Green Steeple Messenger October 2020
HOPE + GENEROSITY = STEWARDSHIP
A wise church member came up with the above equation which succinctly expresses what stewardship means. Hope believes that, through God, the future will be better than the past. Generosity believes that sharing resources reveals love and builds community. Put these two powerful concepts together and you have Stewardship.
Stewardship is about participating with God in bringing about the future God intends for all of creation. It is about recognizing the blessings received from God and committing one’s self to sharing those blessings with others. Stewardship is not about earning a spot in heaven or paying one’s dues. Stewardship is our joyful response to God’s grace already given. It is a spiritual discipline which strengthens our faith and our communities.
First Baptist has a strong tradition of Stewardship. Generations of members have given of themselves to support the ministries of our church and our local, national, and international ministry partners. Our giving honors those who have gone before and strengthens the foundation for those who will come in the future. In this extraordinary year, members and friends have sent in their pledges and offerings even though we have not met in person since March. For this, we are very grateful. We have been able to continue our ministries of service, education, and fellowship, even expanding our church school program to include Sunday Summer Camp, while gathering faithfully every Sunday on Zoom and Facebook. We know that 2021 will be a challenging year on many levels but working together, we can have confidence that God guides us and that our ministries will continue to share God’s love with the world.
In this newsletter are thoughts about Stewardship from a variety of church members and I invite you to think about what stewardship means to you. Later this month you will receive our Ministry Plans for 2021. May we continue to work together to fulfill God’s call for First Baptist.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor
|Newsletter Deadline for November is October 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
WORSHIP ON LINE FOR OCTOBER
Because of the social distancing requirements of this time of pandemic, it has been decided that Sunday morning worship, and all church gatherings will continue on Zoom and Facebook for October.
Sunday Worship Services
Oct. 04 – The Heavens are Telling
World Communion Sunday
Oct. 11 – Proper Dress for a Wedding
Oct. 18 – Heads or Tails
Oct. 25 – Sibling Rivalry
All Ages – Isaac & Rebekah
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE AND FELLOWSHIP
BIBLE STUDY IS BACK! –Our Weekly Bible Study has resumed on Zoom. If you have not been part of the Bible Study before, this is a great time to join a lively group. We are studying John the Baptist as he is portrayed in the 4 Gospels. How does his portrayal differ among the gospel writers? What can we learn from his witness to Christ? The Zoom login is
For those calling in –
Dial +1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 868 9711 2158
For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at email@example.com.
ANTI RACISM is the topic of a zoom discussion group that will meet on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at 7pm. We are reading How To Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi. The Zoom information is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87519609036?pwd=dVFEeENVc2tuSkxHbk81Q2dHZXVMdz09
Meeting ID: 875 1960 9036 Passcode: 421309
To dial in – +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) Meeting ID: 875 1960 9036 Passcode: 4213
“The Power of Hope”
Since I became ill in May, I have been aware of God’s many Blessings to me and have been aware of the power of Hope.
Hope rises above hard times. If you have HOPE you will inspire others to have hope. Confide your deepest Hope to God. Believe that He will hear them and deliver back what is best for you.
Remember, Hope is the way when there seems to be no other way.
MUSIC AT FIRST BAPTIST
Because of the pandemic strictures on singing, our Chancel Choir will not be gathering at present. Instead we will continue with recorded special music offerings for our worship services and we need volunteers! Evan Allen is available to record accompaniment tracks and Anna Roy is available to help anyone learn a new piece of music. Recorded audio or video can be emailed anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 GIVE+. 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.
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!
CHURCH SCHOOL NEWS
Church School started September 13th over google from 11-11:45am. Join here: meet.google.com/xdt-pade-jvu
If you have not received the October materials packet in the mail and want to participate, please email email@example.com so she can mail a packet to your family!
Remote Church School is calling all storybook enthusiasts! We need guest readers! Please email Jeneve Joslin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. A huge thank you to Cindy Little for being our first remote guest reader on 9/27! And Peg Randall for signing up for 10/11! This is a fun way to get to know our church school students and to keep us all connected during these challenging times!
Interested in a small group outdoor church school hike or walk? Steve Lewis is available to lead some students in some church school outdoor exploration activities. Please email email@example.com if you are interested!
WORLD MISSION OFFERING
This year’s World Mission Offering theme is “I once was blind, but now I see.” We are seeing God at work in so many hopeful and encouraging ways through our global servants and global partners. When confronted with uncertainty, we as Christians have the opportunity to respond with faith in Jesus. Consider prayerfully how your faithful giving and prayers could be used by God at this moment to impact the lives of many in need of him around the world today. . . until it is on earth as it is in heaven.
During October, we will have our usual World Mission Offering. This year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Mission Conference was live streamed and those recordings have been available to First Baptist from IM. This will be a great opportunity to visit our American Baptist global servants, live from around the world and watch and listen to the music of worship teams. Each viewing is 30 minutes long and the plan at this time is to have a zoom presentation after our regular zoom church service, each Sunday starting September 27.
FBC will only serve ANEW Place one night on Sundays. New Moon Café is serving meals Monday thru Saturday – not Sundays. So, Sundays are open for us to volunteer.
Thanks to Sarah Dopp, Ed Bigelow and Betty Capponi for providing the meal on Sept. 20.
A big thank you to Cindy and David Little, Penny Smith and Sarah Dopp for making soup for the Sunday, September 20th feeding of the homeless and low income at the First United Methodist Church. We need one volunteer to make 6qt. of homemade soup on October 18.
UVM Rally Cat’s Cupboard
UVM has a Rally Cat’s Cupboard (food shelf) to help support students and staff with food insecurity. Churches are being encouraged to contribute to the Cupboard. Our United Governance Board has approved the accepting of monetary donations during the month of September for the benefit of the Rally Cat’s Cupboard. Make checks out to First Baptist with UVM Rally Cat’s Cupboard in the memo.
We are still accepting contributions. With this money, Sarah Dopp and Joan Taylor will purchase and deliver the food to the Cupboard.
You can also help struggling families within our church community by giving to our Fellowship Fund. Consider contributing the amount you would spend on food purchased, if we, at First Baptist, had a receptacle for the Rally Cat Cupboard food donations and a “food shelf” for sharing food within our church community.
JUMP’s FLEX Assistance Support (FAS) now offers $50 utility assistance as an option for eligible participants with proof of residency. Participants can apply every 3 months.
How to apply-
Online: complete and submit FLEX Application (visit JUMP website, Flex page: www.jumpvt.org Or
Mail in: Flex Application to JUMP, P. O. 1657, Burlington, Vt. Or
Call JUMP: Complete FLEX Application by phone, 862-4501
Dear Church Family,
I am grateful for the many prayers, thoughts, cards and well wishes from everyone throughout my surgery and recovery. I am now entering the 2nd phase of recovery starting cardio rehab sessions. Feeling well and looking forward to complete recovery!
Thank you for all your support and caring. ~ Jeneva Burroughs
Dear Church Family,
I wish to thank everyone for their many thoughts, prayers, phone calls and cards during the time I was ill and through my recovery. I am feeling well and preparing to move on October 2.
~ Connie Nutter
Thoughts on Stewardship…
Mike and I have pledged to the ministries of First Baptist Church for many years. We believe in the importance of the Word and the work that our church has continued through the decades. My relationship with First Baptist Church is vitally important to me. I have deepened my faith through participation on many levels; most recently through the Church’s book studies focused on racism and antiracism. I feel fortunate that our personal circumstances have allowed Mike and I to continue honoring our pledge during this era of pandemic and we plan to continue our support in 2021. Giving within our means is an important ministry each of us can do. As Karen says each Sunday, though we are not gathering in person the work of the church goes on. I want to highlight some of the work and ministries going on in spite of challenging times.
Our Church’s overall income has dropped as an effect of the pandemic and due to the loss of the YMCA daycare. Early on the Unified Governing Board (UGB) supported continuing to pay all church employees because we need them, to prevent layoffs and as a ministry. We were aided in this through obtaining a government supported PPP loan and additional budget support from our undesignated funds with TPF Board approval. The PPP loan was accomplished through the efforts of Pastor Karen and our Treasurer, Chris Thompson. Chris is now in the process of applying for the PPP loan to be converted to a grant. A new daycare provider has been found due to the efforts of Pastor Karen and some members of the UGB. At a financial cost, certain building improvements along with the efforts of our Sextant have contributed to the daycare’s decision to make First Baptist its new location. More than ever, supporting the availability of child care is a crucial ministry for our community and a financial support for our Church’s ministry. The security of the Sunday School rooms is being improved with new door handles and locks.
It’s not all about the building though. Since March we have completed the Spring Church School session via Zoom. Jeneve, our Director of Christian Education, has conducted two summer camp sessions, purchased curriculum for 20-21 school year, planned the fall sessions, supported the co-teacher and volunteer readers. Church School is ongoing. She has also spearheaded the back to school supplies ministry, supported families, designed and analyzed our Church questionnaire concerning future worship possibilities. Also, Mission Team programs of donations to local service organizations, National and World missions and feeding ministries are ongoing. Choir members have been supported by Anna Roy’s outreach. Worship is enhanced by Even Allen’s instrumental offerings. Pastor Karen and other music minded folks have been doing their best to keep music a part of our worship experience. As a UGB member, I can foresee the importance of some technology equipment and system upgrades which will enhance our ability to continue providing access to our worship from home. Karen is leading our online worship, supporting congregational members, maintaining important community relationships and bringing new opportunities for ministry to our attention.
I know this is not a complete summary neither of all that’s going on nor of all that’s planned but I appreciate the work of the church that has been highlighted. I hope you will join Mike and me in continuing to give what we reasonably can to support the present and the future of First Baptist Church.
~ Lois Lynch
More thoughts . . .
Wikipedia declares stewardship to be “a theological belief that humans are responsible for the world, and should take care of it. … In Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, stewardship refers to the way time, talents, material possessions, or wealth are used or given for the service of God.” Most often we hear the word stewardship in the fall when the church is building the budget for the following year in relation to making a pledge to support the work the church will undertake.
However, good stewardship is more than just giving money. Good stewardship includes how we share ourselves with others who are less well off than we are. The wealthy person who needs to be reminded there is more to life than money. The homeless beggar who needs a bowl of soup or a warm jacket. The neighbor who needs someone to listen to their troubles. Good stewardship is really how we generously share ourselves (time, abilities and money) to keep hope alive in those we brush by on our life’s journey. We may never see or know how our stewardship has affected another person’s life. However, God sees it and that is what really matters.
~ Frank Swasey
Unified Governing Board October Update
At the September 9 meeting, the Unified Governing Board began to reflect on the things we have learned during the pandemic. We are discussing what practices should be continued (or not) even afterward, whenever the pandemic has passed. And it will surely pass, though patience and hopefulness are needed a while longer. One thing everyone agrees on is that ZOOM (and maybe Facebook) should continue in parallel with in-person gatherings. These tools have helped us stay connected with old friends in distant locations, or people who might not be able to drive to church, and also new friends, or members who are away travelling.
We are actively planning for the fall stewardship time and tentatively considering a few special events which could be done in conjunction with safety protocols. We have yet to decide on when to return to the building for in-person gatherings. Most respondents to the survey wanted to wait a while longer, whether that be when we have a good idea about the success of school openings or when a vaccine is available. Some also favored a hybrid approach.
The UGB group decided on a “virtual” congregational meeting to handle two matters, by Sept. 27. Questions, responses and votes will be handled via email or real mail. All members should receive 3 Green Steeple weeklies with the details included.
Next Generation Daycare opened its doors on Sept. 16. We are so glad to welcome their staff and families! They have transformed the space very creatively. Elsewhere in this newsletter you will read of Church School plans and the Sept. 20 “feeding ministry day” on which we provided meals BOTH to the ANEW Place Shelter AND the Methodist Soup Supper! We are supporting a new food initiative by promoting financial contributions to the UVM Rally Cats Cupboard, to support food-insecure students. Racial justice silent vigils will continue on our steps on the first Sunday of each month. There is Zoom, Bible Study and a Book Group meeting.
The financial health of the church is pretty good -all things considered. There are several components to this – our PPP Loan, a recovering stock market, the return of an occupant in the Daycare space, and most of all the continued generosity of members and friends.
Thank you All!
~Sarah Dopp, Moderator
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 –
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
VIRTUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING RESULTS
Thank you to the 39 members who cast a vote on the two items we needed to act on. We exceeded the required quorum of 25. 37 voted affirmatively on both matters (Kathy Browne for Staff Relations and TPF Undesignated funds to pay for the driveway restoration). Two additional persons voted affirmatively on one item and abstained on the other, and vice versa.