Green Steeple Messenger – April 2018

VOLUME LX111 NO. 4    April 1, 2018


Come ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness;

God hath brought God’s people forth into joy from sadness.

– John of Damascus, 8th century

Spring has sprung, Fa la la la la. Spring has sprung.

– Swing Peepers, 21st century

It is Spring and it is Easter!  Love and life are bursting forth!  The snow has held on longer than in past years but just this week, tiny shoots of green grass and flowers are peeking out of the seemingly dead earth.  Spring in Vermont is an unpredictable season. One day it’s warm and the next day it’s snowing. Easter was also unpredictable. No one expected the resurrection.  No one expected to see Jesus again. But there he was! And here he is; comforting us, encouraging us, and challenging us to share the Good News of God’s love.

During the month of April we will be pondering the First Letter of John which lifts up the power of love known to us through Jesus.  We will be reading A Wrinkle in Time which also explores the power of love.  Our kitchen and Fellowship Hall will be transformed so that we can share the power of love through our ministries and partnerships.  Love is bursting forth all around.

Tis the spring of souls today: Christ has burst his prison,

and from three days’ sleep in death as a sun has risen.

All the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying

from the Light to whom we give laud and praise undying.

This newsletter is full of opportunities to celebrate Christ’s resurrection and to share the Good News of God’s love.  Happy Easter (and Happy Spring) to you!

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes

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 February, 2 “known visits” were made to 2 homebound members and 1 “known call” were made to 1 homebound member by FBC members and friends. In addition, Other Members & Friends received 1 visit to (1) and (1) call made to (1). 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

Apr. 01 – Rev. Karen Mendes

      Easter Sunday

   Scriptures: Mark 16:1-8

   Sermon: The Greatest Surprise

Apr. 08 – Rev. Karen Mendes

   Scripture: 1 John 1:1-2:2

   Sermon: We Declare

Apr. 15 – Rev. Karen Mendes

   Scripture: 1 John 3:16-24

   Sermon: Let Us Love

Apr. 22 – Rev. Karen Mendes

   Scriptures: Psalm 23 John 10:11-18

   Sermon: Ask the Pastor

Apr. 29 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

   Scripture: 1 John 4:7-21

   Sermon: Love, Love, Love

Our Monday Bible Study is held on Mondays at 11:30am. Please plan to join us and bring your lunch. We are 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.


A Wrinkle In Time is our Spring Book Group book.  This classic by Madeleine L’Engle invites us to explore the meaning of love, commitment, and self-understanding, plus it is a great story!! We will gather for discussion on Sunday, April 29 during our Second Hour.  Copies of the book are available from the church office. Please encourage the young people in your life to participate.



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.

Dear Church Family,

I wish to thank everyone for your prayers, phone calls, cards and visits during the time I was dealing with back problems.

Many Blessings,       Connie Nutter


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. Please join the group and invite others to join as well.

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.


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.) The Y Daycare has already enthusiastically joined in on this effort! A collection of CSWD brochures has been placed on the Fellowship Hall bulletin board for reference.


This year, as we meet and work and worship together, let us take photos so that at our next 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!

Joint Urban Ministry Project    February Food Bag Count

Thank you First Baptist Church for donating 65 bags in the month of February to the Joint Urban Ministry Project!  Your donations go a long way in helping folks make ends meet. And, please remember, we are also one of the toothpaste churches for J.U.M.P.  There are baskets for your toothpaste donations in various spots around the church.      

THE ABC OF VT/NH held its 29th annual gathering in West Lebanon, NH on March 2 and 3.  The theme was “Built on the Rock: Redeeming Lives.” Three delegates attended from First Baptist Church: Rev. Karen Mendes, Nancy Tracy and Sarah Dopp. They also enjoyed sharing conversation with some old friends, Rev. George and Fran Keeler and Rev. John and Lois Burbank.

It was a great disappointment to not hear Rev. Sharon Koh, the new Executive Director & CEO of AB International Ministries. She was caught in Philadelphia in one of our nor’easters, and couldn’t make it to N.H. But it was a privilege to hear Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer, the General Secretary of ABCUSA, on several occasions! He is a very skilled and engaging preacher.  

We also met the VT/NH Rep. to the General Ministries Board, Annie Svitavsky from Lincoln, VT – an energetic, young Baptist leader of whom we can be proud.  

The delegates took part in meetings, workshops and worship, and had a good weekend.  

Mission Outreach Board News

ANEW Place –

The Mission Outreach Board would like to thank the following people who prepared meals for the week of March 11 through March 17 to ANEW Place at 89 North Street in Burlington. ANEW Place relies on the community to provide these meals to their residents. You can provide a meal anytime, not just through the First Baptist Church!  Check out their website at and click “Calendar” to sign up! Thanks to: Sarah Dopp, Lois Lynch, Cindy & David Little, Beth Vuley & Nancy Danforth, Joan Taylor, Betty Capponi, Barb Farrington, Carol Gaylord & the Karen Community: Ku Say Wah, Hser Ku, Moo Ray, Tar Dah, Mu Say, Kee Lar, Poe Pah, Yo Koe Htoo and Mu Lay Paw. And anyone else who was not listed on the poster, thank you!!!

Co-Operative Christian Ministry of UVM –

CCM is one of our partners in ministry.  They are sponsoring a series of Food For Thought Forums on Human Genetic Engineering: Dreams & Nightmares. April’s event is Tuesday, April 24 at 5:30 pm at the UVM Interfaith Center at 400 So. Prospect Street on the Redstone Campus of UVM. The topic: “Is There A Perfect Human Prototype?” The dinner and program are free.

First United Methodist Church – Sunday Night Soup Suppers

The First United Methodist Church at 21 Buell Street in Burlington is another one of our ministry partners. On the first and third Sundays of each month, we donate anywhere from three to five gallons of whole milk to their Sunday Night Soup Supper.  Likewise, we contribute three six quart pots or crock pots of vegetable soup on the third Sunday of each month. Please consider participating in this important downtown feeding ministry. The recipe and instructions are enclosed in this newsletter. The next date will be April 15th. Please contact Nancy Danforth at 777-5085 or for more information.  

Thanks to all who participate now: Kathy Browne, Cindy & David Little, Carol Gaylord, Carolyn Vandevord, Nancy Danforth, Beth Vuley, Chris Thompson, Sarah Dopp, Stu & Jeneva Burroughs, Sandi Seaver, Joan Taylor and Fern Sparks.  We have been doing this for one and half years and would love to keep it going but more partners are needed.

Sunday Night Soup Suppers        First United Methodist Church

Every third Sunday of every month

Vegetable Soup Recipe


2 cups chopped onion

3 cups of chopped carrots

3 cups of chopped celery

3 cups of diced potatoes

1 head of chopped cabbage

12-16 cups beef stock or broth (substitute chicken broth if using chicken)

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes – flavors are fine

1 – 1.5 pounds of Kielbasa, ground beef or chicken

1 tsp salt

1 Bay leaf

1 tsp dill

2 tbsp parsley

Any other variation of spices you choose

Crock pot: Brown and drain kielbasa or ground beef, or cook chicken and add to crock pot with all ingredients above. Add stock or broth to crock pot and cook 6-8 hours on low.

Soup Pot: Brown meat and add ingredients, cooking until all vegetables are cooked!

Deliver to:  South Side of First United Methodist Church (21 Buell St, Burlington) any morning 8-12 or immediately following church Sunday mornings or any time after 4:00 pm on Sundays.  Enter the South Side of the building; this is the driveway between City Market and the UPS Store at 70 South Winooski Avenue. Drive to the rear and park, entering code 3234 on key pad. Enter the church, take 4-5 steps down to the left, through door and kitchen is down to the left. Either place your pot in fridge or transfer to one of their pots and place in fridge. With the code, you can go in anytime and pick up pot or deliver.

Contact Nancy Danforth at anytime with questions or call her at 777-5085.

Every first and third Sundays of the month we deliver 4-5 gallons of whole milk to the supper as well. Please contact Nancy Danforth if you are interested in providing the milk too!


This has been a long time coming. Thanks for everyone’s patience!! April 2nd will start the long awaited Kitchen Project. Along with the renovations of our kitchen and conference room, we plan to also install new flooring in Fellowship Hall and elsewhere. The work is being done by Roy Rabideau of Trinity Construction, a fellow Baptist (from the Georgia Plain Baptist Church) and the project should be completed about the end of May. We are working with the Y Day Care to seal off the construction area and to provide a temporary kitchen in Fellowship Hall for their use.

How can you help us?

Donations to the church for use on the kitchen project.  Special gifts for this purpose would be most welcome. If you make such a gift, be sure that Ginger is aware of your intentions and the money will be accounted for properly and reserved for the kitchen.

Thank you!

Chris Thompson, Ginger Calder, Sarah Dopp, and Mike Lynch (your kitchen committee)


As individuals, some may wish to contribute to the organ project in order to reduce the amount that will be taken from the Permanent Funds at this time. These contributions will allow future special initiatives to take place.  If you are interested in contributing funds to the organ project, please mark your gift clearly so that Ginger is aware of your intention. You may also speak to one of our Trustees of the Permanent Fund, Sarah Dopp, Stu Burroughs, and Bill McCormick.


There remain 7 openings on boards and committees (Trustees -2, Christian Ed – 2, 139 Bank St. -1, PR -1 and Church Clerk).  If you have interest in serving, please speak to a member of the Nominating Committee (Stu Burroughs, Barb Farrington, and Sarah Dopp).  A full contingent of members is needed for the effectiveness of these groups.

America for Christ Special Offering

Each spring we are asked to give our money to one of the special offerings, the America for Christ offering, promoted by American Baptist National Ministries. (American Baptist Home Mission Societies) There are many national mission posts and many people for whom we give financial support. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of the donations we send to NM for the America for Christ offering is sent to the VNH region office. Have you wondered where our support goes nationally?                                  

A few years ago, we could read lists of missionaries and their mission fields in the USA and Puerto Rico. We could read lists of colleges, schools, Neighborhood Action Programs, children’s homes, American Baptist Assembly at Green Lake, Judson Press “Secret Place”, the Volunteer in Mission Program, AB Women, AB Men, the Penny Project and the “Christian Citizen” which are all supported by us.        

Today, the people and places’ lists have changed to these titles or actions: Church Transformation, Evangelism, AB Partners, AB Personnel Services, Specialized Ministries (pastoral counselors), Intercultural Ministries, Passionary Movement, Disabilities Ministries, Disaster Response, Prisoner ReEntry and Aftercare, Immigration and Refugee Resettlement, Volunteers, Neighborhood Action and Program Christian Centers.  

Today, National Ministries continues to support the missionaries and mission fields listed above. Volunteers continue to serve at seminaries, Green Lake, children’s centers and schools. Volunteer help has increased and stretched to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, Puerto Rico and Haiti until the work is done! There was volunteer response to hurricanes called Katrina and Rita. Summer volunteer efforts will be in Puerto Rico, TX, NJ, New Orleans and Muskogee, OK (Bacone College and Murrow Children’s Home)      

Today, ABHMS continues a legacy of ministries committed to healing communities that began decades ago. For instance, refugee resettlement efforts, following WWII, have resettled more than 100,000 displaced persons from across the world according to reports from National Ministries. Christian centers, known as Neighborhood Action Programs today, have cared for underserved children and families in urban settings since the early 1900s.

According to Rev. Dr. Eddie Cruz, Director of ABHMS Mission Advancement and Passionary Movement, we can designate our checks to any missionary or mission field. This includes writing on the “memo” asking for our money be sent to the Puerto Rico Restoration. 

National Roots

The deepest ABHMS root is the Baptist General Tract Society founded in 1824. It was renamed the American Baptist Publication Society in 1826. In 1870 it became the American Baptist Education Society, the Board of Publication and Education in 1944 and Educational Ministries in 1972. The ABHMS was organized to raise support for missionaries in North America. Dr. Henry Morehouse took the lead in forming the ABES which founded the University of Chicago (1890) and it was financially supported by John D. Rockefeller. Dr. Morehouse, for whom Morehouse College is named, convinced Rockefeller to also financially support Bacone College, Spelman College and black education. Other roots grafted were the Women’s Baptist Home Mission Society in Chicago (1877) and the Women’s American Baptist Home Mission Society in Boston. (1877) These two merged in 1909 and in 1955 they integrated with the ABHMS.

The ABHMS was founded in 1832 and was patterned after the older American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Vermont Baptist women sent “red Jesus barrels” of money, quilts, warm clothes and food to missionaries at the Murrow Children’s Home in Muskogee, OK. (I have letters of thanks to my great-grandmother from Joseph Murrow!) Kiowa Baptists at Saddleback Mountain in OK sent barrels of goods to the Hopi Native Americans in AZ by way of the Sunlight Mission on Second Mesa where I attended church when teaching Hopi children years later. In the early 1800s, cooperative methods were used by our eastern associations to reach the western frontier.

ABHMS leaders and missionaries were involved in founding NY University, University of Chicago, Vassar, Denison, Kalamazoo, Bacone, Franklin, Morehouse, Spelman and Benedict Colleges as well as Virginia Union University, Wayland Seminary and Florida Memorial University. Much of their efforts were to further the education of Native Americans, freed people and new immigrants in urban areas. Home missionaries have worked with the German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, French Canadian and Mexican Baptists to form churches, training schools, missions and publication societies.

We can add our beloved Karens to the successful program of helping refugees feel accepted in our country.      ~Nancy Tracy

Director of Christian Education

On Sunday March 11th, the Congregation voted to go ahead with hiring a part time Director of Christian Education and providing initial salary funding from the Undesignated Funds. The Christian Education Board is in the process of gathering a Search Committee.  The Committee’s responsibilities will include: advertising, screening applications, setting up and conducting interviews, and eventually recommending a qualified applicant for hire. If you are interested in serving on this committee please contact Lois Lynch.  We hope for 6 committee members who represent various interests and age groups.

Adult Christian Education opportunities in April for the hour after Worship

April 15:  A Conversation with the Karen Congregation and Community

April 22:  Wanda Hines, director of Joint Urban Ministry:  All about JUMP

April 29:   FBC Reads (and/or views) A Wrinkle in Time: Group Discussion


The Committee on Temporary Shelter

(COTS) invites us to gather at Battery Park in Burlington to walk the 3 mile route a person who is homeless might take to connect with shelter and services.  Walkers will visit COTS program sites, meet COTS staff, and see first-hand how the money they raise is put to work to end homelessness in our community. For more information, please speak with Nancy Danforth or Rev. Mendes.


Spring Meeting for Vermont

April 14th

Randolph United Federated Church

18 North Main Street, Randolph

Meeting registration at 11:30am

Lunch of Soup/Sandwich followed by program with speaker: Rev. Fela Barrueto from American Baptist Home  Mission Societies. She is the national coordinator of Prisoner Re-entry Ministries at ABHMS.

She was born and raised in Lima, Peru.  Her main goal is that our ABC churches become Stations of Hope, offering a sacred space for persons affected by incarceration, so that they can experience the healing touch of the One, who was a Prisoner himself.

Our Church Directory is available on our phones and computers!

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, please 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.  If you would like to be added to the email list (or removed from the list) please contact Marie.


Remind your high school seniors, college students and seminarians that they can apply for a scholarship from the American Baptist Women’s Ministries of VT & NH.

Applications (new and renewal) can be downloaded from the Region website: (  Applications are due by May 15, 2018


Scholarships are also available from the American Baptist Home Mission Society.  To be eligible, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold active membership in an American Baptist church
  • Enrollment at an accredited four year college/university or graduate program in the United States or Puerto Rico.
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Reside in United States or

Puerto Rico

For more information and to apply please see    The deadline for application is April 30.