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This week’s lesson comes from Luke 2: 1-7.
Our scripture this week includes the account of Caesar Augustus’ decree for a census of the Empire which extended through the Mediterranean and Britain. The Romans needed tax money and everyone was required to travel to the cities where their families originated. Since Joseph was part of the family of David, Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem, David’s place of origin.
They set out on their ten-day trip only to find a busy, crowded town. Although images of this journey often picture Mary riding a donkey, the Bible doesn’t tell us whether they had a donkey or whether the entire journey was made on foot. Either way, it was surely a long and weary journey, with Mary nearing the end of her pregnancy.
Because of the hectic condition Bethlehem was in, May and Joseph could not find a decent or clean place to stay. The result was Jesus being born in a stable. Even though Jesus was born where the animals stayed, God took care of all the details. The Savior of the World was born, and God’s compassion for us was on full display.
Bottom Line: God gave us the greatest gift. God had been planning a rescue since the very beginning. Jesus was God’s greatest gift to make it possible for all people to be with God forever.
The first official meeting for youth headed to Pine Ridge, South Dakota as part of the mission trip is scheduled for this coming Sunday from 4:30-6. Come prepared to have fun!
Earlier this month, several friends and families met at Magic Brush Pottery to paint bowls for the January fundraiser "Greater Lowell Annual Empty Bowls Project". Proceeds from this event will be used by Living Waters, Center of Hope to provide meals for those who are in need.
For the first week of December, youth will begin with Luke 1:26-56, when Gabriel came and made a huge announcement to Mary. God was about to rescue the world through Jesus, and she had an important role to play. Mary was overwhelmed by God’s love for the world and the part she got to play by fulfilling God’s plan to send a Savior.
Mary was a young girl, most likely an early adolescent. Mary was not a queen or princess but a simple young girl engaged to marry a carpenter. Mary lived in a small town, Nazareth in Galilee, which is never mentioned in the Old Testament. She was an ordinary girl in an insignificant town.
The angel tells Mary she has found favor with God. Many assume that those who are blessed by God will enjoy wealth and good health. Mary’s blessing, however, is that she will have a child out of wedlock. Mary’s response of “How can this be?” seemed appropriate and believable. The angel assured her it was true and the baby was God’s Son. God was at work among ordinary people, choosing to send Jesus as a message of God’ love in an unexpected and unconventional way.
Bottom Line: God can use anyone to meet others’ needs. For whatever reason, we may feel like God can’t use us to show others His love. Through the story of Mary, God can use anyone to show His compassion to the world.
There will be no Sunday School classes on November 25th for all grades as a result of the long Thanksgiving weekend. However, nursery care will still be provided for kids aged 3 and under. Enjoy time together in the pew this Sunday.
Tewksbury Congregational Church begins preparation for a youth missions trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota from July 28th- August 3rd, 2019. The trip will be run by Next Step Ministries, a non-profit organization which focuses on running Christ-centered student mission trips throughout the world focusing on community development and worship. This trip will be led by 5 TCC leaders: Rev. Baxter Chism, Jim Kenney, JoJo Scharmer, Sarah San Clemente and Sue Panilaitis.
Why Pine Ridge?
To give a little background on the area:
As of 2011, population estimates of the reservation range from 28,000 to 40,000. Numerous enrolled members of the tribe live off the reservation
80% of residents are unemployed
Average per capita income in Oglala Lakota County is $4,000;
Life expectancy in 2007 was estimated to be 48 for males and 52 for females.
How Can TCC Help?
Youth will be meeting monthly in order to prepare for the trip through team building experiences, faith formation programming and fundraising opportunities. As 2019 begins, be on the look out for ways to financially and prayerfully support these youth.
If your child and a friend would like to join in on this adventure, there is still time. Reach out to Sue Panilaitis
As much as school is important to the growth and development of youth, it is not necessarily something that kids enjoy. So who looks forward to going to school on Sunday? As a result, the CE program is interested in updating the name of our Sunday morning programming. With a new curriculum and updated educational wing, we are now looking for an updated name! All suggestions are welcome!!! Please help us to create warm feelings of friendship, fun and faith based learning when youth talk about TCC's morning offerings for youth. Contact Sue Panilaitis with your suggestions.
The pie social is coming and there is a request for older youth to help out from 5:30-9 pm on Friday, November 30th. Tasks include greeting guests at the front doors, serving pie as well as cleaning tables between visitors.
On December 1st, youth volunteers are needed to greet TCC fair visitors. Shifts are from 9-11 am and 11am-1pm.
Parents and/or teens can contact Carol on her email, email@example.com, or at coffee hour downstairs.
This week, youth will learn about a story found in Luke 5:17- 26 about a paralyzed man who just happened to have some really good friends. When His friends heard that Jesus was in town, they tried everything to get their friend to Jesus. In fact, as friends, they cooperated, tore a hole in a roof, and dropped their friend down in front of Jesus while He was teaching. And as a result of their faith and cooperation a miracle happened.
Bottom Line: Work together to help someone in need. When we see others with needs that seem huge and overwhelming, we too often think they’re too big for us to help and end up doing nothing. However, if we cooperate with others to meet their need, we have a better chance making a difference in their life and point them to God.
An informational meeting was held for the youth missions trip heading to South Dakota July 28-August 3rd last Sunday and many youth have already committed to going on the trip. Our reserved spaces will be released in less than 2 weeks so please let us know if any other kids from TCC want to go. We are also opening this up to other Tewksbury churches and friends. Please find attached a PDF with information related to the trip for reference. To commit to the trip, please provide a check in the amount of $150 made out to Tewksbury Congregational Church with “youth mission trip” on the memo line. Deadline is November 18th.Attached File: 72Pine Ridge Reservation Missions Trip Details.pdf
November 18th 4-6 pm - Join other TCC families at Magic Brush. Magic Brush is participating in a fundraiser – Greater Lowell Annual Empty Bowls Project. How this works is that Greater Lowell Annual Empty Bowls Project hosts a fundraising night titled “Empty Bowls.” In attending this event, one picks out a unique bowl that has been made/bought/recycled to enjoy some homemade soups/ honey wheat rolls/sweet dessert in. The individual keeps that bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in this world. The proceeds from the Greater Lowell Annual Empty Bowls Project is donated to “Living Waters Center of Hope”.
Magic Brush in town is an organization which opens it’s doors and allows people to come in to create the unique bowls to be used for this fundraiser. CE would like to host a painting party and is willing to fund this event for 18 TCC individuals. We hope parents and children will enjoy participating in this together. While we normally encourage families to bring a friend, given the limited space, please be considerate of others. Any questions or concerns, please reach out to Sue Panilaitis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: 11/18/2018 (Sun.)
Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Magic Brush Pottery & Fused Glass (361 Main St, Tewksbury, MA 01876)
Sign Up HERE
This week youth will look at Exodus 17:8-13, a time where Joshua was leading the Israelites in a fierce battle against the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses got tired, Aaron and Hur came to the rescue and helped hold up his arms. The Israelites win the battle because of how they all cooperated together.
Bottom Line: Work together to help someone succeed. Just like Hur and Aaron, it’s important for youth to realize that working together isn’t just about doing something for yourself. You can work with other people to help them win at life too.