his son John, John’s wife Jan, his granddaughter Kimberly Contardo, and great-grandsons Nicholas and Jack. A memorial service will be held at Centre Church on Friday, October 12 at 6:00 p.m.
Our love and prayers are with the Brierley family upon the recent death of Rob’s mother, Ruth Brierley of Burlington, MA.
Lynnfield High School Coffee House
October 17 - 7:00 p.m.
Come and enjoy the wonderful music!
From the Mailbox
Dear Friends of Centre Church,
It was such a delightful surprise to get such a beautiful plant of yellow chrysanthemums. I am sorry that I did not get to thank the one who delivered them personally, so I hope they will know that I appreciate their thoughtfulness. The flowers surely help to make my room more cheerful and I say thank you. I am pleased to report that I am doing quite well and recently had some very good reports from my doctor.
My best to everyone at Centre Church, Fran Brown
Mass Conference Annual Meeting
On Saturday, September 29 Bill Seelig and Mark Meehl represented Centre Church as delegates to part 2 of the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference UCC held in Worcester MA. The meeting was attended by over 500 delegates, clergy, and guests from throughout Massachusetts. The day began with a continental breakfast and was followed by three hearings and information sessions: 1) Board proposal: "A Still More Excellent Way", is the culmination of several years of effort to "transform our use of Massachusetts Conference’s Resources for Vitality and Covenant", 2) Resolution on Massachusetts Innocence Commission, 3) Clergy Compensation and Continuing Education Guidelines. Following the hearings an official meeting was called to order, and debate on "A Still More Excellent Way" began followed by a vote passing the proposal. Next, the Clergy Compensation and Continuing Education Guidelines was voted on and accepted. After the official business ended we had an Italian lunch buffet that included a keynote speaker, the Rev. Lillian Daniel, who gave an excellent talk about hospitality. After lunch, all had the opportunity to attend one of many workshops that were available. Finally, in the late afternoon, a Service of Worship and Installation was held at the nearby Wesley United Methodist Church for the installation of Rev. Dr. Jim Antal as the new leader of the Massachusetts Conference. A sermon was given by UCC leader John Thomas.
Information related to the Massachusetts Conference UCC can be found at www.macucc.org or contact one of your delegates if you have any questions or would like to get involved in this activity in the future.
Bill Seelig, Delegate
Church Fair – November 10
Your help is greatly appreciated!
Call Donna Marino 781-581-2022.
Supplemental Pledge Drive
The budget for 2007-2008 was approved at Annual Meeting on September 23, 2007. Included in that budget is a line item for supplemental pledges in the amount of $25,000. We are writing to you now to explain why supplemental contributions are needed and why it is so important for everyone to participate. You can find complete budget details in the Annual Report which is available at church.
We have successfully balanced our budgets in recent years without using our stored reserves. We want to keep that trend intact. Over these most recent budget periods, we have kept our expenses under control, and for the 2007-2008 budget, there is only minor inflationary growth in our anticipated expenses. We have not been so fortunate on the income side of the budget.
We did have a successful stewardship campaign last spring, and the result was a significant increase in our pledged giving. But, the increase was not enough to cover the expenses for this coming year. Thus, to produce a balanced budget for 2007-2008, we have included supplemental pledge income of $25,000. Our expectation is that, if we want to maintain our string of balanced budgets, we’ll need to work vigorously in our fundraising and our supplemental pledge drive. Accordingly, Parish Council has decided to proceed with a supplemental pledge drive early in the year rather than waiting to “see how it goes.” Financially, we have had a good year and a half, and we believe we are in better shape than we were in 2005. Financial concerns remain, but over the last few years, we have been good stewards of our financial resources, and we believe that, with confidence and faith, we will continue to meet those challenges.
Raising an additional $25,000 may sound like a fairly daunting task. But, if we spread that $25,000 over all of the pledging units, it means that each pledging unit would need to give an average supplemental contribution of only $200 in order for us to meet the goal. Certainly $200 sounds a lot less daunting than $25,000! If we all do what we can, and the average supplemental contribution is $200, we will raise the money we need. The budget will be balanced without dipping into our reserves.
The money you give to our local church expenses covers items like salaries, programs, Sunday worship, Christian education and youth ministry, music, utilities, building maintenance-pretty much everything that happens at Centre Church. And, there is no doubt that there’s a lot happening at Centre Church! There were 38 young people at the first Youth Group meeting. We had 10 new members join the church a few weeks ago, and there may be as many as 15 teenagers enrolled in this year’s Confirmation Class. We are starting this fall with excitement and enthusiasm. With your generous support, we will maintain that momentum and meet this new challenge.
We ask that you give prayerful consideration to your supplemental contribution. Checks for supplemental contributions should contain the word “supplemental” in the memo line so our Financial Secretary will know it is for your supplemental contribution and not your regular pledge. We ask that you return your supplemental contribution at your earliest convenience since it is important for us to address this $25,000 early in the budget year. Let’s Join Hands…Share the Journey and “go the extra mile” as we embark on this Supplemental Pledge Drive.
Yours in Faith,
Dwight Decker, Treasurer; Debbie Cotting, Stewardship Ministries Chair
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Rotation Sensation Workshops
Car Wash – Parking Lot
ONA Film Festival – Fireside Room
Confirmation Class – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Safe Church Training – Library
Youth Groups (5th-12th) - Lower Level
|6;00 pm||Confirmation Class – Pastor’s Office|
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|Craft Group - Todd Hall
Pastoral Relations Committee
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
Confirmands to Craigville Retreat
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Head Usher: Karen Harrington
Greeter: Mike Nickerson
Coffee Hour: Lynne Forgione
Altar Flowers: Marybeth Weilandt
Altar Delivery: Edie and Earl Richard
Cable Coverage of Worship Services
Centre Church’s Worship Services are broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channel 10 (Comcast) or Channel 28 (Verizon) on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and also on Peabody Cable Channel 10 on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m.