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 18, 2009



Spiritual Hunger

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3, NIV)

I know that sometimes when we are looking for meaning and purpose, and don't know where to turn, we buy things to satisfy our hunger. It can be a new car, new jewelry, a boat, a special vacation, a new home, a second home, and/or things that we enjoy. In and of themselves, these things are not bad or wrong. In fact, these things can satisfy and give us joy for a time. And yet, often we later discover that these things are not satisfying the deep hunger that we are experiencing.

I once knew a man whose 18 year old daughter died in an automobile accident. It was devastating to him and his wife. He had placed a lot of hope and meaning in the life and future of his daughter. He loved her very much. In fact, many of her neighbors, friends, and family had been touched by this young woman's life. They asked me to organize a very unusual funeral service, outdoors, at a beautiful pond. Many, many people participated, giving so many the opportunity to grieve together in meaningful and powerful ways. To this day, it was one of the most powerful funeral services I have ever helped to organize and experience.

The father did not seem able to move on, which in and of itself is not unusual after such a loss. Later, he bought himself a new Corvette, using his late daughter's college fund. It was a beautiful car. He said, "I always wanted a Corvette." And yet, after a few months, he was still very, very sad, and angry. Realizing the car was not helping to comfort him, he sold it.

He saw a psychiatrist, was put on medication for depression. This did help him and yet, he was not satisfied. I believe that part of the problem was that he did not understand or want to understand that such a devastating loss takes a long time to recover from, that the medication and counseling needs to be given a longer amount of time than he was willing to give it. He and his wife moved out of town, a long way out of town, in the hopes that finding a new place to live and starting over would fill the huge void he had. He believed that getting away from all of his late daughter's friends, all of the familiar places, and such, was what he needed in order to heal and recover.

I lost contact with him after that. I prayed for him and hoped that he would eventually find his way out of the grief maze in which he kept finding dead-ends, increased frustration, and nothing satisfying for his aching soul.

I have known others who have also experienced such a loss. It was no less devastating, no less painful, and no less difficult. But their recovery was greatly aided by different choices.

Some choose to devote themselves to a life of service to others. Some have given themselves to grief support groups, finding love, healing, and recovery through the lives of others who have also lost a child, a spouse, a family member and/or friend. There is nothing more powerful and healing than the support of those who have walked in the same shoes as you. Some have given themselves to volunteer work in hospice care and/or at a Hospice House. And some, have given themselves to the work of God in the life of the church.

In fact, it has been my observation that those who have chosen to give of themselves in a way that will give aid to others, have found themselves spiritually nourished and able to move on more meaningfully than those who have chosen to seek comfort in "things."

Upon the loss of my father when I was age 16, I gave myself with new dedication, to service to my church by teaching a 5th and 6th grade Sunday School class. The people I had grown up with, who came to my aid when my father died, were there to encourage me. I found excitement for my faith development by teaching. My spiritual hunger was fed, even as I lobbied for new approaches to Christian Education for my church. And yes, eventually I felt God reaching out to me, inviting, challenging me to become a minister in the United Church of Christ. Would that have happened if I had not experienced the devastating loss of my father? I do not know. I do know, though, that through this work of ministry I have had my hungry soul fed time and time again by walking with others who have also experienced devastating losses and challenges.

It has been for me that through a deeper relationship with God and God's people, so conveniently provided through the church community, our spiritual hunger can be most easily satisfied. No material thing will satisfy like the people of faith who have so much to share.

Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19-20).

I think I get it. Store up treasures in heaven by giving of yourself to the work of God, and the people of God. And then, our spirits and souls will never go hungry again.

Yours in faith and service to God,



February 22, 2009 - Boy Scout Sunday
2 Kings 2:1-12 and Mark 9:2-9

10:00 A.M. Morning Worship

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“The Few with Eyes to See: Disciples”

Children’s Message by Rev. Dr. Calvin B. Kool and Rhett Batchelder - “Popcorn”

Children may worship with their families before going to Rotation Workshops.
The Nursery will be open in Room 14.




Sunday Morning Children’s Corner, February 22

Nursery Care:  Nursery care is provided each week for infants through age 3.  Come join the fun in Room 14.  Pagers are available for all parents.

Rotation Sensation:  Workshops continue this week on the theme of the 23rd Psalm.  Children and youth Pre-School through Grade 6 are invited to participate. 

7th & 8th Grade Class:  We will meet in the Pastor’s Outer office for continued service project work and learning.  All 7th and 8th grade youth are invited.



Mardi Gras/Pancake Supper

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.



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

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 the 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.



New Orleans Mission Trip Meeting

On Sunday, February 22, after worship there will be an informational meeting in the library to discuss this summer’s Mission Trip.  Leaders will be on hand to answer questions you may have. First time youth and adults interested in participating in the Mission Trip are encouraged to attend.  Those returning for a second trip to New Orleans are welcome to attend and perhaps share your experience.   



Cradles to Crayons- Donations Needed

The 5th through 8th Grade Youth are going to Cradles to Crayons in Quincy and will accept donations until Feb 27th.  There is a real need for warm clothing sizes 2T-16, such as coats, sweatshirts, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, pants, pajamas, boots, sneakers, shoes, socks, and underwear. Please check their web site for additional items  A donation box is located in the Narthex. Contact Jill Couillard if you have questions.



Youth Group News

All Youth Groups will meet on Feb. 22.  5th & 6th graders will meet in the kitchen.  7th & 8th graders will meet in Todd Hall and 9th-12th will meet in Richards.  Dinner, dessert and fun will be on hand!  Join us from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

5th-8th Graders are reminded to return their permission slips and waivers for Cradles to Crayons.  As you know, we will be volunteering there on Feb. 28. Please RSVP so that the proper number of drivers may be arranged ahead of time.

High School Youth are needed to work at the Pancake Supper. Please plan to meet at the church at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24 to help set up and prepare activities and food.  This is a fundraiser for our Mission Trip to New Orleans. If you are planning on participating in the Mission Trip, please plan on volunteering on Tuesday.



"Let the Good Times Roll"

The Get Together Wheel will be having a little Mardi Gras party on Tuesday, February 24th at our usual time of 12:30 pm.  The traditional colors for Mardi Gras are: purple - symbolic of justice, green - symbolic of faith, gold - symbolic of power. If you would like to wear one or a combination of these colors, word has it that there might be a prize or two.

Thank you, Donna Marino.



Shopping Cards

Don’t forget to order your Shopping Cards after church on Sundays.

For more information contact Debbie Cotting (781-593-3120 or Sandi Watson (781-334-7032).



Centre Church Auction

The Date: Saturday Evening, March 21st.

The Place: Right Here at Centre Church!

The Event: A Delicious Dinner,

Great Entertainment, and An Auction.

We invite everyone to attend and also consider donating an item for the Silent Auction, the Live Auction, or both. Some ideas might include tickets to various events, gift cards, hand-crafted items or services you can provide.

So, get those creative juices flowing and contact our Auction Co-Chairs Chris Gehret 781-334-6737 or Mary Ann Parker 781-334-4335.



Upcoming Youth Activities

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.

Nightwatch, NYC: All 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.






February 22
10:00 am
10:00 am
10:20 am
11:30 am
11:30 am
11:30 am
6:00 pm
Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery – Room 14
Rotation Workshops
Mission Trip Informational Mtg.
Confirmation Class – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Youth Groups (Grades 5-12)
February 24
12:30 pm
6:00 pm
7:00 pm
7:30 pm
Get-Together Wheel - Fireside
Pancake Supper – Richards Hall
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Parish Council – Pastor’s Office
February 25
7:30 pm Ash Wednesday Service - Chapel
February 26
7:30 pm Senior Choir - Choir Room
February 27
10:30 am
6:00 pm
Scripture Study - Pastor's Office
High School Group to Urban Outreach in Boston
February 28
9:30 am Middle School Group to Cradles to Crayons in Quincy


Our love and prayers are with:

We also remember those who are serving in Iraq: Kristofer Jenkins, Derek Cataldo, and George Robinson III.


Sunday, February 22, 2009
Head Usher: Linda Ladd
Greeters: The Law Family
Coffee Hour: Jack and Donna Marino
Provide Altar Flowers: Margaret Waugh
Deliver Altar Flowers: Chuck Cotting and Sue Gustavsen
Lights Out beginning February 20: George Hayden



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.



Food of the Month Pasta and Tomatoes