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
February 6, 2008
The Touch of Jesus
I am moved to read of the power of Jesus’ touch:
Matthew 8:2-4, Jesus touches a leper, the man is cleansed.
Matthew 8:14-15, Jesus heals by touching Peter's mother-in-law, who had been sick with fever.
Matthew 9:27-31, Jesus touches the eyes of two blind men and they can see.
Matthew 17:1ff, Jesus touches his disciples and tells them “do not be afraid,” calming their fears.
This is just a sampling of the scriptures in the Gospels which illustrate the power of Jesus' touch.
Once, while I was in college, I needed surgery in my right knee to remove a benign, bony growth. The surgeon and a doctor in training came to see me a day or two after the surgery. They entered the room as I was struggling to figure out how to put a sock on my right foot. I had a cast on my leg that prevented me from bending to reach my foot. I had managed to get the sock on my toes but no further. My foot was cold.
The surgeon asks, “Is there anything we can do for you?” I said, “Yes, help me put my sock on my foot.” The surgeon stood there with his hands in his pocket, saying nothing, looking at my foot, the sock. As the doctor in training realized the awkwardness he reached down, took my sock, and slid it onto my foot.
I often wondered why the surgeon hesitated to help me with that one, simple act, a sock onto a foot. It was so easy and yet he hesitated. He was an excellent surgeon. He did the most important thing, operating on my knee, and it has remained fine to this day. So, I should be satisfied with that, right? He touched me, healed me. Yet, there seemed to be a lack of humility at the sock and foot thing. Maybe he felt the nurses would/should help me with that. Maybe he felt he would get his hands dirty. I had asked the surgeon to touch me, help me with my sock. He hesitated.
I have often asked Jesus to touch me, heal me, help me, open me, reassure me, challenge me. Do we wish to meet Jesus? Ask him into our lives? Do we wish Jesus to touch us in some special way? Ask him. Let him.
I am convinced that Jesus wants to touch us and heal us all of the time. Jesus is just waiting for the opportunity, the invitation, the time when we are ready to present ourselves to him for an intervention. And yet, are we ready for the healing that Jesus will bring?
To be touched and healed by Jesus means that we take up our lives and walk in health, wholeness, and become responsible for ourselves, no longer dependent on others to take care of us. To be healed means that we stop playing the victim. To be healed means that we go to school, to work, to church, to the world to serve, to bring our skills and time to others. To be healed means that we live in ways that keep us as healthy as we possibly can be.
Yes, many of us dream of meeting Jesus. Many of us dream of Jesus touching us, healing us. And yet, are we ready for that encounter, that healing, that new life? Be careful what you pray for because the changes that come when God answers prayers may make it more possible for us to be a servant and disciple, capable of greater service in Christ.
Do you want to be a better disciple of Jesus? Ask him to touch you. He might say, like he said to his disciples on the mountain, “Do not be afraid.” And later he might remind you how “...with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
February 10, 2008
First Sunday in Lent
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Giving it up for Lent”
Children may worship with families before going to Rotation Workshops.
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.
In addition, DVDs of the services are available for check-out from the church office in case you missed a Sunday.
The Nursery is open each Sunday for infants through age 3. Join us for stories and playtime.
On Sunday, February 10, children and youth PreK-Grade 8 continue learning from the book of Matthew, chapter 14. This is the story of Peter and Jesus walking on water. Come and have fun while learning about faith.
Weekly Seeds: All High School Youth should meet in the kitchen this Sunday, February 10 to make muffins to raise money and awareness for Heifer International. Plan to meet in the kitchen promptly at 10:00 a.m.
Giving Statements were mailed last week to everyone making tax deductible contributions to Centre Church in 2007. If you have not received a statement and feel you should have, or have questions about the statement that you received, please leave a message for me at 781-598-5678 and I will respond as soon as I can.
Thank you, Sue Johnson, Financial Secretary
ONA Film Series Continues
The premiere film in the 2008 series is “Fish Can’t Fly.” The film will be shown on Monday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the church’s movie room “Holyword Theater.” “Fish Can’t Fly”, sub-titled “Conversations about God and Struggling to be Gay” is a documentary which explores the lives of Gay men and women of faith as they recall their journeys to put their sexuality and spirituality in harmony. Discussion will follow.
After the premiere showing on Monday, February 11, the “ONA” Film Series will continue monthly on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Mark Meehl and Carrie Pericola have organized this film series which is educational in nature and deals with issues of fairness and equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.
Youth Group News
All Youth Groups will be meeting on February 10 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. 5th-8th will be in Todd Hall and 9th-12th will be in Richards Hall.
The Middle School Youth Group would like to thank everyone for their generosity with the SOUPer Bowl of Caring. You helped to raise $188.00. This money will go directly to supplies for Bread & Roses.
Sub and Salad Sales: Thanks for your generous support of the High School Youth Group Sub and Salad Fundraiser. We were able to raise $230.00 for this year’s Mission Trip and National Youth Event.
Save the Date- Recycling May 10
Did you miss the last recycling drive? Have more stuff to add? The High School Youth Group will again be holding a recycling drive for computer monitors, televisions, hard drives, and appliances. Monitors are $10.00 and televisions and large appliances are $15.00 each. This is an excellent opportunity to recycle items at a relatively low cost. (The town of Lynnfield charges $25.00 for monitors and bulk items.) All proceeds will go toward the High School Youth Group’s summer trips.
Special Offering for One Great Hour of Sharing
God’s call to share encompasses people everywhere! During Lent, our church families will have the opportunity to give to One Great Hour of Sharing, offering hope and well-being to people in this country and all around the world. Nine Christian denominations support One Great Hour of Sharing, which was established in 1949. Of every dollar given to OGHS, 92 cents is used directly for mission programming!
Look for the special coin cubes that will be available in the Narthex on February 10, 2008. Each day, prayerfully drop coins into the cube. Consider the people fleeing violence in Sudan, suffering from AIDS in Africa, reeling from devastation in Indonesia, starving in poverty in India, and recovering from any number of disasters in the United States—we are called to make a difference in their lives. As Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
On March 9, we will dedicate and celebrate our offerings during worship.
Passover Seder Meal being Explored
Rev. Bailey and Denise Weaver are exploring offering a Passover Seder meal at Centre Church on the evening of Saturday, April 19, the first night of Passover. If you are interested in participating, please call the church office, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak with Denise Weaver. Typically such events work best with about 25 people. There would be a cost to cover the expense of food and such. The purpose of this gathering is to experience and learn about an important High Holy Day in the Jewish Faith that has valuable spiritual lessons and stories to offer us. Please contact us if you are interested.
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to Jim Borg and his family upon the death of his wife, Mary on February 1.
Boy Scout Troop 48 News
On Boy Scout Sunday, February 3, 2008, Centre Church was presented with the “National Centennial Quality Unit Award” for achieving excellence in providing a quality program to a growing number of youth at all levels of the Boy Scouts of America, and our support of Troop 48 in particular. We are very proud to support Troop 48 and the wonderful work it does to train boys in leadership. God bless them in their continued success. This award plaque will be hung in Todd Hall where Troop 48 meets on Monday nights.
Rev. Dennis Bailey
The Boys have had a busy weekend with the Klondike Derby, Scout Sunday, and our Winter Court of Honor. The Winter Court of Honor is one of three Courts where the scouts are formally recognized for their accomplishments. The Winter Court of Honor is traditionally a pasta supper served in Todd Hall. The scouts’ next trip is to Camp Nihan where they plan to introduce the Cub Scouts, who have just finished their Webelos program, to the outdoor experiences of Boy Scouts.
John Walsh, for Boy Scout Troop 48
Reminder: We will no longer be accepting redeemable bottles and cans in the Missions Pantry. Alternative ways to raise money for the Bread and Roses meal program are being investigated.
We greatly appreciate your generous support during the Christmas season. Peggy Batchelder delivered a van-full of clothing and gifts to the Crombie Street Mission and the donations to Community Action Plan’s fuel assistance program ($1192.70) and Haven from Hunger ($1192.70), along with the donations to City Mission Society ($460.00) have been sent and are much appreciated by the recipients. - Chris Gehret for Outreach Ministries
Save the Date! Saturday, March 29
Centre Church Dinner Theater
A cast of characters is being put together for this fun event. No doubt tailors and stage hands will be needed as well! Please contact Linda Ladd at 781-334-6170 or email@example.com for more information.
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery Care – Room 14
Confirmation Class – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Youth Groups – Lower Level
|Confirmation Class – Pastor’s Office
ONA Film Series – Movie Room
|Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|7:00 pm||Membership – Pastor’s Office|
|No Choir This Week|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Greg Lengyel, Paul Folkins and Brian Bisacre in Iraq.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Head Usher: Karen Harrington
Greeters: McCarthy Family
Lay Reader: Rhett Batchelder
Coffee Hour: Seelig Family
Provide Altar Flowers: Irene Allyn
Deliver Altar Flowers: Edie and Earl Richard