Green Steeple Messenger (July 1, 2018)


First Baptist Church

81 Saint Paul Street Ste. 1

Burlington, VT.   05401

VOLUME LX111 NO. 7                                                                            July 1, 2018





A New Model of Governance and Ministry


In August of 2016, we gathered for an Envisioning Retreat in which we discerned 3 priorities for our work together; Intentional Ministry, Raising Public Identity, and a New Model of Church Governance.  From this third priority, a Governance Working Group was formed.  This group has been meeting for the past year learning about what we do and how we do it and thinking about how we might do ministry differently. They led workshops for the Advisory Council and the whole congregation regarding the differences between Governance and Ministry and helped us to look at what we do and how we do it in a new way. As a result of their work, the GWG created the following vision statement.


First Baptist Church of Burlington exists under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to worship God and to share Christ’s love with the world.  Our church governance serves to organize our ministries and safeguard our resources.  The purpose of our governance is ministries of Education, Fellowship and Outreach.


The goal of our governance change is to free us up for more ministry by:

  • Centralizing and lessening the administrative burden of boards and committees.
  • Enabling more responsive and flexible opportunities for ministry.

Thus leading to more active participation among the whole church community.


On June 19, 2018, the Governance Working Group met with the Advisory Council. Together, they propose that for the coming year we shift the work of our boards and committees into Ministry Teams while continuing with our current governance





First Baptist Church Staff

Rev. Karen A.Mendes.……………………………..Pastor

Marie Morton………………….Administative Assistant

Steve Perkins…………Instrumental Group Director

Adam Schneider……………………………Organist

Anna Roy………………….Chancel Choir Director

Chris Brault…….……………………………Sexton


Officers of First Baptist


Sarah Dopp.…………………………….Moderator

Mark Paulsen…………………Assistant Moderator


Beth Gamache……. ………………Assistant Clerk

Chris Thompson…………………………Treasurer

Bill McCormick….……………Assistant Treasurer

Ginger Calder………………….Financial Secretary

Barbara Farrington… ………Asst. Financial Sec’y

Sarah Dopp ……………………………..Historian

Andy Farrington….……………….Parliamentarian



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.










Deadline for

September is

August 15th














The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 5 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In May, 1 “known visit” was made to 1 homebound member and 4 “known calls” were made to 2 homebound members by FBC members and friends. There were also 3 visits and 1 call made to other 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 @864-7179/                   











July & August


July 17 – Nancy Danforth & Beth Vuley                                                                     5yrs.

18 – Russ & Dawn Willis            37yrs.

Aug. 01 – Scott & Georgia Hendrickson                                                                   24yrs.

06 – Frank & Mary Swasey       25yrs.

07 – Joshua & Anna Roy           13yrs

Peter Burroughs &

Carlos Rodrigues       15yrs

10 – Will & Amelia Briggs       16yrs.

11 – Stu & Jeneva Burroughs    56yrs.

13 – Kyle Albee & Starr Jewell  7yrs.

19 – Mark & Karen Mendes     18yrs.

22 – Matthew & Laura Cohen    9yrs.

Robert & Beverly Klandl  48yrs.

30 – Malcolm & Gladys Severance





Rev. Mendes is on vacation until Augusts 1stFor Pastoral care, please contact the church office at 864-6515.  In an off-hour emergency, please contact Steve Perkins, chair of the Diaconate at 879-1533.

Rev. Mendes will be back in the pulpit on August 5th.




July 01 – Rev. Ted Brayman                                                                            July 08 – Rev. Dale Edwards


July 15 – Rev. Deadra Ashton                                                                 July 22 – Pat Boyden                                                                              July 29 – Gary O’Gorman


Aug. 05 – Rev. Karen A Mendes               Scripture: 2 Sam 11:26-12:10                    Sermon: The Little Lamb

Aug. 12 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes              Scripture: Psalm 130                         Sermon: Out of the Depths

Aug. 19 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes                           Retreat Sunday                            Scripture: 1 Kings 2:10-12,                                       3:3-14                              Sermon: Discernment                                                       and Wisdom

Aug. 26 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

Combined Worship/Picnic                   Scripture: Song of Solomon                                          2:8-13                             Sermon: The Voice of the





(Cont. 2 – Pastor Message)


model (The Mission Outreach Board has already moved into this structure).  This means that this summer each board will discern its ministries and recruit team leaders.  For example, Trustees could oversee Ministry Teams for Stewardship and Property; Deacons could have Communion and Visitation Teams; MOB already has teams for Soup Suppers, ANEW Place, and the ABC offerings; and CE has the Church School team and the Christmas Pageant team; to name just a few of our many ministries.  In September, everyone at church will be invited to join a ministry team without needing to be a member of a board.  Some teams, like Church School, have a commitment for a programmatic year.  Others, like the Pageant, are just for a limited number of weeks.  For 2019 we will see how this delineation of ministry from governance works. We will make sure that all we want to do and need to do gets done.  Our proposal includes eventually moving to a Unified Governing Board made up of our church officers, representatives from the TPF, Staff Relations, the pastor, and representatives from the Areas of Ministries (Fellowship, Education, Outreach).  This UGB will set priorities, keep track of our resources, and provide guidance and feedback to our Ministry Teams.  It will lessen the need for meetings and maximize the opportunities to serve God, our church, our communities, and our world.

Throughout this process, I encourage everyone to ask questions and to think and pray about the ministries to which you are called to participate.   During the next year there will be opportunities to talk about this process and share ideas and concerns. We will put off any bylaws changes until we have worked out all the details needed. This spring we have been under construction.  Our building is completed but our organizational change continues.  It is a great blessing to be in ministry with you.

Yours in Christ,                              Rev. Karen A. Mendes


Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer, General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. has written a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, eloquently stating the deep concerns of the denomination regarding separation of parents and children along the Southern border.  He went on to object to the appropriation of scripture to support this non-Christ-like practice.  Copies of the letter are available on the table in the narthex.  It is worth reading, knowing that our denomination has joined other Christians in speaking out on this issue.


Next Memorial Day weekend, we have a great opportunity to reach out to the very many people who will be in Burlington for the Vermont City Marathon.  On Saturday May 25, runners with their families and friends will be looking for places to “carbo-load” before the race.  We could provide a pasta supper of traditional spaghetti along with the option of delicious Karen noodles.   This would be fun and an opportunity to raise our public profile in the greater Burlington community.  After the supper we could offer a worship service of prayer and blessing.  If we start planning now, we might be able to be included in the Marathon’s official information.  If you are interested in being a part of the Marathon Supper Team, please call the church office or speak with Rev. Mendes or Sarah Dopp.


First Baptist Church Seeks Director of Christian Education

First Baptist Church Burlington is seeking a part time Director of Christian Education.  First Baptist is a progressive multicultural American Baptist Congregation. The Director of Christian Education augments our ministry to children, youth and young adults by fostering their growth and development in all aspects of Christian faith.  As a staff member the Director plays a central role by working with the Christian Education Board to plan, develop, support, oversee and grow our inclusive, multicultural, multi-generational Christian education programs and events. The Director closely coordinates activities with the Pastor and the Christian Education Board concerning the ministry needs of children, youth and young adults. To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to the attention of      Search Committee by email to: or by mail to     First Baptist Church                           81 St. Paul Street                     Burlington, Vt. 05401.                 The position is open until filled!


Diaconate Member

Cindy Little                                                                                  “Turn a Negative into a Positive


We’ve all had situations where we could only see what was wrong.  Ask God’s guidance to help you.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7


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, 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 in the church office.



We have found someone willing to  try out the task of organizing and shipping out the Labels for Education: (Campbell, Pepperidge Farm, etc. products), the aluminum can tags, postage stamps, and card fronts that we ask people to collect. Various organizations around the country recycle or repurpose these items to raise funds for their organizations.

To see how many products are eligible for the Labels for Education program, please go to the website, to download the list!  Remember, it only takes a moment to snip one of these labels or to take a tag off a soda can, pet food, or other appropriate cans and add to the support we can give to many organizations!



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!





Children are welcome in the sanctuary.

At the back of the sanctuary (in the narthex) there is also a flowered toy box and play space for young children to use during worship. Crayons and activity packets are available from the ushers. There is a self-service nursery on the first floor for babies and toddlers who need a break during worship and are attended by a parent or guardian.




It’s that time of year again –



Please consider sharing your musical talents with us!  Look for the sign-up sheet in the Narthex.

We look forward to enjoying all the music the congregation can share this summer. ~Music Committee






There remain 8 openings on boards and committees (Trustees -2, Christian Ed – 2, Missions – 1, 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).




            CHURCH OFFICE                      SUMMER HOURS

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday                 9:00am – 1:00pm

        Thursday – 9am – 3pm

           CLOSED MONDAYS                          JULY & AUGUST







Mark your calendars now and don’t miss the picnic on August 26th after a joint worship with the Karen Baptist Community.  We have the picnic shelter at the Ethan Allen Homestead from 11:30 – 3:30.

Wear your picnic clothes to worship that morning and bring a dish to share.  There will be a signup sheet for pot luck sharing. Meats and beverages will be provided. Also, bring any sports equipment or board games you’d like to enjoy after our meal.

We’re looking for a grill master and helper, and someone to buy the meat and beverages.  Speak to Sarah Dopp if you can help.

The school supplies will be handed out to the children at the picnic.

              SUPPLY DRIVE

In July and August, the CE board will again sponsor a school supply and back pack drive.  This year items will be distributed before school starts so

we are starting and ending earlier.  Look for the collection box in the Narthex from July 8 through August 22nd.


Donated items like pencils, pens, single subject notebooks, erasers, colored pencils, markers or backpacks may be placed in the box.  We will empty the box each week.


Alternatively, you may donate cash which we will use to buy backpacks and supplies to supplement any that are donated.  Checks should be made out to First Baptist Church with a note on the bottom that says school supplies drive.  Donations by check or cash can be placed in one of the white pew envelopes and put in the collection plate.   Please write School Supply Drive on the outside of the envelope.


The Board is grateful for your past generosity and looks forward to supporting the children and youth of our Church Community.


Dear Church Family,

I want to thank everyone who sent cards, provided food, attended the memorial service, prayed for us, and in any way showed love and concern for the Sparks family.

Sparks was such a quiet man that many of you did not know his witty and fun side.  I just wish more could have enjoyed his company.                              ~ Fern Sparks



Special Thanks!

I want to thank Lois Lynch, the Board of Christian Education, and my wonderful church school students for helping me learn about what goes into teaching young minds about our faith and in helping me to meet the challenge that goes along with that.


I encourage others to step into the classroom and bring their own talents, energy and ideas.  I’m available to assist and answer any questions or concerns anyone may have who may be thinking about teaching our children. ~ Mary Swasey




Don Spawn is always willing and able to help with carpentry and wood-working projects around the church.  His skills are amazing and range from pew repair to choir robe racks to handrails to the choir loft, as well as office repairs.

His latest product was to transform two very battered and overused wooden cutting boards into functional and beautiful pieces we will be proud to use in our new kitchen!            ~Sarah Dopp




American Baptist Churches Vermont-New Hampshire Region (observations)

American Baptists of Burlington First Baptist are considered more progressive (some would say liberal) compared to other Baptists in the Vermont/New Hampshire region, both socially and globally, and therefore, are more in line with the national American Baptist beliefs and concerns for world-wide needs. Some of us are seeing programs of a more conservative persuasion being offered in the VNH region and finding that alternatives for our interests and participation are not offered, other than Camp Sentinel in NH.

Also, we should be concerned that the representation on boards and committees is lop-sided! Our two-state region has only one Vermont representative on the powerful nine member Finance Committee and we have only one from Vermont, our own Karen Mendes, on the nine member Department of Professional Ministry Committee.

There are fewer representatives from VT compared to the number of board and committee members from the NH churches. Although there are more churches in New Hampshire (85 – 50, approximately), Vermont Baptists are seriously under-represented when major decisions are made with the region finances, for instance. Some of us wonder about the VNH Baptist leaders’ governance for the region. It’s customary for Baptists from each state to have equal representation on the boards and committees. Presently, we do not.

Our beloved Gove Hill has been sold and the region budget deficit is much less now ( nearly $17,000 compared to $120,000 in 2012*). The region trustees have paid off accumulated bills and the restricted endowments and grants are partially replenished. The ABC VNH staff members have moved to a less expensive office space. On the other hand, region trustees have agreed to support a non-Baptist initiative called “Fresh Expressions” which began in the UK ten years ago. This program emphasizes evangelism and promotes a movement that cultivates new forms of church. There was much promotion before the annual gathering as well as two “Fresh Expressions” workshops available at the annual meeting. Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer, ABC USA General Secretary, keynote speaker and a workshop leader was not mentioned in the April newsletter. Fortunately, Sarah Dopp’s broader summary of the annual meeting was printed in that region newsletter.

The March, April, May, June VNH newsletters continue to aggressively support the “Fresh Expressions”

(cont. ABC USA)                       movement with more space given to the news of three events in NH this year with a nine month (training) program beginning in October. Although the Executive Minister declares Fresh Expressions to be the largest new plan, there’s no specific line-item for it in the 2018 “actual budget”. If we want to be involved in the decisions at the region level, we need to make ourselves available on the committees. VT Baptists are barely there!**

Did you know that when we write checks for the national America for Christ special offering, 29 % of our money goes back to the region office regardless of our level of representation in the region? We have choices. We can earmark our America for Christ offerings to special national projects and then the 29% will not be returned to the VNH region office. We can deny financial requests from the region.*** OR, we can insist that the region Nominating Committee members ask Vermont Baptists to serve and Burlington Baptists can offer our services.

I’ve written at the beginning how I see us at First Baptist, Burlington. We can be proud of our diligent trustees of the Permanent Funds providing money to maintain our 184 year old building to help us serve and make a presence in the inner city. Rev. Karen Mendes understands us; she also supports national objectives by attending the ABCUSA biennials and she was recently invited to join the national Women’s Pastors’ Colloquium which met in San Diego. Karen’s whole life has been instilled with Baptist principals and polity including four years as a member of the national Statement of Concerns Committee, the last two years as its chair. With grace and devotion for us, she continues to keep us in line on the American Baptist path.

Recently, young, smart Annie Svitavsky of Lincoln, became our VNH representative to the national Board of General Ministries and also was chosen a member of the General Board Executive Committee. Annie and Karen give us hope in the NW part of our region! ~ Nancy Tracy      *words from March region newsletter **ratio of Vermonters on the VNH region board of trustees and committees, April 2018: Officers – 2/7 Trustees – 3/8 Executive Committee – 1/5 AB Men – 0/5 Finance Committee – 1/9 AB Women – 8/13 Nominating Committee – 3/5 Department of Professional Ministry – 1/9                  *** A reminder that during the year, we CAN give to the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) and earmark national and international disasters and then 100 % of our donations go where we have designated.            BURLINGTON MEALS                                      ON WHEELS

On May 31, 300 volunteers, board members and staff gathered at Trader Duke’s for a gala buffet dinner and celebration, to mark the end of the organization and honor the long-time and beloved director, Peter Carmolli. (In the future, the Meals on Wheels needs of NW Vermont will all be directly managed by the Age Well organization).

Burlington Meals on Wheels began in the First Baptist Church Kitchen in 1972-3, with our own Gladys Severance and then her daughter Lynn, doing the cooking!  Gladys gave a very informative and entertaining history of those early years, at the meal.  We had 12 in attendance from First Baptist, including Barb Moquin who has coordinated “our team” for most of the 45 years.

As we enjoyed that beautiful meal that day, we also remembered the dozens of Baptist drivers and runners over the 45 yr. history of Burlington Meals on Wheels.   ~ Sarah Dop




July 04      Office Closed –                                       Independence Day

Aug 19      Worship Retreat

Aug 20      Advisory Council                                                                        Aug 26      Church Family Picnic                                     (give out school supplies)

Sept 03     Office Closed – Labor Day                                                          Sept 09    Sunday School Restarts                       Ice Cream Sunday

Sept 9-15  Meals for ANEW Place

Sept 13-15 ABC-USA Executive                            Committee Meeting

Sept 16     Administrative Sunday

Sept 17     Advisory Council

Sept 29     I-89 Rest Area Fundraiser

Oct 21       Dopp Organ Recital

Nov 19      Advisory Council




Free Burma Rangers

A request for financial support for this organization has come to our church several times through various channels. Sean Fitzgerald and Lwei Ray Moo of the Marietta Community Chapel in Marietta, Pennsylvania have appealed for donations to assist them in their efforts to provide humanitarian services to the people of Burma. Ethnic cleansing is a horrific form of violence and Burma is one of the many countries in which this occurs.   There is some information in the narthex and some individuals in our church community are offering support.  Please go on their website at or email Sean at for more information.



Sunday Night Soup Supper Update


Thanks again to the Feeding Ministry Team that consists of Joan Taylor, Fern Sparks, Carol Gaylord, Caroline Vandevord, Kathy Browne, Sarah Dopp, Stu & Jeneva Burroughs, Nancy Danforth & Beth Vuley, Chris Thompson, Cindy Little, Sandi Seaver, Susan Schomody and Judy Austin.

The First United Methodist Church is having some key people transition away from this program. It has been requested we provide 2% milk or whole milk only.  We remain as soup providers (contact Nancy Danforth for the recipe) on the third Sundays of each month and provide 2-5 gallons of milk on the first and third Sundays.  Please consider being part of this important ministry with the First United Methodist Church!


Habitat for Humanity


We still await a First Baptist Community build day for the project on Staniford Road.  Delays have prohibited the building from being started. Stay tuned for updates later in the summer!




ANEW Place Dates & Sign-up

The First Baptist Community will once again be providing the meals for ANEW Place September 9 –15. Look for the sign up in the narthex on August 19!