Centre Congregational Church
We Welcome Everyone: An Open and Affirming Church
Phone: (781) 334-3050; Fax: (781) 334-6463; Email: Office@Centre-Church.org
The Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey, Pastor - Pastor@Centre-Church.org
The Threshold of Lent
Here I sit pondering, again, the meaning of Lent for me, and pursuing some possibilities for you.
I think of the calling to discipleship that Jesus extends to us, to follow him, picking up our cross, realizing the cost and joy that accompanies such an invitation. I know that it's not a light-hearted calling nor lite-discipleship. This is made clear at Ash Wednesday as we are encouraged to repent of our sins. The ashes remind each of us of our need to repent and get right with God before it's too late. Jesus Christ was crucified for the forgiveness of all sins. It is important that if we wish to walk with Christ, we seek to acknowledge that we have fallen short of what is expected of us, even while we have done many good things in God's name.
I think of the meaning of discipleship, as Jesus invites each of us, requiring only a heart that is open and trusting, a mind that seeks truth, and a spirit that is free from distractions. Only, you say? Yes, these are overwhelming requirements! Can I walk with Jesus, trusting him to give me what I will need for the journey, trusting him to give me the talents, skills, and means through which I will be able to responsibly provide for myself and my loved ones? This is where I often get distracted, getting impatient waiting for God's provisions to arrive. This is where I often say to God, "You don't expect me to give up this or that, or so much, do you?" God's answer to this is "Yes!"
Of course, the answer is "Yes," from God, from Jesus. Discipleship does expect me to give up so much. If this is something I'm not comfortable with then it's to the church of "lite-discipleship" I go where instead of a cross I carry a cushion and am offered a bagful of acceptable excuses. There I can select the purposes of God that suit my purpose, my desires, and fit in with my schedule.
Following discipleship in Jesus Christ is serious. Yes, yes, yes. "Giving up something for Lent" is not intended to be a token offering or effort. Giving up something, or perhaps a lot of something(s) can bring us great joy. Giving up something can open a door to a new understanding about the meaning of life. It can open a pathway through which we discover how God is offering us something that we could not receive unless we had gotten something else in our life out of the way.
I think of medical professionals who spend a great deal of time in disciplined training and in the practice of medicine. I think of how my doctor has shut the door to the examining room and focused only on me, addressing my wounds, my needs, putting all else aside for a few moments in his life. I think of how God cares about the sparrows, about every child, about every person. I think of friends who have, at my calling, postponed or canceled other things in order to listen to me. That is discipleship.
We may practice such disciplines during Lent, too. Would could visit someone who cannot pay us back, a friend, neighbor, someone on the prayer list at church (always consult with the Pastor before visiting someone you don't know). We could even volunteer to be on the Caregiver's Team, adopting members of the parish who appreciate a friendly visit and connection with our church. We could do something especially nice for a family member, neighbor, or friend. We could make someone laugh. We could help someone clean up. We could make a point of talking with someone every week, sharing and listening. We could make a point of praying for someone every day, a teacher, a classmate, a brother or sister, neighbor, parent, leader.
What are you giving up for Lent? Perhaps one of the most important things to give up is always focusing on ourselves. Instead of "me first," consider how we can put others first, in line at the grocery store, in the use of our money, in the things we do each day, in the work around the house, at school, and at church. When in conversation, instead of starting off telling about your day and your news, ask the one you are with, "How was your day?" "How are you?" And wait and listen. Listen and wait till they are done talking, until they ask you about your news. This may require that we persist when their response is "I'm fine," because I find that's not always true even when they say it, even when I say it.
This Lent, we are invited, again, to walk with Jesus, seriously. As he carries the burden of our sins for us, may we ponder how we can help carry a burden for someone else.
Lord, hear my prayer.
Yours in Christ,
IN THE SANCTUARY
March 1, 2009 – First Sunday in Lent
10:00 A.M. Holy Communion
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Bailey
“Chasing Rainbows & Making Covenants”
Children may worship with their families for the entire service.
The Nursery is open in Room 14.
Sunday Morning Children’s Corner - March 1, 2009
Nursery Care: Our Nursery is open each Sunday for infants through age 3. Join us for story time and fun in Room 14.
Rotation Workshops: There are no workshops planned for this Sunday. Please join us in the sanctuary as we place another symbol on our banner and partake in communion.
7th & 8th Grade Class: There is no class scheduled for this Sunday. Join us in the sanctuary with your family for Communion Sunday.
The 5th-8th Grade Youth Groups will be traveling to Cradles to Crayons this Saturday, February 28th. Plan to meet in the parking lot at 9:20 for a prompt departure at 9:30. We will return to the church at 12:30. Anyone still wishing to donate new or gently used clothes sizes infant through 14/16 may drop them at the church office by Friday, Feb. 27th.
All Youth Groups (5th-12th grades) will be meeting Sunday, March 1 at the regular time 6:00-7:30 p.m. Join us for food, fellowship, and fun.
Save the Date: All Youth Groups are invited to attend a fun evening at CoCo Keys, an indoor water park at the Sheraton Ferncroft in Danvers on Sunday, March 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. The cost will be $20.00 per person. Flyers and permission slips will be coming home shortly.
Nightwatch: All 7th-12th Grade Youth are invited to attend Nightwatch on March 28-29. We will meet with other Massachusetts youth and take a bus into NYC where we will spend the night in St. John the Divine Cathedral. We will return home Sunday evening. Reservations are required, you must return your permission slip by Sunday, March 1st.
New Orleans Mission Trip:If you are interested in participating in this summer’s mission trip to New Orleans, you must let us know by Sunday, March 1. All High School Youth (incoming freshmen through outgoing seniors) are encouraged to attend. Please call Barbara Langill with any questions or concerns.
Shopping with Spirit
To date, our shopping card program has earned $1890 for Centre Church. We have a very faithful group of customers who frequently purchase shopping cards on Sunday morning. If you haven't used our shopping card program yet, please think about all the places you regularly shop or dine. Then, check the Great Lakes Scrip website: www.glscrip.com to see if your favorite stores and restaurants are on the list of participating businesses. Contact Sandi Watson or Debbie Cotting for more information.
Centre Church Auction
The Date: March 21 – 6-9:00 p.m.
The Event: A Delicious Dinner, Great Entertainment, and an Auction.
In order to have an auction we need items to auction off. Some ideas might include: tickets to a sporting, theater or music event, use of a vacation home for a weekend, a painting, or a hand crafted item.
Some might want to provide services: yard work, babysitting, providing a meal, transportation to appointments or church events, etc.
Gift cards or certificates to restaurants or stores are always popular (and if you purchase them through our “Shopping with Spirit” gift card program Centre Church will benefit even further!).
So, get those creative juices flowing and contact our Auction Co-Chairs Chris Gehret 781-334-6737 or Mary Ann Parker 781-334-4335.
From the Mailbox
Dear Church Family,
Thank you so very much for the concern, prayers, cards and visits during my prolonged confinement. The many flowers went a long way to brighten an otherwise dreary area. It is truly heartwarming to be surrounded by such a caring “family.” It’s wonderful to be home. Progress, tho slow, is being made. Again, Thank You! - Edith Wendt
Thank you for your prayers, cards, visits, flowers and phone calls. All are very much appreciated. I continue to do well.
God Bless! Nina Emery
News From Around the Parish
Our good friend, Ernestine MacDonald died peacefully on February 19. She was an active member of Centre Church and contributed much of her life to the Lynnfield Public Library. Services for Ernestine will be private but if you would like to remember her, you may made a contribution in her memory to Centre Congregational Church, 5 Summer St., Lynnfield, the Lynnfield Public Library, 18 Summer Street, Lynnfield and/or the Hallmark Health Hospice, 178 Savin St., Malden, MA 02148. Notes of sympathy may be sent to her daughter, Miriam Brown, 39 Cherry St., Wenham, MA 01984.
Stove Replacement News
As some of you know, we are working very hard to replace our ten burner, two oven stove in the Church Kitchen. It has served us well and we are grateful. It now needs to be replaced because it's not as efficient and safe as it once was. One or two of the gas pilot lights will occasionally and unexpectedly go out causing the smell of gas to filter through the building. We are, as a result, searching for a new stove with electronic ignition so that there are no pilots to go out. Our stove is so important to the programs of the church. The first Wednesday of each month is Bread and Roses day, when a crew of about a dozen faithful people gather in the kitchen to make a nutritious meal for the 150 to 175 people struggling for survival who gather at the Bread and Roses Soup Kitchen in Lawrence, MA.
Our stove is used by Boy Scout Troop 48 and by Girl Scouts. It is also frequently used by the church for special programs and meals, by the Religious Education program of our church, especially in Lent as they make Muffins on Sunday mornings to raise monies for missions. It is in our kitchen that we often gather to make food and share fellowship.
Presently we are trying to find the best price for the stove that we desire. We are raising funds for the new stove through our Memorial Funds and donations from parishioners. We invite you to contribute, also, if you desire, in any amount. While the total cost of the stove is still uncertain, it could be as high as $10,000 which includes removing the old stove and installing the new one. Feel free to contact Rev. Dr. Bailey and/or send a check to Centre Congregational Church, 5 Summer Street, Lynnfield, MA 01940, memo: "Stove replacement."
|Holy Communion - Sanctuary
Children in Church
Nursery – Room 14
Confirmation Class – Kitchen
Youth Choir – Choir Room
Youth Groups (Grades 5-12)
|7:00 pm||Knitting Group – Fireside Room|
|6:30 pm||Stewardship Commission - Library
|No Senior Choir This Week|
|10:30 am||Scripture Study - Pastor's Office|
|Set Clocks Ahead One Hour|
Our love and prayers are with:
We also remember those who are serving in Iraq: Kristofer Jenkins, Derek Cataldo, and George Robinson III.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Head Usher: Linda Ladd, Carrie Pericola, Jeff Law, Bruce Weaver
Greeter: Betty Hayter
Lay Reader: Frank Scott
Coffee Hour: Marian Orfeo and Frank Scott
Provide Altar Flowers: Gage and Dotty Whittier
Lights Out beginning February 27: Dave Clough
Cable Broadcasts of Worship
Our Sunday Morning Services can be seen on local access television each week. Below is the schedule:
DVD and VHS recordings of the services can be borrowed from the Church Office at any time.