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 19, 2008
Remember the Good Land
“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:7-11, NIV)
I was a child running through the good land, eighty acres of good land, where the cattle could also run, if my brother and I chased them. The good land was the source of much of what we depended on to live. The land was a place full of sources of water. We had a spring for our house, a spring so pure and clear that I could stick my head into the doorway of the cement “house” my father built around it and see to the bottom and, sometimes, see a crawfish swimming. After a long, hot day of working in the fields, occasionally I dared to jump into the cold water trough adjacent to the barn into which another spring source was piped through the pasture field for the cattle.
Farms like ours were built in the meadows where the springs were to be found and often abundant. Our farm never lacked for fresh, clean water. There was no river, just a constant and consistent supply bubbling up from the ground. I remember this and I am thankful.
The good land was also the source of life for the seeds we planted in our family garden every spring. My mother taught us how to plant, how to weed, how to grow vegetables. My father would plow the garden every spring. I'm sure that he also fertilized it, too, in the same way that farmers fertilized all of their land in those days, through the natural cycle of life, not through bags of chemicals or fertilizer bought at stores. Dad rotated the crops, seldom, if ever, planting the same crop in the same soil more than 2 years in a row. As a result, the soil remained rich and abundant, alive, providing for us, our cattle, chickens, pigs, our cats, and dog. I remember this and I am thankful.
Every year my father would plant a huge field of sweet corn! What an abundance that was. When the corn was ready we would feast on it! How many ears of corn could these two farm boy sons of our parents eat in a sitting? Six ears? Ten ears? A dozen ears? Or more? Yes! I forget, but think that maybe we ate as many as twenty once or twice! I remember, laugh, and give thanks!
My brother and I celebrated this good land when we ran through the fields to our “forts” of vines, trees, bushes, rocks, and caverns in the earth. One of our favorite places was at the far end of the larger of our two pasture fields. We followed the path next to the stream that ran through the center of the pasture to where it took a bend. There, at the far end of the field, was an outcropping of rocks, about 15 feet tall. It seemed 100 feet tall, then. There we pretended to be fighting off the enemies of the day, take-offs from our favorite TV shows. We always won! When our mother wanted us to return to the farm house we could usually hear her calling for us. We didn’t need our parents to buy or build a playground.
Our playground was the good land. I remember, smile, and give thanks.
The honeybee hive gave us honeycomb and the story of how a skunk was once found hiding under it. When our fox terrier, Tiny, got too close, we were all showered with a dose of the skunk's defense! The grapevine provided grapes. The cherry trees had to be picked each season so that my mother could jar them for the winter. The potatoes were put in baskets and stored in the ground cellar built into the side of the hill within 25 feet of the house. Other canned items grown, hand picked, and prepared by our hardworking mother were also shelved in the ground cellar. I loved going into the cellar in the winter to claim a jar of cherries, peaches, pickles..., for the supper table. My taste buds remember, and I am thankful!
I wasn't always thankful. The hard work under the hot summer sun mixed with our sweat and the dust from oat and barley harvest, made my skin itch beyond what I thought, then, I could bear. The hours and days of harvesting the hay and putting into the barn got me to “pray” more than did my Sunday School teachers and Sunday preachers. “Ugh,” I often thought to myself. My body, though, grew to be strong, lean, enduring, a gift of the good land that I didn't fully appreciate till many years later when I hiked it and biked it.
I can still see my father walking and working the land, even though his death in 1964 made it necessary for us to sell the good land. I can see my grandfather Bailey driving the Allis Chalmers Tractor, plowing the land, cigar in hand, even though he died a few years after my father, his son. I can see my brother and I working together bailing the hay and straw, fending off the “enemies” from our “forts.” And, I can see my mother cooking what the good land gave to us in her kitchen for us all to enjoy. I remember and am thankful!
What the good land produced, then, is still producing a rich harvest in my life today. It continues to give me strength, hope, faith, and an enduring attitude. We never gave up because the good land never gives up. The water never stopped, reminding me of Jesus' teaching that if we drink of him, the living water, we will never be thirsty. Like the Lord, our God, the good land was always there, supporting us, loving us, and holding us safely, even while we slept. When I take walks, ride my bike, or taste a bit of honey, I remember and am thankful, to God, the author of the good land. Happy Thanksgiving!
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
Sunday, November 23, 2008
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
Children’s Message: “A Thank-You Note to God”
Children may worship with their families before going to set up the Heifer Market.
The Nursery is open in Room 14.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Sunday, November 23, 2008
7:00 p.m. St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church
Join your friends from the Lynnfield community
as we gather to give thanks for God’s bounty.
This Sunday, November 23, all classes will be setting up for the Heifer Marketplace after a brief time of worship in the sanctuary. Be sure to join us in the Narthex after worship for this worthwhile endeavor.
7th/8th Grade Class will be meeting along with all the other classes to prepare for the marketplace.
Letter from Mark Strickland
I am both humbled and honored by last Sunday’s celebration, officially naming me Pastor Emeritus of Centre Church. It was wonderful to see so many friends and to get caught up on one another’s life journeys.
Rev. Wendy Vander Hart, the Associate Conference Minister for the Metropolitan Boston Association, made reference to the day of my ordination, when in the ancient tradition of the church, hands were laid upon my head declaring me as a Minister of the Gospel. However, last Sunday’s recognition in some ways held even greater meaning for me, because it was seasoned with the richness of years of friendship and so many experiences we have shared together.
Ministry is a unique vocation because a pastor is blessed with the privilege of intersecting with people’s lives at many critical points - times of joy and times of sorrow; occasions of struggle and occasions of accomplishment. I was blessed with that privilege here in Centre Church.
The blessing also has been reciprocal. Nancy and I and our children, Alison and Matthew have been the recipients of your ministry over the years, in more ways than we can number. For all you have been for us, we are profoundly thankful. And what a special joy to know that our first grandchild, Caitlin, had her first-ever experience of being in church right here in Centre Church!
I pray that God’s guiding hand will continue to be with you as you move into a new day at Centre Church. Keep the light shining, because it matters! It matters very, very much!
By now you know you will not need to prepare breakfast on Sunday, November 23. All you need to do is arrive at church between 8:00 and 9:45 to enjoy a Continental Breakfast with friends in the Fireside Room. Cost: $5.00 per person; all proceeds used toward Church expenses. If you are unable to attend, but would like to contribute, please send a check, designated Stewardship Fundraiser to the church office.
Mary Ann Parker, for Stewardship Comm.
Hatha Yoga Class Starts
Join Kathy Riese for a gentle Hatha Yoga Class any Tuesday evening in the narthex. The early class runs from 5:45-7:15 and the late class runs from 7:30-8:45. These classes will have gentle flowing yoga postures that quiet the mind and increase flexibility for the body, even for a beginner. The cost per class will be a discounted rate of $8 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. Remember, it is yoga practice not yoga perfect!
Contact Kathy Riese if you have questions 781-334-2341
Heifer Market - November 23
Please join the children of Centre Church in the Narthex after worship this Sunday for the Heifer Market. At the Heifer Market, you may honor friends and loved ones by purchasing animals in their names. Because the animals provide things like eggs, milk, meat, and wool that families can sell, the families who receive your gifts can also work toward becoming self-reliant. In return, you get a beautiful honor card to give to a loved one as a gift. You can request calligraphy for your honor cards -- thank you, Carol MacKendrick, for sharing your talent!
In addition to buying animals for Heifer project partners, you'll have the opportunity to buy something to go with your animals. Our children will have booths where you may purchase water buffalo doorstops, “clicking” chicken toys, cute sheep Christmas Tree ornaments and soups and/or cookies in a jar. It promises to be a fun way to get started on your Christmas shopping!
News from Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to Charlotte Orrall and her family upon the death of her husband, Jack on November 14. A Memorial Service will be held at Centre Church on Saturday, November 22 at 10:30 a.m. A collation will follow in Richards Hall.
Youth Group Projects
Turkey Drive: Thanks to everyone who brought frozen turkeys to church on November 16. We collected over 50 turkeys to help feed families who are served by Haven from Hunger.
Cradles to Crayons: Thanks to the generosity of the congregation and Tower Day parents, we were able to contribute more than 40 children’s coats to Cradles to Crayons. The 9 youth and 3 adults who volunteered at Cradles to Crayons on Nov. 11 were able to see first-hand how our contributions will help children in need keep warm this winter.
Animal Shelter Donations:This year the 7th & 8th Grade Class has decided to help the Northeast Animal Shelter during the Christmas Season as a service project. We are asking you to bring in donations for this project. The class will learn more about what the shelter does and deliver the items on December 14th. Please leave your donations in the box in the Narthex. For a more detailed list you may go to: www.northeastanimalshelter.org/help/inkind.php. Items needed include: Canned dog/cat foot, dry puppy/cat food (Nutro brand), dog/cat treats, chew toys, squeaky toys, Dog Kongs, Kitty Kongs, felt mice and Catnip, Digital thermometers, Frontline, Heartguard Plus Chewables, Dog/Cat beds (new), paper and cloth towels, blankets, cat litter, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, Q-tips, cotton balls, and laundry detergent.
Mini-Fair – December 7
Join us on December 7 after church for a Mini-Fair. There will be tables of crafts and new or like-new items for sale. If you have any donations for these tables, we need them as soon as possible in order to price them. Please give donations to me or leave them on the right side of the stage in Todd Hall. (Please keep in mind that this is a gift table only and we are not taking items that we would normally take for our attic treasures table as in previous fairs.)
The Advent Workshop and Lunch will also be part of the celebration that day. Save the date!
Donna Marino (781-581-2022)
Shopping Card Program
With the holidays fast approaching, now is a great time to order shopping cards. The cards can be used for your own shopping or given as gifts. Gift envelopes are available. Submit your order on Sunday, and you’ll receive your cards the following Sunday.
If you’d like to order cards, but can’t be in church, please call Debbie Cotting (781-593-3120) or Sandi Watson (781-334-7032).
I wish to thank Carol MacKendrick and Cindy Trayers for their gifts of calligraphy (Carol) and graphic design (Cindy) for our church’s various certificates (Baptism, Weddings, New Members, Fifty-Year Members and the very classy and professionally done framed Pastor Emeritus Proclamation). They are both always there to provide the artful and tasteful gifts that lift the spirit and communicate to the recipients that they are special, important enough to us for us to do something special for them. Thanks, Carol and Cindy, our own Church Art Department! - Rev. Dennis Bailey
We continue to collect books to be sent to establish libraries in the Philippines. Most needed are children’s reading books and textbooks (math, science and English printed after 1990). National Geographic magazines (1998 or later) and dictionaries are greatly appreciated. A collection box is located in the Missions Pantry.
If you wore an oatmeal colored woman’s short coat to church on November 16, please make sure you took the right one home. A church member found your coat on the rack outside the chapel door but her own is missing. It is a size 14 and had keys in the pocket. Please call the church office to arrange a swap. 781-334-3050
Theatre Excursion Planned
A few tickets are still available for the December 6 trip to the Stoneham Theatre for “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Contact Chuck Cotting 781-593-3120 or the Church Office 781-334-3050 for information. DON”T MISS IT!
|Continental Breakfast - Fireside
Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Children set up for Heifer Market
Heifer Market - Narthex
Confirmation Class – Kitchen.
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service – St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church
|7:00 pm||Knitting Group – Fireside Room|
|10:00 am||Craft Group – Kitchen|
|Church Office Open Morning Only
Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
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, (Jane Vancor’s cousin), and Maj. Alec Leung (Carl and Olive Wood’s grandson
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Head Usher: Linda Ladd
Greeter: Ginny Daniels
Coffee Hour: Bob and Carol MacKendrick
Lay Reader: Chris Parker
Provide Altar Flowers: Edie and Earl Richard
Deliver Altar Flowers: Jo and Al Farnsworth & Edie and Earl Richard
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.