TCC Flash - Weekly News
New Year, New Thinking| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
Amy Butler, pastor of the Riverside Church in NYC, recently reminded her congregational leaders:
"Make it our priority to perpetually reframe the narrative from scarcity to abundance…. When congregations speak in narratives of decline and death, desperation and fear, we are crippling our ability to think in new ways and take action toward the next expression of our lives together."
It’s never easy for churches to imagine a future that is beyond their own experience. More often than not we imagine a slightly idealized version of the past. Too often we look at things that other churches have successfully done and think we can replicate it or try something we did before hoping that with a little extra energy it will work this time.
Bill Owen, a consultant with the Center for Healthy Churches, says one way to move from an attitude of scarcity to one of abundance is by using what educators and business leaders call “design thinking.” It’s a creative, imaginative, innovative, solution-based approach that begins with the end in mind.
Design-thinking churches, when facing the unique challenges of today, he says, don’t begin with where they are, what they want to do, what others are doing, or even what issues they need to deal with. Instead, they start by asking what kind of outcomes they want, what kind of impact do they want to have, whom they want to have it on, and with whom they might collaborate to meet that goal.
Thinking of the end result first helps churches move from a scarcity to an abundance mindset. Is the default mode at TCC one of abundance or scarcity? “Abundance thinkers” are people who:
Believe there is always more where that came from, rather than less.
Are happy to share their love and compassion.
Ask themselves, “How can I give more than is expected?”
Operate from a culture of trust and build rapport with others easily.
Embrace an ecumenical approach to kingdom issues.
Welcome collaboration, believing “we” can do it far more than “I” ever could, believing the pie is big.
Are optimistic about the future, believing the best is yet to come.
Think big, dream God-sized dreams, embracing risk.
Are thankful and confident.
“Scarcity thinkers” are those who:
Believe there will never be enough.
Ask themselves, “How can I get by with less than is expected?”
Default to suspicion and find it difficult to build relationships.
Isolate themselves with a kind of “us versus them” mentality.
Resist collaboration believing it makes the pie smaller and them weaker.
Are pessimistic about the future, believing that tough times are ahead.
Think small, avoiding risk.
Are entitled and fearful.
Few churches are either completely abundance thinkers or scarcity thinkers. They are likely some of both or go back and forth depending on their circumstances. But who among us doesn’t want their church to be upbeat, forward-looking, and expecting abundance?
During the season of Epiphany, Jesus starts his ministry by announcing, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is here.” We tend to think that this call to repent means “shape up,” “get your house in order,” “walk the straight and narrow.” That kind of thinking can reduce Jesus’ message to a kind of scarcity thinking. Hunker down. Be careful what you do. Don’t take risks because you might mess up. But what if we saw Jesus’ call to repentance to change from a mindset of scarcity to more of an invitation to abundant life, a new design for thinking?
Click HERE to Sign-up!| 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!
2018 Stewardship Campaign Update| Stewardship Committee.
Thank you to everyone who received and returned a pledge card for the 2018 Stewardship Campaign.
Your continued generosity and support enables our church to keep the lights on (literally), support local and global missions, and minister to our church family as well as the Tewksbury community in countless ways.
157 pledge cards were mailed out. As of 1/14 78 pledge cards have been returned for a total of $139,321 in pledges for the general fund.
The Stewardship Committee anticipates an additional 4 pledge cards to be submitted with an expected pledge sum of approximately $3,000.00. The additional anticipated pledge donations will total the same pledge donations as last year.
Also a reminder from the Pastoral Search Committee, to support the initiative to increase a new pastor’s salary we need to increase our budget.
If you are a procrastinator, or the Holiday rush has delayed you – there’s still time. Please submit your pledge card as soon as possible. The pledge cards are a critical piece to the budgeting process which needs to be finalized in January. The first all Committee budget meeting was Tues. the 9th. If we have not received enough pledges to support our budget, we will need to start cutting our budget.
Pledges and or questions can also be submitted to Mike Wildeman via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please prayerfully consider your pledge.
Attached File: 71Stewardship Update-Jan 18 2018.pdf
WANTED: Delegates to the United Church of Christ| Christopher Jenkins.
TCC is entitled to 3 Northeast Association delegates and 2 Mass. Conference delegates, which we elect annually at our January meeting. Association delegates gather for the Annual Meeting in May, a Fall Gathering, and any Ecclesiastical Councils which may arise. Conference delegates gather for the Annual Meeting in June.
Sending delegates to meet for worship, fellowship, and business with those from our sister churches is a key component of our covenantal relationships within the United Church of Christ. Please contact Christopher Jenkins at email@example.com if you are interested or want to learn more.
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.
Sunday School Lesson: Jesus Walks on Water
RE is Looking for Help Redesigning the Educational
TCC\'s Pool Party
Enjoy a Cup of Coffee!
Youth and Cell Phones
Information Regarding Snow Cancellations or Delays
General Overview of Religious Education Program
Sunday School Teacher Directory
Annual Budget Meeting| Christopher Jenkins.
"To the Members of Tewksbury Congregational Church, greetings:
You are hereby notified and called to attend the Budget Session of the 284th Annual Meeting to be held Sunday, January 28, 2018, at 11:00 AM in Fellowship Hall.
In addition to budget-related items, there will be routine business and a proposed bylaw suspension relative to the governance of the church. A full warrant will be posted and distributed by January 21st in accordance with the bylaws.
Christopher Jenkins, Clerk
Attached File: 52Annual Budget Meeting Warrant-Jan 28 2018.pdf
Bible Study Opportunities| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
Rev. Bendroth would like to offer two Bible Study opportunities if there is enough interest. The first is An Overview of the Old Testament using the Mass. Bible Society curriculum. Rev. Norm led the Explore the Bible overview last fall and about a dozen people really benefited from it. If you would like to participate, please let him or the office know.
He would also like to offer a mid-week study called The Bible’s Greatest Hits on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons a 1 pm. This would be a study of the most familiar stories and teachings in the Old and New Testament which would provide a good overview for someone unfamiliar with the Bible or deepen the understanding of a more seasoned Bible reader. Again, let him or the office know of your interest.
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.
Shopping Time!| Joanne Kenney.
Parents, please be prepared to have your children visit the Missionaries in Training store on Sunday, January 21st. They can shop from 9:00 to 9:30 and then again immediately following worship. This program continues to teach the children the value of what they have earned and the good works that can be done with it. The attached document shows what items will be for sale this Sunday. Please also remember that if you have a favorite charity that you would like to see represented at the next MIT store, send an email along to myself or any of the members of the missions committee and you may see it represented during our next big sale!
Attached File: 77For Sale January 2018.pdf
Newcomers Class Being Offered| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
Have you been a regular attender and participant at the Tewksbury Congregational Church? Are you curious about joining the church or understanding more about our faith, beliefs, expectations and benefits of membership? Then this is the class for you.
Classes will be offered 1/21, 2/4, 2/11, and 2/18 from 11-12 noon in the Parlor. The format will be a community building exercise, a Bible study and group reflection, and then seeing how what we learned applies to our life together in the church.
Our Original Sin| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
During World War II—when the United States issued a military decree to intern tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans on the U.S. West Coast—Gordon Hirabayashi, a principled American-born citizen of Japanese descent took a courageous stand. When confronted with an order to comply with a law that conflicted so clearly with his Christian principles and understanding of the Constitution, he decided that he must resist. First, he refused to follow a curfew required only of Japanese-Americans and continued moving about freely as a law-abiding citizen. When it came time to register for "relocation" to an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, he instead turned himself into the FBI, submitting a letter that stated:
“If I were to register and cooperate under these circumstances, I would be giving helpless consent to the denial of practically all of the things which give me incentive to live. I must maintain my Christian principles. I consider it my duty to maintain the democratic standards for which this nation lives. Therefore, I must refuse this order of evacuation.”
Gordon’s deep convictions came from his upbringing as a Christian. He became a Quaker during his university years, which made him an outspoken advocate against racism and injustice during one of the most shameful times in U.S. history. He spent over two years in prison for violating exclusion and curfew orders on Japanese-Americans—but he also appealed his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court who ruled unanimously against him.
He eventually earned his Ph.D. in Sociology and taught in numerous universities. He was vindicated in 1987 when a professor of political science uncovered documents that clearly showed evidence that the government knew there was no military reason for his imprisonment, but withheld that information from the United States Supreme Court.
I share this story because this is one of numerous examples that racism is the “original sin” of America. From the destruction of Native Americans through violence and the spread of disease, to slavery, to the persecution of Chinese immigrants who arrived in the mid-19th century, to the prejudice against the Irish, Italians, and people of eastern European descent, to Jim Crow, and today with the rise of white nationalism and hate crimes against Jews and Muslims, racism seems to be part of our DNA.
Prophets like Martin Luther King, Jr. appealed to our better angels by lifting up the principles contained in our Constitution, our noble ideals and values, and the Bible. To our credit, we have often acknowledged our racism and other national sins, repented, and passed legislation and created public policy to protect minorities. As we’ve seen in recent years, we are not alone. Many other nations have seen a hateful response to the arrival of refugees and new immigrants and the rise of nationalist, skinhead, and neo-Nazi movements. The struggle is never done.
In the face of these atrocities and more, many of the great social movements of the past two centuries have sprung from the conviction that God is a God of the universe, not a tribal deity, but one who demands justice and has compassion for all.
Those convictions fueled the abolition movement in England and the United States, as it fueled the civil rights movement here; Gandhi drew his vision for the non-violent struggle against British rule in India from the teachings of Jesus, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Missionaries in the Belgium Congo blew the whistle on the oppression and exploitation going on in that nation. The struggle against apartheid in South Africa was led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela; the resistance to communism & the right for labor unions to organize in Poland under the leadership of Lech Valenza; and Václav Havel in Czechoslovakia informed deeply by their Catholic faith, and ultimately the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Christians today are to once again pick up the mantle of justice and struggle against the “powers and principalities” that systemically dehumanize people who are poor, disenfranchised, and unable to defend themselves.
This week we want to pause—to celebrate in word and music the legacy of Dr. King. Moreover, especially after the day of commemorating his birthday, I hope that each one of us will take some time to implement the vision of justice, peace, and reconciliation of the Gospel in the world where you live, work, worship, go to school, play, and volunteer.
Grace, mercy, and peace,
Meal Donations| JoJo Scharmer.
We are continuing Meal donations for Al Bland. The helper logon is used by family and friends that would like to sign-up to help a loved one.
To access Al Bland's CareCalendar site, visit https://www.carecalendar.org/logon/264744 and enter the following information in the appropriate spaces:
Calendar ID: 264744
Security code: 3449
Meal Plan Monday - 1/29| Beth McFadyen.
Is meal planning causing stress in your life? Do you have finicky kids, or do you come home from work unprepared to make a tasty meal? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, please join members of your church family for Meal Plan Monday on Monday, January 29th from 7-9:30pm in the TCC Kitchen.
Due to space constraints, class size will be limited to 10 participants. The cost of $20/person covers ingredients and storage containers for each participant to take home elements to create 3 meals to be used that week, including a pork tenderloin dinner.
Thank you to Kristen Monahan for leading our group. To add your name to the roster, please visit the sign-up thru this link. Let's get cooking... TOGETHER!