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
April 9, 2008
Who Is The Top Giver In Our Church?
I used to sit in church when I was a child wondering who were the top givers in the church. I thought it was probably the couple of Paul and Jane (not their real names), who owned a car dealership. They were both very involved in the church, both were leaders, both dressed nicely, and, of course, they always had a nice, new car to drive to church. I just assumed that they made more money, had more money, and, therefore, gave more money than anyone else in the church. Further, I was told that Jane had a strong opinion about everything in the church, especially about the color we painted the sanctuary, and what Jane wanted Jane usually got. Was that really true? I don't know, but that's the impression I had.
Most of the rest of the congregation was made up of blue collar workers: farmers, factory workers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. When we think we know who has more money we begin to think that we know who should give the most money. And, before we know it, we don't take our own personal giving to the work of the church very seriously at all.
God is the top giver! God gives us life, blessings, unconditional love, and the freedom to make our own choices. Like it says in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) life's abundance does not consist of possessions. Those who “store up treasures for themselves” (v. 21) become victims of anxiety, always wondering if they have enough. Real security is found, and true richness of life experienced – not in guarding what we have but in giving what we can. The “abundance” that we are given by God is not a private possession, but a shared experience.
God gives it to me to take responsibility for the blessings that I have. When I begin to spend a lot of time worrying about what others have and do with what they have I avoid what I am supposed to be doing. It's only natural, though, to compare ourselves to others, what we have, what they have, how we can do better, etc.
I am convinced, by faith, that if each person in a community of faith, like the church, takes seriously their own blessings and gifts, that the church will have more than enough resources to meet its needs and to generously give of itself to others all over the world.
In the first parish I served, a small, urban parish, we had a big building and small congregation. Once we stopped looking at what we thought everyone else should give, and focused on what each of us could give, we had enough to meet our goals and needs. It wasn't easy. We still worked hard at our church fair to have fun while raising additional funds, but we made our goals more years than not.
Most importantly, that small, urban church was there for the work of God, called to serve the world as Christ had served the world, through the giving of ourselves for the sake of others.
Once upon a time a brother and a sister walked into a church looking for a place where they could hold a funeral service for their father, who had just died. They had no previous ties to the church. Once they found the minister and explained to him what they were looking for the minister explained that yes, they could have their father's funeral in the church. They kept talking about their father, their family, the joys and sorrows, and how they would like their father remembered. On that day, the church fulfilled its mission. On the day of the funeral, the church provided a sacred place through which a child of God could be honored, remembered, and seen as a blessing of God. On the day of the funeral, one family gathered to give thanks to God, to safely mourn a great loss, to hear the promises of God, and to feel the loving presence of God through the physical and spiritual presence of the church and its people.
I hope that you will give to the work and ministry of Centre Church so that we can fulfill our mission to be a welcoming and blessed place to all who come to us looking for the help and love of God. We all know how special the church has been to us in the past. Out of gratitude I give so that others will know how much God loves them, so that others will learn how much serving Jesus Christ as a disciple can bring freedom, and how the wind of the Holy Spirit can move us to the greatest places and people we have ever met. God's places. God's people.
God is the top giver! Let us follow God's generous example.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
April 13, 2008
Acts 2:1-4, 14-21
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
Students may worship with their families for the entire service.
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.
The nursery will be open this Sunday, April 13th. Our experienced staff welcomes babies and toddlers through age 3. We encourage you to stop by, say hello and drop your child off for stories and fun.
There are no Workshops scheduled for this Sunday, April 13th. We welcome all children and youth to attend the worship service with their families. We will be celebrating Confirmation Sunday with 13 of our High School students.
Join Hands …Share the Journey
Our annual Stewardship Campaign concludes this Sunday, April 13. As you contemplate your financial commitment to Centre Church, please remember that your generous gift makes a difference in your life and the lives of others. You may bring your Intention to Give card to church on Sunday or mail it to the church office.
Our pledged giving needs to increase by 15% in order to support the many ministries, services, and programs of Centre Church. Among our many blessings are our dedicated staff, our beautiful building, meaningful Sunday worship, lovely music, exciting and enriching programs for all age groups, and our vibrant missions outreach program. The generous financial support of the congregation is crucial to maintaining our thriving church and its ministries. Please join with other members of our church family as we work together to provide the financial support our church needs in order to grow and prosper.
The Stewardship Ministries Team deeply appreciates your commitments of time, talents, and money that make Centre Church a strong faith community. Let’s continue that tradition of giving by reflecting upon the many ways Centre Church is important in our lives and responding generously to the financial needs of our church.
Debbie Cotting, Chair of Stewardship Ministries
There will be no Youth Group meetings for the next two weeks (April 13th and the 20th).
Middle School: Your Medical/Risk/Photo Release Form is now due for the Gordon College Retreat. If you have not yet returned it, kindly mail it to the church office, attention Jill Couillard, today. These must be on file with Gordon College prior to the retreat date.
High School: There will be a meeting on Wed, April 16 in the Fireside Room for all youth (and their parents) who will be attending either or both of the summer trips. Those going to the National Youth Event in TN, please come at 7:00 p.m. Those going on the Mission Trip to New Orleans, please come at 7:30 p.m. We will go over our fundraising status, flight schedules, deposits due, chaperones, etc.
High School Retreat Date Change: The High School Retreat to Six Flags has been rescheduled to Sat/Sun. June 14-15th. You will receive a flyer with details. Please return payment and permission form by April 16.
From the Mailbox
Dear Rev. Bailey,
I would like to say thanks to you and the members of Centre Congregational Church for the help in completing my Gold Award project on flag etiquette. Allowing the collection box at your church was essential to collecting flags for a flag retirement ceremony. I also want to say thanks for advertising the collection in the church bulletin.
Many members contributed flags toward retirement. I was able to retire 95 flags in total. I created a flyer if any of the members would like one, they can contact me at 781-595-4435.
Sincerely, Katie Walsh, Girl Scout Troop 379
Save the Date!
Saturday, May 31
3:00-7:00 p.m. – Centre Church
Fun and games for all ages
with an international fair.
Food and drink from around the world!
Boston Pride March
Boston Pride March is on June 14th. The MA Conference ONA Task Force will have a group marching in the parade, and we can join them. People marching are LGBTQ and straight allies to show support. If you are interested in marching in the Boston Pride, please let our ONA Contact Person, Carrie Pericola, (email@example.com or 781-231-0954) know by May 13th so she can sign you up with the MA UCC Group.
For more information about Boston Pride check out http://www.bostonpride.org/.
Recycling Day – May 10
Spring Cleaning? Wondering what to do with that old television, computer monitor or appliance that is broken, unwanted or unused and just taking up space? Bring it to Centre Church on Saturday, May 10 from 10 to 12 noon. CRT Recycling will be in the church parking lot to collect your items. This is an excellent opportunity to recycle these items at a minimal cost compared to the high cost associated with curbside appliance recycling programs. (The town of Lynnfield charges $25.00 for monitors and bulk items.)
A special pick- up service for seniors is available - please call the church office to make arrangements.
All proceeds will go toward this year’s High School Mission Trip. If you would like further information, please contact Barbara Langill at the church office.
Children’s Theater Returns to CCC
A little bit of mystery, a little bit of comedy and a whole lot of fun is available for your child in this summer's music/theatre production of "The Best Little Theater in Town.”
Music teacher Beth Mosier directs the production and is ably assisted by our own Laura and Alyssa Langill who grew up participating in Drama Shop productions along with their talented brother James. Singing, dancing, acting, painting scenery, and making costumes are all part of the excitement. There are still openings in the younger group for children age 6-9 and the upper level group has a few spots for boys ages 10 - 15. The workshop runs from July 14 -25 in Todd Hall and everyone is invited to attend the performances on Friday July 25. To learn more about the DRAMA SHOP please call Beth Mosier at 781-245-7511 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Confirmation Sunday (all youth and children
worship with their families)
Youth Choir – Choir Room
No Youth Groups tonight
|Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|Students & Parents going to
National Youth Event in Tennessee
Students & Parents going
on New Orleans Mission Trip
|Craft ‘n Chat – Kitchen
Senior Choir - Choir Room
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
|6:00 pm||Passover Seder – Todd Hall|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Greg Lengyel, Paul Folkins and Brian Bisacre in Iraq.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Head Usher: Karen Harrington
Greeters: Josephine & Allston Farnsworth
Lay Reader: Laurel Caputo
Coffee Hour: Donna Marino
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.