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 22, 2008
The Bread of God
Many kinds of loaves, but one bread.
Many ways of serving, but one meal.
It is known as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, or the Eucharist.
Why so many different names?
It is not the Last Supper, which is one of the meals Jesus ate with his disciples. Rather, it's the Lord's Supper. We believe that the meal continues.
It became a meal that was offered to God in thanksgiving for God's offerings to us in Christ, which is where the term “Eucharist,” meaning thanksgiving, came from.
We focus our attention on sharing this meal in community, in the context of a spiritual community, most often called a Church. This is often referred to as koinonia. The apostle Paul stresses this in 1 Corinthians.
In the words of William Willimon, “Each name for the sacrament is like looking at a different facet of a diamond. They each illuminate it.”1
It is true, the Lord's Supper has many meanings. Ask ten people and you will get ten different meanings. Ask ten different clergy and you will get ten different meanings, unless they are all quoting the same book that they read in Theological School.
Jesus often spoke of meals and analogies that included meals in his teaching: “I am the bread of life,” and “Feed on me.” The meanings for the sacrament are many and are deep. We use the bread and the cup of grape juice or wine to help us understand some of these meanings.
The meanings go back to the sacrifice of food offered in the flood by Noah, talk about David eating the bread on the altar, all the Psalms’ imagery. We remember the ways that God provided food to the Hebrews in the wilderness of the Exodus. We remember the unleavened bread of the Passover as the Hebrews escaped from Egypt under the leadership of God. We also remember how Jesus ate and drank with sinners, like when he ate at Zacchaeus’ house or got into trouble when a sinful woman showed up for dinner.
We remember how Jesus fed hungry people, the 5,000. He told stories about people who had never been invited to the banquet of his table.
Today in the sacrament we talk about Jesus being present. Somehow, he is available to us in many different ways in and through the Lord's Supper. Some feel that after the consecration of the elements, they become the actual body and blood of Christ and that is when we feel his presence. Some feel that it is in the sharing and receiving of the elements that Jesus is present, remembering the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in the upper room. Some feel that it's when the bread touches their lips, when the minister invites us to the table, when we kneel, when we are quiet and solemn that we experience the presence of Christ. Others feel that Christ is present when we are receiving and sharing the elements as a family, together in church on a Sunday morning. Others feel its power when the sacrament is present in a small group setting, when people can be more vulnerable, more openly sharing their prayer concerns as a part of the experience. Others of us have experienced the power of the sacrament when it is shared in large gatherings of worshippers at a conference or other such event, an event that embraces the amazing diversity of God's people and yet, our oneness in Christ.
Perhaps one way to help us grasp some of the meaning of the sacrament is to think about how we might prepare our best meal, set our most elegant table, for someone who least expects to be invited to the table. Jesus does that for us and says, “I do this for you.” Jesus says, “I do this for the least of you,” for those who least expect to be invited.
We don't need an educational degree to be invited. All we need is to be hungry for the presence of God, for the love of Christ, and/or for the humility of Jesus. And, if we can't identify with any of these, we are still invited, even if we are just hungry.
“The Lord's Supper is the normal food of Christians.”2 It is Jesus' ministry to us, to heal us, to reassure us that we are loved by him, and to feed us so that we are nourished for a life of service. So, if we want to serve Jesus Christ, be his disciples, we need nourishment, refreshment, and through the Lord's Supper we get it.
Personally, I love the image of having dinner with all in my family. Everyone is invited. Many conversations are going on at once. Everyone is invited to share in the meal, no matter their age or level of understanding about how much work it takes to prepare and serve such a meal. You don't have to eat everything, only what you want. You don't have to understand the conversations around the table. Your presence is a blessing to the host, and to others in the room. The food is for everyone's nourishment, a reminder that every person's life is important, special and valued because God's image is stamped on you and in you. Maybe someday you will understand its meaning, but for now at least, know that you are loved enough that the host is willing to make a huge sacrifice for your well-being and salvation. And, if it just happens to be the last meal that your host ever prepared for you and the other guests, remember it, every time you gather and eat, that it was done for you, in love.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
October 26, 2008
Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Matthew 22:34-46
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Face to Face With God”
Children may worship with their families before going to Rotation Workshops.
“Pumpkins for Pigs”
Pumpkin Carving Contest
Sunday, October 26
All youth group members, grades 5-12 are invited to bring a hollowed out pumpkin to carve for our annual pumpkin carving competition. We will meet in the downstairs kitchen on Saturday, October 25, from 2-4 p.m. After church on Sunday, church members will “vote” for their favorite pumpkins with a $$$$ donation. (Vote Early and Often!!) This year’s donations will be going to buy a pig for Heifer International.
No Youth Groups Sunday, October 26
Our unit on Heifer continues with workshops in Art, Upper Room and Movie. All children in grades Pre-K through 6 are invited to join in the fun.
The 7th/8th Grade Class will continue to meet in the Pastor's outer office.
Sour cream lids needed
Thank you to everyone who brought in ˝ gallon containers. We now have enough for our project. However, we are still in need of plastic lids, sour cream size. Please drop in the box in the Narthex.
Information about Membership Offered
New Members are being welcomed into the church on Sunday, November 16. On Sundays October 26 and November 2 there will be Membership Classes immediately following worship. These gatherings are for anyone who would like to know more about Centre Church, The United Church of Christ, etc. in order to decide if now is the right time to formally join as a member. Please call or email me if you have questions.
Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
50-Year Members Honored
Certificates of Recognition were recently presented to Edith and Bill Reed and Cindy Trayers who have been members of Centre Church for 50 years. Congratulations!!
November 2, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sacrament of Baptism
November 9, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Mark Freeman Strickland
to be named Pastor Emeritus at this service
November 16, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Reception of New Members
November 23, 2008
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
7:00 P.M. Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church
Coat Drive for Cradles to Crayons
Having a warm winter coat is essential to every child's well-being during the cold winter months. In 2007, Cradles to Crayons saw orders for more than 5,000 winter coats. This year, due to tough economic times, they anticipate an unprecedented demand and hope to outfit 10,000 children this winter with the everyday essentials they need to stay safe and warm. You can make a difference! The High School Youth Group will be collecting children's coats from Sunday Oct. 26 to Nov. 9. Please bring your new or gently used coats, in sizes 0-16, to the collection box in the Narthex. We will be going to volunteer at Cradles to Crayons on Tuesday, Nov. 11 and would love to be able to do our part to help them reach their goal of 10,000 coats.
Book Drive to Benefit Children in the Philippines
Wanted are books in good condition for BKP, an organization which establishes libraries in the Philippines. Needed are books for preschool through high school. Math, English, and Science textbooks (published after 1990), National Geographic Magazines, and dictionaries are all desirable. Please leave them in the Missions Pantry in the bin labeled "Books". We will be collecting until Thanksgiving.
Increase the Peace Retreat
The High School Youth Group will be joining 4 other local UCC churches for an overnight retreat at the UCC Conference Center in Framingham November 7-8. Our facilitator, Barbara Hildt, is the leader of Youth Empowerment Services (www.empowertheyouth.org ). If you plan to attend, please return your permission slip to the church office by Monday Oct. 27.
News From Around the Parish
Our love and prayers are with the family and friends of Clarence “Rocky” Stone who died on October 12. A memorial service was held in Beverly on October 19th.
Video Tapes and DVDs of Phil Triffletti’s sermon “Contemporary Peace and Reconciliation,” which focused on the Cross of Nails Ministry of Coventry Cathedral in England, are now available for checkout from the church office. In addition to the Sunday service, these recordings include video of Coventry Cathedral made a few years ago by Bruce Gist while on a visit there.
Thanks to all who supported our 21st Annual Fund Raiser for Special Needs. Your donations and participation made a big difference!
Frances Soderberg (and families)
Help Re-Stock Local Food Pantries
Non-perishable food items are still needed urgently by local food pantries. Please pick up a few extra items every time you shop for your family and bring them to the Missions Pantry. Every can of tuna helps! Thank you for your generosity.
|Morning Worship – Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
“Pumpkins for Pigs” - Narthex
Membership Class- Pastor’s Office
Youth Choir – Choir Room
No Youth Groups This Week
|7:00 pm||Planned Giving – Pastor’s Office|
|Get-Together Wheel - Fireside
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|Craft Group – Kitchen
Parish Council – Pastor’s Office
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
MACUCC Annual Mtg-Worcester
Our love and prayers are with:
We also remember those who are in Iraq: Lance Corporal Kristofer Jenkins (son of Jane Kilgore Jenkins), Lance Corporal Derek Cataldo, Col. Brian Bisacre, and Maj. Alec Leung.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Head Usher: Linda Ladd
Greeter: Pinky Warnock
Lay Reader: David Bjorkman
Coffee Hour: Lynne Forgione
Provide Altar Flowers: Annabel Aldrich
Deliver Altar Flowers: Chuck Cotting and the Farnsworths
Lights Out beginning October 24: George Laing
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.