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
June 4, 2008
To the Graduates and the Graduated
My first graduation came from Hereford High School, Parkton, MD. I was graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Catonsville, MD. Three years later I was graduated from Andover Newton Theological School with a Master of Divinity Degree. And twenty-two years later I was graduated, again, from Andover Newton Theological School with a Doctor of Ministry Degree.
I do not share these things with you to boast or brag. Rather, I share them to remind myself that these things actually occurred. Part of me continues to be amazed at these graduations because I was such an insecure and shy person as a child and young adult. I lacked self-confidence and self-esteem. If, at the time of my High School graduation, you told me that I would go on to graduate three more times, I would have laughed at you saying, “Yeah, right.” Even after receiving my Master of Divinity Degree, I would, again, have laughed at you at the suggestion that I would eventually go on to earn a Doctor of Ministry Degree. In fact, I swore that my days in formal educational settings were over after being in school for 20 straight years since entering the doors of Sixth District Elementary School at the age of 6. Can you blame me? I have been in school for over one-third of my life. Is this what our High School Graduates have to look forward to? In some cases, yes. That's a lot of reading, a lot of writing, a lot of sitting, and a lot of hard work.
It occurs to me that growing up in our society is a very challenging endeavor, putting before us examinations, texts, standards of achievement, and requirements. It can be very intimidating and rewarding to be challenged to achieve in so many ways year after year. It can be
very rewarding to grow in new ways, ways that we never imagined possible for us. It can be devastating, though, when we do not succeed.
Not all learning occurs in succeeding, passing the grade, and in graduating. Sometimes we fail, do not get the diploma, and need to re-evaluate our goals, our work ethic, and/or our study habits. Sometimes we need to ask for help, to be tutored, mentored. Admitting that we cannot make it on our own can be hard, very hard. Admitting that perhaps we need to make some changes in our expectations and/or study habits can be even harder.
I have had a lot of valuable “graduations” not recognized in academic settings. I'm sure you have, too. Significant learning occurs when we experience challenges, failures, crises, disasters, and losses in our lives. The stories we could all tell!
Further, as parents watching our children graduate from High School and College we realize that they (and we) still have a lot of learning to do, especially in the areas of maturity. This is hard for us because despite what we tell our children, they need to make their own decisions, mistakes, successes, in order to gain maturity. In other words, our parental graduation will come later, if we can let go, if we can continue to be there for our adult children when they ask for our help.
Even after our children become graduates, we will need to continue our work of setting limits for them. We will need to continue to say “no” at times when they ask for things like more money. Maybe some of us need to learn to say “no” more often so that we can, indeed, continue to be there for our children as they grow. A huge part of their maturing and graduating is taking responsibility for their lives. And yes, some of us wonder how that is going to happen if the jobs they secure don't pay enough to allow them to “pay their way.”
Faith enters. Yes, our faith enters in as we ask God to help us grow, learn, mature, let go, find the resources, keep our children safe, etc. Faith enters as we hope the experiences of faith and religious education given to our children by us, as parents, and by the church, will significantly aid our children's decision-making and growth. As congregations we pray that our graduates will find meaning, happiness, financial success, and be safe as they continue to grow and mature.
We wonder, “how will our children find the resources they need?” I can remember wondering how I would find the resources I needed to live independently when I graduated. Would I find a job, a home to live in, money enough to pay my bills? How would I ever afford to buy a house? Trusting in God for our futures, for the futures of our children is hard. I remember how God has provided resources for me that I did not have and knew not where they would come from.
The Israelites wandered in the wilderness often forgetting how God had provided for them in the past, forgetting how God was at work in their lives to provide for them day to day. The Israelites built altars with stone from the Jordan River to help them remember how God had cared for them. Some of us plant flowers, hang paintings on our walls, carry a special piece of jewelry, and/or take walks to help us remember how God is always present.
Perhaps the most significant graduations that we have in our lives are when we see ourselves through the most challenging times in our lives, times not rewarded with a diploma, times when we realize that we didn't survive it alone, but with God's presence and care, and Jesus Christ in the hearts, minds, souls, hands, feet, tears and laughter of our friends and maybe even strangers.
Congratulations to all who are graduating this year, to all who have graduated from other challenging times, and to all who believe they will graduate again and again to new life in Christ.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
June 8, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sacrament of Baptism
Recognition of Lynnfield Firefighters
Special Music by the Youth Choir
All children Pre-K through Grade 8 will participate in the service.
On Sunday, June 8, we will be celebrating Children’s Sunday during the Worship Service. All children should plan to meet at 9:30 a.m. in the Narthex.
This special service will be followed by in ice cream social on the church lawn.Attention: Rotation Workshop leaders, shepherds, nursery caregivers, and youth leaders: We plan to recognize our volunteers on Sunday, June 8 at the morning service. High School Graduates: On Sunday, June 8, there will be a special recognition of our graduating High School Seniors during the worship service. Please plan to attend.
Congregational Meeting – June 22
Mark your calendars and plan to attend an important meeting of the congregation on June 22 following worship. Up for consideration at that time will be the Proposed Budget for the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year, and consideration of the options available to us, by which we can come into compliance with the new State Health Care Law.
Christopher Parker, Moderator
Youth Activities Enjoyed by All
21 Sr. Highs, along with several adults, had a great time playing mini golf and enjoying ice cream at Richardson’s for our end of year celebration. Many thanks to all those adults who drove and chaperoned.
12 Middle School Youth and chaperones enjoyed a lock-in at the church followed by a day at Gordon College. We enjoyed team building activities at Gordon College which helped us focus on our communication skills. It was a great way to wrap up the year.
June Worship Schedule
June 15, 2008 - 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary
June 22, 2008 - 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary followed by Congregational Meeting
June 29, 2008 - 9:00 a.m. in the Chapel
Summer Office Schedule
Beginning on Monday, June 9 and through the summer, the Church Office will be open mornings only – 9:00 a.m. – Noon.
The schedule for Tower Notes will be as follows: June 9, June 30, July 28 and August 25.
From the Mailbox
Dear Centre Church Friends,
What a wonderful surprise to receive so many cards and thoughtful greetings on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination! Nearly half of those years were at Centre Church and are filled with so many wonderful memories. I shall always be grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such a wonderful church family and the many ways in which you ministered to me and my family during our years together. May God’s blessings be with you as you move toward a strong and hopeful future.
Join Us For Some Summer Fun!
Essex River Cruise
Sunday August 17, 2008
Essex River Cruise is a narrated 1½ hour cruise from 35 Dodge St., Essex - the Essex Marina - down the Essex River to the ocean on a large safe and comfortable vessel with a restroom and bar aboard.
The Cruise leaves at 3:30 PM and runs to 5 PM. As of June 1 we have just over 40 people signed up so we can charter the boat and have it all to ourselves!!
Planned cost is $22 each, but the cost will go down if we have 40 or more people. The boat can seat up to 110 people, so bring ALL of your friends on this adventure.
The cruise was booked on June 2. Call Chuck Cotting, 781-593-3120, or Susan Spear, 781-334-3050, to make your reservations!
Send in an $11.00 deposit per person to secure your reservation. It may be sent to the church office, 5 Summer Street, Lynnfield, MA
Then: Join up at Woodman’s [just around the corner on Rt. 133] for dinner. Chris Parker’s A Capella Group, Peking and the Mystics, will be performing at Woodman’s. Dinner will be on your own, so you can pick the food you want. There is a very large tent just at the back of the restaurant that can seat up to 120 people and, hopefully, we can all eat together.
If you need a ride, please let Chuck or Susan know!
Hosted By Your Membership Commission
|Children’s Sunday Worship Service
Ice Cream Social – Front Lawn
|Caregivers – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|7:00 pm||Membership – Pastor’s Office|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Greg Lengyel and Brian Bisacre in Iraq.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Head Usher: Karen Harrington
Greeter: Elouise Bjorkman
Ice Cream Social: Christian Education Committee
Provide Altar Flowers: Nancy Lauzon
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.
Worship Services in June
June 8, 15, 22 – 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary
June 29 – 9:00 a.m. in the Chapel