Green Steeple Messenger-April 2020

Being Church in the Midst of a Pandemic

            The past month has been disorienting in the extreme as we have all made dramatic changes to our lives in response to the COVID-19 virus.  We have become recluses shut up in our homes, and essential workers risking our lives to help others.  All of our normal ways of being together have been rethought and reconfigured.  We have gone high tech through Facebook and Zoom and low tech by sending cards and making phone calls.  Despite all the change, our fundamental priorities remain the same; to share the love of God through Christ Jesus, to keep people safe, and to continue our ministries of outreach, fellowship, and education as well as possible. 

            It is understandable that we are worried, afraid, and grieving the changes that this virus has required.  We feel alone and helpless.  It is providential that our Lenten theme was Companions on the Way because, while we are physically apart, we do not need to be spiritually or emotionally isolated.  Jesus is with us and our First Baptist community is with us; holding us in prayer, reaching out to talk, going to the grocery store as needed.

            While we are not in the church building together, our ministries continue. We continue to gather for worship each Sunday at 9:45am through our computers and phones. Our church school continues though Zoom, Google classrooms, and packets of activities to do at home. Our feeding ministries continue to serve those in need.  Our pledges and offerings continue to support our staff, our local non-profits, American Baptist ministries in the US and around the world, and ensure that our building is well cared for in our absence.

This newsletter is full of opportunities to be connected and to serve others.  Bulletins for Holy Week are also included.  It is a blessing to be companions with you in this extraordinary time.

Yours in Christ,

~ Karen

Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor

Sunday Morning Worship Service 9:45

Office Phone: (802) 864-6515

Conference/Kitchen Phone: (802) 864-4721

Office Hours: Suspended until further notice

Email address:

Web Site Address:

Visit us on Facebook

First Baptist Church, Burlington, Vt.

Newsletter Deadline for May is April 15th      



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 let Ray Sherrod know when you call or email a homebound member and friend at

or call 802-864-7179.

                WORSHIP SERVICE

Sermons and Texts

Apr. 05 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Palm Sunday

         Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11

                 Philippians 2:5-11

Sermon: Poured Out

Apr. 12 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Easter Sunday

         Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10

Sermon: Shaking the Foundations

Apr. 19 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: John 20:19-31

Sermon:    Peace Be With You

Apr. 26 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes                  

Scripture:  Luke 24:13-35

Sermon:  On the Road

UGB Overseeing Pandemic Response at First Baptist

As you probably know, the church building is basically closed.  But our congregation is joined in faith and fellowship! Pastor Karen is working from home and is available by phone or email.  Marie will be in the office sporadically as needed.  The church phone has a message directing people in need to Karen’s email and phone and the FBC email.  Financial officers will be present from time to time to carry out their duties.

The UGB met via “Zoom” on March 18 and 31, and plans to meet regularly to help make decisions about our response, as we go along.  I want you to know some of the decisions made so far.  The Karen Baptist Community, the Nepali Congregation, and the AA groups will not be meeting in the building during the emergency.  Rev. Mendes will conduct services at the usual time via Facebook and Zoom.  A good number of people have joined in so far and we are advertising the option via the phone message, the outdoor sign and FPF.  Plans for Holy Week are finalized and will involve remote options like the Sunday services.

Feeding ministries will continue.  The New Place meals on April 19 is the next Methodist Soup Supper.  Meals on Wheels is greatly in need of additional volunteers.  We will continue to pursue new opportunities for the Daycare space.  Jeneve Joslin has a number of creative options for kids (packets of activities/crafts, Bible apps, virtual SS so that kids can see their teachers).  The kids, with Jeneve’s help, will send out note cards to shut-ins. All church members can help by reaching out to other members, especially shut-ins, via email or phone by using the geographical cluster lists.  I have found these calls a real blessing to myself and lots of fun.

Denise is keeping the building clean and checked on, special projects, and bringing in the mail as needed.  We aim to keep staff pay in place.  All staff are stepping up to help in creative ways and we appreciate them.  We rejoice that Evan Allen got back home from Europe alright, though his musical tour got abbreviated.  People are encouraged to continue their financial support by mailing their gifts or using the GivePlus button on line.  This will enable FBC to continue ministry.

The Marathon has been postponed to October 25, therefore the Pasta Dinner will take place at that time.  Planning is already underway.

Please join the Sunday morning service at 9:45 on Facebook or Zoom.  You can join via computer and see participants or via phone and hear the audio.

We trust in God to bring us through this challenging time.  I’m identifying some blessings in the experience and that helps keep me encouraged.

~Sarah Dopp, Church Moderator

Virtual Worship

Together in Spirit while not in Body

For the month of April, our Sunday morning worship services will be livestreamed via Facebook and Zoom. You can find us at the church Facebook page, First Baptist Church, Burlington, VT.  If you are not on Facebook, you can join the Zoom meeting at

To call in from your phone – Dial the  following phone number and when prompted give the Meeting ID number that is seen below. It is a toll call, which should be fine for a cell phone, but expensive for a landline.

 +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 563 177 197

Holy Week and Easter Activities

Together in Spirit if not in Body.

April 5 – Palm Sunday – Welcome Jesus on Facebook and Zoom. We will have music provided remotely by Evan Allen and Anna Roy.  We will celebrate Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem and share together the Lord’s supper.  Everybody gets to use their favorite cups and crackers!

April 9 – Maundy Thursday – 7:30pm – Gather on Zoom to share the story of Holy Week. .  10 volunteer readers are needed for this Service of Remembrance and Tenebrae.   We will also celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

April 10 – Good Friday – 12pm – Reflect on Jesus and the cross through self-guided prayer.

April 12 – Easter Sunrise Service – 6:15am on Facebook. – We will welcome the sun and the Son in our own backyards.

Easter Sunday Worship – 9:45am – On Zoom and Facebook. – Welcome Christ’s resurrection through music and joy!

April 26 – Ask the Pastor – Bring your questions of faith, the Bible, and Baptist life.

For more information please contact the church office –

PLEASE MAIL IN YOUR PLEDGE AND OFFERINGS OR GIVE ELECTRONICALLY through the Donate button on our church website:

http// or through the smartphone app called GIVEPLUS. Donations can be set for one time only or to be recurring. The cost to the church for this service is $10 a month and small transaction fees of 2.75% for debit/credit cards or 1.00% for ACH.  These fees can be offset by adding that amount to your gift. 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.

  Study/Fellowship Groups

There is more to Church than Sunday mornings!

WEEKDAY ZOOM COFFEE HOUR – Mondays at 11:30am. Let’s gather for a weekly informal Zoom meeting to check in with each other and discuss topics of mutual interest.  Bring your thoughts and your best coffee mug!  Join URL:

Meeting ID: 757 650 395


Our Winter Book Group was interrupted so now all of us with more time on our hands have the opportunity to join the discussion of Holy Envy; Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor on Monday, April 20 at 7pm on Zoom

Join URL:

Meeting ID: 274 982 676


During this time of social distancing, it is more important than ever to be connected (safely!) to our friends and neighbors.  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.  If you need a paper copy of the directory, please email the church office and we can mail one to you.

THE FIRST BAPTIST Facebook group is 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.


Below is a list of the Ministry Teams and their team leaders.  Some teams are on hiatus but others are more important than ever.   Please consider to which teams God may be calling you.  You can reach out to the team leader for more information. Each of these three Ministry areas send 2-3 reps to the UGB meetings.


ABC Mission – Joan Taylor

ANEW Place – Betty Capponi

FUMC Soup Suppers –Joan Taylor


Cooperative Campus Ministries –         Beth Gamache

Sister Church Initiative –

Karen Mendes

Marathon Pasta Supper –

 Marie Morton

Public Relations – Sarah Dopp

JUMP – Kathy Browne, Joan Taylor


Welcoming – Pat Boyden

Visitation – Ray Sherrod

Communion – Cindy Little

Prayer Chain – Mark Paulsen

New Member Services –

Karen Mendes

Prayer Topics – Marie Morton

Sanctuary Decorations –

Mark Paulsen

Ushering – Andy Farrington

         Mark Paulsen

         Frank Swasey

Security – Andy Farrington

Worship – Mark Paulsen

Property (Fix It/Clean It) –                           Andy Farrington

          Chris Thompson                                

Music – Steve Perkins


Church School- Jeneve Joslin

Special Events – Lois Lynch

Youth Ministry – Jeneve Joslin    (interim)

Adult Christian Education –        

Jeneva Burroughs (interim) 

Library & Educational Resources-        Jeneva Burroughs

Stewardship – Stu Burroughs


The Vermont City Marathon has been postponed until Sunday, October 25 so, mark your calendars now for our International Pasta Supper which will be on Saturday, October 24 at 6pm. 


I am the leader of the newly formed Communion Team.  If you’d like to help, and perhaps have never been asked, join my team! Tasks are: serve communion, clean up after, buy and cut up gluten-free bread, and/or pour juice in the cups (easy pourer provided) This is a great team to join!  No need to do all of the above; you choose 1. No need to do it every month!  Easy on the job training.  Please email me at: or call me at 893-4211.  I’d be happy to have your help!


I’m looking for your help in providing prayer topics for the last Sunday of the month!  I am the leader of the new Prayer Topic Team and would love to have you join the team!  There are several options available in helping: writing and delivering your message or having someone else deliver it for you; sharing your ideas about topics you’d like to hear about; offering to deliver a topic that has already been written, etc. – I’m open to any and all ideas!  If you are interested in helping in any way and would like to join the team, please email me: or call me at 893-2337.



The Age Well organization now provides the meals for most of

Western Vermont, including

Chittenden County.  They are greatly in need of additional volunteers.  It only takes about 1.5 hours and you can choose which day of the week and how

often you wish to help. You may drive and/or “run.” I do two Tuesday mornings per month and am happy to answer any questions. Please call if you’d like to help.

 ~ Sarah Dopp

Looking for soup makers and milk providers for Sunday, April 19….

We are still helping the First United

Methodist Church provide a soup and sandwich meal for the homeless and low-income families in the Burlington area on Sunday evenings.  We need  three soup makers to provide  6-qt. each and milk providers of five gallons of milk for Sunday night on April 19.

Contact Joan Taylor, Interim Team Leader.

A big thank you to the following who made soup and provided milk on March 15:  Sarah Dopp, Jeneve Joslin and the Church School, Caroline Vandevord, Ginger Calder (milk), and Barb Farrington (money for milk).


First Baptist contributed approximately 400 personal care and cleaning supply items to JUMP in February.

Check Out the Virtual Mission Bulletin Board….

Newsletter from ABHMS– Registration opened in March for national gathering in Kansas City, MO, Sept. 21-25,2020.

 ABHMS awards close to $2 million for missions in 2019.

The churches in Puerto Rico are helping each other following the earthquakes.  Our sister church,  “Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mayaguez, is serving hot meals to 150 individuals from Guanica (the epicenter of the earthquakes) at a refugee camp in Sabana Grande.  Other churches in the Mayaguez area are providing food for victims.”

Greetings from Church School!

For the month of March, the Church School explored the Bible Story Woman at the Well and the concept of Living Water! We made melted crayon art to represent the many unexpected things that Jesus did in the story. We made scientific guesses at how many drops of water different sized coins would hold (without the water spilling off) and then did an ‘experiment’ testing our guesses and learning about water tension. We also had a wonderful time in a multi-age lesson making chicken vegetable soup for the Methodist Church soup kitchen ministry! 

On March 22nd, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the social distancing guidelines, and the statewide school closures, First Baptist Church School moved online. In our new Church School Google Classroom, families can find stories, reflection prompts, videos, resources and opportunity for discussion! Church school families also received a home study craft packet and resources in mid-march. Additionally, for the past two weeks, our church school classes have gathered over Zoom at 11am on Sundays for songs, stories, scavenger hunts and scripture readings! The April mailing to families includes activities and resources to help us stay connected to our curriculum and our church school community. 

We are taking some time to ponder and pray on the remainder of the church school year and how we can best engage and connect our church school families to each other and the broader congregation. If you have any ideas, please email me at

Blessings, Jeneve

To join or view our Google classroom:


2. Click the + button on the top right of your screen

3. enter our classroom code: 74umqjk

Resources and Activities Included in the April Church School Family Packet:

  • Spark Holy Week Family Page
  • Easter Story Cards
  • Color Your Own Bookmark (or color and give as gifts to the people in your household) 
  • Green paper and popsicle sticks for making palms. Trace your hand a few times on the paper, cut out and glue to the popsicle stick)
  • Holy Week Resurrection Story (cut out the larger images and tell the story together as a family each day).

Ideas for outdoor family/kid activities related to Holy Week/Easter:

  • Build a tomb out of materials you can find on your property or in your home! Take a picture and share it in our Google Classroom!
  • On a warmer day, take off your shoes and socks and walk in the dirt/mud. Scientific research shows us that ‘feel good’ chemicals are released in our brains when we touch the soil with our skin. Then, using warm soapy water, wash your feet outside! Read John 13: 1-5 together.
  • Scavenger hunt for things outside that show us new life and remind us of resurrection! 

Simple outdoor prayer to say with children:

God of All Creation, open our eyes to your wonders around us. Help us to embrace a bit of mess, that we might lead children to the beauty, peace and joy that exist in your amazing world. Amen.