GREEN STEEPLE MESSENGER May, 2020
Standing at the Gate
We are standing at a gate, a threshold, between life before Corona virus and life afterwards. It is a liminal space, a time of transition and transformation. It is disorienting to reconsider how we do most everyday things, let alone how we do church. We grieve the loss of familiar routines and yet we have also discovered new blessings in these challenging circumstances. We recognize the deep need for hope and connection in a world awash with fear, grief, and suffering.
Two weeks ago, I asked three questions for all of us to ponder and the responses that I received gave thoughtful answers and even more questions to explore. How can we be a community at this time? Who are we missing/not reaching right now? How can we stay connected to those without computers or smart phones? Who is taking an inventory of needs and how can they be shared back to the community in a way the preserves people’s dignity? What happens to our Zoom/FB connection during the summer? What is the calling for FBC members? Is it ministry dollars or doing (hands on)? Is our faith based on the discipline of attending church? Can individuals achieve a deeper meaning of God and the universe alone or is it formed in collaboration with others? How do we use what we are learning now to strengthen our ministries in the future? How do we make the Reign of God present in this time and place?
These questions reveal deep thought and faith. They encourage us to keep asking questions and to ponder the answers. Our community and our ministries are evolving. We are seeking to follow God’s call for us. We want to remain connected and to reach out to others. We want to serve God by serving others in need. We can move through this gate with confidence that Jesus, our Gate and our Shepherd, is with us always; guiding, comforting, and sustaining us. In this newsletter are new opportunities to be connected and to serve. Please continue to share your ideas and needs. It is a joy and a privilege to be in ministry with you.
Yours in Christ,
Karen A. Mendes, Pastor
Sunday Morning Worship Service 9:45
Office Phone: (802) 864-6515
Conference/Kitchen Phone: (802) 864-4721
Office Hours: Suspended until further notice
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site Address: www.fbcburlingtonvt.com
Visit us on Facebook
First Baptist Church, Burlington, Vt.
|Newsletter Deadline for June is May 15th|
GIFT OF TIME
During this time of social distancing, we can still share our time and attention through phone calls, email, cards and letters. In fact, these connections are more important now than ever! All of us are part of the First Baptist Visitation Team.
Please let Ray Sherrod know when you call or email a homebound member and friend at email@example.com.
or call 802-864-7179.
THE FIRST BAPTIST Facebook group is called First Baptist Burlington VT. In this group, each member can share announcements, make public prayer requests, and ask questions. We can have online discussions about sermons, current events, Bible studies, etc. Please join the group and invite others to join as well.
Sermons and Texts
May 3 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes
Scripture: John 10:1-10
Sermon: Jesus the Gate
May 10 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes
Scripture: John 14:1-14
Sermon: Welcome and Reassurance
May 17 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes
Scripture: John 14:15-21
Sermon: Love, Love, Love
May 24 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes
Scripture: Acts 1:1-14
Sermon: Look Up!
May 31 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21
Sermon: All Were Filled
Together in Spirit while not in Body
For the month of May, our Sunday morning worship services will be livestreamed via Facebook and Zoom. You can find us at the church Facebook page, First Baptist Church, Burlington, VT. If you are not on Facebook, you can join the Zoom meeting. For Zoom Log in, please email the Church office .
To call in from your phone – Dial the following phone number and when prompted give the Meeting ID number that is seen below. It is a toll call, which should be fine for a cell phone, but expensive for a landline.
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 563 177 197
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE AND FELLOWSHIP
Mask Makers Needed!
Some of us are making cloth masks and some of us are in need of masks. Please let the church office know if you are in either category so that we can match up those in need with those who can help. The church can purchase fabric and supplies for those who sew.
Sermon Talk Back Zoom Group
Mondays at 9am
Gather on Zoom to discuss the week’s sermon and its application to our lives. If interested, please email or call the church office for the Zoom log in information.
Evening Zoom Group
Join with others in the evening (8 or 9pm) for weekly Fellowship and/or Bible Study. If interested, please email the church office with your evening preference.
Words of Inspiration and Cheer Wanted and Needed
While we are not in the building, we want to let our neighbors know that we are still thinking and praying for them by frequently updating our front sign and perhaps hanging a banner or writing with chalk on our front walk. We need your short words of inspiration, encouragement, and hope. Please email your ideas to the church office. Ideas for the front sign need to be 5 short words or less. Thank you!
If you have other ideas about ways in which to connect and serve,
please let us know!
“Keeping Our Faith Strong”
There’s nothing quite like having your daughter get married to the love of her life during the coronavirus outbreak. Honeymoon plans to Thailand were put on hold. A 4-day weekend in Puerto Rico was also put on hold. To shake hands, hug and kiss or to use hand sanitizer before and after? Purell on the table as parting gifts? As it turned out, we tapped elbows quite a bit! Yet it happened. 70 of the 92 people did get there. Friends and family were able to gather and bless this marriage as one. I know what my mother would have said, “Have faith.” We had a joyous gathering complete with a New Orleans band parading down the aisle as we all followed out onto the sidewalk terrace. “Faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love.” These are not easy times with the coronavirus running rampant. We need to stay connected as humans thrive off of staying connected with friends, family and even everyday acquaintances. We cannot let loneliness set in for anyone. Not a good feeling. We are a church family! So how do we do that if we’re supposed to keep our social distance? We join together weekly on Facebook and Zoom or by phone. Join together in worship of God.
The children have a Zoom Sunday School class. We have the internet for emails and I realize not everyone does, we can call each other, write notes and cards and text, if possible. It will take some effort but we’ve all got time! Get creative! Faith is so vital to our lives. Think about how your faith has brought you where you are today. I leave you with a few quotes: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NIV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NIV
~ Cindy Little
HOME CHURCH CLUSTERS
During this time of social distancing, it is more important than ever to be connected (safely!) to our friends and neighbors. Please take some time to reach out to the church members and friends who live in your town. You can access the church directory through Instantchurchdirectory.com or through the Instant Church Directory app. If you need a paper copy of the directory, please email the church office and we can mail one to you.
PLEASE MAIL IN YOUR PLEDGE AND OFFERINGS OR GIVE ELECTRONICALLY through the Donate button on our church website:
http//www.fbcburlingtonvt.com or through the smartphone app called GIVEPLUS. Donations can be set for one time only or to be recurring. The cost to the church for this service is $10 a month and small transaction fees of 2.75% for debit/credit cards or 1.00% for ACH. These fees can be offset by adding that amount to your gift. Our ministries depend on the generous gifts of our members and friends. Thank you for your participation in sharing the love of God in our community and our world.
OUR MINISTRIES CONTINUE…
Below is a list of the Ministry Teams and their team leaders. Some teams are on hiatus but others are more important than ever. Please consider to which teams God may be calling you. You can reach out to the team leader for more information. Each of these three Ministry areas send 2-3 reps to the UGB meetings.
ABC Mission – Joan Taylor
ANEW Place – Betty Capponi
FUMC Soup Suppers –Joan Taylor
Cooperative Campus Ministries – Beth Gamache
Sister Church Initiative – Karen Mendes
Marathon Pasta Supper – Marie Morton
Public Relations – Sarah Dopp
JUMP – Kathy Browne, Joan Taylor
Welcoming – Pat Boyden
Visitation – Ray Sherrod
Communion – Cindy Little
Prayer Chain – Mark Paulsen
New Member Services – Karen Mendes
Prayer Topics – Marie Morton
Sanctuary Decorations – Mark Paulsen
Ushering – Andy Farrington, Mark Paulsen, Frank Swasey
Security – Andy Farrington
Worship – Mark Paulsen
Property (Fix It/Clean It) – Andy Farrington, Chris Thompson
Music – Steve Perkins
Church School- Jeneve Joslin
Special Events – Lois Lynch
Youth Ministry – Jeneve Joslin (interim)
Adult Christian Education – Jeneva Burroughs (interim)
Library & Educational Resources- Jeneva Burroughs
Stewardship – Stu Burroughs
JOIN THE COMMUNION TEAM
I am the leader of the Communion Team. If you’d like to help, and perhaps have never been asked, join my team! The main task for now is to contribute the communion prayer on the first Sunday of the month. This is a great team to join! Please email me at: Cindy.Little1955@gmail.com or call me at 893-4211. I’d be happy to have your help!
PRAYER TOPIC TEAM
I’m looking for your help in providing prayer topics for the last Sunday of the month! I am the leader of the new Prayer Topic Team and would love to have you join the team! There are several options available in helping: writing and delivering your message or having someone else deliver it for you; sharing your ideas about topics you’d like to hear about; offering to deliver a topic that has already been written, etc. – I’m open to any and all ideas! If you are interested in helping in any way and would like to join the team, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 893-2337.
MARATHON PASTA SUPPER RESCHEDULED
The Vermont City Marathon has been postponed until Sunday, October 25 so, mark your calendars now for our International Pasta Supper which will be on Saturday, October 24 at 6pm.
MEALS ON WHEELS NEEDS
The Age Well organization now provides the meals for most of
Western Vermont, including
Chittenden County. They are greatly in need of additional volunteers. It only takes about 1.5 hours and you can choose which day of the week and how
often you wish to help. You may drive and/or “run.” I do two Tuesday mornings per month and am happy to answer any questions. Please call if you’d like to help.
~ Sarah Dopp
The First United Methodist Church of Burlington are still continuing their soup and sandwich Sunday night supper for the homeless and low-income people. They are getting fewer people, but those who come, get to take out extra bags of food. Therefore, First Baptist needs volunteers to make two 6-qt. each of soup for Sunday, May 17. A recipe can be provided. Contact Joan Taylor, Interim Team Leader, if you can help.
A big thank you to Cindy and Dave Little, Kathy Browne, and Denise Stanley for providing soup on April 19. Cindy and Dave also provided a gallon of milk.
A BIG thank you to all who provided meals to ANEW Place the week of March 22nd to 28th: Ed Bigelow, Karen Mendes, Joan Taylor, Cindy & David Little, Sarah Dopp, Lois Lynch, Betty Capponi and Jill Soter.
On March 26, Kevin Pound, Executive Director of ANEW Place reported….
“With the help of Vermont’s General Assistance program, we were able to move all our hyper-vulnerable guests from both ANEW Place and the BTV Low Barrier Shelter to individual motel rooms. We’re staying connected with our long-term guests to make sure they’re staying safe and well” and “Responding often involves creating a 1-2week game-plan as the landscape changes and new crisis arise. One significant example is we needed to make sure our guests and staff at the BTV Low Barrier Shelter were better protected- 40+ clients and staff in a poorly ventilated basement made social distancing impossible. With a great deal of help from the Vermont Emergency Operations Center, the Burlington Emergency Operations, and Burlington Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront Dept., and VT Country Campers we are relocating our remaining 25 low barrier shelter guests to fully functioning campers at North Beach campground in Burlington. On April 8, Kevin reported “ As part of Vermont’s Stay Home/Stay Safe efforts during the COVID-19 crisis, ANEW Place will be preparing and distributing all meals internally beginning on Monday,
April 13. Case Manager Brian Hofmann, a sous-chef before entering social work, will be overseeing the process. We’re thankful to the Rock Point Retreat Center for graciously allowing us to utilize their commercial kitchen during this season.”
First Baptist made our quarterly contribution of $236 to Anew Place in April.
Kathy Browne, our church representative to the Board of Directors of JUMP, took part in a virtual meeting recently and reports “Funding is down – understandably- as they did not have their spring fund raiser.. JUMP has created a new program call FLEX which allows them to continue to provide resources of groceries and gas vouchers during this time in a more virtual way. On line applications are available on their website. JUMP staff are exploring adding a service along the lines of “Care calls” which will provide a way to connect and check in on their clients. This is just in development phase – more information on it in the future.”
First Baptist gave $1,416.25 in April…our quarterly contribution to JUMP.
ABC MISSION INCOME FOR SPECIAL OFFERINGS
Due to the generosity of our church members and friends, we have given $647 to the One Great Hour of Sharing for Puerto Rico and $455 to the America for Christ Offering since January of this year.
First Baptist Church School Remote Learning Update
Since mid-April, Church School students, parents and teachers have been gathering Sundays at 11am over zoom for scripture study, games, discussion, puppet shows, scavenger hunts and songs. Pre-recorded read aloud stories as well as craft templates, reflection prompts and resources have been available for families in our First Baptist Church Google Classroom. In April and May, families received packets of coloring pages, bible story memory cards, board games, scripture puzzles, bookmarks to color, family resources and more. A huge thank you to Marie Morton for her help printing, assembling and mailing all of these packets to our Church School Families!
We have updated our curriculum and are ready to continue with remote learning through the end of the church school year. We continue to pray for creativity, innovation and fast internet speed as we navigate a new way of connecting, modeling and guiding our students. We pray that sooner rather than later we can return to our beautiful church and classrooms. We pray that we can sit in a circle together, roll up our sleeves, paint, cut, glue things and be silly.
The process has not been without obstacles to overcome! But we are grateful for them and the lessons they are teaching us! We are very grateful to be able to continue our programming and stay connected with our community of faith. We are learning, growing and strengthening our characters. We deeply appreciate the perseverance and patience of our families, teachers and students.
If you have any ideas, please email me at Jenevefbc@gmail.com.
To join or view our Google classroom:
1. Please email Jeneve at Jenevefbc@gmail.com for connection details.
2. Click the + button on the top right of your screen
3. enter our classroom code: 74umqjk
Unified Governing Board Update –
Since I last summarized the activities of the UGB, the group has met via Zoom on three occasions (4/14,4/28 and 5/1). Many of you have been connecting with the Sunday morning services through Lent, Holy Week and now the Easter season. The number of participants has been gratifying and friends “from away” have also been present, which has been a blessing! We definitely want to continue these “virtual” services even after we return to the building! It’s so good to have Evan on the organ and “special music” being added. Thanks to Mark Paulsen and Jeneve Joslin for doing logistical support for Zoom. The quality of the experience improves every week. A few modest expenditures for equipment and music licensing are needed to support the ongoing use of technology.
Another great thing has been the continuation of Church School on Zoom and through packets of activities sent to homes. Jeneve Joslin, Lois Lynch, Rowan Oberbrunner and Marie Morton have made all this happen. FBC made our contributions to the FUMC Soup Supper on April 19. The next opportunity is on May 17. On the property front, Andy worked with the furnace people to correct the issues we had been having about circulating heat to the 2nd and 3rd floors. It was a matter of fixing pump valves.
Many UGB members and other from the congregation have been busy during April reaching out to many members and friends of FBC by phone or cards and notes, checking in to be sure they are doing well, and in some cases discovering needs which the church could meet (shopping, errands, prayer concerns, rides, etc.). Those making the calls have been blessed by these conversations, as well as those receiving them! This project continues as the weeks of the pandemic go on.
We became aware, through Dale Edwards (ABCVNH Executive Minister) that all churches in the VT/NH Region (along with other non-profit organizations) were eligible to apply for the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program. As the UGB, we did decide to apply. The Program gives 8 weeks of support for payroll expenses, plus 25% can be applied to utility expenses. We were too late for the first round, but we reapplied for the second. Chris Thompson did the necessary paper-work with North Country Credit Union. We have just been informed that we are approved for a loan of $13,420. This is a loan and there is no guarantee that it will be forgiven. But in most cases, they have been turned into outright grants, once the grantee files documents showing that the funds were used as purposes during the loan period. There were concerns expressed by some UGB members regarding whether we need this help more than other organizations, whether any Church/State conflicts arise, and whether we’d want to take on a financial obligation. Other UGB members expressed that we have no control on who gets approved for this program, that our anticipated income streams are indeed reduced and will likely continue to be during the emergency, and that having the support will allow us to continue to serve community needs. As to Church/State Separation, there are few denominations as committed to this as ours, and both the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) and the Baptist Joint Committee have determined that this program does not conflict with Baptist principles. In the end, the UGB voted Yes-12, No-5 in favor of accepting the loan (we hope, grant).
Soon the UGB will begin to formulate plans for that eventual day when we can gradually open our building, worship, and service once again, while following official guidance. Be brave, patient, and faithful in these difficult days. Region (along with other non-profit organizations) were eligible to apply for the Small Business AdministrationsH
~ Sarah Dopp, Moderator
2020 Scholarships available from Christian Education Board
Scholarships are available for students enrolled in college or career training. To be eligible you need to be a member of or attending one of First Baptist Church’s two worship services. You need to be enrolled full or part time in a college/university/graduate school or post high school training program.
The amount of each scholarship depends on the number of qualified applicants. Our policy is to support every student associated with our congregation to the extent possible.
Application forms are available by emailing the church office at: email@example.com. The deadline for application submission is May 18. Scholarships are usually awarded in the summer.