TCC Flash - Weekly News
A Sign of Things to Come| Rev. Baxter Chism.
I don't remember much about Cana when I visited Israel 10 years ago. Cana sits a few miles to the northeast of Nazareth, which is a very short drive. Back when Jesus went to the wedding there, the walking time from Nazareth wouldn't have been bad. They are very close together. If you look Cana up on a map, it will show up as "Kafr Kanna."
Scholars think that Jesus was at the beginning of His ministry when He and His mother attended the wedding in Cana. Throughout our history as Christians, we teach that Jesus turning water into wine is His first miracle and possible first public event. The story we read in John 2:1-11 kind of gives the idea that Mary, His mother, played a prominent roll in the wedding. She asked Jesus to help when the wine had run out.
I've often wondered, was Mary one of the assigned wedding officials or did she just step up to help out with a shortage of supplies? I really need to dig deeper into the wedding customs of the time period. Regardless, she would ask Jesus to help with an impending disaster. To run out of wine at a big party would have been a big social faux pas. Time to save the party!
Some consider the dialogue Jesus has with His mother harsh...others think it's comedic. Mary says to Jesus, "They have no more wine." He replies, "Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come." Mary goes on to say, "Do whatever he tells you." I have always read this as Jesus not only giving us a sign of things to come but also having a little fun with His mother. It was both a divine and human moment wrapped together.
This brief episode reminds me of some of the modern movie comedies that include weddings. There is always some drama, right? Thankfully we are spared the details of the bride and groom. We only hear about Jesus and the miracle. Thank God!
It is believed that the jars full of water held up to 120 to 180 gallons. That sure is a whole lot of water to be turned into wine. And what a great miracle to turn the water into wine. But there is something bigger going on here. It is a sign of things to come.
Another way we can look at this sign is to consider abundance. In John 10:10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." I love how the NIV translation says, "to the full." The sign that Jesus gave by providing a lot of wine was more than the wine, it was a sign of God's abundant grace! God had been saving the best for all Creation to give to us through Christ. The waiter that would serve the wine to the wedding party would say that the wine was the best.
So, it wasn't about the wine. It wasn't about saving the wedding from being a complete disaster. Some would say it wasn't even about the miracle. It was more about Jesus giving a sign about His future death and resurrection and the abundant grace the world would be given. The wine is a symbol of God's grace.
Pay attention to the signs of God's abundant grace around you. They are all around us!
New UCC Events| Association Registrar.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Advent and Christmas Season. There are several events for the first half of 2019, including regular concert series at a couple of our churches and services of installation for settled pastors, as well as workshops sponsored by the Conference. Happy New Year and Epiphany!
ASSOCIATION PRAYER CALENDAR
January 6, 2019 – West Parish Church (Andover): Rev. Katrina Wuensch (www.westparishchurch.org)
January 13, 2019 – Dane Street Congregational Church (Beverly): Rev. Dr. Brian Miller (www.danestchurch.org)
January 20, 2019 – Immanuel Congregational Church (Beverly): Rev. Sarah Frank
January 27, 2019 – Second Congregational Church of Beverly: Rev. Fred Meade (www.beverlysecond.com)
Sunday – January 27, 2019, at 3:00 PM
Service of Installation for Rev. Joe Amico
Tabernacle Congregational Church (Salem)
Clergy and delegates encouraged to attend; all are welcome.
Sunday – February 10, 2019, at 3:00 PM
Service of Installation for Rev. Debra Adams
Trinitarian Congregational Church (N. Andover)
Clergy and delegates encouraged to attend; all are welcome.
LOCAL CHURCH PUBLIC EVENTS
Saturday – January 19, 2019, at 5:00 PM
Spaghetti Supper at 2CC-Beverly
Tickets: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3.50 for children; $1.50 for a slice of pie
Saturday – January 19, 2019, at 7:30 PM
Old Sloop Coffeehouse at FCC-Rockport
Joe Jencks with opener Lisa Bastoni
Info and tickets at https://oldsloopcoffeehouse.org/concert/joe-jencks-2019
Monday – January 21, 2019, at 9:30 AM
MLK Day Community Brunch at FCC-Billerica
Panel discussion with Refugee Immigration Ministry
Keynote Speaker: Shan Cretin of American Friends Service Committee
Tickets: $7, available by calling the church or at the door
Friday – January 25, 2019; 4:00-11:30 PM
Saturday – January 26, 2019; 4:00-9:00 PM
Arts Exhibition at CCU-Dracut
Saturday – January 26, 2019, at 7:00 PM
Silent Movie Night at Nahant Village Church
“Ella Cinders” with live piano accompaniment
Saturday – January 26, 2019, at 8:00 PM
3rd Annual Blues Night at First Church of Christ, Marblehead
Tickets: $20, available at the door
Secret Sisters Reminder| Sue Trepaney.
Secret Sisters: If you are participating in this round of secret sister, don’t forget to keep in touch through prayer or a nice card. Valentine’s Day is February 14th, only a month away!
TCC Pine Ridge Native American Mission Trip 2019| 2019 Mission Trip Leadership.
This summer a group of mostly school aged children from TCC will travel on a mission trip to one of the country’s poorest Native American reservations. While there, they will invest in hard work projects and demonstrate God’s love while also being immersed in Native American culture. They will have many opportunities to learn from the community, to better understand the history, and experience the rich culture.
On Super Bowl Sunday, our mission team will be hosting our own ‘SOUP’er BOWL, a fundraising event to support the trip. During Coffee Hour on February 3, 2019 we will take donations and sell soup in pints and quarts for people to take home. 100% of the collection will be used to support the mission trip.
We are asking all parents and supporters to assist the children by preparing a pot of homemade soup and donating it for the ‘SOUP’er BOWL event. You can make your favorite soup, stew or chili.
If you plan to make soup please let us know what kind so we can advertise our menu.
Sarah San Clemente
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.
January Curriculum Overview
TCC Pine Ridge Native American Mission Trip 2019
Sunday School Teacher Directory
General Overview of Christian Education Program
Information Regarding Snow Cancellations or Delays
Tewksbury Food Pantry Needs You!| Carol Sturtevant.
As most of you know, TCC supports our local Food Pantry in many ways throughout the year. Though all food items are welcome and needed for their clients, I wondered what items tend to be most lacking in their current donations. During the upcoming months please consider one or more of the following items in your donation: Breakfast granola fruit bars, pancake mix, pancake syrup, coffee, tea, laundry detergent & dryer sheets.
All donations are welcome, but please check “sell-by” dates on all food items. TCC has a bin in the church front entrance, bins in the Sunday School side entrance and donation boxes in the classrooms.
Thank you for your generous donations to this worthwhile organization!
UCC Delegates Needed| Association Registrar.
Part of our covenant with the United Church of Christ is participating in the work of the wider church. As such, we are entitled to send a couple of lay delegates to association and conference annual meetings and TCC bylaws call for their election at the Budget Session of our Annual Meeting. Association delegates attend the meeting in May, the fall gathering, and any Ecclesiastical Councils which may be called. Conference delegates attend the tri-conference annual meeting November 1-2 in Worcester.
If you are interested in learning more about either of these roles, please contact Christopher Jenkins at email@example.com.
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.
Mary/Martha Friday Study: The Diagnosis| Board of Deacons.
Sixteen women participated in last Saturday morning's second devotional study of the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. For the next 10 weeks, we will alternate between Saturday morning (8:30-10am) and Friday evening (7-8:30pm). Our next study is THIS FRIDAY, 1/18, and is centered on Chapter 3: "The Diagnosis."
As we've mentioned, this is a LOW PRESSURE devotional study. If you haven't read the chapter or even if you haven't purchased the book, you are ALWAYS WELCOME to participate in the discussion. So that we can set our space up in advance, please RSVP thru this LINK on sign-up genius, but - if you don't have a chance to RSVP - just join us!
We hope to see you on Friday evening for Chapter 3 or next Saturday morning for Chapter 4: "The Cure." Come as you are and feel the warmth of our fellowship!
Warrant for Budget Session of 285th Annual Meeting| Church Clerk.
The warrant for the Budget Session of the 285th Annual Meeting has been posted at church and is attached here in lieu of announcing it during worship this morning. There are also copies of the annual report and bylaw suspension proposals available outside the church office for anyone who wants to stop by after the storm passes. As a Congregational church it is essential that all members participate in our governance and this is the most significant meeting we have each year, so please make every effort to attend.
Attached File: 43Warrant 2019-0127.doc
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Living Out Your Baptism| Rev. Baxter Chism.
A few years before I entered the ministry, I was standing in worship service singing a hymn with about 500 people. There was a young man who was in the pew in front of me who kept turning to those with him saying he wanted to be baptized. At the end of the service, he went to the altar and told the Pastor. She announced it to the church and everyone rejoiced.
The Pastor asked someone to go and get water to put in the Baptismal Font. We then began the liturgy and he was baptized. Many in the congregation made their way to the altar to congratulate the young man on his Baptism. A few weeks would pass and I asked others in the church if had they seen the young man that inspired us that day. No one had seen him. In fact, he never came back.
After all these years I still wonder if he is living out his Baptism wherever he is. Did he even know what his Baptism meant that day? I'll never know. Is he living out his Baptism? I pray that he is.
This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Christ. We also remember and celebrate our Baptisms and teach about the sacrament. We teach in our faith tradition that Baptism is "an outward and visible sign of the grace of God. Through Baptism, a person is joined with the universal church, the body of Christ. In Baptism, God works in us the power of forgiveness, the renewal of the spirit, and the knowledge of the call to be God's people always." You can read more about this on the ucc.org Website.
Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. We can read about this in the Gospels. We read in Luke 3:22 that a "voice came from heaven" and God said, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." What a beautiful affirmation from God to Jesus. Our Baptism is also an affirmation of God's grace for us. It is a precious gift.
In Luke 3, as the people wondered if John the Baptist was the Messiah or not, he told them no and said one greater than he, Jesus, was the Messiah, and His Baptism was going to be different. Instead of a Baptism purely for repentance, He is going to baptize you with the Holy Spirit! There is a big difference between the two.
Repentance is one part of Baptism. We also become part of the body of Christ. Our soul is inspired to live out our Baptism in response to God's grace in various ways, dependent upon our gifts guided by the Spirit. Over the years I have seen many live out their Baptism in so many beautiful ways.
For those of you baptized as infants, you one day became part of Confirmation and were taught about your Baptism and the Christian faith. You made your Profession and celebrated your Baptism. Like those baptized later in life, you live out your Baptism the same way.
We live out our Baptism as Jesus did. After He came out of the water, He began to share the good news. He healed and shared the news with ALL people. We are to follow Him and do the same.
So let us all celebrate our Baptisms this Sunday. We will all have a chance to come to the altar at the end of the service and be marked with water from the font. This will be a symbol of us continuing to live out our Baptism. Remember, our Baptism was more than one day. Our Baptism is every day.