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
January 2, 2008
What is a home? Among the many answers for me is, home would be a place of generosity, giving, receiving, and blessing.
I moved into my new home at the end of October, 2007. The moving was filled with generosity at the hands and hearts of parishioners from Centre Church who helped me move all of my stuff and furniture from my apartment in Peabody to my house in Lynn. I am grateful.
Before that, my apartment home was filled with generosity as friends from Billerica as well as my new friends in Lynnfield helped me move. I was grateful.
Housewarming: Now, I speak in gratitude for another great generosity that has been shown to me, further filling my new home with love. This occurred in the form a Housewarming the members and friends of Centre Church shared with me on Sunday, December 23, 2007, at the end of the Christmas Pageant Worship Service.
Certain kind-hearted parishioners decided that it would be nice to give me a housewarming for my new house. I won't go into details but one such person's first name is “Meg.” So, action was taken via “secret” emails, phone calls, hush, hush conversations, and even a special “secret” church mailing. Obviously, the Pastor does not know everything that's going on in the parish! All of this “secret” stuff occurred without any knowledge on my part. I had no clue!
Deacon Linda Ladd took the idea and coordinated the effort, along with other church leaders, staff, and parishioners. As the Christmas Pageant Sunday neared, Linda Ladd asked me if she could do the Children's Message on Sunday, December 16, telling me that it has something to do with the Pageant (that she directs) the following Sunday, Dec. 23rd. I agreed.
Deacon Ladd was bold! When I asked her for the title of her Children's Message she called it, “Making A House A Home.” I thought, “Oh, what a clever title for a Children's Message about the birth of Jesus in a Manger.” I was right about one thing, it was clever! I had no clue!
The plan was to spring the Housewarming
Surprise on me on Sunday, December 16th. Unfortunately, a snow storm made attendance at church that morning for most parishioners impossible. While we didn't cancel church, attendance was sparse. Deacon Ladd had to adapt the Children's Message. She did “Part One” of “Making a House a Home,” saying that she needed more children in order to do the whole message. “I'll do Part Two next Sunday,” she said, “when there are more children present.” Clever. No clue!
Deacon Ladd asked me later in the week if I had any idea about what was in the three wrapped packages she had prepared and placed at the front of the church for Part One of her Children's Messages. I said “No, I have no idea. I like the suspense of waiting.” Was she bold or what? Clever.
On Sunday, December 23rd, the Worship Service and the Christmas Pageant went off as planned. It was a very fine Pageant! At the end of the service, as planned, Deacon Ladd did Part Two of “Making A House a Home,” enlisting the assistance of the children in the pageant, sitting at the front of the church, and members of the congregation. She used suspense again, dragging out the suspense asking the children questions like, “What does it take to make a house a home?” I was seated in one of the front pews of the church. I wondered out loud, within ear-shot of a few people, “Where is this going?” Then I noticed that most all of the children were looking at me, looking with curiosity as the Deacon continue to speak. I had no clue until she asked, “Who in our church has a new home?” Then I said out loud, “This is suspicious,” as the children had been primed to say, “Rev. Bailey!”
My face was reportedly turning red. I was speechless. You are all amazing, pulling it off like you did! Clever.
I am so grateful, so blessed to be your Pastor! The gifts are amazing: items for my kitchen (items for cooking, items of food, dish towels), items of comfort (pillows, blanket), items for enjoyment (a radio, hand lotions, gift certificates), items homemade (applesauce, jelly), items for Christmas, and a substantial check for adding to my home according to my needs. I used some of it to purchase a new vanity and medicine cabinet for my bathroom, and to pay for the new lighting fixtures the electricians have now installed.
I have two things to say to you in gratitude:
I am very, very proud and happy to be your Pastor. You have made my house a home through your thoughtfulness, generosity, hands, hearts, minds, and gifts. I will see these things every day, smile, and be grateful. The Magi had nothing on you!
Thanks to all who worked to organize this: Susan Spear (the one who actually knows what's going on in the parish), Deacon Karen Harrington (the one who shopped), Deacon Linda Ladd who coordinated and contributed leadership, and all of you who contributed with overwhelming generosity. Thanks to all who did something on their own, something unique and thoughtful.
Jesus was born as God into our world. Emmanuel means “God is with us.” Through what you have done for me I feel that God is with me, in my new home, my new work, in my new life at Centre Church, and in your hearts.
Thanks and Happy New Year to us all!
IN THE SANCTURY
Epiphany – January 6, 2008
Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Presentation of Heifer Arks
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“On a Journey”
Children may worship with families before going to their activities.
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.
More Christmas Greetings In Lieu of Individual Cards
|The Bommer Family||Helen Butcher||Marge Cole|
|Martha Emerson||Ed & Barbara Ericson||Henry & Sally Flickinger|
|Bruce and Anne Gist||Priscilla Hahn||Dorothy Holden|
|Ethel Leonard||Jack & Donna Marino||Bud & Shirley Orr|
|Donna & Bob Shockley|
These additional donations to City Mission Society in Boston are a great help in their continuing work.
The Nursery is open each Sunday and ready to welcome infants and youngsters through age 3. Drop in for stories and playtime.
Rotation Sensation will be celebrating Epiphany on Sunday, January 6. Children will go to the in the Chapel following Communion in the Sanctuary.
Participants in the OWL (Our Whole Lives) Program will meet in the Pastor’s Outer Office from 10:00-11:00 on January 6. It is our hope that all 7th-9th Graders will attend this special program which will be led by Ms. Pace Wilson. Pace comes to us with years of experience working with teens and parents on the topic of Sexuality and Faith. She is enthusiastic about working with the youth at Centre Church.
The OWL program will meet on Jan. 6, 13, Feb. 1, 2 (overnight) & 24, and March 2 & 9.
6th-8th Grade Youth Group will meet in Todd Hall from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on January 6.
9th-12th Grade Youth Group will meet in Richards Hall from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on January 6.
The 5th Grade Youth Group will meet on Sundays, January 13 and on January 27 (tubing).
Heifer International Arks!
Let me start by confessing an oversight. I should have made sure that we sent a check to Heifer headquarters back in June for $5,000 (ark 6). I apologize and promise to do better going forward.
But here’s the good news – your phenomenal generosity means that another $10,000 worth of animals (arks 7 and 8) will be distributed to Heifer project participants. These animals will make new life possible for many people currently in need of help.
My deep appreciation to all the folks who so enthusiastically participated in our Heifer-themed service in November, and to the church staff for their cheerful work in support of both the Heifer service and the Heifer Market. Most of all, deep gratitude to all of you who contributed to Heifer this year – whether you donated a quarter or a heifer, you are changing the world for the better. Thank you!
We will welcome Ms. Rachel Brown from Heifer to our worship service on January 6 as she presents our additional 2 arks.
My Brother’s Table
Twelve youth and 3 adults spent the afternoon and evening of December 27 preparing and serving a meal to more than 175 guests at My Brother’s Table in Lynn. Thanks to Kim Morrissey for driving and chaperoning.
Jeff & Barbara Langill
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and prayers to Jean Cintolo and her family upon the death of her mother, Annie Patterson on December 27. Services were held at McDonald Funeral Home in Wakefield on Sunday, December 30.
Thank You to Joe Gallo of Plantscape Designs for the beautiful poinsettias we had in church on December 16 and 23.
Additional thanks to Laurel Caputo, Marcia Stevens and their committee for arranging the spectacular display in the sanctuary and to Shirley Orr for organizing the deliveries that so many people made to shut-ins and those recently bereaved. Many appreciative thank you notes are posted on the bulletin board outside the Library
National Youth Event
We are planning on sending a group of youth from Centre Church to the UCC National Youth Event which will be held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN July 24-28. Youth who are interested are invited, along with their parents, to an informational meeting on Sunday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room. Current 8th through 12th graders are welcome to attend.
|Holy Communion - Sanctuary
Nursery Care – Room 14
Epiphany Celebration - Chapel
OWL Group (Grades 7-9) Pastor’s Office
Confirmation Class – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Parents & Youth re National Youth Event
Youth Groups (Grades 6- 12)
|6:00 pm||Confirmation Class – Pastor’s Office|
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|Membership Ministry – Pastor’s Office
Rotation Leaders – Library
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Greg Lengyel, Paul Folkins and Brian Bisacre in Iraq.