July 2019 Green Steeple Messenger


This Summer we are experiencing a blossoming of ideas and programs, the seeds of which were planted in the past.  After three years of prayer, study, and hard work, our congregation voted on June 9 to shift our governing structure from 4 boards and Advisory Council to one Unified Governing Board which will streamline our governance issues and allow us to spend more time and energy doing ministry.  After 6 years of conversation, we now have the option of electronic giving via our website or cellphone app so that those who choose can give paperlessly.  After 2 years of searching, we have welcomed Jeneve Joslin as our Director of Christian Education and she has already had a great impact on our Church School and wider Church family.  After 4 months of guest accompanists, we will welcome Evan Allen on September 1 as our Church Organist, and we are excited about the musical gifts that he will bring to our community. In addition to all this, we have a new partnership with the Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mayguez which opens up for us new opportunities to learn and serve. 

It is exciting to be part of this growth even as it is unsettling to contemplate these changes.  There are opportunities and challenges before us and we move forward together with confidence in the Power of God, the Peace of Christ, and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This newsletter has lots of information about these and other ministry opportunities.  Enjoy the summer and enjoy the blossoming of our life together.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes

Sunday Morning Worship Service 9:45

Office Phone: (802) 864-6515

Conference/Kitchen Phone:

(802) 864-4721

Office Hours: Mon.+ Tues. 9-2PM; Wed.+ Fri.

9-1PM; Thurs. 9-3PM

Email address: fbcbvt@gmail.com

Web Site Address: www.fbcburlingtonvt.com

Visit us on Facebook

First Baptist Church, Burlington, Vt.

Newsletter Deadline for Sept. is Aug. 15th      



The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 11 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In May, 6 “known visits” were made to 3 homebound members and 6 “known calls” were made to 6 homebound 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 @araysherrod@hotmail.com. or call 802-864-7179.                  

    SAVE THE DATE OF AUG. 18th!     Fred Danforth will be with us, a birthday gift to himself to spend time with one and all as he’s soon to reach his 90th!  Please join us after worship for lunch and celebration in his honor.


June 30 – Rev. Dr. Dale Edwards

July 07 – Annie Svitavsky

July 14 – Rev. Ted Brayman

July 21 – Rev. Joe Cotner

July 28 – Rev. Ted Brayman

Aug. 04 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Hosea 11:1-11

         Sermon: The Love of God

Aug. 11 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Deut. 5:12-15,

                          Matt. 11:28-30

         Sermon: Sabbath Rest

Aug. 18 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Gen. 2:1-3,

        John 15:9-15

         Sermon: Sabbath Life

Aug. 25 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

                    Church Picnic

         Scripture: Deut. 15:1-2,7-11,

                         Luke 15:11-32

         Sermon: Sabbath Grace

Rev. Mendes is on vacation until July 29th.  For pastoral care, please contact the church office at 864-6515.  In an off-hour emergency, please contact Mark Paulsen, co-chair of the Diaconate at 879-2728.  Rev. Mendes will be back in the pulpit on Aug. 4th.

Our Monday Bible Study has stopped for the summer and will resume its study of Exodus in September.

GREEN STEEPLE         WEEKLY NEWS                          

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 – fbcbvt@gmail.com by Wednesday.

Aug 11 – All Boards

Aug 19 – Advisory Council

Aug 25 – Church Family Picnic

Sept 08 – All Boards

Sept 15 – Sunday School Restarts

Programmatic Fair and

 Ice Cream Sundaes

Sept 16 – Advisory Council

Sept 21 – I-89 Rest Area Bake Sale

Sept 22-28 – Meals for ANew Place

Oct 13 – All Boards

Oct 21 – Advisory Council

Nov10 – All Boards

      Dopp Organ Recital

Nov18 – Advisory Council

Mark your calendars now and don’t miss the Annual Church Picnic on August 25th.  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 sign-up 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.

Invite your friends and neighbors!

Volunteer as a Church School Primary Teacher!

We are looking for four Primary Teacher volunteers for the 2019-2020 Church School Year!  Two primary teachers for Team Joy (ages 3-7) and two Primary Teachers for Team Courage (8+). Modified lessons will be provided each week to Team Courage for any older students in attendance (13+). Primary teachers will work as a team, alternating and/or sharing responsibilities!

Responsibilities include reading over lesson plans, building a supportive relationship with students and their families and cleaning up the classroom each Sunday (from September 8th to June 14th). Primary teachers are also asked to arrange for a substitute (from a list of volunteers) if needed and to attend one in-service training in early September.

Materials, supplies, lesson preparation and snacks will be provided in advance each week and there will be no teaching responsibility during All-Ages Worship once a month.

We hope you will consider joining our Church School as a Primary Teacher Volunteer as we strive to be conduits of God’s grace, inspiration, faith and service for our children and each other.  If you are interested or have questions, please email or call Jeneve Joslin at jenevefbc@gmail.com/ 802 233 8593 or Lois at lglvt.2@gmail.com/802 985-2461.

Church School Curriculum

We will be using Spark Rotation for the 2019-2020 Church School Year! The curriculum is web- based, designed for small congregations, media light and provides easily adaptable materials for different age groups. Spark allows us to explore one bible story per month through rotating activities for all types of learners and provides thoughtful family cues to extend learning at home. We are in the process of integrating the Spark Curriculum with the Children’s Music Curriculum and plan to share our memory verses and children’s music at All-Ages Worship once a month!


On June 16, our congregation voted to change our governing structure from 4 boards, many committees, and Advisory Council to a Unified Governing Board, which will oversee all governance matters and coordinate with Ministry Team Leaders in the areas of Education, Fellowship, and Outreach. The purpose of this change is to free us up for more ministry by centralizing and lessening the administrative burden while enabling more responsive and flexible opportunities for ministry thus leading to more active participation among the whole church community.                         

The Unified Governing Board will be 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 at the Annual Meeting in January 2020.  Portions of our current Bylaws will remain in effect until we have sufficient experience with the new structure.

Over the summer we will flesh out the Ministry Teams which 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 a Ministry Team, please speak to one of our current Board Chairs; Joan Taylor, Lois Lynch, Jim Calder, Mark Paulsen, and Marie Morton.  We will invite team signups at the Programmatic Fair on September 15.



Tues. + Weds: 9:00-2:00

Thursdays: 9:00-3:00

Fridays: 9:00-1:00


July & August


In July and August, the CE Board will again sponsor a school supply and back pack drive.  Supplies will be distributed before school starts so we are starting and ending earlier.  Look for the collection box in the Narthex from July through August 18th.  Supplies will be given out on September 1st.

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.



It’s that time of year again –


While the choir is resting their voices for the summer, we hope you will consider sharing your musical and artistic talents with us!  Look for the pink sign-up sheet in the narthex! We look forward to enjoying all the many talents the congregation can share this summer! 


We are thrilled to announce that Evan Allen will be our new church organist.  Evan has his undergraduate and Master’s degree from New England Conservatory where, in addition to organ, he studies jazz performance on the piano.  A native New Yorker, Evan will be moving to Williston this summer and will begin working with us on September 1.


New books for our younger members have been added to the library.  Take a look, you may find something for your child, your grandchild or even for you to enjoy yourself!

Here are a few titles to pique your interest!

The Lost Horse by Mark Nicholas

When the sculpture of a horse disappears from the gallery, everyone is panicked! The police start a countrywide search – where could he be? Has he been stolen? Did he run away? In a village outside the city, young Lyra dreams of having a friend of her very own. So when she hears a knocking at her window and sees the face of a horse peering through the glass, she cannot believe her luck! Their friendship blossoms as Lyra and the horse spend a wonderful few days together, playing games and picking flowers in the garden. But then, a figure arrives to take the horse home – back to where he belongs. And before she knows it, Lyra is whisked off on an unexpected adventure. This inspiring picture book is a celebration of friendship and reminds us all that the power of dreaming means we’ll never be alone for long!

Why God?  Big Answers about God and Why We Believe in Him by Dan DeWitt

Thomas loves to think about silly questions. (Are bats really mice with wings?) But other questions are humdingers…like when he wonders, Why God? Why do we believe in Him? That’s when Thomas and his sister, Hope, must go in search of a humdinger of an answer. Come along as they discover the clues God has given us to help us know how real and wonderful He truly is. This book takes apologetics and makes it accessible for children, not only answering their questions but also opening their hearts to the wonders of God.

That’s Not Fair!  Doesn’t God Care?     

by Jeff White

“Mack the rhinoceros, a character from Group’s Roar VBS program, is discouraged that God has blessed other animals with wonderful gifts but not him. Through the help of a bush baby, Mack learns that God’s given him unique gifts, too.”

A Kite for Moon by Jane Yolen

A young boy, seeing that Moon is lonely, sends up a kite to cheer her, then, after growing up and learning many things, he becomes the first human to visit her. Dedicated to Neil Armstrong and written in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the first U.S. moon landing.

And just in time for garden planting:

We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines

Joanna and the kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. From failed endeavors, obstacles (bunnies that eat everything!), and lessons learned, the Gaines family shares how they grew a happy, successful garden. As it turns out, trying something new isn’t always easy, but the hardest work often yields the greatest reward.



Over the summer Rev. Mendes will be reading the following books with an eye toward future Book Groups.  All three are compelling and hopeful, and perfect for summer reading.  So, if you are looking for book suggestions, here they are!

God, Improv, and the Art of Living by MaryAnn McKibben Dana

Original Blessing: Putting Sin in its Rightful Place by Danielle Shroyer

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor

ANew Place Second Annual


From Monday, July 22 through Saturday, July 27, ANew Place will be hosting the second annual Serve Week of homelessness awareness and action! ANew Place is partnering with 9 other non-profits in the area that directly and indirectly serve our homeless neighbors. Each morning and evening of Serve Week, a different organization will be hosting a volunteer opportunity that community members like you can sign up to be a part of! Through the end of Serve Week, we will also be raising money for the Low-Barrier Shelter (formerly the Winter Warming Shelter), which is run by Community Health Centers of Burlington. Help us reach our goal of $10,000.00! 

Eliminating homelessness is something that we all need to work together to do. That’s why ANew Place is partnering with these other great non-profits for Serve Week, and it’s why we hope to see many of you getting involved and taking action to address this growing problem in our community! Go to anewplacevt.org/serveweek to sign up and to learn more! You can also email hannah@anewplacevt.org with any questions.

Sunday Night FUMC Soup/Supper

A big thank you to Nancy Danforth for leading our FUMC SSN feeding ministry team and to all of our soup makers and milk providers. They are Kathy Browne, Ginger Calder, Sarah Dopp, Nancy Danforth and Beth Vuley, Carol Gaylord, Cindy Little, Sandi Seaver, Fern Sparks, Joan Taylor, Caroline Vandevord.  Eighteen quarts of soup are provided on the third Sunday of each month for the First United Methodist Church Sunday Night Soup Supper for the homeless  and 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!

ANew Place Dates and Sign-up

The First Baptist Community will once again be providing the meals for ANew Place September 22 – 28.  Look for the sign up in the narthex on August 25.

America for Christ Special Offering

We have given $865 to America for Christ so far in 2019.  Our goal was $900.

      Mission Up-Coming Events:

July 21 Soup and Milk for FUMC SSN

Aug18 Soup and Milk for FUMC SSN

Sept 1 Soup and Milk for FUMC SSN

Sept 21 I-89 Rest Area Fundraiser

Sept 22-28 Meals for ANew Place

Oct 20 Soup and Milk for FUMC SSN

Reach Out with Fresh Vegetables

Former Bennington, VT Baptist Church pastor, Rev. Dr. Jerrod Hugenot, proposes an outreach idea in which we can be involved, too.

When you visit your area farmers’ markets, ask the producers if you might have unsold vegetables at the end of sales which you’d pass forward to needy families who can’t travel to the markets.

Jerrod’s current pastor in Albany, NY found that Tuesday was the best day to provide fresh vegetables to inner city folks at a much lower cost. Is it possible for us to do this on our church lawn from what we have accumulated from Saturday’s markets? This will take work but perhaps worthwhile. Jerrod calls it the “hidden mission project.” Who can step up to lead?

(Jerrod Hugenot is currently the associate executive minister for American Baptist Churches, New York State. His article is available in “The Christian Citizen”, a publication of the American Baptist Mission Societies. Volume 1, 2019, winter issue)

~ Nancy Tracy

ABHMS’ Immigration and

Refugee Ministries

Since 1948, American Baptists have been settling refugees and this is one of many, many programs in which the American Baptist Home Mission Societies participate.

 We can go back 100 years when “foreign-born” arriving in the U.S. were aided in their transition to life in a new country by the Women’s ABHMS’ Department of Christian Americanization! Later, Protestant denominations including Baptists came together to form Church World Service as a means to respond ecumenically to the needs of the millions of displaced persons in Europe following WWII. In 1948, Congress passed the Displaced Persons Act, the first important refugee legislation in U.S. history.

You will be pleased to know that we Baptists are as involved as we possibly can be today for the immigrants at the southern border. In the past six months, grants have been sent from ABHMS to churches who are helping with the relocations of immigrants.

Those churches include: Judson Memorial Baptist Church (NY) is providing legal assistance to immigrants at the US Mexican, TX and AZ borders. Maywood Baptist Church (CA) provides assistance to Central American immigrants who have crossed into the US or are awaiting entry. Iglesia Bautista (Indianapolis) is providing assistance to Central American asylum seekers who have been released by ICE (Immigration, Customs and Enforcement – Department of Homeland Security)        in the Indianapolis-Chicago area. New Sanctuary movement in Philadelphia (2 Baptist Churches are involved) – is providing sanctuary to those seeking protection from deportation.

Monte Crista Cross Cultural Church, Phoenix – provides food, shelter, bus tickets, phone cards and necessities to Central American asylum seekers released by ICE in AZ. They provide weekly assistance to 100 migrants on a monthly basis and have provided services to 5,000 asylum seekers in the last 6 months.

ABHMS associates are sure there are many other churches responding to the immigrants which have not asked for financial help. Advocacy work in partnership with Church World Service and the National Council of Churches continues with global attention to the immigration crisis. (from my correspondence with Rev. Rothangi Chhangle, an associate with the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, June, 2019) ~ Nancy Tracy

Dr. Bill Clemmer’s

Past and Present Story

International Ministries Missionary, Dr. Bill Clemmer writes vividly in the Spring/Summer 2019 IM newsletter, “On Location”, about his response to God’s calling. He wrote about serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa at age 22 when he had a strong sense that God was calling him to serve in Africa as a missionary doctor. Seven years later he was married, had children, a mortgage and was paying off his school debt.

Bill remembers traveling in upstate VT with his wife, Ann, and the train was stopped. In the isolation of the moment, he told God, “Yes, we will go.” He and his family remained in Africa for seven years before returning on his first furlough to the U.S. Bill was haunted by the memory of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when he was separated from Ann and children for 11 long months. But, he could not ignore the call to return to central Africa and later he and Ann moved to South Sudan where another violent war came to a head.

 “Today, we are living on the Congo Uganda border, in the epicenter of Africa’s second largest and deadliest outbreak of Ebola,” Bill wrote. I asked Ann a few months ago if she and Bill might come to our church to talk with us about their mission work among Africans. She told me that they were supposed to have their furlough this year and then Bill was called back due to Ebola. She, however, has us on their calendar to be with us sometime during 2020. The Clemmers are at retirement ages now. Will they be called back again to serve after their furlough time next year?

~Nancy Tracy

                   Our Sister Church

Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mayaguez (First Baptist Church of Mayaguez)

This past week we mailed out our Pen Pal Package to our Sister Church in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.  We have also been in contact with their pastor, Rev. Samuel Santiago, via email.  On August 18 (after the Fred Danforth lunch) we will have a virtual gathering via Facebook Live so that we can speak to each other face to face and share our ideas about how we can be in fellowship and ministry together.  We do plan to visit Puerto Rico and to host members of the Mayaguez church here.  This is a great gift and blessing to both of our congregations.

Here is the text of the letter enclosed with our Pen Pal Package:

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mayaguez,

Greetings to you from the First Baptist Church of Burlington and grace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God for you and for the opportunity to be in ministry with you.  It is a joy to be partnered with you in the Sister Church Initiative and we hold you in our prayers.

Our congregation is a diverse group of people from around the world. We care deeply about being witnesses to Christ in our community.  We serve God through local and international missions, and we strive to grow in discipleship through worship, education, and service.    

We hope that you enjoy these small tokens of friendship and introduction.  They include our church directory, maps of our area, friendship bracelets made by our Church School, and some maple sugar candy which was made from local maple trees. (Hopefully, the candy did not melt! Some change in color is normal.)

We look forward to growing in fellowship with you, worshiping together, and serving together, as we live out the unity of the Body of Christ.  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all and may God’s blessings be upon our ministries together.

At your service, in Christ,

~ Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor

Here also are the first emails sent to and from Mayaguez:

Dear Rev. Santiago and President Gonzalez,

It is with great joy that I greet you on behalf of the First Baptist Church of Burlington, Vermont.  Our congregation is pleased to connect with your congregation through the Puerto Rico Sister Church Initiative and we look forward to growing in fellowship and discipleship with you.  Our ministries together will be a blessing to our communities and a witness to the power of Jesus our Christ.

At your service, in Christ,

~ Rev. Karen A. Mendes

Good Morning Rev. Mendes,              

For us in the Baptist Church of 

Mayagüez, it’s also an immense joy that we can connect with you and your church through the Sister Churches Initiative.  We know that this experience of encounter between our churches will be of blessing and growth in the unity of the body of Christ.  We are at your disposal and we want to meet you and share in worship to our God, in the growth of the Word and in fellowship and love.

In Jesus’ love,

Rev. Samuel Santiago