Tower Notes

Centre Congregational Church
United Church of Christ

We Welcome Everyone: An Open and Affirming Church
Handicap Accessible

Phone: (781) 334-3050; Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email:
5 Summer Street, Lynnfield, Massachusetts 01940

The Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey, Pastor -
The Rev. Mark Freeman Strickland, Pastor Emertius
Jill Couillard & Barbara Langill - Directors of Christian Education & Youth Ministry -
Douglas W. Hodgkins: Organist/Choir Director
Sally MacDonald, Director of Tower Day School
Susan Spear, Secretary

January 7, 2009



The Benefits of Pork

I would never admit this, but, occasionally I flirt with superstitions like a lot of people. The one that I'll always remember around New Year's is how my mother told me about the Pennsylvania Dutch belief that if you eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day you will have the blessings of good luck for the coming year. This year? No, I didn't eat pork on New Year's Day, but I did make myself a small pork roast the day after. I just like it. No sauerkraut, though. I figure that sauerkraut is something that someone created and used as an inexpensive way to punish and/or feed their children or both. I have learned to like it, under certain conditions, like when I want my house to smell horrible for a week and a half when I think unwelcome visitors will come by. Sauerkraut, like liver and onions, is a dish that should always be eaten outside of your own house either at a restaurant or at someone else's home so that you can walk away from the “aroma.”

I like pork because I've come across some nice recipes that are easy to make and enjoy, and it's relatively quick. My extensive research on the topic of pork has yielded the following extremely valuable information: “Pork contains many of the nutrients recommended to build and maintain a healthy body, including six essential vitamins, four important minerals, protein and energy. Pork contains Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenate, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc and is a good source of complete protein.” (

I know, some of you are saying and wondering, what about the prohibition regarding pork that is practiced in strict, Jewish laws? A member of one of my Confirmation Classes asked a Jewish Rabbi, “Why can't Jewish people eat pork?” The Rabbi said, “I don't know! We don't eat it as our way of obeying God's commands. No questions asked. We do it on faith.” Other Rabbis have told me that it is because they feel pork is “unclean” because of what they eat.

Personally, I like the first answer, “simply out of obedience to God.” It is clear-cut because you know if you eat it, you are disobeying God. Are there grave consequences? Are you going to a bad place when you die if you eat pork? Will you be forced to eat sauerkraut for the rest of your life? I don't know the answers to those questions either.

What I do like, is being forced to think about obedience to God as a form of showing our love toward God. It is like this for me. I have friends who I trust with my life. When one of those friends tells me something, I believe it, without question. When I tell them something, they believe it, without question. If one of those friends says to me, “Dennis, I need you to do something for me, with me,” etc., I will do it without question, unless I think that they are putting their lives or the life of another in danger. Why am I willing to do this? Because of the love that I share with my friends.

So, when I feel God is asking me to do something or not do something, I will also obey, without question. I know, easier said than done sometimes. I do it out of love, commitment, and faith. I don't always understand what God or my friends are asking of me, but I have learned to have faith and go with it.

Obeying God, loving my neighbor, and losing something that I consider valuable to me is hard and not always easy for me to do. To be asked to give in a way that makes one part of me say, “Are you kidding or what?” is hard. And yet, I cannot count the number of times God and others have done this for me.

The benefit of pork, for me, is remembering the Rabbi's answer to the confirmand's question, so many years ago in a Temple in Lowell, MA. Rabbi Leslie Gordon welcomed us into the temple, told us about some of the important and sacred things of her faith and religious tradition, trusted us to be respectful. She welcomed some of my class to attend one of the services at the Temple. She also helped the clergy, churches, and community of Billerica remember and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and, therefore, the evil in the death of over six-million Jews during World War II. We can hardly believe the survivors’ stories. Some, even to this day, deny the reality of the Holocaust.

So, whether we believe that pork is worthy of eating or not, the greater uncleanness is the sadistic evil in the death of six-million Jews, of the horrendous things that took place in the concentration camps. The greater uncleanness is when we forget how such things have been done and are done by human beings toward each other. Whether it's the physical and/or sexual abuse of one person upon another, genocide of a people because of the accident of their color, place of birth, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc., it is wrong.

God simply asks us to obey this command: to love with our heart, mind, body, and soul. Can we do that without question in 2009, no matter the cost, putting all else aside?

And, therefore, we shall honor and serve the Lord, our God.

Yours in Christ,



January 11, 2009
Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11

10:00 A.M. Morning Worship

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Baptism: A Lesson In Swimming”

Children’s Message: “The Last Straw”

Children may worship with their families before going to the Chapel.
The Nursery will be open in Room 14.
All are welcome at the Pre-Inauguration Breakfast in Richards Hall following worship.




Pre-Inaugural Breakfast

Show your patriotism and wear red, white or blue and join friends and family for breakfast following service this coming Sunday, January 11th.  There are many things to celebrate, enjoy and share as Stewardship continues to raise funds for the Supplemental Pledge Drive. (Cost of Breakfast is $10 for adults, $5 for children, Free for children under 5.)

Chris Gehret and Mike Nickerson will host our breakfast with many goodies for all to enjoy! 



Rotation Sensation

Nursery: Our Nursery, located in Room 14, is open each Sunday for infants through age 3. Join us for stories and playtime each week.

Rotation Sensation: On January 11, all children (PreK-Grade 6) should meet in the Chapel following Children’s Time. We will gather to watch a special movie about Epiphany and the wise men.

7th & 8th Grade Class will meet upstairs in the Pastor’s Outer Office following Children’s Time on Jan. 11. We look forward to another year of service-based projects!



Epiphany Party- Grades 5-12

All Youth Groups will be meeting this Sunday, Jan. 11 from 6 -7:30 p.m. for a fun-filled Epiphany Party. Please bring a wrapped gift (value $10.00 or less) that is non-gender specific for the Yankee Swap.



Estate Planning Seminar – January 25

The Planned Giving Committee is offering a seminar with Atty. Roland (Rob) Gray, Partner in the Boston law firm of Rubin and Rudman, LLP at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25. Rob is a colleague of Planned Giving member and Moderator, Chris Parker, and has agreed to present a program about personal life planning and estate planning. Some of the topics which may be discussed are: Medicare eligibility, jointly held property, and retirement benefits. He will also cover some basic estate planning documents such as: Wills, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy/ Living Will, and other issues, such as family disability that may affect estate planning.

A light lunch will be served during the presentation. Please mark your calendar and join us for this important program. Sign up in the Narthex or call the Church Office so that we know you’re coming and can plan for lunch.

Phil Johnson, for the Planned Giving Comm.



Your Will is Your Voice

Your will is your voice for giving instructions regarding how your estate – all that you have accumulated through a lifetime of hard work – should be distributed. If you die without making a will, it is likely that your property will not end up in the hands of those you would choose. The state does have a plan for the disposition of your property, and although it is meant to be a fair resolution for all situations, the legislators could not possibly anticipate the circumstance of the millions of individuals who die without a will.

Why have a will? Because you can decide how your property will be distributed, you can choose the guardians for your minor children, you enable the possibility of reducing estate taxes, and you have the opportunity to help assure the continued strength of this congregation and its mission through a bequest to the 1720 Founders Fund, Centre Church’s endowment fund.

God expects us to be faithful with all that we have, whether it is a little or a lot. Making a will is a way to celebrate all God has given us. Consider including a bequest to the 1720 Founders Fund in your will. For more information, contact: Phil Johnson, 781-598-5678 or Rev. Dennis Bailey, 781-334-3050.

The Planned Giving Committee



High School Youth Group News

Twenty-five High School Youth, friends, and alumni had a blast at the Laser Quest Lock In this past weekend. Many thanks to the parents who volunteered to drive, and to everyone who came out at 6 a.m. to pick up your kids! A great time was had by all!

Save the Date: On Saturday, Jan. 17 the High School Youth Group will be volunteering at Birthday Wishes in Newton. Further details to follow.



30 Hour Famine

The High School Youth Group will be participating in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine Jan. 30-31. Youth will begin fasting after a hearty breakfast here at the church on Friday and then will head off to school. We will meet back at the church at 6 p.m. and continue the fast until 12 noon on Saturday.

The youth will be looking for sponsors after church on Jan. 18 and 25. All funds will go to World Vision to help end hunger around the world. To participate in the Famine, youth must turn in their parental consent form by Jan. 18.



Snow Tubing

All Youth Groups (grades 5-12) will be meeting at the church on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 4:45p.m. to board the bus to Nashoba Valley for a night of Snow Tubing. Please plan to eat before you come, as dinner will not be served. We will have hot chocolate, water and dessert available. There is a snack bar at the ski area.

The cost of this event will be $25.00 per person which will cover tubing and bus. Permission slips will be sent home soon.



Tower Day School

Tower Day School is accepting applications for the 2009/2010 academic year. We have 2 or 3 day classes for 3 year olds, 3 or 5 day classes for 4 year olds, a Transition Class for students before Kindergarten and a full day Kindergarten program. Centre Church members have priority for enrollment before January 15, 2009. Please call the school office for an application (781-334-5576) after January 5.

Sally MacDonald, Tower Day Director



Shopping Card Update

We are pleased to report that, as of January 4, our shopping card program has netted $1724.67 for Centre Church. Many folks took advantage of the program during the holiday season and found it a convenient way to do their Christmas shopping.

Our Christmas shopping may be done, but the Shopping Card program continues. Do you eat at the 99 Restaurant, grocery shop at Stop and Shop or Shaw’s, stop in for coffee at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks? Maybe you have birthday gifts to buy or you plan to take advantage of post holiday sales at Macy’s, Talbots, LL Bean, Lands’ End or other retailers?

You can help Centre Church if you purchase a shopping card and use the card to make your purchases, or you may want to give the card as a gift. Visit the Great Lakes Scrip website to view all the participating retailers: Then stop by our table in the narthex on Sunday morning to order your shopping cards.

Coordinators, Debbie Cotting and Sandi Watson



Yoga Classes Continue

Join Kathy Riese for a gentle Hatha Yoga Class any Tuesday evening in the narthex. These classes are on a drop-in basis and you are welcome any week. The early class runs from 5:45 – 7:15 p.m. and the late class runs from 7:30 – 8:45 p.m. The cost per class will be a discounted rate of $8 for members of Centre Church. If you have questions, feel free to contact Kathy Riese at 781-334-2341.



Volunteers for Coffee and for Greeting

We thank all of those who have supported this important part of our Fellowship program at Centre Church by volunteering to either provide coffee after church or greet people as they come in on Sunday morning. We could use more help!!

Coffee Providers are needed for: February 1, 8, 15, and 22; March 22 and 29; and April 12, 19, and 26

Greeters are needed for: January 18 and 25; February 1, 8, 15, and 22; March 1, 15, 22 and 29; and April 5, 12, 19, and 26

To volunteer or ask questions, contact: Chuck Cotting @ 781-593-3120, Camille Ernest @ 781-334-9971, or Susan Spear at the Church Office 781-334-3050



News From Around the Parish

Our congratulations to Steven and Carrie Pericola upon the birth of a daughter, Hazel Louise Pericola on December 31, 2008 in Beverly, MA.

We extend our love and sympathy to Nancy Brown and her family upon the death of her Uncle, Bud Wilson on January 1, 2009.

Our congratulations to Kevin Mathews, Neal Sacks and John Welch who were honored as Eagle Scouts on January 4, 2009 in a Court of Honor conducted by Troop 48.






January 11
10:00 am
10:00 am
10:20 am
11:00 am
11:30 am
11:30 am
6:00 pm
Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Rotation Workshops
Pre-Inaugural Brkfst - Richards Hall
Confirmation Class – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Youth Groups (Gr. 5-12)
January 13
10:00 am
7:00 pm
7:30 pm
Caregivers – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
January 14
7:00 pm Membership – Pastor’s Office
January 15
7:30 pm Senior Choir - Choir Room
January 16
10:30 am Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
January 17
  Sr. Highs volunteer at Birthday Wishes


Our love and prayers are with:

We also remember those who are serving in Iraq: Kristofer Jenkins, Derek Cataldo, Brian Bisacre and Alec Leung.


Sunday, January 11, 2009
Head Usher: Michelle Hagerty
Greeters: Meg and Barkey Gulezian
Provide Altar Flowers: Lola and Stephen Leggett
Lights Out beginning January 16: Joe Gehret



Cable Broadcasts of Worship

Our Sunday Morning Services can be seen on local access television each week. Below is the schedule:

  • Verizon – Lynnfield & most other towns
    • Thursday at 7 p.m. on Channel 28
    • Saturday & Sunday 9 am – Channel 26
    • Sunday at 3 p.m. – Channel 26
  • Comcast:
    • Lynnfield - Thursday at 7:00 p.m. on Channel 12
    • Peabody - Thursday at 7:00 p.m. on Channel 10
    • N. Reading – Saturday 9:00 am on Channel 10 and Sunday 9 am & 3 pm on Channel 10

DVD and VHS recordings of the services can be borrowed from the Church Office at any time.