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

February 11, 2009



His Name Was "Tippy"

My father would purchase yearling calves from dairy farmers that we raised to later sell for beef. It was always fun when the new calves arrived and we started a new "herd" of about twelve to fifteen cattle. They were so cute! One of my jobs was to help the calves transition from feeding off their mothers to eating dry feed. This process allowed me to become very close to each of the calves until such a time when they could eat dry food on their own.

On one occasion I became close to one of the calves in particular. He caught my attention because he was all black except for the white on the end of his tail. We called him "Tippy." I gave him lots and lots of attention. He was my pet. I looked forward to going out to the barn or into the pasture field to see him. When he saw me he would run with a burst of speed to greet me. In fact, if in the barn's outdoor stable area, Tippy would run and then slide on his feet to a stop right against my waiting hand, which would rub his forehead. He would then gently push against me if I stopped rubbing his forehead. If I didn't start rubbing his forehead he would keep pushing my hand until I did.

Tippy knew the sound of my voice and always came running to me if he heard me speak his name. He was the only one of our cattle with whom I developed such a close bond.

One of my uncles, "Uncle Hiram," had a small heard of milking cows. He gave each one a name. He loved them like his own children. Twice each day he would bring them in from the pasture for milking. I stood there, as a child, to watch him greet each one, wondering how he could remember their names because, in large part, they all looked the same to me, a young boy. I later learned that each one was, in fact, unique, something that my Uncle Hiram respected.

This month in Rotation Sensation, the children of our Christian Education Program are studying the 23rd Psalm, "the Lord is my Shepherd." It is easily the most loved text in Holy Scripture. Ancient tradition claims it to be from the hand of King David, who became like Israel's earthly shepherd king. While scholars feel this is not completely impossible, it is unlikely given that the "house of the Lord" mentioned in verse 6 was not built until after David had died.

For us, of course, we identify the shepherd as our divine shepherd, the LORD, our God. God is our Shepherd who supplies us with everything we need. God is our host, who extends overflowing hospitality to us: "my cup runneth over." We attribute our safety on earth and in the life to come to the LORD. While we encounter all kinds of dangers in life, we will, eventually, if not now, find safe harbor in the loving presence of our God, our Shepherd. When we become lost, either by our own bad choices or by events in our lives over which we have no control, our Shepherd will find us and bring us back into the safety of his unconditional love in which we will live "happily ever after."

One of the key lessons, for me, in the 23rd Psalm is the reminder that we need to learn to know our Shepherd's voice, the voice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. There are so many voices speaking to us. Which one do we follow, listen to, and use for directing us? Of course, in order to know the speaking of Jesus’ voice to us and the voice of God's Spirit, we need to spend time listening, reading, and reflecting on the nature of that voice.

How do we decide what the Lord is telling us? How do we know the difference between his voice and the other voices that are speaking to us?

A study of scripture helps us to understand that Jesus speaks to us about every area of our lives. Some would say that Jesus only speaks to us about the wellbeing of our souls. This is simply not true. Jesus speaks to how we should treat each other. Jesus wants us to live in peace with each other. Jesus addresses our physical conditions, healing and casting out demons. Jesus speaks to how we should forgive each other. Jesus is concerned about our attitudes regarding money. Jesus speaks to us about loving our enemies. Jesus tells us not to hide our light, our spiritual gifts, as well as all of our skills and gifts, under the cover of night or a bushel basket. Therefore, when the voice of Jesus or those of his children and our peers call out to us to serve in some way, we are to listen.

Like a good shepherd, Jesus wants us to look after the weak, the sick, the lonely, the timid, and those in need of direction. Our shepherd wishes us to be living examples of discipleship in our faithfulness to God and to the work of the church that he established. The voice of God wants us to turn our attention to how we can serve him in the lives of others. The voice of God directs us to look beyond ourselves. The voice of God is not self-centered and does not say "me-first." The voice of God speaks to us about how we can share his message, the unconditional love of God displayed in Jesus Christ, with others through our voices, thoughts, decisions, choices, and actions.

When we are lost, the voice of God is likely calling out to us to come home.

What is the voice of God, our Shepherd, saying to you? Are you listening?

Yours in Christ,



February 15, 2009
2 Kings 5:1-14 and Mark 1:40-45

10:00 A.M. Morning Worship

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“God of Surprises”

Children’s Message: Psalm 23

Children may worship with their families for the entire service.
The Nursery will be open in Room 14 for infants through age 3.




Sunday Morning Children’s Corner - February 15

Nursery Care: Each week nursery care is provided for infants through age 3 in Room 14. Pagers are provided for all parents. Come by and meet our trained staff who are happily awaiting the arrival of your young ones.

Rotation Sensation: There are no workshops planned for this Sunday. We invite you to worship as a family in the sanctuary.

7th & 8th Grade Class: Thank you for helping with the Valentine service project over the past 2 weeks. We know you will help to bring a smile to faces of those who might not be able to get out on Valentine’s Day.

This Sunday there will be no class , so please plan to worship with your family in the sanctuary.



Youth Group News

Due to the school break, there are no Youth Group meetings planned for February 15. We will see everyone at the regular time on February 22.

Please remember that the 5th-8th Grade Youth Group will be traveling to Cradles to Crayons on Saturday, February 28. Permission slips have been sent home and are due back the next time we meet (Feb. 22).



Pancake Supper/Mardi Gras

Join us Tuesday, February 24 for a church-wide Pancake Supper. The High School Youth Group will be sponsoring this event to raise funds for this year’s mission trip to New Orleans. In addition to delicious pancakes, there will be fun activities for children and adults, followed by Bingo for all. The cost for the dinner will be $5.00 per person.

Bingo cards will be sold for $1.00 each, 6 for $5.00. Come support the youth and enjoy a fun evening.

The Youth Group is looking for prizes to award winners at Bingo. If you have any new items you would consider donating, please contact Barbara Langill or drop them by the church office by Sunday, February 22. We need items for all age groups, both male and female.



Ash Wednesday
Renewal of Baptism Service
February 25, 2009 - 7:30 p.m. - Chapel

As the season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 25, we enter a time of prayer and reflection on the meaning of Christ's presence in our lives and in our world. You are invited to join us for a service of reflection and an opportunity to renew your vows of baptism as we begin the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter. This service recalls the meaning of our baptism, gives an opportunity to confess our sin and renew our relationship with Christ, and to walk, with clean hearts and with our community of faith, toward the journey of Holy Week, the crucifixion and death of Jesus. What needs examining in your life? What needs challenging in your faith journey? Let us, together, seek to be changed by the transforming love of Christ through the renewal of our baptisms. All are welcome here.



Money Donated to Bread and Roses

Thank you to everyone who made our “Souper Bowl of Caring” a success. We are happy to report that we have raised more money than any other year! We raised $242.66! This money will be used to help buy the ingredients needed to make meals for Bread and Roses. Thank you for your support. Middle School Youth



Your Help is Needed

The 7th and 8th Grade Class will be traveling to Cradles to Crayons in Quincy on February 28th.  Cradles to Crayons is in great need of new and gently used items.  They are currently receiving 300 orders each week for warm clothing and are not able to keep up with the demand.   They are in need of clothing sizes 2T-14/16.  This includes long sleeve t-shirts, jeans, khakis, sweatshirts, sweaters, and pajamas.  Please check their web site for additional items. A donation box is located in the Narthex.



Shopping With Spirit

Are you wondering what to contribute to the Church Auction to be held on March 21?  Why not buy a shopping card to a local restaurant or store?  The church will benefit twice:  once from the purchase of the card and then again when the card is sold at the auction.  And, if you donate the card to the auction, you will have a tax deduction.  Everyone wins!

See Debbie Cotting or Sandi Watson for details



Upcoming Opportunities for Youth

Boston Mission Overnight: The High School Youth Group will be participating in a Boston Mission Overnight, Friday, Feb. 27-Sat. Feb. 28. We will spend the night at Wolliston Congregational Church in Quincy and on Saturday we will spend the day volunteering in the Boston area. The cost is $45.00 and includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Please return your permission slips and payment by Sunday, Feb. 22 if you plan to attend.

Nightwatch, NYC: 7th-12th Grade youth are invited to attend Nightwatch, an overnight at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. We will carpool to Framingham on Sat. March 28 and meet with youth from other area churches. All groups will then travel by bus to NYC. Please let us know by Sunday, March 1 if you plan to attend.

New Orleans Mission Trip: The High School Youth Group will be heading to New Orleans the week of Aug. 2 for a week-long mission trip. All high school youth are invited to attend. This includes those entering freshman year in the fall as well as those graduating in June. We will be holding several fundraisers over the next few months. If you are interested in going, please send in your deposit of $100.00 by Sunday, March 1.

Please call Barbara Langill in the church office if you have questions about any of these activities.



Favorite Hymns

We have received  38 "Favorite Hymns" suggestion sheets to date.    If you haven't filled one out (or need to add to your list!), please find blank forms and the suggestion box on the table in the narthex.   

Members of our choir, along with Director Doug Hodgkins, have volunteered to research and present information on the music, lyrics and history of our collective top favorite hymns.

Place your votes by dropping a list of titles or lyrics in the suggestion box, mailing it to the church office, or emailing your list to   Please include your name and phone number, in case we need to contact you for more information.  You can list any number of hymns, but each title only once, per person.    Thank you for your input. 

Linda Ladd for the Diaconate



News From Around the Parish

We are pleased to share news of the birth of Oliver Parker Strickland on February 7 to Matthew and Allison Strickland of Arlington, VA (4905 Old Dominion Drive). Oliver is presently in the intensive care nursery for what is expected to be a short stay.



Delicious Breakfast Recipe

Thanks to all who attended the Red, White, and Blue Breakfast last Sunday.  We made about $600 that will go into the general fund.  Thanks to all who cooked and cleaned.

The Cheese Casserole recipe is from the 1976 church cookbook - a recipe by Marilyn Bommer and Ann Barrow (slightly adapted with the original amounts in parentheses).

Layer the bread and cheese in a 13x9 pan.  Beat eggs, and add milk, salt and pepper (if desired).  Pour over cheese and bread. Drizzle melted butter over top.  Cover and refrigerate over night.  Bake in a 300 degree oven, uncovered,  for one hour until the middle is set.

Serves 6 to 8.

To make the size at Sunday's breakfast,  we used 18 slices of bread, 1 lb. Velveeta, 6 eggs and 4 cups of milk.  Cooked at 300-350 for at least 1 1/2 hours, again until the middle is set.

Enjoy!! Chris Gehret for Stewardship






February 15
10:00 am
10:00 am
10:00 am
Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Children in Church
Nursery – Room 14
February 16
  Church Office Closed for Presidents’ Day
February 17
7:00 pm Knitting Group – Fireside Room
February 20
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, George Robinson III. We rejoice that Brian Bisacre (Jane Vancor’s cousin) is home from Iraq.


Sunday, February 15, 2009
Head Usher: Jeff Law
Greeter: Pinky Warnock
Coffee Hour: Kerry and Bryan Lewis
Provide Altar Flowers: Ernest and Barbara Becker
Deliver Altar Flowers: Marjorie Potter and Doreen DiFillippo
Lights Out beginning February 13: Rick Cohee



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.



Church Office Hours
Closed, February 16
9:00am – Noon, February 17-20