TCC Flash - Weekly News
Imagine That| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"Woman, great is your faith!" - Matthew 15:28a
This past Tuesday I had a wonderful time being with our book discussion group. We were talking about the time Jesus stayed at the home of Mary and Martha in Bethany, a small village near Jerusalem (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was cooking and getting the grub prepared practicing the hospitality of her time. Mary wasn't. She was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Imagine that.
Mary was breaking the rules. Only men were allowed to sit at the feet of a great teacher and be a disciple back in those days. But if we remember Jesus was a rebel and didn't like a lot of the rules (or laws) created to marginalize people. Mary was a disciple too and she had "chosen what is better." The "better" was being with Jesus. Jesus challenged Martha to do the same. Imagine that.
I was inspired this week by the nomination of Senator Kamala Harris of California as a Vice Presidential candidate. This is a historic moment, regardless of our dadgum political party affiliations! As I read Facebook posts of my black and brown female friends I noticed a celebration going on. I can't imagine how they feel today but I wonder if they felt included and loved in our nation? Imagine that.
"Traditional" roles for husband and wife seem odd to me, being part of Generation X. Just the other day I was in the kitchen cooking supper over a hot stove for my family. At the same time, my wife was putting a baby gate together and mounting it to the wall to prevent our 10-month old from crawling up the stairs. I guess back in the "Leave It To Beaver" days, we would be breaking the rules. Truth be told, I don't like doing stuff like putting gates up. I'd rather cook. Sorry, Ward. Imagine that.
One day a very brave Canaanite woman sought the help of Jesus to heal her daughter (Matthew 15:22-28). After an interesting exchanging of words, Jesus let her know that her daughter was healed. Jesus acknowledged her "great faith." This woman boldly stood up for herself in her request. And let's not forget she was a despised Canaanite woman. She and other women were not supposed to do things like she did. Maybe if she was a part of my household she would be installing the baby gate while I cooked her a nice meal. Imagine that.
There are a few streams of Christianity out there that do not allow women to teach men. Men can teach the women, however. I would not fit in there. In my life I have learned more from disciples that were not men. Why? The Holy Spirit does not discriminate like we do in our world. Imagine that.
Let me give props to my New Testament professor, Dr. Mitzi Minor, at Memphis Theological Seminary. I cannot thank her enough for the knowledge she shared. She had to leave the denomination of her youth to join another to be ordained. It's sad really. But she has overcome that mess to teach generations of pastors...mostly men, of course. That takes great faith. Imagine that.
Ladies, I am so thankful for you and your great faith. I'm thankful for the non-male pastors and laity who have bravely broken barriers. Truth be told, churches everywhere would fall apart without you. I really don't want to imagine life without your leadership. Imagine that.
Dr. Karoline Lewis says that "faith is not a fixed collection of beliefs but a state of being. Your faith is great, not because of what you do, but because of who your are."
Mary, Martha, the Canaanite Woman, and the other women of the Bible...thank you for being yourself in a time where you really couldn't be yourself. And thank you to the women of today for being who you are!
Jesus, thank you for helping us imagine a world without so many stinking barriers that hold people back.
Time for me to go and cook lunch for my wife and two girls.
TCC Re-opening?| Board of Ministries.
The safety of our staff and congregation are of the utmost importance and we will offer in-person services when it is safe to do so. A re-opening work group has been created with members from various committees and led by the Board of Ministries to compile a list of safety guidelines and divide responsibilities accordingly in support of a safe return to in-person services.
The group has been meeting on a regular basis and will be polling the church family to get a better sense of the willingness to attend service in person, based on following the safety guidelines that the workgroup is establishing. Stay tuned, stay healthy and wear your mask.
Remembering Dick & Jean Leighton| Sue Trepaney.
It was a few years ago when I worked in the church office when Dick and Jean Leighton would stop by to chat. Jean was the treasurer of Ladies Aid. If you saw Jean, you saw Dick. One day I happened to mention my love of lady slippers. Dick told me he had lots of them in his yard. If I stopped by his house, he would give me a tour.
One Saturday morning I took Dick up on his offer. I was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt; Dick, on the other hand, was dressed in full Boy Scout regalia—long pants tucked into high boots, long-sleeve jacket, and wearing a hat with netting that covered his entire head and neck--in his right hand, he held a walking stick. I looked at Dick and wondered if we were going to the outposts of Tewksbury. We walked into his woodsy backyard and found a profusion of lady slippers. In addition to the flowers, an abundance of mosquitoes landed on me like a tsunami biting all my exposed skin! Quick I told Dick, I must leave this area before I am eaten alive! Dick took our walk in stride. Always a Boy Scout, even in his elder years, he took the Boy Scout motto to heart: Be prepared!
In this day of coronavirus, of sheltering-in-place, and unable to walk into our church’s Sanctuary to meet our worshipping friends, I often turn to my memory bank to remember our former parishioners. Both Dick and Jean have gone to their heavenly home, but for me, I think of them often with love.
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.
1. Russ A. and his family-prayers for peace and comfort as they deal with the passing of Mary Lou this past month.
2. Sheila P and her family-prayers of comfort, healing and discernment as she has a tumor removed from her head and she and her doctors decide on the best course of treatment.
3. Kelly & Steve R.and their family-prayers for healing and comfort as Kelly undergoes surgery for her cancer this week.
4. Carol S.-prayers for healing as she continues to recuperate from a brief hospitalization for an intestinal blockage.
5. Gracie D.-prayers of appreciation for all the support, wonderful meals, lovely cards, gifts and well wishes from our churh family as she continues to heal and recuperate at home after heart surgery.
6. Liz C.-prayers for her boyfriend's grandmother, Christine, who is in hospice care and isn't doing well. Prayers of comfort and peace for her and her family, that she be free from pain at this time and can feel the love of her family surround her.
7. Pam D's 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.
8. Barbara V.-prayers for continued healing from a cancer scare.
9. Ginny D.- her husband is under quarantine at the VA hospital in Bedford. She's not able to see him now.
10. Evelyn F.- convalescing from a rehabilitation stay & celebrating her 94th Birthday.
11. Ed S.- homebound, living at Heatherwood here in town.
12. Al B. living at Heatherwood and alone.
13. Barbara H.-homebound and convalescing.
14. Barbara B.-homebound and convalescing in Methuen.
15. Trish R.-prayers for mental health, peace and comfort during this time of quarantine.
16. JoJo S.-prayers of comfort to family of Dr. Brian Lyons, who died suddenly. Continued prayers for Trish and her family.
17. Mary and Dana L.-prayers they all stay healthy as Dana continues to work as a police officer in town.
18. Loretta M.-convalescing at home.
19. Arlene S.- undergoing cancer treatments.
20. Eleanor R.- recovering from a recent hospitalization.
21. June J.- June is back at home from the hospital, recovering from a broken ankle.
22. Denise-prayers for family of her friend Bryan, who passed away suddenly.
23. Melissa-prayers for Papa Don- that his pain will be healed. Prayers for peace in the world.
24. Tammy- prayers for Godson Billy to stay strong.
25. Kymberly- prayers for her mom's new cancer diagnosis.
26. Sue & Steve T. & their family-prayers for comfort as they adjust to life without Isabella, who was adopted last mpnth.
27. Tracey & Joe O.-prayers of comfort and healing after losing their beloved family pet Jakey.
28. 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 on Monday, a little 11-year old girl diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Attached File: 38August 2020 pp.pdf
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!
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!
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.
Summer Office Hours| Mercy Delgado.
Please note that the church office began its Summer Hours schedule on Monday, June 8th, 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the church office will be closed on Mondays and Fridays and will be attended via email and phone every Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00 am-2:00 pm during the months of June, July and August.
The church office will resume its schedule of Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-2:00 pm right after Labor Day weekend.
Have a wonderful Summer!
Do You Trust Me?| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Do you trust me, [insert a name]?
This is a question you have heard before in your life. Many have probably asked you this question. And this is a question you have presented to people you know. It feels good when people trust you.
Marriages built on a high level of trust just work better. In your work environment, trust is a key component when working on a team or a manager believing in you. At church, if the congregation trusts the leadership, great things can happen. For us Christians great trust in God is a key component of our faith journey.
Sometimes trust is crushed. Maybe this is created when expectations for another person don't match reality. Partners in marriage can lose trust due to many things. And when the bad times happen our trust in God can be challenged.
There's this story in Matthew 14:22-33 of Jesus walking on water. Jesus and the disciples had just crossed a lake (most likely the Sea of Galilee) so Jesus could go rest from the crowds. He had retreated to a mountain and the disciples stayed in the boat. Waves began to batter the boat and it was far from shore. As they battled the wind in the choppy water they saw Jesus walking toward them. They thought he was a ghost and Jesus says to them, "Take heart, it is I;" do not be afraid."
Peter responds to Jesus and says if commanded he too would walk on water. He did but got scared and began to sink. Peter cries to be saved and Jesus reaches into the water and pulls him out. He says to Peter, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
In the midst of the miracle there is the story of trust. Peter did as the Lord commanded only to have fear. He did trust even though his walking didn't last long. There was no failure because he tried. The disciples would begin to understand that Jesus was the Son of God. This was a big turning point in their relationship with the Messiah. They began to trust Jesus more and more.
I hope as you have followed Jesus you have grown in your trust of God. Yeah, sometimes we sink on our journey but it is a part of life. Peter would sink a few more times walking with Jesus. Simply keep reading in all the gospels and you will be reminded of his sinking. But he kept walking on the "living water" that Jesus gives all people. Trust doesn't mean we don't have doubts. We just know we are on a journey of faith.
A fellow pastor was sharing with me a story of one of his church members. The church member was a major contributor to church leadership. If the pastor and other leaders needed something they could always seek his help. He was a pillar of their mission.
That's why the pastor was enamoured to hear the life story of his fellow servant. Life was always rosey for this guy. He lost a job due to dishonesty he committed. A wife he adored almost left him because of blunders he continually made. His life was once in shambles. No one trusted him.
He was able to overcome this with counsel and therapy and put his life back together. As for others trusting him he shared this was a day to day process. He learned that trusting God in the journey was pivotal to rebuilding trust and his healing. As he said to the group with whom he was sharing his story, "I'm not sinking anymore."
He asked my friend and pastor after sharing, "Do you still trust me?" The response? "I trust you more than ever. God has done great things through you!" Relieved, the man rejoiced that he was trusted. It feels great to be trusted after failure.
If you feel like you're sinking call out to God. Keep on keeping on and keep on walking! God is sink-proof. Walk on that living water!