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Please join us for a celebration of our ministries THIS SATURDAY, November 10th, at 6:30pm in Fellowship Hall. Like previous years, TCC will provide the main course (from Cafe Sicilia), and we invite attendees to contribute an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.
To avoid duplicates and ensure a nice variety of options, we've created an electronic sign-up sheet. Please indicate what you plan to bring by clicking this link.
Children are welcome to attend, and childcare will be provided. Please join us!
There are a number of projects that Holiday Friends are working on for our upcoming Christmas Fair. Last Thursday we decorated mini Christmas trees, but there is still more work to do. Volunteers with creative ideas are needed right now! If you can help, please come to the Vestry on Thursday, November 15th at 9:00 am to lend a helping hand. We have plenty of supplies, including ribbon, decorative pinecones, artificial flowers and greens, plus other miscellaneous items to help inspire the creative process! Pat Takach leads our group with a positive and helpful attitude.
You won’t see mock apple pies served at our Pie Social on Friday, November 30th. Popular during the Eisenhower era, mock pies according to one author who suggested that ‘mock apple pies appeared to be nothing more than a plot by cracker companies to foist processed foods on an unsuspecting public by disguising them as old favorites.’ I have to admit that I made the ‘famous’ Ritz cracker mock apple pie and it tasted pretty good! For those of us who enjoy eating ‘the real thing’ why not use TCC’s vehicle, SignUpGenius and donate a homemade pie for our social? Click HERE to donate!
Volunteers and donations are needed for this year’s Pie Social and Christmas Fair. These events will be held on November 30th (Friday night) and Dec. 1st (Saturday). Sign-ups for these events will begin Sunday, November 4th, following worship service.
These events are TCC's major fundraisers! In addition to volunteers, we will need donations for various fair tables. Please see Carol Sturtevant and Event Chairpersons after worship on Sunday if you wish to volunteer or donate. You can also contact Carol via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (978-851-4451) or add your name to our on line sign-ups through this link.
Did you know there are some false pies that will not be on the table at our Pie Social?
What’s a ‘false pie’?—if we define a traditional pie with a crust and filling, a false pie doesn’t fit the bill! False pies such as Shepherd’s, Lobster, or Whoopie don’t have crusts. These pies are often made with something other than dough, sometimes topped with potatoes, cracker crumbs, or cake-based. Can you think of other false pies so named because they don’t contain the usual pie fillings?
Tell us when you sign up during Coffee Hour Sunday, November 4th to make a homemade pie for our upcoming Pie Social on November 30th!
Don't forget to FALL BACK on Saturday! Daylight savings time ends at 2am on Sunday, November 4th. Set your clocks "back" one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night, and enjoy an extra hour of sleep before church on Sunday morning.
The Gift: In 2016, TCC received a large bequest from the estate of Viola Tareila. Viola was a committed giver to TCC, and a member of the Missions Committee. A committee was formed to determine the best use of the remaining balance of this gift, and after those recommendations were brought to the congregation in September 2017, the Church voted to utilize the funds in two ways: First, a Viola Tareila Mission Grant Fund was formed and funded with $60,000. This fund will be managed by an ad hoc committee that will accept applications from our members and friends in the surrounding community and award grants to expand the work of God beyond our church walls. This grant program will extend her giving for the next 30 or more years! Second, the congregation voted to support a series of capital projects to be supported by the large gift. $100,000 was committed from the bequest to complete a sequence of four projects:
1. Sanctuary Audio-Visual Upgrades ~$45,000
2. Window Replacement ~$40,000
3. Education Wing Upgrades ~$60,000
4. Sanctuary Air Conditioning ~$55,000
The Challenge: As you will notice, the congregation voted to commit $100,000 of the bequest to complete $200,000 of capital projects. The challenge is for our members and friends to match the funds from the bequest to complete the projects. A Building Committee has been formed to manage these projects, and as pledges sufficient for half the cost of each project, the project will commence. Every dollar that you pledge to these causes will be doubled by the commitment of the Tareila Bequest. Already, pledges and funds received have been sufficient to begin the first project! As the Tareila Building Committee soon begins work on that endeavor, we hope that you will take this opportunity to invest in the future of TCC and join your fellow members and friends as we bring these important projects to fruition.
Just a reminder that our LOVE OFFERING envelopes are available in the pews on the first Sunday of each month. If you wish to make a contribution of any size to support TCC's Market Basket gift card food assistance ministry, simply place your donation in the love envelope and add it to the collection plate during the Offertory. Your support is warmly appreciated.
Holiday Friends will begin meeting in earnest during the month of November! Please plan to join us on Thursdays from 9:00 am until noon in the Vestry. Artificial arrangements, mini Christmas trees and holiday brooms all need decorating. As we get closer to our Christmas Fair, we’ll need help creating fresh arrangements and kissing balls. If you have greens to donate from your yard, please put them in TCC’s Friendship Garden near the shed on Monday, November 26th. We will meet the following Thursdays: November 8th, 15th and the week of November 26th-30th. Our Christmas Fair is just around the corner, so please help if you can.
November is here, which means Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Families will be gathering for the festivities and looking forward to a turkey dinner with all the traditional foods.
However, there are many individuals and families that might not be able to afford these festive foods without the assistance of our local Food Pantry. The Tewksbury Food Pantry makes up food baskets for their clients to celebrate this holiday in their own homes. Donations for all nonperishable foods are welcome throughout the year and may be placed in the bins in the Sunday School entrance or in the church entrance. For Thanksgiving, however, TCC also contributes 5 lb bags of potatoes to help fill the 160 Thanksgiving food baskets on the Sunday prior to the holiday. On Sunday, November 11th, envelopes for cash donations will be available in the pews and the 5 lb. bags of potatoes may be placed on the altar. The 160 bags of potatoes will be delivered to the food pantry on Friday, November 16th. Let’s help make this a healthy and joyous Thanksgiving for everyone!
Can't figure out how much candy to buy this year? No worries! Over-estimate and then bring any extra into church on Sunday, November 4th. We will be bagging it that day for the folks at the Lowell Transitional Living Center on TCC's next visit the following Thursday. Thank you all in advance for your donations! This is one of TCC’s traditions that is truly appreciated by our LTLC friends. If you are concerned that you may forget to bring it on the 4th, feel free to drop it in the marked side-entrance beforehand.
It is a great joy when you get an answer right on a test. Even better than that, it is an awesome feeling when your answer goes above and beyond the standard "book answer" of the question.
I remember being challenged with tons of paperwork when going through ordination. Going through seminary, I could answer the 50 questions asked with the book answer. However, those scrutinizing my answers wanted something more. They wanted MY answer. What does grace mean to YOU? How do YOU translate this particular passage? What does ordination mean to YOU? These are just a few examples.
Back when I would mentor other pastors, I would teach them the same. Why? Pastors should be able to explain tough and difficult topics from theology to life in ways we can relate. If we don't know the answers in our heart, then that is a problem.
So today, I ask myself this question, "How do I feel about the latest hate crimes in our country?" The book answer is not going to cut it. I can research the past and read about racism and hate, but what am I going to do about it today and in the future? Major soul-searching is required once more. Not only is it required for you and me, it is required for every person in our country and world. Hate crimes are on the rise all over the world.
Again our nation has been challenged with seeking answers to racism and hate. Two African-Americans were shot at a grocery store in Kentucky just because they weren't white. Eleven souls were lost in Pittsburgh because they were Jewish. Hate crimes have been on the rise the past few years but they happen every year. What can we do to find answers to hate?
In Mark 12:28-34, Jesus is asked by a teacher of the law which is the greatest commandment of all. He quotes Deuteronomy 6:5, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." And then He goes one step further. Jesus alludes to Leviticus 19:18 by saying, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus doesn't answer with one commandment...He answers with two. The book answer would have been just the first one.
The great Jewish author and activist, Elie Wiesel, knew hate. He and his family were taken to Auschwitz back during World War II. Most of his family were murdered by the Nazis. In 1999, Wiesel spoke at the White House and gave a very important speech. He talked about something different than the hate he experienced.
The speech is known as "The Perils of Indifference" and he spoke how he felt left and forgotten by the world. To him, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. It is people (and even businesses) going about their life when others are being hurt around them. If we apply what Jesus says, it is the opposite of "loving our neighbor as yourself." He challenged us not committing the hate crime not to separate ourselves from what has happened. There must be a response.
Bringing to life his experience during The Holocaust, the last two words of his speech were that he still had "extraordinary hope" for the future. He would die with this hope in July of 2016 in Manhattan.
Let us never give up on seeking for answers. Indifference and hate must be replaced with love. It's love your neighbor as yourself that is the opposite of indifference. And maybe that will lead to less hate in our world. We can't let this moment pass. The response must be persistent this time. Let us do our part to transform the world.
What is OUR answer?
Select an ornament –. You may take as many as you wish and can afford.
Sign the Master List. This is very important as it ensures that all wishes will be met.
Invite extended family members and friends to join you!
All gifts are to be new and do not need to be wrapped, except for the “moms”, but be sure to keep the ornament tag with each gift.
Wrapping paper, ribbons and scotch tape are always welcomed.
You may add a Christmas card with a special message of good cheer if you wish, especially for the adolescents and seniors or even a holiday ornament or decoration.
All gifts are to be brought to the Church by or on December 2nd. The Case Worker in charge will pick them up that day.
If you have any questions, please call JoJo Scharmer at 978-851-5298 or email her at email@example.com. JoJo has the Master List and will be able to answer your questions.
Every year at about this time, we conduct a Pledge Campaign to support the ministries of the Church. This process is critical to maintaining all of the good work that happens at TCC. While our church is a member of the United Church of Christ, we are an autonomous organization that relies on the giving of our members to fund all that we do. TCC is blessed to receive rental income from the Green Meadows Preschool housed in our building and two cell towers in our steeple, but everything from staff salaries, Missions Outreach, the Sunday School program, and the paper that this insert is printed on are supported mostly by the generous donations of our friends and members. Donations from each of us are the primary source of revenue for the church. Stewardship is our celebration of the gifts we have been given and our expression of gratitude to God. This “bottom-up” funding mechanism is empowering, allowing our membership to make decisions about our missions, service, and other ministries, all funded by our own support.
The Pledge Campaign is when we ask each other to look within and determine an appropriate amount to donate for the upcoming fiscal year. There is no magic formula that will easily answer the question of “How much should I give?” This is a personal decision that should be considered prayerfully. While the Bible encourages us to “tithe” by giving 10% of one’s resources back to the church, not everyone is able or ready to make such a commitment. In addition to the annual pledge, this year we will be conducting a capital campaign to raise funds to match the generous Tariela Bequest Capital Projects. Whatever the number for each of us is, our pledge represents a promise that we will support the mission and ministries of TCC for the upcoming year.
A pledge is an investment in our common goals as a faith community, and through that investment, we not only keep the church running, but we bring God’s love to others through our missions, our service, and our worship. Through giving, all who enjoy our ministries are invited to participate fully in support of the Church.
Save the Date! Ministries Celebration Dinner – Saturday, Nov. 10th, 6:30 pm (childcare provided)
Stewardship Sunday – Sunday, Nov. 11th
Once more we have been reminded that storms will come our way. Our prayers are with our former Pastor, Rev. Norm Bendroth, and his church, First Baptist Church of Wakefield. As you know, a line of intense thunderstorms came through the area on October 23rd with a lot of lightning. Their church has burned down and as I type this, their Council will meet to discuss their future.
We are very familiar with storms. Nor'easters, hurricanes, and tornadoes greatly affect our lives from time to time. Weather is going to happen and a lot of times it catches us off guard even with advance notice. Living in Alabama most of my life, I have seen the traumatic impact of tornadoes and hurricanes and how lives are changed in an instant.
Storms are going to happen.
There is one thing that I can tell you that happens after the storms pass that is very positive. It helps us put life in perspective and remember what is most important. Time after time I have seen people respond and help their neighbor with compassion recover from a storm. Christians from all walks of life come together to help a family or person they don't even know. It is like the barriers we build around us come down and our souls are linked to others in such beautiful ways.
Storms don't have to be from the weather. 9/11 was a horrible storm. The gas explosions in Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover were a horrible storm affecting our neighbors very nearby. We were worried about families in our congregation and dear friends that we know. Our church was able to mobilize quickly to collect supplies to help! And then there are the personal storms that we have in life that affect us in such profound ways that sometimes we cannot describe them in words.
Jesus calmed a storm one day. It was such an important event that it was recorded in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25. The stories are similar in that Jesus is with the Disciples on the Sea of Galilee and He calms a storm that comes out of nowhere. The Disciples were afraid. Just like the Disciples, storms may cause us to be afraid at times. Matthew and Mark record that the Disciples woke Him up and asked if He even cared about the storm. Luke records the Disciples were fearful of drowning.
But Jesus, after quietening the storm and bringing stillness, reminds the Disciples of their faith. Faith is important. Faith gets us through storms. Miracles happen because people get back up and rebuild because of faith. They trust God that things are going to work out in the end. Hope comes from faith and it is very powerful.
Our hearts and prayers are with everyone in this world that is going through a storm. May they lean upon the gift of their faith in the midst of tears to persevere.
I saw on the news that at the First Baptist Church in Wakefield a picture of Jesus survived without being burned. The person interviewed shared how special this was to her and how much hope it gave. It reminds me of when Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee that day. He was right there in the middle of it.
Again, storms are going to happen. We can't stop the weather. Some are caused by misguided and lost people. From time to time we cause our own. And there is Jesus, always there in the storm, bringing stillness. So when the storm comes, stop, take a breath, listen for Jesus, and know that He is present.
The Chelmsford Community Band, directed by Lucinda Ellert, will be presenting their fall concert at the Chelmsford Senior Center (75 Groton Road, N. Chelmsford) this coming Sunday afternoon, October 28th, at 2:00 p.m. This concert is free and open to the public with a free will offering, and the theme is Prost! An October Fest of Slavic inspired music which includes Die Moldau by Smetana, Slavonic Dances by Dvorak, Bohemian Dances by Woofenden and Steppes of Central Asia by Borodin. Come and cruise the bake sale table and relax to some great music!
Holiday Friends will meet on Thursday, November 1st at 9:00 am in the Vestry. We need capable hands and creative minds to help decorate both medium and small Christmas trees. We have lots of supplies—trims, pinecones, colorful balls and assorted ribbons. Bring a purchased hot beverage, if you’d like, and come and join us for a morning of fun and fellowship as we work together on various projects for our Church Fair!
At a recent library discussion on pies, the subject came up, do you prefer the crust or the filling? Most said, ‘the crust’. Many years ago, it was the ‘filling’ that was popular because the crust was made from a slurry of flour and water and baked hard. You won’t have to answer that question at this year’s Pie Social on November 30th. Come and enjoy a delicious homemade pie. Of course, pies are needed for this popular event! More information will be available during Coffee Hour next month.
Please be aware that we are in need of a Co-Chair to help Trish Keddie organize and run this event. Contact Trisha at 978-677-6013 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be willing to help!
We will choose our Secret Sisters during Coffee Hour this coming Sunday!
Secret sisters is a prayer partner program. “Sisters” pray for each other throughout each month. Then, once a month, sisters send their secret sister a note to let them know they are being thought of. You can make cards, buy them, or just send a hand-written note!
If you want to send a small gift, you can do that too! Just place it in the Secret Sister Basket outside the church office. It will be delivered for you! Keep in mind your Secret Sister will be a secret until the end of the year tea in May.
Holiday Friends still needs volunteers. We’ll look at what’s in our closet, sorting items and begin the process of creating ideas for this year’s offerings. Items sold and created by Holiday Friends often generate much interest at our fair, from table arrangements, both dried and natural, to painted slates, door wreaths, hearth and cemetery baskets.
Anyone wishing to pre-order wreaths should contact Pat Takach.
If you are looking for something interesting to do, contact Pat Takach or the church office for more information.
Holiday Friends will meet on Thursday mornings during the month of November to get ready for our Fair. We are in need of some donations, such as a good pair of wire cutters, and information about access areas in town where we can cut fresh greens. We are always looking for donations of nearly new artificial greens. A workshop has been scheduled for Monday, October 29th at 7 pm in the Vestry for those who may not be able to help Holiday Friends during the daytime.
Please contact Pat Takach (email@example.com) if you can attend this hands-on workshop or if you wish to pre-order wreaths.
On Sunday, October 21st, we will be taking up a special offering during worship for victims of Hurricane Michael and Florence, which will go to UCC Disaster Ministries.
Check out the website for additional opportunities to assist with short and long-term recovery efforts. Spread the word!
We have some new items for Lost & Found! Don't forget to check out the Lost & Found bin, located right outside the church office, underneath the inboxes. We have keys, clothing, glasses, a hat, an umbrella, even a book! We even have beach towels!
Almost ten years ago at the church I was leading I had worked hard on a sermon series about stewardship. Just before the worship service in which I would preach the first sermon, I met a lady visiting the church for the first time. Overjoyed to have her visit, I talked with her for a few minutes and thanked her for joining us for worship. Then I got to hear why she was checking out the church.
Apparently, she was looking for a new church home because all her previous pastor did was "talk about money" amongst a list of other grievances. I can hear her like it was yesterday. She said, "I'll never forgive him or the church. All they did was beg for money hand over fist. I'm praying for a new start today in a church that doesn't talk about money." And here I was about to preach three sermons about giving and stewardship. Did she come back? I think you know the answer.
Sometimes I wonder if we humans keep an Excel spreadsheet of times we have been hurt. Maybe not literally but in our head. It probably has the names of those that have hurt us and all the things they did. The sad thing is you and I may be on someone's list too. If we are not careful, the hurts can overwhelm the joys. This leads us to maybe being defensive, building walls, and finding ways not to forgive those that have hurt us. It's like the spreadsheet gets bigger and bigger.
In Matthew 18:21-35, Peter was bold enough to ask Jesus about forgiveness. Should I forgive seven times? Jesus said seventy-seven times. Then He tells a parable about a servant that begged his king to forgive him for a massive debt. Basically, Jesus equated it to a massive amount...ten thousand bags of gold! There is no way that kind of debt could be paid back. The king, in his great mercy, forgave ALL the debt. Jesus compared this to "the kingdom of heaven."
The servant, however, wasn't like the king. He would not forgive the debt of another servant who owed him a hundred silver coins. The servant who could not pay was thrown into prison. The king heard about this and was not happy. Let's just say it was not a happy ending for the guy who was relieved of the debt of ten thousand bags of gold.
Jesus was telling Peter that you can't forgive like "the law" he was taught growing up. Keeping count like a team against its rival is not going to work. Having a spreadsheet tally isn't going to work either. If he did, the past would always be like a prison holding him captive. You will always remember what happened and the hurt, but forgiveness changes what is coming our way. It also helps in how we look at the past. It doesn't have to be a prison anymore. This is what happens in the kingdom of God.
Let me leave you with these wonderful words of wisdom from Rev. Dr. David Lose. He beautifully connects the parable and what Jesus did on the cross together:
"But please let me be clear: if we want to avoid hearing this parable (Matthew 18:21-35) as saying that we should allow people to treat us badly, we also want to avoid commanding people, let alone threatening them, that they have to forgive. Forgiveness, like love, cannot be commanded or forced. But we can pray for it, for the ability to forgive those – alive or dead – who have hurt us, even if we have distanced ourselves from them for good reason. And we can pray that we forgive ourselves some of our own regrets, mistakes, and hurts, and even the inability to forgive others. And we can pray that we are able to accept the forgiveness of others when it is extended. And above all, we can pray that God keeps bringing us to church week in and week out so that we hear of God’s intention and promise to forgive us and to form and fashion us into a community of love and forgiveness, a community, that is, that sees in Jesus’ cross the token of God’s pledge to forgive all and in Jesus’ resurrection the always present possibility of an open future."
Saturday, October 13th, marked the 100th anniversary of Tewksbury Congregational Church and Town Hall, which then was right next door, being destroyed by fire. According to the Lowell Sun, it was started in the church kitchen by an unknown person who had gained access to the church and lit the gas stove. The church had actually been closed for a couple of weeks on account of a flu epidemic.