Green Steeple Messenger-September, 2021
MOMENTS OF GRACE
A few snapshots of grace observed lately.
At the Church School Stewardship Camp – watching children, youth, and adults play games together on a tarp on the church’s side yard. On a week of very hot days, the side yard was an oasis with cool breezes blowing between the two tall buildings.
At church early Sunday morning – Our church sexton, Julie found a tired pigeon in our sanctuary. Together, she and I were able to gently gather it up and release it outside.
At the Church Picnic – Church members talking about baked beans. One person was from the Karen Community and the other was someone who has lived in Vermont for many decades. It was fun to hear their conversation about flavor and ingredients. Those baked beans also brought back memories of Fran Whitney and all that she was for our church community.
Also at the picnic – the particular miracle of potluck meals, enjoying delicious food, good conversation, and watching kids play.
This September will be different from last year and from other years past. We will have some opportunities, such as worship, to gather in person, while other opportunities, such as Church School and Choir, will wait until later in the Fall. But at all times, we have opportunities for grace; opportunities to see the love of God made manifest in the people and wider world around us.
This newsletter is full of opportunities, both in person and online, for learning, fellowship, service, and grace. It is a great joy to minister with you.
Yours in Christ,
Sunday Morning Worship Service 9:45
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 October is September 15th|
GIFT OF TIME
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 email@example.com.
or call 802-864-7179.
HOME CHURCH CLUSTERS
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 Instantchurchdirectory.com or through the Instant Church Directory app.
Sunday Worship Services
Sept 05 – It Was Good
Sept 12 – In the Image of God
Sept 19 – Look to the Heavens
Sept 26 – The Holy Mountain
PAST WORSHIP SERVICES can be found on our church website and YouTube. On our website, fbcburlingtonvt.com, click About FBC and then Worship Services.
Want to learn about First Baptist’s ministries, history and community? Join us on Sept. 19 at 11am for a conversation about who we are and how you can join us in service and fellowship. For more information, please email Rev Mendes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HYBRID WORSHIP PROTOCOLS
On June 27th we returned to worship together in our sanctuary. Zoom and Facebook are still available for those who cannot join us in person. Because not all of our community is yet able to be vaccinated, especially children under 12, we will wear masks while in the sanctuary and other parts of the building. Hymns can be hummed or sung quietly. Our Fellowship Time after worship will happen outside on the side yard. It is so wonderful to be together, but recall our church family still joining “virtually.” These Covid precautions will ensure that all will feel safe and comfortable in our time together.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FELLOWSHIP AND LEARNING
FBC COFFEE HOUR ON THURSDAYS at 9:30am on Zoom.
We gather for informal fellowship and conversation.
For those calling in-
+1 646 558 8656 US
Meeting ID: 898 5556 4406 Passcode: 993539
MONDAY BIBLE STUDY
Bible Study will resume on September 20 at 9:30am. More details will follow. For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at email@example.com.
THE ANTI RACISM BOOK GROUP has been reading Let’s Talk Race: A Guide for White People by Fern Johnson and Marlene Fine over the summer. The group will meet for discussion on August 30th at 7pm on Zoom.
THE SILENT VIGIL FOR RACIAL JUSTICE will happen Sunday, Sept. 5 at 11:30am on the church front lawn. Please join us for this important witness. This is a recurring event on the first Sunday of each month.
SINGERS AND MUSICIANS NEEDED FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP!
Music can be either live or recorded. Please contact Anna Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org or the office if you’d like to contribute special music for worship until our groups resume. Special thanks to those who have volunteered this summer to share their talents!
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, which is a new updated app. (Those who used GIVE+ in the past, will need to switch to this new app.)
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.
Thank you from Friends of Burma, Inc….
We have received a thank you from Friends of Burma, Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana for our Burma noodle fundraiser donation of $2,310 for the displaced people of Myanmar and the Karen Baptist Convention hospital. A Friends of Burma spring newsletter is posted on the Mission Outreach bulletin board in Fellowship Hall.
Karen Baptist Community Donation…. Our Karen Baptist Community gave a love donation of $1,000 to the Yangon Karen Baptist Home Mission Churches Association in Ahlone, Yangon, Myanmar to be used for “Covid-19 patients in Myanmar providing medical, food, oxygen, masks, and other personal items.” Check out the thank you letter on Mission Outreach bulletin board from Rev. Tun Than, Secretary of the Yangon Karen Baptist Church Association.
I-89 Fundraiser – Saturday, September 25…
The Welcome Centers are open. First Baptist has a reservation for both north and southbound rest stops in Williston. Look for a signup poster in the Narthex. We need shift workers and “goodie” providers. This is an opportunity to spread the word about our church ministries and outreach and have fun at the same time.
IM Responds to August 14 Earthquake in Haiti…
“Responding to Saturday’s devastating earthquake will require a different model of response than what has been the norm in the past. The security situation within Haiti is severely limiting access to the survivors. This will be an opportunity for us to work more closely with partners in Haiti, old and new, creatively and collaboratively, to equip those already in Haiti and able to access the needed resources with the financial resources to meet the needs,” says World Relief Officer, Lisa Rothenberger, of the American Baptist World Relief Committee.
Financial support for the relief efforts for our Haitian brothers and sisters is being provided by One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) through IM, in coordination with our Baptist and ecumenical partners. Persons wishing to support relief efforts can do so through their American Baptist church, give online through IM’s website, or send checks directly to International Ministries with the designation “OGHS–Haiti Relief” written on the memo line of the check.
REPORT FROM THE UGB
The latest meeting of the Unified Governing Board was held on Aug. 16.
We were brought up to date on several personnel matters. Our new tech assistant, Isabella Abate, is going to try to recommend another student to us, to help with the technology duties, to increase reliability, and we will advertise as well. Jeneve Joslin has regretfully said she needs to step down as Director of Christian Ed as of August 24, due to so many other demands on her time. Marie Morton is looking forward to retiring at the end of the year. These changes present challenges and, we hope, opportunities for Staff Relations and the Church as we move ahead.
We reviewed where we are with COVID. See the Building Reopening Committee Report below. COVID may affect some of our planned events, but we laid out the activities being devised for Sept. – Nov. (see list at the end of the newsletter) We also discussed ways to bolster our systems for assuring we have Sunday greeters, refreshment providers and ushers, and ways to be in personal contact with all members, especially as we worship in four different modes. We don’t want anyone to feel left out or forgotten.
And we keep addressing the challenges of our prayer life as we now need to balance sharing concerns with privacy concerns raised by the public access to Face Book.
There is quite a list of property issues before us, some very simple, and a few larger projects, among which are the repair of the fence on the north side, the repairs to the wall of 139 Bank St., graffitti cleanup, baptistry sealing. Dialogue will increase with the Next Generation Childcare on building use matters, now that we are back in the building. The Nominating Committee is seeking a new Property Comm. Member.
The finances are chugging along. Income is about 89% of expectations at the point with expenses as of July 31 at 53% of expectations. The invested funds are in a strong place.
~ Sarah Dopp, Church Moderator
BUILDING REOPENING COMMITTEE REPORT
(Latest Meeting Aug. 16)
The following ideas represent the latest conclusions reached by the Committee:
1. The metrics for Chittenden County which we agreed to track, allowed us to reopen for in-person worship on June 27, using distancing and masks. We now are following these metrics once again, to determine the right time to resume music rehearsals and Church School, since the State is experiencing the Delta Variant spike. Though the vaccination rate exceeds 85% (best in the nation) and the Positive Test rate (~4%) remains low, the new cases/100K population is above 10/100K population at present.
2. Masks must be worn while moving about in the building. Vaccinated people may remove them in their pews.
3. Pew Bibles and hymnals can be used, but congregational singing will require a mask. Safe communion options are in use. Offering plates are not being passed.
4. Ushers and greeters will assure that visitors sign the register, WITH contact information.
5. The children’s space downstairs will not be used by us for now. Material for children will be available in the narthex.
6. Refreshments and conversation will be held on the south side lawn following the service. Please do not linger in the building.
7. The Karen Baptist Community have decided to resume their Sunday noon services on August 29.
8. Open windows, doors and fans will be used to promote air circulation while the weather permits.
9. No large gatherings in Fellowship Hall for now. Decisions on AA groups, choir practices, funeral receptions etc. remain to be made. The Summer Camp for the Sunday School was held on Aug. 9-12 at church. Much of it outside.
10.Summer office hours resumed in August (Wed. + Fri. 9-1, Tues. + Thurs. 9-3). The office is closed on Mondays until Sept. 13. Rev. Mendes has resumed office hours.
11. Zoom and Face Book options for worship will continue.
12. All decisions are being made based on “the science,” Statewide official guidance, and by our intention to be a loving and caring community where every person’s health and comfort are paramount. (“Do unto others ….”). Risks are never 0%.
OUR MINISTRIES CONTINUE…
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
Cooperative Campus Ministries – Beth Gamache
Sister Church Initiative –
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 – Mark Paulsen, Frank Swasey
Security – Andy Farrington
Worship – Mark Paulsen
Property (Fix It/Clean It) – Andy Farrington Chris Thompson
Music – Steve Perkins
Church School- Lois Lynch Cindy Little
Special Events – Lois Lynch
Youth Ministry – Rev. Karen Mendes
Adult Christian Education – Jeneva Burroughs (interim)
Library & Educational Resources- Jeneva Burroughs
Stewardship – Stu Burroughs
A celebration of life service for Ann Arms will be held on Sunday, September 5th at 2:00PM here at First Baptist Church.
Vacation Bible School
This summer we were blessed to have 11 students participate in our Good Stewards Together Vacation Bible School. We learned Bible Stories about stewardship, how to be good stewards of the environment, stewards of God’s love and grace and how to be good stewards in our relationships with each other. Some of the highlights were making recycled succulent planters from water bottles, drum stick beats and songs, hanging out in the library, Bible reflection in the sanctuary, weeding and mulching the side garden, photo booth dress up and sidewalk chalk! Sarah Dopp and Bev Nichols were tremendous in providing snacks and lunch items, ice cold water, opening and closing the building, cleaning up and offering guidance and support. Cindy Little and Lois Lynch worked hard transporting camp participants, shopping for camp materials, teaching songs and providing direct instruction. The students learned about stewardship and also witnessed examples of heartfelt stewardship from our amazing volunteers!
We ran into some obstacles, including heat warnings which led to hot stuffy air on the second floor, some failed craft attempts and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the camp was a wonderful opportunity to be together in Christ!
Due to COVID-19 cases increasing again, the delta variant and many of the church school students not having access to the vaccine, the Education Team is proposing to delay the re-opening of Church School until October, 2021. We will have one in person outdoor event (apple picking) in late September and provide packets of CE activities for children to work on in the pews for those who attend hybrid worship. The Education Team is in the process of planning what programming will look like for October and beyond.
NEW CHURCH EMAIL ADDRESSES
The church email addresses have changed. This will make it easier to contact the church staff and lessen the ability of email scammers to fake our address. Please put these new addresses into your email contact lists:
The church office (Marie Morton) – email@example.com
Treasurer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Secretary – financialsecretary@fbcburlingtonvt. com
Karen Baptist Community – KBC@fbcburlingtonvt.com
Karen Mendes – email@example.com
Evan Allen – firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Roy – email@example.com
Steve Perkins – firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Sweeney – email@example.com
FALL EVENTS PLANNED
Aug. 22 – Joint Worship and
Aug. 29 – Karen worship resumes
Aug. 30 – Anti Racism Book Group
resumes at 7PM.
Sept. 05 – 2PM – Celebration of
Ann Arms’ life.
11:30AM – BLM Silent Vigil
Sept. 09 – Visitors’ Gathering
Sept. 12 – New Place Meal
Sept. 20 – 11:30 Bible Study resumes
Sept. 25 – I-89 Fund Raiser
Oct. 23 – Pasta Dinner
Oct. 24 – Remote Worship
(due to Marathon)
Nov. 07 – (afternoon) – A Special
All Saints Memorial Service
Nov. 14 – (afternoon) – Dopp Organ
Recital (Evan Allen)
To all my friends at First Baptist,
I want to thank you for the cards and prayers I received in my long journey with Breast Cancer.
In Christian love,