First Baptist Church Staff

  • Rev. Karen Mendes - Pastor
  • Marie Morton - Administrative Assistant
  • Steve Perkins - Director of Music
  • Adam Schneider - Organist
  • Open Position - Chancel Choir Director
  • Children’s Choir Director - Open Position
  • Keenan Handbell - Director
  • Steve Perkins - Instrumental Group Director
  • Chris Brault - Sexton

Officers of First Baptist

  • Sarah Dopp - Moderator
  • Mark Paulsen - Assistant Moderator
  • Mary Swasey - Clerk
  • Beth Gamache - Assistant Clerk
  • Frank Swasey - Treasurer
  • Erin Allard - Assistant Treasurer
  • Ginger Calder - Financial Secretary
  • Barbara Farrington - Asst. Financial Secretary
  • Sarah Dopp - Historian
  • Andy Farrington - Parliamentarian

Green Steeple Messenger

THE GREEN STEEPLE MESSENGER FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH 81 Saint Paul St. Ste. 1 Burlington, VT.   05401   VOLUME LX11  NO. 11                                                                November 26, 2017                                                           November 23, 2014
The Most Wonderful, Mournful, Joyful, Stressful, Meaningful Time of the Year   Advent is a time of heightened everything.  We look forward to this time of year and yet sometimes we dread it just as much.  Our emotions are close to the surface with both joy and grief amplified.  There is so much we want to do and so little time (it seems) to get it done.  This year our Advent anticipation seems more poignant as our world seems to be dizzyingly off-kilter.  We are bombarded by news of tragedies both natural and human-made.  Technology and media is changing at such a tremendous rate that it feels like reality is shifting under our feet.  How do we find the Prince of Peace amidst the whirlwind of the world?   First, we acknowledge that we are not alone.  God is with us at every moment, in every circumstance.  Whatever we are feeling, God never leaves us to fend for ourselves.  God is moving in the world whether we can perceive God or not.   Second, we acknowledge that the reason for this season is exactly this; “God with us”, Emmanuel.  All of this hoopla has grown up around the astonishing fact that in a time of great suffering and chaos, God Almighty chose to come to us as a tiny baby in order to share our experiences and to show the world the limitlessness of divine love.   Third, we acknowledge that there will always be more tasks and activities than we can ever accomplish in a month’s time.  The work of sharing Christ’s love for the world is a lifetime task so there is no need to be busy every moment from now until 2018.   This Advent, I invite you to rest in Christ’s love.   This newsletter is full of opportunities to experience the Prince of Peace amidst this extraordinary season.   May what you experience be a blessing to you and to God.   Yours in Christ,

      First Baptist Church Staff   Rev. Karen A. Mendes……………………… Pastor Marie Morton ………………… Admin. Assistant Steve Perkins. . . . Instrumental Group Director Adam Schneider …………………………Organist Interim Choirmaster Rachael Haar ………..Children’s Choir Director Chris Brault …………………………………Sexton

Officers of First Baptist

  Sarah Dopp………………………………..Moderator Mark Paulsen………………………Asst.Moderator Mary Swasey………………….…………………Clerk Beth Gamache …………………………..Asst. Clerk Frank Swasey……………….……………..Treasurer Erin Allard ………………………..  Asst. Treasurer Ginger Calder ……………….  Financial Secretary Barbara Farrington ………. .Asst. Financial Sec’y Sarah Dopp…………………………………Historian Andy Farrington………………….Parliamentarian     Sunday Morning Worship Service 9:45 Office Phone: (802) 864-6515 Conference/Kitchen Phone: (802) 864-4721 Office Hours: Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri. 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Thurs. 9am-3pm Email address: Web Site Address: Visit us on Facebook First Baptist Church, Burlington, VT            
Newsletter Deadline for January is December 15th    
                GIFT OF TIME VISITATION   The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 4 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In October, 1 “known visit” was made to 1 homebound member and 3 “known calls” were made to 4 homebound members by FBC members and friends. Also, 1 call was made to one other member. Cards were sent to homebound members and friends. The committee invites you to help with this ministry.   Please contact Ray when you visit or call a homebound member and friend at: 864-7179/or           December     Dec. 01 – Charlie Roy         02 – Diana Hall         03 – Daniel Calder                Peter Garrecht                Don Spawn         04 – Keith Lawrence                Jim Nutter         06 – Blu Sannaw Wah         07 – Noah Smith         09 – Penny Smith         10 – James Buker         11 – Agatha Amoah                 Don Dalton         12 – Ethan Gaylord         14 – Laurence Keeler         15 – Iris Roy         16 – Lucy Joy Croto         19 – George Keeler         21 – Andrew Proctor                Penilee Saulnier         22 – JoAnne Benis                 Emmanuel Amoah         26 – William Benjamin         27 – Judy Austin                 Holland Clark                 Priscilla Smith         28 – Kristine Croto         31 – Michael Comtois                 Peter Gaylord                 Todd Mugford                 Carolyn Vadeboncoeur                  Dec. 14 – Clayton & Gail Holmes      15yrs. 29 – Jim & Ginger Calder         38yrs. 31 – Doug & Marty French       50yrs.         SUNDAY WORSHIP Sermon Texts and Titles   Dec. 03 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes Scripture: Mark 1:1-8 Sermon: The Beginning of the Good News Dec. 10 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Sermon: Proclaim the Lord’s Favor Dec. 17 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes                                         Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 Sermon: God’s Light, God’s Love Dec. 24 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes Scripture: Luke 2:1-20 Dec. 31 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-6 Matt. 2:1-12 Sermon: Rise and Shine       YOUTH GROUP NEWS!   On Sunday, Nov. 12, a group of 11 youth and 6 adults gathered for our inaugural Youth Group meeting.  We shared laughter and pizza as we played Bible Pictionary and made plans for the rest of the year.  If you are a youth or know a youth who would like to participate, please speak with Rev. Karen.   Upcoming Youth Events: Dec.17 – Christmas Caroling Jan. 21 – Get Air Trampoline Park Feb.18 – Ice Skating Mar.18 – Bowling Apr.15 – Baking Day May 20 – To Be Determined   CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES Our Christmas Eve Survey revealed that our 11pm Candlelight Service remains an important and meaningful tradition for many.  We will gather to celebrate Christmas Eve at 9:45am and at 11pm.  Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us as we welcome Jesus’ birth!   GLAD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY! December 17 will be a glorious day as we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent.  Our worship service will include our Christmas Pageant, God’s Light, God’s Love. Our Karen community and members of the Namuna Nepali Church will worship with us and after the service we are all invited to a potluck fellowship meal.   After lunch, all are invited to go Christmas caroling to our homebound members and friends.  For more information contact the Church office.       Our Monday Bible Study is held on Mondays at 11:30am.  For the month of December, we will be exploring the Christmas stories in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, & John. Please join us and feel free to bring your lunch.  For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at or call the church office at 864-6515                    PRAYER TOPIC Diaconate Member Brenda Perkins   “Be Joyful”   Joy is not the same as happiness.  Joy is knowing that we are loved, that there is hope for us no matter what life may bring.  In this advent season, let the traditions and romance of Christmastide lead us to finding the real meaning of joy.         Church Greeting and Refreshments – We are offering two opportunities to serve on Sunday mornings by asking for both greeters and providers of snacks.  Feel free to sign up for both or only one or the other.   We invite you to donate flowers for Sunday worship.  Please sign up on the flower chart in back of the narthex for any Sunday of your choice or call the church office.         FRONT PORCH FORUM TEAM   We have a small group of FBC people who are willing to send out notices of our public events to their FPF groups.  We would like to expand our team to increase our public relations capability.  If you could help, please speak to a member of the PR Committee. Mark Paulsen Trevor Hanbridge Sarah Dopp         JOIN US IN MUSIC MINISTRY   Special music is welcomed at every service at FBC.  All members of the congregation are encouraged to share their talents throughout the church year to enhance our service and add special moments of diversity in worship.   If you would like to add your voice or instrument to any of the groups, we are open to folks who cannot commit to every rehearsal or service as well.  With advanced planning, it is possible to add flexibility to our music selections allowing a broader participation from all members of our congregation. Please contact Steve Perkins for more information or to sign up for a time to share.   GREEN STEEPLE CAFÉ on First Night:  Help needed on Dec. 30 and   Dec. 31.  Can you stir a pot, make sandwiches, ladle soup, take orders, flip burgers, cut up French bread?  If so, we need you!  And it is so much fun.  And… it raises money for the church.  There’ll be a sign-up poster soon.  If you’ve done this before, you know the drill. If you’re new to this, please speak to me.  There is definitely a place for you to help!  It takes 50 people to pull this off.  ~ Sarah Dopp   A Letter from Rev. Dale R. Edwards, Region Minister of the ABC Vermont/New Hampshire Region:   To The Burlington First Baptist Church,
  • I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks for your kindness and generosity toward the mission of the American Baptist Churches of Vermont and New Hampshire and toward the greater body of the American Baptist Churches. At a time when there are so many challenges and demands upon the local church, your commitment to the mission and the ministry of the wider body of Christ is deeply appreciated.
  • Your gifts to the United Mission program and the America for Christ offering are shared between our ministry in Vermont and New Hampshire and ministry across our country and the world. When local needs are so pressing, it is difficult to see the larger picture, let alone be faithful to the breadth and depth of Christ’s Kingdom.  I realize this giving is made with dedicated and sacrificial hearts.  Thank you for remembering the needs of other churches within our two states and the needs of our broader common mission.
    Once again, on behalf of all churches and the American Baptist broader mission, I thank you for your generosity. In Jesus’ name, Dale R. Edwards   In 2017, First Baptist will have given $8,754 to United Missions.  Our 2017 giving to America for Christ offering was $557.   First Baptist’s contribution to the World Mission offering was $503.  This will go toward helping American Baptist missionaries, world-wide.   Check the Mission Outreach Bulletin Board for the following:  
  • A thank you letter from Kevin Pounds, executive director of ANEW Place. He lists “specifics on how our gift empowers others to move forward” and what has happened over the past six months.
  • A staff wish list from the
            Janet Munt Family Center.  
  • The latest from Bill and Ann Clemmer as they continue to support relief efforts for the people in the unsafe, war-torn country of South Sudan. There is a personal note to First Baptist.
      Advent and Christmas Events for all Ages Celebrate the Season with your Family of Faith   Intergenerational Advent Craft Workshop Sunday, Nov. 26 Make Advent calendars, wreaths, and ornaments   Advent Bible Study – Mondays, Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11, 18 Join us at 11:30am to explore the Christmas stories in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, & John   Advent Songs and Stories Sunday, Dec. 3 Music and readings from the Christmas season will be shared during our Second Hour.   4th Sunday of Advent Worship – Sunday, Dec. 17 A wonderful day of celebration and fellowship. Intergenerational Christmas Pageant A Christmas Potluck Lunch Christmas Caroling to our less mobile members.   The Longest Night Service –Wednesday, Dec. 20, 7:00pm A Christmas service for those who mourn.       Christmas Eve Services  – Sunday Dec. 24 9:45am – A Service of Lessons and Carols 11:00pm – Candlelight Service   For more information please contact the church office. 864-6515,             CHRISTMAS PAGEANT VOLUNTEERS!   Calling all angels, shepherds, magi, Holy Families, directors, and crew!  The pageant will be part of our Sunday worship on Dec.17th with the rehearsal on Dec. 10th following worship.  Please speak with Rev. Mendes or Lois Lynch, CE chair, if you are interested in participating in any capacity. Having spent eight years as an ABC USA General Board member representing VT American Baptists, I worked with International Ministries and for missionaries around the world.  I believe our American Baptist missionaries and what they are doing in their mission work should be better known to our congregations. Currently, there are 114 missionaries serving in many countries and over the years, there have been 1300 IM volunteers serving, too. What money we give to the World Mission Offering goes directly to our missionaries as financial support. Members of our Mission Outreach Board here have chosen Sharon and Dan Buttry as two of our special Interest International Missionaries. Ann and Dr. Bill Clemmer (S. Sudan) have been our long time special missionaries, too. Rev. Dr. Dan Buttry has spoken twice at our church in recent years. The more recent message was about the fact that he carries a clean pair of socks in his pocket when traveling and not for himself! He wrote a book about socks entitled, We Are the Socks, and it is in our church library. Dan wrote in his November trip notes that he’s in Ukraine teaching and training conflict transformation with people from the eastern Ukraine war zone. Dan is often called back to give more training sessions and to observe how the participants are from his earlier training sessions. He also traveled to Rome to work with Italian Baptist leaders and to southern Italy to lead a workshop in non-violence with African migrants. His wife, Sharon, is serving along with him as an IM Global Consultant after working many years as the Director of Friendship House, a Neighborhood Action Program Christian Center, in Hamtramck (Detroit) Michigan. (There are several Friendship Houses in the States supported by ABC National Ministries.) Sharon’s work has been with children, their families and their many needs in the community. She was endorsed to serve part-time with Dan as a global consultant for community transformation and will continue her ministry in Hamtramck which is mainly with Muslim Bangladeshi and Yemeni ethnic groups. Central Seminary in KS has recently announced a new partnership with Dan, Sharon and IM related to the Buttrys’ work in Peace and Non-violence. Collaboration with Central will enable the seminary to be a center for global thinking through its partnership with other countries.                                  ~Nancy Tracy               New Books Looking for something to read? Lots of new choices now in the library! Here’s a look at a few of the titles:   Picture book for the younger set – My Name is Blessing – Based on the life of a real boy physically disabled at birth & put in an orphanage in Kenya, reminds us all to always look for the beauty inside.   For the beginning readerThe Christmas Stockings – A simple pair of socks brings happiness to a poor little girl and reminds us all that sometimes the simplest things bring the most pleasure. From the 2016 Best Seller listHillbilly Elegy – An extraordinary testimony to the brokenness of the white working class, but also its strengths.   Nourished: a memoir of finding faith & enduring love – Becoming your own person & finding your way in life can be a challenge.  The nourishing power of food can be one of the touchstones we all need to navigate the journey.     For the teen-age reader – This girl is different – What happens when a girl, homeschooled by her counterculture mother, decides to spend her senior year in public school.   A few more titles to tempt you:   Merry Christmas, Mr. Mouse   Dare to be KindHow extraordinary compassion can transform our world.   Christmas is coming! But waiting is hard – Family activities and devotions for Advent.   Colors of Christmas – Two contemporary stories celebrate the hope of Christmas.   For Sabbath’s SakeEmbracing your need for Rest, Worship, and Community.             ANNUAL REPORTS ARE DUE BY JANUARY 12TH THE RETIRED MINISTERS AND MISSIONARIES OFFERING   During the month of December, we contribute to a special thank you offering that is given to the American Baptist Retired Ministers and Missionaries and their widowed spouses in appreciation for their many years of service.   In 2016, ABCUSA gave more than 3,443 thank you checks.  A large portion of this offering is also used to provide emergency supports in crisis situations and financial assistance. Rev. Gordon Bourne, Ruth Losh, Rev. David O’Brien and Rev. Reid Trulson, retired executive director of International Ministries, will be among the recipients.  Please help us honor them with love and give with gratitude.   Feeding Ministry A big thank you to Nancy Danforth, Fern Sparks, and Caroline Vandevord for making a total of 18 quarts of soup for the homeless at First United Methodist Church’s Soup/Sandwich Supper Night on Nov. 19.  Also, thanks to Sarah Dopp for contributing milk. They are feeding 100-120 people every Sunday evening.  We are looking for volunteer soup makers for Sunday, December 17.           Update on Sean Fitzgerald’s plan for Mission Work in Thailand/Burma:   Sean, wife Lwei Ray Moo, and daughter Bithiah have returned to the States from their self-funded vacation to S. E. Asia.  (Sean and Lwei attend the Karen Baptist Community gathering at our church.) Lwei and daughter were able to cross over the border to Burma to visit her mother.  Sean had the opportunity to go along as a small team delivering medical supplies to the Thai/Burma border for transport into the jungle region.  I think you will find Sean’s latest e-mail interesting reading. Look for it on a table in the Narthex or mission outreach bulletin board.   They are making preparations and connections for when they arrive for assignment in Thailand and that is as soon as they get visas for Thailand which requires some funds already in place.   You will find on a table in the Narthex the latest e-mail from Sean, some pictures of their trip, a lot of back up information leading up to their decision to do mission work on the border of Thailand/Burma, and information on how you can route contributions to their mission through their home church in Marietta, PA. ~Joan Taylor, Mission Chair           A Thank You from Cooperative Christian Ministry at UVM –   Quadruple thanks to First Baptist for your strong support of the Cooperative Christian Ministry at UVM.  Your hosting of the October student meal – our largest to date – is greatly appreciated.  Your recent contribution of $125.00, as part of an annual commitment of $500, sustains our efforts.  The leadership of Stu and Jeneva Burroughs over the last three years provided the driving force to revitalize the ministry.  And now, Beth Gamache has jumped right in as a new and active board member.      I cannot fully express how much this broad-based support means to the ministry.  We couldn’t expect anything more from a single congregation. Thank you, thank you for all you do! Blessings, Marcia Gustafson Lutheran Rep. on the CCM Board   American Baptist Women Thank You!   Many thanks to all who contributed to the Overland White Cross request.   We will send the funds collected via a Walmart Gift Card to Puerto Rico when the situation there improves enough to allow safe transfer of the funds.  We raised $256.00. ~ Connie Nutter Governance Working Group Update   The GWG committee would like to thank everyone who participated in the forums, September 24 and most recently, November 5.  This is important work and we appreciate your willingness to Reimagine Our Ministry!! This process thus far has been enlightening and revealing.  We can see that we spend a significant amount of time governing.  The purpose of church governance is Ministry!   The forums you participated in revealed our work involves three categories.  Fellowship, Education and Outreach.  These categories cover the hundreds of tasks we do.  Can we reimagine another way to enhance, expand and express our ministry, as members of the First Baptist Church? Please let us know your thoughts as we continue this exploration together! Kathy Browne, Stu Burroughs, Nancy Danforth, Beth Gamache, Bev Nichols, Chris Thompson. Guided by Karen Mendes.