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
September 3, 2008
Oh Worry! The Mums Are For Sale!
Hello, my friends! Don't you just hate it when it seems that summer has gone by too fast? So do I! Around about the time I had a birthday the middle of August, and as if that weren't bad enough, I started seeing the Hardy Mums for sale. Jeepers creepers! Talk about pushing the envelope! I mean, when I saw the Mums for sale the official start of autumn was still about thirty-seven days away!
I'm all right with it now. It's September so you can show me the Hardy Mums, but in August? And then, some school districts (I won't mention any by name), had two days of school before Labor Day and I heard a lot of parents complaining about how that ruined the last vacation days with their children prior to Labor Day. I did not hear one student complain! Now who's pushing the envelope?
It's hard for me when time seems to be slipping by too fast. I mean, my house reminds me every day that I still have outdoor projects to finish on it before winter and “House” would like me to finish them. Right now the weather is perfect for these projects. I am making good progress, but, if we go through Fall too fast and the snow starts flying too soon, well, “House” will have a sad face. A house with its projects completed is a Happy House!
We all struggle with this, don't we? The children and grandchildren grow up too fast. I did the wedding for my 20 year old granddaughter this summer. She was a beautiful bride! I loved those days when the two of us would play on playground swings, slides, and such. I loved the day we spent at Hershey Park together. I loved seeing her run, play, grow, and become all grown up. Now what? I can't protect her and/or save her like I once thought I could because now she makes her own decisions, lives far away from me.
So I say to Jesus, “Jesus, help me with this. How do I handle this passing of time and events in my life that seem to go too fast by me? I worry about it all, about today, about tomorrow. Can't you slow it down?”
Jesus has spoken of this before in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6. He tells us “do not worry about your life.... Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “....do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25, 27, 34, NIV)
Some days go too fast and some too slow. We are charged by Jesus to savor the days that are good. Enjoy. We are also charged to follow Jesus as a disciple and trust in him that the worrisome days will pass.
In my most recent time of transition, seeking out a new pastoral opportunity while still enjoying the one I held for sixteen years, I was anxious during the waiting period. I waited to hear news from the Pastoral Search Committees who interviewed me. Even while I knew and understood the process, it seemed that the days went too slowly. It was also during this time that I was without a home, living with my good friend, Bob, as a result of my marital separation and pending divorce.
I cherished and still value those evenings that Bob and I had together to reflect on our lives and what the future might hold for both of us. Yes, I worried, but I also trusted that if a new pastoral position was to be offered to me that the Lord would have a hand in it, and in its timing. Each day, each interview, held enough worries of its own. I learned to take one day, one step at a time and to leave the rest to God.
While the days and nights of waiting seemed, at the time, to both Bob and me, long. Looking back now, we both agree, in Bob's words, “Dennis, it didn't take that long! The six months you spent with me went by fast.” And yes, they did.
A good loaf of bread needs the right amount of time to rise. A wound needs the right amount of time to heal. A child needs the right amount of time to grow. Flowers and plants, need time to seed, grow, mature. In the time of waiting a lot of things happen that we cannot see and never fully understand. But in time, blessings do come to those who wait and trust.
I'm enjoying the tomatoes on my deck that were growing all summer. Delicious! Gives me a happy face! I'm enjoying the projects that I have completed on and in my house! Beautiful, comfortable. And, no doubt, our students sent off to college will also grow and mature, with time. But, this, too, cannot be forced.
It pains me now, to think about how long it has taken New Orleans to begin to recover from Katrina and now, with the tormenting winds and rains of Gustav, how much more patience and resources will be required. Yet, together, as a community of God's people, we will do what we can each day to keep hope alive, to help with the rebuilding, one day, one Mission Trip, at a time.
Thanks be to God for those who sit with us while we wait and worry. Thanks for those who give us safety, resources, and hope, while we wonder what we will do and be doing in the days ahead.
I remember how Jesus taught us: “is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? ....seek first (God's) his kingdom and his righteousness, and all ... things will be given to you....” (Matthew 6:25 & 33).
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
September 7, 2008
WELCOME BACK SUNDAY
10:00 A.M Holy Communion
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Are You a Lost Sheep?”
Youth Group News
Shareholders Dinner: The youth who traveled to the National Youth Event and participated in the Mission Trip to New Orleans will be hosting a dinner on Sunday, Sept 14 at 6 pm in Richards Hall. We would like to share the experiences of our trips and to show our appreciation to our family, friends, and the congregation for their support. Please join us for this special evening.
Youth Group Meetings Resume:For youth in grades 5-12, youth group meetings will be starting back up on Sunday, September 21st. Details regarding the welcome back night will be mailed out shortly.
Fall Yard Clean-up Day
We will be having a property clean-up day which will involve cleaning of the garden beds, some trimming, sweeping and general pick-up. We want our property to always look its best. Please plan on spending part of the morning with us at Centre Church starting at 8 AM Saturday September 13. Questions please contact Phil Johnson at 781-598-5678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rotation Sensation, our Christian Education Program is ready to begin once again. Workshops will be available for children PreK-Grade 6. The theme of the year will be “Shepherds” and all of our rotation units will be focused on this theme. We will start the year with the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
Beginning Sept. 14, there will be a special class for all 7th & 8th grade youth. It will be held in the Pastor's Outer Office each Sunday morning. We will base this class on the book, "Way to Live, Christian Practices for Teens". Lively discussion and activities will take place.
The Nursery will be open again beginning September 7th. We have a Nursery Care Provider, Lisa Gerbick, who will be here each week, along with volunteers to staff the nursery. Infants and children through age 3 are encouraged to come to the Nursery for playtime and stories. Pagers are available for all parents leaving young ones. This enables the Nursery staff to reach parents quickly for any reason.
Please remember to return your registration forms and video/picture release forms this Sunday in the Narthex. Forms were mailed home last week so you can fill it out and return it promptly. If you did NOT receive a form, extras will be available in the Narthex, or you may call the church office to request one.
Children’s Book Drive
As part of her commitment to Cradles To Crayons, Stephanie English is asking for book donations for a Children’s Book Drive. Books should be for Preschool through Grade 6.
Please drop off new (or slightly used) books in the box in the narthex any day between September 1 and September 22. Just one book can make such a difference to a child. Thank you for your help.
Annual Golf Tournament
Save the date of Friday, September 19 for the sixth annual Centre Church golf tournament. The net proceeds go to support our Missions Ministries program. This will be a best ball tournament with a tee time of 1 PM at Thomson Country Club in North Reading. The cost is $125 per player and that includes a cookout following the tournament at the Johnson’s. Prizes and the chance to have your winning team’s names engraved on The Unholy Grail are but a few of the benefits of playing in this tournament. Players of all skill levels welcomed. Please invite your friends to play, too. Sign up with Phil Johnson (email@example.com or 781-598-5678) no later than Wednesday September 17th. Checks should be made payable to Centre Congregational Church.
News From Around the Parish
We extend our love and sympathy to Bruce and Ellen Miles upon the death of Ellen’s mother, Irene Santos of Woburn on August 30.
Fall Schedule Resumes
The Church Office has resumed a 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. schedule.
Tower Notes will be sent weekly. If you would like to receive the newsletter by email instead of by US postal delivery, please call or email the church office to let us know. 781-334-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (Receiving your Tower Notes by email means early delivery for you and saves the church money on postage.) Please consider it!
Special Needs Yard Sale
September 13, 2008
Meeting House on the Common
9:30am – 2:00 p.m.
Donations and customers are greatly appreciated.
Call Fran Soderberg 781-334-3437 for info.
Our ongoing collections include Aluminum Can Pull Tabs, Used Eyeglasses, Non-Perishable Food, Travel Size Toiletries, Knitted Squares, and Used Cell Phones (numbers erased with charger).
Please Note: We are no longer accepting redeemable bottles and cans.
|Morning Worship - Sanctuary
Nursery Care – Room 14
|Caregivers – Fireside Room
Knitting Group – Fireside Room
Diaconate – Pastor’s Office
|Membership – Pastor’s Office
Rotation Leaders - Fireside Room
|Golf Group – Reedy Meadow
Senior Choir - Choir Room
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
|8am - 12 pm||Fall Cleanup - Lawns|
Our thoughts and prayers are with:
We also remember Col. Brian Bisacre, Jane Vancor’s cousin and Maj. Alec Leung, Ollie and Carl Wood’s grandson in Iraq.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Head Usher: Linda Ladd