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
March 19, 2008
Resurrection: Pushing the Limits
You want new life, you have to push the limits. It says in the scripture for Easter that the disciples got to the tomb running, breathless.
Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. (John 20:4)
When I was training for the Boston Marathon in 1998 to 2000, I had to push my limits in order to establish new limits that would allow me to run farther, faster, and easier. It meant that I had to go to the gym and do strength training three days a week and then run three days a week. One of the three running days was a long day of 10 or more miles. Each week on the long day I ran further than I had the week before till I reached 18 miles one Saturday a few weeks before the Marathon. In order to reach new levels of performance, I had to push, run till I was breathless, exhausted, and then, hopefully, the next time it would be easier and I could run farther. It worked.
In order to give us new life Jesus had to come to earth and give himself for us so that, through his pushing the limits, he found resurrection. Because Jesus pushed the limits of life and death to new levels we have hope. We have a life that offers more than what we experience here, in this life.
Jesus pushed himself to the point of death, breathlessness. And, in doing so, he has given us new life.
What about you and me? Are we willing to push our limits? Are we willing to go where Jesus Christ has gone, die to the old self in order to establish new limits for ourselves, finding new life, that we can do more in Christ's service than we have ever done before?
I appreciated how people volunteered this past Sunday to help us share an Easter Breakfast after the Almost Sunrise Service this coming Sunday. I know that they were not expecting to help with this when they came to church this past Palm Sunday, but they did raise their hands and push their limits to a new place. I am grateful and the time we share together this coming Easter Sunday will be special as a result. New life!
I enjoyed the Eagle Court of Honor this past Sunday afternoon in which Ryan Batchelder and Jeffrey Robinson were pinned with their Eagle medals. Both of these wonderful young men represent three generations in their families who have been involved in the Boy Scout Troops #48 and #49 in and through Centre Congregational Church. They, their families, and the Boy Scouts have pushed the limits to new places, offering new life. I am proud of Ryan and Jeffrey, but also of their families, the generations before them, and all who have supported them to make these journeys of service possible. (continued on pg. 2)
Jesus Christ gives us the lives that we have. What we do with them is up to us. And in the case of service, we push the limits of service, establish
new limits, when we sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others. That's what Jesus did for us, offering us the opportunity for eternal life. So, we have nothing to lose. Give and give of yourself, pushing and straining to the goal, giving everything that is in us, and we, too, will be breathless, exhausted, even feeling lifeless, as if we are dead. But, God gives us new life, new breath, and resources for a future we did not know before.
When I ran my first Boston Marathon I thought that I would be lucky to finish. I was, actually. But, I pushed myself beyond what I felt was realistic and discovered something new about myself. I was a long-distance runner, a long-distance person of perseverance. I would not give up easily.
We will discover what we have only when we use all that we have, holding nothing back. Then, there is the possibility of resurrection, new life.
Jesus Christ has given his all for us, pushing back the boundaries of death and life. Now, he has broken the barrier and the boundary of death could not hold him back. Neither does it hold us.
Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! There is no limit to what God can do!
IN THE SANCTURY
March 20, 2008 – 7:30 p.m.
A Service of Holy Communion and Lessons accompanied by the gradual extinguishing of the lights.
March 23, 2008 – 7:30 a.m.
“Almost Sunrise” Service on the Front Lawn
An informal service of readings and music
March 23, 2008 – 10:00 a.m.
Festival Service of Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Jesus Gets Through”
Join us to be filled with the Good News that Jesus Christ has risen! Children may worship with their families for the entire service.
Each year at Easter we take a special offering. Half of it goes to the operating budget of the church and the other half is designated for a mission project. This year, Outreach Ministries will donate its portion of the Easter collection to food pantries in North Reading and Wakefield. These pantries provide food to local families in need, of which there are unfortunately many. Please consider donating to these worthy causes.
You may use the special offering envelope in your envelope packet or an Easter offering envelope from the pew rack. As always, thank you for your generosity.
Easter Fun Day
Join us for Easter Fun Day at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, March 22 in Todd Hall. We will have fun making Easter crafts, playing games and hearing the Easter Story, all followed by an Easter Egg Hunt on the front lawn. Children under the age of 10 are invited to attend. Don’t forget to bring an Easter Basket for collecting eggs.
“Almost Sunrise” Easter Service
A rehearsal for all participants will be held this Saturday, March 22 at 11:00. Please meet in the sanctuary.
Plan to join us for Easter Breakfast on Sunday morning - 8:00 -9:30 a.m. This will be a great way to start off celebrating Easter. Our thanks to the breakfast team of Chuck Cotting, Kim Contardo, Jan Flight, Nancy Brown, Betty Hayter, Pinky Warnock with assistance from Carol White and Chris Gehret.
Youth Group News
All Middle School and High School youth are invited to volunteer at Easter Fun Day. Please plan to meet in Todd Hall by 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 22.
Enjoy the Easter Holiday with your families. There will not be any Sunday morning workshops or Youth Group Meetings on March 23.
Tupperware orders must be in on or before March 30th. Children and youth have been supplied with these special fundraising booklets. There are extra booklets in the narthex and the church office for your convenience. 40% of all sales will support our youth mission trip and National Youth Event this summer.
YOU Have An Important Role To Play
YOU, through your pledged offerings, help to keep our church financially healthy. This allows us, as a congregation, to stay alive and make a positive difference in our local and global communities. In similar fashion: YOU, through careful listening and deductive reasoning, will help to solve the mystery of the crime committed during “Reading Aunt Louise’s Will.” Please don’t miss this opportunity to be involved in the fun, fellowship and mission of Centre Church. The Stewardship Committee would appreciate your RSVP to this fun and entertaining event, ASAP, by signing the sheet in the narthex or calling the church office. Just mention if you need a ride, and it will be arranged. Thank YOU!
The event: Mystery Dinner Theater
The time: 6 pm on Saturday, March 29
The place: Chez Richards (Richards Hall)
The menu: Chicken dinner by The Red Rooster
The price: Freewill offering to defray meal and support the HS mission trip
The clues: Bring some $$ to buy clues ($1 each) to help you solve the crime.
Linda Ladd and Debbie Cotting
This past Friday and Saturday, 20 High School youth participated in the 30-Hour Famine. They went 30 hours without eating to help raise money for World Vision. The event began with a big pancake breakfast here at church on Friday morning. The youth then headed off to school, knowing that they wouldn’t be eating again until Saturday at 12:30 p.m. We met back at the church at 6 p.m. for an overnight. We played games, drank lots of water and juice, and tried not to think about food. This was difficult as the Cub Scouts were also meeting at the church and ordered 25 pizzas to be delivered at 7:15!
On Saturday morning, we went to volunteer at the Prison Book Program in Quincy. We read letters from prisoners requesting books, wrote invoices, wrapped the books for shipping and addressed the packages. We headed back to the church where we broke the fast with communion, led by Rev. Bailey. We then enjoyed a hearty lunch provided by the parents - food never tasted so good! Thanks to everyone who supported our efforts. The youth were able to collect donations totaling $1, 475.00.
Film Series Continues
Join us upstairs in the Holy Word Theater on Tuesday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m. as we view the next film in the Open and Affirming Film Series.
Mark Meehl & Carrie Pericola
Heifer Muffins a Success!
Again this year, our children and youth baked and sold muffins every Sunday during Lent. This popular and delicious fundraiser made $458.00 for Heifer International. Many thanks to everyone who supported our efforts. Special thanks to Judie Potter who led the Cooking Rotation with the Church School classes and to Denise Weaver who baked muffins with the High School class.
Passover Seder Planned
Reservations are being taken for the Passover Seder Meal which will be held on Saturday, April 19. The purpose of this gathering is to experience and learn about an important High Holy Day in the Jewish faith that has valuable spiritual lessons and stories to offer us. You may make a reservation by calling the church office. Please be sure to mention if you need a ride, and it will be arranged.
Craft ‘n Chat Continues
Join us in the kitchen at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays as we work on various crafts, chat and enjoy each others’ company. If you have any questions or craft materials you no longer use, please give me a call. Hope to see you on Thursday,
Donna Marino 781-581-2022
|7:30 pm||Service of Tenebrae and Holy Communion- Sanctuary|
|10:00 am||Easter Fun Day for Children – Todd Hall & Front Lawn|
|“Almost Sunrise” Easter Service on the Front Lawn
Easter Breakfast – Todd Hall
Morning Worship – Sanctuary
|No Confirmation Class
Planned Giving Comm.-Pastor’s Office
|Get-Together Wheel – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Rotation Workshop Leaders – Library
|7:00 pm||Parish Council – Pastor’s Office|
|Craft ‘n Chat – Kitchen
Senior Choir - Choir Room
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
|6:00 pm||Mystery Dinner – Richards Hall|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Greg Lengyel, Paul Folkins and Brian Bisacre in Iraq.
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.