January 2019 Newsletter


First Baptist Church

81 Saint Paul Street Ste. 1

Burlington, VT.   05401

VOLUME LX1V NO. 1                                                                              Jan. 1, 2019




What will 2019 bring?


January is a time of new beginnings.  We organize our new calendars.  We put away our Christmas gifts and decorations and look forward to what the new year will bring.  The year seems to stretch before us like a field of new fallen snow, a blank canvas just waiting for us to make our mark on it.  For some of us, the year ahead seems filled with possibility and hope.  For others, it looms ahead filled with things with which we would rather not deal.   For everyone, the new year provides an opportunity to take stock and to make plans for the future.


For First Baptist, 2019 will be a challenging year as we continue to update our governance structure and work to discern how best to minister together in a rapidly changing world.   In an era when division and fear are on the increase, our church is an important witness to how a diversity of viewpoints and places of origin can come together as a community grounded in the love of God.  Regardless of our differences, we are united in our calling to share God’s love with the world.


In the coming year we will worship together. We will learn together.  We will fellowship together.  We will challenge ourselves and comfort each other as we move into the future, buoyed by God’s love.


I am so glad to be on this journey of faith with you.


Yours in Christ,



Rev. Karen A. Mendes




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 Rowan Oberbrunner… . . Children’s 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: fbcbvt@gmail.com

Web Site Address: www.fbcburlingtonvt.com

Visit us on Facebook

First Baptist Church, Burlington, Vt.









Deadline for

February is

January 15th









The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 5 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In November, 7 “known visits” were made to 3 homebound members and 3 “known calls” were made to 3 homebound members by FBC members and friends. Also, 3 visits and 1 call were 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/raysherrod@hotmail.com.                   





Jan. 05 – David & Chris O’Brien       45yrs.

11 – Keith & Cheryl Lawrence   44yrs.

23 – Larry & K. Penny Smith     48yrs.

28 – Peter Garrecht & Nina Wu  21yrs










Sermons and Texts

Jan. 06 – Rev. Karen A Mendes                                Epiphany                         Scripture: Matt 2:1-12                  Sermon: Star Light, Star Bright

Jan. 13 – Pulpit Exchange with            Rev. Mark Mendes of First

Congregational Church

Jan. 20 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes                   Scripture: John 2:1-11                               Sermon: An Invitation to Joy

Jan. 27 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes                  Scripture: Luke 4:21-30                                Sermon: Good News                




Back by popular demand, Rev. Mark Mendes will lead worship here on January 13, while Rev. Karen A. Mendes will preach at First Congregational Church of Essex Jct.




Sunday, Jan. 6, following worship and the congregational meeting. Join us for Three Kings Cake and other treats as we celebrate the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child.



Our Monday Bible Study meets at 11:30am.  We are studying the Book of Genesis.  Please join us and feel free to bring your lunch.  For more information, please email Rev. Mendes at: kamendesfbc@gmail.com or call the church office at 864-6515.


    WINTER BOOK GROUP        The Active Life by Parker Palmer

The Winter Book Group will read The Active Life by Parker Palmer.  This classic book articulates a vital, down-to-earth spirituality for people who live busy, active lives.  Parker Palmer is a wonderful writer and the Founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal.  Our group will meet on Mondays at 6:30pm from January 28 – March 11(except for February 18).  The book can be ordered online or speak with Rev. Mendes by January 10 to reserve a copy, which will be delivered to the church.




Are you being called to be baptized?

A Baptism Class for Youth (10+) and Adults will be offered starting on Sunday, February 24 during Second Hour time.  The class will meet for six weeks.  For more information, please speak with Rev. Mendes.

         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 3 at 11am.  Those interested in becoming church members will be invited to meet with the Diaconate on Sunday, February 10 and officially join the church on February 17.  If you feel called to be baptized, please speak with Rev. Mendes to join the Baptism Class which begins on Feb. 24.



Un-greening of the church will take place on Saturday, January 12th, 2-4pm.  Many hands are needed to make the job light and quick.  Please come and lend a hand!





On January 6, following worship, there will be a brief meeting of the congregation to act on a recommendation from the Advisory Council.  The recommendation is for the church to authorize the forgiveness of the remaining loan we made to ourselves from the TPF to make improvements to 139 Bank Street.  This was done in 2011.  The payback since 2012 has been that 60% of the rental income is returned to the TPF and 40% goes to the annual church budget.  Two years and $45K remains on the loan.  Various circumstances lead the trustees and Advisory Council to feel this is the right time to forgive the loan.  Please plan to attend the meeting to learn more.  The decision will effect finalization and action on the budget which will be acted on at the annual meeting.



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 –fcbvt@gmail.com by Wednesday.


This year, as we meet and work and worship together, let us take photos so that at our coming Annual Meeting we can put together a slide show of our life together.  Photos can be emailed to the church office fbcbvt@gmail.com.  Please get parental permission before photographing children.  Thanks!


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: www.members.instantchurchdirectory.com.  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:  fbcbvt@gmail.com.




ANNUAL REPORTS ARE DUE BY                     JANUARY 11TH                                                


Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 27th.  After worship we’ll gather for a potluck.  Please bring a dish to share.  After lunch, we will move right into the meeting, where we will hear reports from boards and committees during 2018, hear plans for 2019, vote on slate of officers and board members, vote on budget, etc.




Recommendation from Advisory Council to be acted on at the Annual Meeting:


Motion: That the congregation authorize the Trustees of the Permanent Funds to set aside $10,000 of currently Undesginated Funds and create a new Designated Fund for Local Mission Outreach.  The Fund would be overseen by the Mission Outreach Board and only the income would be spent.


The idea is to augment the pledged funds available to the Mission Outreach Board to provide support for local mission needs. This would be seed money and would grow overtime as the invested funds earn income.  Furthermore, individuals might wish to augment this fund with donations and bequests in the future.  The fund would operate in a fashion like the current Bates, Hanbridge and Heim Funds, which provide extra resources for Christian Education.




We will need someone to take the minutes for our annual meeting.  If you could do that, please contact Sarah Dopp or Rev. Mendes.





Church Greeting and Refreshments

We are offering two opportunities to serve on Sunday mornings by asking for both greeters and providers of snacks.  Feel free to sign up for both or only one or the other.


We invite you to donate flowers for Sunday worship. Please sign up on the flower chart in back of the narthex for any Sunday of your choice or call the church office.





JUMP eliminating food bags            as of 2019


JUMP’s decision to eliminate food bags was made in full consideration of the abundant availability of food in Chittenden County, at least 23 locations for bulk food or daily meals. Securing food in the area is not a problem for JUMP clients.


In 2019, JUMP will provide to clients a list of locations where they can go to receive food, either bulk food or daily meals.

Faith communities that provided food bags at their designated month are being asked to provide personal hygiene items, toiletries, diapers, etc. during their month.


JUMP’s decision will allow JUMP to concentrate on what clients request and need most, assistance for transportation and personal hygiene items.  This decision also relieves parishioners and JUMP volunteers the burden of toting heavy, bulky bags to and from JUMP.


JUMP will continue to provide grocery store gift cards and vouchers to clients to purchase food.  Faith communities

still can provide money to go toward

the purchase of these grocery store cards provided to clients in lieu of or in addition to personal hygiene items.


Note: starting in January JUMP will personally reach out to each faith community to answer any questions and assist with the transition pertaining to JUMP’s new policy. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during this period of transition to better meet clients’ requests and needs.



Domino Theology Explained at

 “Space for Grace”


The Rev. Dr. Molly Marshall,             President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, gave an enlightening and delightful talk for attendees at the Space for Grace Conference in November. Although I was not able to hear Rev. Marshall in person, I was able to listen to her message and her accent and see her smile as she spoke on-line. (https://ministrelife.org/webinars/7/htab=1) Molly Marshall grew up in Muskogee, OK; received her BA from Oklahoma Baptist University and received her MD and PhD degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. In 1995 she was a Visiting Professor at Central Baptist Theological Seminary and a Professor at CBTS in 1997, commuting from home and husband. Soon they moved to Kansas City, KS and lived near campus. Since becoming President of CBTS, she has moved the seminary from deteriorating buildings in Kansas City to a new location in Shawnee, KS with four operating sites in Milwaukee, WI Oklahoma City, Omaha, NE and Murfreesboro, TN. President Marshall is practicing what she preaches as she, with the CBTS administration members and members of the Board of Directors, has moved with the times and has adapted to change in our world. Rev. Marshall said, “the will of God is to gather a family of people to love God and others which moves towards peace.” Thy will be done! How is God’s plan accomplished and what is our role? Some people believe, according to His plan, everything is predetermined. She likes to ask her students – How does Divine and the human power interface? Molly Marshall is not a political person but she did not shy away from mentioning that the election of a dangerous person is not God’s will and if we make the wrong step all falls down as in the “domino theology”. She actually used this term to explain her belief that there are consequences when we make poor choices.

She offered four questions for us to consider in our daily lives as well as in our Christian belief. They are: “what do we throw out?; what do we keep?; what do we recover? and what do we adapt from our culture?” First, “American Baptists ditched the notion that only white men can understand the diverse body of Christ.” (Molly left the Southern Baptists when they did not accept her capable leadership in the pulpit and it was our gain when she became an American Baptist.) Second, we cultivate leaders from all walks of life and she added that those who need saving are in the churches as well. Many voices were long ignored and now we like women of color! She named many black women who are shining examples. She told the listeners that we can’t ignore the immigrants who need our protection and we need to make room for a prophetic vision about racism, gun control, health care for all and all that God has asked us to do. Molly actually said that as we wait for God to act, he’s waiting for us to act. She suggested that we listen to the young and the stranger who have a deep desire for justice. This is a brief view of a message from a very popular conference speaker and American Baptist Seminary President. Many workshops including Volunteers to Puerto Rico were also scheduled at

the gathering.

Grace and Peace to you for 2019.         ~ Nancy Tracy




Plan to attend a special recital to celebrate our new rank of pipes on Sunday, January 20 at 3PM.  Adam is lining up a group of talented Vermont organists to play an array of pieces.  The program will be varied and exciting!

The 27 new pipes are a “trombone rank” in the pedal division.  The pipes range in size from 4 to 16 feet. All the pipes, resonators, wind chests and tuners were hand-crafted by organ builder A. David Moore & Co. of Pomfret, VT., and based on the design in an 1861 Hook Organ in Bangor, ME. “Hammond St. Congregational.”  This would have been a feature of the Hooks built at this time, and we can only speculate as to why this was not built into our organ in 1864.  Adam had the inspiration for our making this improvement to our historic instrument.







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!                         Karen

                                                          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!        Warmly,                                           Marie