Centre Congregational Church
We Welcome Everyone:
An "Open & Affirming" Church
(781) 334-3050;Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email: Office@Centre-Church.org
The Rev. Dr. Dennis
C. Bailey, Pastor - Pastor@Centre-Church.org
February 28, 2007
Humility "is the grateful
that we are precious in God's eyes
and that all we are is pure gift."
(Bread for the Journey, 1997, by Henri J. M. Nouwen)
His name was Joe. I would visit him every Friday afternoon in the first year of my ministry. Why? The Social Worker that came to the Senior Center at my church suggested it to me because Joe had no male friends to talk with and he was, after all, my parishioner.
Joe and Jean lived on the second floor of a triple decker. His wife had a lot of medical challenges and was, occasionally, in and out of the hospital. Joe was a quiet man, somewhat isolated. When he came to the Senior Center he didn't interact with many of the other men - sitting quietly to himself and eating lunch. Conversing with him was hard because he didn't talk a lot.
The Social Worker deemed that Joe was depressed and lonely. His wife was more outgoing and had no trouble finding ways of talking with people. Furthermore, because Jean had a lot of medical problems she was given a lot of attention by doctors and such. Whereas Joe, on the other hand, had few medical problems. I was the only male friend that Joe had to talk with and his primary source of social interaction. Joe and his wife, Jean, had children, all daughters. Joe's primary activities, aside from walking to the church's Senior Center for lunch, was taking a walk every day and sitting in his chair in his apartment, watching TV.
It was not always easy to find things to talk about with Joe. His life was not very exciting and, as far as I could tell, had not been too exciting. If there was excitement there, he didn't feel moved to talk about it. His wife, Jean, on the other hand, talked all of the time about her life and about her problems.
My commitment to visit Joe was challenging for me because it lacked the excitement of visiting others in the parish who had interesting stories to share. Was his need greater than others that I was not visiting at that time? No. Had Joe been a longtime member of the church? No. In reality, he was not a member and didn't actually attend. Jean came, occasionally, but was not a member, either. It was primarily through our outreach via the Senior Center that they became a part of the parish, and the fact that they were both Protestant, needing a minister and spiritual support.
I visited with Joe about an hour every Friday afternoon until he died one day while walking up the stairs to the second floor apartment after he had taken his afternoon walk.
When I think about humility I think about my visits with Joe. Yes, yes, yes, the Social Worker made me feel guilty that Joe had no one outside of his wife and daughters. Yet, I adopted it as a discipline early in my ministry to visit Joe because he was a child of God, just like me and everyone else. He was no less important to the heart of God than anyone else. Joe represents to me "the least of these" that Jesus talks about in scripture (Matthew 25:45). Joe never doled out accolades about how special and important my time with him was. I hope that I brought some hope and meaning to Joe in those days I visited with him.
But I was not so humble when his wife, Jean, wanted to see his body and say good-bye to him as it lay on the stairs outside the apartment the day Joe died. I told Jean that I didn't think she could handle it, so I didn't let her go and sit by Joe that day. I'm sorry that I didn't. It would have been hard for me, a young pastor, to watch Jean cry and vent there by her husband and, in reality, I was afraid that she might have a heart attack right there on the spot or at least faint. She did faint at the wake. Yet, I wish I had had the experience then that I have now to know that it could have been helpful to let Jean say "good-bye" to Joe that day. I was not alone with her in the apartment. The Social Worker was there, also, as we waited for the appropriate personnel to come by to release and remove Joe's body. The Social Worker was willing to let Jean visit with Joe but because were both "rookies" I was nervous about it.
I am sorry, Jean. I am very sorry. I wish I had that day back again to do it over. I wish that my humility would have allowed me the courage to let go and let Jean have her wish. The Social Worker and I did sit there with Jean while she cried and cried, while we waited for some of her family to arrive.
Humility is taking the time to visit someone just because they are a child of God, not for any reward, not for any notes of appreciation, words of praise, or Christmas remembrances. The presence of Christ was there when I visited Joe because of the promise Jesus made, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20). What a joy to know that while I struggled to make conversation with Joe, Jesus was taking the time to be present to us both! Now, I am humbled!
"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8).
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
March 4, 2007 2nd Sunday in Lent
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 and 4:7-12
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Sermon by the Rev.
Dennis C. Bailey
Students may worship with their families before going to Rotation Workshops.
Service broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Ch. 10 (Comcast) or 28 (Verizon) on Thursday at 7 p.m. or Peabody Cable Ch. 10 on Sunday at 9 a.m.
The 2nd & 3rd Grade Class did a wonderful job baking muffins and the members of the congregation did a great job supporting their efforts. Many thanks to all of you who helped raise $157.00 for Heifer International this past Sunday. Muffin baking will continue over the next few weeks. This coming Sunday, March 4, the 4th & 5th grade classes will be making the muffins. Members of this class should report directly to the downstairs kitchen at 10:00 a.m. All of the money raised from these muffin baking efforts will go directly to Heifer.
8TH Grade Class
On March 4th, the 8th Grade Class will be watching a movie based on the Lenten theme. Please go to the movie room following the childrens message.
Poet, Storyteller, Artist to Speak
On Tuesday, March 6th the Eight OClock Wheel and invited guests, The Get-Together Wheel, will meet at 12:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room to hear Evelyn Donley speak. Evelyn is a friend of Ethel Leonards who lives at Brooksby Village. She is 95 years young. Come and enjoy her presentation. She will make you laugh and lift your spirits. All are welcome.
Join us on Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. in Todd Hall to hear Joani Geltman, LICSW speak on "Adolescent Psychology/The Parent Version." Ms. Geltman is an expert on teen-parent relationships and will speak on the physical, cognitive, and social emotional changes that occur in adolescence and how these changes affect relationships with parents, friends and school life. A freewill offering will be taken at the door to help offset the cost.
The Teenage Parenting Seminar is ending this Monday, March 5. Please join the discussion. We will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Movie Room.
The March 3rd program at Merrimack College "The Old Ship of Zion: A History of Spirituals and Gospel Music" has been cancelled due to illness.
Saturday, March 10, 2007 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Wine tasting to be held in the Fireside Room and the Narthex. Open to church members and their friends. A variety of wines will be provided - accompanied by hors-doeuvres. Suggested donation is $15 to defray expenses. You may sign up in the narthex.
Sponsored by the Membership Comm.
Please Join Us!
Centre Churchs Craft Group started last week. We will be painting wooden tulips which we hope to sell inside the narthex during the Geranium Fest in May. Thank you to Bob Shorey for cutting these out for us! We could use more projects with a spring theme. We meet each Wednesday morning from 10-12 in the downstairs kitchen. Come share your ideas with us and/or bring something that you are working on. We are always looking for new ideas. You do not need to come every week or even stay the entire two hours. Time is flexible as this is also a fellowship time and if you want to drop by and stay a bit, we welcome you. Feel free to call or email me 781-581-2022 or firstname.lastname@example.org (new email address.) You also can talk to me at church, of course. We look forward to having you join us.
Youth Group News
Habitat for Humanity
All High School youth who signed up for the Habitat workday should plan to meet at the church parking lot at 8:15 on Saturday, March 3. Remember to dress in layers and wear sturdy boots or shoes. Lunch will be provided. We will finish up around 3 p.m.
Both Youth Groups should plan on meeting in the church parking lot this Sunday, March 4 at 5:45. We will travel to the Woburn theatre to watch Amazing Grace. Parents should pick up their child(ren) in the main lobby of the movie theater at 8:15 p.m. The cost for this event is $10.00. Any parent available to drive should contact Jill Couillard or Barbara Langill in the church office.
Laser Quest permission slips are also due on March 4. Please make certain you turn your notice in on or before this date!
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and prayers to former member, Marcia Lindberg, upon the recent death of her husband, Ken. Marcias address is 1812 Mariner Drive, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689.
Our love and sympathy go out to Anne Millett upon the recent death of her sister, Betty Brennan, of West Palm Beach, Florida.
We offer our sympathy and prayers to the family and friends of Michael Dunn (friend of the Triffletti family.)
Our congratulations to Glady Davis who will celebrate her 94th Birthday on March 1. Gladys new address is Haven Health Care, 20 Chester Road, Derry, NH 03038.
Dear Friends, It meant so much to me to receive your Valentine card. It brought back all the fond memories I have of Centre Church. Sincerely, Louise Allen (Louise lives in Westborough, MA)
American Speaker to Return
Save the date Saturday, April 28.
A Retreat Day with the Rev. Pat Bade is being planned. Those who were privileged to hear her speak at the Get-Together Wheel meeting in January will tell you that you dont want to miss a chance to hear her share insights into her Native American spirituality. The day promises to renew your spirit. Details will follow.
Bits n Pieces
There are bulletins from our Ash Wednesday Renewal of Baptism Service available in the church office for those who wish a copy.
Peabody Cable Coverage of our worship services has been changed (by Comcast) from Thursday evening at 7 p.m. to Sunday morning at 9 a.m. If you have opinions about the scheduling of our services, please contact Bruce Gist at 781-334-5197.
Outreach Ministries (Missions Comm.) will meet on Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room.
Open every day to receive Redeemable Bottles and Cans, Aluminum Can Pull Tabs, Used Eyeglasses, Non-Perishable Food, Travel Size Toiletries, Used Cell Phones (numbers erased with charger), knitted squares. Please Note that we will not receive donations of housewares for Bridge House until further notice.
Nursery Room 14
Confirmation Class #8
Youth Choir Choir Room
Youth Groups to Movies
Parenting Teens Movie Room
OClock & Get-Together Wheel Fireside
Knitting Group Fireside Room
Pastoral Relations Comm.
& Roses Meal Preparation
Craft Group Kitchen
Outreach Ministries - Fireside
Geltman Talk Todd Hall
Senior Choir Choir Room
|10:30 am||Scripture Study Pastors Office|
Tasting Fireside Room
Set Clocks Ahead 1 Hour Tonight
Our thoughts and prayers are with Gladys Davis, Haven Health Care, 20 Chester Road, Derry, NH 03038; Hal Holappa at the Veterans Hospital, 200 Springs Rd., Bedford, 01730; Catherine Newman at Oostermans 93 Laurel St., Melrose, 02176; Jack Turner at Arnold House, 490 William St., Stoneham, 02180 and Rose Giunta recuperating at home.
We also remember Michael Blute in Iraq.
March 4, 2007
Ushers: Michelle Hagerty,
Marge Robins, Linda Ladd and Pat Summerer.
Lay Reader: Susan Lambe.
Coffee Hour: Mary Ann and Allie Parker.
Providing Altar Flowers: Lynnfield Girl Scouts.
Flower Delivery: Chuck Cotting and Marybeth Weilandt.
Heifer Muffins: 4th/5th Grade Class.