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
April 16, 2008
Holy Spirit Walking
Her name was Blanche. She lived alone. She lived independently, well into her 90s. Blanche was known for her walking. She walked to the grocery. She walked to church. She walked to her doctor's appointments. She walked to the pharmacy. She walked to her weekly bowling group, bowling duck pins. She walked to run errands for her neighbors who could not walk, picking up prescriptions for them at the pharmacy, small items at the grocery, etc. Blanche never seemed to tire. Her family was amazed at her stamina. Her friends were amazed. And, yes, I was amazed.
She sat to watch the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics. She sat to worship God. She sat to talk with friends and family. Blanche was small of stature. She was also quiet in personality, but, consistent and persistent in spirit. She took everything in stride, and every day you could see her striding to and fro, rain or shine, no matter the temperature, making her rounds. She no doubt had osteoporosis, causing her bent-over posture, but Blanche never complained about it to me. She just kept walking.
I got to know Blanche because she was a parishioner. She always came to church a half-hour early. She sat in the same seat. She never demanded any of my attention but always appreciated it when I would visit her, stop to talk with her when I met her at the grocery or while walking around town.
My last visit with Blanche was like bidding farewell to a saintly character who had lived to see history and inventions significantly change our way of living. She had lived through wars, space travel, tremendous technological and medical advances. Despite these advances, Blanche didn't seem to need many of these to make her happy. A small, simple, nothing fancy apartment was all she needed. Blanche outlived most of her peers, taking countless walks to funeral homes and churches to bid them farewell, pausing briefly to express sympathy to their children and grandchildren.
The last time I saw her was when she was transitioning from her home and independence, at the age of 95, to move in with one of her children. In the dark of night, another parishioner and I drove to Portsmouth, NH, to say our good-byes. Blanche had some medical problems which required her to live in the company of her family. She was still able to walk, but just not as far. After moving in with one of her children, after a short time of not being able to walk anymore, Blanche died. The call came to me from one of her sons to tell me that his sweet mother had died peacefully in her sleep one night.
We had a lovely funeral service of celebration for her in our church. We did not cry, much, because we knew that life, not death, had the victory. We knew that Blanche loved laughing more than crying. We knew that Blanche never stopped long to despair, mourn, complain, or regret.
When I think of the Holy Spirit today I think of Blanche walking. I think of the Holy Spirit moving among us, inviting us to follow, to walk the walk of faith and action. I think of how Blanche always had a sparkle in her blue eyes, framed by her small, wire-rimmed glasses, ready for the next adventure, the next day, and the next opportunity take in the fresh air of her next walk in the hopes of meeting her friends at the grocery store, at church, in the walkways to exchange a cordial greeting.
The Holy Spirit is out there, my friends. The Holy Spirit is in you, around you, always moving, resting only to stop ever so briefly to land the light and power of God onto and within a welcoming child of God. Could it be you, today? Do you wish it? Do you welcome it? Are you ready to walk, make music, be consistent and persistent, speak, share, express what is in your heart, and make yourself available for the work of God?
I cannot know or predict where the Holy Spirit will land and act next. I cannot predict that a certain personality type is more or less available to the Spirit. I just give thanks to God when I see it, find it, and experience it. I know that when someone allows herself or himself to be truly open to God, the Holy Spirit is there, moving....
"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28).
I am always happy to see the Holy Spirit walking.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTURY
April 20, 2008
Acts 7:55-60, John 8:1-11
10:00 A.M. Morning Worship
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
Children’s Message: “Building Blocks”
Children may worship with their families for the entire service.
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.
Join Hands….Share the Journey
Last Sunday’s service was full of celebration. We celebrated the confirmation of our young people, and we celebrated our financial commitment to Centre Church. We thank those who have turned in their Intention to Give cards. If you have not yet turned in your card, please do so at your earliest convenience. Making our financial commitments in April is extremely helpful in planning our budget for the new fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2008. If you need an Intention to Give card, please call the church office, and we will make sure you receive one.
Debbie Cotting for Stewardship Ministries
Rotation Sensation and Youth Groups
There will be no Rotation Workshops this Sunday, April 20. Please enjoy worship in the sanctuary as a family.
The Nursery is open for children ages 3 and under each week.
There are no Youth Groups scheduled for Sunday, April 20. Plans are underway for Bowling on April 27. Details will be mailed home.
Our congratulations to the following young people who were in the 2008 Confirmation Class. We give thanks to those who served as their Confirmation Mentors throughout the program.
Our special thanks to Cindy Trayers for designing the beautiful Certificates of Confirmation and to Carol MacKendrick for hand-lettering the gift bookmarks.
Golfing With God
Are you ready for season # 6? The new season of Centre Church’s Golfing with God series starts on Thursday morning May 8th at 6 AM. We tee off promptly at 6 AM at Lynnfield’s Reedy Meadow. Following 9 holes of best ball golf we have a brief coffee hour and Bible study/devotional from roughly 8:15 to 9 at church. The schedule is that we then play every other Thursday until the fall. The dates are: 5/8, 5/22, 6/5, 6/19, 7/3, 7/17, 7/31, 8/14, 8/28 and 9/11. Our annual golf tournament will be held Friday, Sept.12 with a rain date of Sept. 19.
If you have any questions please contact Phil Johnson or Chris Parker. See you on the links!
Saturday, May 10, 6:00 p.m.
The Membership Committee, under the leadership of chefs Marty Hagerty and Rev. Dennis Bailey, are planning a fellowship dinner for the congregation. Join us for great food and a chance to enjoy each others’ company. Cost: a freewill offering. The menu will be announced next week. Save the Date!
Bricks, Bricks and More Bricks
There is a small window of opportunity this spring to add your names to, or sponsor someone else in, the engraved brick patio that we installed when we created our beautiful parking lot. We’ll be accepting new orders until May 1st only. The small bricks are priced at $50 and the large bricks at $100. The small bricks can hold up to three lines of letters with each line capable of being 20 characters long. The large bricks can hold up to six lines of letters with each line capable of being 20 characters long. Ordering a brick or bricks is a great way to honor someone or just help support the church. Some ideas for wording:
Anyway I can help you come up with others ideas. Just write a check payable to Centre Congregational Church and forward that along with your suggested wording to me by May 1st. If you have questions, I can be contacted at 781-598-5678 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bits ‘n Pieces
8 O’Clock Wheel Spring Luncheon will be on Wednesday, May 7 at The Thomson Club, North Reading. Members will be contacted.
News from Around the Parish
A Memorial Service for Dorothy Robinson will be held on Saturday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. Family and friends are invited to join us in the sanctuary at that time.
Saturday, May 10, 9am - Noon
A special pick- up service for seniors is available. Please call the church office or speak to Barbara Langill to make arrangements.
Saturday, May 31, 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Fun and games for all ages.
Food and drink from around the world.
Each year, Centre Church pays dues for every church member to the Metropolitan Boston Association. Dues not collected from church members come out of our annual budget. Please send a check for $18.50 per church member in your family to cover these dues. The offering envelope packets have a special envelope for this donation. If you do not use the weekly offering envelopes, you may send a check to the church office or put it in the offering plate on Sunday. Please make the check out to Centre Church and put MBA Dues in the memo portion. If you do not receive offering envelopes but would like them, please call the church office or see me. Sue Johnson, Financial Secretary
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery Care – Room 14
No Rotations today
No Youth Groups tonight
|Church Office Closed in observance of Patriots’ Day|
|7:00 pm||Knitting Group – Fireside Room|
|10:00 am||Craft ‘n Chat – Kitchen|
|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, April 20, 2008
Head Usher: Jeff Law
Greeters: Myrna and Bob Shorey
Lay Reader: Parker Holloway
Coffee Hour: Nancy Brown
Provide Altar Flowers: Giunta family
Deliver Altar Flowers: Barbara Ericson
Centre Church’s Worship Services are broadcast on Lynnfield Cable Channels 10 or 28 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.
Thanks to our friend, Christine Kimball, a DVD of the Mystery Dinner production of “Reading Aunt Louise’s Will” is available in the church office. Don’t miss it!
Church Office Schedule
Closed Monday, April 21. Tuesday – Friday April 22-25 Office Hours are 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.