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 21, 2008
The Lost and the Found
Turn to the Gospel of Luke 15 and you find the famous “lost” stories: lost coin, sheep, and a son. How did the sheep get lost? Probably just wandered off accidentally. A coin cannot get lost by itself. Its owner just dropped it or misplaced it. Of course, the son made a conscious decision that led to him being lost.
It happens to all of us, doesn't it? We get lost either by accident, because someone or something beyond our control acted or took place, or because we made a decision, perhaps a bad decision, or took an action that caused us to lose our way, get into trouble.
No matter the reason, we need to remember that God considers each and every one of us as precious. The ninety-nine sheep (out of the 100) are not enough, the nine coins (out of the ten) are not enough, the one son (out of the two) is not enough. The Kingdom of God is not complete until all of creation is gathered together. That includes you. That includes me.
Ever get invited to a party or family function and not attend? Maybe you were sick, maybe your car was broken down, or maybe you just decided not to attend. And then, did someone, perhaps the host or someone else who attended, tell you later that you were missed? That's the way it is with God. God misses us when we are not actively participating in the work and world of God.
You know what it feels like to be lost. It seems as if you are alone, that no one cares, that you are not connected to someone who you can trust. It feels as if you can call out for help and no one will answer. It feels like you are in a mountain canyon and if you were to yell out, there would not even be the echo of your own voice to keep you company.
People who are abused can feel lost and alone, unable to even call out for help. Even when surrounded by hundreds of people, those who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol can feel as if they are alone, with only the substance to which they are addicted as their friend.
Some of us feel as if even God has forgotten us, that maybe there is no God to think of us, to love us, to go out and search for us. Some of us can make it hard to be found. Just about the time someone calls out our name we change our position, make up excuses, run deeper into a cave so that the seeker has to try harder, look longer.
It doesn't matter because God has all the time in the world and in eternity to keep looking for
you and for me. God never gives up on us. You and I, we are God's priority. We are God's beloved.
I think of this, now, as we approach the season of Summer, in particular, because some of us begin to plan and take summer trips and vacations. Some of us go away every weekend to a special place and we are out of the normal circulation of friends and associates. As a pastor, I miss those who go away and I wonder, if they have a need, will they call me, or call upon the church to respond, to pray, and to walk with them in the midst of that need, or will they think that no one cares, that no one misses them? I worry about you when you are away. I don't want to bother people and yet, I want to know how you are.
Remember, God knows your comings and your goings, your highs and your lows. You are precious. Every one of us is precious. If you feel as if you are walking in a fog and that no one can see you, hear you, and know where you are, God is there, coming to you in the fog, seeking you out. Perhaps it's the occasional stranger who looks as you walk, sees you and acknowledges your presence. Perhaps it's the “chance” meeting of an old friend, an acquaintance at a place you least expect. Perhaps it's a card, a phone call, or an email calling out to you asking you to respond in some way that makes you feel, helps you to know, someone cares about you, thinks about you..., that you are not alone.
Everyone needs to be noticed. God notices and hopefully, others of us will notice you, miss you, too. And if we don't, please call out to us and keep calling out until we respond.
My brother and I used to play deep into the pasture and meadow of our farm. We were having fun together. Our mother would call out to us, wondering where we were. Perhaps she needed us for something. She would just keep calling and calling until we heard, until we answered. She usually had a pretty good idea where we were. Eventually, we would hear her voice and respond and go back home.
Such is the nature of God, calling out to us until we answer, until we come back home. One by one God searches for each of us. A place is set at the table for us. God's Holy Communion is not complete until we are all there to receive what has been prepared for us. Why? Because to God we are all precious.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
May 25, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Faith and Worry””
Children’s Message: “Worry Flowers”
Children may worship with their families before going to the Chapel and then outside to plant flowers on the lawn.
Opportunity for Guest PreachingAnyone interested in preaching on one of the Sundays that Rev. Bailey will be away during the summer or fall should feel free to call or email him to discuss possible dates. (781-334-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nursery – Join our experienced staff each week for stories and fun. The Nursery is open for infants through age 3.
Children and youth ages 4 – Grade 8 will be planting flowers on Sunday, May 25. Bring your trowels, gloves and watering cans. Please dress accordingly. We will gather in the Chapel following the Children’s Message. Parents should meet their child(ren) in the Chapel following the service.
Weekly Seeds – There is no High School discussion group planned for this weekend. We will meet again on June 1.
There are no meetings scheduled for May 25.
Any Middle School Youth who has already signed up for the lock in/retreat should plan on meeting in the Fireside Room on Friday night, May 30 at 7 p.m.
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 Mary Ann Parker at 781 334-4335 if you can help.
National Firefighter's Sunday
The second Sunday in June is designated as National Firefighter's Sunday. As the Fire Chaplain of the Lynnfield Fire Department I, along with Parish Council, have extended an invitation to the members of the Lynnfield Fire Department to join us on Sunday, June 8, 2008 for our Sunday Service. We will recognize, remember, and honor those who serve to respond in our time of need, risking their lives in order to save and protect ours. I hope that you will plan to attend to show your gratitude.
If any of your children have questions that they would like to ask our Firefighters, please let me know. I would like to give some of our children the opportunity to ask questions of our Firefighters during the service as a way of helping us all to learn about the role they and we can play in keeping each other safe. Thanks, Rev. Bailey
Sunday, June 1 and Tuesday, June 3
This simple but utterly charming documentary, Bob and Jack’s 52-Year Adventure, will be shown on Sunday, June 1 after the Congregational Meeting and on Tuesday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. This video chronicles the half-century-plus romance between gay life partners Jack Reavley and Bob Claunch. Bob and Jack are endearing, humorous and engaging, and the longevity of their partnership generates a feeling of warm reassurance about the possibility of lifelong love. Anybody in a relationship, gay or straight, will see something of themselves in these two lovely and still in-love men.
You Are Invited
The Get-Together Wheel invites you to their meeting on Tuesday, May 27 at 12:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room. In honor of Memorial Day, our speaker will be Betty Hayter, reflecting on her service during World War II in the WAVES.
This is also the meeting when Get-Togethers collect hats, booties, sweaters and blankets for “Rhoda’s Babies,” their mission project begun by the late Rhoda Buttrick, to be donated to the Preemie Nursery at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.
Questions? Call Donna Marino 781-581-2022
News From Around the Parish
Our congratulations to Mike Branco and Jennifer Perkins (daughter of Wayne and Beverly Perkins) who were married at Centre Church on May 17. They will make their home in Peabody.
We extend our love and sympathy to John (Chad) Chadbourne, Jr., of Nashua, NH, upon the death of his wife, Doris on April 20.
Our congratulations to the following college graduates:
Mariah Russell, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
BA/English (Technical Writing) & Spanish
David Tomich, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD
Kathryn Pienta, Wheaton College, Norton, MA
Sigourney Wendt, Mass College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, MA
Food Donations Being Accepted
During the month of May you are encouraged to bring non-perishable food to the Missions Pantry to be taken to Haven from Hunger by Boy Scout Kevin Matthews as part of his Eagle Scout Project
Join Hands – Share the Journey
Our stewardship campaign is winding down, but there is still time to return your Intention to Give Card. We need everyone’s participation in order to provide adequate support for Centre Church and all of its ministries. Please consider making your financial commitment now so that Parish Council will have an accurate estimate of income as they finalize the budget for the next fiscal year which begins July 1. Your financial support is needed to fund the programs and ministries that make our church vibrant and strong.
Debbie Cotting, Stewardship Ministries
From the Mailbox
We would like to thank all of our friends at Centre Church who sent a lovely card, said a kind word, came for a visit, and most importantly, prayed that God would comfort our family during our recent and sudden loss. We feel blessed to be connected to such a loving community.
Warmly, Denise Weaver
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
Come One! Come All!
Saturday May 31st 3:00-7:00
Sign up in the narthex whether you’re able to bring a dish or not.
Festivities will also include a barbeque—prepared by Master Chef Chuck Cotting!
Questions? Look for a Festival Committee Member with a visor or call Mary Ann Parker at 781-334-4335 .
Protestant Chaplaincy Council
The Protestant Chaplaincy Council met on April 24, 2008 at the First United Methodist Church in Melrose. Members from five churches were present, guests were Chaplain Leo Poirier and Chaplain Emeritus Phyllis Greene. Council President Carl Ogren received the officers’ reports and reported sending 109 letters to member churches explaining our purposes, and mentioning the need of financial support for our Chaplain Leo Poirer in this his thirteenth year. In the first three months of 2008 Leo and volunteer assistant Flo Hutchinson averaged 55 bedside patient visits and 87 church phone contacts. Dedicated and long serving volunteer assistant Flo will retire this September. Chaplain Leo has a Catholic counterpart-- they often cover for each other. Patients covered by neither faith are Leo’s province. The Council’s next meeting will be in October.
Centre Church Representatives, Betty and Clayton Conn
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery Care – Room 14
Children Plant Flowers on Lawn
|Office Closed for Memorial Day|
|Get-Together Wheel – Fireside Room
Parish Council – Pastor’s Office
|Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
Middle School Youth Overnight
|Middle School Youth – Gordon College
International Festival – Lawn
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Greg Lengyel, and Brian Bisacre in Iraq.
We rejoice that Paul Folkins has returned home from Iraq.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Head Usher: Linda Ladd
Lay Reader: Marian Orfeo
Coffee Hour: Marty and Michelle Hagerty
Provide Altar Flowers: Betty and Clayton Conn
Deliver Altar Flowers: Edie and Earl Richard
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.