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 30, 2008
What is Lent?
Is Lent mentioned in the Bible? No, Lent is not mentioned in the Bible. Ash Wednesday is not mentioned in the Bible, either. Lent is a period of forty (40) days before Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday. We skip Sundays in the count.
Why skip Sundays? Sundays are the days on which we celebrate the Resurrection. This is also why our Sabbath is on Sunday compared to the Jewish tradition of a Saturday Sabbath.
What is the purpose of Lent? In Lent we are invited to reflect on our Christian discipleship, to re-dedicate ourselves to our faith, and to practice some disciplines that might help us do that.
In the earliest days of the Christian Church, Lent was used, in part, as a time when new converts were instructed in the faith to prepare for Christian Baptism, sometimes occurring on Maundy Thursday.
Jesus' 40 days: Remember how Jesus, after his Baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, went into the wilderness for forty days? (See Matthew 4, Luke 4, and Mark 1:12). We take our lead from these 40 days in the life of Jesus as he went into the wilderness to ponder his mission and life. Yes, he was also tempted by the devil during that time.
We might think of ways that we, as individual Christians, can practice a similar discipline. There are retreat centers where silent meditation is practiced for long periods of time so that believers may search themselves and the heart of God for direction. A person could dedicate a portion of each day to pray and read scripture, the Lectionary texts of each day, write in a journal the thoughts that come to mind, and ask God to strengthen us for our walk of faith. The Daily Lectionary can be found via our Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ website: www.macucc.org/education/lectionary.htm
Other disciplines that have been used include fasting: deciding to restrict your diet in some form or fashion so that you can include a physical practice that will help you focus more fully on your spiritual life.
Some folks find it helpful to give up certain foods and give the money to a mission program or project of the church. Centre Church has many such opportunities for fasting and giving in mission. Go to our church's website: www.centre-church.org/ and in the left hand column click on “Mission Outreach.” There is a list of mission opportunities with addresses that you can contribute your fasting offerings to.
What has worked for me? Personally, physical disciplines work the best for me. In the past I have chosen to use my Lenten journey to include a daily exercise program. This year I finally renewed my dedication to exercise again. I just joined the Peabody/Lynnfield YMCA. I will try to exercise 4-6 days a week, workout and enjoy the wonderful resources of the YMCA. I will feel better about myself and move in a healthier direction, physically and spiritually. Such a program helps me think about the challenges I am facing, sermons I am writing, and the people I am praying for.
Bible Study: You are also invited to attend our Friday morning Bible Study group, even if just for the season of Lent. We meet at 10:30 am to 11:30 am Friday mornings in my outer office.
Sunday mornings: You could come to church on Sundays at 9 am, sit in the sanctuary, listen to the choir practice, reflect, assist setting up name tags, just talk to other parishioners, welcome newcomers, etc. Many churches have Sunday morning Bible study groups, book groups, coffee groups, etc. before the morning worship.
I changed my Sunday morning routine several years ago when I grew tired of the high anxiety I was bringing to worship with last minute editing of my sermon and worship material. A new coffee shop opened just ¼ block down the street from the church. It opened at 8 a.m. and my church service started at 10 a.m. I decided to be there when the door opened, sit, have coffee, relax, and go over my sermon notes. It was a great decision because several others came in around the same time, within the same hour. It became a great time of conversation with friends, some I had known and some who became friends. We had fun talking, joking, and sharing. At Christmas I recruited some friends to lead us in a Sunday of Christmas Caroling in the Coffee Shop. Some of those friendships became some of the best spiritual allies in my life. And, I went to church every Sunday with a new spring in my step and focused on what God might do through my words, actions, and the words and actions of others. I was happy! It was a discipline of joy!
Well, we don't have a coffee shop like that here, at least not yet, but maybe Centre Church could open its own at 8 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the Fireside Room, open to all, “Fireside Coffee Shop.” It would be a way to start off our Sundays, catch up with each other, laugh, and be more fully prepared for the word and work of God.
What are your Lenten disciplines, hobbies, etc.? No matter what religious tradition you are in, Lent is a time when you can remember that you have been called to follow Jesus Christ, think about how you can live as a Christian disciple, and what physical and spiritual things might help you renew your faith. Feel free to tell me about yours. I would love to hear.
You are a great people, my friends, and God gives you this opportunity for spiritual renewal. I pray you use it well.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
February 3, 2008
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Boy Scout Sunday
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“On Noticing the Color Purple”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
IN THE CHAPEL
Ash Wednesday, February 6 – 7:30 p.m.
A Service of Reflection and Opportunity to Renew Your Vows of Baptism
Everyone is welcome to come, remember your baptism, and be grateful.
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.
In addition, DVDs of the services are available for check-out from the church office in case you missed a Sunday.
Nursery: The Nursery is open for playtime and stories for infants through age 3.
Rotation Workshops continue Sunday, February 3 for ages 4-grade 8. We continue to explore the story of Peter and Jesus walking on water. Check the rotation bulletin board to see which workshop your class is scheduled for.
Youth Group: 27 of us enjoyed a night of tubing at Nashoba Valley. Fun was had by all! No meetings are scheduled on February 3. Enjoy the Super Bowl!
All High School Youth are asked to report directly to the kitchen at 10:00 a.m. on February 3. We will be making subs to sell after church.
All participants of the OWL (Our Whole Lives) program are invited to the overnight at Centre Church. The facilitator, Pace Wilson, will hold her program from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Friday night, February 1 and on Saturday, February 2 we will enjoy a guest speaker from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Please call Barbara Langill or Jill Couillard if you have any questions.
Super Bowl Sunday- Feb. 3
SOUPer Bowl of Caring
All parishioners are asked to donate $1.00 to our SOUPer Bowl of Caring. Middle School youth will be in the narthex with soup pots collecting the money. All money raised will be donated to Bread & Roses.
Super Bowl Sub and Salad Sale
Those who placed orders may pick them up after worship on February 3 in the narthex. We will also have soda, chips and cookies for sale. The money raised will help fund the trip to the National UCC Youth Event.
Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Supper
In preparation for the season of Lent, reserve this time slot on your busy social calendar, Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. for Pancakes and French Toast at church. After you gobble down this delicious meal, bingo and other activities for your enjoyment will take place. You will be able to make and take home a special wooden Lenten cross with 7 candles to help remember and understand the meaning of Lent. We have hired master chefs Jeff Langill and George Hayden to flip the pancakes. This sumptuous repast is available for $5/person with a $20 family max. All proceeds from this event are earmarked for the youth groups summer trips to New Orleans and Tennessee. Everyone is invited! Anyone who does not like to drive at night and would like a ride should call the church office and a ride will be provided.
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to Charlotte Kilgore, whose brother, Hubert Cushman died earlier this month.
Our love and sympathy are extended to Doug Hodgkins and his family upon the death of his step-sister, Faith Miller in Florida.
It’s been several weeks since we’ve published an update on our supplemental pledge drive. Our current total is $19,205 - nearly 80% of our $25,000 goal. The congregation’s response has been very generous. We just need one final push to reach our goal.
Since we budgeted $25,000 in supplemental pledges, we need an additional $5795 in contributions to meet that goal. It is clear that we need the entire $25,000 to keep our budget on an even keel. We are half-way through our budget year, and our Treasurer, Dwight Decker, reported to Parish Council that our expenses are pretty much on target. We are a bit over budget on snowplowing, owing to a very stormy December. On the income side of the budget, our pledges are coming in as predicted. People have been very faithful in their giving. It appears that our rental income will be somewhat less than anticipated, and we still need to raise the $5795 in supplemental donations.
How can we raise this money? First, if you have not yet made a supplemental contribution, please consider doing that soon. We need everyone’s participation to meet our goal. Second, if every pledging unit, including those who have already given, could donate an average of $35, we will raise the $5795 we need to meet the goal. As always, whatever you can contribute is appreciated. For your convenience, an envelope for supplemental donations is included in this issue of Tower Notes.
Our congregation has been wonderfully supportive of this supplemental drive. If we can extend our generosity and support one more time, we will raise these additional dollars and make our goal.
Debbie Cotting for Stewardship Ministries
The Play's the Thing
You've saved the date for the church dinner on March 29th. Now guess what? It's going to be dinner theater! And it's YOUR chance to shine. Calling all actors and actresses of every age, and with or without acting experience. If you've always wanted to ham it up and are ready to devote a little prep time between now and March 29th, this is your chance. A cast of characters is being put together for this fun event. No doubt tailors and stage hands will be needed as well! Please contact Linda Ladd at 781-334-6170 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Boy Scout News
Troop #48 recently went skiing at Mt. Orford in Quebec. Over lunch at the lodge the boys had an opportunity to learn about living and scouting in Quebec from the 1st Lennoxville Venturers, a Canadian Scout group. The boys have a busy few weeks ahead as they prepare for the Klondike Derby. The troop has also earned the Centennial Quality Unit Award.
The Outreach Committee met recently, and these are some of the items which were discussed.
Redeemable Cans and Bottles - As of Sunday Feb. 3 we will no longer be collecting redeemable cans and bottles. To support the active Bread and Roses program, we will be fundraising in other ways.
One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is coming up soon. Please look for coin boxes and offering envelopes along with material explaining the program.
Other giving opportunities:
Thank you for your support.
Chris Gehret for Outreach
ONA Film Series Continues
On Monday, February 11, our film series will continue with a documentary “Fish Can’t Fly”, sub-titled “Conversations about God and Struggling to be Gay.” The film explores the lives of Gay men and women of faith as they recall their journeys to put their sexuality and spirituality in harmony. Conversation will follow the showing of the film. Join us at 7:00 p.m. in our movie room on the 2nd floor.
Mark Meehl and Carrie Pericola
From the Mailbox
Thank you to all my friends at Centre Church for your good wishes and flowers during my recuperation. The basket of goodies that Jack and Donna Marino delivered was also very much appreciated.
To our church and to the Flower Committee,
My sincere gratitude for the lovely, lovely flowers which arrived at my door last Sunday.
Dear Friends at Centre Church, Thank you so much for thinking of me, the flowers are so beautiful and as for the calendar, so very artistic! I have completed all my treatments and am hopefully on the road to recovery. Again, thank you for your prayers and well-wishes.
Sincerely, Mardi Sullivan
|Holy Communion - Sanctuary
Nursery Care – Room 14
Confirmation Class – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
|Confirmation Class – Pastor’s Office
Health Insurance Task Force
|Pancake Supper – Richards Hall
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|Bread & Roses Meal Prep – Kitchen
Ash Wednesday Service – Chapel
|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 and all military personnel and their families.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Ushering and Serving Communion: Diaconate
Greeters: Batchelder Family
Lay Reader: Kathi Martin
Coffee Hour: Weaver Family
Provide Altar Flowers: Charlotte Kilgore
Deliver Altar Flowers: Barbara O’Connell and Barbara Ericson
If you would like to provide flowers for the altar on Sunday, February 17, please call the church office. (781-334-3050)