Green Steeple Messenger-January, 2021

Bye-Bye 2020!   Hello 2021!

Never in my life have I been so excited to say goodbye to one year and to welcome another!  2020 has been an extraordinary year which will be remembered in history as the year of the pandemic, racial reckoning, economic uncertainty, and deep division.  It will also be remembered as the year we all learned Zoom, when we recognized that our church family was larger than just those who came to the building on Sundays, and that our community bonds could remain strong even in adversity.  2020 was the year when we learned new ways of being together, new ways of worshipping God, and new ways of serving Christ.  

2021 will also be an extraordinary year as we continue the pandemic way of life until enough people have been vaccinated.  Economic uncertainty and racial issues will also continue as issues with which we must deal.  But instead of looking into an abyss, we have hope that better days are ahead of us.

For First Baptist, 2021 will be a year in which we integrate what we have learned in 2020 into our ministries for the future.  We will continue to share our worship online so that folks out of town or homebound can join us.  We will use technology for our meetings so that folks will not need to drive long distances to participate.  We will empower members and friends to do ministry in their home communities.  We will continue to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we welcome all and proclaim Christ’s love for the world. 

It has been a privilege to minister with you in this extraordinary year.  May 2021 bring hope, peace, and joy to us all.

Yours in Christ,

~ Karen

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 February is January 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 the month of January.

Sunday Worship Services

Jan. 03 – Epiphany Sunday

         Scripture:  Isaiah 60:1-6

                          Matt 2:1-12

         Sermon: Traveling by Starlight

Jan. 10 – Baptism of our Lord

         Scripture: *Genesis 1:1-15

                          Mark 1:4-11

         Sermon – In the Beginning

Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King, Jr.

         Scripture: *1Samuel 3:1-20

                          John 1:43-51

         Sermon: To Be Called

Jan. 24 – Called by the Sea

         Scripture: *Jonah 3:1-5,10

                          Mark 1:14-20

Jan. 31 – Called a Prophet

         Scripture: *Deut 18:15-20

                          Mark 1:21-28

Baptist Questions Asked and Answered

Want to learn more about the history and community of First Baptist Church?  Curious about what it means to be an American Baptist?  Mark your calendars for a Friends’ and Visitors’ Gathering on Sunday, February 21 on Zoom following worship.  Those interested in church membership can meet with the New Members Team and join the church on a Sunday mutually convenient.


We gather for informal fellowship and conversation.       Meeting ID: 898 5556 4406      Passcode: 993539
Dial by your location
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)  Meeting ID: 898 5556 4406
Passcode: 993539

OUR WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY  will take a break and reconvene on Monday, January 11th.

The Zoom login is

For those calling in –

Dial   +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 868 9711 2158

Passcode: 702659

For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at

BLACK IS THE BODY; STORIES FROM MY GRANDMOTHER’S TIME, MY MOTHER’S TIME AND MINE by Emily Bernard is the next book to be discussed by the Antiracism Book Group.  Please join us in this meaningful project.  The next meeting will be Monday, January 18 at 7pm. is

Meeting ID: 875 1960 9036       Passcode: 421309
To dial in – +1 646 558 8656 US (New York       Meeting ID: 875 1960 9036          Passcode: 4213


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. 


 On January 24, following worship, we will remain on Zoom to hear and ask questions about Ministry Team reports.  On January 31, following worship, we will remain on Zoom to vote on the nominations report, the church budget for 2021, and any other church business requiring a vote.  The formal warning for the meetings will be made in early January.  Paper ballots will be available for those who do not have access to Zoom. 

SINGERS AND MUSICIANS NEEDED FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP!  Please send your video or audio files to Anna Roy at and she will add them to our Sunday morning worship.

PAST WORSHIP SERVICES can be found on our church website and YouTube.  On the website,, click About FBC and then Worship Services.  All of the Advent and Christmas services are now available


Although it is strange to worship online, it is very gratifying to know that folks have continued to gather every Sunday on Zoom and Facebook and that we have brought other folks into our community.  Our average Zoom attendance is 34 “zoom squares” which translate to about 60 people.  Our Facebook engagement averages between 30-50 people each week, some who watch Sunday morning and some who watch later in the day or week.  We have had folks join us from other parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Florida, Maryland, Colorado, and the Philippines!  We have members joining us while traveling and former members joining us after they have watched their own church services.  The church is more than just the building and for this we give great thanks!!!




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.


 Kevin Pound, Executive Director of ANEW Place sent us the following update:

Here are just a few ways we are charting ANEW path in the midst of crisis:

  •  Shelter @ 89 North Street. When COVID hit in April we quickly reconfigured our space and put in place protocols to better meet CDC guidelines and continue offering a supportive community for 20 guests.
  •  Independence Place Apartments. InJuly we moved forward in partnership with Cathedral Square to open seven apartments for guests completing ANEW’s transitional housing program. 
  • New Moon Cafe Partnership. One of the biggest disappointments of the COVID crisis has been shifting away from volunteers providing and sharing meals with our guests. New Moon Café stepped into that void in August to provide nightly meals to all ANEW guests at cost. 
  • Purchasing the Champlain Inn! ANEW began overseeing Burlington’s only low barrier shelter this past winter, then COVID hit. Our basement location was no longer safe, so we quickly moved the shelter into RVs and then tents at North Beach campground. We were in desperate need for a long-term solution. Through a Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant provided by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, ANEW Place was able to purchase the Champlain Inn on October 23. We are so excited to be opening this year-round temporary housing for the homeless on December 1 as it will instantly provide a safe environment with onsite services for 50 of our neighbors! 

Our hope and prayers are to finish 2020 with momentum so we can help even more of our neighbors experiencing homelessness to chart ANEW path.”

Betty Capponi, our ANEW Place team leader, has acquired the following Sundays in 2021 for First Baptist volunteers to provide a meal for the ANEW Place clients at the 89 North Street shelter: March 14, June 6, and September 12.  (The New Moon Café does not provide meals on Sundays.)

First United Methodist Church Soup and Sandwich Supper (FUMC SSN)

A big thank you to Ginger Calder, Cindy and Dave Little, and Caroline Vandevord for providing 18 qt. of soup on December 20, and Cindy and Dave for donating 1 gallon of milk.


Welcome to 2021 at First Baptist Church School! We are so happy to be learning and growing in Christ with you and your family! For 2021, we are breaking from our Spark Rotation Curriculum to offer some new church school learning opportunities!  We are so excited! Church school will continue over Google Meet each Sunday at 11:00am until the Unified Governing Board approves our return to in-person learning. 

~Jeneve Joslin, CE Director

Church School 

Each week, starting on January 3rd, we will be using Bible Verse and Letter Cards as we work through the alphabet with creative Bible exploration! If you would like your family to participate and have not yet received a material packet, please email Jeneve Joslin at 

New Weekly Online Church School Schedule over Google Meet: 

Join at:



-Scripture Reading


-Craft, game and or song



Youth Leadership Group for students 11+

Youth Leadership Group at First Baptist Church:

Starting in 2021, we will be offering a weekly Youth Leadership and Bible Study Program for students 11-18!

The program will include:

  • Online weekly Bible Study/Youth Leadership Group for students 11+
  • Certificate of completion for leadership hours as a Teaching Assistant and or Youth Worship Leader.
  • Leadership development and service opportunities for students 14+


The Unified Governing Board met on Dec. 21 with 15 of 17 members present.  We began the meeting by sharing our individual ideas about the priorities we see for the church for 2021.  In summary, we expressed our strong desire to get back into the building, once it is safe to do so, but also that we don’t want to lose some of the benefits experienced as we had to learn new ways during the pandemic. These include using virtual technology to maintain the connections we’ve forged with larger numbers of friends during the year.  Also, that fostering our church school kids is a priority and also maintaining close bonds through congregational care.  And returning to live music.

We established an ad hoc committee to further explore increasing our licensing agreements, to permit us to legally use a wider range of music and literature while on virtual platforms.  On the property front we are dealing with elevator and heating issues (related to the 2nd + 3rd floors).  The UGB prepared a proposal for congregational action at the annual meeting, related to investing memorial and estate monies from Margarete Shaub and Fran Whitney, and establishing a special fund in support

of the Director CE position.  The proposal will be described fully in the annual meeting warning.

The balance of the meeting focused on budget work.  As usual, our anticipated sources of income (including pledges) don’t meet our desired spending amounts.  The UGB will have another session to finalize the budget to be brought to the annual meeting.  Good news came from the TPF: the value of the investment portfolios has very nearly recovered its value, despite the year’s extreme volatility and our own use of funds.

In closing these monthly reports for 2020, I sincerely thank all of our dedication to our congregation during such a challenging year.  There is much to celebrate, despite all of the set-backs caused by the virus.

~Sarah Dopp, Moderator


Sarah Dopp:


I recently became aware of a podcast put together by Rabbi Amy Small (Ohavi Zedek), Imam Islam Hassan (Islamic Society) Rev. Ken White (College St. Congregational).  It is called  There are at least 8 programs there, on topics like Rejoicing with Others, Dealing with Anger and Beauty.  They talk among themselves and also have an invited guest.  The programs are about a half hour and well worth a listen.

~ Sarah Dopp

Dear Church Family,

Thank you so much for the generous Christmas gift given to me.  I so appreciate all the many ways in which we share God’s love.  You all are great blessings to me!

Merry Christmas!


Dear FBC Family,

Many thanks to our FBC family for the gracious gift you gave me this year.  We all anxiously await the time that we can make music together again at FBC.


Steve Perkins

Dear Church Family,

Thank you so much for the generous and thoughtful Christmas gift given to me.  It is both a joy and blessing to be part of this church family!

Blessings to All,

Marie Morton

ANNUAL REPORTS are due by January 12th! Please email your report in a word document to the church office.  Thank you!


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