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					              First Congregational Church
                of Raynham, U.C.C.
                   785 South Main Street Raynham, MA 02767
                  Church 508-822-6177 Parsonage 508-824-4816

                     May 2011 Newsletter
From Our Pastor:
My invitation to the royal wedding must have
gotten lost in the Royal Mail. This is rather
surprising, since Prince William and I are
cousins. Of course I’d have to trace back
about thirty generations to find the
connection, so I would have to admit that we
aren’t closely related.

The truth is that we are all related. If you
were able to go back far enough, you could
find a connection between any family trees.
Granted, you might have to trace back
thousands of years, but the connection would
be there. We are all connected because we
are all human, descending from the family
tree of humanity, which has its origin in
God’s creation.                                 The Stone Church Yard Sale will be held on
                                                May 21st 8:00am -230pm.
Better still, we who follow in the way of       You are welcomed to bring your items
Jesus are more closely related. We are like     furniture, clothes, toys etc. to the
brothers and sisters in faith. (Which is why    church basement (new addition) at these
people in some churches refer to each other     times:
as brother and sister). Claimed through the
love of God made known to us in Jesus, we       Friday May 6, 4pm-7 pm
belong to God and to each other. So we          Saturday May 14, 1pm - 4pm
really are kin in spirit.                       Saturday May 21, 7 am Only.
                                                Sorry, but we cannot take electronic items.
                                                All proceeds from the sale will be given to
                                                the church.
                                                A bake sale is also in the works, stay tuned,
                                                and please check your email or bulletin for
Call Barbara Reece 508-823-1166, with all
questions.                                              Christian Education Notes
PARISH NOTES                                     The next CE Meeting is May 15th. All are
                                                 welcome to attend. We meet in the first/second
                                                 grade classroom after church.

                                                 Children's Sunday is coming fast. We are
                                                 planning a picnic at Borden Colony directly
Funeral services for retired Fire Chief          following the service on June 12th. The Sunday
Raymond Chappell were held at the church         School is extending a church-wide invitation for
                                                 all to attend this picnic! And as always, say a
on April 11. Our prayers are with his family.
                                                 prayer for sunny skies!
Crew Peter Skurla, the son of Shawna and PJ      This year's Heifer Project wrapped up with a
Skurla was baptized on April 10. Crew’s          pancake breakfast on Palm Sunday for all the
grandparents include Mike and Sheryl             Sunday School Children. Many Thanks to Laurie
Scanlan.                                         McGeever for organizing this breakfast and
                                                 Sharon Niles for the sunflower seed planting
                                                 activity. It was a fun day for all!!
Women's Fellowship News
The Women’s Fellowship will hold their
annual retreat on April 29 through May 1 in
Salem. The women are prepare for lots of
fun, fellowship and shopping!

                                                       Sunday School Pancake Breakfast

Confirmation June 12                             Children’s Sunday June 12
The Confirmation Class has been busy with        The Sunday School children will be featured
lessons of faith and the ways of the church.     in our worship service on June 12 as we
On June 12 the Confirmation Class will be        celebrate the conclusion of Sunday School
joining the church. Please be sure to            classes on June 12.
welcome them as they make their
membership official!                              CHURCH PICNIC INVITATION
                                                 Everyone in the church is invited to
                                                 our Church Picnic at Bordon Colony
        American Girl Doll                       after worship on June 12.
      Tea and Fashion Show
Date: May 15, 2011
Time: 1:30 – 3:00                                Thank You Brian!
Bring your favorite American Girl Doll in her    Our wonderful, oversized Christmas tree is
favorite outfit. Enjoy Tea, juice and assorted   gone from the front lawn of the church, but it
snacks. All are Welcome.
left some beautiful memories! Thanks are in
order for Brian Glavin who removed the tree!
Applications are available for the First
Congregational Church Scholarship Fund.
These scholarships are available to young
people who have been involved in the church
during their high school years as they enter
degree-granting programs. Please see Rev.
Tilbe for an application, which must be
returned by May 15. Scholarships will be
awarded in June. There will also be a special
collection to benefit the scholarship fund –
helping it remain a resource for our young
                                                 Mark your calendars now!
                                                        Strawberry Festival
                                                      Saturday, June 11, 2011
                                                  See the June newsletter for more details.

                                                    Remembering The Holy Week
Trustees Plan Clean Up Day                               Floods of 2010
                                                During Holy Week of 2010 Eastern
Saturday, May 14                                Massachusetts experienced a period of
The Board of Trustees is planning a church
                                                serious flooding. Roads were closed and
clean up day for Saturday, May 14, beginning
                                                bridges were damaged. But when the water
at 9:00 AM. The plan is to clean up the
                                                receded the greatest damage was not easily
church grounds, trim some hedges and spruce
                                                seen: thousands of basements were flooded.
of the church. Your help is needed!
                                                Many of those basements (including some
                                                here in Raynham) required major cleaning
                                                and repairs. Mold grew in some basements,
                                                becoming a health hazard. Rev. Tilbe has
                                                been involved in the Southeastern
                                                Massachusetts Long Term Recovery Group
                                                that works to help people still struggling with
                                                these issues. The United Church of Christ
                                                provided safety equipment, including tyvek
                                                suits, masks, goggles and gloves, for those
                                                working to clear the debris. The UCC also
                                                provided $5,000 toward the expenses of the
                                                SMLTRG. This help was funded by our
                                                mission giving.
A Sermon by Rev. James A. Tilbe Preached April 24, 2011 Easter Sunday
John 20:1-18 “Christ is Risen!”

Sometimes parents get nervous when their children have something they want to say during the
Children’s Story. One day the pastor asked the children if they knew what happened on the first
Easter. One little boy’s hand shot up in a blink of an eye. He began to say that Jesus was killed
on the cross on Friday, his body was put in a cave, but on Easter he came up out of the cave. At
this point his parents were beaming, having raised such an intelligent and well informed child.
But he wasn’t finished. The little boy added, “When he comes out of the cave, if he sees his
shadow, we have six more weeks of winter!”

Perhaps the little boy was slightly confused about Easter, but who can blame him? He’s not the
only one!

On that first Easter morning those who experienced the greatest event in the history of the world
didn’t keep many notes. They recorded their experiences years later. I have wished many times
that they had recorded more of the details, taken a few pictures or maybe even some video. OK,
so the photographs and video were not possible at that time, but you know what I mean.

In defense of the followers of Jesus who experienced the first Easter, we have to remember that
in the course of a few hours they experienced all of the following:
      Fear for their own lives, that they might also be arrested and killed
      Grief and sorrow over the death of their beloved teacher
      Despair that the man they had followed and place their hopes in for three years, was dead
      A sense of duty, wanting to properly prepare the body of Jesus
      Intense confusion when his body was no longer in the tomb
      Ecstatic joy in the realization that Jesus was, indeed, alive again
If their heads were spinning, who could blame them? And today, if some seem a bit confused
about Easter, I can’t blame them either. Certainly, most people know that Jesus rose from the
dead on Easter. But the details seem to get blurred in many people’s minds. Many people can’t
recall what happened on Maundy Thursday, just before Easter. Sad, but true, some people don’t
know that Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday. And I’ll ask you this, how many of you know
what happened on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter? < pause > It’s a trick
question. Nothing happened on Saturday!

This Easter I have two important questions for you to ponder…

First, how long will your chocolate bunny last? Mine won’t last long. Ninety million chocolate
bunnies are sold each Easter season. That’s a lot of chocolate rabbits! Some people like to
save them for a while, and then eat them. Others can’t wait. I bite the head off to put him out of
his misery before I eat the rest. No matter how you eat your chocolate bunny, it’s only a matter
of time before the inevitable happens, and it’s gone. That’s the problem with all the side
attractions that we associate with Easter. They are wonderful, but they are temporary. The
candy only lasts so long. The leftover ham may seem like a lot, but it too will disappear into
sandwiches and casseroles. The lovely Easter plants will bloom, but those blooms only last for
days. But the central theme of Easter is eternity. The Risen Christ is for an eternity. He does
not fade away in a matter of days. Jesus rose from the dead triumphant, a triumph for today,
tomorrow and every tomorrow yet to come. It is a triumph that will never end.

My second question for you is this: when does eternity begin? Some people will say that eternity
begins after we die, once we have left this life behind and entered into the life that God has
promised us in Jesus. But I tell you this: eternity begins now. The promise of the resurrection
begins now. The assurance we have in Jesus is for life that is abundant, and that abundant life
begins now. The life that God offers is filled with hope, even in the midst of adversity. There is
peace, even when there are tears of sorrow. There is joy, even when life is difficult. All this is
because as the followers of Jesus we have his assurance that he will never abandon us, but
instead he walks along the road of life with us. The eternity of his promise to you and me begins

The account of the resurrection from John’s Gospel tells about three witnesses:
The first was Mary Magdelene, who went to the tomb and finding it empty, ran to tell the
disciples that something had happened. She didn’t quite comprehend it all. When the disciples
heard the news, two of them ran to see for themselves.
The second witness was a disciple whom John calls “the one whom Jesus loved,” who was
probably John himself. A younger man, he was able to beat Peter to the tomb. But he did not go
in. He stooped down to look inside the entrance, but if there were dead bodies in there, he
wanted no part of it.
The third witness was Peter. He might have been a little slower on his feet, but he was willing to
charge right into the tomb. That was Peter’s way – he acted first and thought about it afterwards.
Peter burst into the tomb that Jesus had just burst forth. He found the burial cloths lying where
the body of Jesus had been laid. John, summoning his courage, also entered the tomb and as he
would later write, “he saw and believed.” But neither stuck around to find out more.
Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb, still filled with sorrow and anguish. Jesus came to her,
but she did not recognize him through her veil of tears. Only when he called her name did she
realize that Jesus really was alive again. Tears of joy replaced the tears of sorrow!

So Mary became the first witness to the resurrection. Peter and John followed. Soon all of the
disciples had seen the resurrected Christ. Their fear driven away by the power of the
resurrection, they left behind their timid ways and proclaimed the power of the Risen Christ on
the streets of Jerusalem. Yes, they faced danger – arrest, imprisonment, even death. But the
power of the resurrection was stronger than anything they faced. One of the greatest proofs of
the resurrection is found in the action of the disciples. When Jesus was arrested they ran away
and hid, but once the power of the resurrection was known to them, they boldly risked – and
gave – their own lives so others might know that Jesus is indeed risen.

Mary was sent to tell the good news. We are also sent. All of us. All of us who have become
heirs of the resurrection of Jesus are charged to tell the good news. We are sent to proclaim that
Jesus lives again and has promised us eternal life with him.

Proclaim the living Christ by the way your live your life – show others the grace that God has
shown to you. Go forth to live as the people of the resurrection!

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