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 8, 2008
Remember the Goal
Allen “Jack” Latham, Jr.
The question of the day is, “Can technology and our spiritual values go hand in hand?”
The young and newly ordained pastor settled into his work at the struggling urban church, a church that had a grand future behind it. It had been a thriving church once upon a time and the ministry was still very much alive. The people of the congregation were still a “church,” in that they knew how to care for each other, run a great Harvest Fair the first Saturday of every November, and tell their pastor about their favorite hymns.
Among the faithful who worshiped there was a man, Jack, who showed up Sundays always wearing a bow tie. Jack was actually most comfortable in his flannel shirt, working in his workshop at his home in Jamaica Plain, MA. He always displayed a comfortable and welcoming smile and handshake, showing respect to anyone and everyone, and, most importantly, humility, an extremely important spiritual virtue.
A person would never have known or suspected the following about Jack: He was born in Norwichtown, Connecticut and earned a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1930. After studying business at M.I.T., he helped a high school classmate, Edwin H. Land start a company which would later become Polaroid. Jack served as the first treasurer of the company, writing the checks by hand. In 1941 Jack began work as a mechanical engineer at Arthur D. Little, Inc., where he eventually became senior vice-president. During the 1950’s, Jack began working to improve blood transfusion technology by designing a commercially viable container for the collection and processing of blood. In 1971, after leaving his engineering career at the age of 64, he devoted himself full-time to the problem and founded Haemonetics. The company became and remains one of the world’s leading suppliers of blood processing systems, and its products help save an estimated 15 million patients worldwide each year.
Jack was named Engineer of the Year by the Society of New England Engineering and Inventor of the Year by the Boston Museum of Science. Considered one of the great American inventive geniuses of the past century, he won numerous other distinctions and held 33 patents. A dedicated philanthropist, Jack believed strongly in education and in quiet charitable works. He endowed chairs at M.I.T. and Harvard, and was the lead donor for the Latham Science and Technology Building at Norwich Free Academy in Norwichtown, CT. At Roxbury Latin, the alma mater of his three sons, Jack endowed the Allen Latham Professorship of Science in 1992 in memory of his father.
What all of his obituaries didn't write about was how much he believed in technology helping people, saving lives, serving the common good while maintaining the basic Christian values of our faith. Henry David Thoreau made the statement that inventions “are but improved means to an unimproved end.” It is true that while we search for faster, better, and “new and improved” we lose sight of the goal. We use technology to get more done faster but, for some reason, we have more work to do and our work week goes from 32 hours to 48 hours and soon, to 60 or more hours. We forget the meaning of Sabbath and that human beings were not placed on earth to only work.
Jack, on the other hand, remembered the Sabbath, attending church every Sunday, reflecting on his purpose, God's call to servanthood, and generously, quietly, using his time and gifts to serve those who might do the same in the future.
It was not unusual for Jack to enter his pastor's office remarking that it would be a good idea to add some technology to the heating system of the church to save costs on fuel. The pastor would respond, “That's a great idea, Jack. Thanks.” Jack would, momentarily, leave the pastor's office only to return a few seconds later, smiling, and offering, “Do you want me to take care of that?” Later that week, the pastor might catch Jack in the boiler room adding the new technology that would save the church hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in fuel costs. Jack and the pastor were the only ones who knew what had been done. Jack didn't want or need an acknowledgment and his pastor knew better than to give out such information publicly. It was their little secret!
Perseverance, another spiritual virtue, was not lost on Jack, either. While other people were moving out of the city of Boston, Jack chose to stay and support the people and institutions that he found and felt important. Every time there was a need, Jack was there to respond in whatever way he could.
More than 30 years later, when the once pastor of that church went to give blood at the American Red Cross, he laid down on the donation bed, looked to his right, and saw on the machine, the name “ Haemonetics,” the company Jack invented and founded. What Jack did over 35 years ago is still saving lives! Technology, humility, perseverance, and faith do go together toward the goal of serving God's people.
Would Jack want these things to be made known to you? Probably not, and yet Jack, while wearing his favorite flannel shirt in his workshop in Jamaica Plain, improved your life and mine through his engineering expertise, as well as the lives of millions of people. He did not hide his light under a bushel. He did not horde his gifts and resources. He gave and gave and gave.
He still gives.
Jack, or Allen “Jack” Latham, Jr. died August 3, 2003, at the age of 95, in his home in Jamaica Plain, MA. He is survived by his four children, W. Nichols, David, Thomas, and Harriet; three step-sons; 15 grandchildren; and 17 great grandchildren (last count).
Jack bought that pastor his first computer and printer, making the life of that one pastor easier, better, and filled with gratitude.
Yours in faity,
Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
(Jack's pastor, 1974 to 1990)
IN THE SANCTUARY
October 12, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by Dr. Philip Triffletti
“Contemporary Peace and Reconciliation”
Families may worship together for the entire service.
Overlook Farm – Heifer International
Twenty-seven of us went to Overlook Farm on Sunday, October 5th after church. It was a beautiful day where we could sit at the picnic tables and enjoy the scenery. We also had time to explore the global village, pat the animals, talk to volunteers and enjoy a hay ride. A special thanks goes to Sandi Watson for bringing her knowledge of the program to our attention. It was wonderful traveling to Overlook with our own expert!
Recycling Drive Thank you
Thanks to everyone who helped support the High School Youth Group Recycling Drive. We were able to raise $1,500.00 toward our summer Mission Trip to New Orleans. Special thanks to Marty Hagerty and Kim Morrissey for help with the many pick-ups.
Hatha Yoga Class Offered
Please join Kathy Riese for a gentle Hatha Yoga Class starting mid-November. The class will have gentle flowing yoga postures that quiet the mind, and increase flexibility for the body, even for a beginner. Yoga techniques nourish the body and rejuvenate the spirit. Deep breathing and guided meditation will help you let go of stress, promote healing, and well-being. Wear loose clothing and bring a sticky yoga mat. The class will be held in the church narthex on Tuesday nights. There will be two classes available. One is at 5:45 p.m. and the other is at 7:30 p.m. I expect participants to respect their limitations. Remember it is yoga practice not yoga perfect. The cost of the class will be a discounted rate of $8 per class for members of the congregation. It will be on a drop-in basis and a waiver will need to be signed in order to participate. Hope to see you there!
Kathy Riese, Professional Exercise Specialist, Nationally Certified Yoga Instructor
7th - 8th Grade Walk for My Brother’s Table
Don’t forget to ask for sponsors to raise money for the walk for My Brother’s Table.
Be sure to bring your forms and wear your walking shoes to Youth Group on Sunday, Oct. 19.
8 O’Clock Wheel Meeting
The 8 O’Clock Wheel will meet on Monday, October 13 at 12:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room. Join them for refreshments and a speaker on Dolls.
Call Betty Conn for more information. (781-334-2682)
Boy Scout Troop #48 Update
The Scouts’ planned bicycle trip to Nickerson State Park was cancelled due to heavy rains. The troop however recognized those Scouts who have advanced in rank over the summer. We have 3 new Eagle Scouts: Liam Callahan, Kevin Mathews, and Neal Sacks. The Scouts also earned 2 Life Scout Badges, 2 Star Scout Badges, 2 First Class Scout Badges, 2 Second Class Scout Badges, and 7 Tenderfoot Scout Badges. The Scouts also earned 63 merit badges. Our next adventure is an event called "Mass Jam." Mass Jam is a statewide jamboree held over Columbus Day Weekend. The organizers are expecting about 7,000 Scouts to attend and compete in the various activities. We also have four of our adult leaders currently taking the district's Shu Shu Ga, Scoutmaster training program.
During October we would like to collect over and above the usual amount of non-perishable foods for the families who visit Haven from Hunger in Peabody. Please bring a bag of nourishing food items when you come by the church.
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). All of these articles may be left in the Missions Pantry which is next to the narthex near the Summer Street door.
Our thanks to Pinky Warnock for delivering knitted squares to the Red Cross in Peabody and cell phones to HAWC (Help for Abused Women and their Children) in Salem.
Our thanks also to Elouise Bjorkman who makes sure that the toiletries are delivered to the Lynn Shelter Assn. and that the used eye glasses are delivered to the Lions Club.
And thanks to Earl Richard for taking the pull tabs to the Shriners. Many hands make light work!!
We will soon be having a Book Drive for children in the Philippines, so save your books, preschool through high school, including text books. Details to follow.
To Be or Not To Be?
The Holiday Fair is the question being addressed. Do we want to have one this year? Saturday, November 22 would be the date. I would be glad to help the efforts of a core group of volunteers to make it happen. We would need people to come forward to take key positions like publicity, pricing, setting up, breaking down and packing up afterward, heading up a kitchen crew, etc.
We could have the usual tables: Attic treasures, Jewelry, New Gifts, Crafts, Kids’ Table, Bake Table, etc. It’s a lot of work but it does bring fellowship and fun and helps our budget too, of course.
Again, I am more than willing to help with the fair but if people would rather we take a year off, that is also fine. Please let me know what you think and if you want to have it, what you would be able to do to help.
Donna Marino 781-581-2022
We have started up our craft group again this year. We meet downstairs in the kitchen on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until noon and welcome newcomers. If you have a talent that you would like to share, that would be wonderful. If you would like to come just to chat, please feel free to do that. This is a fun time and a great way to meet new people in a small group setting. Please join us!! If you have any questions, feel free give me a call.
Donna Marino 781-581-2022
News From Around the Parish
Our congratulations to Art and Lillian Foulds who recently celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary!
We rejoice with Wayne and Alison Strickland Meadows of Billerica, MA upon the birth of a daughter, Caitlin Mercia Meadows on September 29. Caitlin weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz. Proud grandparents are Rev. Nancy and Rev. Mark Strickland.
Once again, my gratitude for the lovely flowers delivered to me recently by Susan Gustavsen. She was a new friend and very generous with her time.”
Half Gallon Containers Needed
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
|Morning Worship – Sanctuary
No Rotations or Nursery
Families Worship Together
|Church Office Closed for Columbus Day
8 O’Clock Wheel – Fireside Room
|Caregivers – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|10:00 am||Craft Group - Kitchen|
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|10:30 am||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 12, 2008
Head Usher: Linda Ladd
Greeters: Jack and Donna Marino
Coffee Hour: Janet Everson and Margaret Markham
Lights Out beginning October 10: Al Johnson
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.