TCC Flash - Weekly News
Sizing Up the Situation| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve." - Mark 11:11
We know on the original Palm Sunday that it was late in the day after the parade. After entering Jerusalem to cheers, Jesus departs with the twelve disciples and returns to Bethany. It would have been a short journey for them. Before Jesus left we know He "looked around at everything."
Growing up I heard people say often "sizing up the situation." Although my pants have been sizing up, it has nothing to do with that unfortunate development. It is about a person carefully looking at a situation and carefully making the decision and what actions are necessary. To me it was Jesus considering every action He would take that week.
Almost 20 years ago I had two Boston Terriers. One of them was exhibiting bad behavior and was picking on the other, it appeared. I wanted it to end so I invited a dog whisperer (don't laugh) to come to help with the situation. After 10 minutes of sizing up the situation, the whisperer told me it was the other one causing the problem. Apparently I was missing some of the behaviors that prompted the other to act out. The incident whispered new ways of handling the situation.
(You may not think my dog whisperer story fits this Flash article. I just had to tell, however. It cost me $50 for 40 minutes. Ever hired a dog whisperer yourself? Sharing memories and laughing is good for the soul. This is especially true in this unique and challenging time.)
We are still sizing up the situation as we live through a pandemic. It is a new situation for us and it's scary. In saying that, I'm seeing miracles all around. People are stepping up to help their neighbors. People and companies are rallying around our healthcare system to help with the shortage of supplies. Churches are adapting and doing ministry online in new and innovative ways. The situation is being sized up and we will continue to adapt.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of Passion Week. Jesus knew what was going to happen. He looked around and knew what was about to happen. But maybe He remembered other times in Jerusalem as He participated in the Passover of the past and celebrated the liberation of His ancestors from slavery in Egypt. Maybe He remembered celebrating with family and people from His village of Nazareth. I wonder if His family took Him and showed Him the place where He was born. I wonder if Jesus thought about things like these.
Palm Sunday to the Crucifixion...this would be a much different Passover for Him and our world. He would bring liberation to all of Creation.
It seems our lives changed overnight as the pandemic began. One night I was watching a movie and it seemed different. The movie was filmed before all of the current things that were happening, of course. Watching it seemed different to me. I was seeing it in a different way because the old context has passed. Music that I listen to seems different to me as well. It took me back to the past before all that is happening now.
Life is a mixed bag of triumphs and tragedies. Jesus entered the great city to cheers and shouts of loud hosannas. The week would end differently with excruciating pain. Life is a mixed bag for us. Triumphs intermingled with tragedies.
Our prayer time during our worship service is an example. We share the names of those going through a hard time. Also shared are our celebrations. Again, a mixture of life.
This Lenten Season has been much different for all of us. It has been observed by churches and peoples differently. Just as Jesus had a different Passover, we have had a different Lent this time around. Our traditions during Lent will remain but it will always seem a little different as we move into the future.
I was reading an editorial by the theologian N.T. Wright this week. Dr. Wright has a way of describing Jesus and the church. He said that during this time, trying to find the reason behind all this, maybe we should consider a tradition that many have forgotten. He said that we should lament. Maybe we should take a moment, not avoid the situation, and cry to God for help. Lamenting often leads to trusting God more than ever. Not that God did this, but asking for liberation from this time is part of history. When the Israelites found themselves in trouble or bondage, they would lament and cry for help.
Let us also celebrate life and the wins. Size up your life and discover the blessings. Look around you and celebrate life, your family, friends, community, and your beloved church. Never lose your sense of humor and laugh. And if you do not have a sense of humor, that is okay too!
Resurrection Day is coming. We will celebrate an empty tomb. This tomb of today will empty itself one day. There will be a resurrection and a new day.
Holy Week Updates| Board of Deacons.
April 5th is Palm Sunday. Join us for worship online at 9:30 am
This Sunday is Communion Sunday. Please join us at home with your bread and juice and celebrate Communion with us.
This Sunday is also Love Envelope Sunday. With all that is going on, and as it continues, the need will be great. Please prayerfully consider giving to this important ministry in our church. If you give electronically, please put Love Offering or Deacons Market Basket gift card offering in the memo area.
April 9th is Maundy Thursday. Join us for worship service online at 7:30pm.
April 10th is Good Friday. We will have the cross in the Friendship Garden draped for Good Friday. Please feel free to drive in and spend some time in reflection and prayer. If you do get out to the garden please respect social distancing and the other people that may have gathered.
April 12th is Easter Sunday. Join us for worship service online 9:30am.
While this is not what we hoped for, this is our safest option at this time. We look forward to gathering again in person and celebrating being together and celebrating Easter all over again.
We pray that you are safe and healthy. These are challenging times, and if you find yourself behind in bills or rent or groceries please reach out to the Church office or to Susannah Trudeau 978-640-9716 for assistance. BoM and BoD have set up an emergency fund to help and support our Church family.
TCC Needs You!| Mercy Delgado.
Now, more than ever, your church needs you to show your support during this period of uncertainty and fear for so many in our community and our congregation. TCC is still here, reaching out to members and guests with prayers and assistance, but we need your help to keep serving others. It takes dedicated people to make things happen. Things such as the ability to worship together online. Initiatives such as the Emergency Support Fund, helping members struggling due to loss of employment and wages because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Please prayerfully consider volunteering your time and talents to your church family by reviewing the attached list of open positions. Your talent(s) may be just what TCC needs, and your gift of time doesn't have to be big to make a big impact on those around you.
Attached File: 11Spring Nominating Positions Up for Election-April 2020.pdf
We Need Your Prayers!| 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.
1. Pam’s 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. Chad R. & his family-Chad sustained facial fractures and a concussion getting a truck off a ramp-he's home now
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
5. Pam B.-11th anniversary of daughter's death on March 10th
6. Sheila and John N.- John is recovering from back surgery and Sheila is still mourning her Mom and Sister
7. Erin M- had to be hospitalized last week with respiratory issues and is now home recovering
8. Evelyn F.- convalescing from a rehabilitation stay
9. Ed S.- homebound, living at Heatherwood here in town
10. Al B. living at Heatherwood and alone
11. Barbara H.-homebound and convalescing
12. Barbara B.-homebound and convalescing in Methuen
13. Trish R.-convalescing at home
14. JoJo S.-prayers for her grandchildren and daughter, as they all adjust to this new situation
15. Mary and Dana L.-prayers they all stay healthy as Dana continues to work as a police officer in town
16. Loretta M.-convalesing at home
17. Arlene S.- undergoing cancer treatments)
18. Patty C.-breastfeeding a 7-month old & new pacemaker
19. Sven H.-dislocated shoulder
20. Eleanor R.- recovering from a recent hospitalization
To access a copy of the most recent Prayer Pages, go to: http://tewksburycc.org/flash/attachments/55April%202020%20PP.pdf
Attached File: 55April 2020 PP.pdf
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 - Online 4/5
Grade 3 Stole Making - Cancelled
Youth Group Dates to Remember
Sunday School Lesson online - 3/15
Sunday School Lesson 3/22 - Online!
General Overview of Christian Education Program
Easter Plant Acknowledgments| Carol Sturtevant.
Thank you for providing flowers for the Easter Service. Easter Plants will be on display and may be picked up on Easter Sunday from 11-noon or 2-3 pm. The alternate pick up date will be Monday, April 13th.
Debbie Adams & Family in celebration of coming together with neighbors in need & appreciation of healthcare responders working tirelessly for all
Jonathan Adams & Sharon Bielik in honor of Mary Lou Adams & celebration of friends & family during difficult times
Russell and Mary Lou Adams in memory of our parents, Paul & Velma Adams and Bob & Mimi Best
Rich and Lynnette Allen in celebration of our children
Susan & Bruce Appleby in celebration of Family
Barbara Cook & Family in loving memory of Robert E. and Dean A. Cook
Mercy, Joe, Evy, Emma & Grace Delgado in loving memory of our parents & grandparents, Zoraida, Consuelo, José, & Mauricio
Evelyn Fraser in memory of her husband, Everett Fraser & Mary MacDonald
Evelyn Fraser’s Family in celebration of Evelyn
Robert & Claudia Foster in celebration of our family
Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane & Girls in celebration of single parent families
Louise & Paul Gearty in memory of Robert & Catherine Flucker & Dennis Kane
Alice Golen in honor of my children
Donna Haines in celebration of Spring and the promise of Easter
Leslie Jacob in memory of Herb, Alma & Robert Hertel
Kane & Slayton families in loving memory of Dennis Kane and Cathie & Bob Flucker
Matthew Kulas in memory of Ron Richard
Joanne & Jim Kenney in memory of Family
Ken & Tina Ramsdell in memory of our son, Henry Joseph Ramsdell
Ken & Tina Ramsdell in celebration of our children, Chad & Amanda
Eleanor Riddle & Family in memory of James & Luke Riddle & Esther O’Connell
Bob & Carol Sturtevant in memory our daughter, Sheryl Spencer and our parents, Russell & Jean Sturtevant and Charles & Marquerite Worthen
The Trudeau Family in memory of Loved Ones who have gone before us
A Musical Note| Lucinda J. Ellert.
Every season of the Music Ministry brings some challenges, but we never quite expected a challenge the likes of which we’re experiencing this Spring. As we all scrambled to quickly create new systems for worship (in less than 24 hours, too!) much of the music planned for services for the foreseeable future was back-burnered. Even hymns – for the first week anyway – had to be selected carefully so as not to violate copywrite and streaming laws in the absence of upgraded streaming licenses required for our hastily designed streamed services.
I think everyone in both Bell and Chancel choirs was feeling a lot of disappointment. Disappointment that carefully laid plans for some beautiful Carillon anthems and a festive Easter service with selections from Mendelssohn’s Elijah were jettisoned. We can’t speak for the children, as all the music the Seraphs and Cherubs were rehearsing was cancelled, but we suspect that some were disappointed as well (probably a minor point falling in last place behind glee over cancelled school, though!).
But there is a phoenix here, I’m quite sure of that. The streamed services started out a bit shaky (there was that 24 hour planning period, after all), but gained flow and gravitas, and the music was there. With the addition of someone to lead the hymns (a shout out to Cathie Seaman for her implementation), the restoration of service music and an anthem – even though sung by a soloist – the feeling of a worship service was restored. And everyone on the “Holy Ghost” Crew was always so heartened and gratified by the participation of so many people online. And when I asked some folks who tuned in later, they said they did sing along to the hymns, so it seems the message is getting out there in word and song.
I offer a last reflection, although this has nothing to do with Music Ministry, per se. When I was driving home west to Winchendon on March 22nd, I drove through the Minute Man park area on Rt. 2A, simply because the day was beautiful. And I noticed that there were scores of people taking walks through the park. Whole families – each group at a safe distance from other groups – were out enjoying the air and the company. I have never seen as many people out, save on Patriots Day. I know we will be changed by this experience and that America will come out a different country when this is all over. Could it be that by suffering isolation together, we will finally be inspired to put those danged devices down and appreciate each other more? That would not only be good for live music in the long run, but good for all of us in God’s great world.
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.
Online Donations| Bob Masters.
Did you know that you can donate to TCC electronically? It’s simple. It’s easy. And it makes your life a little easier, too.
Have you forever forgotten your offering envelope on Sunday morning? Do you have your checkbook with you? Where’s a pen? There’s one in the Friendship Pad! When you donate online, those worries are gone. Your donations are made even when you are on vacation, or do not make it to TCC on Sunday morning.
Here’s how you do it. Go to the TCC website: tewksburycc.org
Click on the “Donate to TCC” button on the right side of the screen. Then simply follow the prompts. There are options for periodic giving (e.g., pledges) and one-time giving (e.g., mission gifts). Periodic giving can be weekly, bi-weekly, twice a month, monthly, etc. You define the frequency and the start date.
When you set up your online account, be sure you save your user ID and password. For your security, we have no access to your password.
Donations can be made directly from your bank account (checking or savings) or with a credit card. The credit card vendor fee for TCC is 2.75%. If you use a credit card, you can elect to cover this fee rather than have it charged to the church.
For many people, including me, the offering is an important part of worship. If you donate online, how do you participate during the offering? There is a basket on the pedestal table to the right of the narthex doors. In the basket are laminated “I give electronically” cards. Take one and drop it in the offering basket.
I use weekly periodic giving taken from my checking account. It many ways it is like using an automatic debit card. I like it. I know my pledge is being paid, even when Rita and I are traveling. When I am at TCC on Sunday morning I use the “I give electronically” card. No more offering envelopes. And the Financial Secretary’s job is easy. My experience has been excellent. Try it!
If you should have any questions, contact me: 978-452-4934 or email@example.com.
Do You Believe in Miracles?| Sue Trepaney.
Two events happened to the members of Ladies Aid that might be considered miracles.
Ladies Aid is an organization formed to meet a social need. The group also helps fulfill a common cause to raise funds for our church. From its inception it also meant ‘lunch together’ but the group has seen its membership shrink over time. However, as our members have aged, the responsibility of preparing a meal has become an overwhelming task. Rita Masters and Linda Wieselquist, two of TCC’s most talented cooks, prepared and served meals to us in October and at our March meeting.
The preparation of food was our first miracle.
The next miracle was an offer by Randy Gibbs, of our congregation, to work with the Board of Trustees to refurbish TCC’s front doors. A few years ago, the members of Ladies Aid started a fund for this purpose. When the Trustees had to install crash bars for the front door, a quick exit system, the Trustees used $1,440 of our funds. Randy came up with a proposal to get the lead paint removed by a certified contractor; Gibbs Construction will repaint, replace the glass and have the crash bars re-installed during construction. Of course, more funds are required to finish the job. We have $1,025.00 and it is all the money we have in the account. It was the purpose of the fund to pay for the entire job--the cost of which is $4,125.00 with the additional cost of the crash bars.
Working with the Trustees, Randy Gibbs provided members of Ladies Aid with their second Miracle. We are hoping for a third—the ability to continue to raise funds for this important project.
To many reading this article, we know that God works in mysterious ways and we are grateful for the miracles He has bestowed upon us.
TCC Services going on TV| Online Worship Team.
In addition to our live feed on Facebook Live, this Sunday's Church Service will be live on Tewksbury Telemedia Channels! We will be on Channel 8 for Comcast customers and Channel 32 for Verizon customers.
They will also be rebroadcasting our previous services as well.
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!
Seeking Comfort in Uncertain Times| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Words of encouragement during an uncertain time are important to all people. Encouragement is a powerful tool in our toolbox. Reaching out to comfort people who are fearful during the current Coronavirus Pandemic is beyond important. Call your family, friends, and neighbors to offer great words of comfort. I think you may be offered words saying the same.
The 23rd Psalm has been offering comfort to the world for thousands of years. This is especially true to Christians and our Jewish friends. In our churches and synagogues we recite and sing it. It is the most popular psalm and encourages us to trust God during difficult times. For those of us who speak English, we lean toward the King James Version (in most Christian traditions). The other versions, beautiful in their own right, just don't seem the same.
One day, I was participating in a graveside service for a saint that had passed away. A friend of the family was asked to read the 23rd Psalm and his time came. He chose to read a different version other than the King James Version and the confusion ensued. The people at the graveside recited the King James Version as the gentleman seemed very embarrassed and his words became nervous. It was funny to me and it lightened the mood of the grief that surrounded us. People went up to this gentleman after the service ended and thanked him. Some even said, "I never knew there was another version."
Regardless of the version, God comforted the people. God reaches out to comfort us today.
The writer, writing in memory of King David and his life, compares God to a shepherd watching over the flock in a valley filled with darkness. King David always found ways to praise God. It comforts me to know that God watches over us during this pandemic. The image of God looking down from heaven or on the highest mountaintop comes to mind.
As we read through, the writer talks about the green pastures and the still waters. These places are always available to us as we journey though life. Many of us find comfort looking over the beautiful expanse of land that seems it could go on forever. One day, during a vacation to Florida, a strong tropical storm hit the east coast of Florida and headed to where I was staying on the west coast. The wind blew the waves away from the beach I was on that day. The waters were still with the glow of the clouds coming down from the sky. It was peaceful.
Comfort is shared by the writer because the person knew that God was there. God is with all of us during this time. If we move forward, we hear about enemies and being anointed to face the enemy head on. Do you feel God doing the same for you? I pray for healthcare workers, national leaders of all countries, and people right here in our community that are facing "the enemy" with hope of better days. The writer closes that their cup of life is still running over with the water of life. And even in the midst of great tribulation the writer can still say that there is goodness and mercy in every day of life. Goodness and mercy follows us like grace.
Jesus tells us in John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." In verse 14 He says, "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me..." And to summarize other parts of John 10, Jesus says that He is "the gate" where the sheep kind find "pasture" where they "may have life. Jesus offered these words of encouragement to people who believed in Him, were looked down upon, and were struggling just to live. He does the same today and forever.
We are all shepherds for each other. Watching over each other, sharing words of encouragement, helping those who need help. We are all called to do. I want to thank all of you who have offered me and my family encouraging words. We can't live life without each other.
The Apostle Paul offered words of encouragement to Christians in Rome. We read this throughout the Book of Romans, one of Paul's letters to the early Church. In Romans Chapter 5 he uses the word "perseverance." The Christians in Rome were being chastised for following Jesus. He wanted them to know that it would get better. He encouraged them to persevere.
People around the world will get through this. We will persevere. Let us be there for our neighbor. Remember that God is shining light into life to remind us of hope and better days.
Scholarship News| Scholarship Committee.
It's that time of year where our congregation has the opportunity to support our graduating high school seniors, active college students, and members who are pursing higher education with a TCC scholarship. As many past recipients have said, knowing that TCC is involved and supporting them in their endeavors makes all the difference. Please consider making a donation to the Scholarship Fund so we can continue to support those in our congregation as they work toward pursing their dreams. Scholarship Fund offering envelopes have been mailed to members. You can also use any blank envelope you choose, making sure you indicate Scholarship Fund Offering on the envelope. Checks can be made out to TCC with a note in the memo line indicating Scholarship Funds.
Please send any donations to the Financial Secretary at the church office. For more convenience, you can also pay electronically. To do this, click on the "Donate to TCC" tab on the Tewksburycc.org website. Go to One-Time Giving and enter your payment amount in the space next to Scholarship. Click on Continue at the bottom of the page. Please call the office if you need any help with this or have any questions.
For those who are pursuing a higher education, please take a moment to fill out the attached scholarship form so that TCC can help you achieve your goals. Hard copies of Scholarship Applications are also available outside the office and on our website. Applications must be submitted on or before May 17th in order to receive a scholarship on Youth Sunday.
Attached File: 31Scholarship Fund Application 2020.pdf