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Celebrated annually on the second Sunday in October falls a nonofficial holiday called Pastor Appreciation Day. Sometimes called Clergy Appreciation Day, this holiday occurs during Pastor Appreciation Month and celebrates the contributions of priests, pastors, reverends and ministers in the U.S.
Don't forget to acknowledge and thank your pastor this Sunday when you see him!
On Sunday, October 1st, Massachusetts' only professional Symphonic Wind Ensemble-The Winchendon Winds-will present a concert of Classical Transcriptions, including the New World Symphony, Finlandia, Slavonic Dances and other pieces. Why is this of interest to us? Because the conductor of Winchendon Winds is our own Lucinda Ellert! The concert will be held at the historic Unitarian Church of Winchendon, 126 Central Street, Winchendon, MA, at 2:00 pm, free and open to the public. It's worth the drive and Lucinda will tell you how to get to the Gardner Ale House for dinner afterward!
At the heart of the Reformers was the conviction that Christ alone was necessary for salvation. Salvation is from the Latin salvus, which means healing. Salvation heals us from the wounds of sin—separation from God, one another and nature. Sin is “not the way it’s supposed to be,” as theologian Neil Plantinga puts it. The range of sin runs the gamut from our own self-centered pettiness, fits of anger and fickleness to the horrors of genocide, racism and unfettered materialism. Some days it’s easier to believe in the Devil than it is to believe in God when we see all the evil in the world.
Sin separates us from God. Isaiah told his people, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2). Paul told the Romans, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) The wage we draw from sin is spiritual death (and eventually physical death). No one is exempt. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3: 23)
That is why God judges sin because it ruins us and puts a gulf between God and us. Yes, God is love. But it is a holy love. It is not a mushy, sentimental kind of love, or “sloppy agape,” as a seminary professor of mine put it. It’s a tough love that holds us accountable to make us good. It is a love that goes to the cross for humanity to take all the hate, pain, evil, disobedience and even death into and upon God’s heart. The Judge was judged, if you will.
God must judge sin because of the damage it does to us and the world. However, judgment doesn’t have to mean punishment (sin often is its own punishment), but can also mean restoration. When we punish our children it’s not simply to vent our anger against an innocent child, but to help them see that actions have consequences. The road to happiness is found by living within certain ethical and moral boundaries.
Human beings make all kinds of attempts to reach God, the Holy, the Transcendent, the Other—through religion, philosophy, or good works, which are all good things. But we could no more reach the Holy God by our own efforts than we could jump flat footed across the Grand Canyon. The Olympic athlete might leap 20 feet out and the wheelchair-bound person only a foot or two, but either way, they both wind up on the bottom. That is why we need a bridge to God. Jesus Christ is that bridge. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6). The word John uses for way is hodos or road. Jesus is God’s road to us. The Reformer John Calvin puts it well. “God came to us as a human being so that human beings could go to God.” The point is we could not find God, but God found us.
Christ alone is all we need to find God. Not the Church, not the Bible, not the Great Traditions of the Church, not a resume of good and wonderful deeds we have done for the poor is needful to find favor with God. That is not to say that these things are unnecessary—they are! They are the tools, the means, the ways that help us to find God and stay connected.
While a lot of questions remain, for now, it is enough for us to know, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Tim. 1:15).
World Communion Sunday (originally called World Wide Communion Sunday) will be celebrated this Sunday, October 1st. The special Sunday originated in the Presbyterian Church (USA). The first time it was observed was on the first Sunday in October in 1936 in Presbyterian churches in the United States and overseas. From the beginning, it was planned so that other denominations could make use of it and, after a few years, the idea spread beyond the Presbyterian Church. In 1940, Jesse Bader, the executive secretary of the Federal Council of Churches (a predecessor body of the National Council of Churches) extended its practice to a number of denominations around the globe.
World Communion Sunday has become one of the most venerable of “special Sundays.” The day has taken on new relevancy and depth of meaning in a world where globalization often has undermined peace and justice – and in a time when fear divides the peoples of God's earth. On this day we celebrate our oneness in Christ, the Prince of Peace, in the midst of the world we are called to serve – a world ever more in need of peacemaking.
Twenty-one days into the autumn season, on Thursday, October 12th, Friendship Circle members have planned a visit to the Minuteman’s Visitor’s Center to watch a video and to the Old North Bridge. We may have time for visiting the Hancock-Clark House or the tavern on Lexington Green. We are eager for a glorious day, maybe a peek at Indian summer? Later, we’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
We’ll meet in the Vestry at 9:30 am and begin our meeting with prayer and a short devotional before carpooling to our destinations. We ask that you wear your walking shoes, plus bring money for lunch!
All women in our church are invited to attend Friendship Circle. Membership is not required. Normally our meetings begin at 99:30 am and are held in TCC’s Vestry, but our October meeting is different, as we have planned an outing. Come and join us! For more information, please call Mary Lou Adams at 978-851-5207.
I hope everyone had a good summer. There are lots of events in our churches. This is the calendar I distribute monthly with public events for our association churches.
Saturday – November 18, 2017
Joint Fall Gathering with Metro Boston Association
Celebrating 500 years of the Protestant Reformation
LOCAL CHURCH PUBLIC EVENTS
Saturday – September 30, 2017; 8:00 AM-2:00 PM
Yard Sale at CCU-Dracut
Lunch served 11:00-1:00
Saturday – September 30, 2017; 9:00 AM-3:00 PM
Yard Sale at FCC-Rowley
Saturday – September 30, 2017; 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
Community Appreciation Day at CCU-Lowell
Saturday – September 30, 2017, at 6:30 PM
Chocolate Fair at West Parish Church (Andover)
Tickets: $10, to benefit Greater Lawrence Boys and Girls Club
You're invited to join the Choir for supper, sing-a-long and fun times! This is an opportunity for the Chancel Choir to reach out, to have fun, to sing, to share some food and let you know we don't bite! We're planning this as a monthly event, and of course, you can stay for Choir Practice afterward!
Ist Thursday Choir Gathering: October 12th, 2017, at 6:00 pm in the Vestry
Please RSVP to the church office or Lucinda Ellert so we can plan accordingly!
To the Members of Tewksbury Congregational Church, greetings:
A special session of the 283rd Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, October 1st, 2017 at 11:00 AM in the Vestry to act on the recommendations of Tariela Trust Committee regarding the appropriations of the Tariela bequest for capital and outreach projects.
Christopher Jenkins, Clerk
After a very busy Spring and Summer, the Tariela Trust Committee formed by the church is ready to present its recommendations to the membership. On Sunday, September 17th at 11 am, the Committee presented its recommendations and reviewed the process and discernment it went through to get to them. The Committee has also submitted a warrant for a special meeting to be held after church on Sunday, October 1st to vote on these recommendations. Please grab your coffee and join us in the Vestry on October 1st!.Attached File: 61Tariela Trust Committee Recommendations Draft1.pdf
Since we are commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year, I thought I’d reflect for the next few weeks on its history, theology and meaning for us today.
In 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, strode down the street of his native Wittenburg, Germany, where he was a university professor. He stopped in front of the castle chapel and posted 95 theses condemning church practices of the day. At issue for Luther was the sale of what was called Indulgences. Rome needed money in order to build St. Peter’s Basilica, and in order to raise large sums, the Pope authorized the sale of Indulgences. By purchasing an indulgence, one could assure that either oneself or a loved one were spared a long stay in Purgatory—that waystation between Heaven and Hell. Rome made bundles of money by the sale of these indulgences—most from Germany.
What motivated Luther was his rediscovery of that great Christian doctrine known as “justification by faith.” By reading and re-reading Romans and Galatians, the Psalms and Hebrews, Luther affirmed that we are saved not by merits earned by human effort or bought in an indulgence sale, but by the grace, the undeserved favor of God in Jesus Christ. “Justification” means “to be made right with God,” “to have right standing,” “to be declared righteous.” To put it in the vernacular, to say that we are justified is that God now sees us “just as if we did nothing wrong.” Or, stated positively, “Just as if I did everything right.” Why? Because God says so, that’s why. Salvation is God's doing, not ours. God is so great, so gracious, that we don't have to contribute anything at all to our own salvation, not even the desire to be saved. As Paul put it, “We are clothed with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)
Four great theological principles are the foundation of our Protestant faith. They are known as the “solas.” Sola Scriptura (scripture alone), Sola Christus (Christ alone), Sola Fides (faith alone) and Sola Gratia (grace alone.) I will unpack each of these in the following weeks leading up to Reformation Sunday.
Luther started a Reformation that needs to continue in every generation. The church always needs to be re-forming, re-morphing, if you will, to address the unique needs of its day and to scrape off the crusty barnacles that time, habit and error have deposited on its hull. Where might TCC need reforming? It happens by God’s grace.
Thank you to all who have so generously signed-up to volunteer or supply treats for this Saturday's 9th Annual Zero Waste Day event. What a blessing it is to have full lists and lots of new helpers, too.
There is one final urgent need for which we are requesting assistance. The Trustees kindly allow us to use 10 TCC tables at ZWD each year, and Ralph Bliss has historically transported them for us. He has been called out of state unexpectedly this week and can no longer provide transport.
If someone has access to a pick-up truck (or other vehicle with storage capacity) and is able to move 10 tables from TCC to the Wynn parking lot between 7:30-8am on Saturday morning and then return to pick them up when ZWD ends at 1pm, we would be ever so grateful. Please reach out to Beth as quickly as possible at 978-677-8746 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need more details on ZWD? Please feel free to print the attached flyer and share it with your neighbors and friends. Facebook users are invited to LIKE Zero Waste Day, Tewksbury and RSVP to the 9th Annual Zero Waste Day event.
Thank you for all that you can do to help promote "drive thru donating and recycling" THIS SATURDAY, September 23rd, from 9am-1pm in the Wynn Middle School parking lot.Attached File: 85ZeroWasteDayFlyer2017.doc
If you wake up late on October 8th, have no fear! Wear your PJs to church and bring in a pair or two of fall/winter jammies for our friends at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston. They are excited to be the beneficiaries of this year's donation! The spokesperson, Jocelyn, wanted to remind the congregation that the older children and teens often get over-looked in these types of events, in favor of the many choices of cute sets for the young ones. They know many teens who would just love a new pair of lounge pants! Our collection will take place right in the sanctuary. If you do not have a child going up front for children's time, feel free to place your donation in the laundry basket at the front of the church before worship begins, or hand it off to a Sunday school student heading to the altar. Thank you in advance for your always generous offerings to this mission! Don't forget to wear your PJs!!
On Sunday, September 17th, we will be taking up a special offering during worship for the hurricane victims, which will go to the UCC Disaster Ministries
The TCC Missions Committee will graciously match contributions from the congregation, up to $1000.00, to aid survivors and victims of the storms.
Check out the website for additional opportunities to assist with short and long-term recovery efforts. Spread the word!
Along with our student sponsorship of young people around the globe, your Missions Committee recently sponsored 2 women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Patience Kayamba is a young, single woman with one little boy. Nakasi Badesire is raising 2 little boys with her boyfriend. Both women are grateful for our 12-month sponsorship. The year-long program will focus on four key outcomes for these women: Health and Well-Being, Family and Community Decision-Making, Social Networks and Safety Nets, and Earning and Saving Money. Along with our sponsorship, our prayers go out to these women that they can learn the skills they need to gain confidence and become active citizens in their community. Pictures of these women will be added to our sponsorship bulletin board in Fellowship Hall.