Green Steeple Messenger – February 2020


After reading, and thinking, and meeting, and praying, finally this month we move into our new governance structure.  Together we are making a big leap of faith as we shift into a new way of working together, a new way of ministering together, a new way of being together.  This is an exciting and disorienting time.   It will require patience, ingenuity, and a good dose of humor as we get used to our new system.  We will discover that parts of it will work much better than the old system and we will find areas that still need to be defined and determined.  Much like learning a new car or a new phone, we will discover new options and capabilities.  All of this work can be seen as reaching beyond with faith and joy.

Another opportunity to reach beyond what we have done before is to consider how best to utilize the space previously occupied by the YMCA childcare program.  How can this space be used as a ministry?  Should it just be for us on Sunday mornings or should we see it as an opportunity for outreach to our wider communities?  At the Annual Meeting on Sunday, many good ideas were shared such as another childcare program, a senior center, a Spirituality/Yoga center, or non-profit office/meeting space.  If you have an idea or an outside contact who might be interested in the space, please let us know.

This newsletter is full of opportunities to reach out and reach beyond with faith and joy.  As always, it is a joy and a privilege to minister with you.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor

Newsletter Deadline for March is Feb. 15th      



The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 10 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In December, 19 “known visits” were made to 10 homebound members and 5 “known calls” were made to  homebound members and friends. This included FBC’s homebound Christmas caroling. The committee invites you to help with this ministry.

Please contact Ray when you visit or call a homebound member and friend or call 802-864-7179.                  

                WORSHIP SERVICE

Sermons and Texts

Feb. 02 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: 1Cor. 1:18-31

         Sermon: God’s Foolishness

Feb. 09 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: 1Cor. 2:1-16

Sermon: The Mind of Christ

Feb. 16 – Rev. Mark Mendes

                  Pulpit Exchange

Feb. 23 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

           Transfiguration Sunday

         Scripture: Matt. 17:1-9

         Sermon: Dazzling

Are you being called to be baptized?

A Baptism Class for Youth (10+) and adults will be offered on February 2 during Second Hour time in the Pastor’s office.  For more information, please speak with Rev. Mendes.

Pulpit Exchange on February 16

Back by popular demand, Rev. Mark A. Mendes will lead worship here on February 16 while Rev. Karen A. Mendes will preach at First Congregational Church of Essex Jct.

  Study/Fellowship Groups

There is more to Church than Sunday mornings!

 Weekday Bible Study – Mondays at 11:30am. We are just beginning our study of the Old Testament Book of Numbers, otherwise known as In the Wilderness.  Please join us and feel free to bring your lunch.

THE WINTER BOOK GROUP is reading Holy Envy; Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor began on January 27, and will meet on Mondays in February at 6:30pm.  This book invites us to reflect on our Christian faith while learning more about other world religions.  Books can be purchased online.  Speak with Rev. Mendes for more information or for help acquiring a book.

The Christian Education Board is excited to announce our mission trip for 2020 for students 6th grade-12th grade! We’re planning to go to Orland, Maine to work with HOME, Inc for the week of June 28 – July 3. We are looking for an adult volunteer/parent

or two to travel with the students, please let us know if you are interested! This is an amazing chance to engage in a really rural area and have direct hands-on work with an organization that focuses on homelessness & low-income families.

In addition to providing shelter and a soup kitchen, they also offer navigator services to help equip and empower people in the next step of their journey, including a learning center with free classes, subsidized daycare, and a shingle/sawmill and automotive garage to learn a marketable trade.

As volunteers, we’d be able to serve the community by helping with gardening and light construction or painting, as well as other projects on their campus, like splitting and stacking firewood. We’d also have the opportunity each day to directly engage with shelter residents.

Dear Church Family,

Many thanks to the congregation for the generous Christmas gift given to me this year.  We enjoy making music for you while adding our instrumental touch to the worship experience.

~Steve Perkins, Instrumental Director

Personal Care and Cleaning Supply Drive for JUMP

During the month of February, it is First Baptist’s turn to provide personal care and cleaning supplies to JUMP.  This is in place of the food bags that we have contributed for many years.  You can put your purchased items in the plastic bin in the Narthex.  Below is the list of items most needed:


  • Bar Soap
  • Dental Floss
  • Deodorant
  • Hand & Body Lotion
  • Razors/shaving cream
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste


  • All-purpose cleaner:

“Spic N Span”/Lysol

  • Dish soap
  • Sponges


ELECTRONIC GIVING IS NOW POSSIBLE through a Donate button on our church website:

http// and through a 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.


There was a Christian Education report handed out at the meeting, and also up-to-date figures for Missions.  If you didn’t get them at the meeting, copies will be on the back table for you.  There were corrections on some figures in the budget, as well.  Copies of the minutes, including those figures, will also be available.

We are invited to be prayer partners

with the brothers and sisters of our sister church in Puerto Rico, the Primera Iglesia Bautista deMayaguez. 

Those interested will be paired up with a person from Mayaguez.  You can connect via email, text, snail mail, or Facebook.  This is an opportunity for all ages to further the bonds between our communities.  Sign up in the Narthex.

EARTHQUAKE IN PUERTO RICO – To help the people of Puerto Rico, you can donate by putting cash or check in the pew envelope.  If giving by check, make check out to First Baptist and put OGHS- Puerto Rico in the memo.  You can also give online by going to and give credit to First Baptist by filling out the space provided, or if you want to give direct, make check payable to American Baptist Home Mission Societies and mail to the attention of Leda Carter at ABHMS, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406.  Put OGHS-Puerto Rico in the memo of the check.  First Baptist might get credit if you mention that you attend this church.     

For if they fall, one will lift up his [neighbor].

Ecclesiastes 4:10

Dear Friends in Christ,

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook Puerto Rico at 4:24am on Tuesday, Jan. 7.  The southwest part of the island received the worst part.  Immediately after the seism, the whole island was without electricity. At least one person died, as walls collapsed around the area, and many others were injured.  The majority of island residents are without power.

ABHMS is mobilizing volunteers and securing donations to help Puerto Rico’s residents, who are still recovering from Hurricane Maria.  Fifteen thousand dollars in One Great Hour of Sharing funds have been released, but additional help is needed.

With your donation of only $25, ABHMS can provide needed food, shelter and supplies, while helping to rebuild devastated neighborhoods in Puerto Rico.

Please consider blessing the people of Puerto Rico with a gift to help them overcome this recent disaster.  Rest assured that 100% of your gift goes directly to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico.  Please give generously!  Bring hope to a people who have felt abandoned and forgotten for far too long.

With hope,

Dr. Jeffrey Haggray,                            Executive Director, ABHMS


more than just Sunday mornings, and we have the opportunity to be connected on 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.


An increasingly important way for FBC to make people aware of our events, is to use our individual FPF networks.  Currently there are about

a dozen people willing to forward  occasional PR paragraphs to their fellow FPF members.  Please consider joining the FPF Team.  You can speak to me.

~ Sarah Dopp, PR Ministry Team


In December, we learned that the Y Daycare would be leaving our space for the new building on College Street.  This was unwelcome and unexpected news since they had renewed their formal agreement with us just in October. This means that they need to pay their usual donation through March, but after that there will be a hole in our budget.  We are also very sorry to see this vital ministry leave our building.  We are exploring possibilities for use of the space by other non-profits with a mission in line with ours (daycare or other) and have reached out to several childcare agencies so far.  When there is more news the congregation will be informed, and if anyone knows of possibilities for the space, please pass it on.


The Unified Governing Board is comprised of the Church officers, the Pastor, and representatives from 4 Governance Committees (Staff Relations, Finance, Property and TPF) and the 3 Ministry Areas.  It will meet monthly in the place of our current Board and Advisory Council meetings. This Unified Governing Board structure will officially begin in February 2020. Portions of our current Bylaws will remain in effect until we have sufficient experience with the new structure to make any adjustments.                                                  

The Ministry Teams will be responsible for much of what we do together.  These teams are open to anyone who wants to participate and they run the gamut of teaching Church School to cooking soup to calling on the homebound. 

The teams do not have set terms of service nor do they require monthly meetings. If you feel called to lead or join a Ministry Team, please speak to one of our current Board Chairs; Joan Taylor, Lois Lynch, Jim Calder, Mark Paulsen, and Marie Morton. 

Below is a list of the Ministry Teams and their team leaders.  Some teams are for short term projects and others are ongoing. 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 will be sending 2-3 reps to the UGB meetings


ABC Mission – Joan Taylor

ANEW Place – Betty Capponi

FUMC Soup Suppers –

Cooperative Campus Ministries –         Beth Gamache

Sister Church Initiative – Karen Mendes

Marathon Pasta Supper –  Marie Morton

Public Relations – Sarah Dopp


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

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


Check it out –We are offering two opportunities to serve on Sunday mornings by asking for both greeters and providers of snacks. Store-bought cookies are fine! Feel free to sign up on the round table in the Narthex.

We invite you to donate flowers for Sunday worship.  Please sign up on the flower chart in back of the narthex.

UNDERSTANDING RACE AND RACISM: THE FAITH COMMUNITIES’ RESPONSE, 6:30pm on the evenings of January 15, February 6, March 5, and April 3.  The Rev. Rodney Patterson, founding pastor of New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church, will lead us in exploring the historical outlines of racism and the strategies we can use to overcome it. This project is jointly sponsored by several Burlington churches:New Alpha, First Baptist, First Congregational, and First United Methodist. The   Feb. 6 meeting will be held at the First Congregational Church.  The April 3 meeting will be here at First Baptist.  Please contact Rev. Mendes for more information.                                            



Transfiguration Sunday, February 23, will be an exciting morning as we transfigure our worship service. Our Chancel Choir and Instrumental Ensemble will lift up glorious music as we celebrate the presence of God among us.  Please plan to join us and invite your friends and neighbors.

After worship we will have a Hot Potato Fellowship Meal. The menu will include baked potatoes with a wide array of toppings (butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon bits, chives, vegetables, chili, etc. you name it!) with beverages, salad and desserts to round out the meal.  Want to help? Contact Sarah Dopp.

Family Sledding Party on Sunday February 2nd! Sarah, Dane and Dorian Wright are hosting a First Baptist Family Sledding Party! From 2-4pm at 2109 Oak Hill Road in Williston. Please wear warm outdoor clothes and bring a sled if you have one! There will be snacks and warm drinks. We also have rides for students available from the Church at 1:30/1:45pm. Students will need to be picked up at 2109 Oak Hill Road at 4pm! For questions please call or text Jeneve at 802 233 8593. 

On Sunday, February 23rd, join us for a Skating Party at Leddy Park Arena 4-5:30pm. Skate rentals and snacks will be provided! All ages welcome!