First Baptist Church

81 Saint Paul Street Ste. 1

Burlington, VT.   05401

VOLUME NO. 12 December 1, 2022



Once a week I wake up early to walk with a friend.  At this time of year it is dark when we start but as we walk the world slowly brightens.  We can’t pinpoint one moment when it changes from dark to light, we just walk from the darkness to the light.

The Season of Advent is a journey of traveling from the darkness to the light.   This year our traveling texts will be the words of the prophet Isaiah.    Isaiah understood that the light of God’s love can never be extinguished, no matter how dark or bleak the circumstances. We hear in his words the foretelling of a child, born in the night, who would bring light and life to all.   During Advent we will wait, we will prepare, we will walk toward the light of our faith; Jesus our Christ, who is the light of the world.

As we all move through this season which can be filled with such busyness and stress, let us take time to notice the light building around us.  Let us be lights to those who are struggling in darkness.  Let us walk together from the darkness to the light. 

This newsletter contains many opportunities to come together during this Holy Season.  I look forward to seeing you and I invite you to invite your friends and neighbors to join us.

Yours in Christ,

~ Karen

Rev. Karen A. Mendes


First Baptist Church Staff

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

                     ……….. ………………… CE Director

Adam Chamberlain …………… Church Administrator 

Steve Perkins ……….. Instrumental Group Director         

Evan Allen  ………………………………..Organist

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

Julie Sweeney …….………………………….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


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.







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 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.

Sunday Worship Services

Dec 04. Advent Week 2

Isaiah 11:1-10

The Prince of Peace

Dec 11. Advent Week 3

Luke 1:46b-55

Song of Joy and Power

Dec 18. Advent Week 4

Matt 1:18-25

God is With Us

Dec 25. Christmas Sunday

John 1:1-14

Merry Christmas


Dec. 4 – Nightlight Jewelry and Ornament Sale – Support an ABCUSA International Mission program in Thailand which provides skills and support to women.  And get some Christmas shopping done! 


THE SILENT VIGIL FOR RACIAL JUSTICE will happen on December 4th at 11:45 am on the church front steps. Please join us for this important witness.


meets in Fellowship Hall and on Zoom each Monday at 11:30am. We are exploring the Acts of the Apostles.


at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom. All are welcome for informal chatting!

THE WINTER BOOK GROUP will read Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence by Diana Butler Bass.  Our first meeting will be Monday, Jan. 9 at 7pm on Zoom. The book is available in bookshops and online. Let the office know if you need help in procuring it.

THE FALL BOOK GROUP’s final meeting will be Dec. 5 at 7pm.

I WONDER AS I WANDER is our Christmas pageant which we will enjoy during worship on Dec. 18.  Rehearsals will be during Church School on Dec. 4 and after worship on Dec. 11.  Let us know if you would like to participate!  


It is our tradition to decorate the Chancel with Poinsettias to welcome the Christ Child.  Flowers can be brought to the Church office beginning on Wednesday, December 21. 


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 



All children 5 years to 11 years old are invited to join the Sunday school class on the second floor.  The class starts at 10:30 right after the children’s message.  Children who attend the Karen service at noon may join the class without attending the 10:00 o’clock worship service.  Just come to Church around 10:30.  A snack is provided and at 11:15 children and youth have the opportunity to sing with Brenda Perkins and enjoy familiar songs and learn new songs of faith.  

TEACHING TEAM NEEDS HELP:   If you are interested in helping with the 5-11 year old class or in working with youth, please speak with Pastor Karen Mendes, Lois Lynch or Cindy Little. 


Sunday School is meeting weekly with about 10 kids participating though attendance varies. Lois Lynch and Cindy Little continue as teachers with occasional help from Julie Sweeney, Jenny Paw and Lerder Star. A Christmas Pageant will be presented on December 18th during the 10:00 worship service. Pageant practice for children and youth will be held during Sunday school class time (around 10:30) on December 4th and 11th.  The practice will take place on the ground floor with an additional practice in the sanctuary on December 11th from 11:00 to 11:30.   The children and Youth seem excited to participate in this First Baptist Church tradition. Calling all shepherds and angels! 

Youth ministry: Good news!  Brenda Perkins has stepped forward to offer leadership for youth ministry. Sarah Wright has offered to help out, too.  A Youth class will begin on January 8th using the 3rd floor classroom.  The class will likely begin around 10:30 ending at 11:30.  This is so both youth attending the 10:00 service and youth attending the later Karen service can participate and can join Youth Choir practice at 11:30. The 3rd floor classroom needs some reorganizing since it was painted and we may need to have a work day to help our Sextant Julie Sweeney with this task.  Any volunteers?

REV. DALE EDWARDS, VNH REGION EXECUTIVE MINISTER, … plans to retire as of Sept. 1, 2023 and he has recently sent a gracious and inspiring personal letter about his decision, to the ABC churches of the region. He explains how his decision has come about and how he plans to use the remaining 9 months in preparing for new leadership. Dale has been a good friend and helper to us here in Burlington over the years. If you would like to read the letter, Sarah Dopp will pass it along to anyone who is interested.


The Trustees of the Permanent Funds have completed a new version of the brochure entitled, “Bequests and Special Gifts.” It is now available in the church office, the narthex information table, or from one of the Trustees. The church has recently received several generous bequests. If this option interests you, pick up a copy of the brochure. 


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. 



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 their many years of being with us in big and small moments and for their leadership, listening, wisdom, condolence or just the right prayer when needed most. With gift revenue from the RMMO in 2021, ABC USA distributed 3,395 thank you checks averaging $134 and provided direct emergency assistance where needed.

Reverends John Holt, David O’Brien, Reid Trulson, and Jeff Middleton will be among the recipients. From Phillipians 1:3 it says “I thank my God every time I remember you.”


With money and food donations on Thanksgiving Sunday, Thanksgiving food baskets and turkey were given to three families. The leftover food was taken to the Feeding Chittenden Food Shelf and leftover money to Anew Place.


There will be a jewelry/ornament sale in Fellowship Hall, after church on December 4. The jewelry and ornaments are made by women living in a shelter in Bangkok, Thailand. Deb Holonitch, our

representative to the World Mission Conference in July, had the opportunity to talk with global servants to Thailand, Annie and Jeff Dieselberg. Annie is the founding CEO of Nightlight International, a global organization that restores the lives of women affected by sex trafficking and Nightlight Bangkok is a place where women can get shelter and employment (making and selling jewelry).


(posted on Mission Outreach bulletin board in Fellowship Hall)…. A heartwarming story about a family in Goma losing family members from an attack by rebels and almost losing their home from active volcano lava with a lot of tragic details in between.


ANew Place is currently in need of the following items. They can be new or gently used.  If you can help, contact

Bath Towels

3-drawer dressers

TVs (27″ or smaller)

Pillows (preferably wipeable hospital-grade)

Twin mattresses (college or hospital grade)

Travel-sized shampoo & conditioner

Gently used/new Belts (sizes 32-38) 

Backpacks – Gently used


The main work of the meeting focussed on the budget for 2023, this time concentrating on our sources of income. We received a preliminary report of pledging amounts and were able to plug in the anticipated amounts of income from One Arts Childcare and the 139 Bank St. property. The Trustees of the Permanent Funds will be contributing $47,500. There are several other income sources which remain to be finalized. A new complication this year is the fact that, along with the rest of the world, the value of our investments has dropped, leading to a significant shortfall in the Undesignated Funds held by the TPF. This means that our usual source for balancing the budget is also compromised. Our portfolio currently stands at  $1,993,000, down from the Jan. 1 value of $2,326,000 — but this current value is an improvement from the “bottom” and we very much hope that there will be steady, slow improvement in the weeks prior to the annual meeting. Because of these unusual realities, the UGB committed to monitoring the valuation closely and recalculating the budget several times during 2023.

We also discussed and reiterated our commitment to seeking a new Christian Ed Director in the new year. Most agree that the need to provide this support to our children and youth outweighs the current financial challenges. In fact, we are exceedingly blessed as a congregation, financially and in many other ways, and there are creative ways to tap the funds we would need. The matter will be brought to the congregation once a plan is determined.

Other reports were received, as usual, from ministry teams and committees. Many activities are taking place during Advent. The Nominating Committee is hard at work. Annual Reports are due before Christmas. The Property Committee reported on follow-up tasks recommended by the Burlington Fire Dept. during a recent inspection, but they were greatly impressed with our maintenance of the building. We are also excited that the baptistry will soon be repaired (to prevent leaks) so that we can provide baptism for those asking for it.

Sarah Dopp, Moderator


We have refreshments following worship. Please look for the signup sheet in the narthex. You may bring beverages and treats (individually wrapped if preferred.) Now that the cooler weather has come, we have resumed inside fellowship and refreshments in the narthex. Please join us.


are available on our website and our YouTube Channel.


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 DECEMBER ARE  – Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9-1 and Tuesday/Thursday 9-3. December 26th the office will be closed.


Karen Mendes –

Evan Allen –

Anna Roy –

Steve Perkins –

The church office (Adam Chamberlain) –  

Treasurer –  

Financial Secretary – financialsecretary@fbcburlingtonvt. com 

Karen Baptist Community –

Advent and Christmas Events for all Ages

Celebrate the Season with your Family of Faith


Nightlight Jewelry and Ornament Sale – Sunday, Dec. 4

Purchase gifts that support an 

ABCUSA International Mission project in Thailand.

Christmas Sunday Worship – 

Sunday, Dec. 18

Wonderful music and the Christmas Pageant to celebrate

the 4th Sunday of Advent.

Christmas Pageant rehearsals will be Dec. 4 during Church School and Dec. 11 at 11am.

Christmas Caroling – 

afternoon of Dec. 18

Bringing Christmas cheer to our homebound members and friends.

The Longest Night Service –

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 7:00pm

A  Christmas service for those who mourn.

Christmas Eve Services  – 

Saturday Dec. 24 

Family Service- available online starting at 2pm

Candlelight Service – 9:00pm 

Christmas Day Worship – 

Sunday, Dec 25, 10:00am

Celebrate Christmas Day with our Karen and English Speaking Church Family!

A New Year’s Epiphany Party – Sunday, Jan. 1 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.

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