May 2019 Newsletter

 Pastor’s Message: 


Tis the spring of souls today; Christ hath burst his prison,

and from three days’ sleep in death as a sun hath risen;

all the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying

from his light, to whom we give laud and praise undying.

 – John of Damascus, 8th century

Spring has sprung and Easter has come.  Love and hope and energy are bursting out around us.  And do we ever need it!   We are in need of resurrection.  Our communities, our nation, and our world are tired, cynical, and suffering.  We are burdened by grief, inertia, and powers which do not want us to change.

We are now in the Easter Season in which we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and evil and death! The Resurrection is not a singular event which happened once, long ago. The Resurrection is an ongoing reality in which we participate when we choose faith instead of fear, peace instead of violence, love instead of hate, generosity instead of selfishness, welcome instead of suspicion. The resurrection is humanity choosing that which brings life and community rather than that which brings death and isolation.

As a faith community we are called to model resurrection, to notice it in the world around us, and to work for its expansion.  In this newsletter are opportunities to participate in sharing the Good News of Christ’s resurrection through service and learning; for example, the International Pasta Supper and the Puerto Rico Sister Church Initiative. May we share the Easter joy with everyone we meet.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes,


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


We are planning a new form of outreach to the community this year and we need your help! The event is an “International Noodle Meal” of spaghetti and Karen noodles for marathon runners, their supporters, and members of the public and the church. Reservations will be required.  This will be on Saturday, May 25th at 6:00pm and will be followed by a service upstairs for any who’d like to stay.  There will be many ways to help (shopping, publicity, cooking/serving, set-up and cleanup).  Look for the sign-up sheet in the narthex. Please let us know no later than May 6th if you are interested in helping!


 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 have not been receiving the Green Steeple Weekly, please contact us with your email address.  Our phone number is 802-864-6515.


Our Pictoral 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:       

 THE SPRING BOOK GROUP will be reading The Bell by Iris Murdoch.  Originally published in 1958, this novel explores the faith of two communities          living next to each other.  We will meet at 6:30pm on Monday, May 13 and June 3.  The book can be found in a public library   or purchased online.  Please speak with   Rev. Mendes if interested.


 Welcome Jeneve Girard-diCarlo!

 Jeneve begins her job here as Director of Christian Education on May 1st. To begin with, she will be helping the CE Board with curriculum decisions for the 2019-2020 Sunday School program and orienting to her position with the support of Pastor Karen and Lois Lynch.  You’ll be able to greet her Sundays in May.  Jeneve will be coordinating Sunday school in support of teachers on May 19th and in the meantime will be getting to know students and teachers.  Jeneve will be working from home part of the time but she will have office hours at Church weekly, day and time to be arranged in the near future.  Please introduce yourselves to Jeneve and welcome her to our First Baptist Church Community.

Calendar of Events 

May 05 – Administrative Sunday

May 13 – Book Group – 6:30pm

May 18 – Spring Clean-Up – 8:30am

May 19 – 1st UMC – Milk & Soup

May 20 – Advisory Council – 6:30pm

May 25 – Marathon Pasta Supper –  6:00pm                June 02 – Music Appreciation Sunday

                 Unified Governing Board

June 03 – Book Group – 6:30pm       

June 09 – Pentecost Sunday

                 CE Appreciation Sunday

June 17 – Advisory Council – 6:30pm

                   Representative to the JUMP

Board of Directors

 The Mission Outreach Board is looking for a person who would be interested in representing our church on the JUMP board of directors.  They meet once a month, the third Thursday of the month at 12:30 – 2:00pm.  While they encourage committee membership, it is not required.  Speak to a Mission Outreach Board member or Rev. Mendes if you are interested.


On April 7, we had a trial run of the Unified Governing Board. Instead of four separate board meetings, we gathered together to discuss big ideas and projects and to hear reports from our board reps and church officers regarding finances and other governing issues. It was helpful to receive input from a variety of perspectives.  We had a very good discussion about our governing structure and potential changes.  We decided to meet as a Unified Governing Board again in June.

On May 19, our Second Hour Forum will be an opportunity for those who attended to talk about the experience and for others to ask questions about next steps. 

             2019 Scholarships available from             

Christian Education Board

The Christian Education Board has set aside $4000.00 for student scholarships.  To be eligible you need to be a member of or attending one of First Baptist Church’s two worship services. You need to be enrolled full or part time in a college/university/ graduate school or post high school training program.  

The amount of each scholarship depends on the number of qualified applicants.  Our policy is to support every student associated with our congregation to the extent possible. 

Application forms are available in the office and on the table in the Narthex. The deadline for application submission is June 2, 2019.  Awards will be announced June 9th


 Just a reminder…One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is coming up in June.  Look for more information in our June newsletter.

      American Baptist Churches USA Biennial                                       Mission Summit

By The Sea

June 21 – 23, 2019

Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach

With a Youth Conference

 on the beach.

                         Register deadline, June 7

Get more information and register by going to and click on Events. 

The Mission Board Members want to thank the people that provided meals for ANEW Place the week of March 24-30th:

Carol Gaylord, Jill Soter, Joan Taylor, Betty Capponi, Barb Farrington, David and Cindy Little, Peg Randall, Ginger Calder, Lois Lynch, Sarah Dopp and Sandi Seaver

 Our ABC Sister-Church Initiative   in Puerto Rico

More than a year ago, a delegation of the American Baptist Home Mission Society with other American Baptists met with Baptist leaders in Puerto Rico on a factfinding trip to survey the hurricane damage. The “Rebuild, Restore, Renew” ABHMS action, followed by the sister-church initiative in Puerto Rico churches, gave us here at First Baptist the opportunity to express our concerns.

 We’ve been sending money by way of Walmart cards from our ABWM members to a Baptist church in Caguas, Puerto Rico and we’ve been giving money to Puerto Rico through the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) special offering. Now we are working on establishing a partnership with a Baptist church in Puerto Rico as part of the sister church initiative arranged by an associate in the ABC USA General Secretary’s office, Rev. Dr. Kevin Walden.

Now we plan to be friends with members of a Baptist Church there by way of letters, prayers, skype. We can share pictures and really know more about them with correspondence. Eventually, it might be the wish of several in our church to travel to Puerto Rico to actually be a hands-on crew to physically help our Baptist friends there.

Kevin Walden’s preparation for the sister church initiative has been to partner two U.S. churches with one church in Puerto Rico. There are, at this point, approximately 70 U.S. churches involved in this program. While attending the 2019 VNH region Annual Gathering, Kevin Walden met with Karen Mendes, Sarah Dopp and me to discuss the Sister Church Initiative. This program is supported by our Mission Outreach Board members and it is the wish that individuals in our church will step up and be involved, too. Our ABWM will continue to participate in their sister-church financial support with the Baptist women at the Baptist Church, Caguas, Puerto Rico. We all can earmark donations to the “Rebuild, Restore, Renew” ABC USA effort in Puerto Rico with our One Great of Sharing Offering (OGHS) which is promoted in June.

We hope to have definitive information soon on our sister church. Please tell Karen or me if you are interested in participating. We’d like to put together a “We care/ Welcome to our Partnership” box for them which will be full of VT products, our pictorial directory and other items from our church. We hope that our church members will correspond regularly with members in the sister church. This will be a three-year commitment with our new friends in Puerto Rico and Karen will eagerly remind us that if we aim for a work crew (with other VT Baptists) for June 2021, we can extend our stay a bit in order to attend the ABC USA Biennial which will be held in Puerto Rico!   ~Nancy Tracy

       Updates from April Cooperative Christian

                              Ministry at UVM

Rev. Joe Cotner has led two Spirituality on Tap Discussions at Brennan’s pub on Campus. The first discussion was Christianity’s welcoming/inclusion of LGBTQ persons and the second get-together discussed the peaceful co-existence of religious belief and science. Turnout was encouraging. We discussed the Easter dinner that we co-host with the Catholic Center and ideas for worship services for the fall to include a Taize-type service.  In addition, we are looking for additional board members. The goal is to have 3 members from each denomination.

Currently I am the only member from our church. I am looking for volunteers to join the board. The commitment is about an hour and a half 11 months a year, 5:30 to 7 pm.  We welcome any volunteers with a special interest in people who work at UVM or Champlain.  Please speak to Stu or Jeneva Burroughs who were long term members or Beth Gamache for further information or questions.



 Would you be able to assist your Board of Trustees Property Team in cleaning up around our building?  We need many hands to rake, collect, bag leaves and brush that have collected over the winter.  We might even decide to wash the many doorways entering our building to brighten them up too.  With many hands the work will be completed quickly.  Come, share in the fun and fellowship with other members of FBC Burlington on Saturday May 18th starting at 8:30 and finishing up by noon at the latest.  Leaf bags, a bucket, some sponges and a hose will be provided and a couple of extra rakes too.