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 23, 2008
Seasons of Change
How do I know it's spring? My allergy tells me so! Well, it's not too bad this year, yet. I know it's spring as the birds sing, as the Robins roam and fly, as the trees begin blossoming, and the grass is sprouting green. Time to rake, pick up tree branches and limbs, fertilize and lime the yard. Oh yea, better make sure I can start the lawn mower! Good, started on the second try this year. That's nothing short of a miracle! What happened to all of that snow, those piles of snow, that we were lamenting for so long this past winter? Most of us like the coming of spring. I say most because some of us suffer from severe allergies making spring a most awful season. Believe me. I know.
Seasons of change come to all of us. Many of the changes we experience are good things. At this time of year we think of the season of change that is coming to our graduates: Middle School, High School, and College! Congratulations, celebrations, and parties. We are so proud of our graduates! It is also usually the beginning of the season of weddings, spring, summer and fall. Congratulations! Sometimes it's the selling and/or purchasing of a house. Upgrading of a house. Successful surgery. A new car. The birth of a child. Passing the bar, your nurse's exam, CPA test, your driving test.
Seasons of change can also be occasions of sadness. A close friend moves away or dies. Graduation can mean our children are going to be moving away. The loss of a job and the bills getting out of control with no relief in sight. An illness has been diagnosed. The new car isn't what we expected, requiring us to spend a lot of time at the repair shop. Graduation doesn't yield a new job/career opportunity as quickly as hoped. The new job can mean lots of new responsibilities, little free time, added stress to perform. Parents worry about their children after graduation and wonder if they will make it in the “real” world.
What I have learned is that God can meet us and is with us in the Seasons of Change. I have told God many times that the changes I'm going through are more than I could handle. God has told me, “I am with you.” God has also told me about my trusted friends who are also God's way of being with me. Believe me, I have some very special friends who have walked with me through some very challenging times of change, who have believed in me, affirmed God's love for me by the way they have been with me in my Seasons of Change.
God has reminded me of how, when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God brought them through so many trials. One of their biggest trials was their own forgetfulness. The Israelites would forget God's loving care of them, God's providing for them. Despite their forgetfulness, God was always with them.
The Israelites built altars with stones from the Jordan River to remind them how God was with them: "So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." (Joshua 4:4-7)
Some of us have bird baths to remind us of God's care for the birds of the air and the flowers. Some of us plant flowers and bushes to remind us of God's never-ending love.
Yes, we forget God's goodness, especially when we are fooled during the Seasons of Success that we make our own goodness. It is in worship that I'm often reminded, even as I lead and preach, that it is God who gets me through the Seasons of Change, who gives me the goodness that I experience, and who gets me across the “Jordan Rivers,” the “Red Seas,” and places of challenge in my life.
Last Sunday in worship four friends from my past came to visit. They varied in age from the eldest, the father, to the youngest, his pre-school age daughter, as well as his two other daughters, both in elementary school. They are not stones as we normally think of them, but living stones. These four special people remind me that God has been and will always be with me as these four friends saw me through a very challenging “crossing” in my life by promising to walk with me, no matter what. Just the sight of their faces last Sunday allowed me to know that God is still with me and, with us all!
Let us, also, be living stones to each other in all of our Seasons of Change.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
April 27, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“The Case for Obedience”
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.
Rotation Sensation workshops for children in Pre-K through 8th grade will be held on April 27 as we continue learning the story of Paul and Silas in Prison. The Nursery is open for children 3 years old and under.
Weekly Seeds, the discussion group for High School teens, will not meet this Sunday. They will meet again on Sunday, May 4th.
Our Craft 'n Chat Group has been busy the past few weeks. We will have a table in the narthex this Sunday, April 27 to sell some of our things. Please stop by to check them out.
The Youth Group has only a few Centre Church Cat's Meow pieces left. These will also be on sale. If you have a baby being baptized or a wedding coming up at our church, they will make a fine memento of that special day. - Donna Marino
If you haven't had a chance to return your Intention to Give Card, please do so soon. We need everyone's participation in order to adequately support all the ministries of Centre Church. If you need a card, please call the church office. We thank the many people who have already turned in their pledges, and we look forward to receiving Intention to Give Cards from those who have not yet made their financial commitment for next year.
Debbie Cotting, Stewardship Ministries
Cradles to Crayons
Summer clothing (new or gently used) such as shorts, light tee-shirts, sandals, etc. for boys and girls infants through pre-teen will be collected in the donation box located in the narthex. New underwear is also very much appreciated. All donations will be brought to Cradles to Crayons in Quincy on Saturday, May 10th. We appreciate your donations and look forward to filling the box!
Fellowship Dinner – May 10
The Membership Committee, under the leadership of chefs Marty Hagerty and Rev. Dennis Bailey, are planning a Fellowship Dinner for the congregation on Saturday, May 10 at 6:00 p.m. Spaghetti and meatballs is on the menu. Cost: a freewill offering. Save the Date!
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to Paul and Karen Harrington and their families upon the death of Paul’s mother, Phyllis Harrington of Exeter, NH on April 16.
The High School Youth will have the opportunity to volunteer at Cor Unum in Lawrence on Friday, April 25. We will meet at the church at 3:00 p.m. and carpool to Lawrence. Don’t forget to bring your permission slip with you. We plan to return between 7:30 - 8 p.m. Cor Unum provides a safe, respectful community meal center where children, teens and adults can enjoy some respite from the challenges of everyday life in Lawrence. Guests are seated at tables and served meals by volunteers. More than 300 meals are provided each night.
All Youth Groups, Grades 5t12, will be going bowling this Sunday, April 27. We will meet in the church parking lot promptly at 6:00 p.m. and carpool to Metro Bowl in Peabody. Pizza will be served. Please call the church office by Thursday, April 24th to let us know if you plan to attend. Parents are needed to help drive. Call Jill or Barbara in the church office to let us know if you can help. Don't forget your permission slip and $10.00 cash. Pick up will be at Metro Bowl at 8:00 p.m.
Middle School Youth will be volunteering at Cradles to Crayons on Saturday, May 10th. Please return your permission slip, Minor Release Waiver and Minor Media Release by April 27th. Parent volunteers are needed to chaperone and drive to this event. Please call Jill Couillard if you can help.
Golfing With God
The new season of Centre Church’s Golfing with God series starts on Thursday morning May 8th. We tee off promptly at 6 AM at Lynnfield’s Reedy Meadow. Following 9 holes of best ball golf we have a brief coffee hour and Bible study/devotional from roughly 8:15 to 9 at church.
The schedule is that we then play every other Thursday until the fall. The dates are: 5/8, 5/22, 6/5, 6/19, 7/3, 7/17, 7/31, 8/14, 8/28 and 9/11. Our annual golf tournament will be held Friday September 12th with a rain date of September 19th.
Questions? Contact Phil Johnson 781-598-5678 or Chris Parker 781-334-4335.
Recycling Day – May 10 – 9am - Noon
Plan to bring your old appliances, computers, etc. to the church parking lot. Pick-up service for seniors can be arranged. Call Barbara Langill for more info.
ONA Hosts Speaker on Gender Identity
Our “Open and Affirming” film and discussion series, intended to educate attendees about differences in sexual orientation and gender identity, continues on Tuesday, May 6th at 7 p.m. in the church theater, with special guest speaker Hadley Smith. Hadley will discuss parts of the documentary film Call Me Malcolm, which is about a transgendered seminary student’s struggle with faith, love and gender identity. Produced by Filmworks, Inc. and The United Church of Christ, Call Me Malcolm was the first feature film intended for theatrical release to be produced by the church.
Hadley Smith co-founded an organization called Translate in 2006. Translate is an education and advocacy organization that provides training and support to institutions to address the specific concerns of trans and/or gender non-conforming individuals. Along with speaking on many panels about gender identity and expression, Hadley has run workshops for Boston-area social justice groups and has served as a consultant for the New York Times. Hadley graduated from Wellesley College in 2006 with a B.A. in history and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in postmodern social history.
Bricks, Bricks and More Bricks
There is a small window of opportunity this spring for you to add a brick to our patio by the parking lot. You may want to make note of a special moment in your life - a confirmation, new membership, a wedding, the birth of a child, etc. We’ll be accepting new orders until May 1st only.
The small bricks are priced at $50 and the large bricks at $100. The small bricks can hold up to three lines of letters with each line capable of being 20 characters long. The large bricks can hold up to six lines of letters with each line capable of being 20 characters long. Ordering a brick or bricks is a great way to honor someone or just help support the church.
Write a check payable to Centre Congregational Church and send it to me at the church (5 Summer Street) with your suggested wording by May 1st. I can be contacted at email@example.com or 781-598-5678 if you have questions.
|Morning Worship – Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Youth Groups go Bowling
|7:00 pm||Knitting Group – Fireside Room|
|Parish Council – Pastor’s Office|
|Craft ‘n Chat – Kitchen
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.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Head Usher: Linda Ladd
Greeters: The Carey Family
Lay Reader: Chris Lambe
Coffee Hour: Barbara and Mike Nickerson.
Provide Altar Flowers: Meg and Barkey Gulezian
Deliver Altar Flowers: Edie and Earl Richard
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.