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
May 7, 2008
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
Yesterday I preached about how, at certain times in our lives, we come to the realization that we have to do better than we have been doing in order to achieve an important goal. This lesson comes, in part, out of the above scripture in which Peter is encouraging and exhorting the early Christians to face persecution and horrendous opposition by keeping in mind the suffering of Christ, the presence of God who never abandons, and how the hope we have in Christ will never let us down.
Some, if not many, of the early Christians were surprised that they were facing such suffering and persecution. Some even thought that God was letting them down. In some cases, they were backing off their dedication and commitment to follow Jesus, reverting to old patterns of behavior in the face of the stress and anxiety. In face of this reluctance on the part of the early church Peter responds with Beloved, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7).
What the early Christians had to learn was to depend on God in all things, at all times. This is hard to do because we like to be able to depend on only ourselves so that we are free to make the choices that are pleasing and comfortable for us. Unfortunately, disaster, suffering, illness, and loss can bring us to the reality that, in fact, we do depend upon God and God's people to help us see things through at times.
Yesterday I spoke of how, after my father died, my mother, my brother, and I were forced to look to God and our family and friends to see us through. My father didn't have a retirement fund or stock portfolio, - just the resources of the family farm. We had to sell that farm and build a new house, start over. My mother went back to work and my brother and I, as we became of age, had to work part-time as much as we could. In essence, with the death of my father, we had to try harder to survive than we ever had before. We had no choice.
If you want to succeed in your college career, in your chosen profession, become what you dream of becoming, you have to try harder than you ever have before. Many of us, most of us, know that to be true. When facing a challenge we dig deep, put aside frivolous things, and focus on the prize, the goal, the thing that is most important. I've witnessed this in myself and in many friends and acquaintances.
My best friend in late high school and college (and still my best friend) was one of 11 children. Do you think he received any financial support when it came time to go to college? No way. What he received most from his parents was unconditional love, encouragement, and a strong, confident, and never-waning faith. My friend trusted God because it was only through his faith, and his dependence on others who came to believe in him, that he found the resources he needed. I remember visiting him while he was in medical school and every time he left his apartment he would disconnect every electrical device he had, including his alarm clock, because he was destitute, conserving his money at every turn. He studied 365 days a year because he didn't have the academic background and advantages that many others had for pre-med and medical school. My friend had to try harder than anyone else in his medical school to succeed. He believed in himself and in the God who created and loved him to see him through.
At Centre Church I believe it is now our time to try harder, to do better than we have been doing. We must do better in our giving and dedication to our ministry. We have a great ministry here as I think about how we send our youth on great Mission Trips, National U.CC. Youth Events, support Heifer Project International in a most amazing way, welcome all people who seek to learn of God and follow Jesus Christ regardless of background, gender, and sexual orientation. We are a special haven for disciples and would-be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Do we want this ministry to continue to succeed? Yes, I know we do. But in order to do that we must do better in our giving. Our annual budget is the foundation of all that we do and experience here. We must meet it to continue the nearly 300 years of Centre Church tradition. But this year we are anticipating a $20,000 shortfall when our fiscal year ends the end of June and based on our current giving expectations we anticipate at least a $30,000 shortfall for next year, unless we do better.
I am asking you, begging you, pleading with you to consider doing better in the following ways:
Pray with me, that we will, as a congregation, do better in our giving so that we can continue the work that God has started in us.
I acknowledge that the economy has us scared, that rising fuel prices cost us more to drive, to heat our homes, and has us more anxious about our finances, especially those of us who live on fixed retirement incomes. I know that some of us are worried about job changes and/or losses, that some of us are going through challenging times, even the threat of foreclosure. But, I believe, that there are enough of us who can help each other out, that God gives us the resources we need to meet the financial needs of our ministry, and that all of us must trust God to see us through.
Can you, with me, do the best that you can, do better, try harder, in order to succeed in what God has given us to do. I need your help. I can't do it alone. As a team we can work together. Of this I have no doubt.
Thanks for reading and listening. It is my job as your Pastor to speak the truth in love and I hope and pray I am succeeding in this today, every day.
Yours in Christ, trying harder to do better,
IN THE SANCTURY
May 11, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sacrament of Baptism
Alison Brooke Lanciani & Camiele Elliott Lewis
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“The Problem with Pentecost”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
Old Fashioned Spaghetti Dinner
Saturday - May 10 - 6:00 PM - Richards Hall
Bill of Faire
Spaghetti - plain sauce with meatballs available
Fresh Garden Salad
Garlic Bread – Dennis’s “special” recipe
Beverages: coffee, soda, water, & apple juice
Desserts – tasty treats from our congregation
Come One, Come All! Freewill Offering
If you would like a ride, please call
Chuck Cotting at 781-593-3120
There are no Rotation Workshops scheduled for Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11. Weekly Seeds will not meet this week. We invite you to worship as a family in the sanctuary. The Nursery will be open for infants through age 3.
Journal Pages: If you are in the 9th or 10th Grade, your journal pages from past years in Rotation Sensation have been collected. They are located in alphabetical order on the table in the Narthex. Pick up your folder today - they’re a lot of fun to look at.
Youth Group: There will not be any Youth Group meetings this Sunday, May 11. Stay home and make dinner for your mom!
The Middle School Youth Group will be going to Cradles to Crayons this Saturday. We will leave promptly at 9:30 from the church parking lot. We will arrive back at the church at 12:30. Permission slips and waivers should have been turned in by now. If you have not yet responded you must do so immediately.
High School Youth are needed to volunteer at the International Fun Day on Saturday, May 31. You will receive community service hours for your efforts. Please call Mrs. Langill if you can help.
Mother’s Day Flower Sales
The High School Youth Group will be selling hanging baskets after worship in the Narthex on Sunday, May 11. These beautiful flowers will bloom all summer. $25.00 each. Proceeds to Youth Group summer trips.
Food Drive During the Month of May
Bring all non-perishable food to the Missions Pantry to support the Eagle Project of Kevin Matthews.
Appliance/Computer Recycling Drive
Saturday, May 10 from 9:30-12 noon. Members of the High School Youth Group will be on hand to help unload items. All proceeds will go toward this summer’s trips to New Orleans and the National Youth Event.
Pick up is available for seniors. Please call the church office to make arrangements.
Bricks, Bricks and More Bricks
We have extended the order deadline for engraved bricks until May 11. We have had a good response so far, but I want to make sure no one misses out on this opportunity. You may have noticed that the price of these bricks is lower than in previous years in order to encourage more participation. The small bricks are $50 and the large bricks are $100. Just write a check payable to Centre Congregational Church. 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 for our engraved brick patio is a great way to honor someone or just help support the church. If you need help in coming up with just the correct wording contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 781-598-5678. - Phil Johnson
Invest in our Youth
This Sunday the youth will be selling shares for the New Orleans Mission Trip. Shares are $20.00 each and all those purchasing stock will be invited to a shareholders dinner in the fall.
Cat’s Meow Replica of Centre Church: There are just 3 of these churches remaining. These highly collectible wooden replicas of Centre Church are available for $20.00 each. They will be available after church on Sunday, or call Barbara Langill.
International Festival–May 31 – 3-7 pm
Food and Fun from Around the World
Boston Pride March
The Boston Pride March is on June 14. The MA Conference 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 would like to participate, you may sign up in the narthex until May 12. Carrie Pericola 781-231-0954
Vacation Bible School
Sign up for Vacation Bible School today! This year we are offering a “Rainforest Adventure.” Children will hear stories, do science experiments, eat snacks and do crafts & games. It will be a full week of fun and adventure. The camp will run from 9:30-12:00 noon on June 23rd-27th. The “Rainforest Adventure” is open to children ages 4-10. Return your registration form along with your payment of $45.00 per child by May 23rd.
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to the family and friends of Orrill Pickett who died on May 4. A Memorial Service will be held in the sanctuary on Friday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m.
Our congratulations to Christian and Karyn (Harris) Parker upon the birth of daughters, Emma Caroline, weighing 3 lb. 3 oz. and Grace Elizabeth, weighing 2 lb, 13 oz. on May 4. Proud grandparents are John and Pam Harris and proud great-grandmother is Irene Allyn.
Former Pastor, Mark Strickland will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination on May 25. Let’s surprise him with a shower of congratulations cards! They may be sent to: 12 Deer Hill Road, Hamden, CT 06518.
Congratulations to Matthew Strickland who will be married to Allison Murphy on May 10, 2008 in Georgetown, DC. Both Matthew and Allison received degrees in mechanical engineering from Cornell Univ. They will be living in Arlington, VA. The Reverends Nancy and Mark Strickland will officiate at the wedding.
|Morning Worship – Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
No Rotation Workshops
No Youth Groups tonight
|Caregivers – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|Membership Comm. – Pastor’s Office
OWL Program/Sr. Highs - Fireside
|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, : Head Usher: . Lay Reader: . Flower Delivery: .
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Head Usher: Karen Harrington
Lay Reader: Chris Gehret
Deliver Altar Flowers: Karen Harrington & Marjorie Potter
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.