TCC Flash - Weekly News
Thanksgiving and New Beginnings| Rev. Baxter Chism.
We have a whole bunch of turkeys in Tewksbury. They stop traffic and go to and from for a bite to eat in our yards. One day I saw one hanging out on the top of my fence. Every once in a while a flock, also called a rafter, hangs out at the church. We should try to start a turkey ministry. It can be funded with turkey food.
Every time I see those butterballs raftering through the yard I think of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an important day in our country because we take a break and celebrate gratefulness. This year is going to be different because of the pandemic. But hey, we will get through this and better days are on the way. Blessings are still happening all around us.
I read yesterday that the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is still going to happen. They are taking so many precautions for the tradition to be a part of our celebration this year. My favorite part of the parade is at the end when Santa shows up. As a child it always officially marked the beginning of the holiday season.
We start the beginning of a new Christian Year this Sunday. The Season of Advent is here and we will light candles on the Advent Wreath as we prepare for the gift of the Christ Child. Traditional bible passages will be shared once more to build toward the Christmas Season. Our traditions will continue. Members of our church will come this Sunday and light the first candle. This tradition has replaced Santa at the end of the parade as the official beginning of the holiday season for me.
The people in Israel had waited many years for the Messiah. Years and years had passed and they hoped and prayed this person would give them a new beginning. Patiently they waited for that day. Prophets of the Old Testament penned words about this person. People heard their message and waited patiently.
There are many debates about the prophecies of the Old Testament in relation to Jesus. Regardless of how a person interprets these passages, together they paint a description of the Lord. Isaiah 11:1-10 mentions things like wisdom, counsel, helping those looked down upon, and other descriptions. I also think of Isaiah 52:7-9, which talks about good news from the mountain tops proclaiming salvation. People, referred to as "watchmen," shout for joy. There are so many passages I could quote.
Beginnings are special. Hope is often attached to them. Every once in a while we need the reset button to be pushed and try something new. Have you been praying for a new beginning of some type? Renewing a relationship? Forgiving someone? Asking for forgiveness? Trying to live out the good news of Christ? Overcoming disappointments?
Maybe this Advent you can pray and look for new beginnings. The Christmas Season always brings about the joy of giving gifts to others. Advent prepares us to give. Christmas is the time we give. A new year is a chance of new beginnings.
Are you prepared? Are you ready?
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you once more. I pray we all make the best of it during these days of challenges. New beginnings are always around the corner. Let us thank God for them.
Place Your Order With Holiday Friends!| Sue Trepaney.
Behind the scenes, our own Pat Takach is making inroads into creating a festive environment for our homes for the holidays. She’s been making telephone calls to encourage previous customers of Holiday Friends to place orders for decorated wreaths ($30.00; bow only $20.00), kissing balls ($30.00) or table-top trees ($35.00). Beautifully decorated cemetery baskets (priced from $15.00 to $25.00) are available filled with greens, berries and colorful balls and ribbons. All must be ordered ahead for delivery Saturday, December 5th with hands-free pickup in our church’s parking lot.
Holiday Friends was founded as an outgrowth of Friendship Circle. It is not limited to members of Friendship Circle as the group welcomes anyone who wants to help create beautiful arrangements sold to help benefit our church’s outreach programs. Holiday Friends receives no money for their efforts—it is an effort for us to create holiday arrangements hoping that our church members will support us by purchasing our arrangements with money that would be spent elsewhere for these items.
The week following Thanksgiving is a push to get our arrangements completed and ready for pickup. Anyone willing to help Holiday Friends in this effort is welcome to join us. Please call Pat Takach for additional information at 978-851-4770 or 978-828-1224.
Christmas Poinsettias| Carol Sturtevant.
It is that time of year again when we look forward to the festivities of the Christmas Holiday. The wreaths, greens and poinsettia plants dress our Sanctuary in the splendor of the season and increase our anticipation for the joyous celebration of the birth of our Savior. Red, white and marble poinsettias are available at a cost of: $11 each. Please place your order as early as possible so that you can have the color of your choice. Please be sure to record for yourself the color you have selected. Sunday, December 6th will be the final ordering date.
Checks are made payable to Carol Sturtevant. An Order form is included as an attachment at the end of this article. Order Forms will also be found at the front entrance to the church on Sundays. Please place orders in the offering plate at the church entrance or mail to the church office: TCC, 10 East Street, Tewksbury, MA 01876: Attn: Carol Sturtevant. Christmas plants will decorate our Sanctuary beginning on Sunday, Dec. 20th through the Christmas Eve service. We ask that plants be taken after the Christmas Eve service or at the Fellowship Hall side entrance on Saturday, Dec. 26th 10-11 am or 2-3pm.
Please specify if you plan to pick up your plant(s) or leave the plant for a homebound person. It is important that you pick up the color you have ordered. If you have any questions or a problem with pick up, please call or email Carol at 978-851-4451, email@example.com to make alternate arrangements.
Attached File: 37Poinsettia Order Form-Nov 2020.pdf
TCC Giving Tree is Up! (Virtually)| JoJo Scharmer.
We have created a new and safer method so we are still able to donate needed gifts to three local agencies: MSPCC Healthy Families, DCF Adolescent Program and the Wish Project. We are also sponsoring TCC Seniors with lovingly filled Christmas Stockings.
For those who have computer capabilities, the list will be on Sign Up Genius. This can be found in FLASH and on the TCC website. Click on the TCC Sign ups and choose The Giving Tree. Check the item (s) you wish to purchase. A page will pop up asking for your name and email address. Then press the submit and sign-up button.
GIFTS NEED TO BE RETURNED BY DECEMBER 6TH.
- Select your gift from Sign Up Genius and check the box
- Purchase your gift – only wrap the gifts for the adults, mothers like to wrap their children’s gifts
- Make sure to add the gift ID number somewhere to the gift bag/box so the gift can be readily identified.
- Return to the clearly labeled bin found in the Narthex
- Check the matching box to show the item has been purchased.
Thank You and God Bless You!
Please Help Out Holiday Friends!!!| Sue Trepaney.
We have scheduled dates to finish various orders for holiday decorations such as wreaths, kissing balls and baskets starting Monday, November 30th at 9:00am. Members of Holiday Friends need your help! If you can cut greens that will help our decorators put the finishing touches on our products—we can use you! You don’t have to be a member of Holiday Friends, and both men and women are invited to join us.
On Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00pm, Heather, a former florist, will guide us in making tabletop Christmas trees. We’ll meet in the Vestry for this and all other days required to complete our projects.
Our calendar is full from Monday to Friday with tasks that need completion. Our hours are from 900am to 12noon with the exception of Tuesday, December 1st, when we’ll meet both in the morning from 9am to 12noon; and in the evening from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Please mark your calendars starting Monday, November 30th, December 1, 2, 3 and 4. If you cannot work the entire week, anytime you can help will be appreciated.
On Saturday, December 5th, we could use volunteers, as people will be picking up their holiday arrangements. This will be from 9am to 1:00pm. We’ll need help to bring arrangements from the Vestry to the volunteers in the parking lot that will be loading cars with completed orders.
Please call Pat Takach at 978-851-4770 or 978-828-1224 if you have any questions or concerns.
Stewardship Update| Stewardship Team.
Please return your Commitment and Time & Talents Cards. you did not receive your packet for some reason, please contact the church office so we can get one to you immediately.
To date, we have received 32 Pledge Cards for 2021 totaling almost $80,000 for our Operating budget.
Thank you to those who have made that commitment!
In order to avoid significant budget cuts in the face of the pandemic, we need to reach our goal of $160,000 in pledges. Please prayerfully consider how you can help us reach this goal in supporting our Church's Ministries.
A New Book Discussion is Coming| Sue Bradley.
I am hosting a book discussion on the book "small great things" by Jodi Picoult. This best selling novel is a "thought-provoking tale on the dangers of prejudice." (Redbook)
We'll read the book at our own leisure and meet on the evening of Thursday, December 17th from 7:00-9:00 pm to discuss the book and any new insights we may have after reading it. Whether we meet in person or over a Zoom meeting will depend on the regulations in place at that time. There are electronic copies of the book available at the Tewksbury Library as well as hard copies. The book can also be purchased at all booksellers.
If you would like to participate in this group please let me know. If there is a big response we can look at having a second discussion group on a second day and time that week for those who can't make an evening discussion.
You can email me directly at Sue.Bradley@tewksburycc.org, call me at 978-729-3044 or call the church office at 978-851-9411.
I'm looking forward to both reading this book and discussing it with you!
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.
Advent Is Coming!| Rev. Baxter Chism.
I'm excited to offer a 3-Week Advent Season Bible Discussion starting next month. It is a study I'm building myself so there is no book to buy! The week before each time we meet I will send participants the study guide. Here are the dates and times for each one hour teleconference discussion:
December 2nd: 7-8PM
December 3rd: 10:30-11:30AM
December 9th: 7-8PM
December 10th: 10:30-11:30AM
December 16th: 7-8PM
December 17th: 10:30-11:30AM
Please reply to this post with the days and times you would like to participate. You can also drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can mix-and-match evening and morning times.
If you cannot participate due to your schedule, you can still receive the study guide and do it on your own time.
Thankful for this Special TCC Couple| Sue Trepaney.
This is the week to be thankful, although our church sign reminds us that ‘Thanksgiving was never meant to be a single day’! There are many people at TCC for which I am appreciative, but I am particularly grateful for Bob and Carol Sturtevant.
Seamlessly and without our knowing, Carol encourages us to provide potatoes to the Tewksbury Food Pantry to help fill Thanksgiving food boxes. Then without knowing, we are encouraged to purchase poinsettias to grace our church altar for Christmas. In the New Year, we will be offered the opportunity to purchase Easter lilies and other flowers to decorate our altar. Then this couple performs their magic, by arranging multiple containers of flowers in a pleasing arrangement. Various low tables are carried from storage to display the flowers. Later, when the season is over, this couple removes and stores the tables for future use. In addition, those flowers that are not spoken for, are often given to our shut-ins and if no one volunteers to bring the flowers to the recipients, Bob and Carol also pick up this responsibility.
What would we do without the behind-the-scenes activities of this devoted couple? Can you picture our church without flowers or the local food pantry not having potatoes, a staple in one’s diet? So without further ado—I want to thank Carol and Bob for all they do to beautify our church and encouraging us to remember those in need during this time of the year.
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
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.
Let us all remember to celebrate God's abundance in our lives! Please pray for a peaceful conclusion to our national election, and for wisdom and discernment for our national and local leaders and first responders as they deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases. Pray for everyone impacted by this pandemic. Please pray for everyone impacted by the wild fires burning out west and the flooding and tropical storms impacting the southeastern part of the United States.
1. Pam D.- prayers for her friend Mark and his family as they recover from COVID. Also, prayers for a friend of her brother-in-law's who is struggling with his recovery from a stroke and has recently contracted the virus as well. Prayers of comfort and peace for her Aunt Laura, who is struggling with some life changing events at this time. Prayers for 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 couldn’t attend the funerals.
2. Pam and Michael M.- prayers of healing and comfort as they deal with a miscarriage and loss of their baby. Prayers of healing for their families.
3. Sherry F.- prayers for her brother, David who was hospitalized with serious injuries following a car accident on Veterans Day. Prayers for full healing for him and comfort and hope for his family.
4. Stephanie M.- Prayers of thanks, healing and comfort for her Dad, who had oral surgery this past week related to his cancer diagnosis. Prayers for Ed as he recovers from a fall. Prayers for those who are suffering from depression due isolation from the pandemic.
5. Melissa A.- prayers for her neighbor Emily and her dog Piper, as she woke up this morning unable to stand and is on the way to the veterinarian. Prayers for her daughter Hailey, that her doctors may find a way to stop her seizures. Please pray for her Papa Donald, that he becomes pain free.
6. Matt K.- prayers of Thanksgiving for the life of Carter McDonald, who died last week. Carter was a beloved teacher at his middle school.
7. Pat & Mac T.- requesting prayers of recovery for, Betty, a Florida neighbor suffering the effects from two strokes.
8. Desma K.- prayers for a friend from work who had a miscarriage.
9. Nancy M.- prayers of gratitude and thankfulness, that her sister Pat is home and continuing her recovery there with the support of family.
10. Bill and Bev K.- prayers of celebration and good health as Bill turned 85 on November 15th.
11. Kim B.- Please pray for her friend as she begins chemotherapy for breast cancer. Please watch over our Nation as we elect our President and Leaders. Keep everyone safe.
12. 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.
13. Sue H.- prayers of healing for their grandaughter, for a quick recovery after having her appendix removed.
14. Marlene G.- Prayers of celebration that her sister Joanne’s cancer surgery went well and prayers for healing as she learns the next steps of treatment. Prayers of thanksgiving as her friend's daughter is found safe. Prayers for staff member Drew Page at the Southern New England Conference office, who is facing cancer surgery.
15. Roberta K.- Prayers of healing and comfort for her sister, Louise, who had knee surgery last week at MGH.
16. Heather and Steve R.- prayers for Heather's mom, who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is showing symptoms.
17. Joanne K.- Prayers on behalf of two friends. Her friend, Mary lost her younger sister, tragically, last week in a bicycle accident. Please offer prayers of comfort and grace to that family. Another friend, Lisa, needs prayers of hope and strength and belief in God to get her through a very hard time. Thank you.
18. Debbie T.- prayers for her sister-in-law's father who turned 79 last month. Each day is a blessing as he continues to deteriorate from Parkinson’s.
19. Alice G.-healing prayers as she recovers from heart bypass surgery, and comfort and a quick recovery during her rehabilitation period.
20. Ginny & Richie D.- prayers of healing for Richie, who is recovering from a fall and is back at the Veteran's Hospital.
21. Linda M.- prayers for her colleague, Bob, who lost his wife suddenly.
22. Lynette A.- prayers for her daughter in law, Lauren, who is dealing with health issues.
23. Sheila P and her family-prayers of gratitude and healing as she finished her radiation treatments while wearing her mask to stay safe. Renewed prayers for continued healing as she begins to deal with the effects of the radiation.
24. Kelly & Steve R.and their family-prayers for healing and comfort as Kelly continues to receive chemotherapy.
25. 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. May God bless them all.
26. Pam D.- prayers of comfort and peace for her Aunt Laura, who is struggling with some life changing events at this time. Prayers for 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 couldn’t attend the funerals.
27. Evelyn F.- prayers of healing and comfort as she's diagnosed with COVID-19 and continues her rehabilitation.
28. Al B.- prayers for comfort as he adapts to living at Heatherwood and alone.
29. Barbara B.-homebound and convalescing in Methuen.
30. Trish R.- prayers of gratitude as she celebrates her birthday. Prayers for both her children as they struggle. Prayers for complete healing from her surgery; prayers for mental health, peace, and comfort during this time of quarantine.
31. Mary and Dana L.-prayers they all stay healthy as Dana continues to work as a police officer in town.
32. Loretta M.-prayers of healing and comfort as she continues convalescing at home.
33. Arlene S.- prayers of healing and comfort as she continues undergoing cancer treatments.
34. Eleanor R.- prayers of healing and comfort as she continues convalescing at home and deals with respiratory issues.
35. Tammy- prayers for Godson Billy to stay strong.
36. Kymberly- prayers for her mom's new cancer diagnosis.
Attached File: 29November 2020 pp.pdf
Join Us for Worship in December!| Board of Deacons.
The sanctuary is open for worship. Due to the state mandated restrictions on the number of people who can attend in-person gatherings and for the purpose of contact tracing in the event it is needed, we will be using Sign Up Genius to allow you to indicate your desire to attend worship in person. You will be able to sign up for the Blue Christmas service as well as Christmas Eve in this sign up.
- 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.
- Ushers will escort you in and assign your seat. Please arrive early enough so we can start on time.
- Social Distancing will be observed with no contact between individuals.
- There will be no Congregational singing.
- There will be no Coffee Hour or food fellowship events at this time.
- Children must stay with their family and not roam the church. There will be no Sunday School or nursery care at this time.
- Parishioners requiring the elevator will be guided by our Ushers to maintain appropriate distancing.
For questions or concerns, please contact Mike Wildeman, deacon at Mike.Wildeman42@gmail.com.
Matthew 18:20 - For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
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!
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.
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 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).
A Giving Heart| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." - 1 John 4:7
Our church is coming to the end of our stewardship campaign. Moments have been shared during our worship service, mailings have gone out, and all of you are in the midst of praying about your commitment. Thank you already for what you give. For you give in love to support the ministries of our church and the Wider Church.
I want to thank Susannah, Matthew, and Russ for leading us in our stewardship moments these past three Sundays. They have reminded us that supporting the ministries of our church are very important. What they have done is an example of being good stewards in our church. I give thanks to Russ again, along with Bruce and Mike, for developing our campaign this year. Thank you!
This Sunday, November 22nd, we celebrate many things. Stewardship Sunday, Realm of God Sunday, and the beginning of Thanksgiving Week. All of these celebrations just came together to be one. Wonder how that happened? Always pay attention to how God puts things together.
There is a great example of stewardship in the Book of Exodus. You can read the story in Exodus 25-40. One day Moses was instructed by God to build a movable tabernacle during a visit to Mount Sinai. The new tabernacle would become a place of worship for the people. It would have a center tent and walls that surrounded it that would form a court. You could say this would be a model for the Temple later built in Jerusalem.
The people were excited to build the tabernacle. So much so that Moses had to turn away people because they had more than enough to build. There was a lot of love in the hearts of the people to have a place to go and worship God. It's a story of excitement and giving hearts.
Where does our heart to give come from? 1 John 4:7-21 talks about God's love. The letter reminded people about God's love exhibited in the Incarnation of Jesus. Over time, as we love one another just as the early Christians did, love is perfected. It becomes easier, I guess you could say. The people knew this because they were of God. But sometimes, apparently, they needed a reminder.
Recently, I received the blessing of teaching our Confirmation Class about the Realm of God. We most commonly know this as the kingdom of God (or Heaven) that Jesus announces in the first three gospels. We talked about the teachings of Jesus in relation to the Realm. God's Realm is nothing like kingdoms in our world. It is a spiritual kingdom that has no boundaries. You can say it is every church in every community serving God. It's a realm where we practice the will of God.
Over the years I have been a part of many stewardship campaigns. There is one theme that I learned from my Methodist days. Love is the foundation of giving. It leads us to giving our time, our presence, our gifts, and our service. To me this encompasses all stewardship campaigns. We are reminded in God's Love to give all that we are.
Wouldn't it be nice if we were excited as the people called to build a tabernacle back in the days of Moses? Giving is more than building tabernacle tents or buildings, however. We continue to build on our presence in our community to share God's good news. This is done out of love for God and the abundance we are given. The Realm of God connects us to all people.
All of you have talents you can use. You may have time to share. Your presence is important in our church. It inspires people when we worship together. Monetary gifts are important so our church can function in today's world. And of course our service in our church and the greater community of the world changes people and helps those having a hard time.
You might be able to do all of these things or just one. One is enough to change the world.
All of you inspire me in your service to God. You are working together to share the beautiful grace we are given freely. May we be excited to build upon God's "tabernacle" with excitement that knows no boundaries. Always remember who you belong to and whom you serve...a God of Love.
Thank you for your giving hearts.
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.