December 2018 Newsletter


VOLUME LX111 NO. 12   Dec. 1, 2018





Happy New Year

As we look toward December and the end of the calendar year, we often forget that the church has a different calendar.  The Season of Advent is the beginning of the Church year, not the end.  While the rest of the world rushes to finish its work by December 31, the Church is celebrating a season of new hope and new beginnings.

This year, as we enter Advent, our world is in disarray with chaos and suffering, both natural and human made, which threaten to overwhelm our holiday celebrations. And yet, we remember that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the midst of similar circumstances.  In the Gospel of Luke, the Holy Family were migrants traveling due to circumstances beyond their control.  In the Gospel of Matthew, they were refugees, driven out of their home by violence done on Herod’s orders.

This Advent season, let us be beacons of welcome, comfort and peace in our hurting and fractured world.  Let us share this time of hope, expectation, and longing for the presence of God in our midst, Emmanuel, which means “God with us”.  This is a new year and a new beginning.

This newsletter contains many opportunities for fellowship and service 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



The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 5 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In October, 7 “known visits” were made to 3 homebound members and 3 “known calls” were made to 3 homebound members by FBC members and friends. Also, 3 visits and 1 call were made to other members and friends. The committee invites you to help with this ministry.

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


WORSHIP SCHEDULE   – Sermons and Texts

Dec. 02 – Rev. Karen A Mendes

Scripture: Jer. 33:14-16

Sermon: The Days Are Surely Coming

Dec. 09 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

Scripture: Luke 1:68-79

Sermon: The Song of Zechariah

Dec. 16 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

Scripture: Phil. 4:4-7

Pageant: A Most Amazing Story

Dec. 23 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

Scripture: Luke 1:39-55

Sermon: The Song of Mary              

Dec. 30 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

 Scripture: Luke 2:41-52

 Sermon: The Boy Jesus

Our Monday Bible Study meets at 11:30am.  We are studying the Book of Genesis.  Please join us and feel free to bring your lunch.  For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at: or call the church office at 864-6515.


The treasurer and assistant treasurer will be in the office to pay bills on Wednesday, Dec. 5 instead of Thursday, Dec. 6.  Please remember to have all bills that need to be paid by year end to us ASAP.



Calling all angels, shepherds, animals and crew of all ages!  “A Most Amazing Story” will be told during worship on December 16th.  The one rehearsal will be Sunday, December 9th.  Please sign up in the Narthex or speak with Rev. Mendes or Lois Lynch CE chair, if you are interested in participating in any capacity.


December 16th will be a glorious day as our worship service will include our Christmas Pageant, A Most Amazing Story. Our Karen community and members of the Namuna Nepali Church will worship with us and after the service we are all invited to a light Holiday Luncheon. After lunch, we will gather at 2:30pm for our Family Skating Party.  We have ice reserved at Leddy Ice Arena from 3:15-4:15.  For more information and to sign up for ice skating, please contact the Church office.


Dec. 02 – Advent Stories & Song

Dec. 09 – Administrative Sunday, Pageant Rehearsal

Dec. 16 – Holiday Luncheon

Dec. 23 – Christmas Sunday –  Christmas Carol Sing

PRAYER TOPIC         By Marie Morton,  Diaconate Member                     

“Stop, Listen & Feel His Presence”

So often we try to figure out life by what we can see, hear, or experience with our other senses.  We make calculated estimates and judgments based on observations and experiences.  There’s a level of truth, however, that cannot be perceived by the senses or measured objectively.  It’s at that level where faith abounds.  By our faith we only know in Whom we trust.

CHRISTMAS SUNDAY FLOWERS                                                                

 Once again we have an opportunity to order poinsettia plants for Christmas Sunday, Dec. 23 from Claussen’s.  Please contact the office by Thursday, Dec. 14th to place your order.  We will list any dedications requested in memory of loved ones.

Color choices: Glitter, Marble, Pink, Red or White


 6.5” (1 plant per pot)          9.90

 7” (3 plants per pot)          17.90

8.5” (4 plants per pot)        22.85            

10” (3 plants per pot)         25.85 – Red

10” (3 plants per pot)         27.85         (tri-color: pink/red/white mix)

Advent and Christmas Events

Celebrate the Season with your Family of Faith

Advent Stories & Songs – Dec. 2

Ecumenical Carol Sing – 7pm   College Street Congregational Church

Christmas Pageant – Dec. 16

 Followed by a Luncheon

Family Ice Skating – 2:30pm

The Longest Night Service –     Saturday, Dec. 19, 7:00pm

A  Christmas service for those who mourn.

Christmas Sunday Worship – Dec. 23

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

Christmas Eve Services – Monday, Dec. 24

4:00pm – Family Service

11:00pm – Candlelight Service

Christmas Caroling – Dec. 30, 2:00pm

Director of Christian Education Search:

The search committee recently learned that New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church is not yet able or ready to enter a joint recruitment effort for a shared staff member.  They and we do hope that we can continue to find ways to support one another’s ministries.  In light of this, the CE Board has approved funds for another round of advertising which needs to take place in this fiscal year.  Please pray for the right person to see our ad and apply.

Upcoming Events:

Advent Stories and Songs:  This enjoyable event was a special part of Advent last year and we are very happy it’s happening again.  A big thank you to Ann Hall who is organizing songsters and storytellers.  Hope you’ll stay after worship on Dec. 2nd to begin our Advent Celebrations.

Pageant Practice:  December 9th is our one and only practice time. Practice will take place right after worship. The 9th is Administrative Sunday but we hope that adults who plan to participate will attend if at all possible.  Costumes are being readied with guidance from Mary Swasey and props are being arranged with help of Penilee Saulnier.  Lois Lynch and Pastor Karen are also providing leadership.  Please contact any of these women if you can offer help.

Christmas Pageant:  December 16th The Christmas Pageant will be shared during worship.  It will be a joint service with the Karen Baptist Community and the Nepali Congregation has also been invited.

Holiday Luncheon: After worship on the 16th, all are invited to a light Sandwich and Cookie Luncheon, especially those who are planning to attend the after Skating Party. Marie Morton may call you to ask for a sandwich or cookie donation for the luncheon.

Skating Party: December 16th is also the date of our Family Skating Party.  We will gather at the church at 2:30pm in order to drive to Leddy Skating Arena where we have the small rink reserved from 3:15-4:15pm. We have enough skate rentals for 30 people so don’t be shy about signing up.  Several families have indicated that they may need transportation to the rink from Church.  If you can provide transportation, whether or not you plan to skate, please sign up on the chart in the Narthex or call the church office. This will be lots of fun and the kids and teen are really looking forward to skating.


This year, as we meet and work and worship together, let us take photos so that at our coming Annual Meeting we can put together a slide show of our life together.  Photos can be emailed to the church office  Please get parental permission before photographing children.  Thanks!


Our Pictorial Directory is available in printed form from the church office but it is also available online!  Members and friends of First Baptist whose email addresses are included in the directory can access the directory through their smartphone or computer.  For smartphones, the app is Instant Church Directory.

For computers, go to:  In both cases you will be directed on how to set up a password, etc.  Only those who are included in the directory will be able to access it.  Contact the church office if you have any questions. To update your photo or address, email:


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.


CHECK IT OUT – NEW ORANGE SIGN-UP CHART for “Greeters & Feeders” in the Narthex.  Please feel free to sign-up!  Store-bought goodies are fine.


SPECIAL THANKS to Ginger Calder, Sarah Dopp and Chris Thompson for providing the beautiful tablecloth in the Conference room.  A lot of research and time was taken in finding something that would suit the size of the table.  A green tablecloth will be used during the holiday season.  These same ladies also spent 4 hours labeling the kitchen cupboards for our convenience in finding the contents.


SPECIAL THANKS to those who gave to the Puerto Rico Missions – a total of $220.00 was raised!   



 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 service.

In 2017, by generous giving to the RMM offering, $1,024,706 was raised which provided 3,457 thank you checks.  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, and Rev. Reid Trulson will be among the recipients.  Please help us honor them with love and give with gratitude.

  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)





Mission Outreach is collecting socks in December for the Committee on Temporary Shelter to support the homeless in our community.

What: New men’s and women’s socks of all kinds and sizes will be collected.

Where: Look for the collection container in the Narthex.

Socks will be delivered to COTS just before Christmas.

Monetary donations are also acceptable. Talk to Nancy Danforth at or 777-5085 or any member of the Mission Outreach Team.


The Dee PT Great Diaper Drive

It’s that time of year again, and the 11th Annual Dee Physical Therapy Great Diaper Drive to benefit COTS is well under way. Drop off diapers at any of Dee PT’s three locations in South Burlington, Shelburne, and Hinesburg. Diapers can be dropped off between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Fridays.


JUMP eliminating food bags as of 2019

JUMP’s decision to eliminate food bags was made in full consideration of the abundant availability of food in Chittenden County, at least 23 locations for bulk food or daily meals. Securing food in the area is not a problem for JUMP clients.

In 2019, JUMP will provide to clients a list of locations where they can go to receive food, either bulk food or daily meals.

Faith communities that provided food bags at their designated month are being asked to provide personal hygiene items, toiletries, diapers, etc. during their month.

JUMP’s decision will allow JUMP to concentrate on what clients request and need most, assistance for transportation and personal hygiene items.  This decision also relieves parishioners and JUMP volunteers the burden of toting heavy, bulky bags to and from JUMP.

JUMP will continue to provide grocery store gift cards and vouchers to clients to purchase food.  Faith communities still can provide money to go toward the purchase of these grocery store cards provided to clients in lieu of or in addition to personal hygiene items.

Note: starting in January JUMP will personally reach out to each faith community to answer any questions and assist with the transition pertaining to JUMP’s new policy. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during this period of transition to better meet clients’ request and needs.

Thank you to all the soup makers and milk buyers for participating in our feeding ministry at The First United Methodist Church on Sunday nights. Our local mission fund assists with purchasing some of the milk so thank you to everyone for funding this important Sunday night food event that feeds our brothers and sisters of the greater Burlington community.  Thanks to Joan Taylor, Fern Sparks, Nancy Danforth, Beth Vuley, Carol Gaylord, Caroline Vandevord, Kathy Browne, Sarah Dopp, Stu & Jeneva Burroughs, Chris Thompson, Cindy Little, Sandi Seaver, Susan Schomody and Judy Austin.

THANK YOU to everyone who brought food and monetary donations for our Thanksgiving Day Processional this year!  We were able to feed three families and donate some extra food to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf!



 Rev. Ricardo Mayol-Bracero, an American Baptist International Ministries consultant, recently wrote a journal piece about the “forced displacement” of Honduran migrants who are protecting themselves by walking to the US border. Ricardo is based in Guatemala and works with the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala.

The US Homeland Security Secretary said to thousands fleeing to survive “Do not come. You will not be allowed in.”  (TIME, November 12) Humanitarianism is missing, of course.

Migrants such as mothers with small children and students who are walking for safety and better lives are given shelter, food, clean clothes, mats, pastors, psychologists, etc. by Ricardo and his council members in Guatemala City. Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans have joined Hondurans traveling through Mexico to the US border.

The Mexican Red Cross in Mexico City has been offering aid to migrants who have blisters, respiratory infections and the need to rest. No smallpox has been reported.

The US Border Patrol says it detained a new high of more than 50, 000 people crossing the US Mexico border between ports of entry in October. Nearly half of these people were considered family units. The US president issued an executive order declaring that anyone coming here illegally from Mexico outside of the established ports would be ineligible for asylum. The ACLU has filed a legal challenge arguing the new rules are invalid. Also, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided to keep in place the injunction blocking the president’s decision to phase out DACA. (US News, Nov. 12)

Admiral James Stavridis (ret.) wrote in the TIME issue (November 19) that the active-duty troops are not trained for border patrol and they are improperly equipped for that mission. Many of them have had to stop their training for deployments to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. He suggests the idea of cooperation with Mexico by building refugee centers for asylum seekers with both nations working together.

Using the migrants for political gain didn’t work at the November elections. The three VT men representing us in Congress favor safe bridges of life instead of a guarded border by thousands of troops. Let’s ask Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welsh to lead with kindness for the homeless Hondurans. Let’s ask them for an organized effort to keep families together; offer employment; ask officials at schools and colleges to admit migrant students.

This news will change daily as the migrants from Central America are now at our border, cabinet members are replaced and legal groups challenge attempts to send the homeless away.

There is some good news and it’s that American Baptists are in the midst of mission work in Honduras. Dilia Zelapa and her husband, Dagoberto Zelapa in 2003 built a Children’s Home and Christian School in Azacualpa, Honduras. They are in partnership with American Baptists in Iowa and manage the home and school for children who do not have good family/home situations. Also, Mike and Ashley Troxell, missionaries, serve as ABC church planters in Le Ceiba, Honduras and also teach and host short term missionary teams. ~Nancy Tracy



The smooth functioning of our church depends on the willingness of ALL of us to step up and take various roles on boards, committees and as officers. The Nominating Committee is hard at work looking for members to take positions for 2019.  It has been special challenge to find those willing to be officers.

We have been without a Church Clerk during all of 2018, putting an extra burden on the Asst. Clerk and members of the Advisory Council.  In 2019, we will also need a new Financial Secretary and Asst. Financial Secretary.

Please be thinking of persons in your extended families or others with connections to you or FBC, who might have computer and financial skills to fill these roles.  Please help us “think outside the box” to find these officers.

Perhaps there is someone in your neighborhood or someone known to your tax preparer or financial advisor?  Please ask anyone you know who might suggest a good candidate.  It is very expensive to hire out such jobs to professional accountants in the community, but a stipend is available for elected financial officers.


Many have wondered about the status of our Green Steeple Café. We reached out several times this fall to BCA to see if there was a place for us in the plans.  Though details have been slim, the new “Highlight” celebration does not include church performance venues.  The success of the café has been highly reliant on the performances upstairs, so we have decided not to try to run the café this year.  ~ Sarah Dopp