First Baptist Church

81 Saint Paul Street Ste. 1

Burlington, VT.   05401

VOLUME NO. 9     September 1, 2023



I have always loved the month of September.  Despite being the 9th month of the year, it really is a time of new beginnings as we dive into the activities of the school year and our regular life with “the enthusiasm of the rested”.  September is a month for reconnecting with folks after vacation.  It is a month of excitement and anticipation of new activities.  It is a month full of potential. 

At First Baptist, September will be wonderful as we resume our regular programs and ministries, and make plans for the future.  Now that the strictures of the pandemic are behind us, we can take a wider view of our many ministries and of the needs in our community.  Our neighborhood is changing which means that new opportunities for ministry arise!

On September 10, we will have a special worship service followed by our Ice Cream Sunday and Ministry Fair where we can peruse the many opportunities for ministry while eating delicious ice cream!  Please plan to join us and invite your friends and neighbors.   The Spirit is moving here at First Baptist.  We look forward to seeing you.

Yours, in Christ,

~ Karen

Rev. Karen A. Mendes


First Baptist Church Staff

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

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

Adam Chamberlain …………… Church Administrator 

Steve Perkins ……….. Instrumental Group Director         

Evan Allen  ………………………………..Organist

Anna Roy…………………..Chancel 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.








Though the pandemic is no longer affecting every aspect of our lives, we should retain some of the good things we learned. One of these is keeping in touch with our church friends in between Sundays, especially those who have not been able to return to church in person. 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.


September 3 – Following Jesus

Matthew 16:21-28

Communion Sunday

September 10 – The Burning Bush

  and the Name of God

Exodus 3:1-15

September 17 – A Rescue at the Seaside

  Exodus 14:19-31

September 24 – Food in the Wilderness

 Exodus 16:2-15


Sept. 3 – Biennial Sermon – Rev. Laura I. Ayala-Álvarez, former Associate Executive Minister of Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico (Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico)

Sept. 10 – Ice Cream Sunday and Ministry Fair

Sept. 17 – Biennial Sermon – Rev. Joy Martinez-Marshall, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln, Nebraska

Sept. 24 – Biennial Reflections


There is more to Church than Sunday mornings! 

THE SILENT VIGIL FOR RACIAL JUSTICE will be Sunday, Sept 3 at 12:00pm on the front steps of the church.  Please join us for this important and meaningful witness.


Invite your friends and neighbors to join us on Sunday, September 10 for the First Day of Church School followed by Ice Cream Sundaes in Fellowship Hall (after worship).  While enjoying your sundae you can learn about our Ministry Teams and the many programs and projects planned for the upcoming months.  For more information please call the Church Office at 802- 864-6515.


Bible Study will resume on Sept. 18  in Fellowship Hall and on Zoom each Monday at 11:30am. We will be exploring Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians.

THE CHOSEN viewing will resume on Monday, Sept. 18  at 2pm. This television series explores the life of Jesus and his early followers.  Those who would like to watch from home can access the show on or through Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming services. 

FBC COFFEE HOUR will resume Thursday, Sept. 14 at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom. All are welcome for informal chatting! 

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


This year we will choose our Fall Book Group book from the following list.  Copies of the books will be available for perusal and vote at the Ministry Fair on September 10.

Speak with the Earth and It Will Teach You; A Field Guide to the Bible by Daniel Cooperrider

Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May

Dancing in the Darkness; Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent Times by Otis Moss, III

The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened  by Bill McKibben

Silencing White Noise; Six Practices to Overcome Our Inaction on Race by Willie Dwayne Francois III


We have refreshments following worship. Please contact the office if you would like to provide refreshments and treats. Refreshments are usually held in the narthex. Please join us in providing and enjoying the refreshments and conversation.


On Saturday, October 21, we will have the opportunity to reflect on First Baptist’s ministries and to take a wider view of God’s call to us.  This will be a fun and inspiring day to look at what we have accomplished and to discern to what ministries God is calling us in the upcoming year and in the future.  Please plan to join us and share your ideas for our future together.   Details about time and location will be forthcoming.


Christian education and children’s ministries have been busy this summer! We put on a very successful VBS Camp this summer with 15 children 4-12 years and 7 teen helpers. The program ran from 9-12 for five days. We are incredibly grateful for the help of so many church members who helped before, during and after: collecting supplies, prepping crafts, decorating, acting in the skits, leading activities, chaperoning kids, prepping food and cleaning up!! Thus far the reviews from kids and parents have been excellent and we look forward to next year. To thank the youth that assisted, Sarah Wright and I took them to Get Air (a trampoline park in Williston). This youth activity was a big hit. Everyone was in smiles and seemed to enjoy being together. 

We are prepping for a new church school year. This year we will be using the SHINE curriculum from MennoniteMedia as the program we have used in recent years has gone out of print. We are planning to have 3 classes this year. Pre-K through 3rd grade, with Karen Pope as the primary teacher. 4th-7th grade led by myself and 8th-12th grade led by Brenda Perkins. The youth will start the school year studying other religions. How they relate to Christianity and what other religions have to teach Christians and ways to be respectful of others. The lower classes will be studying the foundation stories in Genesis and Exodus this year while considering their impact on the world around them and how they can be positive influences on their world. I will be revamping the classrooms a bit with new decorations, a few new supplies and a better use of the great spaces we have. I hope this will generate some excitement and interest in the church school lessons. If you have a canvas tent (would be returned) or wide mouth quart jars (would not be returned) please speak to Annie if you’re willing to share these with church school. 

Our first day of church school will be September 10th with a shortened introduction session followed by the annual ice cream social. We hope to host another family apple picking event this fall as well. 

Annie Field, Christian Ed Director


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. 


Save the date of Oct.28, 9-noon.


We have received a thank you from Diana Sowards for the $1,011 sent to Friends of Burma for the internally displaced persons food and medicine in Chin State. She also sent a note saying “there are 1.9 million displaced people now. The U. S. State Dept. has warned against visiting the country due to arbitrary arrests and the inability of the Consulate to give help.”


Members and friends of First Baptist gave $2,156 toward the Vermont flood disaster. This was matched with mission earnings from our Elsie Dinwiddie Fund. A total of $4,312 will be sent to the Vermont Community Foundation’s Flood Response and Recovery Fund for Vermonters. Go to for a list of all grantees.


Ann and Bill were visiting churches in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont and we are glad they could join twenty-eight of us for a potluck salad supper. Ann and Bill reside in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on the Congo-Rwanda border where they serve as regional consultants and work with IM partners Heal Africa and IMA World Health in the town of Goma. Bill provides support to health care workers, hospitals, and clinics that offer lifesaving maternal and child health services while Ann is facilitating Sunday School with over 800 children, Day School, Street Children program (counseling and emergency shelter), Goat project for widows,  cooperative gardens, etc. ….all of which are funded with gifts from our American Baptist and partner churches through donations sent to the International Ministry. The Clemmers began their service with International Ministries in January 1993 and have served in DRC, South Sudan, and Haiti with interim assignments in Somalia, Yemen, Burundi, and other countries to meet urgent and short-term needs.


Look for a signup poster in the Narthex. We need shift workers and “goodie providers” and especially someone to set up at the northbound rest stop at 8:00 am. This is an opportunity to spread the word about our church ministries and outreach, earn some money for our church, and have fun at the same time.

MAUI WILDFIRE RELIEF – The American Baptist Home Mission Society is responding to the devastation on Maui by establishing a special offering through One Great Hour of Sharing. 100% of the gifts received will go to disaster relief.

Please make checks to First Baptist with Hawaii Wildfire in the memo line.


    A big thank you to all who contributed nonperishable food and monies for perishable items for the Rally Cat Cupboard at UVM in support of food security for staff and students at UVM. So many of you contributed and when I delivered my full trunk and back seat of food late August the coordinator was overwhelmed with gratitude to First Baptist Church. Read on to see their letter.

Thank you for your generosity,

Beth Gamache


I just wanted to follow up with another huge thank you for you and everyone who donated from the FBC! We had 127 visitors this past Monday and the 122 lbs of dry and perishable food you brought helped us provide to many of them! It is rare I’ve ever had avocados in the pantry and I just thought I’d share. It was so fun to see people’s eyes light up and show their friends/roommates that we had avocados!

We truly are so appreciative and moving forward, if you’d ever like to host another drive or bring some people up to visit the cupboard, please feel free to reach out!


The group had planned to have a cook-out at the Mendes’ home for our August meeting, but COVID put a stop to that! ZOOM was our welcomed alternative and Karen was even able to join us, despite still not being recovered.

We worked on the fall schedule of church activities. The September ones will be mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter, and subsequently, as fall proceeds. A church mini-retreat will take place in October for instance, plus an outdoor clean-up day and a Dopp Organ Recital. We also mapped out the schedule for ministry planning and budgeting for 2024, and for our annual stewardship process.

Various teams and committees reported their ongoing activities, such as staff evaluations getting completed, the music program starting back up, and the many mission initiatives of 2023 being supported by the Outreach Team, the well attended and very wonderful visit from the Clemmer’s, and the very successful Vacation Bible School carried out a few weeks ago.

The Property folks reported the completion of the brickwork project, which came in well under budget. Leases beginning on September 1st have been signed for 139 Bank ST. The VT Cares organization will occupy the first floor and part of the second, and Queen City Development of VT (our property manager’s company) will occupy the other portion of the second floor. We are fortunate to have two worthy groups in the building and will appreciate the financial support for our budget, as we close out 2023 and enter 2024. The church is lucky to have dedicated volunteers who are attentive to the smaller, sometimes unwitnessed, jobs that need to be performed. I’d like to mention Dave Little, who has kept the church yard mowed and trimmed all summer; also Frank Swasey who does countless “Mr. Fix-it” jobs around the building and brings his unique knowledge and creativity to the “fixes!” Thanks to them and all other FBC volunteers.

There will be a meeting on August 25th with a Burlington Police Dept. Community Support Liaison to brainstorm the homelessness situation. Also, in September, the Downtown Burlington Clergy will resume regular meetings, another community building initiative.

Financial matters are reviewed at every meeting. We have not yet needed to call on the “One time TPF Donation” ($88.5K) we built into the budget last January, but this bears careful watching as the remaining third of a year’s income and spending are still before us. The Rock Point Advisors again congratulated the TPF on timing our needs for extra funds just right!

-Sarah Dopp, Church Moderator


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. The flower chart is 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.


Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9-1

Tuesday/Thursday 9-3 

Except for Monday September 4th in observance of Labor Day.