October 2019 News Letter

VOLUME LX1V NO. 9                                                                      October 1, 2019


Last year our church theme was Responding to God’s Love, We Reach Out to Serve the Needs of Our Church, Our Community, and Our World.    This year we will build on that theme by Reaching Beyond with Faith and Joy.  Reaching beyond requires us to move into the unknown, to stretch ourselves beyond what we have done before. This is a bit unsettling but also exciting as we realize that we can do more, reach more than we had previously thought possible.

This autumn we are continuing the shift of our programmatic work to Ministry Teams so that all are welcome to participate in the ministries to which they feel called.  This entails reaching beyond our usual patterns and habits to think and work in new ways. Our worship together is reaching beyond the usual order to incorporate all ages into the worship service once a month.  Our Church School is reaching beyond their usual patterns to explore in depth one Bible Story a month. Our Mission Outreach is reaching beyond the usual to partner with our sister church in Puerto Rico.   Reaching beyond means trying something new.

All of this reaching beyond is done with faith and joy.  We reach beyond with faith that God is guiding and sustaining us.  We reach beyond with joy that, in Christ, we are empowered to serve and share God’s love with the world.  As you peruse this newsletter, I invite you to reach beyond the usual to participate in those activities and programs to which God is calling you.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Karen A. Mendes, Pastor

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 Nov. is Oct. 15th      



The Congregational Care Committee of the First Baptist Church Diaconate reports that there are currently 11 on the Homebound Members & Friends list. In August, 6 “known visits” were made to 2 homebound members and 4 “known calls” were made to 4 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.                  


Sermons and Texts

Oct. 06 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

        World Communion Sunday

         Scripture: Luke 17:5-10

         Sermon: Tiny Faith

Oct. 13 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Luke 17:11-19

         Sermon: The Good Samaritan

Oct. 20 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

         Scripture: Luke 18:1-8

         Sermon: The Lady and the Judge

Oct. 27 – Rev. Karen A. Mendes

               All Ages Worship

         Scripture: Genesis 9:8-17

         Sermon: The Rainbow

Oct 13 – All Boards

Oct 20 – Soup + Milk for FUMC SSN

Oct 21 – Advisory Council

Nov17 – All Boards

   Dopp Organ Recital (new date)

Nov18 – Advisory Council

Nov 26 – Fall Clean-Up

Dec 15 – Christmas Pageant                    Dec 16 – Advisory Council

Dec 22 – Christmas Sunday

New and Returning Study      and Fellowship Groups

There is more to Church than Sunday mornings! 

Weekday Bible Study – Mondays at 11:30am. We will be continuing our study of the Old Testament book of Exodus.  Please join us and feel free to bring your lunch.

Young Adults – Third Sunday of the Month at 11am – College students and young adults are invited for pizza and good conversation.

Visitors’ Gathering – September 29 – This is an opportunity to learn about First Baptist, the American Baptist Churches, USA, and to talk about what being a member of First Baptist is all about.  Those seeking membership may meet with the Diaconate on 10/13.

Baptism Class – Sundays, beginning in late January – This will be a class for youth and adults seeking baptism.  For more information, speak with Rev. Mendes.

THE FALL BOOK GROUP will be reading Original Blessings by Danielle Shroyer beginning on Monday, Oct. 6 at 6:30pm.  This challenging book encourages us to rethink our ideas about sin, Jesus, and blessings.  Books can be purchased on line.  For more information or for help procuring a book, contact Rev. Mendes at 864-6515 or kamendefbc@gmail.com.


Calling all angels, shepherds, magi, Holy Families, directors, and crew!  We will soon be choosing our pageant for this year and finalizing practice times.  The pageant cast will be composed of people of all ages and it will be part of our worship service on Dec. 15.  Please speak with Rev. Mendes or Jeneve Joslin, Director of Christian Education, if you are interested in participating in any capacity.


Recently, one of our church members received a scam email claiming to be from our pastor, with a request for money or gift cards. Similar scams have been attempted in recent months with imposters using the names of other VT clergy and fake email addresses that approximate (“spoof”) clergy email addresses. Our church staff and clergy will never ask you to give in this way; please contact us directly if you are concerned about any such request.  


Due to Halloween, the choir will rehearse on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7:00pm rather than Thursday, Oct. 31. 

We are looking for any and all who enjoy singing to please consider joining the choir!

ELECTRONIC GIVING IS NOW POSSIBLE through a Donate button on our church website:

http//www.fbcburlingtonvt.com and through a smartphone app called GIVEPLUS. Donations can be set for one time only or to be recurring.  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.

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.

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 one or the other on the round table in the narthex. 

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.

    ANEW Place

     Rock/Paper/Scissors Tournament

ANEW Place is hosting again this year their Rock/Paper/Scissors Tournament at ArtsRiot in Burlington’s south end on Wednesday, October 16 from 6:00-9:00pm to benefit ANEW Place.  Their fundraising goal is $30,000.

You can register at RPS2019.com or reach out to their administrator, Kathryn, if you have any questions about registration: kathryn@anewplacevt.org. Registration fee: $20 through Oct. 9, $25 at the door.  Team registration: $100 through Oct. 9.  Grand Prize is $500.

Mission Outreach Thank you….

We had another successful I-89 Rest Stop Fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 21, taking in $492!  Many thanks to all of the following people who either made “goodies” and/or covered a shift: Judy Austin, Kathy Browne, Jeneva Burroughs, Ed Bigelow, Pat Boyden, Ginger Calder, Betty Capponi, Carol Gaylord, Gail Holmes, Marie Morton,  Bev Nichols, Connie Nutter, Brenda Perkins, Denise Rittwage and Larson Couture, Joanne Rittwage, Peni Saulnier, Jill Soter, Fern Sparks, Joan Taylor, and Fran Whitney.  We could not have pulled this off without your help!


Church School is off to a great start! For October, our Bible Story is Noah’s Ark. Thank you to Scott Joslin, Sarah Wright, Jeneva Burroughs, Ben Block, Lerder Star, and the Couture Family for all of the help with pizza and ice cream. If you are interested in joining a Parent Prayer Circle or Parent Book Group, please email Jeneve Joslin at Jenevefbc@gmail.com.  We also need some volunteers to sew cloth bags for crayons/coloring pages and other items for visiting children to have in the pews, or for children during All-Ages worship.

Updates from the Cooperative                        Christian Ministry at UVM

I continue to represent FBC on the board. We are planning for the upcoming academic year. 

Our church will be providing the November 5th dinner this year. More information to follow as the fall school year begins. I will be asking for food (with vegetarian option) to feed about 10-15 students.  Last year was a great success (think chili)!   I am also looking for two volunteers to serve on the board with me. We are one of six denominations represented on the Cooperative Christian Ministry Board. We meet monthly, a Tuesday evening 5:30 to 7:00. All the other churches have the 3 representatives per the bylaws. Please speak to me for any further questions.  I look forward to having fellow FBC members serve with me. ~ Beth Gamache


The Unified Governing Board is 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 to make any adjustments.                                                           

The Ministry Teams 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.


  1. We will be hosting our Fall Clean-up on Saturday, October 26th starting at 8:30am until we are finished, hopefully by noon.  Jim Calder will have his cart attached to his wagon for the leaf bags.  Jim will need assistance in unloading them at the CSWD site on Pine street when we are done.  Many hands make light work.  Please bring a rake with you.  This is a fun time and our Karen family members do a wonderful  job each time we work together.  Thanks in advance for your help.
  • TEAMS overseen by the Trustees need VOLUNTEERS!
  1. Security Team, chaired by Andy Farrington, will work to educate our congregation on our building security and hold drills for both security and fire during the 2020 calendar year.  Please let the Front Office know of your interest in this committee.  Thanks Chris Thompson for signing up in September.
  • Property Team, chaired by Andy Farrington, oversees the daily maintenance of the building; works with the Sexton to ensure the UGB is aware of upcoming repairs and expenses.  Thanks again to Chris Thompson for signing up for this team in September.
  • Stewardship Team, no team leader yet, oversees the education of our congregation and friends about pledging and donating to our Church and its community.  One of the UGB representatives of Education will be the UGB contact for this team as it works in 2020.
  • Your Board of Trustees has spent $13,000 this fall to upgrade the heating system circulation pumps as well as the two ventilation systems found in our attic.  We hope this will lower both our Burlington Electric usage and VT Gas usage.  We have been moved into a higher rated class for our gas usage so this may mean our bills will be higher than the projected budgeted plan, found in our proposed budget.  Also, Burlington Electric may be increasing our rates, though right now we must pay for the monthly usage rather than a budgeted amount as we have done in the past.

World Mission Offering 2019

We’re celebrating 205 years of international missionaries serving as global consultants, regional consultants, individual missionaries and associate missionaries. Over 100 of these global servants yearly seek to raise funds for their ministry programs. The WMO helps missionaries reach their goals so they may stay in their fields of service and also the WMO financially supports their education, training, conferences, brochures, crises whenever they happen and so much more. You may send your check directly to the new office: International Ministries, 1003 W 9th Ave., Ste A, King of Prussia, PA 19406 and Executive Director Rev. Sharon Koh and her associates in the IM office will know where your donation is most needed. You may, also, place your donation in the envelope which is provided at church or send an e-mail to: wmo@internationalministries.org with your information including your church name and address.

This year, Christina and Lance Muteyo of Zimbabwe have been appointed to serve in their home country. This young couple were trained as peacemakers by Rev. Dr. Dan Buttry and Rev. Sharon Buttry and their mission is to change the world through planting seeds of love, peace and harmony in Africa. Sarah Nash, missionary in Bolivia, is another newly appointed global servant this year. Last summer, 2018, she went through cross-cultural training and last winter she was raising her own funds and then went through orientation in March. She is serving in the House of Hope, Santa Cruz, Bolivia as an educator and dental assistant. Children need tutoring and women are at high-risk for exploitation; youth have addiction problems. Sarah is working with after school programs for the children and women in need as well as serving the homeless. Katherine and Wayne Niles serve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wayne is with the World Health in DRC and is the in-country finance officer for several health projects and Katherine serves with the Congolese Christian health professionals. She also coordinates White Cross efforts. This couple works to reduce Congo’s maternal and child mortalities by fighting starvation with high protein food crops and developing solutions to common health problems.

These are a few of the missionaries we support with our special World Mission Offering given in the fall of each year. Great emphasis has been for us to financially support Puerto Rico during the past year and that request will continue from ABHMS. Here’s our opportunity to support all the international missionaries with our donations to the World Mission Offering. Thank you. ~ N. Tracy

Letters Last Summer About Global Concerns from American Baptist Leadership

Last summer, 2019, our ABCUSA leaders, including our General Secretary Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer, were writing letters concerning the need for us to demonstrate that “ by living in peace with everyone, we reaffirm that prejudice, hate and violence cannot defeat respect, love and faith”. (“The Collective Conscience of our Country”, published August 5) Rev. Spitzer began his letter with “TWENTY dead, 26 wounded. NINE dead, 27 wounded.” And we all know his topic! He was writing to our churches and leaders in reaction to the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. In July he drafted a resolution for the General Council of the Baptist World Alliance about deep concern over recent religious intolerance and religiously-motivated violent attacks against synagogues in PA and CA, mosques in NZ and bombings and deaths throughout Sri Lanka on Easter morning. Also, along with Baptist and other Christian leaders, Rev. Spitzer endorsed the Baptist Joint Committee’s “Christians against Christian Nationalism” statement commenting that American Baptists have been historically advocates for religious civil liberty for all. (from an ABCUSA Policy Statement on Church and State) He wrote, “divisive ideology of Christian nationalism is incompatible with Baptist theological and social convictions”. Spitzer ended his letter to Baptist churches writing that the status quo is unacceptable and he asked how God is speaking to us.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies Executive Director, Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, joined U.S. faith leaders by signing a declaration denouncing war on Iran. The statement was announced July, 2019 on Capitol Hill. Haggray said, “The U.S. government stands in a uniquely powerful position to reject rhetoric and provocative military gestures that increase the likelihood of conflict with Iran. I pray our nation’s leadership will heed the concerns raised and lead with acts of diplomacy and peacemaking”.

A year ago, Rev. Spitzer wrote to the Consulate General of Nicaragua in Washington, DC about turmoil in Nicaragua. Political unrest had led to protests and then the killing of the protesters by those loyal to the government. IM and ABCUSA have, for a hundred years, had mission work and service in Nicaragua. Dr. Gustavo

Parajon, an American Baptist missionary, was in Nicaragua when our pastor David Heim served there on the ship Hope. Parajon founded health clinics in rural areas and relief for disasters with our financial support. Ten years ago IM missionaries Drs. David and Laura Parajon founded a rural primary health care program which extends the work of Gustavo. David and Laura are our American Baptist missionaries in Nicaragua today. Larry Stanton, missionary in Hungary with his wife Becky, was asked to visit Tijuana, Mexico in August, 2019 by IM Global Consultant for Immigrants and Refugees, Ray Schellinger. Larry found great outreach with refugees by local churches. These mission-minded churches with their pastors and members provide food, shelter, day-care and legal services for the refugees while they wait to go through the immigration process. They offer their churches and welcome the refugees a place to sleep in their sanctuaries. While there Larry heard heartbreaking stories of people fleeing death threats, poverty, disease and human trafficking. Those people were relieved to be able to tell their stories to someone who’d listen. Larry Stanton listened and wrote to us that the issues surrounding the border aren’t new, nor is administration to blame for the mess. He wrote, “Please join us in praying for the refugees, those serving them and the entire broken system”.

Rev. Dr Spitzer, Dr. Haggray and Rev. Sharon Koh, Executive Director of International Ministries, on behalf of the Burma Refugee Commission, sent letters August 14, 2019 to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and U.S. government officials concerning the safety of Baptist Kachin leaders, Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson and Pastor Lanjaw Gam Seng, who had returned to Myanmar. They had attended the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, hosted by Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, where Gam Seng testified about atrocities faced while in custody. Samson and Gam Seng were part of a meeting of the ABC Burma Refugee Commission in the Mission Building of ABHMS. “It has been reported that the military has ordered the arrest of Dr. Samson and Pastor Gam Seng upon their arrival at the Yangon International Airport “. Samson has long been a critic of the Myanmar government and Gam Seng was tortured in prison for 16 months for reporting the bombing of a church to journalists. Ambassador Brownback responded that he will urge the Burmese government to respect the fundamental freedoms of the Baptist leaders.

These are a few inspiring letters from our American Baptist leadership showing concern. We are fortunate to have them represent our worries about the violence in the world.

 ~Nancy Tracy

   Our Ministry Teams and

          Leaders for 2020

In January 2020 we will officially transition from our current Four Boards structure to a Unified Governing Board.  In the new structure our ministries will be facilitated by teams of people working together. 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.


ABC Mission – (Joan Taylor and Nancy Tracy)

ANEW Place – Betty Capponi

FUMC Soup Suppers –

Nancy Danforth

Cooperative Campus Ministries –         Beth Gamache

Sister Church Initiative –

Karen Mendes

Marathon Pasta Supper –

 Marie Morton

Public Relations –


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 –

Security – Andy Farrington

Property (Fix It/Clean It) –                           Andy Farrington


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