Archive - TCC Flash
Articles that were published within the last 30 days
« Back to TCC Flash
This Sunday, March 10th, the Chelmsford Community Band, conducted by Lucinda Ellert, will be performing their Winter Concert, also at the Chelmsford Senior Center. The concert, celebrating Black History Month, will be at 2:00 pm, and will feature world-renowned pianist Virginia Eskin. They will be performing Rhapsody in Blue as well as works by Gottschalk, James Reese Europe and Grundman.
Come enjoy a fun-filled musical evening for the entire family!
Members of Friendship Circle will step out of our usual schedule and do something completely different for our March 14th meeting. Plans are to meet at our church at 9:30 am for devotions and fellowship in the Vestry. We’ll then carpool to Lowell to view a film at a local theater and then lunch at Good Thymes Restaurant. We enjoy the social aspect of Friendship Circle and we are always open to having the participation of others.
Come join us for some fun and fellowship!
Please join us for Ash Wednesday Worship on Wednesday, March 6th at 7 pm as we enter the season of Lent.
Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. This significant day helps us to realize that both have been conquered through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During worship, Reverend Baxter will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. The use of ashes as a sign of mortality and repentance has a long history in Christian worship. Historically, ashes signify purification and sorrow for sins.
As always, all are welcome to participate in TCC worship services. Facebook users are invited to RSVP to the event notification thru this link in order to help publicize the service within the community. Thank you!
Sunday, March 10th in the Vestry after worship—All are welcome!!!
Greetings to all—This meeting may seem early, but these events take planning and organization to continue to be successful. 2018 was another success! We had quite a crowd at the Pie Social following the lighting of the town common & visits with Santa. Though our numbers were down a bit due to other activities in town, the Pie Social & Christmas Fair were again very successful thanks to our TEAM and so many others who gave their time and talents.
The team will be gathering to evaluate what worked well and changes that we may want to consider for 2019. Chairpersons take on a great responsibility, but they cannot do it without the assistance of volunteers at all levels. Your input is important to the team and we hope that others will join us for the meeting. Bring your coffee with you and there will be a snack available. If the weather is a problem on the 10th we will meet the following Sunday, March 17th same time, same place.
I love the taste of fresh, sweet corn in my homemade soup. Unfortunately, there’s no fresh corn in my local supermarket. So I’ve had to use frozen in a recipe that Susannah Trudeau provided me of her ‘famous’ Venus de Milo soup. I’ve added some additional ingredients to her soup but keeping it essentially the same. I plan to make it as one of the soups on our Progressive Supper menu. I call it, ‘The Two Sue’s Soup’ and it includes ground beef, tomatoes and veggies—a wonderful mix of flavors in a comforting broth. There are only two tickets left to Friendship Circle’s Progressive Supper on Saturday, March 9th—only 10 days away. If you would like to join us, please see Yvonne Hall on Sunday, March 3rd in Fellowship Hall after worship. We hope you’ll come!
Transfiguration Sunday is a day recognized by many in the body of Christ. It is celebrated the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. We will hear an account of this story from Luke 9:28-36. The story reminds us of the identity of Jesus when He, Peter, James, and John traveled to the mountaintop that day. Up in the clouds Jesus was met by Moses and Elijah.
The Transfiguration was one of the major milestones during the life of Jesus, along with His Baptism, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension ten days before Pentecost. On that day heaven and earth met through Jesus. Some believe the Disciples there were given a future glimpse of the Resurrection (although they would not understand till much later). However you read this, something wonderful happened on the mountaintop that day. It was a "mountaintop" experience.
I want to share a wonderful commentary by Rick Marley, an Episcopal Priest. It's called, "In the cloud - a reflection on Luke 9:28-36." I hope you are inspired by the commentary like me. So much can happen on the "mountaintop" and in the "clouds."
When the Israelites were freed from Pharaoh’s hand, and they were wandering in the wilderness, God’s Presence stayed with them in a visible way: a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. When they got scared, hungry, thirsty, and they needed to find God—all they needed to do was look to the cloud.
When Moses climbed Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God, a cloud descended upon the mountain, obscuring it. The people looked up, and they could no longer see Moses, nor what was transpiring.
When God instructed the Israelites to construct a portable Tabernacle, God filled the tent with his Presence in the form of a cloud. And, later, when Solomon built the Temple, once again a cloud filled the sanctuary.
So, when the cloud descends atop the mountaintop with Jesus, Peter, John and James…we shouldn’t be left surprised at what’s happening.
The Presence of God is enveloping them, as the Presence of God has done time and time again to God’s faithful people.
God’s Presence manifest as a cloud says something about God. Because, clouds don’t bring more clarity, they obscure. They hide.
And, in this sense, they remind us of the mystery of God.
In our world, we want to know things. We want Google always at our fingertips to tell us everything about anything, and we want Facebook to instantly tell us everything else—like what our friends had for dinner and how mom’s cruise is going. As humans, we’ve always had a hunger and thirst for knowledge—well ever since Eden that is. And, as technology has advanced through the millennia, we want more and more knowledge within our grasp at all times.
And, for faithful Christians that’s no different with our relationship to God. We want to know things about God. We want to know how to relate to God. We want to know how this story, or this proverb, or this anecdote applies to our life. Tangibly. Really.
And, why wait? We’d like to know right now, please.
But, a relationship with God isn’t so easy. God isn’t composed of a series of facts, easily digestible and readily relatable.
God is a mystery. God’s Presence is enveloped in mystery. In fact, coming into God’s Presence isn’t like downloading a set of search results. It’s like entering a thick cloud, where everything is obscured. Distorted. Colorless. Disorientated.
But, there, in the midst of the cloud is the Presence of God who has come to be with you.
As Christians, we need to learn how to sit in the cloud. As Christian leaders, we need to teach our flocks to do the same. We need to teach patience, and how to be comfortable not knowing about something, but rather really knowing Something.
Moses came down from the clouded mountain with his face radiant—changed. Because it’s in the cloud that we’re changed.
Peter, James, and John are changed on that mountain—forever. And, not because they learned lots of fun-filled facts. In reality, they probably descended with more questions than answers.
But, like Moses, they met the Living God. And, that’s what changes us. That’s what alters the course of our lives. And, as Christians, that’s what we’re all about: being in God’s Presence.
As on every Communion Sunday, the LOVE Offering envelopes will be available in the pews for those who wish to contribute to TCC's Deacon's Charitable Fund, which is primarily used to purchase Market Basket gift cards for those in our community who are finding it hard to make ends meet.
If you feel called to contribute, simply place your offering in the LOVE envelope and add it to the plate when the Offertory is collected. If you are not in regular attendance on Communion Sundays but wish to assist with this ministry, you are invited to send your contribution to the church office and mark it, "Deacon's Charitable Fund." Your support is warmly appreciated.
Place of Promise, a residential recovery program in Lowell, provides Christ-centered programming for men, women, and children to experience physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual healing. At Place of Promise, a life can be transformed, leaving behind death and despair while beginning a new life of hope and potential. There are numerous volunteer and mentoring opportunities spanning single-day to multi-week for individuals and teams. Before helping in this environment, or if you want to learn about this program's impact, we are offering a Spiritual Mentoring Program, a 16-hour course that uncovers the heart of the Father who seeks after the lost through real-life stories from Massachusetts. Taught by Beth Kidd, Founder of Place of Promise, with over 40 years’ experience walking alongside others on their journey with Christ.
WHAT: Place of Promise Spiritual Mentoring Program
WHEN: Second session on Monday starting February 25th. 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm*
WHERE: Tewksbury Congregational Church, 10 East Street, Tewksbury MA
REGISTRATION: FREE - email: email@example.com or call Jim at 617-549-4969 or TCC OFFICE: 978-851-9411
*All sessions will be taped and participants may make-up any missed sessions by listening to the recording.
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 (right around the corner!) and we will be working with live plants. For that reason, you MUST reserve your spot at the table and pay in advance - $7.00. There will also be a second craft at no additional cost.
Please let Sue Henderson know if you plan to attend no later than Sunday, February 24th. If you do not reserve your "spot" you can still drop by for the second craft. Please make checks to Susan Henderson. All are welcome and I look forward to seeing you on March 5th.
We are excited that we are going to have a Confirmation Class this year! There is still time to sign up. The deadline to sign up has been extended to February 28th. If your youth is in the 10th grade or higher and have not participated in Confirmation, they are eligible. If interested, please contact Rev. Baxter by calling the church (978-851-9411). You can also send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. James Martin tells a story about a priest sharing a homily about loving your enemies. Those in attendance were invited to raise their hands if they had enemies and many did. Then they were asked to raise their hands if they had one or two or none at all. One gentleman stood up and said, "I have no enemies whatsoever!"
The priest responded, "What a blessing! How old are you?" The man said, "I'm 98 years old, and I have no enemies." In amazement, the priest praised him for being a wonderful example and then asked how he ended up with no enemies. His response?
"All the 'blankety blanks' have died!"
Jesus talks about loving our enemies in Matthew 5:43-48. It sure is a hard thing to do, right? Why would I want to love somebody who doesn't love me? What did I do wrong?
The word Jesus uses for love in verses 43 through 48 is "agape", which is the love God has for us. It is not mushy passionate love or the love we have for friends. It's the grace-filled love that God has for all of us. This type of love challenges us to see our enemies as God sees us.
I was recently reading a story of a female pastor in another denomination that was in major conflict. The denomination was going through a battle to determine if females could be pastors. Her senior pastor, a man, became distraught and confused during this battle and it caused major harm to their relationship. It was as if they became "enemies", as the denomination would eventually not let females be pastors. Her senior pastor had become very judgmental and criticized her often. It was a painful experience for her.
One day during another difficult conversation she had a choice. Do I respond with harsh words or do I show compassion? The criticism had become too much. What was she going to do? Her response that day was, "Thank you. You have taught me so much. You are a good teacher." He began to cry.
She would eventually have to leave the denomination she served for another one that affirmed her gifts. However, in their differences, her previous senior pastor and she are still friends today.
A few months ago, a person asked me, "How do I move on?" The question had to do with the forgiveness of enemies. She was hurt by people she thought were her friends in the church she served. This is such a hard thing.
I go back to Jesus challenging us to love our enemies. Like forgiveness, it doesn't mean we forget. It definitely doesn't mean we let people continue to harm. But Jesus is trying to say God loves them too. Also, there is probably something going on in their life that may have caused the hurt they caused you.
Jesus was proclaiming the good news. Many were new to His message. The people that harm us are still learning and growing in God's grace like us. Maybe that is why we try to practice agape love.
Do you know what a hearty soup is? Like the ones that will be served at Friendship Circle’s Progressive Supper? A hearty soup is: “Nourishing and wholesome—delicious ingredients combined and cooked until tender.” You may be thinking that a bowl of soup won’t fill YOU for supper, but trust me our soup will—it’s comfort in a bowl! We only have a few tickets left for the Progressive Supper on March 9th. You’ll go from one house to another eating along the way—enjoying the fun and fellowship of others. Tickets will be for sale Sunday during Coffee Hour. And best of all-- 100% of the ticket sales support TCC’s 2019 Pine Ridge Native American Mission Trip.
Ready to serve? There are lots of ways to use your talents. Here are a few open positions:
Outreach Committee - Focus on outreach to community and social opportunities for the congregation; Provide public relations to community through newspapers, cable access, etc.; Maintain Church website, Facebook, and other social media accounts
Time & Talents Committee - Maintain T&T Database; Help provide volunteers to other committees; Generate Nominating Slate; work on Stewardship Campaign
Personnel Committee – Provides support to the Board of Ministries and Committees that supervise paid staff with regards to contracts, annual performance reviews, and other related issues.