TCC Flash - Weekly News
Good Things Are Happening| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." - Philippians 4:8
Sometimes we need a Pauline pep talk. When I say "Pauline" I'm referring to the theology and words of the Apostle Paul. I know many of us interpret Paul's words in different ways. But I hope we never dispute the words of encouragement Paul often shared with the early followers of Christ.
I don't want to sound like one of those self-help gurus with what I share...but some good positive-thinking is an absolute necessity in these strange times. We need to be connected to all the wonderful happenings going on around us. The Church is still church-ing and people still continue to serve. And I'm sure many of you have enjoyed our online presence and watching on TV. You can have your coffee, tea, and/or breakfast without spilling or dropping it on the pews in the Sanctuary.
Many wonderful events are happening in churches around the world. Most churches have adopted to doing "church" in amazing ways. A lot of churches are seeing increased attendance because of being online. Most were not online before. Our online service is seeing any where from 140 to 240 views each week.
So many churches have expanded ministries in so many ways. Zoom bible studies and book discussions are happening as people teleconference and study together. What is great about this technology is you can call in and participate if you are not tech savy. I have plans to offer this to you all very soon after taking some time off next month to study and recharge my batteries.
I talk to friends in ministry and hear about how they have adapted. One of my dear pastor friends has turned his garden into a food source for the community he serves. These are called "Victory Gardens" and they supply fresh and healthy food to local food banks. Many of his flock come and help because it is a safe way to be with others and practice social distancing.
Our church continues to do ministry in amazing ways. None of our supported missions have stopped. Our service is just as pivotal as it was before the pandemic. Prayer shawls are given to people, food ministries are supported...we haven't stopped what we do! Thanks to all of you for following Jesus and making this happen.
We want to hear you stories of service in the community. Some of you don't want others to know and that is okay. However, in not using your name, we would like to share these miracles with others. As Paul said in the Philippians 4:8, we need to think about these things. You may inspire others to step up and serve. We need to celebrate!
I could share other unique and new ways churches are doing ministry in this challenging time. There are so many. So let us share the things we may not know about. No, I'm not saying that we need to avoid the serious nature of our time. What I'm saying is let us share how you and others are responding in faith...a precious gift from God, to share grace and help others.
Elections Session of the 286th Annual Meeting| Church Clerk.
To the Members of Tewksbury Congregational Church, Greetings:
You are hereby notified and called to attend the Elections Session of the 286th Annual Meeting, to be held Sunday, May 31st, 2020 at 11:00 AM via remote means. The direct participation of any 25 active members of the Church shall constitute a quorum to transact the following business (see attached warrant).
Members will be emailed instructions this week regarding how to participate via the remote platform as well as the supporting documents for the warrant articles. Please contact the church office if there are any issues.
Attached File: 96Warrant 2020-0531.doc
Nominations Slate| Church Clerk.
Attached is the preliminary slate of Officers and Committee Members to be elected pursuant to Article II of the warrant for the Elections Session of the 286th Annual Meeting. If you feel called to any position still listed as vacant please contact Bruce Panilaitis. or Mike Wildeman. Floor nominations, including self-nominations, are in order for any position still open at the time of the meeting.
Attached File: 702020 Nominating Slate.pdf
Bylaws Committee Report| Church Clerk.
For the past couple of years, we have suspended our bylaws to experiment with a new committee structure. This suspension was approved for permanent codification in January and the Bylaws Committee was charged with drafting final language for engrossment at the Elections Meeting. Attached is the report of that Committee, which includes a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a separate vote.
Attached File: 77Bylaw Review Committee Report.doc
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.
Youth Lesson - Philip and the Ethiopian
May\'s Curriculum - Unstuck
Let’s have a graduation parade!
Graduating Seniors and the Blanket Liturgy
Celebrating Youth in June
Wrap up the Program Year in Video
General Overview of Christian Education Program
Heifer Still Needs Our Help!| Missions Committee.
Under normal circumstances, our Heifer Campaign would be underway and we would be preparing for our Heifer 5K Walk on 5/9 and our Heifer Sunday giving on the 10th. We are living in far-from-normal circumstances and, of course, these events will not take place this year.
Organizations like Heifer International are suffering greatly due to a significant drop in donations. Some in our congregation who have enjoyed supporting non-profits like Heifer throughout their time at TCC, because of the beautiful work they do to help lift others out of poverty, now find themselves suffering great financial burdens as well. Indeed, we are living under some of the most challenging times most of us will experience in our lifetime. It is during times like this that we are reminded that God is with us, loving us and offering us the strength and the hope that we need to get through these difficulties.
It is with that acknowledgement and sensitivity that your Missions Committee reminds you that a giving opportunity still exists if you are able to support Heifer this year. On-line donations can be made through the website, with an opportunity to choose 'Heifer' in the list. Additionally, checks can be mailed to the church office, with 'Heifer' in the memo, and you can be assured that your donation will be used to support impoverished families world-wide. Our on-line campaign will run through the end of May. Though website donations can continue past that time, we are hoping to submit a check to them at the start of June with the bulk of our 2020 giving, so that they can immediately put these funds to great use.
This may also be a good time to mention that our own Food Pantry has been supported generously throughout this hardship for local friends and families. We submitted an unscheduled donation of $250 when the closing of businesses began, and we submitted our yearly sponsorship of $1500, shortly thereafter, knowing that the needs in the community could not wait for what would have been a June donation. Be assured that TCC is helping our local families while also praying for and supporting the health and sustainance of those well beyond our borders.
Your Missions Committee is so very grateful for your generous support to those in need, locally, nationally and internationally. Be well, my friends.
TCC's Emergency Support Fund is Available!| Mercy Delgado.
Have you been hurt financially by this pandemic? Do you have a loss of work or wages? Are you having difficulty paying bills or buying groceries? TCC can help you!
The Board of Ministries has established an Emergency Support Fund for members of our Church Family who are struggling right now. Help is available! Don't let pride get in the way of you asking for and getting the help you need!
All inquiries and requests are handled with the utmost discretion. Please contact Sue Trudeau, Chair of Deacons, at 978-640-9716 with any requests, questions,or concerns.
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.
Opportunity! Fundraiser Workgroup| Julie Marotte.
In these uncertain times, we have an opportunity to reflect on past events, such as TCC’s Pie Social and Christmas Fair, and bring forth alternative fundraising ideas which continue to bring together our community while raising discretionary funds for TCC programs and operations support.
On behalf of the Board of Ministries, I am forming a small working group in May to brainstorm ideas in a couple of virtual sessions. If you have chaired a fair table, provided past leadership for an event, or can be a spark for generating new ideas, perhaps you will consider joining the work group.
If you’re interested in joining the work group or just want to chat, please contact me email@example.com or at 978-697-1408.
Keep The Prayers Coming!| 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. 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.
2. Barbara V.-prayers for continued healing from a cancer scare
3. Ginny D.- her husband is under quarantine at the VA hospital in Bedford. She's not able to see him now
4. Mary Lou A. and her family- She's undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer. Please pray for good test results
5. Evelyn F.- convalescing from a rehabilitation stay
6. Ed S.- homebound, living at Heatherwood here in town
7. Al B. living at Heatherwood and alone
8. Barbara H.-homebound and convalescing
9. Barbara B.-homebound and convalescing in Methuen
10. Trish R.-prayers for mental health, peace and comfort during this time of quarantine
11. JoJo S.-prayers for her grandchildren and daughter, as they all adjust to this new situation
12. Mary and Dana L.-prayers they all stay healthy as Dana continues to work as a police officer in town
13. Loretta M.-convalescing at home
14. Arlene S.- undergoing cancer treatments
15. Eleanor R.- recovering from a recent hospitalization
16. June J.- June is back at home from the hospital, recovering from a broken ankle
17. Mercy D.-Her family's close friend, Guido, who just passed away on Saturday of advanced Alzheimer's; friends Sue & Burt-Sue is recovering at home from a cancer scare-prayers for continued healing; her friend Joanna, who's brother Donald passed away last week from coronavirus-prayers for comfort and peace for his wife and family
Attached File: 51May 2020 pp.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!
Great News! Our Front Door Project's Completed!| Sue Trepaney.
The TCC Front Door restoration Project is completed! The doors look lovely, with Jack Hall’s Memorial Light shining overhead. Many thanks to Randy Gibbs of Gibbs Construction, who worked with the Trustees to complete a project started by members of Ladies Aid. In addition to having the lead paint removed, refurbishing and repainting, Randy has installed some hardware for the seasonal wreaths. Members of Ladies Aid are very excited to see the results! We're so grateful to Randy Gibbs and his company for their painstaking work, and to the Board of Trustees, who oversee and maintain our church home.
Ladies Aid started their ‘Front Door Fund’ with a small donation of $25.00. It has grown, although slowly, to help fund a mandatory front door crash bar, and to get this project started. We will owe money to the Trustees’ budget, and will continue to raise money for this project until completely funded.
Thank you again, Randy, for making this dream project we members of Ladies Aid hold so dear to our hearts a reality! All who enter our church will be able to enjoy the beautiful newly refurbished doors!
Do You Need Help?| Mercy Delgado.
Are you struggling to buy groceries or run errands? Do you need a hand? Your church family is willing and able to help you! Just reach out to Sue Trudeau, Chair of Deacons, at 978-640-9716 with your request. She will coordinate with a group of TCC volunteers who stand ready to serve you!
Stay Here| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." - Luke 24:49
I don't know about you but I'm a sufferer for instant gratification. There is something comforting to me that most resources in our country are available 24 hours a day. That is why I think the pandemic has been depressing. That has not been the case for several months now.
One of the things I miss since moving to Massachusetts is the convenience of the Waffle House. These greasy-spoon diners never close. If you can't sleep you can venture to one to have a meal cooked fresh in front of you at whatever time of day you choose. They have breakfast, lunch and supper. If you want supper at 4 am you can have supper. If you want a cheeseburger with two scrambled eggs then go for it.
The closest one to us is in Pennsylvania. Gone is the convenience!
Sometimes things just don't go your way and you have to wait. Some people I know got a little pesky when they didn't get their government stimulus money distributed into their bank account as early as some others. They were like the J.G. Wentworth commercial that advertises this saying, "It's my money and I want it now!"
Sometimes you just have to wait.
Also, there could be promises that you have to wait to see happen. How many of you wives have had to wait on your husbands to follow through with a promise? One of the sayings I'm fond of is "fixin' to." What does that mean? It means I'm going to do something very soon a few months from now. You want to talk about aggravating my wife? Then say "fixin' to."
This Sunday we celebrate Ascension Sunday. This is the last Sunday in the Easter Season and we celebrate the day Jesus ascended to heaven to sit at the right-hand of God. If you read Luke 24:55 you'll read about Jesus giving some last minute instructions to the Disciples. Jesus basically sums up His teachings before and after the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The Disciples were charged to spread the good news beginning in Jerusalem. But they had to wait a few more days for the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Yes, they had to wait.
After theses last minute directives from Jesus, He left their presence and was "carried up to heaven." They worshiped at the site near Bethany, returned to Jerusalem to wait, and they took their enthusiasm often to the temple to bless God. And again, they waited.
So here we are in the midst of a pandemic. Our government leaders have put forth a way forward for businesses and places to reopen. That includes local churches. It includes our church.
Your leaders will be meeting very soon to pray and discern a way forward. I promise you we will take every precaution to keep you safe. Once we know our way forward we will let all of you know. The most important part of the plan will not be the reopening itself. It will be to keep all of you safe!
I find it interesting that reopening in our state very much coincides with the celebration of Pentecost. We will celebrate Pentecost on May 31st. Just to remind you, Pentecost is when we celebrate the birth of the Church and the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. There is also another way I look at Pentecost. My thinking is it can also symbolize the rise of something new or a rebirth.
Could we see a rebirth in the Church (and our local church)? We will be intently focused on our call and where God sends us.
This Pentecost we will start and plan for our direction in reopening. Some things will be the same as we journey toward what many are calling the "new normal." There could also be some new things in the horizon. Maybe rebirths or some new things. I'm excited to see what happens!
The Disciples continued to wait, celebrate, and worship between the days of The Ascension and Pentecost. May we do the same as we journey into a future full of possibilities. Instead of focusing on their instant gratifications, let us focus on the abundant life God has already given us.
Happy Ascension Day! Let us celebrate when Jesus passed the torch to the Disciples and eventually the Church. And may we "wait" for the beauty of things in the future. One day soon the "wait" of the pandemic will be lifted.
Who Do You Serve?| Mary Lou Adams.
Do you serve yourself or God? Please consider serving God by volunteering to help out in some way at our church. Think about it, “Do I have 15 minutes to deliver flowers? Could I do some small task for the Deacons and Called to Care by shopping, raking leaves, or delivering a hot meal to a TCC member in need? Could I work in the Church garden? Or, could I team up with several friends and split the responsibilities of chairing the Church Fair? I ask that you consider finding more time in your life for Tewksbury Congregational Church. Then you can answer I SERVE GOD! Blessings!
Mary Lou Adams