Centre Congregational Church
We Welcome Everyone: An Open and Affirming Church
Phone: (781) 334-3050; Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email: Office@Centre-Church.org
The Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey, Pastor - Pastor@Centre-Church.org
The Inaugural Address
The Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama takes place this coming Monday, January 20, 2009. After he is sworn in as the forty-fourth President of the United States of America, he will give his inaugural address.
Our Lord, Jesus, also gave an inaugural address. It is the keynote speech of Jesus found in the Gospel of Luke. It signaled every theme he would pursue and every action he would perform. Just as news reporters and political commentators will analyze every aspect and every word of President Obama's speech for years to come, so can we examine the inaugural address of our Lord in order to determine what was to be expected from his administration.
Jesus placed himself in a strong position. Nearly all presidents, it seems, have considered it prudent to include in their inaugural speeches quotes from Presidents Washington and/or Lincoln. I have no doubt that Mr. Obama will cite President Lincoln, given, especially, he will be sworn in just days before the anniversary of Lincoln's 200th birthday. Mr. Obama has also made it no secret that he considers President Lincoln's beliefs and actions as having great influence upon his own.
Jesus stood up to give his inaugural address and read from the Prophet Isaiah 61:1-2, standing squarely in that tradition which looks to the Scriptures for wisdom, insight, direction and inspiration. We learn, here, that Jesus is at home in the prophetic tradition which blends doctrine and ethics, devotional piety and social commentary. In other words, Jesus stood in the strong prophetic tradition of justice and mercy, which received light directly from God and applied it to the world and the people around him.
Jesus used his address to speak good news to the poor. Most of the time the poor receive more and more bad news. It is estimated that some 37 million Americans live in poverty (based on the 2005 U.S. Census), about the size of the population in California. Given the recent demoralizing climate of our world-wide financial news, the severity of these statistics is increasing. To make matters worse, there are hostile voices that want to put the blame for poverty on the poor.
When we hear poverty and welfare discussed it is important for the church to remember the inaugural address of our Lord and how he speaks good news to the poor. The church that follows him cannot choose between a social gospel and a private faith. The test of what we believe and how closely we follow Jesus' intentions is if by what we do, not just by what we say, the poor feel relief and find our work a blessing.
Russian novelist, Fydor Dostoevski and theologian, Karl Barth, both spoke of how we are all prisoners, that there are prisoners on the outside as well as those who are jailed in prisons. There are prisoners of sorrow, resentment, anger, hatred, sickness, distrust, and habit. We become prisoners of the very enemy we had hoped to defeat.
When Jesus speaks his good news it is about how he brings liberation through the abundant grace of a loving God. Jesus speaks of how God, the only one with the authority to condemn us, stays our execution and signs an order for our pardon. His cross is the key to unlocking whatever door to whatever cell we are in, and we can live in the freedom Christ brings.
Jesus stresses the present. When Jesus quoted Isaiah he quoted a prophet who spoke about the promise of a good future. When Jesus closed the book he concluded and stressed the present: “today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Of course, every inauguration speech has done the same.
People like Corrie ten Boom, while in a Nazi prison camp, was able to keep her faith alive in God and lead others to Christ. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” setting forth principles of love and nonviolence. Benjamin Weir who served as a missionary in Lebanon, was kidnapped in Beirut on May 8, 1984 and held captive for 16 months. He was able to find in his stark room, if only in the design of a crack in the wall, more than one thing to remind him of the truth and presence of God. Shortly thereafter he was elected to the highest office in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and remains one of the most respected voices for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.
We, too, can stress, in the present, the good news that through the power of Jesus Christ, we, too, can walk out of whatever prison we are in.
An inaugural address gives the president an opportunity to ask for our backing, so that he can accomplish the good he wishes through our support. Jesus, too, can accomplish still more. Does he have our backing? Are you ready to show your support in ways that are real, that are now?
Hear Jesus once more as he positions himself in a strong tradition, speaks good news to the poor, proclaims deliverance to the captives, and stresses the present as the place of this happening. Then believe in his cause and enlist in his service. (Read: Luke 4:16-21)
By all means, pray for our president and all of our leaders, in the United States and all over the world.
Yours in Christ,
In God we trust!
IN THE SANCTUARY
January 18, 2009
I Samuel 3:1-20 and John 1:35-42
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Samuel at the Temple”
Children’s Message: “Listening to God’s Call”
Children may worship with their families for the entire service.
The Nursery is open in Room 14.
January 18 Schedule
There are no Rotation Workshops scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 18. Please plan to attend worship with your family.
The Nursery will be open in Room 14.
There are no Youth Groups scheduled for Sunday Jan. 18 due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.
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 can plan for lunch.
The High School Youth Group will be volunteering at Birthday Wishes on Saturday, Jan. 17. Birthday Wishes is an organization whose mission is to bring birthday parties to homeless children. They have provided a birthday party for more than 1000 children in 65 shelters in Eastern Massachusetts and Worcester. We will plan on meeting in the church parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and carpooling to Newton. We will plan to return at 1:30 p.m. Please call the church office by Friday, Jan. 16 if you plan to attend. Drivers are needed.
Please call Barbara Langill if you can help.
30 Hour Famine
You may be wondering why students would be willing to not only give their time, but also give up eating for 30 hours when they participate in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. It’s simple: they are going without food so that others can eat.
There’s more to the 30 Hour Famine than simply not eating. Through the simple act of going without food on behalf of children half a world away, participants experience compassion, feeling the hunger of children who don’t have a choice about their own circumstances.
Youth will be in the Narthex on Sunday, Jan. 18 and 25. Please consider supporting Famine participants with a donation. It’s through your gifts that lives are changed forever. All youth planning on participating in the 30 Hour Famine on Jan. 30 and 31, should return their permission forms by Sunday Jan. 18.
The Pre-Inaugural Lunch which was postponed due to snow on January 11 will be re-scheduled. Watch for up-coming details.
All Youth Groups 5th-12th grade, are invited to join us for an evening of snow tubing at Nashoba Valley on Sunday, Jan. 25 from 4:45-9 p.m.. The bus will be leaving promptly at 5 p.m. Please eat beforehand as we will not be having dinner at Youth Group. There is a snack bar at the lodge where food may be purchased. We will provide hot chocolate, water, and brownies. The cost is $25.00. Please let us know if you plan to attend by Friday, Jan 16.
Barbara Langill and Jill Couillard
“Renewal”: A Documentary
Stories from America’s Religious-Environmental Movement
Be sure to save the date, Sunday, February 8 after worship, to watch this inspiring documentary about Americans of many faiths who are answering a spiritual call to care for the Earth. This film, which ran last year at the Museum of Fine Arts, will move you. The first ten minute segment shows how southern Evangelicals bear witness to mountaintop removal and the destruction of Appalachia. The second segment shows a church like ours, in New Jersey, taking steps to environmental action. Stay for a few minutes, or longer if you can.
Barbara Arsnow for Outreach Ministries
Collecting new winter hats, warm socks, gloves, mittens, and scarves for the needy.
Joshua Hall of Centre Church's own Boy Scout Troop 48, Lynnfield, is doing a clothing drive as his Eagle Scout service project. During the first two Sundays of February, Feb. 1 and 8, Josh, and the scouts of Troop 48, will be collecting new clothing items to benefit the needy in our community. The Boy Scouts will be here on those two Sundays to collect winter hats, warm socks, gloves, mittens, and scarves in adult and children’s sizes.
After these items are collected, they will be sorted and taken to Catholic Charities of the North Shore to be distributed to the needy in our local communities. Catholic Charities has asked that these items be new. Catholic Charities benefits all people regardless of their beliefs. Thank you for your support.
If you have any questions you can contact Joshua Hall at: 781-334-9810 or email@example.com.
“For I was naked and you clothed me” Matthew 25:36
From the Mailbox
“Thank you for the flowers, cards, prayers and kind words for our family. We are very happy to have Hazel Louise home. She is getting better each day.”
Carrie and Steve Pericola
Save the Date!
Wine Tasting Three will be held on Saturday February 7, 2009 from: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Our Wine Tasting is to be held in the Narthex and the Fireside Room. The event will be open to Church members and their friends. Hors-d’oeuvres will be provided. Water and soda will also be provided – to cleanse your pallet.
The wine will be provided by Brian Lamb from OurGlass Wine Co., Saugus. Look for additional details in upcoming Tower Notes!
Chuck Cotting, for Membership Ministries
News From Around the Parish
We wish to congratulate Clayton and Betty Conn on the birth of their sixth great-grandchild, James Vincent D’Amato, born at Salem Hospital on January 3, 2009.
We extend our love and sympathy to Bob and Mryna Shorey and their family upon the death of their daughter-in-law, Ut Shorey on January 10. She leaves her husband, Brian and daughters Cara (age 19) and Alicia (age 17). Funeral services will be in Concord, MA.
Two New Classes Offered at Centre Church
“Stroller Strides” has come to Lynnfield.
This is a stroller based fitness class for moms and moms to be. We entertain the kiddos with silly songs while getting a total body workout. Class meets every Tuesday and Thursday in Todd Hall from 10-11 a.m. It’s Fitness for Mom and Fun for Baby!
For more information call Kerry Lewis at 781-277-1500.
“Women’s Only Fitness Boot Camp”
This fitness class is a great way to get in shape while having fun. Don’t be intimidated by the name, this Boot Camp is designed for all fitness levels. Our 4-week program offers a safe, effective total body workout. One day we might be doing a cardiovascular workout and strength training, the next day we might be doing partner exercises, athletic drills and body weight exercises. By varying your workout, you will see results faster and you’ll never be bored.
Sign up today by calling Rebecca at 781-665-0343 or online at www.northshorewomensbootcamp.com.
The cost is $99 per 4-week session in Todd Hall
Session #1 – Mondays and Wednesdays 5:30-6:30 A.M. from Jan. 19 – Feb. 11
Session #2 – Mondays and Wednesdays 5:30-6:30 A.M. from February 23 – March 18.
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Children in Church
Confirmation – Kitchen
|Church Office Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day|
|7:00 pm||Knitting Group – Fireside Room|
|Rotation Leaders - Library
Senior Choir - Choir Room
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
Our love and prayers are with:
We also remember those who are serving in Iraq: Kristofer Jenkins, Derek Cataldo, Brian Bisacre.
We rejoice that Alex Leung (Olive and Carl Wood’s grandson) is home from Iraq.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Head Usher: Jeff Law
Coffee Hour: Meg and Barkey Gulezian
Provide Altar Flowers: Jeff and Barbara Langill
Lights Out beginning January 23: Rick Carey
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.