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
September 10, 2008
The Parables about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son are powerful and meaningful for us. We reflected on things, pets, and people who have been lost to us in our worship service yesterday. Clearly, there are valued things we have lost, but most importantly, some of us have lost friends, and beloved family members. I was especially struck when someone spoke of losing a friend, a friendship lost even though the person is still alive.
It is especially hard to lose a friendship when we had been especially close to someone for many years, sharing valuable and meaningful experiences together. It leaves a hole in our hearts and lives. We are left with grief and sadness. And, we wonder, is there something we should do to reconcile, to reach out, or, just wait and hope that our “friend” might return?
I recently had this discussion with someone who is still, after many, many years, a close friend of mine. We are both professional clergy, trained and experienced in handling relationships, advising others about relationships. Most of his career has been in Hospital Chaplaincy and mine, in Parish Ministry. We admitted that sometimes our friendships change because of geographical changes, career changes, divorces, etc. And yet, we live by the philosophy and ideal that “once a friend, always a friend.”
Talking it out: The two of us have been trained that even while friendships experience hurt and disagreements, we talk it out, apologize, forgive, reconcile, and remain friends. This often works and, we would like to think, that most of the time it's the route to take. Good!
And yet, the two of us shared examples from our own lives where talking it out didn't and wasn't working to save the friendship. My friend told me of a recent experience in which he tried and tried to talk it out with one of his closest friends. The friend didn't want to talk about the conflict in their relationship anymore than they had all ready done, via phone, and so my friend, had to find a way of coming to “peace” with it on his own. Their friendship changed, but, they are still friends.
Giving it time: Sometimes just letting things set for a while provides an opportunity for healing and reconciliation. The conflict will pass and both parties move on, remaining friends, and maybe a time comes when talking about it will be possible. Patience, prayer, and availability are the keys. Eventually, there may be an occasion for the hurt to be discussed, acknowledged. Continuing in some form of a relationship, not walking away completely, treating each other with respect, may provide an opening for a friend lost to be a friend found, again.
Letting go: And, my friends, sometimes friendships are lost and there is nothing that can be done to save it. A formal good-bye of some kind would be nice, but, unfortunately, it most often doesn't work that way. A kindly note, phone call, email, etc., should be welcomed and appreciated. It serves to leave the door open in the event that a “reunion” is possible. This may be a way of giving it to God so that the best for both parties will be discovered and found.
Angry words are often exchanged when a friendship is lost and given that we are human beings who lose our tempers, get hurt and mad, this, too, should be handled with understanding. When we don't know how to end a friendship that needs to be ended, we often resort to anger and/or actions to end it. It is best to try to realize it for what it is, that the friendship needed to come to an end we just didn't know how to do it. Giving thanks to God for the valuable and wonderful things shared during the friendship saves, I believe, treasured moments that cannot be taken away. Yes, I would hope, with you, that angry words and actions do not need to be used.
Seeking the lost: Now, when we have lost something that we feel, after prayer and reflection, that we think needs to be found, then, Jesus teaches us to pull out all of the stops to regain it. There are no guarantees that the lost relationship will be saved, but unless you try you will never know. Certainly, a relationship with a family member is most valued. Keeping all of the doors open for a reconciliation, continuing relationship are key. Time, availability, healing, prayer, and patience, on our parts, are the most valuable ways that we can act to save what is lost.
Jesus' example of words and actions encourage us to be available. His actions also encourage us to not point fingers of judgment at each other because our standards of behavior are different than others. It is hard for us to acknowledge that we may have dark sides to our lives that find expression in the way that we put others down, on occasion.
Jesus' model of shepherding encourages us to seek out someone with whom we are estranged and be a shepherd, whether it's been a day, a week, a year..., 30 years. Be prepared for rejection, but let them know that we have an open door toward them. Let God's compassion be our compassion for we, too, get lost, on occasion and need someone to shepherd us.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
September 14, 2008
Genesis 50:15-21, Matthew 18:21-35
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“The Limits of Forgiveness”
Children’s Message: “The Lost Sheep”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
Fall Yard Clean-up Day
We will be having a property clean-up day which will involve cleaning of the garden beds, some trimming, sweeping and general pick-up. Please plan on spending part of the morning with us at Centre Church starting at 8 AM Saturday September 13. Questions please contact Phil Johnson at 781-598-5678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Group News
Shareholders Dinner: The youth who traveled to the National Youth Event and participated in the Mission Trip to New Orleans will be hosting a dinner on Sunday, Sept 14 at 6 pm in Richards Hall. We would like to share the experiences of our trips and to show our appreciation to our family, friends, and the congregation for their support. Please RSVP to the church office by Friday, Sept 12.
Youth Participants: NYE: please wear either your orange MACUCC t-shirt or the white NYE shirt. Mission Trip: please wear your gray t-shirts (if you participated in both trips, you may choose your favorite!) For those interested in helping to prepare the meal, please meet in the kitchen at 4:00 p.m. Those able to help with set up, please arrive by 5:00 p.m. All youth will need to be at the church by 5:30. Help is also needed for cleanup.
Youth Group Meetings Resume: Youth group meetings for youth in grades 5-12, will be starting back up on Sunday, September 21st. Details regarding the welcome back night will be mailed out shortly.
Rotation SensationRotation Sensation Workshops will begin Sunday, Sept. 14. for children PreK-Grade 6. We will start the year with the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Workshops include Storytelling, Art and Drama. Beginning Sept. 14, there will be a special class for all 7th & 8th grade youth. It will be held in the Pastor's Outer Office. We will base this class on the book, "Way to Live, Christian Practices for Teens". Lively discussion and activities will take place.
Infants and children through age 3 are encouraged to come to the Nursery for playtime and stories. Pagers are available for all parents leaving young ones. This enables the Nursery staff to reach parents quickly for any reason.
Church School Registration
Please remember to return your registration forms and video/picture release forms as soon as possible. If you did NOT receive a form in the mail, extras will be available in the Chapel, or you may call the church office to request one.
Thanks to Cub Pack 48 for the beautiful landscaping around the two outdoor church signs on Summer Street. They worked on Sunday, Sept. 7th, to make our church more attractive with weeding, new soil, new plants and flowers, and new mulch. Great job! Check it out.
Children’s Book Drive
As part of her commitment to Cradles To Crayons, Stephanie English is asking for book donations for a Children’s Book Drive. Books should be for Preschool through Grade 6.
Please drop off new (or slightly used) books in the box in the narthex any day between September 1 and September 22. Just one book can make such a difference to a child. Thank you for your help.
Annual Golf Tournament
Join us Friday, September 19 for the sixth annual Centre Church golf tournament.
The net proceeds go to support our Missions Ministries program. This will be a best ball tournament with a tee time of 1 PM at Thomson Country Club in North Reading. The cost is $125 per player and that includes a cookout following the tournament at the Johnson’s. Prizes and the chance to have your winning team’s names engraved on The Unholy Grail are but a few of the benefits of playing in this tournament. Players of all skill levels welcomed. Please invite your friends to play, too. Sign up with Phil Johnson (email@example.com or 781-598-5678) no later than Wednesday September 17th. Checks should be made payable to Centre Congregational Church.
News From Around the Parish
Lynnfield Senior Center Health Fair: On September 23 from 9-12 p.m. over 40 vendors will be at the Lynnfield Senior Center at 525 Salem Street, offering a wide range of FREE services and giveaways.
Tower Notes will be sent weekly. If you would like to receive the newsletter by email instead of by US postal delivery, please call or email the church office to let us know. 781-334-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (Receiving your Tower Notes by email means early delivery for you and saves the church money on postage.) Please consider it!
Special Needs Yard Sale
September 13, 2008
Meeting House on the Common
9:30am – 2:00 p.m
Donations and customers are greatly appreciated.
Call Fran Soderberg 781-334-3437 for info.
Our ongoing collections include Aluminum Can Pull Tabs, Used Eyeglasses, Non-Perishable Food, Travel Size Toiletries, Knitted Squares, and Used Cell Phones (numbers erased with charger).
Please Note: We are no longer accepting redeemable bottles and cans.
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Shareholders Dinner- Richard’s Hall
|Caregivers – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
Golf Tournament-Thompson C.C.
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Col. Brian Bisacre, Jane Vancor’s cousin and Maj. Alec Leung, Ollie and Carl Wood’s grandson in Iraq.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Coffee Hour: Dwight and Ann Deker
Altar Flowers: The flowers on the altar this morning are given in loving memory of Margaret “Libby” Wendt from her family.
Cable Coverage of Worship Services
Centre Church’s Worship Services will be broadcast in Lynnfield, Thursdays at 7 pm on Comcast Channel 10 and Verizon Channel 28. In Peabody tune into Comcast Channel 12 on Sunday’s at 9 am.