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
October 1, 2008
Striving Toward Perfection
Recently, I went to Augusta, ME on the occasion of the retirement party of a close colleague and friend, Rev. Raymond Anderson, a Methodist Clergy and Hospital Chaplain at Maine General Hospital. I met Ray in 1976 when he was a Hospital Chaplain at the New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston, MA, now part of Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital.
Ray and I became close friends through a number of circumstances, including backpacking together, with others, on the Appalachian Trail. Ray's retirement party included close friends, colleagues, and his family.
A few of the speakers, teasing Ray, asked the question, “Had Ray reached perfection, during his years of ministry?” At the end of the evening his mother stood up and announced that “He is a very good boy!” Is that perfection or what?
Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 5:48 said to his disciples, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Those are very challenging words. On more than one occasion I have thought “that's ridiculous, I can't be perfect.” And yet, I, along with you, have made promises that I have intended to keep and commitments that I have intended to fulfill. I like to think that, for the most part, I have been able to fulfill these promises and intentions. But no, I have not been and am not perfect. So, what does Jesus mean by these words?
In part, I believe that when we answer the call to follow Jesus as his disciples we are agreeing to strive for the ridiculous: strive toward doing the best job that we can, making no excuses, and giving our whole selves to serving Christ and his Church. In that, I feel, there is some degree of perfection. And yet, arriving at the state of perfection is elusive.
I believe that being available for the work of God anytime, anywhere, and with anyone is also some degree of perfection. On many an occasion in my life and work, I've been going along my appointed or unappointed rounds, when God has stepped in front of me, telling me I'm needed. On one such occasion, I was working in my office, and I got a cell phone call from a close friend who, on his boat on Lake Winnisquam, in New Hampshire, was asking me if I could perform a funeral for the relative of a friend. It was a funeral for someone I never knew, for a family, though, that I did know, in part. The most interesting part of the phone call was that I was being asked to perform the funeral in the local Elks Lodge. I fulfilled the request and included, as part of the funeral service, the Elks' 11 O'Clock Toast. This gave the family peace and comfort, as well as sacred meaning to the deceased man's life, a life of faith which sought to live it out in the Elk's “...principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God....”
Striving toward perfection also comes when we seem to have a good sense of timing. I do not claim any special expertise in this, but it has happened to me several times lately, and at other times in my life. A comic rises or falls on timing. Perhaps ministry does, too. I believe that by our steady and persistent presence in the work of God, God and people realize that they can depend upon us. I also believe that when we keep certain people and situations in our prayers, we are also more attuned to when they need us. I know this to be true because many times in my life, when others in the church have kept me in their prayers, they seem to call me, show up, and/or give me something that is just what I needed, as if they were inside my heart, mind, body, and soul. Of course, if you know me, the hardest part for me is accepting help even when it's standing in my doorway.
I'm not expecting you to be perfect. I'm not expecting myself to be perfect. Apparently, in my friend, Ray's mother’s eyes, he's as close as you can get! Most of us fall short and seek God's forgiveness and vow to do better next time.
A part of perfection for me is resolving to face challenges with perseverance, trust in God, and the knowledge that God's resources are always available to us. We are also to resolve to treat each other with respect, doing what is right by each other, regardless of the consequences, whether financial, political, or social.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
World Communion Sunday
October 5, 2008
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“What We Share”
Children may worship with their families for the entire service as we learn more about Communion.
Sunday Morning Activities
Nursery Care: Nursery Care for infants through age 3 is provided each week in Room 14. Pagers are available for all parents to take so they may be reached in a prompt manner. Stop by the Nursery and say hello to our trained staff.
Rotation Sensation: All children and youth are invited to stay in the sanctuary this week for a family-friendly service. Children will have the opportunity to learn more about communion as we add a new piece to our banner. Join us on the 5th in the sanctuary as we celebrate World Communion together.
7th & 8th Grade Class: Please be thinking about what causes and mission work are important to you. We ask that you jot your thoughts down, possibly make note of a website and bring it with you to your next class. For example, one participant noted that the North Shore Animal Shelter is important to her. Mrs. Couillard likes Heifer International, while Mrs. Potter thought it would be nice to learn more about Bread & Roses. Bring your ideas with you to the next class. You can talk with your parents about this and make it a family effort.
There is still room available to join us on the bus trip to Overlook Farm’s Fall Festival on Sunday, October 5. Have you ever seen a water buffalo or a yak up close? You will have the chance next Sunday. Explore the Global Village, take a hayride, tackle the Hay Maze, and enjoy many other fun activities This trip is open to all ages. A donation of $5.00 per person will be collected on the day of the trip. Don’t forget to bring a bag lunch. We will be leaving from the church parking lot at 11:30 a.m. and returning at approximately 4:30 p.m. Call the church office to RSVP if you have not yet signed up.
Barbara Langill and Jill Couillard
There are no youth group meetings scheduled for October 5th. We ask that everyone join with their families and travel to Overlook Farm for their Harvest Festival and to learn about Heifer International.
Appliance/Computer Recycling Drive
Bring your unwanted, unused televisions, computer monitors and appliances for recycling on Saturday, October 4 from 9:00 a.m. -12 noon. All proceeds will go toward this year’s Mission Trip to New Orleans.
Pick up is available for seniors. Please call the church office to make arrangements.
Centre Church Shopping Card Program
Begins Sunday, October 12
The Centre Church Shopping Card Program will offer you a chance to donate to Centre Church simply by doing your usual shopping. You will buy prepaid shopping cards at face value. Great Lakes Scrip Center, the organization that administers the program, buys these cards in bulk. Because of their volume buying, merchants offer the cards to Great Lakes Scrip Center at a discount. The difference between the card’s face value and the discounted price goes to the church. The percentage of each purchase that goes to Centre Church varies by merchant, with 5% as the average. For example, when you buy a $25.00 card from the Cheesecake Factory, $1.25 goes to the church.
A variety of merchants and restaurants participate in this program, including Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, L.L. Bean, Stop and Shop, Dunkin Donuts, Staples, Legal Sea Food, and Talbots. We will provide an abbreviated list of retailers. For a complete list, see the Great Lakes Scrip Center web site: http://www.glscrip.com. Please be sure to read the fine print. Most cards never expire but some do – we urge you to be a savvy consumer.
If you want to participate, visit our table in the Narthex after worship on October 12, to order your shopping cards and make your payment. On the following Sunday, we will have your shopping cards and a copy of your order. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Cotting or Sandi Watson.
College Freshman Addresses Needed
The High School Youth Group will be sending care packages out to our college freshmen this fall. Please call or e-mail the church office with their college address so that they will be sure to get a surprise package from their friends at youth group.
New Group at Centre Church
Bagong Kulturang Pinoy, Inc. ( New Filipino Culture), known as BKP, is a registered nonprofit organization with a 401(C)3 tax exempt status. It is run by volunteers who believe that creating a reading culture among the children in the poverty-stricken areas in the Philippines will enable them to improve their lives and their future.
We have celebrated our 10th year in April, 2008 and are currently supporting 110 mini-libraries by sending thousands of books and conducting the Rotary CLE(Concentrated Language Encounter) read aloud training to all teachers and volunteers here and in the Philippines.
We are grateful to St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Acton for housing us for the past 3 years. It has been remodeled to be used by a Food Pantry and we had to relocate. We thank Marie Lagman, a resident of Lynnfield and BKP volunteer, who made the search for a new book packing venue for us in June. We thank Pastor Dennis Bailey, Phil Johnson, Susan Spear and Chris Gehret who gave us a warm welcome to use the space in the Centre Congregational Church basement as the new home for BKP.
We will be book packing every first and third Saturday of the month. We are in need of volunteers and monetary donations for shipping the books in addition to new or slightly used reading books, encyclopedias, geographic magazine, as well as English, math and science textbooks (no older than 1990’s).
For more information please email Lsisonbkp@yahoo.com or call 978-686-6567.
Lea A. Sison, BKP, Inc. Executive Director
Confirmation Orientation Meeting
Sunday, Oct. 19 - 11:30 a.m. - Chapel
Anyone in ninth grade or older is welcome to participate in this year's Confirmation Class. We will be holding a meeting introducing Centre Church's Confirmation Program on Sunday, October 19 following worship. If you or your son or daughter are interested, please call, stop by, or email me for a registration form: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Dennis Bailey
Each Tuesday evening from 7-8:30 p.m. a group gathers in the Fireside Room to knit items to be donated to those in need. If you’d like to knit with us or knit at home, we would welcome your help. Directions for the squares we knit for the Red Cross are posted on the Missions Bulletin Board. We just delivered square number 1460 (enough to make 28 blankets). Our thanks to Pinky Warnock for delivering them.
From the Mailbox
To Our Friends at Centre Church,
We appreciate so much Dennis’ frequent visits, your calls and cards and the altar flowers we received recently. We are most grateful for your payers and concern.
Ernie and Barbara Becker
New Members To Be Welcomed
On Sunday, November 16, 2008 we will welcome new members to Centre Church. If you are interested in becoming a member, please let Rev. Dr. Dennis Bailey know via phone, email, email@example.com, or by speaking with him on Sunday. Membership Introduction Classes will be held on Sundays, October 26 and November 2, 2008, at 11:30 a.m. You are invited to attend both of these meetings in order to learn more about Centre Church, meet some of its leaders and staff, and discuss expectations of church members.
Please contact Rev. Dr. Bailey as soon as possible.
Collecting Milk Cartons
We are in need of clean Milk or Orange Juice ½ gallon cartons. Please clean out the cartons and donate them in the box located in the Narthex. It is important to note that we are specifically looking for the cartons and NOT the plastic jugs. Thank you. Jill Couillard
Pastor Emeritus Celebration
On Sunday, November 9th, during the regular worship service at 10 am, Centre Church will honor its former pastor, the Rev. Mark F. Strickland, by recognizing him as Pastor Emeritus. Mark and his wife, Rev. Nancy Strickland, will be present on that Sunday. We have invited Rev. Wendy Vander Hart, Associate Conference Minister, Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, to also be present to participate in the Service of Recognition.
Mark Strickland's friends and family will be invited to attend. The Membership Committee is planning a special Chowder and Lobster Roll lunch following the service for all to attend. A sign up sheet for those planning to attend will be available and/or you can call the church office to let us know that you are planning to attend.
Mark will be the first Pastor Emeritus that Centre Church has ever had. This recognition also falls on the 50th anniversary of Mark's ordination into the Christian Ministry. We have invited Mark to preach on this Sunday. We hope that all who have known Mark and appreciated his ministry will be able to attend. If you have any questions, please call the church office: 781-334-3050, and/or email Rev. Dr. Dennis Bailey, firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Holy Communion - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Families Worship Together
Bus Leaves for Overlook Farm
No Youth Groups This Evening
|Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|Senior Choir - Choir Room
|Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
Our love and prayers are with:
We also remember Lance Corporal Derek Cataldo, Col. Brian Bisacre, and Maj. Alec Leung in Iraq.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Head Usher: Michelle Hagerty
Supply Communion Bread: The Carey Family
Reader: Sue Gustavsen
Greeter: Cheryl Schedin
Provide Altar Flowers: Cheryl, Steven and Daniel Schedin
Deliver Altar Flowers: Barbara Ericson & The Holloways
Coffee Hour: Cheryl Schedin
Cable Broadcasts of Worship
Our Sunday Morning Services can be seen on local access television each week. Below is the schedule:
DVD and VHS recordings of the services can be borrowed from the Church Office at any time.