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
November 5, 2008
I was teaching a Sunday School Class of fifth and sixth graders during the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960's. In the class, we were comparing the Biblical character of Joshua with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his leadership role in the Civil Right's movement. Both Joshua and Rev. Dr. King, Jr., were persons of deep faith in God. Both had been called by God to lead their people to a better place in this life. Both trusted God to help them lead their people. And, God trusted both of them to be great leaders.
Joshua had been led by God, to conquer and take the city of Jericho, in order to enter the Promised Land. Joshua didn't possess the necessary military force to conquer the city. All common sense suggested that the Hebrew army would not win the fight. The King of Jericho and his army laughed at Joshua and his people because they knew they had the upper hand. They watched as Joshua's army blew their trumpets each morning and marched once around the city with its thick walls. The Hebrews said nothing. Joshua's Hebrew army marched around Jericho like this once a day for six days, saying nothing.
On the seventh day as the trumpets were blown, the Hebrew army marched around the city once, twice,... four,… and six times. As the Hebrew army marched around Jericho the seventh time, Joshua commanded the trumpets to be blown and the people to shout praises to God because God had given them the city. And the walls came tumbling down. The Hebrews charged into the city and captured it.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led his people to march in order to bring down the walls of injustice, in order to be heard, in order to be seen, and in order to bring down the barriers that prevented people of color from fully participating in all aspects of our society. People of color in Montgomery, Alabama, for example, were required to give up their seats for a white passenger. People of color were segregated in every aspect of life in large parts of our country. Black school children were not allowed to attend the same schools as white children. People of color were not allowed the same opportunities as white people. Even churches made black people sit in different sections of their sanctuaries, giving the better seats to the white people.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to obey the bus driver's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. This act helped to launch the modern day Civil Rights Movement and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., into prominence as its foremost figurehead.
One Sunday, after church, I was told by a church leader that I was not welcome to teach about the Civil Rights Movement and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in my Sunday School Class. I disagreed, of course, and argued my case. Fortunately, people like Rosa Parks and Rev. Dr. King, Jr., were not discouraged when told they couldn't break down the walls of racism and segregation. They kept praying, boycotting, marching, and laboring because they believed that God had given them the victory.
Respectful living welcomes into our faith community all people who seek God. It welcomes different points of view. It is willing to listen, reflect, and to ponder what others have to say and share. Respectful living takes the time to listen, to walk together, to be together, even when the journey is painful and hard.
I am often amazed to hear how people have arrived to be members and participants of a spiritual community like a church. I am also inspired when I listen to how God has brought another to a place of faith, courageous, like Joshua and Rev. Dr. King, Jr., and Rosa Parks. Every journey is different. Every person is different. And yet, there is a consistent theme: God can be trusted to lead us to the right places and in the right ways.
This past Sunday, in the baptism of three children from two different families, we celebrated how God can be trusted to give us life, to give us the Holy Spirit, to give us a loving community of family and faith, and to lead us to a yet unknown future together. Each family's story is different and yet each trusts God to lead them forward.
This coming Sunday, November 9th, in the recognition of Rev. Mark Freeman Strickland as Pastor Emeritus of Centre Church, we will celebrate how God provided blessed leadership in the past that continues to bless us in the present and future. We are grateful for those who have had the courage to be our leaders in the past, be they pastors, church officers, teachers, faithful parishioners, children, singers, musicians, staff, or even the occasional visitor and/or guest.
In respectful living we recognize the gifts of God in each person. We recognize them when they are present and when they are absent. We respect them when they speak, laugh, cry, pray, labor, and when they are quiet. We recognize them in name, if we can, and as important.
I pray that you always feel welcome at Centre Church because as Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them.” (Matthew 18:20) If we respect each other, we respect Jesus.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Psalm 78:1-7, Matthew 25:1-13
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Mark Freeman Strickland
“Keep The Light Shining”
During this service, Mark Strickland will be named Pastor Emeritus of Centre Church.
Children may worship with their families before going to Rotation Workshops.
The Nursery will be open for infants and toddlers up to age 3.
News for Children and Youth
Grades PreK-6th will continue learning about Heifer International in their Workshops on Sunday, Nov. 9
The Nursery will be open in Room 14 for infants and toddlers up to age 3.
7th/8th Grade Youth Group will be meeting on Sunday November 9 at 6:00 p.m.
High School Youth Group - Help Increase the Peace Now One Day Only: Saturday, Nov. 8. We will meet in the church parking lot at 8:15 a.m. and carpool to First Church in Methuen for a day-long event with youth from 3 area churches. Join us for fun, games, and activities. We will return around 5:30 p.m.
There will be no High School Youth Group Sunday evening, November 9.
Shopping Card Program Update
On Sunday, November 9, we expect that many of you will want to celebrate at the special luncheon in honor of Rev. Strickland. We invite you to come to church early to order shopping cards (and pick up orders) in the Narthex before the worship service. Thanks to all who have supported this program so far.
If you have questions, please contact Debbie Cotting (978-593-3120) or Sandi Watson (781-334-7032).
Children’s Coat Drive
The High School Youth Group is collecting new or gently used children’s coats (sizes 6 months-16/18) for Cradles to Crayons in Quincy which we will take to them on Tuesday, November 11. Having a warm winter coat is essential to every child's well-being during the cold winter months, but last year Cradles to Crayons was not able to fill all the requests they received.
You can make a difference. Please leave your donation in the box provided in the Narthex. Also needed are children’s gloves, mittens, scarves, and boots.
The High School Youth Group will be collecting turkeys for Haven from Hunger on Sunday morning, November 16. Bring your frozen turkey to church that morning. We will have youth on hand to help carry turkeys to the truck.
It’s also a great Sunday to bring non-perishable foods that can be sent to Haven from Hunger while their truck is here.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Lynnfield’s annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be held on Sunday, November 23 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church. A combined choir from area churches will rehearse on Thursday, November 13 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. and on Sunday, November 23 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. followed by a light supper before the service. All are welcome!
Book Drive for Children
BKP, an organization which establishes libraries in the Philippines, needs books for preschool through high school age children. Reading books, National Geographic Magazines and Dictionaries are all welcome, as are textbooks (math, English and science published before 1990). The collection box is located in the Missions Pantry. - Chris Gehret 781-334-6737
On Sunday, November 23, Stewardship will host a Continental Breakfast from 8:00-9:45 a.m. in the Fireside Room. Come and enjoy a time to chat with family and friends.
Cost: $5.00 per person; all proceeds used toward Church expenses.
Mary Ann Parker for Stewardship
News From Around the Parish
We rejoice with Chad and Christina Hixon whose son, Cole David was baptized on Sunday, November 2. The Hixon family lives at 85 Locksley Road in Lynnfield
We rejoice with Christian and Karyn (Harris) Parker whose daughters Grace Elizabeth and Emma Caroline were baptized on Sunday, November 2. Grace and Emma are the grandchildren of John and Pam Harris and the great-grandchildren of Irene Allyn.
Our love and sympathy go out to Ron Lengyel and his family upon the recent death of his brother, Doug Lengyel in Buffalo.
The Joy of Singing
I grew up in a Methodist church with a Dad who sang in the choir for as long as I could remember. I couldn't understand why he stuck with it all those years, going out to rehearsal once a week after a long day at work and being in church to be a part of worship almost every week. I don’t remember that we had a youth choir, but if we did, it wasn't something I was interested in. I definitely didn't plan to be in anything as "uncool" as the church choir when I grew up!
Funny how things change. Evidently somebody must have heard me singing hymns not long after we joined Centre Church and I guess they thought I could carry a tune – information they passed on to John Bishop. John suggested I join the choir for our 275th Anniversary service, with no commitment beyond that. I took the bait and have been hooked ever since.
Music is a very important and fulfilling part of my life now. A few years ago, I decided to try a larger community choral group and joined the Brookline Chorus, which led to the Back Bay Chorale – a group of 90 or so very talented people who seem to keep setting the bar higher for me each year. But the challenge is rewarding.
No matter whether I'm with my friends in the Centre Church Choir or part of a large chorus, making music moves me. The harmonies and blending of voices touches me in a way that I can only describe as spiritual. We join together to support each other in making something beautiful that hopefully will touch others too.
Entertainment Opportunity – December 6
Join a group of 30 from Centre Church who will be attending the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Stoneham Theater, 395 Main Street, Stoneham on Saturday, December 6 at 3:00 p.m. The cost is $30.00 per person.
Please contact Chuck Cotting (781-593-3120) or the Church Office (781-334-3050) to put your name on the list and arrange for payment.
Holiday Mini-Fair – December 7
On December 7 after church, we will have our Mini-Fair in conjunction with the Advent Workshop and Annual Cookie Walk. We will have a Craft Table (knitted items or other crafts that people can make at home) and a Gift Table for new or like new items. Please look around your house for something new or like new or keep your eyes open for a bargain as you are shopping. If you could bring items in during the next few weeks, it would help with getting things priced. Please give me a call if you need more information
Thank you, Donna Marino 781-581-2022
1720 Founders Fund – A Legacy for the Future
Each prior generation has served Centre Church in its own time and left a legacy for the future. Our generation should be moved to make gifts to the Church to assure its continued strength and ministry. The 1720 Founders Fund was established in June to provide an opportunity for members and friends to further express love and concern for this church and its mission through gifts beyond their annual pledge or commitment.
Earnings from the 1720 Founders Fund and gifts that come to the Fund will enhance both present and future programs. Gifts can be given in honor or memory of family and friends and may be made in many ways: 1. An outright gift by means of cash or transfer of securities. 2. Life-income gifts, which provide the donor with income for life and certain tax advantages, with the remaining principal designated to Centre Church. 3. Bequests by Will. For a Christian, the preparation and periodic review of a Will is an act of faithful stewardship that expresses your belief about God’s claim upon you, and upon what you have been given to use and manage. 4. Gifts of life insurance and retirement funds.
Gifts such as these will be placed in the 1720 Founders Fund, with the principal held in perpetuity and the interest used to strengthen the life and work of Centre Church. Consider your gift today.
For more information contact: Phil Johnson: 781-598-5678, or Rev. Dennis Bailey: 781-334-3050.
The Planned Giving Committee
Heifer Market – November 23
This year’s Heifer Market will take place after worship on Sunday, November 23.
At this alternative giving Market, you may honor friends and loved ones by purchasing animals in their names. The animals–and training in their care—go to struggling families, here in the States and around the world. Your gifts make it possible for people to eat better and to work toward becoming self-reliant. Milk, eggs, wool, draft power, and other benefits from the animals provide families with improved nutrition and help them earn money for education, clothing, and health care.
One of Heifer’s cornerstones is called Passing on the Gift. Each Heifer project partner agrees to give the animal’s first offspring to another family, along with knowledge of how to care for it. Helping others by passing on the gift simultaneously restores dignity and multiplies the benefits of your original gift.
The children of the church have been learning about Heifer’s work in their Rotation Sensation classes this fall. They will be on hand to provide information about the animals so that you can be wise shoppers.
Sandi Watson, Jill Couillard & Barbara Langill
Heifer: Responsible Stewards of our Gifts?
Recently, a church member asked me a good question about Heifer – “How much of the money we give is actually going to help people?” Heifer meets the 20 Better Business Bureau (BBB) standards for charity accountability. Specifically: 75% goes to projects, 18% to fundraising, and just 7% to administrative costs. You may also be interested to know that Forbes recently studied three key efficiency ratios for 200 charities, with higher numbers indicating "a better bang for the donor's buck:"
In all three areas, Heifer surpassed the average numbers for the charities studied, leading Forbes to name Heifer International to its Gold-Star List of 10 charities Forbes considers worthy of your attention. If you have more questions or would like to see Heifer's annual report, please visit their web site at www.heifer.org.
Thank you! -- Sandi Watson, Heifer Coordinator
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Rotation Workshops (PreK-Gr.6)
Pastor Emeritus Luncheon- Richards Hall
7th/8th Grade Youth – Kitchen
|Church Office Closed
Sr. Highs to Cradles to Crayons
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|
|9:00 am - 5:00 pm||Book Packing for the Philippines – Richards Hall|
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, November 9, 2008
Head Usher: Michelle Hagerty
Greeter: Sue Gustavsen
Reader: Paulette Boling
Provide Altar Flowers: Edith Wendt
Deliver Altar Flowers: Barbara Ericson and Norma and Parker Holloway
Lights Out beginning November 7: Dave Clough
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.