TCC Flash - Weekly News
Fishing for Authentic Community| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him." - Matthew 4:22
Where did Simon Peter and Andrew go that day they left the boat and their Dad? Let's talk about that.
Last week I preached from John and shared the story where Jesus called the first Disciples. This coming Sunday I will preach the same story but from Matthew. Both are very similar and different in some ways. The commonality is Jesus called and they followed.
How many of you like to fish? It is one of my favorite things to do that I never do. Let's just say raising two young children with my wife is my time priority. One day when they are older I look forward to finding a body of water with fish and casting the rod.
Although I don't have a lot of time to fish for the ones that live in the water I do have time to fish for people. But I often wonder why I fish and what people are fishing for. Do I know the people with whom I'm called to share the good news of Christ? Or do I just take chances and hope I get it right?
Jesus knew exactly who He was fishing for as He spread the good news. Every person ever created.
There were so many people shut out from community. They were called sinners. But were sinners of Jesus' time the same as what many think of sinners today? Yes and no.
To me, a "sinner" is someone judged outside of the accepted norms of the current culture. Back in Jesus' day, the righteous grouped sinners in their ways and we have our definition of sinners today. I'll let you debate what is normal or not. However, we should never debate that God loves all people.
Let me focus on one thing that Jesus taught the Disciples and us today. When Jesus called the first Disciples He would teach them about authentic community. This is supposed to be the Church (all of us in Christendom). And it is supposed to be the local church where the "fishing" is done.
Jesus taught Peter after he left his boat and Dad along with the other Disciples about service. I love what John 15:12-13 says. He told them, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friend." This is the definition of agape. The Greco-Christian definition of agape is this is the highest love. This is the love that God has for humanity.
There is this cool story about Peter in the Book of Acts and Chapter 10. To preface the story, Peter was a picky eater. He was still not eating certain foods because they were considered unclean in Jewish practice. So Peter is given a vision shown animals that he wouldn't eat and God tells him He created them and they are not unclean.
So I'm guessing if you are a vegetarian you might be appalled by this story. But let me say that it really isn't about the food. Peter was avoiding sharing the gospel because he avoided fellowship with Gentiles at their table. He didn't want to go into their unclean homes. After the vision his tune changed. He accepted the invitation of a centurion named Cornelius for fellowship and Cornelius accepted the good news of God and accepted Christ.
There is another pivotal meaning to this story. God removes barriers. Barriers keep people out of communities. The barriers removed by Christ help us build authentic community. Peter's barrier was not Cornelius' barrier. Instead of building walls, God mashes them into oblivion. To me, Cornelius was fishing to be affirmed in authentic community. Peter had to learn what that meant too.
Sometimes I'm perplexed in how we interpret the Epistles written by Paul. In his letter to the Galatian church, he says in Galatians 3:28 that "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ." And yet we have all these denominations, non-denominations, and non-non-denominations. One reason is because of how Paul's writings have been interpreted. Guess we should read the Galatians' verse above, right?
Peter was one of the first called by Christ, to walk with Christ, to talk with Christ, and was to first to say Christ was the Messiah, was forgiven by Christ after fleeing during the Crucifixion, but he still needed to learn about barriers. Does that sound kind of like the Church today? How can we build authentic community with so many barriers?
So where did Simon Peter and Andrew go that day? They learned how to fish without barriers. We especially know this about Peter. They learned how to be present with every person they encountered.
Let us outreach and be present with others. The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 is a good example for us all. He was a short man and looked over by many. But Zacchaeus invited Jesus to his home as He traveled to Jericho that day. Jesus sat with him, shared a meal, and was simply present. Being present is powerful.
Yeah, I've stepped on my own toes with this one. I need to be more present. And now my feet are hurting. Let me stop writing and go take two Ibuprofen. I also need to get my fishing rod ready. It seems I have been "hooked" by Jesus again.
Budget Session of 286th Annual Meeting| Church Clerk.
Please plan to stay after worship for the Budget Session of the 286th Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 26, 2020. The final warrant is attached. Annual Reports are available outside the church office.
Attached File: 98Warrant 2020-0126.pdf
What’s a Progressive Supper?| Sue Trepaney.
…It's a FUN time, and a Progressive Supper is being sponsored by the members of Friendship Circle on Saturday, March 14th at 6:00 pm. Here’s how it works: Three host families have been selected. Ticket holders will travel from house to house, enjoying a variety of foods starting with appetizers. Tickets are $10 each and proceeds will help purchase a couch for our Pastor’s church office.
A limited number of 40 tickets will be for sale during Coffee Hour, starting Sunday, January 26th, and will be on sale until ‘we sell out’—and members of Friendship Circle hope that will be F-A-S-T. We are sorry we cannot offer babysitting services to this wonderful event. Come and join the fun—enjoy a wonderful selection of foods, and lots of fellowship, something TCC is known for!
Altar Flowers, Greeters, and More...| Mercy Delgado.
As we welcome in the New Year, it would be WONDERFUL if we all might share the responsibility of managing the volunteer duties that help to make our Sunday worship more warm and welcoming.
How about greeting at the front door for 20 minutes before worship?
Would you be willing to make coffee (supplies provided) for fellowship?
Do you have an occasion (celebration/memorial/other) to provide altar flowers?
Please call the office 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!
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 - John and Jesus
Sunday School Lesson - John and Jesus
TCC Pool Party (1/26; 3:10-4:10)
Youth Group Dates to Remember
Information Regarding Snow Cancellations or Delays
General Overview of Christian Education Program
Sign up for the Jack Hall Memorial Golf Outing| Bruce & Russ.
It is that time again to start planning for this summer’s annual Jack Hall Memorial Golf Outing at Lake Morey in Vermont. We will play on the weekend of July 24 – 26th and the schedule for the weekend will be:
Friday, July 24th: Morning rounds beginning at 9:06 am (all players); Afternoon rounds beginning at 2:48 pm
Saturday, July 25th: Morning rounds starting at 8:30 am (all players); Afternoon rounds beginning at 2:21 pm
Sunday, July 26th: Morning rounds starting at 9:15 am (all players); Prizes and awarding of the trophy at lunch
For those who haven’t gone before, or who have forgotten how this works, the competition for the Friday and Saturday morning rounds is team-based, while the afternoon rounds are individual. The entire weekend is an individual contest as well, which is based on net score taking into consideration the handicap of the player which ranges in the group from the single digits to the 40’s! That being said, this is a relaxed competition that is about having a good time with a great group of guys. Contact Bruce Panilaitis or Russ Adams ASAP if you are interested.
New Social Media Policy Enacted| Board of Ministries.
The Board of Ministries has approved a new Social Media Policy authored and submitted by the Outreach Committee. The policy largely governs our members and friends use of Facebook and other social media platforms. The new policy is posted on our Virtual Office.
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.
Volunteers needed to work on our church website| Board of Ministries.
The Board of Ministries has voted to form a workgroup to review our website and all associated functionalities to explore improvements, modifications, etc. The website is often the first impression potential visitors have of our church, and we want to make sure that it is a welcoming and informative experience. Please contact Bruce Panilaitis ASAP if you are interested in working on this project.
Wrap the World in Love!| Joanne Kenney.
Church World Service, a leading organization in disaster relief, is so appreciative of the donations from congregations throughout the country, who participate in a Blanket Sunday collection each year. At TCC, February is the time to appreciate a warm blanket and our event happens on Sunday, February 9th. For those who will not be in attendance on the 9th, our blanket envelopes will remain in the pews for the following Sunday as well, if you to participate.
Ten dollars will supply a needy blanket and can be used for warmth, as a shelter, or as a means to carry belongings – all important functions in a time of a natural disaster and/or other emergency. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, let’s blanket the people with love!!
Thank you in advance for your always generous donations to assist our most vulnerable neighbors in our own country and around the world.
TCC Bylaw Amendments Proposed| Board of Ministries.
This Sunday we will consider the permanent codification of recent changes to our bylaws. They are detailed in the attached document.
Attached File: 86BylawChanges.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!
WANTED: UCC Delegates for 2020| Christopher Jenkins.
TCC is allowed 3 delegates each to the Northeast Association and the new Southern New England Conference, who may or may not be the same people. Association delegates should be available for an annual meeting on May 2nd somewhere within Essex County or Greater Lowell and may be called to Ecclesiastical Council as needed, one of which is already scheduled for February 9th. Conference delegates should be available for an annual meeting on June 20th in Rhode Island. All delegates are encouraged to attend ordinations and installations within the association.
There are generally no costs associated with association events aside from free will offerings. There are costs for the conference annual meeting, which could be subsidized from a leadership fund. Please let me know if you are interested or would like more information. Per TCC bylaws these positions are elected at our Budget Session on January 26th.
It's About Time| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon." - John 1:37-39
It was "four o'clock in the afternoon" when the lives of the first Disciples called to "come and see" began to change. They had heard John the Baptist testifying about Jesus, according to what we read in the Book of John, and they were interested. That day they began to follow Jesus.
For some reason, the scene from the movie Forrest Gump pops into my head when Forrest just started running and running. He was heartbroken over his love, Jenny, leaving him once more. So he began running. Others started running with him because they saw him running coast to coast. Forrest was running in grief. Those following Forrest were looking for meaning in life. Or were they running from something? Maybe it was both.
Forrest decides, out in the middle of nowhere, it was time to turn around and go home. He had been running for "three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours." He remembered what his Momma said about putting the past behind you before you can move on. So he finally stops running and speaks to his followers and says, "I'm pretty tired. I'm going to go home now."
Forrest knew exactly how long he had been running. And just maybe, at "four o'clock in the afternoon", the first Disciples called knew that it was time for their life to change. Maybe they had a hunch that their new purpose in life was beginning. Jesus was going to show them "The Way" as the Gospel of Luke often points out.
I'm sure those of you who are reading have experienced those "it's about time" moments in life. Maybe you were sitting around just living life and you felt that a prayer had been answered. Sometimes that moment comes when you hear something prophetic about your life from a friend or even a preacher. Or maybe it was a spur of the moment type of experience where you just knew.
I hope you often think about your faith journey and those "it's about time" moments. Jesus invited the first Disciples called to "come and see." In simplistic terms, they had to follow Him so they could see. They would see the true meaning of the Messiah's mission. Their minds would hear His words and their eyes would see Jesus in action. And at the same time, they would all experience spiritual growth, releasing them from the bonds of the world and culture they knew.
Many of you have shared with me mission trips you have been on that changed your life. I too have been changed by the mission trips I have been on. Mission trips have helped me to understand more about poverty, conflicts between ethnic groups, needs in communities, and that I need to keep on following so God can show me more. And I think we all learn that we can make a difference.
In your following of Jesus, I pray you continue to have those "it's about time" moments. I'm pretty sure they are also the moments that we "see" what God is doing in our lives. We also see the people God has called us to serve. And in that, we live out the purpose of the Church.
UCC Happenings for 2020| Christopher Jenkins.
On Wednesday, January 1st, 2020, the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ officially came into existence. Some of the technical elements are still being transitioned. Things slow down a bit after Christmas, but there are still a few new events.
Happy New Year!
Sunday – February 9, 2020, at 3:00 PM
Ecclesiastical Council for Amy Davin
Tabernacle Congregational Church
Clergy and Delegates encouraged to attend – quorum required!
LOCAL CHURCH PUBLIC EVENTS
Saturday – January 25, 2020, at 7:30 PM
Big Band Swing Dance at Dane Street Church (Beverly)
Suggested donation: $10, to benefit the youth program
Saturday – February 8, 2020, at 8:00 AM
Pancake Breakfast at FCC-Rowley
Tickets: $8 for adults, $6 for children and seniors
Saturday – February 8, 2020, at 4:00 PM
Valentine Concert at West Parish Church (Andover)
Info and Tickets at http://www.mistralmusic.org/order-tickets/
Saturday – February 8, 2020, at 7:00 PM
Silent Movie Night at Nahant Village Church
“The General” – Tickets: $20
Tuesday – February 11, 2020, at 7:00 PM
Local history presentation at CCU-Dracut
Friday – February 21, 2020, at 7:00 PM
Magpie Puppets Show at CCU-Dracut
Saturday – February 22, 2020; 4:00-6:30 PM
140th Annual George Washington’s Birthday Dinner
First Church Congregational of Methuen
Tickets: $20 for adults and teens; $8 for ages 6-12
Ticket includes a tour of the Sanctuary.
Friday – February 28, 2020, at 7:30 PM
Old Sloop Coffeehouse at FCC-Rockport
RUNA - https://oldsloopcoffeehouse.org/concert/runa-2020