First Baptist Church

81 Saint Paul Street Ste. 1

Burlington, VT. 05401

VOLUME NO. 2               February 1, 2024



It was very heartening to hear the ideas and convictions of our congregation at our Annual Meeting last Sunday.  We celebrated the year just past and looked forward to our ministries for the future.  We had good, candid discussions and we enjoyed great fellowship both during the meeting and the potluck luncheon that preceded it.   We are blessed by a community of people who take faith seriously and who live out their faith in myriad ways.

Our theme for 2024 is A Wider View and this year we will be intentional about seeing our ministries and our life together in expansive and creative ways.  Taking a wider view of our ministries entails looking at what we do and why. It helps us to determine where needs are and where collaborations are possible, bringing new inspiration and energy. It also leads us to see how our work impacts others, not only those we directly help but the wider communities in which we all live.  When we take a wider view of our life together we recognize the amazing constellation of people who have been called by God to be part of our congregation.  We can strengthen our bonds and forge new connections with other people of faith.  We can explore new ways of using the resources God has entrusted to us.

In this newsletter there are many opportunities for fellowship, learning, and service, and opportunities to take a wider view on our lives of faith. It is a great gift to be in ministry with you.  

Yours in Christ,

~ Karen

Rev. Karen A. Mendes


First Baptist Church Staff

Rev. Karen A. Mendes .…………………………… Pastor 

Pastor Thee Say …………….. Karen Baptist Pastor

Annie Field  ……….. ………………… CE Director

Adam Chamberlain …………… Church Administrator       

Evan Allen  ………………………………..Organist

Anna Roy…………………..Chancel Choir Director

Brenda Perkins ………………Youth Choir Director 

The Karen Baptist Community Team……….Sexton

Hto Lwee Wah ……………….………Tech Support

               Officers of First Baptist

Sarah Dopp.………………..…………….Moderator

Mark Paulsen……………….…Assistant Moderator

Cindy Little…………………………..…………Clerk

Beth Gamache……. …………….…Assistant Clerk

Chris Thompson……………………….…Treasurer

Bill McCormick….…………….Assistant Treasurer

Marilyn Siple. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Secretary

Marie Morton. . . . . . . . . . . . .  Asst. Financial Sec’y

Sarah Dopp ……………………………… Historian

Andy Farrington…………………….Parliamentarian

Sunday Morning Worship Service 10:00

Office Phone: (802) 864-6515

Conference/Kitchen Phone: 

(802) 864-4721

Office Hours: M, W, F (9-1) T, Th (9-3)

Email address:

Web Site Address:

Visit us on Facebook

First Baptist Church, Burlington, Vt.




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 or through the Instant Church Directory App. Try phoning someone you might not otherwise call, but miss seeing in church!


Feb 4 – Communion

Mark 1:29-39

Living the Message

Feb 11 – Transfiguration

Mark 9:2-9


Feb 18 – Lent 1

Mark 1:9-15


Feb 25 – Lent 2 Pulpit Exchange

Mark 8:31-38

Losing and Saving


There is more to Church than Sunday mornings! 

THE WINTER BOOK GROUP is reading The Flag, The Cross, and The Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Heck Happened by Bill McKibben.  Our next meeting will be Feb. 5 at 7pm when we will discuss Chapter 2 – The Flag.

ARE YOU BEING CALLED TO BE BAPTIZED?  A Baptism Class for Youth (10+) and Adults will be offered starting on Sunday, February 4 during Second Hour time.  The class will meet for six sessions.  For more information please speak with Rev. Mendes.


Bible Study meets in Fellowship Hall and on Zoom each Monday at 11:30am. We are exploring Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. 

THE CHOSEN season 4 is in movie theaters this Spring.  We will go to Essex Cinema on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2pm to watch episodes 1 and 2.  Those who would like to watch seasons 1-3 from home can access the show on or through Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming services. 

FBC COFFEE HOUR meets on Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom.

All are welcome for informal chatting!

CHANCEL CHOIR MEETS on Thursdays at 7pm. All singers are invited to join this merry and melodious group!  For more information, contact Anna Roy at


Back by popular demand, Rev. Mark A. Mendes will lead worship here on February 25, while Rev. Karen A. Mendes will preach at First Congregational Church of Essex Jct. This year Evan Allen and Bethany Blake, our two organists will make the exchange as well.


As we head into February and Lent we have several upcoming opportunities for folks to connect with each other by sharing and enjoying God’s love and leaning more deeply into our understanding of who God is. 


Join us each TUESDAY (note the day change) evening at 7:00pm until Easter (will continue if popular) on zoom. I will read a children’s story and end with a short prayer before sending the littles off to bed. This would be a lovely way to invite children or grandchildren who aren’t in our service on Sunday to join as a way of staying connected to our community to join you across the miles. The stories will range from explicit Christian to those with values consistent with our faith. All ages & Pajamas Welcome!! 

Recurrent Link:  


On Sunday and Wednesday at 7:00pm during lent (2/18-3/30) are very similar to above but dynamic authors will be reading stories to children across several denominations. Our church is invited to participate. They will certainly be superbly done and offer a chance to connect with a much wider community of christian children. You are asked to register once then will receive the recurring link.

Registration link: 


We will enjoy a skating party at Leady Rink February 25th 2:30-3:30. Last year we had a really great time and I look forward to seeing even more folks this year. This year we would love to offer some snacks and warm drinks after the skating. If you would be willing to make a plate of skating treats or donate a gallon of milk or cocoa please let Annie know. 


The Heim family has very graciously offered the use of their camp in South Hero for the youth to have a retreat. The retreat will take place Friday March 1st at 1:00pm until Saturday March 2nd at 10:00am. The retreat is open to all youth in grades 7-12 who are affiliated with our church. We are planning some fun activities, good spiritual development time and lots of time to realize and build friendships. We will be looking for some help with food and possibly other supplies, but have not yet finalized our needs list. Keep an eye out for a sign up sheet in the narthex. 


Instead of giving something up for Lent this year I would like to invite each family (defined as you wish!) to spend 40 hours together over the course of the 40 days. The Christian education ministry has a variety of resources to support you in this endeavor. Similar to the family advent devotional we had we have a lenten devotional which should appeal to several ages that has weekly devotions and simple craft projects that focus on the practice of prayer. We also have some fun activities that challenge families to make a daily ‘sketch’ on a post-it note on a suggested topic to prompt conversation and connection. I have a list of suggestions to spend time relaxing together, a few fun ideas of simple hikes, family crafts and  books to read together. Most exciting for all your Type A personalities we have a fun visual chart to track your 40 hours-if you wish! Many of these resources will be sent out weekly by email with limited print copies available to mindful stewards of paper. Speak with Annie if you would like a paper copy of anything and she’ll get it to you!


Last year we held a multi-generational book group where lots of folks read different books on a similar theme and shared their insights. This year we invite everyone who is interested to grab a copy of The Girl who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook. This small paperback is widely available in libraries, bookstores, audible, Kindle etc. Let Annie know if you need a hand getting a copy. We will have a zoom gathering in mid March to discuss the book at a time that works for those interested. The book promises to appeal to a wide audience though written for a middle grade reading level.

Chaya, a nobleman’s rebellious, outspoken, no-nonsense daughter, just can’t resist the shiny temptations the king’s palace has to offer. But playing Robin Hood for her impoverished community doesn’t come without risks, and when Chaya steals the queen’s jewels from a bedside table – a messy getaway jeopardizes the life of a close friend.”

HELP NEEDED – Jeneva Burroughs fell on Dec. 17 breaking her hip and shoulder.  She is now home from the hospital and so thankful for all the prayers.  Now she and Stu could use some help with meals as she recuperates.  Their family has set up an online sign up calendar at  For more information, email Sarah Burroughs Joly at .

A FELINE FEEDING OPPORTUNITY – For several years we have had a small black cat living in the foundation of our church building.  This summer she was brought to the vet and lived in a home for about a month before deciding that she preferred living back here at church.  At one time there was a person who regularly fed the cat but that person has moved away so it falls to us to care for her, especially during the winter. If you are willing to donate dry or canned cat food, please drop it by the office. Thank you.


The Unified Governing Board met on January 15th. The group spent the majority of the time finalizing details of the annual meeting and settling on the budget and nominations for officers. Using the decisions of the congregation from January 14th (authorizing use of the accrued income in the Pastoral Housing and Dinwiddie Funds) and the latest on the valuations of the Permanent Funds, and adding in the December 2023 pledges which were received late due to the mail delivery problem, the income was adjusted. We will be presenting a deficit budget (~$10,000). More creative ideas for 2024 fundraising were suggested. There will also be further discussion of our ABCUSA regional affiliation. Rev. Mendes will set the stage for this discussion by sending a congregational letter ahead of the meeting. Printed and emailed annual reports will be available by January 21st. 

We heard reports from the three ministry teams. Important aspects are reported elsewhere in this newsletter. We reviewed upcoming events.

-Sarah Dopp, Church Moderator


First Baptist will be providing a meal to ANew Place on Sunday, March 10. We are looking for volunteers. (They have a good supply of bath towels at this time.)  Call Betty Capponi.


At year end, Mission Outreach had unspent mission income in their budget, so a decision by the team was made to give that money to Feeding Chittenden, Vermont Family Network (They work indirectly with families who have children with various disabilities and they have a Puppets for Education program which helps with communication with children at schools.), and to the First United Methodist Church in Burlington to help with the expenses of providing soup and sandwiches to the homeless every Sunday evening.  That mission is called “The Share” and our church participates. (See Beth Gamache’s report in this newsletter.)


Check out the Mission Bulletin board in Fellowship Hall.  There is a heartwarming newsletter from Ann and Bill Clemmer, our missionaries in Goma, Democratic of the Republic of Congo.  They are reminiscing about their first arrival in Goma and what they saw. Since that time, they have created an emergency  shelter for the street children of Goma, etc. 


We joined with the First United Methodist Church at the end of November offering warm soup, sandwiches, coffee and a cookie  Sunday evenings along with conversation to members of our downtown Burlington Community experiencing homelessness.

We each volunteer once or twice a month along with 6-8 members of the First United Methodist Community. We have averaged about 10-20 guests weekly.

We gather at 4 pm at the FUMC and prepare sandwiches. Two volunteers bring soup.  We serve from 4:30 to 5:30 then clean up and leave by 6 pm. Of course some volunteers have plans and leave earlier.

We are looking for Volunteers from our church to make soup, cookies or bring sandwich materials to be prepared . Soups can be either brought over to FUMC at 4 pm or brought to our church Sunday morning and delivered after our service by one of our team. Food items can also be delivered  on your way home if you are unable to travel back downtown in the late afternoon.

We have signup sheets in the back of the church and there will be a member of our FBC group available to answer any questions. We are also happy to “buddy” with you at FUMC if you would prefer. As you recall this type of outreach was discussed at our All Church Envisioning Retreat last October.

Luke 3:10-11 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

For more information or to volunteer, please speak to Sarah Dopp, Steve DeRestie, Lois D’Arcangelo, or Beth Gamache


is holding an Online Auction Wednesday, January 31st – Friday, February 9. The theme is “Showing Love for JUMP”  Here is the link:

Low-income Vermont households need the help that JUMP can provide with utility payments, transportation, and support to purchase essentials like groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies.  We are inviting your support of JUMP’s important community work!  

Although bidding does not start until Wednesday, January 31st, visit the JUMP Online Auction website now to:         

View items up for bid (check back frequently as items are being added daily).

Set up your account so you will be ready to start bidding on Wednesday, January 31st.

Donate an item for the auction or become a sponsor.

Help promote the event on the JUMP Online Auction website: Create Facebook posts and Twitter tweets just by clicking on their icons on the top right hand corner, Click on the “Refer a friend” button and fill in the email addresses of friends and family and send them all a notice about the event. Send your own email by clicking on the email icon on the top right hand corner. Join us in this fundraising event and show your love for JUMP.  You will be doing your part in responding to the need that is out there by supporting a local organization that assists Vermont households in need. 


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: 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. 


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


are available on our website and our YouTube Channel.


All are invited to provide flowers for a worship service. 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. Please call the church office to sign up for a particular Sunday.


Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9-1

Tuesday/Thursday 9-3

The office will be closed on February 19th for Presidents Day.


The church office (Adam Chamberlain)-  

Karen Mendes –

Annie Field –

Evan Allen –

Anna Roy –

Treasurer –  

Financial Secretary – 

Karen Baptist Community –