Green Steeple Messenger – November 2020


A church is a community in which people are drawn together to worship God and to grow in their faith and understanding.  This growth involves fellowship – welcoming and getting to know one another; education – learning the stories of the Bible and deepening our understanding of faith; and outreach – service to others, for Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our worship, fellowship, education, and outreach together with stewardship of our building and financial resources comprise the ministry that we do together. All of us are ministers, participating in the ministries of First Baptist in one way or another.

November is the month when we have the opportunity to express our commitment to the work of First Baptist through our financial pledges in support of the church budget. It was an act of faith which has brought each of us to this community and it is an act of faith to participate through our contributions of time, talent, and money.  

As you peruse this newsletter, may you be inspired to deepen your commitment to the work of Christ’s church. 

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor

Newsletter Deadline for December is November 15th      



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

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.


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 November.

Sunday Worship Services

Nov. 01 – For All the Saints

         Rev. 7:9-17 or Matt. 5:1-12

                  All Saints Day

Nov. 08 – Wedding Planners

            Matthew 25:1-13

Nov. 15 – Talking about Talents

         Matt 25:14-30

                 Pledge Sunday

Nov. 22 – Dreams of Want and Plenty

             Thanksgiving Sunday

         Genesis 37:1-11

Nov. 29 – Angels and Zechariah


             1st Sunday of Advent


This year, we hope to receive most pledges via confidential email to Please delineate local and mission giving and the frequency (ie. weekly, monthly, annually).  If you would like a paper pledge card, please contact the church office.  Our goal is that all pledges will be in by November 15.


The Advent season will be different this year with new opportunities to celebrate the season.  For more information please contact the church office.

  • Greening of the Church – We need a few volunteers to decorate the front of the sanctuary sometime between 11/23 and 11/28.
  • Advent at home kits – We will be distributing Advent calendars and goodies to members and friends. Please let the church know if you would like to receive one.
  • Advent Organ Recital – Evan Allen will play our Hook organ and we are invited to listen in the sanctuary. The date to be announced. Masks will be required and RSVPs requested.
  • Nativity Exhibit – Fran Whitney gave the church a beautiful Hummel Nativity Set which has inspired us to plan a special Nativity Set Exhibit in our sanctuary.  Many of us have beautiful and unique Nativity Sets that others would love to see.  Members and friends are invited to bring their Nativity sets to the church Dec.1-5 to be displayed in the sanctuary (or someone could come and pick up your set).. On Sunday, Dec. 6 from 2-4pm, we are invited to come see the exhibit in a safe, social distanced way.  Sets can be picked up after Dec. 6. 
  • Advent Stories and Songs – Sunday, Dec. 13 – Those who would like to read, sing, or play music can email Anna Roy at  Readings and music can be prerecorded or performed live on Zoom.
  • The Christmas pageantDo Not Be Afraid will be recorded over Zoom and presented on Sunday, Dec. 20.  To participate, please contact Jeneve Joslin at
  • The Longest Night Service – Sunday Dec. 20 at 4pm.  This service for those who mourn will happen in person in our sanctuary. Masks will be required and RSVPs requested.


OUR WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY  meets on Mondays at 11:30am on Zoom.  We will be exploring John the Baptist in all four Gospels; who he was, what he taught, how he was connected to Jesus and the early disciples. The Zoom login is

For those calling in –

Dial   +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 868 9711 2158

Passcode: 702659

For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at

WHITE PRIVILEDGE/ANTI RACISM is the topic of a zoom discussion group that meets 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

Meeting ID: 875 1960 9036          Passcode: 421309
To dial in –  +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)        Meeting ID: 875 1960 9036          Passcode: 4213


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 is available to help anyone learn a new piece of music. Please send your video files to Anna Roy at Recorded audio or video can be emailed anytime to


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 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.


For September, First Baptist Church School explored the Bible story of Abraham and Sarah by making shining stars and hidden messages paper airplanes! They laughed and sang songs to relieve stress and worry! In October they started exploring the stories of Isaac and Rebeka and Esau and Jacob. The October lessons have included scripture flip books, puppet making, story card matching games and a puppet show. In November, we will be making lavender dream pillows and tissue paper colorful coats to learn about Joseph and his brothers. We will also be trying a digital video lesson! Our students are engaged and have been active participants in our All-Ages Celebrations. Cindy Little and Peg Powell joined us for September and October as guest story book readers! 

Advent and Christmas:

Jeneve has been preparing both Advent and Christmas packets for the church school families and also working with Karen on packet materials that could go to home-bound members and other members of the congregation. Advent packages will include 5 weeks of family devotionals from Illustrated Ministries, 5 weeks of paper crafts, an advent calendar and the book, Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home by Tracy Smith. December lesson packets will include nativity scene crafts, sugar cookie mix and colorful paper ornament crafts! We purchased a virtual Christmas pageant from Illustrated Ministry (available October 20th). The purchase of this pageant includes zoom backgrounds, a script, costume suggestions, musical breaks and carols!


We have been riding our summer camp momentum into Fall! Lois Lynch has returned to co-teach our multi–aged group over Google Meet with Jeneve. Lois is doing a fantastic job keeping students engaged. We have had some technical problems with Google Meet but are working around obstacles. The CE team has been thinking a lot about how to engage our more active students with remote learning. As Lois and Jeneve plan for January and beyond, they hope to include more activities and lessons that get students up and moving, in addition to the scripture readings, stories, crafts and discussion activities. Ten students have been consistently attending Church School remotely which has been a huge blessing.

Cindy Little and Peg Powell volunteered to be the guest story readers for September and October which was wonderful. It was a goal to connect the larger congregation more intentionally with our church school during the virtual time and we have been pleased to see folks joining us as guest story readers! 

 [A1] ~Jeneve Joslin, CE Director

PLEASE MAIL IN YOUR PLEDGE AND OFFERINGS OR GIVE ELECTRONICALLY through the Donate button on our church website:

http// 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.


A big thank you to Fern Sparks, Kathy Browne, and Joan Taylor for making soup for the Sunday, October 18 feeding of the homeless and low income at the First United Methodist church.  Also, thanks to Penny Smith for providing milk.


For many years we have had a Thanksgiving Processional where our congregation brought forth food for filling food boxes for our families who needed a little help and also money to buy turkeys for our food boxes.  Because of the pandemic, we are unable to do that this year.  However, some volunteers are purchasing food and turkeys for these families with money taken out of our mission budget.  The money you would normally have spent on food for the food boxes would be gratefully accepted by our mission ministry.  Just send your check to First Baptist with a note in the memo for Thanksgiving food boxes.


The Unified Governing Board met on October 19.  The big topics for the meeting were Stewardship Plans and Building Re-Opening.  Frank Swasey presented the Finance Committee’s draft of the communication to go out to members and friends regarding stewardship and budgeting for the 2021 year.  There was a pie chart and statements from 4 ministry teams (Education, Fellowship, Mission and Property) about their plans for the new year.  The presentation is significantly different this year due to the pandemic, but also because this is the first time we have reflected the new governance structure in the stewardship planning.

Another new feature this year is the category “Program Support,” which encompasses the salaries of the Pastor, Office, Finance and Sexton, as well as the PR, Historian and UGB functions.

Everyone will have received the material by the end of October and Pledge Sunday will be Nov. 15.  Further refinement of the budget will follow in preparation for action during the annual meeting.  After considerable discussion, we decided to continue with separate local and mission pledges instead of a unified budget approach since the congregation has not agreed to a change in this.

Steve Perkins reported for the Building Re-opening Committee.  The recommendation is to continue our remote approach (Zoom + Facebook) for the present.  The Committee will meet again in November.  In the mean- time the UGB reviewed the list of equipment needed to enable an eventual hybrid approach.  The UGB authorized up to $2500 to be spent from the Building Improvement budget line on this equipment.  Meanwhile, many plans are taking shape for special Advent and Christmas activities and services (some remote, some in person with safety measures). These are described elsewhere in this newsletter.

~Sarah Dopp, Church Moderator


               Sarah Dopp

   “Scattered and Gathered”

Recently, Rev. Mendes spoke of how our congregation is both scattered and gathered during this pandemic time. We are “scattered” out in our homes, even in different areas of the country, but we remotely “gather” to worship and serve, despite not being in the building.  These two words are rich with multiple other meanings also.  They remind me of Thanksgiving and of our Stewardship plans.  Most years we sing “We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land” and “All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.” We are singing, literally, about planting crops and harvesting food, but we also mean sowing God’s word out in the world and bringing people to recognize his Love and Good News.  Stewardship is like this too.  We gather our resources of volunteer time and commitment and financial gifts, so that we can scatter them back out, to educate children, serve in the mission field, feed our local community and radiate God’s love to hopeless and discouraged people.  It is a “virtuous circle,” similar to the circle of sowing, reaping, feeding and thankfulness which we celebrate at this time of year.

At this time of Thanksgiving, we pray for guidance in our “gathering” and “scattering,” both personally and as a church family.

Advent and Christmas for all Ages

Celebrate the Season with your Family of Faith

Advent at Home – Resources for all ages to celebrate Advent.

Let the church office know if you would like to receive a packet.

Advent Organ Recital –noon, date to be announced

Come to the sanctuary to hear Evan Allen play.

Nativity Exhibit – Sunday Dec. 6 at 2-4pm

Come to the sanctuary to see Nativity sets from around the world.

Advent Stories and Songs – Sunday, Dec. 13

Our Second Hour will be filled with music and story.

Do Not Be Afraid

Our Intergenerational Christmas Pageant

Sunday, Dec. 20 with rehearsals on Dec. 6 and 13

Christmas Sunday Worship – Sunday, Dec. 20

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

on Zoom and Facebook

The Longest Night Service –Sunday, Dec. 2o at 4:00pm

An in-person Christmas service for those who mourn.

Christmas Eve Service – Thursday, Dec. 24

Available beginning at 4pm on Facebook and Youtube

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


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          (Interim)

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 –Karen Mendes

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