Green Steeple Messenger – March 2020

                    COMPANIONS ON THE WAY

I love to take walks around my neighborhood. Sometimes I like to go by myself but mostly I like to walk with a friend, or at least with my dog. Having a companion makes the walk more fun. I love to go for hikes and I never hike alone. Having a companion makes the hike more safe. A companion helps when we are trying something new or when we are dealing with something hard. In times of grief and times of stress, a companion lessens our burdens and buoys our hopes.

For the Season of Lent, our guiding theme will be Companions on the Way. Lent is a time of introspection and preparation for Christ’s death and resurrection. It is time of being honest with oneself and facing whatever comes one’s way. It is a great gift to have companions who encourage and support us as we live out our faith. Each Sunday we will explore companions of Jesus and we will lift up our Ministry Teams of companions who serve together in response to God’s call. We will celebrate Jesus as our companion and give thanks for the company of companions which is our congregation.

Our nation is increasingly divided by region, political party, ethnicity, and gender. The church is one of the few communities that transcends these divides. We have an opportunity to model unity within our diversity. We can show the world how very different people can be companions, living, loving, and working together. Our newsletter is filled with opportunities for learning and service during this holy season. It is a blessing to be companions with you.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor

Newsletter Deadline for April is March 15th      



The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 10 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In January, 5 “known visits” were made to 2 homebound members and 2 “known calls” were made to  homebound members and friends. The committee invites you to help with this ministry.

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

                WORSHIP SERVICE

Sermons and Texts

Mar. 01 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Genesis 2:15-17,   3:1-7

Sermon: Companions on the     Way: How It All Started

Mar. 08 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: John 3:1-17

Sermon: Companions on the Way: Nicodemus

Mar. 15 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: John 9:1-41

Sermon: Companions on the Way: Washing in Puddles            

Mar. 22 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes                  

Scripture: John 11:1-45     

Sermon: Companions on the Way: Life Long Friends

Mar. 29 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

Scripture: John 4:5-42

Sermon: Companions on the Way: A Good Samaritan

      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. We meet on Mondays in March 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.


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

UNDERSTANDING RACE AND RACISM: THE FAITH COMMUNITIES’ RESPONSE, 6:30pm on the evenings of 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 April 3 meeting will be here at First Baptist.  Please contact Rev. Mendes for more information.                                            


    “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:39

American Baptist Home Mission Society is promoting the America for Christ offering during the month of March.  By giving to our AFC offering, we are helping ABHMS provide support to American Baptist colleges, children’s homes, national missionaries, prisoner re-entry ministries, immigration and refugee resettlement, Puerto Rico, and more. 

Our Vermont/New Hampshire region gets twenty-nine per cent (29%) of our AFC offering.

When donating, use the pew envelope provided and check off AFC offering or use the envelope attached to your newsletter.

One Great Hour of Sharing –    Puerto Rico –

First Baptist response to the earthquake in Puerto Rico….so far, our congregation has given $527.70 during the months of January and February.

Looking for soup makers and milk providers for Sunday, March 15….

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  soup makers to provide  6-qt. each, and milk providers of five gallons of milk for Sunday night on March 15.

Please contact Joan Taylor, Interim Team Leader.

Posted on The Mission Bulletin Board . . . We have the latest newsletter from the Clemmers, missionary and doctor in the Congo, and an interesting letter from the treasurer of Cooperative Christian Ministry at UVM (CCM at UVM) thanking First Baptist for our many contributions in 2019 and in the past.  If you want to know what is going on at CCM at UVM, read this letter.

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 directly, 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.     

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 –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

Don’t forget to turn your clock AHEAD 1 hourfor Sunday, March 8th!

Prayer Pledges

From now until Easter, we are invited to pray daily for our church and our communities.  Prayer undergirds all of our ministries and empowers us to follow God’s call.  Each of our prayers is important; time spent with God is never wasted. Feel free to use the following prayer or to lift up your own.

A Daily Prayer for our Church and CommunitiesLoving God, we thank you for this day and we pray to you for our church and our wider communities in this Season of Lent.  Guide us as we discern your will for us and help us proclaim your love and peace to a world burdened by anger and fear. Be with your people around the world, especially with those in need.     We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Scent Free Easter Flowers

This Easter Sunday we are invited to bring tulips, daisies, daffodils, or other lightly scented flowers for our Easter celebration.  Please avoid lilies or hyacinths which can cause headaches and breathing difficulties for some, including our pastor.  If you really wish to bring Easter lilies, there are realistic silk ones, which would be fine (and reusable).  Thank you for your understanding.

Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday

This year for Palm Sunday, our worship service will travel with Jesus through all of Holy Week.  We will tell the whole story up to Good Friday.  The Scripture readings will be interspersed with Lenten music.  The Church School will be doing a Walk-Through Holy Week so we will all experience this holy time.

Easter Worship around the Breakfast Table

On April 19, the Sunday after Easter, we will gather in Fellowship Hall for a potluck Easter breakfast and a less formal worship service.  As a community we will eat together, sing together, pray together, and learn together.  It will be a fun and meaningful way to continue our celebration of the Easter Season.

Lent and Easter Activities

Companions on the Way

During Lent we will explore how we are companions with Jesus and each other.   We will lift up our Ministry Teams and how we work together to learn, fellowship, and serve.

March 1 – How It All Started              2nd Hour – Fellowship Teams

March 8 – Nicodemus                       2nd Hour – Unified Governing Board

March 15 – Washing in Puddles          2nd Hour – Visitation Team

March 22 – Life Long Friends            2nd Hour – Mission Teams

March 29 – A Good Samaritan           2nd Hour – Education Teams

Holy Week

April 5 – Palm Sunday – Travel with Jesus through Holy Week with Scripture and Music

April 9 – Maundy Thursday – 6pm – Gather for a light meal as we remember     the Last Supper.

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

April 12 – Easter Sunrise Service – 6:15am at Petersholm Farm in Williston

Easter Sunday Worship – 9:45am -Welcome Christ’s resurrection!

Easter Season

April 19 – Worship Around the Breakfast Table – We will gather in Fellowship Hall for a potluck breakfast and informal worship.

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

For more information please contact the church office 864-6515 or

Lenten Daily Bible Readings

From now until Easter we will follow Jesus through the Gospel of Matthew.  Reflections on the texts can be shared in our Facebook group; First Baptist Burlington VT

Week 1

Wednesday, Feb. 26 …………1:1-25

Thursday, Feb. 27.……………. 2:1-23

Friday, Feb. 28 ..………………..3:1-17

Saturday, Feb. 29 ..……………4:1-11

Week 2

Sunday, March 1 …………….4:12-25

 Monday, March 2 …………….5:1-20

Tuesday, March 3 ……………5:21-48

Wednesday, March 4 ……….6:1-15

Thursday, March 5 ………….6:16-34

Friday, March 6   ………………7:1-12

Saturday, March 7   …………7:13-28

Week 3

Sunday, March 8   …………….8:1-17

Monday, March 9   ………..8:18-9:1

Tuesday, March 10 ……………9:2-17

Wednesday, March 11 ……9:18-38

Thursday, March 12 ……….10:1-23

Friday, March 13 ………….10:24-42

Saturday, March 14 ……….11:1-15

Week 4

Sunday, March 15 ………..11:16-30

Monday, March 16…………….12:1-14

Tuesday, March 17…………..12:15-37

Wednesday, March 18 ……12:38-50

Thursday, March 19 ………….13:1-23

Friday, March 20 …………….13:24-43

Saturday, March 21 ………..13:44-58

Week 5

Sunday, March 22 …………….14:1-21

Monday, March 23 …………14:22-36

Tuesday, March 24 …………..15:1-20

Wednesday, March 25 ……15:21-39

Thursday, March 26 ………….16:1-12

Friday, March 27 …………….16:13-28

Saturday, March 28 …………….17:1-9

Week 6

Sunday, March 29  …………..17:10-27

Monday, March 30  …………..18:1-20

Tuesday, March 31  …………18:21-35

Wednesday, April 1 …………..19:1-15

Thursday, April 2 ……………..19:16-30

Friday, April 3 ……………………20:1-16

Saturday, April 4 ……………..20:17-34

Holy Week

Palm Sunday, April 5 ………….21:1-46

Monday, April 6   ……………….22:1-46

Tuesday, April 7   ……………….23:1-39

Wednesday, April 8   ………….24:1-51

Thursday, April 9   ………………25:1-46

Friday, April 10 …………………..26:1-75

Saturday, April 11 ………………27:1-66

Easter Sunday, April 12 ………28:1-20

Mar. 08 – Unified Governing Board

Mar. 21 – VSO Dinner

Mar. 22-28 – ANEW Place Meals

Apr. 01 – Jazz Concert – Evan Allen

Apr. 03 – Workshop – 6:30pm     Understanding Race & Racism

Apr. 05 – Palm Sunday

Apr. 09 – Maundy Thursday

Apr. 12 – Easter Sunday Service

                Sunrise Service – 6am

Apr. 19 – Unified Governing Board

Apr. 20-24 – ABCUSA Women Pastors Colloquium

May 1+2 – Children’s Choir Festival

May 17 – Unified Governing Board

May 23 – Marathon Pasta Supper


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.

ANEW Place Dates and Sign up –

The First Baptist Community will once again be providing meals for ANEW Place March 22-28.  Look for the sign up in the narthex.


Sunday, May 3 – starts at 1:00pm.

For more information and registration

go to: or call 864-7402.


I am happy to announce updates from our Food Insecurity Working Group.

The food pantry on the UVM Campus – Rally Cat’s Cupboard will open on Feb. 24th at 4:30pm.  Initially the pantry will be open 2 days a week.  The Working Group is still working out a few details.  I will keep you updated.

Beth Gamache

FBC Board Member

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.



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. See the poster I put on the Missions bulletin board.

 ~ Sarah Dopp

SENSITIVITY TO PERFUME &  OTHER STRONG SCENTS can lead to headaches and breathing difficulties for some.  Let’s refrain from using perfume or cologne on Sunday mornings so that all can breathe easily.  Thank you.