TCC Flash - Weekly News
Turn On the Light| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path." - Psalm 119:105
Where do you turn to during the toughest of times? What about the storms? I hope to God. The Word of God cries out to us to do so.
I like bright lights in the house. The brightness has become even more important as I dodge my girls' toys on the floor. One toy that needs to be avoided at all cost is Lego. We have some bigger blocks and they hurt almost as bad as the small ones. Stepping on one at 3AM in the morning hurts the most! Turning on the light helps avoid this catastrophe.
Turning on the light is a choice. I think the psalmist that wrote Psalm 119 knew this fact. At night people back then would ignite their lamps to get around the house or walk outside. Today we can use the light of my phone as a flashlight or turn on the ones that hang from the ceiling. But sometimes I still don't use it and stumble around in the dark instead.
Did you know that Psalm 119 has 176 verses? Imagine if that was our Scripture Reading one Sunday. Let me know if you would like to be the Scripture Reader that day if it happens. After the reading, we could simply get up and go home. And the television station would cut our feed too.
If we read the 119:105-112, it gives us a little more of the important context we need to know. The psalmist talks about the power of using the light of God. We hear a hymn of praise even in the midst of suffering. The person is doing their best to practice the words of God. Celebrated was the fact that God had helped the person being dragged down by those that were misleading. In verse 111, the psalmist celebrates by saying, "Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart." These statutes were like "gold" to the psalm writer.
There is a constant message in God's Word on how to deal with fear. Psalm 23:4 tells us that God is with us in the valleys bringing comfort. Psalm 27:1 tells us that "The Lord is my light and my salvation" and goes on to let us know that fear should not consume us. Jesus tells us in Luke 14:27 that He gives us peace and to not let our hearts be troubled by fear. Again, there are so many verses I could quote to you.
Let's turn on God's Light today. It helps us see the path. We will always have fears but with God's help we will not be overwhelmed. The inspirational words of the Apostle Paul, from 2 Timothy 1:7, tell us that "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
"Fear not" is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. I was reminded of this fact when reading an article by Daria Nepriakhina. To quote her, "But frankly, I'm scared [honest expletive omitted] sometimes, I fear clowns, criticism, crashing my bike, and car wrecks. Bridges, bears, big buildings, and bull riding. Snakes, shark attacks, screwing up, and smothering. Judgment, jack-in-the boxes, jerky people, and jet planes. Just to name a few."
One day she prayed about her fears and got a message. "Fear is a cause to pause. An invitation to stop and seek my way forward."
What a great answer from God. It seems to me God helped her turn the light on. A reminder that our path needs this never hurts. God tells us this 365 times in the Bible...and through the light of our prayers. Thank you, Lord, for helping us with our fears.
Potatoes for the Pantry| Missions Committee.
For the past several years, your generosity has provided the Tewksbury Community Food Pantry with all the potatoes necessary for their Thanksgiving baskets for the upcoming holiday, making the celebration of family so much brighter for our friends in need. This year our goal is to provide 120 5 lb bags of potatoes! Our collection for this wonderful project will be Nov 8th & 15th and can be done in one of two ways:
You can make a monetary donation by check to TCC by mail or drop off at church on the 8th or 15th. Checks should be made out to TCC with Potatoes for Pantry in the memo.
If you would rather make a donation of a 5 lb bag (or more!) of potatoes, that would be wonderful! Please bring the bags in on the 15th so that they will be fresh for delivery to the pantry. There will be a bin available in the Narthex on the 15th.
Using the monetary donations received, Carol and Bob Sturtevant will purchase the remainder of the potatoes needed and deliver the 120 bags to the pantry. Many thanks to Carol and Bob for this wonderful service!
Thank you for helping so many families feel loved this Thanksgiving holiday!
The Enduring Power of Memory and Friendship| Sue Trepaney.
In 1913 Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States and during his tenure Colonial style homes were built in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. One hundred and seven years later, my son and his wife purchased a home in Portsmouth built in 1913. I refer to it as their ‘old/new house’ that is located 51 miles from the ‘family home’ in Billerica.
During a recent visit, my grandson, Sasha, gave me a tour of the house. His voice was quite excited and he was travelling at a high rate of speed urging his elderly grandmother to keep up with him as he opened doors, climbed stairs and showcased his bedroom. Outside Sasha showed me a small tower of stones that he said was in ‘in memory of Jen’. Jen was Anna’s, my daughter-in-law’s best friend. She died suddenly at the age of 54 in 2014. Jen was a mom; a photographer, a poet, an artist and the ultimate volunteer who spearheaded the local town’s art show. Jen’s memory is as vivid as her life and the creation of the stone structure reminds my daughter-in-law of their enduring friendship.
Our Pastor Baxter reminded us in last week’s sermon that ‘shared stories are a part of living’ and that ‘we live an on-going history’ and ‘hopefully we will be remembered in a good way’. Would that WE could erect small pyramids of stones to those in our church family who paved the way for us, whose faith and love is carried with us today. I remember Jack, Jean, Mary Lou, Eleanor, Phyllis, and Natalie—plus so many other TCC’ers who loved our church and family—all remembered in a good way! Thank you Pastor for your encouraging words of wisdom!
Join Us for Worship in November!| Board of Deacons.
TCC is opening its doors for in-person worship services on Sundays in November. A SignUpGenius page has been created to accommodate, on a first come, first serve basis, anyone who wishes to join us. There are plenty of seats available to accomodate anyone wishing to attend! Due to the ongoing pandemic, the following guidelines need to be observed:
1. Face masks are required for any person two years of age and greater. They are required for entry and must be worn until you exit the building.
2. Ushers will escort you in and assign your seat. Please arrive early enough so we can start on time.
3. Social Distancing will be observed with no contact between individuals.
4. There will be no singing. This is based on events that have happened in churches around the country.
5. Gatherings other than the Sanctuary are closed until further notice.
6. There will be no Coffee Hour or food fellowship events at this time.
7. Children must stay with their family and not roam the church.
8. Parishioners requiring the elevator will be guided by our Ushers to maintain appropriate distancing.
Please use the attached Sanctuary Sign Ups page and sign up to reserve your seat for worship service.
Call the church office at 978-851-9411 if you have any questions or contact Mike Wildeman, Deacon, at Mike.Wildeman42@gmail.com.
We hope to see you there! Stay healthy and stay safe!
Some Good News from UCC| Mercy Delgado.
One of our TCC families brought this article they read in the Boston Globe to my attention, and I thought I should share this with you. Enjoy!
The United Church of Christ made the news this week. The Southern New England Conference abolished $26.2 million in debilitating medical debt for people in need in the region, and for first responders and health care workers across the country.
The story was covered by a number of large local media outlets - The Boston Globe, WSHU Radio in Connecticut, The Republican in Springfield, MA, The Worcester Telegram, ABC6 in Rhode Island - and by the Associated Press. The AP story was picked up by more than 50 media outlets around the country, including US News & World Report.
UCC's Tiffany Vail stated that: "A friend of a friend - who as far as I know has no connection to a church - shared the ABC6 coverage on her Facebook page with the words: "When churches act like churches... when love for neighbors looks like love for neighbors...That’s super cool love of God on display right there."
Additional Usher Team Members Needed!| Stephanie Muse.
If you are planning on being present at in-person worship in the fall and winter months, please prayerfully consider joining the Usher team. Duties are somewhat different than they have been in previous years. Training will be provided.
Please email Stephanie Muse with questions or offers to serve at email@example.com.
Sunday School & Nursery Information| Sue Panilaitis.
Due to the world health crisis currently going on, TCC will not be offering in person Sunday School nor nursery care at this time. Youth are invited to participate in the weekly worship either in person or on public access TV/Facebook live.
To supplement the family worship experience, the CE committee will be providing weekly lessons that you and your children can enjoy at home. These lessons will include a 15 minute video as well as follow up activities that you can do together to reflect on the lesson and open up additional dialogue.
Called to Care
As a community of Faith, we are Called to Care for one another. Please visit our Called to Care page to learn how you can offer or request care for yourself or for a member of our church family.
CE's "You've Been Boo'd" Fun| Sue Panilaitis.
Given the current pandemic, CE has had to think outside the box and come up with unique ways to stay connected and engaged with our youth. During the month of October, we are encouraging families to connect with others by sneaking some treats onto another TCC’s families doorstep by participating in a traditional “You have been Boo’d!” event.
How this works:
- One day in October, a bucket of treats will arrive on your doorstep. Enjoy the treats. Feel free to try to figure out which family was thinking of you.
- Please let Sue Panilaitis know that you have been “boo’d” so that I can keep track of who has not had a turn. If you would like, feel free to post on TCC Members and Friends so we can enjoy seeing where the Halloween bucket travels and what treats are being passed around.
- Over the next two days, please select new treats to put in the Halloween basket. Be creative!
- Secretly deliver the basket to another Tewksbury Congregational Church family. Not sure who to deliver it to? Not sure of a TCC family’s address? Please reach out to me for any help you might need.
If you find that you have not had a chance to participate by October 25th, please reach out to me so that I can assist others in finding your place.
Enjoying Worship with Altar Flowers| Mercy Delgado.
As we welcome guests back to the Sanctuary during Sunday wroship, it would be wonderful to see a lovely bouquet of flowers or festive greenery on the altar. celebrating our coming together and making our church home more warm and welcoming.
Do you have an occasion (celebration/memorial/other) to provide altar flowers?
Please call the office at 978-851-9411 or click here to add your name to our currently bare sign-up lists. Thank you for your role in making Sunday worship extra special for our members and friends!
Holiday Friends News| Pat Takach.
Holiday Friends will once again be providing fresh Christmas greens for our church family and friends. Everything will be on pre- order this year and we will only make what is sold.
You may order fully decorated wreaths for $30 or with a bow only for $20, decorated kissing balls for $30, table trees for $35, and cemetery or hearth baskets in small, medium and large sizes for $15, $20 and $25. You may request special colors as well.
You may order from Pat Takach in church on Sunday mornings or call her at 978-851-4770 or 978-828-1224( cell).
All proceeds will go to our church. Pick-ups will be on Saturday, December 5th or earlier that week.
You Can Still Donate to Pajama Day!| Missions Committee.
As TCC re-opened the Sanctuary for worship in October, Missions set aside October 18th for a fun Pajama Day, where kids and parents alike are welcome to wear their favorite PJs to church. On this day, new pairs of pajamas were collected and delivered to our friends at The Wish Project (all sizes for children and adults are welcome!).
Donations of PJs are still being accepted! Please prayerfully consider taking part in this wonderful ministry! Since there is only one entrance in to TCC, a PJ collection box will be in the foyer before the stairs to the Sanctuary. Also, it is a consideration that many are not venturing out to shop or attend church. If you want to order online and ship the PJs directly to Mission Committee member Judy Boyson, her address is: 39 Anthony Road, Tewksbury, MA 01876.
We have also extended the collection date through Sunday, November 1st to accommodate online ordering.
LTLC Needs Your Candy Donations!| Missions Committee.
It's time for our Halloween Candy Collection for our friends at LTLC! Due to COVID-19, we're not able to accept individual snack size candies to bag up for the LTLC residents. However, the staff at LTLC said any unopened snack size candy bags would be welcome.
If you would like to bring a bag of candy to the church, a collection box will be in the foyer before the stairs to the Sanctuary. We will run this collection the same three Sundays as the PJs (Oct 18, Oct 25 or Nov. 1).
Please Keep Praying!| Board of Deacons.
Please include the following members and friends in your daily prayers. If you know of anyone who needs prayers, and they would like to be included on this list, please reach out to the church office at 978-851-9411. We're also attaching the Prayer Pages with the most recent prayer requests.
Prayers get put on the monthy Prayer Pages as requested by individuals. If you wish to have your prayers, concerns, and celebrations listed on the Prayer Pages, please contact Sue Trudeau at 978-640-9716 or the church office at 978-851-9411.
Please pray for the First Family and others in the White House as they deal with the coronavirus. Please pray everyone impacted by the wild fires burning out west.
1. Jim and Carolyn F. - prayers of comfort and healing as they grieve the loss this past week of Jim's mom, Rose.
2. Darlene B.- prayers of comfort and healing as she grieves the loss of her mom Kathleen from Covid-19 on Tuesday.
3. Warren P.- prayers of celebration and well wishes as he celebrated his 90th Birthday on Friday, October 23rd!
4. Robin G.- prayers of comfort and healing for the family of her friend Elizabeth, who passed away this week.
5. Baxter & Christina C.- healing prayers for Baxter's mom Jane, who is battling the coronavirus; prayers for their families as they clean up after the storms in the Gulf of Mexico. Prayers for continued healing for Baxter's Dad.
6. Sue H.- prayers of healing for their grandaughter, for a quick recovery after just having her appendix removed.
7. Marlene G.- Prayer for her sister Joanne, who is having cancer surgery this week.
8. Lynnette A.- Prayers for her daughter in law, Lauren, who is dealing with health issues.
9. Heather and Steve R.- prayers for Heather's mom, who has tested positive for COVID19 and is showing symptoms.
10. Pam and Michael M. and their families- prayers of celebration as they join in holy matrimony and begin their new life together as husband and wife!
11. Sue and Steve T.- a celebration... Steve's parents celebrate 54 years of marriage on the 15th and Steve and I celebrate 26 years of marriage...AND....this past Thursday the 15th Pammy and MIke got married! Prayers for a friend's son, Jake, who had brain surgery last month for chiari malformation. Please pray for him and his family.
12. Debbie T.- prayers of celebration for her sister-in-law's father who turned 79 this week. Each day is a blessing as he continues to deteriorate from Parkinson’s.
13. Barbara Hague's Family-prayers of comfort, peace and healing as they grieve Barbara's passing on September 24th.
14. Alice G.-healing prayers as she recovers from heart bypass surgery, and comfort and a quick recovery during her rehabilitation period.
15. Donna H.-prayers for comfort and speedy healing as she continues her rehabilitation at home after shoulder surgery on September 8th
16. Ginny & Richie D.- prayers for Richie, who fell this week and was hospitalized in Lahey Clinic for 3 days with a brain bleed. He's back at the Veteran's Hospital and continues being monitored. Prayers for complete healing and no complications going forward.
17. Sue T. - prayers for her mom, Jennifer, who is struggling with severe back and leg pain. Praying for answers and relief from pain. Prayers for a friend's son who is in the ICU.
18. Stephanie M.- prayers for Ed as he recovers from a fall.
19. JoJo S.- Prayers of gratitude for Chris's return to full health and Trish's return home.
20. Matt K.- prayers of thanksgiving for Jonathan, who celebrated his birthday; also, long-time neighbors, who are moving. Prayers of Thanksgiving on Kylie’s and his wedding anniversary and the wedding anniversary of Moya & Chris, at whose wedding Kylie & he met.
21. Linda M.- prayers for her colleague, Bob, who lost his wife suddenly.
22. Nancy M. prayers for continued recovery for her sister Pat.
23. Sherry F.- prayers for her brother, David, who is sick with a respiratory illness and is waiting for a COVID test.
24. Lynette A.- prayers of thanksgiving for a new grandniece, the 3rd grandniece born during the pandemic; prayers of thanksgiving as she and Rich celebrated their 43rd anniversary last month.
25. Tina R.- prayers for her sister-in-law Sarah and her family, who lost her mom Susan to cancer last month.
26. Russ A. and his family-prayers of thanksgiving and blessings as they celebrated three birthdays last month - son Jonathan, daughter-in-law Sharon, and brother Bill's 75th.
27. Melissa A.- prayers for her daughter Hailey, that her doctors may find a way to stop her seizures. Also please pray for her and all other students starting school this fall. Also please pray for her Papa Donald, that he becomes pain free.
28 Sheila P and her family-prayers of gratitude and healing as she began her radiation treatments last week while wearing her mask to stay safe. Renewed prayers for continued healing as she begins to deal with the effects of the radiation.
29 Kelly & Steve R.and their family-prayers for healing and comfort as Kelly recuperates at home from cancer surgery.
30. Kim B.- please pray for all those who are in need of prayers. Pray for God to watch over all the people in the way of fires, floods and earthquakes, and to keep all of those warm and those who need food safe. God Bless.
31. Ashley D.- prayers of comfort, acceptance and peace for her family, as they recently lost her uncle Richard.
32. Pam D.- prayers for a safe travel for her sister and brother in law who are going to Florida to see their son; prayers of comfort and peace for her Aunt Laura, who is struggling with some life changing events at this time. her cousin's wife, Janet, and her family. Her Mom and Sister are both in the hospital fighting COVID-19 in NY. Her friend Rick, who lost 2 loved ones and can’t attend the funerals right now. School advisor Sara, who had her first baby.
33. Gracie D.-prayers of appreciation for all the support, wonderful meals, lovely cards, gifts, and well wishes from our church family as she continues to heal and recuperate at home after heart surgery.
34. Marlene C.- prayers of thanksgiving as her friend's daughter is found safe; continued prayers of healing and comfort for her sister Joanne, who is having additional testing after a breast cancer diagnosis. Prayers for staff member Drew Page at the Southern New England Conference office who is facing cancer surgery at the end of the month.
35. Barbara V.-prayers for continued healing from a cancer scare.
36. Evelyn F.- convalescing at the Rehabilitation Center.
37. Al B. living at Heatherwood and alone.
38. Barbara B.-homebound and convalescing in Methuen.
39. Trish R.-prayers for complete healing from her surgery; prayers for mental health, peace, and comfort during this time of quarantine.
40. Mary and Dana L.-prayers they all stay healthy as Dana continues to work as a police officer in town.
41. Loretta M.-convalescing at home.
42. Arlene S.- undergoing cancer treatments.
43. Eleanor R.- recovering at home from a recent hospitalization and dealing with respiratory issues.
44. Denise-prayers for the family of her friend Bryan, who passed away suddenly.
45. Melissa-prayers for Papa Don- that his pain will be healed. Prayers for peace in the world.
46. Tammy- prayers for Godson Billy to stay strong.
47. Kymberly- prayers for her mom's new cancer diagnosis.
Attached File: 29November 2020 pp.pdf
Click HERE to view all TCC Sign-ups!| Church Secretary.
Click HERE to launch our TCC Sign-up Genius page. Use the tabs to switch between the sign-ups. Thank you for lending a helping hand!
Shop Online and Help Support TCC!| Board of Ministries.
Amazon has a shopping program that benefits non-profits and the Tewksbury Congregational Church is now registered! It's called AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to our church. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know, same products, same prices, same service. You are able to support TCC with your AmazonSmile purchases at no extra cost to you! Feel free to share this info with your friends and family, too.
Simply visit smile.amazon.com and enter "Tewksbury Congregational Church" as the charity you wish to support. For TCC to get credit, all your purchases must be made through the 'smile.amazon.com' site...so be sure to bookmark it to make future purchases easier;-) Happy Shopping!
Calling All Scripture Readers!| Board of Deacons.
If you are interested in reading the scripture for our remote Sunday worship services, please email Mercy Delgado (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let her know which Sundays you are available to read. You may also click here to sign up for the Sunday of your choice.
You can either join the Holy Ghost Crew in the Sanctuary and read the scripture live or record your reading at home ahead of time, whichever you are more comfortable with. We will do our best to accommodate your preferred date(s).
We Still Talk About Moses Today| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land..." - Deuteronomy 34:1-2b
We still talk about Moses today. When I say "We," I'm saying many churches around the world. During my time in seminary I noticed that my African American professors talk about him a little more. The story of Exodus, when Moses led the Israelites to freedom, strikes a chord because of its similarity to when slavery ended in our country.
Moses was many things to his people. We know him as a great prophet and leading the Israelites to freedom out of Egypt. Part of his story is that he saw the Lord face to face. Another part is he murdered a man. Today he is still a very important part of our spiritual history. We remember Moses and his impact like others, such as Abraham and Sarah, Noah, the Prophet Isaiah, and many other spiritual heroes.
Over the years I have witnessed churches thanking God for past members who have left an indelible mark and influence. Not too long ago we dedicated the new light on our front door steps in memory of Jack Hall. I can't tell you how many people have shared about Jack. Other ways churches show their thanks for the lasting legacy of a member who is deceased is naming a room or ministry after them. At my previous church in Alabama, the Chrismon Tree that adorns the sanctuary every year was given to remember a member who was an example of his service to God.
A person's legacy can also be something not too flattering. There's a person I know that hopped from church to church. Every church she went to she found more unhappiness with herself. She would complain to officials in her conference about pastors, worship music, and many other things. Her complaints were so much they kept folders with her complaints in a filing cabinet. Today, at least in the eyes of the churches she attended and her conference, her legacy is a bunch of folders.
Legacy is important. Important is how our life is a reflection of our service to God. People see this and they look up to you. Positive impacts on their churches and people changes the world. We become part of their history and spiritual journey.
It's very important that we put God first in what we do. I don't want to be known for my biases and ill words. Moses was a leader and he followed through to the end. One person who wrote about Moses and his service said he was "unequaled" for his time and day.
I have a friend who likes to visit cemeteries. It brings him peace. He often will look at the tombstones and think about the person's life. If there is a person he knows buried in the cemetery he is visiting he will think about how they impacted his life. Many of us do the same when we visit our family members who have gone before us.
Moses would not enter the Promised Land of Israel. This promise from God went all the way back to Abraham. But the Lord did show him all of the land when he climbed to the top of Mount Nebo in Moab, just across the border from Israel and the city of Jericho northeast of the Dead Sea. He saw all of it. It was a measurement of his service to God. Moses died after this. His journey was complete here on earth. His people would get to live out the promise.
There are things we won't see as we follow Christ. Many things are meant for the future. But I can tell you this truth, the legacies live on and influence the future. And people will still talk about them today.
We still talk about Moses. Being more contemporary, let's think about those followers of Christ that have impacted our lives. After you read this, pray and remember these people if you would like. And one day I hope the same for all of us.