Green Steeple Messenger-Dec 2019


The season of Advent is all about waiting and preparing for something new.  It also is a time to look back and remember Advents and Christmases past. 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.  The push and pull between past and future, grief and joy adds to the complexity of this transitional season.

This Advent season we are moving through an additional transition. At the end of January, we will shift our church governance structure from the familiar 4 Boards to a new Unified Governing Board.  This shift is exciting and anxiety provoking as we are unsure of how exactly the new structure will work.  Consciously or unconsciously, we are grieving the loss of the old structure and its comfortable security.

During this Advent season we will honor our waiting and preparation, our past and our future, our grief and our joy.  We will be reassured that in God all things are made new, there is no time when God is not with us, Emmanuel.  We will turn our attention to the coming of the Christ Child who brings light and peace and joy to the world.

In this newsletter are many opportunities to prepare for the Christ Child.  May your Advent season be full of joy and peace.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor

Newsletter Deadline for January is Dec. 15th      



The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 10 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In October, 6 “known visits” were made to 3 homebound members and 1 “known call” was made to a homebound member and friend. 

The committee invites you to help with this ministry.

Please contact Ray when you visit or call a homebound member and friend or call 802-864-7179.                  


Sermons and Texts

Dec. 01 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5

         Sermon: Walking in the Light Of God

Dec. 08 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10

         Sermon: “And a Little Child  Shall Lead Them”

Dec. 15 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

             Combined Worship

Scripture: Luke 1:47-55

       Night of the Stars Pageant

Dec. 22 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

              Christmas Sunday  

         Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

         Sermon: God is With Us

Dec. 29 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: John 1-8

         Sermon: The True Light

Dec 01 – Advent Craft Workshop

   Ecumenical Carol Sing – 7pm

Dec 07 – Don Dalton’s 100th

       Birthday celebration 2-4pm

Dec 08 – All Boards                                 

Dec 15 – Christmas Pageant

 2nd Hour – Advent Songs and Stories

Dec 16 – Advisory Council

Dec. 21 – Longest Night Service

Dec 22 – Christmas Sunday

Dec 24 – Christmas Eve Services

     4:00pm – Family Service

   11:00pm – Candlelight Service

Dec 25 – Karen Community

  Christmas Day Service                   

Dec 29 – Christmas Caroling – 2pm

Dec 31 – Nepali All Night Event

Study/Fellowship Groups

There is more to Church than Sunday mornings!

Weekday Bible Study – Mondays at 11:30am. We are studying the Old Testament book of Exodus.  Please join us and feel free to bring your lunch.

Young Adults – Third Sunday of the Month at 11am – College students and young adults are invited for pizza and good conversation.

Baptism Class – Sundays, beginning in late January – This will be a class for youth and adults seeking baptism.  For more information, speak with Rev. Mendes.

THE WINTER BOOK GROUP will be reading Holy Envy; Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor beginning on Monday, January 27 at 6:30pm.  This book invites us to reflect on our Christian faith while learning more about other world religions.  Books can be purchased online.  Speak with Rev. Mendes for more information or for help acquiring a book.


Diaconate Member

Cindy Little

A Message of Hope:

We’ve Got This!”

May the God of hope fill you all with 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

At Christmas, we are reminded that God gives us hope and love.  In loving one another, we are charged with helping others.  We know people can lose faith that God is listening.  We can offer a message of hope to those who feel that way.  Reach out with joy to all!

Advent and Christmas Events for all Ages

Celebrate the Season with your Family of Faith

Intergenerational Advent Craft workshop – Sunday, Dec. 1

Make Advent calendars, wreaths, and ornaments.

Ecumenical Carol Sing – Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7:00pm

An evening of Christmas Choral Music from area churches

The Night of the Stars

Our Intergenerational Christmas Pageant

Sunday, Dec. 15 with rehearsal on Dec.8

Advent Stories and Songs – Sunday, Dec. 15

Our Second Hour will be filled with music and story.

The Longest Night Service –Saturday Dec. 21 at 4:00pm

A Christmas service for those who mourn.

Christmas Sunday Worship – Sunday, Dec. 22

Wonderful music & vital worship to celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent

Christmas Eve Services  – Tuesday, Dec. 24

4:00pm – Family Service

11:00pm – Candlelight Service

Christmas Day Worship – Wednesday, Dec 25

Celebrate Christmas Day with our Karen Speaking Church Family!

Christmas Caroling – Sunday, Dec. 29, 2:00pm

Bringing Christmas cheer to our homebound members and friends.

For more information please contact the church office. 864-6515,

A New Year’s Epiphany Party – Sunday, Jan. 5 following worship

Join us for Three Kings Cake and other treats

 as we celebrate the new year and the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child.

Youth Mission Trip 2020

The Christian Education Board is excited to announce our mission trip for 2020 for students 6th grade-12th grade! We’re planning to go to Orland, Maine to work with HOME Inc for the week of June 28 – July 3. We are looking for an adult volunteer/parent or two to travel with the students, please let us know if you are interested! 

This is an amazing chance to engage in a really rural area and have direct hands-on work with an organization that focuses on homelessness & low-income families.

In addition to providing shelter and a soup kitchen, they also offer navigator services to help equip and empower people in the next step of their journey, including a learning center with free classes, subsidized daycare, and a shingle/sawmill and automotive garage to learn a marketable trade.

As volunteers, we’d be able to serve the community by helping with gardening and light construction or painting, as well as other projects on their campus, like splitting and stacking firewood. We’d also have the opportunity each day to directly engage with shelter residents.

Lastly, we are excited to collaborate with other churches in our area on this trip! The youth groups from South Hero, College Street Congo, and possibly 1st Congregational are looking to join us this year. We will be having a mission trip info meeting at 12:15pm at College Street Congregational on December 8th where we will share more info/details and meet/get to know each other as well. Please RSVP by responding emailing Jeneve Joslin at  or calling or texting her at 802 233 8593.

Christmas Pageant

Our Pageant for December is Night of the Stars! We are currently casting and need volunteers! Please email Jeneve Joslin at if you are interested. We need Innkeepers, Angels, a Heavenly Host, and a Moon! 

Family Skating Party

Save the date! Our family skating party will be on Sunday, February 23rd at 4:30pm. We have invited families from First Congregational and College Street Congo! If you have any questions, please email Jeneve at



 During the month of December, we contribute to a special thank you offering for our American Baptist Retired Ministers and Missionaries and their widowed spouses in appreciation for fifteen years or more of service.

In 2018, by generous giving to this offering, RMMO provided “thank you” checks to more than 3,497 recipients.  A large portion of this offering is also used to provide emergency support in crisis situations and financial assistance.  Rev. Gordon Bourne, Ruth Losh, Rev. John Holt, Rev. David O’Brien, Rev. Reid Trulson, and Rev. Jeff Middleton will be among the recipients.  Please help us honor them with love and give with gratitude.

“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. 1Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NIV)


Thank you to all the people who made soup and/or purchased milk for the First United Methodist Church Sunday Night  Soup/sandwich Supper for the low income and homeless people in our city: Kathy Browne, Ginger Calder, Nancy Danforth, Beth Vuley, Sarah Dopp, Carol Gaylord, James and Tracy Gilbert, Cindy Little, Lois Lynch, Marie Morton, Sandi Seaver, Fern Sparks, Frank Swasey, Joan Taylor, and Caroline Vandevord.  What a great team!!

Many thanks to Kathy Browne, Sarah Dopp, Joan Taylor and Karen Mendes for their contributions to the November 5th Cooperative Christian Ministry Dinner at the Interfaith Center on the UVM campus. There were about 10 students who dropped in and I received wonderful compliments and thanks from those in attendance. Kathy and Karen joined me along with Rev. Joe Cotner for the meal and conversation.

~ Beth Gamache

CHRISTMAS STAFF GIFT – It’s been our tradition to recognize our staff at Christmas time with a cash gift.  If you’d like to contribute, please contact Barb or Andy Farrington.  They will be collecting cash/checks from now through Sunday, Dec. 22nd. Please make checks out to either Barb or Andy, NOT First Baptist Church.  Thank you.  ~ Barb Farrington

ANEW PLACE OVERSEEING BURLINGTON’S LOW BARRIER WINTER SHELTER– “Low barrier” means no sobriety requirements to stay for the night.  It is a safe and warm place for 37 individuals experiencing homelessness.  It will be open November 1 to April 30 and is located at the corner of King St. and bottom floor of 179 So. Winooski Ave.  If the Holy Spirit moves you to provide a meal or be an evening volunteer, go to and click on BTVShelter-Anew Place Inc. for more details. 


There is a letter from Sharon Koh, Executive Director/CEO of International Ministries (IM).  Because of an enormous deficit, they have had to let five home office staff positions go and global servants will need to raise additional funds to offset the missionary support services that IM provided.

 Our World Mission Offering helps cover the work of IM.  Our Mission Outreach Board set a goal of $1,000 for the year 2019.  So far, our church has contributed $582.

Also, posted on the bulletin board is a letter from Rev. Dale Edwards, Region Executive Minister, thanking First Baptist, Burlington for our kindness and generosity shown by our monetary support of the Region this year and a certificate of appreciation for our participation in United Missions Giving and America for Christ Offering in 2019. 

ELECTRONIC GIVING IS NOW POSSIBLE through a Donate button on our church website:

http// and through a 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.

GREEN STEEPLE         WEEKLY NEWS                                

On Thursdays, look for an email from First Baptist letting you know about upcoming events and opportunities.  This will give you a first look at the Sunday bulletin announcements and provide a way for us to communicate beyond the monthly newsletter.  If you have information you would like included in the email and bulletin, please get it to Marie at – by Wednesday.

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.


Check it out – New green sign-up chartfor “Greeters & Feeders” in the Narthex.  We are offering two opportunities to serve on Sunday mornings by asking for both greeters and providers of snacks. Store-bought cookies are fine! Feel free to sign up for both or one or the other on the round table in the narthex. 

We are invited to be prayer partners

with the brothers and sister of our sister church in Puerto Rico, the Primera Iglesia Bautista deMayaguez. 

Those interested will be paired up with a person from Mayaguez.  You can connect via email, text, snail mail, or Facebook.  This is an opportunity for all ages to further the bonds between our communities.  Sign up in the Narthex.


The Unified Governing Board is comprised of the Church officers, the Pastor, and representatives from 4 Governance Committees (Staff Relations, Finance, Property and TPF) and the 3 Ministry Areas.  It will meet monthly in the place of our current Board and Advisory Council meetings. This Unified Governing Board structure will officially begin in February 2020 after the Annual Meeting in January 2020.  Portions of our current Bylaws will remain in effect until we have sufficient experience with the new structure to make any adjustments.                                                     

The Ministry Teams will be responsible for much of what we do together.  These teams are open to anyone who wants to participate and they run the gamut of teaching Church School to cooking soup to calling on the homebound.  The teams do not have set terms of service nor do they require monthly meetings. If you feel called to lead a Ministry Team, please speak to one of our current Board Chairs; Joan Taylor, Lois Lynch, Jim Calder, Mark Paulsen, and Marie Morton. 

    Our Ministry Teams and

          Leaders for 2020

In February 2020 we will officially transition from our current Four Boards structure to a Unified Governing Board.  In the new structure our ministries will be facilitated by teams of people working together. Below is a list of the Ministry Teams and their team leaders.  Some teams are for short term projects and others are ongoing. 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 will be sending 2-3 reps to the UGB meetings!


ABC Mission – (Joan Taylor and Nancy Tracy)

ANEW Place – Betty Capponi

FUMC Soup Suppers –

Nancy Danforth

Cooperative Campus Ministries –         Beth Gamache

Sister Church Initiative –

Karen Mendes

Marathon Pasta Supper –

 Marie Morton

Public Relations – Sarah Dopp


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

Property (Fix It/Clean It) –                           Andy Farrington

Worship –

Music –


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


The security team (Andy Farrington, Pat Boyden, Chris Thompson, Jeneve Joslin, Sarah Dopp, and Rev. Mendes) have met several times recently, to continue the work begun in the summer when Lt. Trieb from Burlington Police Dept. gave the congregation a training on intruders.  He came again on Nov. 22nd and helped us to settle on some simple next steps.  Very soon we plan to install a doorbell at the south side door and lock that door at 10AM on Sunday.  If anyone needs entry after that, the bell may be wrung and an usher will go down to the door to help.

Early in the new year, we will install additional locks on specific doors in the 2nd and 3rd floor Church School spaces to create more security when children are present. The fire doors on those levels will be locked and the traffic pattern focused on the north side (elevator side).  Jeneve will communicate plans to parents.  We will also install simple signal bells on all 4 levels, so that all other levels may be notified if a lock down is necessary.

Lt. Trieb advised us to have an off-site location in case of evacuation.  It is good to have a safe retreat where the police can find us and where families can be reunited after an event.

Our retreat location is the First United Methodist Church, 2 blocks away on South Winooski Ave.


Chris Brault left his Sexton position at the end of October and a search committee has been hard at work since then interviewing a number of candidates for the position, 6 so far.  In the meantime, we have contracted with Prestige Building Maintenance to keep the ground floor areas, including the Y space, clean and ready for use.  Several church members have helped out by keeping the sanctuary and classroom clean.  Thank you to Jim Calder, Lois Lynch, Chris Thompson, Marie Morton and others for helping.  A decision will be made soon on a permanent Sexton.