GREEN STEEPLE MESSENGER
First Baptist Church
81 Saint Paul Street Ste. 1
Burlington, VT. 05401
VOLUME NO. 7/8 July 1, 2023
GREEN STEEPLE, GRATEFUL PEOPLE, GROWING IN FAITH, PROCLAIMING GOD’S LOVE
WELCOME AND INCLUSION
The month of June was a joyous celebration of welcome, through faith, fellowship, and service. We welcomed 4 new members; two by baptism and two by transfer of letter. We welcomed Ray Vega and his music to our worship service. We welcomed and fed people eager to help those in Burma through the Noodles for Burma Fundraiser. We welcomed our children and youth to lead us in worship. We welcomed Rev. Dale Edwards and New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church to join us (including the Karen Baptist Community) in prayer, praise, and worship. As we opened our doors and our hearts, we were deeply blessed by the movement of the Holy Spirit among us.
As we move into the summer, we slow down the pace of things but our welcome continues. We will welcome guest preachers. We will welcome visitors. We will welcome friends on Zoom and Facebook. In ways large and small we will let it be known that All are welcome here. Some may just pass through on a Sunday morning. Some may stop by during the week looking for assistance. Some may join one of our small groups. Some may feel called to formally join our membership. All are welcome.
There are forces in the wider world that lead many to believe that Christians, Baptists especially, are not welcoming. It is up to us to live out our faith reflecting the radical welcome and inclusion that Jesus proclaims. And as we experienced in June, this welcome and inclusion brings about blessings to us, to our communities, and to the wider world. It is a joy to be in ministry with you.
Yours in Christ,
First Baptist Church Staff
Rev. Karen A. Mendes .…………………………… Pastor
Annie Field ………..………………… CE Director
Adam Chamberlain …………… Church Administrator
Steve Perkins ……….. Instrumental Group Director
Evan Allen ………………………………..Organist
Anna Roy…………………..Chancel Choir Director
The Karen Baptist Community Team……….Sexton
Hto Lwee Wah ……………….………Tech Support
Officers of First Baptist
Mark Paulsen……………….…Assistant Moderator
Beth Gamache……. …………….…Assistant Clerk
Bill McCormick….…………….Assistant Treasurer
Marilyn Siple. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Secretary
Marie Morton. . . . . . . . . . . . . Asst. Financial Sec’y
Sarah Dopp ……………………………… Historian
Sunday Morning Worship Service 10:00
Office Phone: (802) 864-6515
Office Hours: M, W, F (9-1) T, Th (9-3)
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site Address: www.fbcburlingtonvt.com
Visit us on Facebook
First Baptist Church, Burlington, Vt.
NEWSLETTER DEADLINE FOR SEPTEMBER
IS AUGUST 15th GIFT OF TIME
Though the pandemic is no longer affecting every aspect of our lives, we should retain some of the good things we learned. One of these is keeping in touch with our church friends in between Sundays, especially those who have not been able to return to church in person. All of us are part of the First Baptist Visitation Team and can call or email our church friends or send a note or card.
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.
SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES
July 2 – Guest Preacher –
Rev. Joan O’Gorman
July 9 – Guest Preacher –
July 16 – Guest Preacher –
Rev. Steve Jewett
July 23 – Guest Preacher –
Rev. Steve Jewett
July 30 – Guest Preacher –
Rev. Bill Neil
Aug 6 – Compassion
Aug 13 – Do Not Be Afraid
Aug 20 – Teaching Jesus
Aug 27 – Who Do You Say That I Am?
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FELLOWSHIP AND LEARNING
CHURCH SCHOOL NEWS
What a fun and busy church school year!! The children and youth have worked so hard this year learning stories of loving kindness from the Bible and how to apply it to their daily lives. We wrapped up the year with a celebration of Pentecost with a shared meal, service and creating wind socks. We give thanks to God for all of the youth in our church who studied Christian faith formation with Karen and extend a special welcome to Charlie Roy who joined the church by baptism on June 4th. We ended the year with a special worship service the children and youth ran. Such joy!
This summer we are excited to run VBS Camp in a slightly new way. Youth will be assisting and learning valuable leadership skills. Children entering Kindergarten to 6th grade will participate in active games, science experiments and art projects and learning stories and lessons from the bible. We encourage all children to sign up to participate. Snacks and lunch will be provided.
We are also opening up our nursery space again. We hope to provide a pleasant space for our youngest members to explore God’s love in a more age appropriate setting during the second half of the worship service this summer. If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Annie Field. We may be looking for some donations to complete the space, particularly a comfortable rug for playing on. If you have one or are interested in donating to the cause speak with Annie.
This fall we will be using a new curriculum, Shine, in church school. We are excited about the curriculum focus on God’s abiding love, justice for all and peacemaking. The curriculum included more active games and engaging craft activities. As always Annie is available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Have a wonderful summer!!
CHURCH CAMP IS COMING!
We will gather for Vacation Bible Camp August 7th-11th from 9am-12pm. Please prayerfully consider how you might be a part of this vital children’s ministry. We have room to use everyone’s talents both with the children and behind the scenes. A Volunteer signup form will be available soon. The theme this year will be “A Science Lab” where children will learn about people from the Bible who brought about meaningful & positive change to their community. Children will explore what it takes to be a changemaker and how they can be an agent of change. We are so excited already. Talk with the young children in your life about saving the date! Registration details to follow.
During the months of July and August, the Christian Education Committee is collecting money to help provide back to school supplies for our children. Backpacks and lunch bags are needed for day 1 of school. Please write checks to FBC and put “back to school supplies” on the memo line. If you give cash, hand it directly to Cindy Little, Lois Lynch or Annie Field. The children and their families really appreciate the help! Thank you ahead of time!
SUMMER MUSIC OPPORTUNITIES
During July and August, we have opportunities for Special Music in worship each Sunday. This is a wonderful time for people of all ages to share their musical gifts and skills. If interested, please contact the church office or Sarah Dopp.
SUNDAY FELLOWSHIP TIME
We have refreshments following worship. Please contact the office if you would like to provide refreshments and treats. Refreshments are usually held in the narthex. Please join us in providing and enjoying the refreshments and conversation.
CHURCH PICNIC AUG. 27
Wear your picnic clothes to worship, then join us afterward at the Ethan Allen Homestead for the potluck picnic. A sign-up sheet will appear by late July, so you can let us know who and how many are coming, and what you can bring. Meat and beverages will be taken care of by the church.
MAKING YOUR FINANCIAL DONATION
If you are unable to attend worship in person, you may mail a check to the church office or give electronically through the donate button on our church website: http://www.fbcburlingtonvt.com or through the smartphone app called Vanco Mobile Faith Engagement. 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.
THE SILENT VIGIL FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
will happen on Sunday, July 2 and August 6 from 11:30-12pm on the church front lawn. Please join us for this important witness.
FALL BOOK GROUP CHOICES
This year we will choose our Fall Book Group book from the following list. Be thinking about what you would like to study and in what order and we will finalize our plans before September. Copies of the books will be available for perusal in early August.
Speak with the Earth and It Will Teach You; A Field Guide to the Bible by Daniel Cooperrider
Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May
Dancing in the Darkness; Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent Times by Otis Moss, III
The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened by Bill McKibben
Silencing White Noise; Six Practices to Overcome Our Inaction on Race by Willie Dwayne Francois III
UGB REPORT JUNE 2023
The UGB met via Zoom on Juneteenth. Cindy Little and Mark Paulsen helped enable the meeting, in Rev. Mendes’ absence. We expressed the need for someone to coordinate special music for the summer and we reviewed arrangements for guest preachers and worship leadership through the end of July. Any loose offering collected on June 25 will be split three ways among the three congregations worshiping together that day (New Alpha and the Karen Community are joining us). There are a number of Aug. activities and there will be descriptions of them in other parts of this newsletter.
Staff Relations reported that they have begun the staff evaluation processes. Frank has joined the group (voted to fill a partial year vacancy recently).
Outreach reported that they are up to date with their budgeted contributions to local organizations. Noodles for Burma made $2022 which will be divided in equal contributions to Friends of Burma and ABC’s One Great Hour of Sharing Burma appeal. The success of this event centers around our fabulous Karen Baptist cooks! They are the best! We also raised $1408 for COTS in early May. Education reported that a new curriculum is being ordered for the fall. They want to establish 3 age groupings for church school. The former childcare space is being set up for our kids for the summer worship services and there has been interest in renting the space from an outside childcare group, starting in 2024. Speaking of rentals, VT Cares will begin occupying 139 Bank (first floor) on 10/1/23. Element Realty continues on the second floor through August. The brick work project on the church building has been going for almost 6 weeks.
Items are being identified for further discussion as we plan the 2024 budget this fall. The investments continue to recover modestly, but consistently. The portfolio stands at $1,982,885 at the end of May. The UGB’s prayers were centered on our delegation meeting in Puerto Rico, as I write, for the ABCUSA Biennial.
FOOD FOR THE RALLY CAT CUPBOARD AT UVM (JULY AND AUGUST)
Our Outreach Team has volunteered to collect items this Summer for the Rally Cat Cupboard at the University of Vermont which serves as a food pantry for food insecurity during the school year. This cupboard serves students and employees of the University with food insecurity. This is a great way our downtown church can serve students and employees who are our neighbors.
I will be placing a labeled box in the narthex in mid- July as I know people are away sometimes for many weeks in the summer. I will deliver to the Cupboard at the end of August as school is beginning.
Listed below are frequently needed items. If you prefer to give a check, please make it out to First Baptist Church (Rally Cat Cupboard) in the memo line of the check. If you have multiple items I am happy to pick up at your home at the end of August.
Herbs and spices
Canned tuna and chicken
Assorted broths, chicken, beef, turkey, veggie and bone
Thank you in advance. Please reach out with any questions
AMERICAN BAPTISTS ASKED TO PRAY AND ACT FOR BURMA;
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
The Burma Advocacy Group continues to ask American Baptists to Pray and Act for Burma.
The Burma Advocacy Group was active and instrumental during the successful passage of the Burma Act in December 2022, which is the essential guide of the US government in its support for religious liberty, a free and federal democracy, in holding accountable the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, and the release of generous support for humanitarian aid.
Now, it is essential that sufficient funding for these provisions of the Burma Act is secured. Just as we must not cease praying, we must not cease acting on behalf of the people of Burma. Right now, funding for the Act is before the House and Senate appropriations committees. This is where funding amounts will be determined and recommended for vote.
Help is essential to the Burma Advocacy Group’s success for Burma. Individuals can ACT, in a simple yet effective way, as follows: visit https://rb.gy/gwyhk to advocate for the full funding for the provisions of the Burma Act, the $270 million that was proposed and agreed to by the House during the last session. The funding will go towards vital humanitarian aid, efforts to establish genuine federal democracy, efforts for protections of ethnic and religious minorities, accountability for those guilty of human rights abuses, and non-lethal support for those opposing the military junta.
We have received a thank you from COTS for First Baptist participation in the COTS walk on May 7. We raised $1,408. Thank you to walkers: Deb Holonitch, Chris Thompson and her friend, Jann Lyman, Annie Field, Piper Field, and Karen Mendes.
BURMESE NOODLES FUNDRAISER….
Once again we had a successful Burmese Noodle Fundraiser on June 9 with donations totalling $2,022. One half will go to Friends of Burma to provide food or medical care for the vulnerable families (on F of B wish list) and one half to our ABC International Ministries for the One Great Hour of Sharing for Myanmar(Burma) relief. Thank you to our many volunteers: Tha Lei Paw, Marie Morton, Kee Lar, Sarah Dopp, Bwi Wah, Tha Oo, Bev Nichols, Steve DeRestie, Mark Paulsen, Eh Shee, Lerder Star, Moo Thu Lay Htoo, and Karen Mendes.
Also, thank you to our providers of sweet treats. (Check out our Mission Outreach Bulletin Board for the Spring newsletter from the Friends of Burma.)
ANN AND BILL CLEMMER, GLOBAL SERVANTS FROM
GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO TO VISIT FIRST BAPTIST ON
SUNDAY, AUGUST 20….
- They will arrive no later than 4:00pm. We will gather in Fellowship Hall.
- Cool drinks and appetizers while watching videos from Goma
- Potluck salad supper (around 5:00 or 5:30)
- After the meal: questions, answers, and good conversation with the Clemmers.
- Overnight hosts for Bill and Ann will be Stu and Jeneva Burroughs.
Some of our Northwest Association churches are also invited to this exciting visit with Ann and Bill. Call our church office or sign up in the Narthex.
SACRED HARP SINGING
1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 6:00-8:00pm in Fellowship Hall.
Please join us for shape note singing from The Sacred Harp, a shape note hymnal in continuous use since 1844! The Burlington Sacred Harp Singers meet regularly to sing traditional early American, 4-part harmony, a cappella hymns. All are welcome, no experience or audition necessary. We welcome singers of all levels and backgrounds, as well as listeners, any week. Free; donations welcome. Any questions, contact BSHsteeringcommittee@gmail.com
PAST WORSHIP SERVICES…
are available on our website and our YouTube Channel.
FLOWERS FOR WORSHIP
All are invited to provide flowers for a worship service. The flower chart is again posted in the Narthex. This can be a meaningful way to memorialize a loved one or commemorate an important event and bring God’s beautiful creations into the sanctuary to enhance our spirit of praise and joy in worship.
THE CHURCH OFFICE HOURS FOR JULY ARE –
Tuesday/Thursday 9-3, and Wednesday/Friday 9-1. However, July 4th (Tuesday we will be closed in observance of Independence Day.)
THE CHURCH HOURS FOR AUGUST ARE –
REV. MENDES WILL BE AWAY on vacation from June 27- August 1. Pastoral care concerns can be shared with the church office. There are local pastors who are on call for any pastoral emergencies.