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 30, 2008
I Was Just Praying
Mike Barnicle used to write a column in the Boston Globe. I liked it and always looked forward to reading it even if he recycled some of his old material and “borrowed” from others.
So, while working out at the gym this morning, trying to decide what to write today for Tower Notes I decided to share some of my thoughts about prayer.
Why is it that I seem to think about prayer more often when I'm experiencing the agony of working out at the gym than at any other time? I mean I pray, “Oh Lord, help me through just one more repetition on this machine.” “Oh God, do I really have to go to the gym today?” or, “God, can I stop now?” I have heard that some people pray more often when scratching their lottery tickets than at any other time. I once went into a convenience store for a coffee and I heard someone praying, “Please God, please God, please God” loud enough to be heard over all of the other din in the store. I thought they had installed a prayer booth or the store abutted a church.
Why is it that given that Jesus Christ has called us to follow him, many, if not most who are reading this, have accepted his invitation and then pray for him to take it easy on us saying, “Oh Lord, please call upon someone else to do this, serve in this way?” Or, we pray, “Oh Lord, not one more challenge!” Haven't we ever heard of how Jesus said following him meant picking up our cross and following him? As I said in my sermon last Sunday, quoting a line from “We Are the Champions,” by Queen, following Jesus is “No pleasure cruise.”
Why is that when we pray we expect to see instant results or, at minimum, something happening as a result of our prayers by the end of the week? Is prayer like the radio station's request line? Is it like a push button on our radio dial? Is it like the microwave, in 2 minutes the leftovers are heated? Prayer is a process of communicating with God, of thinking, pondering, wondering, and being available and ready for God's response. I wonder how often we pray and then forget about it, going on with our day and week, expecting God to take it from there
Why is it that we think the Pastor has a closer or better connection with God than everyone else? Did Jesus say, “Go to the temple leaders and request prayers?” “Tell your religious leaders of your prayer concerns and then ask them to pray because they'll do a better job?” I don't mind praying and I will not hesitate when asked. But, as far as I know by searching the scriptures and experience, everyone has a connection with God. God is our creator and we are created in God's image. Jesus said that his Holy Spirit is with us always. Chances are that the more we use our connection with God in prayer the more closely connected we will feel.
We can pray anytime, anywhere. A church or temple doesn't make a prayer better. If we sincerely pray to God we will sincerely be heard. The more we put into it the more we will get out of it, just like planting a garden. I would recommend, though, that you not close your eyes while praying while you are driving, jogging down the street, or while taking your turn at bat. There's nothing wrong with praying with your eyes open.
It's nice to pray with another person because then you can pray for each other. It's nice to be prayed for, to hear the words of another speaking your name before God. Handshakes are nice, phone calls from a friend checking in to see how you are doing are fantastic! Years ago, early in my ministry, one of my parishioners and I would meet before worship to pray together. We did this for a time, probably less than 6 months, but I still cherish it because he would pray for me, the sermon, the worship service as I would pray for him and the class he was going to teach for the teens in church that day, for his work, his family, his life. I will never forget how one Sunday he prayed that God would help me “articulate” the sermon. Funny, while praying how he had the hardest time getting that word out, like he had a stuttering problem. We laughed so hard about that. The sermon went well that day!
I ask you to pray with me for:
I was just praying for....you.
May you feel God's embracing presence today.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
May 4, 2008
I Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11, John 17:1-11
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“When the Fire Comes to You”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
Rotation Sensation workshops for children in Pre-K through 8th Grade will be held on May 4 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 meet on May 4 in the Pastor’s Outer Office. All high school youth are asked to meet upstairs after communion.
Our Craft 'n Chat group is now on vacation until September when we will be starting up again. If during this period you come across craft items or materials that you no longer need, please consider donating them to our group. Enjoy the summer. Donna Marino
Save the Date!
International Festival – May 31
Food and Fun from Around the World
Fellowship Dinner – May 10- 6:00 p.m.
Spaghetti and Meatballs prepared by Chefs Hagerty and Bailey
Join us for fun and fellowship.
Children’s Clothing Needed
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 on May 10 by the Middle School Youth. As some of you know, Cradles to Crayons is a collection center where social workers may go to pick up items for their clients. It is the center where many of our youth group members, leaders and adult volunteers have worked.
All Youth Groups will meet on Sunday, May 4 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. The 5th Grade Group will join the Middle School Group in Todd Hall. The High School Group will meet in Richards Hall.
Nineteen youth and four adults had fun bowling at Metro Bowl in Peabody this past Sunday. Thank you to everyone for making this a success!
Six High School Youth and two adults volunteered at Cor Unum in Lawrence over vacation. Cor Unum (which means “one heart” in Latin) provides a safe, respectful community meal center where children, teens and adults can enjoy a nutritious breakfast and dinner 7 days a week.
Middle School Youth will be volunteering at Cradles to Crayons on Saturday, May 10th. If you have not yet had a chance to return your Cradles to Crayons permission slip, Minor Release Waiver and Minor Media Release please do so. If you have any questions, please call Jill Couillard in the church office to let her know of your availability.
Invest In Our Youth
This summer, the youth at Centre Church have the opportunity to participate in a Mission Trip to New Orleans and to attend the UCC National Youth Event in Tennessee. We invite each of you to “share” in their experience by purchasing stock. For just $20.00 per share, you will be helping fund both of these trips. Each investor will be invited to a Shareholders’ Dinner in the fall when we will share our experiences with you. If you would like to help out, please fill out the form available here
Brick Orders Due May 1
Bricks for our patio may be ordered until May 1. The small bricks can hold up to three lines of letters with each line being 20 characters long. ($50.00)
The large bricks can hold up to six lines of letters with each line being 20 characters long. ($100.00)
Check payable to Centre Church and wording for the bricks may be sent to Phil Johnson at the church. Call 781-598-5678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
ONA Hosts Speaker on Gender Identity
Our “Open and Affirming” Film and Discussion Series 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 has spoken on many panels about gender identity and expression and has run workshops for Boston-area social justice groups. Join us for this informative program.
Golfing with God
Join us on Thursday, May 8 for the first golf outing this year. We will gather at 6 a.m. at Reedy Meadow Course followed by Bible study/devotional from roughly 8:15-9 a.m. at the church. We will play every other Thursday until fall. Our annual golf tournament will be held in September. If you have questions, contact Phil Johnson 781-598-5678 or Chris Parker at 781-334-4335.
May Food Drive
CCC has long been a supporter of Haven from Hunger via food drives and monetary support. Now, Boy Scout Troop #48 Senior Patrol Leader, Kevin Matthews, is leading a food drive for Haven from Hunger during the Month of May as his Eagle Scout Project. He is inviting Centre Church to participate by bring canned or preserved food items to the church during the first four weeks of May. Food items can be brought to the church on Sunday mornings, during office hours, 9 am to 3 pm and placed in the Missions Pantry where we have normally collected for Haven from Hunger in the past. It is our hope that Centre Church will be a big supporter of Kevin's Eagle Scout project. You may contact Kevin directly at: 781-334-3910 or email@example.com.
New Schedule for Cable Coverage
With the help of North Reading’s NORCAM and Comcast and Verizon in Lynnfield and Peabody, our worship services may be seen at the following times.
Bruce Gist and Mark Meehl
Device Recycling May 10
Wondering what to do with that old television, computer monitor or appliance that is broken, unwanted or unused? Bring it to Centre Church on Saturday, May 10 from 9:00 am 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.
Pick-up is available for Seniors. Please call the church office 781-334-3050 to make arrangements.
Thanks to all who have already submitted their pledge cards. For those of you who haven’t, please send in your card as soon as possible so that we can plan for the upcoming year. If you have any questions about where you stand with your current pledge please call me or the church office. It’s important that we are all up-to-date so that we can finish this year on a positive note.
Sue Johnson, Financial Secretary
News From Around the Parish
We rejoice with Barkey and Meg Gulezian who recently celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary.
A Memorial Service will be held in the Sanctuary on Saturday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. for Dorothy Robinson.
We extend our love and sympathy to Denise Weaver and her family upon the death of her brother, Louis Christina on April 21. His funeral was held on April 25.
We extend our love and sympathy to Liz DeSantis and her family upon the death of her father, John MacIntyre on April 24. His funeral was held on April 29.
We extend our sympathy to the family of Reuel Davis, Jr., who died April after a 2 year battle with Leukemia at the age of 87. He leaves his wife, Betty, and son, Paul Davis. A Memorial Service was held on April 26. Condolences can be sent to Betty Davis, 615 Laural Lake Dr., #A216, Columbus, NC 28722.
Graduations are coming soon! Please let us know about your favorite graduate so that we may share the news in a future Tower Notes. Call the church office at 781-334-3050 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Holy Communion – Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Weekly Seeds Group – Pastor’s Office
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Youth Groups (Gr. 5-12)
|ONA Film Series – Movie Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|8:30 am<||Bread & Roses Meal Preparation
8 O’Clock Wheel Lunch Out
|Golf Group – Reedy Meadow
Senior Choir - Choir Room
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
Middle School Group to Quincy
Fellowship Dinner – Richards Hall
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Greg Lengyel, Paul Folkins and Brian Bisacre in Iraq.
Sunday, May 4: Greeters: Lay Reader: . Provide Altar Flowers: .
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Greeters: Ed and Marjorie Potter
Lay Reader: Debbie Cotting
Provide Altar Flowers: Robinson family
Centre Church’s Worship Services are broadcast in Lynnfield and Peabody at the following times:
In addition, DVDs of the services are available for check-out from the church office in case you missed a Sunday.