TCC Flash - Weekly News
Leaving the Prison of Unforgiveness| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Almost ten years ago at the church I was leading I had worked hard on a sermon series about stewardship. Just before the worship service in which I would preach the first sermon, I met a lady visiting the church for the first time. Overjoyed to have her visit, I talked with her for a few minutes and thanked her for joining us for worship. Then I got to hear why she was checking out the church.
Apparently, she was looking for a new church home because all her previous pastor did was "talk about money" amongst a list of other grievances. I can hear her like it was yesterday. She said, "I'll never forgive him or the church. All they did was beg for money hand over fist. I'm praying for a new start today in a church that doesn't talk about money." And here I was about to preach three sermons about giving and stewardship. Did she come back? I think you know the answer.
Sometimes I wonder if we humans keep an Excel spreadsheet of times we have been hurt. Maybe not literally but in our head. It probably has the names of those that have hurt us and all the things they did. The sad thing is you and I may be on someone's list too. If we are not careful, the hurts can overwhelm the joys. This leads us to maybe being defensive, building walls, and finding ways not to forgive those that have hurt us. It's like the spreadsheet gets bigger and bigger.
In Matthew 18:21-35, Peter was bold enough to ask Jesus about forgiveness. Should I forgive seven times? Jesus said seventy-seven times. Then He tells a parable about a servant that begged his king to forgive him for a massive debt. Basically, Jesus equated it to a massive amount...ten thousand bags of gold! There is no way that kind of debt could be paid back. The king, in his great mercy, forgave ALL the debt. Jesus compared this to "the kingdom of heaven."
The servant, however, wasn't like the king. He would not forgive the debt of another servant who owed him a hundred silver coins. The servant who could not pay was thrown into prison. The king heard about this and was not happy. Let's just say it was not a happy ending for the guy who was relieved of the debt of ten thousand bags of gold.
Jesus was telling Peter that you can't forgive like "the law" he was taught growing up. Keeping count like a team against its rival is not going to work. Having a spreadsheet tally isn't going to work either. If he did, the past would always be like a prison holding him captive. You will always remember what happened and the hurt, but forgiveness changes what is coming our way. It also helps in how we look at the past. It doesn't have to be a prison anymore. This is what happens in the kingdom of God.
Let me leave you with these wonderful words of wisdom from Rev. Dr. David Lose. He beautifully connects the parable and what Jesus did on the cross together:
"But please let me be clear: if we want to avoid hearing this parable (Matthew 18:21-35) as saying that we should allow people to treat us badly, we also want to avoid commanding people, let alone threatening them, that they have to forgive. Forgiveness, like love, cannot be commanded or forced. But we can pray for it, for the ability to forgive those – alive or dead – who have hurt us, even if we have distanced ourselves from them for good reason. And we can pray that we forgive ourselves some of our own regrets, mistakes, and hurts, and even the inability to forgive others. And we can pray that we are able to accept the forgiveness of others when it is extended. And above all, we can pray that God keeps bringing us to church week in and week out so that we hear of God’s intention and promise to forgive us and to form and fashion us into a community of love and forgiveness, a community, that is, that sees in Jesus’ cross the token of God’s pledge to forgive all and in Jesus’ resurrection the always present possibility of an open future."
Blessing of the Animals, 10/21, 12-12:30pm| Board of Deacons.
Our second annual Blessing of the Animals will be held on Sunday, October 21st, from 12-12:30 pm in Fellowship Hall. (We'll be done before the Patriots kick-off!)
Please help to spread the word about this outreach event to your friends and neighbors. All faiths, furs and feathers are most welcome!
Print the attached poster and add it to a local bulletin board to help advertise the Blessing. And, if you are a Facebook user, please share the event thru this link.
Volunteers are needed to welcome and provide care and comfort to our human and animal visitors. Please reach out to a Deacon if you would like to lend a helping hand.
Attached File: 59TCCBlessingoftheAnimalsPoster2018.pdf
Pies, Pies, Pies!| Sue Trepaney.
At a recent library discussion on pies, the subject came up, do you prefer the crust or the filling? Most said, ‘the crust’. Many years ago, it was the ‘filling’ that was popular because the crust was made from a slurry of flour and water and baked hard. You won’t have to answer that question at this year’s Pie Social on November 30th. Come and enjoy a delicious homemade pie. Of course, pies are needed for this popular event! More information will be available during Coffee Hour next month.
Please be aware that we are in need of a Co-Chair to help Trish Keddie organize and run this event. Contact Trisha at 978-677-6013 or at email@example.com if you would be willing to help!
More News From Holiday Friends| Sue Trepaney.
Holiday Friends will meet on Thursday mornings during the month of November to get ready for our Fair. We are in need of some donations, such as a good pair of wire cutters, and information about access areas in town where we can cut fresh greens. We are always looking for donations of nearly new artificial greens. A workshop has been scheduled for Monday, October 29th at 7 pm in the Vestry for those who may not be able to help Holiday Friends during the daytime.
Please contact Pat Takach (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can attend this hands-on workshop or if you wish to pre-order wreaths.
In order to access the Sunday School curriculum information, important dates to remember or about particular programs designed for youth, please visit our Crib Sheet page.
Secret Sisters Selection is This Sunday!| Trish Keddie.
We will choose our Secret Sisters during Coffee Hour this coming Sunday!
Secret sisters is a prayer partner program. “Sisters” pray for each other throughout each month. Then, once a month, sisters send their secret sister a note to let them know they are being thought of. You can make cards, buy them, or just send a hand-written note!
If you want to send a small gift, you can do that too! Just place it in the Secret Sister Basket outside the church office. It will be delivered for you! Keep in mind your Secret Sister will be a secret until the end of the year tea in May.
Hurricane Michael & Florence Relief Collection| Mercy Delgado.
On Sunday, October 21st, we will be taking up a special offering during worship for victims of Hurricane Michael and Florence, which will go to UCC Disaster Ministries.
Check out the website for additional opportunities to assist with short and long-term recovery efforts. Spread the word!
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.
Stewardship News| Board of Ministries.
Stewardship Season is almost here! Be on the lookout for more information coming soon!
Christmas Fair News| Trish Keddie.
Volunteers and donations are needed for this year’s Christmas Fair. The Annual Christmas Fair will be held on November 30th (Friday night) and Dec.1st (Saturday). Many people have stepped up but more volunteers are needed.
This is a MAJOR church fundraiser! In addition to volunteers, we will need donations for various fair tables. The Bake Table and Jewelry Table are always looking for donations. Gently used toys and holiday decorations will also be welcomed. In addition, we are looking for supplies for our new Pet Table.
Items can be dropped off in the Vestry before worship service on November 18th and November 25th.
New Lost & Found Items| Mercy Delgado.
We have some new items for Lost & Found! Don't forget to check out the Lost & Found bin, located right outside the church office, underneath the inboxes. We have keys, clothing, glasses, a hat, an umbrella, even a book! We even have beach towels!
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!