TCC Flash - Weekly News
Encouragement| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Times when I need encouragement I am often reminded of Barnabas in the Acts of the Apostles. If you are not familiar with the books of the Bible, Acts is the book that directly follows the gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. It records the first actions of the Early Church and what happened. It's a very interesting book to read.
Barnabas was a gentleman that we read about starting in the 4th Chapter of Acts. His name means "son of encouragement" and that is exactly what we learn about him as we read his story. Barnabas stands up for the Apostle Paul after his conversion to Christianity. Many were scared of Paul because of how he had treated followers of Christ. He stood up for Paul and shared how much he had changed because of Jesus. Barnabas shared in mission trips with Paul.
We need people like Barnabas in our lives. Many churches have developed mentoring ministries from the example of Barnabas and Paul. When I entered ministry, I was assigned mentors for various stages of my education and shaping. Each one of them offered encouragement.
Many of you know and if you don't know, my oldest child receives Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy because of autism. Earlier this year she was assigned a new therapist, a wonderful young man my wife and I admire very much. He had just transferred to our area from another part of Massachusetts and was basically right out of college.
It took a while but our daughter really responded to him. It became more than therapy to us because Ian would become our daughter's first friend. As he was applying therapy he had learned how to relate to her. Good friends do this. Good doctors do this. Good people do this. It is more than a job. It is a calling. They really care and give encouragement.
He would sit on our couch with my daughter and show her how to do new things. They would also sit and laugh and laugh and she would give him many hugs. During his time with her she started using words. Is this not a story of encouragement!
My wife and I have forever been changed because of his encouragement in helping our daughter. Our daughter has made progress because of him. It is simply a story of encouragement. It is bittersweet too. We are grieving but that is okay.
Our season with this wonderful young man ended this week. He is going on a great adventure to learn about organic farming in various states and experience something new outside of the Commonwealth. We are excited for him but he will truly be missed. We don't know if he will ever return to therapy but you know...that is okay. Sometimes when we do something it is only meant for a short time. We have fulfilled that season in life and it is time to do something new.
Barnabas and Paul would part ways down the road as they were called to other places to serve God. They would both go on to glorify God in amazing ways. The time Barnabas had with Paul was over. Seasons come and seasons go, you know. The lasting effects of Barnabas and his encouragement still reverberate today.
The encouragement a young-gifted man gave us will reverberate with us for eternity.
Be encouragement to someone. It changes them, it changes you, it changes the world.
TCC is Hosting a Blood Drive on September 29th!| Mercy Delgado.
American Red Cross needs you! TCC is hosting a series of blood drives to help ease the shortage of blood exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. You can donate in a safe and secure environment and feel good about helping others with this life-saving gift.
Date & Time: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter: Tewksbury to schedule an appointment.
Attached File: 71TCC Blood Drive Sept 29 2020.pdf
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
TCC Food Drive Thank You's| Missions Committee.
We would like to share with you the attached heartfelt thank you notes from Tewksbury Food Pantry and The Wish Project.
Your donations to this event made a positive impact to our community as well as neighboring communities.
It was a pleasure for Missions to share this event with Deacons. It was a very successful event!
Thank You again for your generosity!
Attached File: 37Food Drive Thank You Notes.pdf
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 (email@example.com) and let her know which Sundays you are available to read. You may 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).
CWS School Bag Supplies Are Due!| Mercy Delgado.
The Church World Service (CWS) school bag supplies are due in church by September 27th. If you signed up to fill a bag for this wonderful ministry, Thank You! Your gift is helping children start their school year with the needed resources to succeed and thrive.
If you signed up to sponsor a bag and haven't yet brought in your school supplies, you still have a week to do so! You can call the church office at 978-851-9411 to coordinate the date and time you can drop off the supplies at the church.
The list of school supplies is attached for your review. Please call the church office if you have any questions. Thank you again!
Attached File: 55CWS School Bags 2020.pdf
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.
Coming Together| Sue Trepaney.
Betty Crocker, Rita M., and Linda W., are my ‘go-to’ sources for help in my kitchen. A quick look at my cookbook, or an email to the ladies, often solves a baking problem. This past week, however, I was stymied as I made pie dough, an item that I’ve made for over 30 years, and my pie dough didn’t come together. For years, I’ve made the Betty Crocker’s recipe in the ‘pastry section’ of my cookbook, and when that didn’t work, emailed ‘the two cooks’. Although I thought the flour formula had changed as the company’s name had, they felt I didn’t use enough liquid and suggested that I should probably try another brand—which I did and my dough came out perfectly!
Our church community is a wonderful resource, especially during these difficult days of sheltering-in-place. Our recent church survey indicated that in order for us to return to our church building, a list of items was printed; one of which stated, ‘no coffee hours or food gatherings’. When baking you can often find a list of ‘substitutions for emergencies, such as replacing one cup of honey with sugar and liquid, but you cannot replace the worship and fellowship experience dominated by an unseen and unwelcome virus. This has disrupted our lives and turned our world upside down. We need, in these trying times, to stay safe, and our church is working on that. As the old saying states: Thanks be to God!
Celebrating October Birthdays| Sue Trepaney.
Long before the pandemic of COVID 19, prior to our church’s closing due to the virus, and before many of our Ladies Aid members couldn’t attend church because of illness or other issues, most members of Ladies Aid sat together in the third row from the back in our Sanctuary. Some complained, they couldn’t hear the message; others enjoyed the comfort of our little group sitting together and passing the peace. October was always a special month for this writer because she would put a large arrangement of fall mums on our church altar to celebrate the seven members of Ladies Aid celebrating October birthdays.
Three have gone to their heavenly home. Our poet-in-residence, Natalie, and Eleanor, who lead our little group for many years and whose contributions to our Church Fair’s bake table were always her famous Indian pudding, cheese crackers, and hot pepper jelly, and Meg, whose unknown quilting skills surprised us when creating an oversized colorful poster.
With the opening of our church Sanctuary on October 4th, I’m not sure the third row from the back will be filled with Ladies Aid members celebrating their special days in October. However, in recognition of their faithfulness to our church, let me wish the following women a very Happy Birthday: Alice, who is recovering from surgery, Arlene, who continues to recover from treatments, and Millie, who is currently residing with her daughter in Florida.
Your writer, who turned the magical age of 80 last year, had the help of dedicated TCC members, Rita, Linda, and Donna, in navigating this unique milestone. This year, as I write this article, turning 81 is a ‘piece of cake’.
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 everyone impacted by the wild fires burning out west.
1. Alice G.-healing prayers as she recovers from heart bypass surgery this past week, and comfort and a quick recovery during her rehabilitation period.
2. Donna H.-prayers for comfort and speedy healing as she continues her rehabilitation at home after shoulder surgery on September 8th
3. Baxter & Christina C.- prayers for their families as they clean up after the storms in the Gulf of Mexico. Prayers for continued healing for Baxter's Dad.
4. Tina R.- prayers for her sister-in-law Sarah and her family, who lost her mom Susan to cancer last week.
5. Russ A. and his family-prayers of thanksgiving and blessings as they celebrate three birthdays this week - son Jonathan, daughter-in-law Sharon, and brother Bill's 75th.
6. 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.
7. Sheila P and her family-prayers of gratitude and healing as she began her radiation treatments this week while wearing her mask to stay safe. Renewed prayers for continued healing as she begins to deal with the effects of the radiation.
8. Kelly & Steve R.and their family-prayers for healing and comfort as Kelly recuperates at home from cancer surgery.
9. Lynette and Rich A.- prayers of thanksgiving as she and Rich celebrate their 43rd anniversary this week.
10. Sue and Steve T.- prayers for a friend's son, Jake, who will have brain surgery this week for chiari malformation. Please pray for God to guide the doctor's hands.
11. 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.
12. Carol S.-she's doing well and is grateful and appreciative of all the prayers for healing as she continues to improve from a brief hospitalization for an intestinal blockage.
13. Ashley D.- prayers of comfort, acceptance and peace for her family, as they recently lost her uncle Richard.
14. JoJo and Andy S.- prayers of Thanksgiving for those who have helped their family through some hard times.
15. Pam D.- 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 just had her first baby.
16. 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.
17. Liz C.-prayers for her boyfriend's grandmother, Christine, who passed away this month. Prayers of comfort and peace for her and her family.
18. Marlene C.- 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.
19. Barbara V.-prayers for continued healing from a cancer scare.
20. Ginny D.- her husband is under quarantine at the VA hospital in Bedford. She's not able to see him now.
21. Evelyn F.- convalescing from a rehabilitation stay & celebrating her 94th Birthday.
22. Ed S.- homebound, living at Heatherwood here in town.
23. Al B. living at Heatherwood and alone.
24. Barbara H. and her family-.prayers of comfort and healing.
25. Barbara B.-homebound and convalescing in Methuen.
26. Trish R.-prayers for mental health, peace, and comfort during this time of quarantine.
27. Mary and Dana L.-prayers they all stay healthy as Dana continues to work as a police officer in town.
28. Loretta M.-convalescing at home.
29. Arlene S.- undergoing cancer treatments.
30. Eleanor R.- recovering at home from a recent hospitalization and dealing with respiratory issues.
31. Denise-prayers for the family of her friend Bryan, who passed away suddenly.
32. Melissa-prayers for Papa Don- that his pain will be healed. Prayers for peace in the world.
33. Tammy- prayers for Godson Billy to stay strong.
34. Kymberly- prayers for her mom's new cancer diagnosis.
35. Tracey & Joe O.-prayers of comfort and healing after losing their beloved family pet Jakey.
36. Anabel Ng- prayers of comfort, acceptance, and peace as she deals with the aftermath of the loss of her husband Kenbiang and only daughter Angela a few weeks ago, an11-year old girl diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Attached File: 85September 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!
Summer Office Hours Are Over| Mercy Delgado.
Please note that the church office has resumed regular office hours of Monday-Friday, 9am-2 pm right after Labor Day weekend, as of September 8th, 2020.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the church office continues to be attended to via email and phone until further notice.
"If You Ain't First You're First"| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Talladega Nights is a real funny movie that spoofs NASCAR. The main character, played by comedian Will Ferrell, named Ricky Bobby, looked up to his father that was never really around. He always told Ricky Bobby "If you ain't first you're last." He lived by this motto until he found out he couldn't be first all the time. Although striving for first is a great thing, if not kept in check it might make you a little selfish.
Our blessing is God doesn't work this way. We have plenty of examples from Jesus in the gospels. Jesus, a Jew, never put Jewish faith, understood by those in control and legalistic teachings, before Samaritans, other Gentiles, or even the Romans who occupied His home. Our Savior was an inclusive person who reached out and shared the good news with all. That saves people.
Jesus spoke in many parables and one day He shared one about laborers in a vineyard. We read this in Matthew 20:1-16. A landowner went out to seek people to work in his vineyard. "About nine in the morning" he found a few and they made an agreement for pay. The owner goes again around noon, then 3PM, and then around dusk (or 5PM) to find more laborers. Once the work was done, the owner gave them all equal pay. Those who worked earlier in the day really didn't like it. I can't really blame them.
It was the owner's choice. He said that much. They had an agreement and the owner abided. At the end of the passage Jesus uttered the words "So the last will be first, and the first will be last..." This was totally contrary for His time.
The culture had a strict dichotomy of how they understood God and grace. You could say it was defined in tiers. They would have said that successful people were loved by God more. Many of those in control didn't like hearing this.
But there it is. We have these words from Jesus to help us understand grace. We do not have the authority to define grace. This is up to God. If you ain't first you're first.
If you ever feel last place you are not. God chooses you always. And for those of us in the fold (already followers of Christ) we aren't supposed to withhold grace to those of no faith or new followers. They are to be put first.
We are all in first place to God. Imagine a trophy that sits on your mantle. It has on it "First Place, Love God." You are loved.