Green Steeple Messenger – December 2020

Waiting and Listening

The Season of Advent is about waiting for the glorious reality of Emmanuel, God with us.   We are used to waiting this year.  We have been waiting all year for the stress and hardship of this year to lift.  We are tired and we yearn for Christ’s comfort and peace.

This Advent season will be different as we put some traditions on hold for the year and embrace new ways of celebrating the season.  We have At Home Advent kits and remote worship services on Facebook and Zoom. We have Zoom Coffee Hour on Thursday mornings.  We have special music and a Zoom pageant.  We have the opportunity to reflect on what is most important and permission to let go of busyness and that which is less important. 

In worship this Advent we will be listening to the angels who speak to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds.  In each instance the first thing said by the angel is “Do not be afraid,” and then the angel reveals a new and unexpected blessing.   May we find new and unexpected blessings in this extraordinary year and may we rest in the truth of Emmanuel, God with us.

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: Suspended until further notice

Email address:

Web Site Address:

Visit us on Facebook

First Baptist Church, Burlington, Vt.

Newsletter Deadline for January is December 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.   

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.


Because of the social distancing requirements of this time of pandemic, it has been decided that Sunday morning worship, and all church gatherings will continue on Zoom and Facebook for December.

Sunday Worship Services

Dec. 06 – The Angel and Mary

         Luke 1:26-36


Dec. 13 – The Angel and Joseph

            Matthew 1:18-25

Dec. 20 – Do Not Be Afraid

         Luke 2:8-16

                 Christmas Pageant

Dec. 27 – TBD

Nativity Slide Show

Please send us photos of your family Nativity Sets to be included in a special slide show on Christmas Sunday, Dec. 20.


As colder weather takes hold and we have more time at home, FBC Coffee Hour will give us an opportunity to connect with each other.  Beginning on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 9:30am we will gather on Zoom for informal fellowship and conversation.
Contact church office for connection information

SCRIPTURE READERS ARE NEEDED for the Christmas Eve service. You can record yourself or we can record over zoom at the reader’s convenience. Please email if you are willing to participate.

OUR WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY  meets on Mondays at 11:30am on Zoom.  We will be exploring John the Baptist in all four Gospels; who he was, what he taught, how he was connected to Jesus and the early disciples.

Contact church office for connection information

For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at

WHITE PRIVILEDGE/ANTI RACISM is the topic of a zoom discussion group that meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at 7pm. We are reading How To Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi. 

Contact church office for connection information


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. 


This year, we hope to receive most pledges via confidential email to Please delineate local and mission giving and the frequency (ie. weekly, monthly, annually).  If you would like a paper pledge card, please contact the church office.




through the Donate button on our church website:

http// or through the smartphone app called GIVE+. 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.


We will continue with recorded special music offerings for our worship services and we need volunteers!

Evan Allen is available to record accompaniment tracks and Anna is available to help anyone learn a new piece of music. Please send your video files to Anna Roy at Recorded audio or video can be emailed anytime to


Connie Nutter

1510 Williston Road #34

So. Burlington, VT   05403

Dear Church Family,

Thank you for all the prayers, phone calls, flowers and cards we received during Jim’s hospitalization and passing.  We are so thankful for your love and support.

~ Connie Nutter & Beth Gamache


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 15 years or more of service to ABCUSA.  The theme this year is “Hope for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”.

In 2019, RMMO provided thank you checks to more than 3,432 eligible recipients.  The goal for 2020 national RMMO campaign is to reach $1.2 million. 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, Rev. Reid Trulson, and Rev. Jeff Middleton will be among the recipients.

Please help us honor them with love and give with gratitude.

From Jeremiah 29:11-13 it says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”


A big thank you to Ginger Calder, Cindy and Dave Little, and Penny Smith for providing soup to feed the homeless and low income on Sunday evening, November 15 at the Methodist church in Burlington.

Also, Penny provided milk.

We need two volunteers to make soup on December 20.

Thank you to all who made monetary contributions to First Baptist for the purchase of food for the UVM Rally Cat’s Cupboard.  Food was purchased and delivered by Sarah Dopp and Joan Taylor on October 30. 

We were unable to be in our church this year for the Thanksgiving Processional which is used to provide turkeys and food baskets for church members and friends needing a little help.  With monetary contributions made by church members and friends, First Baptist provided turkey and food baskets for five families.  Thanks to our shoppers and deliverers:  Lois and Mike Lynch, Cindy and Dave Little, Sarah Dopp and Joan Taylor.


From: Wanda Hines <>
Date: Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 8:38 AM
Subject: For all JUMP Community, Volunteers and Board members

For all JUMP Community, Volunteers and Board members:

It is with great sadness that we inform the JUMP community of the passing of Beth Dreibelbis.  Beth had a long battle with medical issues and this past Friday suffered a seizure that took her life.

Beth Dreibelbis was a much beloved member of our JUMP community.  She served in many capacities at JUMP, including a time as JUMP Board President.  She was always willing to do whatever called upon to do.  Husband Doug Dreibelbis noted, one of her many gifts was to see in others what they could be, not what they were in the moment.

For those of us wishing to remember Beth with a memorial gift, it was her wish that donations be made to her chosen organization,

JUMP!  Donations may be made to http:/ in her name or sent by mail to JUMP, P.O. Box 1657, Burlington, VT 05402

Wanda Hines


Joint Urban Ministry Project


It’s been our tradition to recognize our staff at Christmas time with a cash gift.  If you would like to contribute, please contact Barb or Andy Farrington, 119 Hayes Avenue, So. Burlington, VT  05403. We will be collecting cash/checks from now thru December 24th.  Please make checks payable to either Barb or Andy, NOT First Baptist Church. If you know friends who do not get emails and who might want to contribute, please pass the word to them.  Thank you!

~ Barb Farrington


The Unified Governing Board met on Nov. 16.  The meeting opened with a general discussion of ways we could increase our support of one another during the “COVID Winter” ahead.  The group emphasized personal contacts via phone, email and cards/notes of encouragement, plus practical help like shopping.  Rev. Mendes suggested a mid-week “Zoom Coffee Hour” to just chat and share poems, readings, prayers, and experiences.

We discussed how to handle the upcoming annual report and annual meeting, and decided to prepare the reports (for distribution by email or hard copy) by Jan. 24 and have a question and answer time following worship that day.  On Jan. 31, after worship, we would handle the budget and election portions, and any other business requiring a vote.

The Building Reopening Committee had met on Nov. 11 to map out safe protocols to allow for our few in-person Advent events, but on Nov. 13, the Governor issued much stricter restrictions on gatherings, in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases in Vermont, so we will be forced to do those 3 Advent events strictly virtually.

Committees and Ministry Teams are working hard to keep activities going (a few building maintenance items, staff evaluations, plans for Church School, assembly and delivery of gift bags to members and friends, decoration of the Church for the season, Christmas pageant plans, provision of Thanksgiving baskets, filing for the forgiveness of the PPP Loan, follow-up on pledging, etc.).

There was discussion of using the Fran Whitney and Margaret Shaub gifts to set up a special fund in the invested fund account (TPF), for the purpose of supporting the staff position of Christian Education Director into the future.  There will be further discussion at the Dec. meeting, with a probable proposal for this, to go before the annual meeting in January.

While we again “hunker down,” it is very reassuring to know that the work of the Church carries on.  Thanks be to God!     ~ Sarah Dopp, Moderator


A huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered for this year’s zoom Christmas Pageant! We have selected a pageant designed specifically for online delivery through Illustrated Ministry! The pageant will involve us working together since each part will be pre-recorded using zoom backgrounds and then spliced together with scene transition slides and music to create a pre-recorded pageant that can be shared over zoom during worship. 

We will be recording the pageant over zoom. Each scene with its own dress rehearsal and recording time. More details will be sent out to our volunteers soon!

We will need volunteers to record carols and to record lines for the final scene! The carols will be a big part of the scene transition in our remote pageant! The people who are interested in recording carols do not need to be the same people acting in the scene!  Please email if you are interested in participating in the pageant this year! You can also indicate your song preference in the email!

 If you are not able to find the props or items you need for your costume, please let us know! We can arrange to drop off items from our church costume closet. 

Costume Suggestions:

Angel: Angel wings, white or gold clothing, halo 

Caesar and King Herod: Bedsheet as a cloak, robe or clothes that are dressy. Make a homemade crown and add accessories!

Donkey: Wear donkey ears and a full backpack covered with a blanket

The Magi: Wear clothing items that have imagery of stars, sky or space. Binoculars and telescopes (handmade) make great props!

Advent and Christmas for all Ages

Celebrate the Season with your Family of Faith

First Sunday of Advent – Nov. 29

Advent Organ Recital by Evan Allen – TBA

Watch and listen to holiday music on Zoom.

Advent Stories and Songs –

Sunday, Dec. 13

Our Second Hour (on Zoom) will be filled with music and story.

Do Not Be Afraid

Our Intergenerational Christmas Pageant

Sunday, Dec. 20

Christmas Sunday Worship – Sunday, Dec. 20

Wonderful music & vital worship

               to celebrate the 4th Sunday

                            of Advent

on Zoom and Facebook

The Longest Night Service –Sunday, Dec. 2o at 4:00pm

A Christmas service for those who mourn,

(on Zoom and Facebook).

Christmas Eve Service – Thursday, Dec. 24

Available beginning at 4pm on Facebook and Youtube

For more information please contact the church office.



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                            (Interim)

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