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
As We Come to the Table
"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me" (Matthew 18:5). This Jesus said when people tried to stop the children from approaching him. He responded by saying, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14).
No matter our age, though, we can help each other understand the meaning of Holy Communion. First of all, the bread and the cup of grape juice are the gifts of Christ's love for us. They are given to remind us that the bread reminds us of the body of Christ, which was given for us. The grape juice reminds us of the blood of Christ, which was shed for us.
We remember the story of the Last Supper. Jesus was participating in the Seder Meal with his disciples. The Seder Meal reminds us how the Hebrew people escaped from the slavery of Egypt in the Exodus. Each element of the meal symbolizes how the Exodus is key to the Jewish faith and identity. Participants read and study the meaning of the various passages of the Haggadah. The Seder is an opportunity to remember, give thanks and praise to God, and to re-dedicate themselves to their liberation. The Seder takes place on the first night of the Passover.
On the occasion when Jesus was celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he continued the meal by offering what we call Holy Communion. Jesus knew that he was to be crucified. He wanted his disciples to remember all of the lessons he had shared with them. He wanted people to remember that he had died to save them from their sins.
In the Crucifixion Jesus gives his life for us, standing in for us, and taking upon himself the punishment for our sins. Through this act our sins are forgiven. After three days he rose from death in the Resurrection, showing that our sins and death cannot deny the love of God. Jesus has the power to give us eternal life.
There are many ways that we can explain the meaning of Holy Communion to our children. We can simply say that Jesus loves us all very much and he wants everybody to receive his love.
We can explain to our children and to each other that Jesus had his body nailed to the cross and his blood dripped out of him. And he died on the cross so we could be forgiven of our sins.
We can show the bread and the grape juice and tell them that the bread represents Jesus' body and the grape juice represents his blood. When Jesus was crucified on the cross and died, he did it because he loves us all very much. He did it to show that he forgives us all of our sins. He did it to show that nothing can take his love for us away from us. He did it to show that no one can take the love we have for each other away from us. He did it to show that when we love Jesus he gives us eternal life.
We can help each other learn about the meanings of Holy Communion by inviting our children to help us bake, prepare, bring and share the bread of Holy Communion. And then, together we can say, "This is the body of Christ broken for you.' We can pour the cup of grape juice and invite the children to say with us, "This is the blood of Christ shed for you.” When children take part in things, they gain deeper understanding of just what it is they are doing.
I know that my understanding of Holy Communion deepened when my pastor invited me to go along with him to share Communion in the homes of parishioners who could not get out. Jesus loved them so much that my pastor would take the time to visit those who were not able to go to church and personally share Holy Communion with them.
This coming Sunday, February 1st, the Deacons will be teaching to the Confirmation Class about how we prepare and share Holy Communion at Centre Church. I will be helping the class learn about the meaning of Holy Communion. We serve Holy Communion to each other in our pews so that everyone who is present has the opportunity to receive it. We serve it in individual pieces of bread and individual cups so as to reduce concerns of passing germs along. The bread that we prepare in the individual cubes is especially selected so as to reduce concerns about allergies. I have, on occasion, encouraged those who have serious allergies to bring their own bread and to know that as I bless the bread on the table that I am also blessing their bread, asking Jesus to be present to us in the sharing of all that we bring and share.
And, when we pass and receive the plates of bread and grape juice, I ask that we imagine that Jesus is the one next to us sharing the bread and juice. Yes, it might be our parent, child, spouse, friend, but we are to be the hands and love of Christ sharing these gifts of love with each other. We are to be the body of Christ that receives these gifts.
At Centre Church we want to make sure that everyone who is present feels loved and welcomed. When Jesus shared that very first Communion meal he never indicated it was for a select few. Rather he later said, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:18). That reminds us that we are to share the good news with everyone, sharing the love of God with every person of all ages, all levels of understanding.
Feel free to explain the meaning of Holy Communion to your children in your own ways. Feel free to encourage them to ask questions. Feel free to ask your children what they think Holy Communion means and listen, to hear what they say. Feel free to ask me to help you explain its meaning. And, feel free to share with me the answers your children give.
The Deacons will meet with the Confirmands this coming Sunday at 8:30 a.m. in the Fireside Room. You are welcome to join them, with or without your children. All are welcome!
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
February 1, 2009
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Message by Participants of the 30-Hour Famine
“I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food.”
Children may worship with their families for the entire service.
The Nursery will be open in Room 14.
Sunday Morning Children’s Corner
Nursery Care: The Nursery is open each Sunday morning for infants through age 3. Pagers are available for parents. Please drop off your child in Room 14 for stories and playtime. Our staff is experienced, friendly and inviting. Stop by and say hello.
Rotation Sensation: Please join us in the Sanctuary this Sunday, Feb 1 for Worship. As many of you know, our “first” Sundays are designated to teach the children of the church about the different parts of worship. This Sunday our focus will be on prayer and confession. We look forward to seeing everyone there.
7th & 8th Grade Class: Whether you are part of the Sunday morning class or whether you are a part of Youth Group or both, we ask that you meet in the Narthex this Sunday morning at 9:30 for our “Souper Bowl of Caring”. Youth will need to be on hand to accept donations from parishioners in an effort to raise money for those in need. Please see Jill Couillard in the Narthex at 9:30 a.m.
Please bring the following items for the Boy Scout Clothing Drive on February 1 and February 8: New winter hats, warm socks, gloves, mittens, and scarves in both adult and children’s sizes. The items you donate will be taken to Catholic Charities of the North Shore to be distributed to the needy in our local communities.
If you have any questions you can contact Joshua Hall at: 781-334-9810 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wine Tasting Three – Saturday, February 7
Our Wine Tasting Three will be held in the Narthex and the Fireside Room from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on February 7. The event will be open to church members and their friends. Hor d’oeuvres will be provided. Water and soda will also be provided. The wine will be supplied by Brian Lamb from OurGlass Wine Co. in Saugus. A $15 donation will be accepted.
Presidents’ Brunch - February 8 - 11:30 am
The menu will include pancakes, eggs, juices and coffee as well as other festive and hearty selections. Join us for this time of fellowship and fundraising as we zero in on our Supplemental Stewardship Campaign Drive. The cost will be $10 per adult, $5 for children, and children under 5 are free. Show your patriotism by wearing something red, white or blue as we also celebrate the beginning of a new Presidency. Thank you to Chris Gehret and Mike and Barbara Nickerson for being our hosts.
Youth Group News
There will be no evening youth group meetings on Sunday, February 1. Enjoy the Super Bowl
Cradles to Crayons: The 7th & 8th Grade Class will be traveling to Cradles to Crayons to volunteer on Feb. 28. Please donate your new and gently used items in the donation box located in the Narthex. Items such as coats, boots, sneakers, socks, underwear and baby monitors are needed. A complete list of needed items may be found at www.cradlestocrayons.org.
Thirty-six of us enjoyed a fun-filled evening this past Sunday at the Nashoba Valley Tubing Park. Despite the very cold temperatures, everyone had a great time. Many thanks to Carol White, Dave Bjorkman, Dave Nasson, Jeff Langill and Ray Couillard for chaperoning this event and making certain the children, youth and other parents were kept safe! Jill Couillard and Barbara Langill
Do you have one? Do you have many? Would you be interested in knowing more about your favorite hymn's origin and history? Would you like to sing a selection of the congregation's most favorite hymns, all in one Sunday worship service? It's possible. Our choir, under the direction of Doug Hodgkins, has volunteered to research and present such information on our collective "favorite hymns". Please start thinking about which hymns are your very favorites. Be prepared to list them on Sunday. The Diaconate will have favorite hymn forms for you to fill out. Linda Ladd, for the Diaconate
Centre Church Auction – March 21
Please start thinking of items to donate for the Silent Auction, the Live Auction or both. (tickets to events, services you can provide, gift cards, hand crafted items, etc.) Contact Chris Gehret or Mary Ann Parker if you have questions. Above all – put the date on your calendar for a delicious dinner, great entertainment and the auction.
Shopping Card Program
Our Shopping Card Program continues to raise funds for Centre Church. To date, we've raised nearly $1800, and with your continued participation, that total will grow. Do you eat at the 99 Restaurant, do your grocery shopping at Shaw's or Stop and Shop, or buy coffee at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks? You can buy a shopping card for any of those establishments. Are you planning a winter vacation? Check the Great Lakes Scrip website (www.glscrip.com) to see if there are participating retailers in your vacation spot.
For more information, call Debbie Cotting (781-593-3120) or Sandi Watson (781-334-7032)
Heifer International Coordinator for Centre Congregational Church
No experience necessary. No references, degrees, or travel required. Free training and on-site support available. Organizational skills helpful; passion for Heifer’s mission a must!
Kate Sheehan, NE Community Relations Coordinator for Heifer, has asked me to become an area volunteer coordinator. I’m now helping train other volunteers and speaking at more churches and schools. So, this feels like a good time for someone new to become our congregation’s Heifer Coordinator.
If you are interested, please contact me. Thanks! – Sandi Watson (781.334.7032)
From the Mailbox
Dear Friends, Thanks to everyone for cards, letters, prayers and concerns while I was in the hospital and rehab. My fall was due to a nerve in my foot. I am doing much better. Home Health Care has discharged me. Also, thanks for your love and support of Dennis. I am so glad you look out for him. God be with all of you.
Betty Whitcraft (Dennis’ mother)
Dear Friends, Thank you for the many sympathy cards and notes we received upon the sudden death of our daughter-in-law, Ut Shorey, and also for your prayers and concerns. And to Dennis – thank you for your prayers and all you did for our family. The funeral service was wonderful – a great source of comfort.
Sincerely, Myrna and Bob Shorey
Dear Friends, We are very appreciative of all the beautiful cards we received upon the recent passing of Jack’s father. It is nice to have such a warm and caring church family.
Thank you, Jack & Donna Marino
Many thanks to Jeff Langill for spending a recent Saturday updating the computers for our Rotation Sensation Workshop, "From BC to PC". The library now has up-to-date computers and monitors for the children to use as they learn their Bible stories. Your efforts are very much appreciated, Jeff!
I want to personally thank Ryan Batchelder who, twice now, has assisted me by shoveling snow away from the exterior wall of the church so that it would not melt and leak into the men’s room in the church basement! Thank you Ryan, for your generous assistance.
30 Hour Famine – January 30-31
This weekend, youth from our church will participate in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. If you would like to sponsor a youth group member to help raise funds for the hungry, you are encouraged to send a check made out to World Vision to the Centre Church office.
Youth Group Leaders, Barbara and Jeff Langill
Souper Bowl of Caring – February 1
We invite each parishioner, young and old, to participate in our Souper Bowl of Caring this Sunday, February 1. Youth will be on hand in the Narthex with soup pots hoping to collect at least a $1 from every person who comes to church. All the money donated by our congregation will be sent to help Bread & Roses. Youth across the nation come together this Sunday and participate in this event. They all will be raising money from their congregations for their own designated soup kitchens. Over the past 20 years, this event has raised more than $50 million in cash and food for organizations that fight hunger. As many of us prepare for Super Bowl celebrations with fancy hor d’oeuvres and special dishes, let’s be mindful of those who will be attending Soup Kitchens on Super Bowl Sunday. Look for our Middle School youth in the Narthex this Sunday.
The Missions component of the Christmas Offering raised $437.00 for OCWM (The UCC’s “Our Church’s Wider Mission) for our annual contribution, $437.00 to be earmarked for the Youth Mission Trip and $437.00 for Bread and Roses for meal preparation.
Christmas card donations raised $480.00 to go to the City Mission Society for their ongoing work in Boston.
The Christmas gifts of clothes were delivered to the Salem Mission Society and were very much appreciated. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Bread & Roses runs $250 to $300 a month for meal preparation. The Christmas Offering provided some additional funds to keep this important initiative rolling for another month or two. If any one or group of individuals is interested in funding a monthly meal you may do so by noting the contribution is for Bread & Roses on the notes portion of your check. If you would like any more information please contact any member of the Outreach Committee or the Church Office.
As February has Valentine's Day (red) the "Food of the Month" theme will be Italian - pasta and tomatoes!!
Peggy Batchelder for Outreach Ministries
Food of the Month for February: Pasta and Tomatoes
|Holy Communion - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Children in Church
“Renewal” Video – Fireside Room
Confirmation Class - Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
No Youth Groups
|Get-Together Lunch – Todd Hall
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
|8:30 am||Bread & Roses Meal Preparation|
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
|6:30 – 8:30 pm||Wine Tasting – Fireside Room and Narthex|
Our love and prayers are with:
We also remember those who are serving in Iraq: Kristofer Jenkins, Derek Cataldo, and Brian Bisacre.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Greeters: Barbara O’Connell and Donna Marino
Coffee Hour: Barbara Arsnow and Dotty and Gage Whittier
Lights Out beginning January 30: Al Johnson
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.