Green Steeple Messenger – February 2018

First Baptist Church Staff

Rev. Karen A. Mendes -Pastor  

Marie Morton – Admin. Assistant

Steve Perkins – Instrumental Group Director         

Adam Schneider -Organist

Anna Roy – Choir Director                                         

Rachael Haar – Children’s Choir Director

Chris Brault – Sexton


Officers of First Baptist

Sarah Dopp – Moderator

Mark Paulsen – Asst.Moderator

Mary Swasey – Clerk

Beth Gamache – Asst. Clerk

Chris Thompson – Treasurer

Bill McCormick – Asst. Treasurer

Ginger Calder – Financial Secretary

Barbara Farrington – Asst. Financial Sec’y

Sarah Dopp – Historian

Andy Farrington – Parliamentarian


Sunday Morning Worship Service 9:45

Office Phone: (802) 864-6515

Conference/Kitchen Phone:

(802) 864-4721

Office Hours: Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri.

9:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Thurs. 9am-3pm

Email address:

Web Site Address:

Visit us on Facebook

First Baptist Church, Burlington, VT



The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 5 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In December, 4 “known visits” were made to 2 homebound members and 8 “known calls” were made to 4 homebound members by FBC members and friends. Also, cards were sent to homebound 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 at:



Sermon Texts and Titles

Feb. 04 – Rev. Karen Mendes

   Scripture: Mark 1:29-39

   Sermon-The Healing Message

Feb. 11 –Rev. Karen Mendes

       Transfiguration Sunday

   Scripture: Mark 9:2-9

   Sermon: The Cloud

Feb. 18 –Rev. Karen Mendes

      1st Sunday of Lent

   Scripture: Mark 1:9-15

   Sermon: Jesus in the Wilderness

Feb. 25 – Rev. Karen Mendes

        2nd Sunday of Lent

   Scripture: Mark 8:31-38

   Sermon: Rebuking Jesus

Our Monday Bible Study is held on Mondays at 11:30am. Please join us and feel free to bring your lunch. Starting on January 22, we will be studying the Gospel of Thomas.  This ancient collection of sayings by Jesus has many parallels with the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at or call the church office at 864-6515.


Diaconate Member

Cindy Little

“God Is Love”

C.S. Lewis said, “Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”  In the month of February, let us all spread the good news that God is love through our actions with others whether they are family, friends, or strangers.


Upcoming Youth Events:


    Feb.18 – Ice Skating

    Mar.18 – Bowling

    Apr.15 – Baking Day

    May 20 – To Be Determined




Special music is welcomed at every service at FBC.  All members of the congregation are encouraged to share their talents throughout the church year to enhance our service and add special moments of diversity in worship.

If you would like to add your voice or instrument to any of the groups, we are open to folks who cannot commit to every rehearsal or service as well.  With advanced planning, it is possible to add flexibility to our music selections allowing a broader participation from all members of our congregation. Please contact Steve Perkins for more information or to sign up for a time to share.

New Books

Looking for something to read?

Lots of new choices now in the library!

Here’s a look at a few of the titles:

Picture book for the younger set –

My Name is Blessing – Based on the life of a real boy physically disabled at birth & put in an orphanage in Kenya, reminds us all to always look for the beauty inside.

For the beginning reader

The Christmas Stockings – A simple pair of socks brings happiness to a poor little girl and reminds us all that sometimes the simplest things bring the most pleasure.

From the 2016 Best Seller list

Hillbilly Elegy – An extraordinary testimony to the brokenness of the white working class, but also its strengths.

Nourished: a memoir of finding faith & enduring love – Becoming your own person & finding your way in life can be a challenge.  The nourishing power of food can be one of the touchstones we all need to navigate the journey.


For the teen-age reader – This girl is different – What happens when a girl, homeschooled by her counterculture mother, decides to spend her senior year in public school.

A few more titles to tempt you:

Merry Christmas, Mr. Mouse

Dare to be KindHow extraordinary compassion can transform our world.

Christmas is coming! But waiting is hard

Family activities and devotions for Advent.

Colors of Christmas – Two contemporary stories celebrate the hope of Christmas.

For Sabbath’s SakeEmbracing your need for Rest, Worship, and Community.


Dear Church Family,

Many thanks to all of you at First Baptist Church for the generous Christmas gift this year.  It is my pleasure to add a variety of music to our church services and to honor the glory of God.

Sincerely, Steve Perkins

Dear Church Family,

It is with heartfelt gratitude that I thank you for your very thoughtful and generous Christmas gift.  It has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience being part of this church family.

Blessings to all,

Marie Morton

New Director for Chancel Choir to Begin in January

Anna Roy will be leading the Chancel Choir beginning in January.  Anna comes to us with a B.S. in Music Education from Plymouth State College (now Plymouth University) which is well known for its outstanding teacher programs. She taught in the Swanton Elementary School for eight years.  Her recent position has been at Camels Hump Middle School in Richmond for the last 9 years where she directs the three bands and the string ensemble. Additionally, she has filled in for her vocal music colleagues, directed summer camp choruses, directed music for several school musicals and helped with auditions for various musical groups.

Although Anna’s major instrument is the flute, she also plays the piano and has been singing in groups all her life. In addition to vocal pedagogy classes, she also sang in the College Chorale and was in the auditioned Chamber Singers which toured England. We can expect a wide range of diverse music well suited for our choir which will round out our services. Most importantly, Anna is a member of our First Baptist Church.

Restoring Puerto Rico

We Baptists give through the One Great Hour of Sharing year around as well as during the expected request in June. Now, in response to the destroyed areas in Puerto Rico, (twice, by hurricanes Irma and Maria) Baptists have been sending contributions and volunteers with coordination by the American Baptist Home Mission Society and the American Baptist Churches USA. ABHMS is calling it “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” and this effort will be happening for several years. Many of us have worked with Victoria Goff when she was Overland White Cross Coordinator and she served as the ABHMS consultant to American Baptist Women’s Ministries. Now we can look to Vickie as the convener for developing a comprehensive plan and support in Puerto Rico. Her fitting title is Associate Director, Mission Advancement and Passionary Movement! A national (USA) effort is being coordinated with our Baptist partners in Puerto Rico. Last fall, we at FBC raised funds ($256) by way of our ABW Ministries to help support our Baptist Ministries in Puerto Rico. Additional money was given from our congregation through the OGHS (almost $1000) after three hurricanes some of which was earmarked for Puerto Rico. Donations to OGHS for Puerto Rico’s restoration may continue to be sent via our church or via a check designated to OGHS – Puerto Rico and mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at ABHMS,

PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851. One Hundred percent of your donations go to the relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that our church receives credit for your gift, please write FBC, Burlington VT on your check. ABHMS recently published a letter to American Baptists from Puerto Rico written by Dr. Josue Gomez-Menendez, administrator of Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo in San Juan. He, also, is the incoming president of the General Board, ABC, USA. He called it the “Light in the midst of Darkness” because he was sent a string of battery-operated lights when he and his family had already been 75 days without electricity and water. The Christmas lights showed him a path to hope for those still living in darkness. He thanked the American Baptist family for sharing goods, prayers and gifts to OGHS. The ABHMS established the first Baptist Church in Rio Piedras in 1899 and we’ve been sending missionaries to Puerto Rico for more than 100 years. Now there are 114 Baptist churches and 9 missions to be restored as well as lives. Although donations to the restoration will be continued, there are ways, too, to be involved as a volunteer with time, energy for hands-on work. Wouldn’t it be exciting if a group of volunteers from our VT/NH region could go to Puerto Rico? ( Another way to be involved is to reach out to our VT Congressman and Senators.

(cont. Puerto Rico)

Our moderator, Sarah Dopp, forwarded to me a letter from the “Hamilton” star, Lin-Manuel Miranda about his “Power 4 Puerto Rico” efforts. He is requesting that we, among several priorities, ask Senators Leahy and Sanders and Rep. Welsh to provide Puerto Rico with adequate disaster relief funding and make tax benefits and incentives like the Child Tax Credit available for working families in Puerto Rico as they are in the United States. Over 30 years ago I spent two weeks in San Juan meeting and working among the most warm and hospitable American Baptist Puerto Ricans. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need and deserve our attention today and I’m thankful we want to help them be back on their feet.

~ Nancy Tracy

Update on ABHMS’ ‘Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico’ Initiative

  • ABHMS provided to Puerto Rico: 100 water filters; 1,000 solar lights; 125 solar charges; 660 tarps; 200 portable propane stoves; and 50 propane tanks
  • Church World Service funded and shipped at ABHMS’ request: 2,550 school kits; 1,800 tubes of toothpaste; and 22,500 hygiene kits
  • Funds raised/earmarked for Puerto Rico: $25,000 One Great Hour of Sharing Emergency Disaster-relief Grant; $25,000 in ABHMS matching funds; and $467,999.74 in donations (as of December 4)
  • ABHMS spent: $80,000 in OGHS funds ($10,000 of which was used to purchase food on the island)


Life at First Baptist is much more than just Sunday mornings and we have the opportunity to be connected on Facebook at a Facebook group 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.  Rev. Mendes will share daily devotional readings during the season of Lent.  Please join the group and invite others to join as well.


JUMP Food Bags

In February, First Baptist provides food bags for JUMP.  This year there is a need for two different food bags….one is a No Cooking Facility (NCF) food bag.  If there are sales and you want to stock up early, below are the food lists.

For the No Cooking Facility bag: 4 small cans or plastic tubs of fruit, any kind, 2 cans or pouches Tuna, 2 (8 oz.) cans baked beans, 1 box granola bars, 1 box crackers (packaged in 4 sections), 1 box of packaged snack crackers, and 1 inexpensive can opener.  PULL TABS ON CANS PREFERRED.  There is a greater need for these bags.

For the regular JUMP food bag: fill with the following items:  2 (1-pound) bags white rice,  1 can tuna and 1 small jar peanut butter, 2 lbs. dried beans, kidney, lentil, or split peas, 2 (15 oz.) cans kidney or other beans, 2 (28 oz.) cans tomatoes, or 4 (15 oz. cans) tomatoes,  2 lbs. dry pasta (plain or whole wheat), 2 (26 oz) jars pasta sauce, and 1 box low sugar cereal, Cheerios preferred.    

Reusable grocery bags will be available in the Narthex on Sunday, January 28, with JUMP food list attached.  If you are unable to fill a food bag, a money donation can be given to a Mission

Outreach Board member for filling.  It costs about $22.  Receipts can be made available.  

In 2016, we gave 55 JUMP food bags.  Let’s do that again!

Church Greeting and Refreshments –

We are offering two opportunities to serve on Sunday mornings by asking for both greeters and providers of snacks.  Feel free to sign up for both or only one.

We invite you to donate flowers for Sunday worship.  Please sign up on the flower chart in back of the narthex for any Sunday of your choice or call the church office.



The Trustees and its Property Committee want to thank the congregation for the funds to relight the whole church with LED lights!  The total cost for the lighting units is just over $8,700, and with around $4,700 in Efficiency VT/Burlington Electric rebates you can see we’re spending around $4,000.  We hired Tom Couture to do the installation of most of the lighting units.  With the help of Jim Calder, for most of  his working days, it is estimated his cost will be around $3,000.

We want to also thank Frank Swasey and our sexton, Chris Brault, for coming in on Saturday the 23rd to replace the sanctuary lights. Thank you, also, to Don Spawn for all his help. We plan on reporting out, over the next six months, our savings in our electrical bill.

Thanks again, Jim Calder for the Property Committee.


Despite the bitter cold of New Year’s Eve, we had another successful Green Steeple Cafe’, as part of First Night Burlington.  There were 5 performances upstairs and our crowds downstairs were pretty good in light of the severe weather.  Our profits were very close to $1600.  Thanks to all of the following who helped in a variety of ways: Chris Thompson, Ginger and Jim Calder, Marjorie Adams, Donna Harley, Lois and Mike Lynch, Anne Tracy, Bev Nichols, Bill McCormick, Barb Farrington, Joan Taylor, Brian Han bridge, Judy Austin, Dave and Cindy Little, Brenda Mitchell, Ben Mitchell, Joanne Rittwage, Larson Couture, Denise Rittwage, Heather Benton, Lanie Benton, Don Jenkins, Mark Paulsen, Betty Button, Sue Schomody, Fran Whitney, Sarah Dopp, Johanna and Bob Prong, Nancy Tracy, Marie Morton, Malcolm Severance, Dan Browne, Beth Gamache, Pat Boyden, Chris Brault.

Sarah Dopp, Co-ordinator


In July 2020 the State of Vermont will be requiring all institutions and individuals to compost food scraps.  We have an opportunity to get some experience with this in the meantime.  Marjorie Adams regularly takes her own composting and trash to drop off at CSWD and will take along ours as well.  This will cost us nothing.  Commercial carriers charge a substantial fee.  She has obtained official containers, large square green ones (such as we filled on First Night) and smaller round black ones (which we’ve been using to collect coffee grounds on Sunday mornings).  Many more items are commercially compostable than we usually think of (fat, meat, greasy paper etc.) We will consult with the Y Daycare to explore their possible participation as well.  A collection of CSWD brochures has been placed on the Fellowship Hall bulletin board for reference.

The 23rd Psalm for Busy People

The Lord is my pace setter, I shall not rush…He makes me to stop and rest for quiet intervals.  He provides me with images of stillness, which restores my serenity…He leads me in ways of efficiency, through calmness of mind… And His guidance is peace. Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for His presence is here… His timelessness, His all-importance will keep me in balance.  He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility… My cup of joyous energy overflows…Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours; for I shall walk in the pace of my Lord, and dwell in His house forever…