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
February 27, 2008
Several years ago my daughter was preparing to move to Florida. In preparation I agreed to help her by working on her car. I agreed to install new brakes and change the oil. It sounded easy enough to me. A few days before her departure I pulled her car into my driveway and went to work. First, I removed the front tires to work on her disc brakes. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the discs off because they were stuck. I tried to hammer them to break them loose from the wheels. I went to the parts store with the repair manual to make sure that I knew where on the brakes and wheels I could hit with the hammer so that I did not break something. I tried again and could not break the discs from the wheel. They were “frozen” in place.
To make matters worse, when I went to open the hood of the car to change the oil the hood latch was broken, making it impossible for me to open the hood. To solve this problem I took the car to a local Ford dealer. They said they ran into this all the time and could get the hood open. Unfortunately, this was an unusual problem and they couldn't get it open, either. They said “Sorry,” didn't charge me for their efforts, and told me I had to go to another dealer who had the parts to fix the problem, parts that they did not have in stock.
Now I was getting nervous because I had wasted a day working on the car and the time of my daughter's departure was drawing near. What to do?
I had no choice but to ask for help. Oh, how humbling! So, I went to a friend who had an auto repair shop down the street. He brought his heavy duty hammer to the frozen disc brakes. “These are the worst I've ever seen, Dennis,” he said to me, and asked if I had a sledge hammer. Jeepers!!! He had to break the discs off in pieces! I think that the previous owners of the car lived near the ocean and the salt air had caused a lot of rusting of the metal surfaces. Once the discs were broken free and off, I easily installed the new front brakes.
But, I had also removed the rear drum brakes and still had to change the oil, somehow. So, more humility and I asked another friend to help me with the rear drum brakes and I made an appointment at another Ford dealer for the hood and oil change, the last day before my daughter left.
Fortunately, my friend and I, together, got the rear brakes replaced and the dealership was able to open the hood and change the oil.
I had accomplished the task, fulfilled my promise to my daughter, but not without swallowing my pride and humbly asking for help from friends and professionals.
Sometimes we get in over our heads! Sometimes the only way to solve our problems is to ask for help. And, sometimes we just need to pray to God for help. I did a lot of praying while realizing I was in a “situation” and now who could help me?
What would I do without friends? What would I do without having a sense of trust that God would help me when I get in over my head and get stuck? My friends helped me that day in ways that I can never repay. Of course, we had become friends through the work we often did together through the church, the community, and the Savior who had called us. We had become friends by the ways we had often helped other people who were overwhelmed, in need of support, and in need of God's love.
Spiritually, it's important to know how to pray, to know how to ask God for help, to know how to ask others for help. It's also important to know how to respond to others who ask us for help. My friends could see the predicament I had gotten myself into. They could see that I loved my daughter so much that I was willing to take risks in order to help her. They could see that I had done everything that I knew how to do before asking for help. I had exhausted my efforts and energy trying to fix the car and, I was close to tears.
I learned that I should have just taken the car to a repair shop to begin with, but then, I would not have learned lessons about this type of car preventing me from recommending it and/or buying one myself.
We are the church. We are the body of Christ. We are here to help each other, and to offer ourselves as an offering of love and support to those who need us, whether the “others” are near or far away, friends or strangers. We are also here to learn how to ask for help from each other, to realize that we cannot be the body of Christ all by ourselves. Through the giving of myself to others I have met and made some good friends. By asking others to work with me I have met and had the pleasure of knowing other disciples of Jesus Christ. By asking for help I have been made aware that there are friends and others in the world who enjoy and find meaning in helping even people like me who have made a habit of getting in over my head, getting stuck, and, in desperation, cry out for help.
God is always there to help us. Remember the Gospel stories of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son. Jesus takes a special interest in those who are lost and, in desperation, cry out for help. I don't know how God does it, but the line is never busy for you, for me, for anyone and everyone. Whether it's getting stuck fixing a car, trying to raise money for the work of God, trying to pay the rent, trying to get the new job, trying to take care of our families..., we should always start by taking it to God and asking for help.
The God of the desperate, lost, and stuck is always there to hear our prayers. Thanks be to God, and my friends, that my daughter and I safely drove her car to Florida that year to start her new life, with her car intact, and the car and a rental truck loaded to the brim!
Humbly acknowledging my limits....
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
March 2, 2008 – 4th Sunday in Lent
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Presentation of 2 Heifer International Ark Awards
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“A Blind Man Is Healed”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
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.
Special Congregational Meeting
Centre Congregational Church
March 2, 2008 - 11 AM
Sanctuary - Immediately Following Worship Service
There will be a Special Congregational Meeting on Sunday March 2, 2008 to take up the matter of a Planned Giving Program. Specific actions to be brought before the congregation:
No other business will be taken up during this meeting.
Nursery: Child Care for your infants through age 3 is provided each week by our trained volunteers. We invite all youngsters to come in for stories and fun.
Workshops: Our Christian Education Program (Workshop Rotation Model) is provided each week for visitors and members of the church. It is open to children and youth ages 4 through grade 8. Come and join our program as we learn about Easter through the eyes of Peter. Workshops for this rotation include: Upper Room, movie, art and cooking.
Heifer Muffins: Children in the 2nd/3rd Grade class are asked to meet in the kitchen at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 2 to bake muffins for Heifer. Muffins will be sold in the narthex after worship.
OWL: Our Whole Lives continues this week in the Pastor’s Outer Office. If you are part of this program, we ask that you meet in the office at 10:00. The program will conclude at approximately 11:30.
Middle School Youth Group (Gr. 6-8) will meet on March 2 from 6:00-7:30. Deposits are due for the retreat ($25.00). The retreat is scheduled for May 30-31 and will be our last event of this season. It promises to be a lot of fun and we hope everyone will be able to make it.
High School Youth Group (Gr. 9-12) will meet on March 2 from 6:00-7:30.
The High School Youth Group will be participating in World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine March 14-15. They will begin fasting after a hearty breakfast here at the church on Friday and continue the fast until 12 noon on Saturday. They will be looking for sponsors after church on March 2 and 9. All funds will go to World Vision to help end hunger around the world. To participate in the Famine, youth must turn in their parental consent form by March 9.
Film Series Continues – March 4
Join us on Tuesday March 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Holy Word Theater for the next film in our Open and Affirming Film Series “For the Bible Tells Me So.”
Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson, and the Reitan family -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. “For the Bible Tells Me So” offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity. This film was winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Mark Meehl and Carrie Pericola
We will meet Thursday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. downstairs in Todd Hall. Please note that we have changed our day from Wednesdays to Thursdays. I am not sure yet if we will be meeting weekly or alternating weeks. I will let you know once we have a chance to talk it over.
This is a fun group and a great time for fellowship. Please join us. If you have any questions or craft materials you no longer use, please give me a call.
Hope to see you Thursday, March 6.
Donna Marino (781) 581-2022
Stewardship Ministries invites you to an evening of good food and good fun as our own Centre Church Players present “Reading Aunt Louise’s Will” on Saturday evening, March 29 at 6:00 PM. Louise Reindorf has left her considerable fortune to her wacky family, but some surprises in the will lead to murder. It’s up to you, the audience, to sort through the clues and solve the mystery.
This is an event you won’t want to miss so make your reservation now by calling or e-mailing the church office. Need a ride? Just mention that at the time you make your reservation, and we will arrange transportation for you.
Debbie Cotting, Stewardship Ministries
One Great Hour of Sharing - March 9
On Sunday, March 9 we will dedicate our One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. Please bring your coin cubes and offering envelopes on that day. Your generous contributions will be used to make a difference in someone’s life – perhaps a person fleeing violence in Sudan, suffering from AIDS in Africa, reeling from devastation in Indonesia, starving in poverty in India or recovering from any number of disasters in the United States.
As Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
“Almost Sunrise” Easter Service
7:30 a.m. - March 23
Volunteer readers are needed for the early morning Easter service. Anyone who is interested should sign up in the Narthex. We have speaking parts for young children as well as adults. All are encouraged to participate! If you have any questions about this service, we ask you to speak with Jill Couillard or Barbara Langill
News From Around the Parish
We extend our congratulations to Steve and Erin Lanciani upon the birth of a daughter, Alison Brooke on February 18. Alison’s proud big sister is Sophie.
From the Mailbox
Dear Friends at Centre Church,
It was so wonderful to see so many of you when I visited a few weeks ago. Thank you all for your prayers for my sister Jeanne. They worked and she is at a rehab in Reading now.
Also, I want to thank you for all the beautiful cards I get from you. One of the cards a few months ago was a picture of a Lady Slipper, a white one. That card brought back a fond memory from my childhood when my friend and I found a yellow one. We looked it up every spring until one day it was gone. It was an important day - the day we found it.
Thank you so much.
With Love, Alma Schnurbush
If you would like to order Easter flowers to grace the sanctualry, please fill out this form and return it to the office by March 12.
|Holy Communion - Sanctuary
Nursery Care – Room 14
OWL Program – Pastor’s Office
Congregational Meeting - Sanctuary
Confirmation – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Youth Groups (Gr.6-12) - Lower Level
|6:00 pm||Confirmation Class – Pastor’s Office|
|Open & Affirming Film– Movie Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|8:30 am||Bread & Roses Meal Prep. - Kitchen|
|Craft Group – Todd Hall
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.
March 2, 2008
Ushers: Michelle Hagerty, Linda Ladd, Jeff Law and Karen Harrington
Lay Reader: Diane Bjorkman
Provide Altar Flowers: Lynnfield Girl Scouts
Deliver Altar Flowers: Ray and Julie Aslanian and Linda Shove
Baking Muffins: 2nd & 3rd Grade
Centre Church’s Worship Services are broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channels 10 or 28 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.