Centre Congregational Church
We Welcome Everyone: An "Open & Affirming" Church
Phone: (781) 334-3050; Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email:
Douglas W. Hodgkins: Organist/Choir Director
October 3, 2007
Well, it's been a year now, as of this writing. That's right, I started as your Pastor at Centre Church one year ago October 1st. It's been quite a year for me, personally and professionally.
When I came a year ago my life was in transition in more than one area. Prior to moving to an apartment in West Peabody I had been living with a friend in Billerica for six months. I was going through a divorce after 33 years of marriage. And, I was changing jobs!
Now, after a year things have stabilized for me. I am on the verge of moving into a home I just bought in neighboring Lynn, MA. My divorce has been finalized. And, I love my new job! My “boss,” Susan Spear, hasn't fired me! She likes it when I get my work done on time for the newsletter and Sunday bulletin! Now, there's the little matter of putting a new roof on the house I bought before I move in, but, hopefully that will be completed before the last week in October when my lease is up on my apartment.
Change and transitions can be very frightening, faith testing experiences. There were many times when I was scared, uncertain about the future, wondering where I would be, live, and work. I am fortunate to have a lot of good friends. I had great friends in my former parish, but also great friends outside the parish. Once a Pastor resigns and leaves a parish it is not appropriate to maintain ties with the former parishioners so that the new Pastor can establish ties. This is important for the sake of the ministry. In all three parishes that I have served I have been blessed with no interference by my predecessors, allowing me to hit the ground running with the work of the church. I have pledged to do the same for those who follow me.
How have I survived this past year? I often ask myself. I have survived much the same way that many of you have survived periods of transition in your lives. Survival support has included my faith and the faith of this, the Centre Congregational Church members and staff. I have survived because many of you have made me feel very welcome and right at home. I have survived because people have cheered me on, telling me that it will all work out. While I didn't always believe it when “it will all work out” was spoken to me, I did believe that I would get through it sometime and somehow. The “self-pity” parties don't last as long as they once did. A very good therapist and doctor have been key. I would not have survived without them!
I am grateful that in the period of the past year I have thoroughly enjoyed and been accepted by this wonderful congregation and the community. I have had the pleasure of visiting many of you and look forward to visiting more of you in the coming year.
My motto: “We are here to serve you. If you need the church please call us. If you know of others who need the church, please call us.”
I have, like you I'm sure, been through a lot of transitions in my life. As a child, the most significant transition was my father's death because it meant selling the family farm and moving to a new home. It meant my mother was no longer at home all of the time to greet us and take care of us. It meant that I was more on my own than every before. It meant that the people and things I had always counted on to be there were, to a large degree, no longer there as they once were. It was very scary. I was afraid of being drafted and killed in the Vietnam War. I was afraid of making big mistakes and regretting it for the rest of my life. I was afraid that I would not be able to make friends who would help me through life's difficult challenges. And, I was afraid that I would not find a line of work that would be rewarding, challenging, and exciting.
Well, my fears did not come true 99% of the time. God called me to be a minister and my life has been rewarding, challenging, and exciting ever since. Someone said to me today that because of what I have shared in these pages it seems that I have had a lot of experiences and even though they haven't met me, I must be very old! Well, I don't think I'm very old. I don't feel very old. I have been fortunate and I have been willing to walk through most any and every door that God has opened to me.
Nothing is too humble a job, as Teresa of Avila said, “Christ moves the pots and pans.” So, I love to cook and clean, for and after a good meal, especially for and with friends. My mother taught me first, how to wash the dishes, the pots and pans. I started to learn how to cook by watching my mother and then, when I was in theological school, I had the opportunity to cook for about a dozen blind, multiply handicapped adolescents at the Protestant Guild for the Blind, Watertown. I did pretty good, most the time! Once I cooked a meal of spaghetti for my family using what I thought was a “clove” of garlic. Well, I learned that a clove of garlic is not the same as a bulb of garlic! I used the whole bulb! Fortunately, we all like garlic and for those who didn't, we lied and said, “No, it doesn't have any garlic.”
I also learned early on to apologize, apologize, and apologize when I made mistakes or when people thought I made mistakes. That has been a saving thing to do in my work and in my life, especially when encountering those who “never” make mistakes. God forgives and fortunately, it seems, most people do also.
Thanks for sharing so much with me this past year. Thanks for your faithful giving. Thanks for the fun that we have had so far. Thanks for putting up with my sense of humor. There is much, much, much more to come in the work of God. I might have a few more tricks up my sleeve. Let the children come! Let everyone come! God is most blessed and desires for us to experience so much together. Do not hold back. Give your all to God, to the people God has put into your life and if a door opens..., give serious thought to walking, even running through it. I'm not saying every door is worthy of you, but I don't want you to miss an opportunity to experience the greatness of life God has for you.
So, on with the ministry, now that we've wrapped up one year together! We've only just begun. Clap your hands, sing “Hallelujah,” God is great. God is good!
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
World Communion Sunday – October 3, 2007
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“There is Enough for All”
Children may worship with families for the entire service.
Congratulations to our 9th Graders who received their Bibles on Sept. 30:
Johnny Benevento, Gino Cohee, Jefferey Couillard, Nicholas Critch, Brittany DeSantis, Matthew Forgione, Derek Gauvain, Allie Hagerty, Lindsay Jodoin, James Langill, Amy Look, Tyler Nardone, Evan Nasson, Martine Taylor & James Wersackas.
This group will begin Confirmation Classes on Sunday, October 14.
We finished up our Abraham and Sarah Rotation this past Sunday. Thank you to Dave Nasson, Denise Weaver, Leslie Carey and Sue Tomich for leading the workshops each week. This coming Sunday we invite you to worship as a family in the Sanctuary.
We begin our next rotation on October 14. We will learn about the book of Esther through art, upper room, movie and cooking.
There will be a theological overview of the book of Esther on Tuesday, Oct 9 at 7:00 p.m. with Rev. Bailey in preparation for our next Rotation Sensation.
We also invite those with infants and youngsters to attend worship as a family in the sanctuary and/or Fireside Room this Sunday, October 7. The nursery will re-open on October 14.
If you enjoy working with High School aged youth, we invite you to volunteer to facilitate discussions on Sunday mornings. In order for our volunteers to be able to worship frequently in the sanctuary, we are looking for several so that we may have a rotating schedule. The discussions will be based around the scripture reading for that morning. Kindly call Jill or Barbara in the church office to volunteer. Once we have enough volunteers in place, we will start the discussions. Volunteer today!
New Sign to be Installed
Bob Shorey and Jack Marino have designed and constructed a new sign for Centre Church and Tower Day School for the entrance to the parking lot. It looks great, but now it needs to be installed. To install it we will need to build a small retaining wall, fill it with crushed stone and secure the posts in some concrete. It is probably a 4 hour job if we have many hands, and I could use your help on either Saturday Oct. 20 or 27. That way it will be done before the ground freezes and just before the fall fair in early November. Please let me know if you can help. Phil Johnson, Chair Finance Ministries
Sunday October 21, 2007
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM in Richards Hall
Menu includes Clam Chowder, Crackers, Corn Bread, Water or Coffee with Cranberry Crumble or Brownies for dessert - all for $6.00. You may eat in or take away!
Your help would be greatly appreciated. See any member of Membership Ministries to volunteer or sign up in the Narthex after church services.
Chuck Cotting, Doreen DiFillippo, Sue Lambe, Kristen Robinson, Laurie Timmons, Cindy Trayers
Supplemental Pledge Drive
Please watch this week’s mail for a letter regarding the Supplemental Pledge Drive. Your generous response to this appeal will enable us to balance the 2007-2008 budget without dipping into our reserves.
ONA Film Festival
Join us in the Fireside Room following church as we begin our Film Festival.
October 7: Gay/Lesbian Youth: “Making History in Massachusetts” (29 minutes) – Governor’s Commission on G/L Youth.
October 14: Masconomet High School Student, Cory Johnson’s 20/20 TV program with special guest speaker, Ann Richardson (Cory’s Mom). See the difference the Safe Schools Project made in one student’s life.
October 28: “The Rhetoric of Intolerance” - An Open Letter Video to Pat Robertson from Dr. Mel White.
This series of 6 informative videos is an educational opportunity to learn about issues of fairness and equality for all. It provides programming to help us live out our promise to be an “Open and Affirming Church” welcoming to everyone.
Youth Group News
Great job walkers – Luke Martin, Andrew Mucci, Emma Martin, Marissa Taylor, Tori Martin, Mia Sievers, David Bjorkman, Kathi Martin and Bo Martin! This group participated in the 5-mile Hike for Hope. They helped to raise awareness and money for the Lazarus House in Lawrence, MA. Thank you to everyone who donated to this cause. And thank you to the walkers for a job well-done.
News from Boy Scout Troop #48
Last week the scouts and Rev. Bailey, turned over the ground under Tower Day School's playground equipment to soften the ground underfoot.
On Monday evening, October 1, the scouts held their "Ice Cream Social." This event is a Court of Honor which recognizes the scouts’ work over the summer. The troop awarded 74 merit badges to 27 scouts. In addition, Tim Miller earned his Life Scout badge. Next Monday afternoon, at 4 o'clock, we will recognize Jason Pescione and Liam Kochocki, who have both earned their Eagle Scout badges. A Court of Honor will be planned in the future to recognize Ryan Batchelder who just passed his Board of Review for Eagle Scout. The boys recently went on a deep sea fishing day trip from Gloucester. Their next planned trip is a weekend bicycling trip to Martha's Vineyard.
Car Wash – Sunday, October 14
Get your car sparkling clean while you attend worship! Your car will be hand washed by a talented, dedicated group of young people and their adult supervisors. Just bring your car to the church parking lot on Sunday morning, October 14 and someone will direct you to the wash area. Your car will be washed and parked (by an adult) by the time service ends. All donations will go toward this year’s High School Mission Trip.
If you do not want your car washed on October 14, we would appreciate it if you could please park behind the library, in the town hall parking lot, or in front of the church or library. Thank you.
Eighteen members of the High School Youth Group participated in the Boston Mission Overnight this past weekend. We spent the night at First Church in Charlestown and met with leaders from City Reach. We worked on decorating cloth book bags for children in New Orleans who will each get to pick out 3 books to put in the bags.
On Saturday, we headed to Newton to volunteer at Birthday Wishes, an organization which provides birthday parties for children in homeless shelters. We packed 30 boxes with everything needed for a child’s birthday: cake mix, frosting, cake pan, juice boxes, decorations, etc. etc. We also helped organize shelves and put together craft kits.
In the afternoon, we traveled to a men’s shelter at Pilgrim Church in Dorchester. Half of the group worked preparing the evening meal and the others worked cleaning up the church grounds. We returned home very tired, but happy to have been able to serve.
Our next meeting for all groups will be on Sunday, October 14. We hope everyone enjoys a wonderful long weekend! See you on the 14th.
From the Mailbox
Thank you so much for the beautiful altar flowers delivered to me by Marjorie and Ed Potter recently. We had a lovely visit and it was so nice to be remembered by my friends at Centre Church.
The Red Cross Needs Your Help!
There is an urgent need for blood at this time. 2000 units of blood are needed daily to supply the 200 New England Hospitals who provide basic services to our citizens. If you can give, please call 1-800 GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-5433).
Thanks, Rev. Bailey (a ten-gallon plus donor)
Centre Church Fair – November 10
Jewelry, Gift Table, Crafts of all kinds and
Much, Much More
|World Communion Sunday
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Children may worship with families
ONA Film Festival – Fireside Room
|Offices closed in observance of Columbus Day|
|Caregivers – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|10:00 am||Craft Group - Todd Hall|
|7:30 pm||Senior Choir - Choir Room|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Col. Greg Lengyel in Iraq.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Head Usher: Michelle Hagerty
Greeters: David and Diane Bjorkman
Coffee Hour: Camille Ernest
Altar Flowers: Cheryl Schedin Caron
Flower Delivery: Barbara O’Connell and Barbara Ericson.
Cable Coverage of Worship Services
Centre Church’s Worship Services are broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channel 10 (Comcast) or Channel 28 (Verizon) on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and also on Peabody Cable Channel 10 on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m.