TCC Flash - Weekly News
A King like No Other| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
This Sunday, the last Sunday of the Christian year, is known as Reign of Christ or Christ the King. The biblical vision of human history defines itself as “the kingdom of God.” Jesus began his ministry with the announcement, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt. 4:17). When we try to wrap our heads around the exact nature of the kingdom of God, we get a bewildering array of answers from scripture.
We learn that the kingdom of God is a present reality, here on earth. “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Mt. 12: 28). Yet, it is a future reality, “I declare to you…that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…but we will all be changed,” says Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: 50,52). It is an inner spiritual experience, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). It is personal, as when Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless you are born anew you cannot see the kingdom of God,” (John 3:3). It is also political, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15).
The trouble is we think of a kingdom as a territory or the people belonging to a particular land. But in both the New and the Old Testaments, a kingdom is the rank, authority, and sovereignty of the king, not the realm he rules over. A kingdom is God’s rule over the heavens and the earth, the seen and the unseen. What we also learn is that the kingdom of God is now, but not yet.
There are signs of the kingdom all about, but usually in more hidden and quiet ways: an answered prayer, a grief group for the bereaved, a soup kitchen in a church, or building a hospital in Sierra Leone. Then there are times when the kingdom breaks into history in astounding ways: the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of apartheid. Churches and God’s people were an essential part of all those events.
It was after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension that the Church began to see his reign as the power of love, not the love of power; a willingness to suffer, not to inflict suffering; care for the poor and the outcast, not a consolidation of wealth and power; and a passion for justice, not indifference to evil. Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that “Jesus is Lord,” when we see the injustice, chaos and suffering of the world, but by faith, we believe him when he says, “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The late church historian Jaroslav Pelikan pointed out a stunning historical irony: that, of all the renowned figures of ancient Rome, the name of only one is recited every day by millions of people around the world in worship every day. This man is neither emperor nor general, neither poet nor philosopher, but an obscure provincial governor.
He is, of course, Pontius Pilate. His name is so familiar because he shares the rare distinction -- along with Mary, mother of Jesus -- of being mentioned in both the Nicene and Apostles' creeds.
And what is it about Pilate that earned him such fame, exceeding that of even the greatest Roman emperors? Such fame stems not so much from anything Pilate did, but from a person with whom he was briefly associated on a single day of his life: Jesus Christ. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Before him, even the mighty Caesars fade into insignificance.
Click HERE to Sign-up!| 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!
Pies Desperately Needed!!!| Trish Keddie.
It's only two weeks until our Pie Social (December 1)! Last year we sold over 500 pieces of pie! That is over 70 pies. To date, we only have 1/3 of the pies we need to make our Pie Social a success. Please consider making a homemade pie for this event. Perhaps you can bake an extra pie for Thanksgiving and freeze it. We are also in need of servers, greeters, and kitchen help. You can sign up during Coffee Hour. You can sign up during Coffee Hour after worship or on Sign-UpGenius. There is also a need for a Co-chair for this event! Please contact Trisha Keddie at 978-677-6013 or email@example.com if you have any questions.
TCC Christmas Fair Update| Mercy Delgado.
Our TCC Family has these two opportunities to invite Tewksbury residents & people from surrounding communities to our church. There are so many ways, large or small, to get involved. These events have been successful every year through the gifts of time and talent of our TCC Family Members of all ages. Check out SignUpGenius or meet us at Coffee Hour and join the TEAM—donate or participate in the events or behind the scenes (or both!). Your participation is welcome and needed. If you have any questions, meet the Chairpersons at Coffee Hour or contact Carol Sturtevant: 978-851-4451 & email firstname.lastname@example.org for Fair and Trish Keddie: 978-677-6013 email@example.com for Pie Social information. All the chairperson contact information & needs can be found on the Pie Social & Fair Chart, in the office or during Coffee Hour. A bin for Jewelry Table donations (jewelry, boxes & scarves) will be available outside the church office and during Coffee Hour. Used Toys and Christmas Items will be collected in the Vestry this coming Sunday, Nov. 26th.
Attached File: 72Christmas Fair Chart 2017.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.
Happy Thanksgiving!| Mercy Delgado.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and friends! In observance of this holiday, the TCC church office will be closed on Thursday, November 24th, and Friday, November 25th. The church office will re-open on Monday, November 27th, at 9:00 am.
2017 Pie Social Update| Carol Sturtevant.
IT’S COUNTDOWN TIME! Many pies are being donated, but many more are still needed! Donations for the Baked Goods table are also needed (cookies, brownies, breads, candy, etc.) Our Pie Social brings in many people following the Tree Lighting Ceremony. It’s a popular town event! Please go to SignupGenius to donate or join us at Coffee Hour for needed donations and volunteer opportunities for youth and adults for both events.
Attention TCC Youth: These events need you! Our guests appreciate your smiles and your assistance. You are the ones who greet at the door, lead our guests to where they are going and help where needed. Santa will be in the Parlor from 7-8:30 pm. Parents—this is a great photo opportunity so bring your cameras and alert your friends and family about this festive evening!
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.
We Need Your Gently Used Toys!| Mercy Delgado.
Please consider donating toys your kids no longer play with or use to the Christmas Fair Toy Shoppe! Let's give new life to these toys, and make a child's Christmas so much brighter!
The Toy Shoppe accepts clean puzzles, building sets, games, complete craft kits, action figures, trucks & cars, dolls & accessories, Books, DVD's and clean, almost new stuffed animals are also welcome! Please do NOT include infant toys, large/riding toys.
Drop-off times are:
Sunday, Nov. 26, 9:00-9:30 am in the Vestry; Monday, Nov. 27, 9-3 pm, in Fellowship Hall; Tuesday, Nov. 28, 9-12 pm, Fellowship Hall; and Friday, Dec. 1, 9-3 pm, Fellowship Hall.
Interfaith Choir Christmas Concert| Mercy Delgado.
Tewksbury''s Interfaith Choir presents its annual Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 at 7:00 pm in St. Williams Church in Tewksbury. As always, the Interfaith Christmas Concert is free of charge, so everyone can come and share in the music and in the Christmas Spirit! (There will be a free-will offering for those who wish to participate.)
There will be several fun up-tempo solos and duets that are sure to please! After the Concert, everyone is invited to enjoy to enjoy fellowship and refreshments.
Leave your worries at home, grab some family and friends, and escape into the joy of the season!
Looking for Christmas Greeters!| Mercy Delgado.
TCC still needs Greeters for the Christmas Eve 6:30 pm service. Greeters can be 1-2 friends, a family or a small group! From 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm you'll warmly welcome people as they arrive. Contact Jean Metcalf in person, call the church office, or go to the SignUpGenius page to volunteer.
Christmas Poinsettias| Carol Sturtevant.
It is that time of year again when we look forward to the festivities of the Christmas Holiday. The wreaths, greens and poinsettia plants dress our sanctuary in the splendor of the season and increase our anticipation for the joyous celebration of the birth of our Savior. Red, white and marble poinsettias are available at a cost of $11 each. Please place your order as early as possible so that you can have the color of your choice. Please be sure to record for yourself the color you have selected. Sunday, December 3rd will be the final ordering date. Checks are made payable to Carol Sturtevant. Order forms will be in the pews and outside the church office. Please place orders in the secretary's inbox, in the offering plate or mail to the church office, TCC, 10 East Street, Tewksbury, MA 01876, ATT: Carol Sturtevant. Carol will also be available to answer questions & take orders during Coffee Hour. Christmas plants will decorate our Sanctuary beginning on Sunday, December 17th through Christmas Eve services. We ask that plants be taken after the last Christmas Eve service. Please specify if you plan to pick up your plant(s) or leave the plant for a homebound person. It is important that you pick up the color you have ordered. If you have any questions or a problem with pick up, please call or email Carol (978-851-4451, firstname.lastname@example.org) to make alternate arrangements.
Pastoral Search Committee Update| Mary Lou Adams.
The Tewksbury Congregational Pastoral Search Committee was formed and blessed by our congregation in July of 2016.
Our first task was to compose a letter to the congregation explaining the process of selecting a new pastor following the United Church of Christ guidelines. We also designed questions and ways to ask the congregation “What do you want in a new pastor?” and find answers to “Who are we?”. This data was collected during our church synod last year and during several Sundays in October 2016.
The next few months were spent using our TCC data to fill in a UCC church profile template. (This document is available in the church office for viewing.) We designed an ad for our pastoral position. The TCC profile and ad were submitted to the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC.
The Pastoral Search Committee began receiving profiles in March of 2017. 56 candidate profiles have been received. 26 profiles were received the first two weeks; some of which had been time-stamped several years prior to 2017. Each of our 8-member committee reviews each pastoral profile and we discuss each profile at our meetings.
Our pastoral profile work as of this date:
56 Pastoral Profiles received
7 interviews (3 have been Skyped)
2 offers made
- Senior Pastor - We could not meet his financial expectations
- Recent Seminary Graduate - She had multiple offers and, though we
made a strong financial offer, she chose another church.
3 profiles are currently being given an in-depth review.
Please contact a member of the Pastoral Search Committee with any questions or comments.
Jim Kenney, Co-chair
Mary Lou Adams, Co-chair
Susannah Trudeau, Chaplain
Stephanie Muse, Scribe
Brad Staeben, Communications (Resigned - leaving TCC)
Gifts for the Wish Project| JoJo Scharmer.
The wishes of the families from The Wish Project have arrived and now can be found on the Giving Tree. If you have not chosen a gift to buy here is another opportunity! Let's give these families and Merry Christmas!
If you have any questions please contact the church office, 978-851-9411, or JoJo Scharmer at email@example.com.
Offering Envelopes Are Here!| Mercy Delgado.
The 2018 offering envelopes are available for pick-up in the Narthex. If you don't find a box with your name on it and wish to get a set, please contact the church office at 978-851-9411.
The Gift of Thanks| Rev. Dr. Norm Bendroth.
In her book The Gift of Thanks, Margaret Visser uses three concrete images to convey the power of gratitude—gratitude as soil, lubricant, and glue. I like these images and they ring true to me.
Soil is the ground of our lives. It is where our fundamental character, disposition and will is rooted. Here we can grow an “attitude of gratitude” that views all of life as a gift. A grateful person is able to “cultivate” him or herself in the warm soil of gratitude and become a thankful person. A person with an ungrateful temperament, by contrast, can be hard and dry, not easily moved by tenderness or kindness, and unable to see the “blessedness” or life. “In European languages,” Visser says, “people often talk of poor soil as ‘ungrateful.’”
The Jews have a wonderful prayer I often use. Whenever you experience something beautiful, lovely, moving or touching, you simply say, “Blessed be Thou.” Blessed be Thou for this beautiful new morning, blessed be Thou for how excited my dog becomes when I come home, blessed be Thou for Braham’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor and blessed be Thou for a glass of Burgundy at the end of a long day.
Gratitude is also a social “lubricant.” It is the oil that makes the machinery of human interaction run more smoothly. Pendulums swing back and forth and gears mesh and interconnect. When they are well-oiled they function as they are supposed to. In relationships, even casual ones with the dry cleaner and the clerk at Dunkin’ Donuts, gratitude, courtesy, and cheerfulness are the back and forth movements between people that can add grace to anyone’s day. When there is no gratitude, there is no meaningful connection. Relationships become rusty, chafing, resistant, unpleasant, and finally break altogether. The social “machinery” grinds to a halt.
Finally, gratitude is “glue.” Common courtesy, respect, and genuine interest in another human being is the social cohesion that thankfulness provides. Holding a door for a mom with two kids in the stroller, letting someone squeeze in ahead of you as traffic merges, helping a neighbor shovel their sidewalk and saying “thank you” for small gestures of kindness transcend any differences we might have. Society today is highly fragmented, cracking along all kinds of dividing lines. Visser observes, “Gratitude is ‘a kind of plastic filler,’ ‘an all-purpose moral cement,’ a sort of magic paste that is amazingly malleable, squeezing itself into the cracks and then solidifying and strengthening the social structure.”
For Christians, gratitude should be as natural as breathing. We see our creation, redemption, and sustenance as gifts from the generous hand of God. “In everything give thanks,” says Paul, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18). You certainly don’t give thanks for the flat tire, cancer, or a kid doing drugs. However, even in the midst of difficulties, we can be grateful because we know “God works all things together for good.” (Romans 8:28).
During Thanksgiving week, think about how you can be soil, oil and glue.