Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sadness

It is with great sadness I let you know that Rev. Mark Follansbee, died July 19. Mark was ordained in 1953 and he was the minister at Bethany, Montpelier from 1973-1986. Mark was among the founders of Vermont Interfaith Action.

Mark is survived by his wife, Marylou Crooks; her children, Merriam Rink and Curtis Crooks, and their children; and his sons, Mark Alston-Follansbee, David Follansbee and Peter Follansbee; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

A memorial service at College Street Congregational Church (UCC) will be held at a later date.

Please keep the Follansbee-Crooks family in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Dialogue 2014

 



 Annual Meeting Recap

Worshiping and meeting at the same time allowed us to remember that we are community of faith and our decisions are really discernment of God's will so it can be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Highlights:
After an amendment, the motion to move from Boards and committees to Directors and teams was approved.
The Interim Spending Plan was approved.
Slate of Nominations was approved.

Small group discussion on 4 priorities:
1. What are the most important ways Bethany Church nourishes us?
2.   What are the most important ways we nourish the community beyond our doors?
3. . What are our priorities for communication within the Bethany congregation?
4. . What are our priorities for communication with the community beyond our doors?

President Elect Amy Bell told us about Strategic Investment in Sacred Places (SISP) and Laura Cadmus as a Student minister at Bethany for the coming year.Many liked worship and meeting combined.

Here is a compilation/synthesis of responses from the conversation of the 4 priorities:
1
Faith, Support, music, friendship, just coming in the door, sermons/ideas, opportunity to do good works, alternate vision for how to live, worship, Bethany Bowl, connecting in Spirit and service w/ others outside of community, reach beyond my normal living, ministers, conversations, participation causes me to question and expand, God’s word, going outside comfort zone, things to ponder that challenge, sense of belonging, support in life challenges, place to slow down and meditate, support acceptance of children, food
2
maintain open, food, Bethany Bowl, Yard Sale, Open Doors for self help meetings, labyrinth, San Antonio Grande, N.I.N. PinS, Food Shelf, members active in community, Good Samaritan, music, green space, Deacon’s Fund and additional work there, Center for Arts, Sewing Group, Lawn Sale, we set an open and affirming life style, volunteering, inviting members to come to service, inviting people to talent show, by us knowing the needs outside
3
communicating what we do re: programs music, concerts, Bethany Bowl, Bethany Cup, fellowship meals, to be more involved, people communicate how to can be involved, Dialogue, Kiosk, worship, hospitality,the pastors and what they communicate, personal requests, email, people listen to each other, be available to give help when need is expressed, timely information on what the congregation has done, Dialogue in print & email would like option, photos!, pastoral visits, audio, reactions to the sermon 10 minutes = vitality, more gatherings, mission moments, sharing life of the church and community
4
using mainstream media: calendars,world, bridge, Times Argus,get a realistic idea of us - what we are and are not, keeping connection with the wider church, welcoming, non-judgmental fun family, individuals sharing, Bethany Youth Group News, birthday cards, prayer shawl ministry, 2nd Sunday concerts, get our name out, publicise our beliefs, press releases, outreach to community, marketing, telling our story and making activities known, ecumenical,posters, tell people about us,front porch forum, local TV, line item for ads, SAG, web,hosting events, by what we do- not necessarily what we say,service in local papers, let community understand Bethany Church better,pick up the slack to help when the need slips by the established helping agencies open church, am fed spiritually to then bring that to wider community/world,visibility, invite reporters to events,in newspapers, we are suppose to do it one on one
Plus:
complaints: (all from one green sheet) “Do we need to discuss these? We’ve discussed these 2 topics to death.” “Few people who are nourished @ yard sale go on to participate with the church.” "The people in charge at Bethany know a lot. It is unfortunately uncommunicated to the membership at large.” “Way too little of Bethany’s activities and opportunities can be found in Times-Argus, The Bridge, The World. We do so much- it needs to be in the newspapers so we all can act on it.” “Communication is not good enough. It is very difficult to know what is happening (church events) IN TIME TO ATTEND THEM. We need printed Dialogue to be delivered to homes much sooner, 50% of events and news are now past. :-(



So we have a new way of doing things.

How do these 'teams' work?

 Here are 3 answers:


1)    JUST like the Lawn Sale. There is a big leader of the Team Leaders. People sign up to work on teams as they can or want. Needs are expressed and there are prayers that the need is met. Not everyone helps, but we all benefit. The whole thing has worked this way for a long time. Now the church is using this model.


2)    It will work like this. We hear this:
Urgent request for Church World Service (CWS) School Kits! CWS School Kits give children in impoverished schools, refugee camps, or other difficult settings some of the basic tools for learning. Please follow this link to see how you and your congregation can help: HERE .

If in the congregation the Spirit moves 2 people to respond they get in touch with the ministers to figure out how best to coordinate communication and a Sunday Morning. They are now team leaders. They communicate information to the office, schedule whatever is needed, and give information for announcements/KIOSK! Follow through. Follow up. And this team ‘sunsets’ with a sense of satisfaction.


3)     It is also possible that the spirit does not move anyone. In that case, there is nothing to do. No team is formed. Like around the house, if no one does it, it doesn't get done. It may be that someone should not have left their shoes in the middle of the hallway. But they did. If no one moves them, they stay there. And we all know it does no good to look around for someone to do it. Either we do it, or we walk over them (or trip). If something has to be done (“Hey, is the oven on fire?” or “I am hungry. When is supper?”) it will either be done or we will do without.

 Stewardship

Yup. It is that time. This is roughly where the money goes in our ministry categories

Not categorized is the Partnership for Sacred Places, A student minister, and a new way of doing the ministries we love and need. More than simply supplying funds/fuel/money for the work that makes us a community of faith, making a giving plan (available on the website) tells, and this community that you want to be a part of who we are and what we do.

And you know we are a great community doing great stuff.

So, check your mail for a Stewardship Letter with a Giving Plan 2015 Form. If there is not one there, let the office know and down load the Form off the website. Then pray and consider. Bring the form to worship or deliver to the office. Or, we can be in touch.

We are your church.

 Mission: Feed The Hungry


The Good Samaritan Haven Dinner in July was success after challenge because people at he last minute and made sure we had everything we needed. Many thanks to ALL who contributed. Somehow the list made its way into the office, so I couldn’t get it to make the reminder calls or see who was bringing what so please, please leave it on the Outreach Bulletin Board. Thanks!!
Our next dinner will be on July 27th and the sign-up sheet will be available, in the parlor, on Sundays during Hospitality. Again, thanks to all who participate in the loving justice of feeding the hungry.

 Montpelier Food Pantry!


The focus food in July it is canned fruit.








SAVE THE DATE

Mark your calendars for the 20th Annual BETHANY LAWN

AND BAKE SALE September 13 & 14. We will need many helpers starting September 8. Sign-ups will start soon - don't miss out on your favorite way to help support your church and community.
THANK YOU -
Bethany Lawn Sale Committee


Hello to all,

It's Spring, and we are cleaning out our garages and attics.

The  usual buzz about looking forward to the Bethany Lawn Sale

is  starting. At this time of year, some folks are wishing there was SOMEPLACE ELSE to store those special boxes and bags (the ones that contain clean, attractive items, in good working order).  It is still our policy to ask donors to wait until the week before the sale to bring their donations - and when we get requests for exceptions, the policy is to suggest that donors make private arrangements with other members who have extra space. Consequently, it would be helpful for us to know who has extra space so that this suggestion work well.  DO YOU HAVE ANY SPACE WHERE LAWN  SALE DONATIONS COULD BE STORED UNTIL LAWNSALE WEEK ? Please let us know asap. (sarah5432@gmail.com or 223-5307)   If you choose to accept this mission... at the time you agree to a private arrangement, it is wise to have the donor PROMISE to take the items from your space to the church during the collection week.

For those of you looking for somewhere else to put those items, one option is to sell them independently and then donate the proceeds to the church.And if there is anyone out there who would be willing to manage sales of donated items on Craigslist or Ebay, we need you all year round!!

THANK YOU - Bethany Lawn Sale Committee

 Summertime Hospitality

The current Hospitality Committee were kind enough to post a sign up sheet for summer-time Hospitality. Please reward this by signing up. It is not hard. Maybe coffee (Mark whines, but ignore him), lemonade or ice tea or/and  juice. a little something to munch on: healthy is good non-healthy seems to be enjoyed as well. Costs to you can be defrayed/repaid.

But this is really important in the summer. We have visitors and this time allows us to meet them and for them to see us liking each other. If you have a new idea, just check it out and go for it. It happening is more important than how it happens.


Summer-time Ministerial Coverage

During the summer there are times when Revs. Mark and Amy are not at home or obviously in the office. This is especially true during a vacation. But sometimes they might picnic or switch a day off. Email can always reach them and the office can reach them. Messages on their home phone now work better than a few years ago. And if you want a cell phone number, just ask Rev. Mark. We want you to be able to reach them, especially in a pastoral emergency.


 Sundays in the Summer

Every Sunday worship will be at 10:00. Come early to sing.   The choir will meet each Sunday at 9:15 AM to prepare an anthem for the July and August summer services.   The choir will be seated with the congregation during the summer months. If you have never sung with the choir and want to try, just join them and sing. Stay after worship when there is hospitality to meet and greet those you have worshiped with.
The first 2 Sundays in July (the 6th and 13th) James Merriam will be preaching while our ministers are away. You might meet his fiance at the same time.
The first Sunday in August (the 3rd) there will be communion.
Summer worship tends to be even more casual than it is the rest of the year.

 Educated and Graduated

High School
Mackenzie Weinert graduated from U-32 High School  He will be attending UVM in the fall
Jordan Lumsden graduated from Montpelier High School.  He will be attending Castleton State College in the fall.
College
Christopher Richardson graduated from Hamilton College as the Salutarian with a Bachelor of Science.  He will be attending graduate school at MIT in the fall.
Sarah Richardson graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Science.  She will be joining the Peace Corp in the coming year.
Bianca Staudt graduated from Lesley College with her Bachelor's degree.
Graduate School
Abby Hall graduated from the University of North Carolina with her Masters Degree!
Vermont Academy of Spiritual Training
Liz Sykas Ringgenberg graduated this three year program of Bible Study, Ethics, Worship History and Practice, Spirituality, and Theology.

Congratulations to all our graduates and best of luck in the future!

Fall Planning

We have started looking for people to give concerts on the Second Sunday of the month. Got an idea? Good! Mention it to Theresa Lever.


 PINS Updates

We recently delivered seven grocery bags full of snacks for kids to the Barre DCF Office.  When we helped to unpack them we found out the cupboards were totally bare.  The contributions from Bethany Church filled them up!  Staff members were very appreciative.
Our next project will come in mid-August when we collect school supplies of all kinds for all grade levels.  We look forward to helping the kids involved with DCF as they prepare for their next year in school.  Keep tuned!
Thank you for your generosity.  Have a wonderful summer.

OGHS means World Ministry and Disaster Relief

 One Great Hour of Sharing raised $833.00.  Thank you to all who contributed.  All donations will be used to help communities in crisis all over the world.


Bethany Bowl

Tuesday Lunch is more than food. More than what soup, who cut the cookies, or drying the silverware. It is more than treating the people who come as people or the community they create from the shared experience of needing/wanting Bethany Bowl. It is about teaching/learning too.

Students from the Elementary school come and set the table. When they do, Phyllis Rowell spends time talking about what happens at lunch and why people come to eat. They learn that being poor is not about fault or moral failings. They learn that or response as a church is to feed hungry people.


These pictures are from  June 17 when a Confirmation class from the UCC Church in Morrisville came to serve lunch. They too learned about poverty and hunger here in the big capital city of Montpelier. And they had to look at and talk to people, discovering that they are people.

Bethany Bowl is a part of what makes Bethany Church who it is. And it has the potential to change the world because it can transform people and their attitude. In some ways, the Bowl is more important for those who work there than those who only eat there. But there is great potential for change there as well.

So let’s give thanks and prayers to those who during the summer are going to serve hot soup, open up working ovens, race to make sure the dessert table is stocked, and bend over a newly opened dish washer. They have an answer to the question of “when did we see you naked and hungry?”


 From the Minister’s News Feed:

I am impressed by the emails and news items I have been reading lately. They have been about churches. And, even better, they have been about justice.

The first flurry of justice and church was about Marriage Equality in North Carolina and the First Amendment. Our Denomination is suing the state to allow UCC clergy to officiate at same sex weddings and not break the State law leading to  punishment. Other have now joined us in this suit. If you did not hear about this, check out HERE  (including a video from the UCC President).

Then there was an avalanche of emails from the Vermont Interfaith Action Committee (VIA). There was this announcement (with this report from WCAX HERE
Last night, 100 church, synagogue, and community members affiliated with VIA attended a terrific Action, the culmination of over a year of research on Corrections Reform. We won commitments from Doug Racine, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services; Chris Barton, Restorative Systems Administrator for the Department of Corrections; and Sen. Diane Snelling, member of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Corrections to work with VIA to improve preparation for re-entry into society for offenders released from incarceration.

And then this:
Bus Service to Colchester Begins!
A group of VIA leaders from various congregations gathered at the Cherry St. bus station to ride the Milton Commuter that began servicing the Colchester area on Monday, June 16th. Though a bit delayed due to confusion as to where to pick up the bus, the group had a fun time chatting together while riding in comfort from Severance Corners to the Burlington station. You can read more about it in the following Burlington Free Press article HERE 

And then this one:
On Friday, June 20, Vermont Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak joined Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and other Vermont religious leaders to address the moral implications of extreme wealth and income inequality.

Bishop Thomas Ely, the Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak, Monsignor Roland Rivard and Rabbi Joshua Chasan and Sanders emphasized that increasing wealth and income inequality in the United States is one of the great moral issues of our time and is undermining the fabric of our nation.

A clip of the news conference is HERE  . The full Press Conference is HERE . The women to our left of Bernie Saunders is Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak, our Vermont Conference Minister.

In Wisconsin the Courts ruled their law against same sex weddings were unconstitutional. Wedding licenses were given out to same gender couples and through out the State the clerics were waiving the waiting period. But one county Cleric who would not waive the delay allowed by other county clerics. A local minister spoke out and demonstrated.

And then there was this article about Religion STILL being able to do good in the world. What impressed me about this article was not the amount of examples (100!). Read it HERE . Note especially that the UCC is listed for our N. Carolina lawsuit, that the  World Council of Churches (of which we are a part of), and the Back Bay Mission (also UCC) a beloved place of Ben Washburne. And the VIA’s parent organization, PICO, is also listed.

What surprised/impressed me was that the examples came from the many religions of America and they were mostly about Justice Work. It is so easy to find a photogenic orphan who is sick, poor, crippled and pathetic and use them as a photo-op to say we did a nice thing by giving them medicine, a home with indoor plumbing, and a scholarship to college. But it is another to say they should have had it already and seek do something about it. Do not hear me say anything against immediate care happening. It is a part of ‘loving kindness’. Although there are times when I worry a church/organization can use these situations to buff their credentials and fund raising.  Granted, a crisis and a face does make fundraising easier. But people are not a tool to be used. To do so is just disgusting. The ends do not justify using someone as a means.

But the admonition to ‘love kindness’ is only a part of what the prophet Micah shouts:
“ O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
All three are called for. Loving kindness is easiest. It feels gooood. It seems obvious what a kindness would be (it seldom is). The short term survival of many depends on such acts of kindness. They are crucial.

Someday I will rant about how “walking humbly with God” is not done by attending Sunday worship (monthly or weekly). But, in brief, Sunday is to equip (allow might be better) us to walk humbly with God always.

The hardest of the three is Justice. Doing it is hard, preaching it is easier. That is why I am so thrilled by so much Justice work being communicated to others. And I can not tell you how proud I am that we are connected with some of them. OUR United Church of Christ is speaking to power for the legally powerless. Our brothers and sisters in the VIA are speaking for prisoners and getting public agreements from those in power. And if you have a car, you might think bus service is minor league justice. But to those on limited incomes or unable to get a drivers license public transportation like this means work.  OUR Vermont Conference is siding with those who are on the wrong end of income disparity and the privilege of birth and family. Our voice is lifted to communicate justice for all, that is God’s requirement. And it is listed first. Maybe the list is alphabetical.

Bethany Church, through support of our Conference and our Denomination, does work and
speak for justice. It is something that will often be done by others. Bethany supports the Vermont Low-Income Advocacy Council and their/our lobbyist in the Vermont State House.  Karen Lafayette, who preached here a couple weeks back, is a professional who knows how to lobby. It is not a hobby lobby… Bethany’s Department of Outreach just sent them $500 from separate funds available to them (i.e. not in spending plan). By giving Karen our pulpit and the work some money, we are engaged in the work of justice.

Justice is important because until there is justice (of all sorts) for all people, the walk with God is hard or really hard.

Victims of injustice, relying on kindness, never are whole and can not give their whole self to God. Those who benefit from injustice, have a guilt that makes walking humbly with God very difficult. And a society that is fractured by skin, money, education, looks, love, accent, family, etc can not be whole because it is not. Our proclamation is that all of us are worthy (just as we are, unconditionally) to be treated the same. This is a part of our walking with God. Pointing and disclaiming when this is not true is the work of justice. Confessing our part  in injustice is our humble walk with God. [Check this out HERE !] Working to end injustice is the doing of justice. The goal is to let loving kindness mean something other than charity.. Micah as been dead for over 2200 years, but we still need to hear him with willing
hearts.

Is there anyone who doubts God’s desire for justice?

This just in:
* The UCC is the first Denomination to support the Gay Olympic Games. Any persecuted group understands this as a symbol of solidarity and a rebuttal to many.
* Also, "On Wednesday, June 25, advocates from the United Church of Christ and a number of immigrant rights groups rallied together in Arizona to support the Tulio family by accompanying Tulio to submit one more request for a stay of removal and offering him sanctuary at Shadow Rock UCC in Phoenix."
* OH. And a week plus ago we were advocating for a name change of the Washington Football Team because of its a derogatory name and depiction.

This JUST in from Esther Farnsworth:
* Many of the children coming over the border are from El Salvador.  47,000 children from Central America have come over the border in the last 8 months.   I have looked at the UCC website HERE and this is the action they have suggested: It's an action that is very easy to do by sending an email to Peter Welch, call his office or write to his office in Burlington. Take action - call your representative today and call for adequate funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

KIOSK June 28-July 5

KIOSK!

This Sunday

 Season of Pentecost
Scripture: Proverbs 3:1-12
Sermon: "Value"
Music: Come at 9:15 am to sing with the summer choir.
Concert: Patriotic Pipes and Percussion
Mission: Collection Food for the Pantry and a blessing.

Schedule June 22-29

Sunday:
10:00 am Sunday Worship
Collecting food for the Montpelier Pantry
11:00 am Hospitality
3:00 pm. Patriotic Organ and Percussion Concert
4:00 pm. Beth Jacob Community Meal

Monday:
6:00 pm Conversational Spanish with Betsy Parah

Tuesday:
11:30 am Bethany Bowl

Wednesday:
7:00 pm Bethany Board Of Directors

Thursday:
7:00 am Spiritual Exploration Group

Sunday:
10:00 am Sunday Worship
11:00 am Hospitality

Announcements


Patriotic Pipes & Percussion
Arthur Zorn, pipe organ with Doug Little, percussion
Arrangements of American Songs by Zorn and Little
Musical Fireworks to put you in the a great mood for the 4th!"
Sunday June 29th, 2014
3:00 PM
Bethany Church
115 Main Street
Montpelier, VT
Admission by free will offering at the door (for the organ restoration fund)



Feed the Hungry
This Sunday we will collect food for the Pantry. Focus is on Peanut Butter. All the summer lunches at home , not at School. But really if it is good and you would eat it, then it is good for the pantry.







Financial Year
Get those pledges in! June is the end of our fiscal year and June 29th is the last Sunday of the month. It would be very helpful in closing the books on Monday, June 30th to have all monies in by that Sunday, June 29th that need to be credit to your pledge accounts.  If you plan to mail your check, do it early so it arrives on time!  If you give Extra Pledge money, please note on the memo section of your check Extra Pledge.

Bethany Bowl
Want to help? A little? A lot?


Mark your calendars for the 20th Annual BETHANY LAWN AND BAKE SALE September 13 & 14. We will need many helpers starting September 8. Sign-ups will start soon - don't miss out on your favorite way to help support your church and community.THANK YOU
Bethany Lawn Sale Committee

Be Hospitable
Still looking for people to sign up to do after worship Hospitality. This picture is out of date, but several dates are still empty. Please sign-up!


A Little Help?
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPACE WHERE LAWN SALE DONATIONS COULD BE STORED UNTIL LAWNSALE WEEK ? Please let us know asap. (sarah5432@gmail.com or 223-5307)   If you choose to accept this mission... at the time you agree to a private arrangement, it is wise to have the donor PROMISE to take the items from your space to the church during the collection week. For those of you looking for somewhere else to put those items, one option is to sell them independently and then donate the proceeds to the church. And if there is anyone out there who would be willing to manage sales of donated items on Craigslist or Ebay, we need you all year round!! THANK YOU
Bethany Lawn Sale Committee.


Stewardship Time

Yup. It is that time. This is roughly where the money goes in our ministry categories.

Not categorized is the Partnership for Sacred Places, A student minister, and a new way of doing the ministries we love and need. More than simply supplying funds/fuel/money for the work that makes us a community of faith, making a giving plan (available on the website) tells, and this community that you want to be a part of who we are and what we do.

And you know we are a great community doing great stuff.

So, check your mail for a Stewardship Letter with a Giving Plan 2015 Form. If there is not one there, let the office know and down load the Form off the website. Then pray and consider. Bring the form to worship or deliver to the office. Or, we can be in touch.

We are your church. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

KIOSK! June 20-27

The KIOSK!

This Sunday

 Season of Pentecost

Scripture: Genesis 21:8-21
Sermon: "What Troubles You?"
Music: Come at 9:15 am to sing with the summer choir.
Mission: Collection Food for the Pantry and a blessing.


This Thursday the 26th is the deadline for the next Dialogue.
This Dialogue will cover July AND August. Please email by 9 am.


June 22-29

Sunday:
10:00 am Worship
11:15 am Hospitality
with blessing of the Good Sam Dinner

Monday:
6:00 pm Conversational Spanish with Betsy Parah

Tuesday:
11:30 am Bethany Bowl

Thursday:
7:00 am Spiritual Exploration Group
9:00 am Dialogue Due

Sunday:
10:00 am Sunday Worship
Collecting food for the Montpelier Pantry
11:00 am Hospitality
3:00 pm. Patriotic Organ and Percussion Concert
4:00 pm. Beth Jacob Community Meal

Announcements




Patriotic Pipes & Percussion
Arthur Zorn, pipe organ with Doug Little, percussion
Arrangements of American Songs by Zorn and Little
Musical Fireworks to put you in the a great mood for the 4th!"
Sunday June 29th, 2014
3:00 PM
Bethany Church
115 Main Street
Montpelier, VT
Admission by free will offering at the door (for the organ restoration fund)



Feed the Hungry
Collecting Sunday Supper for the Good Samaritan Haven Homeless Shelter. Bring it in, we will bless it and deliver it.

Next week we will collect food for the Pantry.


Feed the Hungry
HEAD COOK needed For Bethany Bowl on the third Tuesday of the month!  The head cook's responsibility is to plan a menu, buy any ingredients that may not be already in the well-stocked pantry, and prepare the main entree. The other helpers will prepare all other parts of the menu. Reimbursements are made for all expenditures. Call Phyllis Rowell at 476-4277 for more details

Bethany Bowl
JUNE 17, 2014, FED: 104  HEAD COOKS: Joan Barrett and John Hnylka  SOUP RETRIEVER: Tom Lever DISHWASHERS: Conrad Rowell and Erik Norkeveck HELPERS: Phyllis Rowell, Chris Terry, Anne DeVaughn, Pete Gomez.  Joan's menu was Potato, Watercress, Spinach Soup from NECI, Chicken with Barbecue Sauce, Vegetarian Southwestern Beans, Green Salad, Egg Salad Sandwich, Assorted Desserts and Beverages.  A class from Union School came to wash and set tables. This class has been coming for two years. We will have a new class next school year.  Also, we had some special helpers from Morrisville. A junior high youth group along with two Moms and their minister, Marisa Laviola, joined us in serving the luncheon.  They were an enthusiastic group and very considerate of our guests.  Boy did they like our cookies! 

We said  goodbye to Joan Barrett as our third Tuesday chef.  Joan has been doing that job for fourteen years, and now she and Bob have officially retired.  Many thanks to Joan. She was
always a wise sounding board for Phyllis.  Joan's retirement means that we desperately need a person or persons to cover the 3rd Tuesday meal or we may have to eliminate that meal.  Please consider helping.

Be Hospitable
Still looking for people to sign up to do after worship Hospitality. This picture is out of date, but several dates are still empty. Please sign-up!

Financial Year
Get those pledges in! June is the end of our fiscal year and June 29th is the last Sunday of the month. It would be very helpful in closing the books on Monday, June 30th to have all monies in by that Sunday, June 29th that need to be credit to your pledge accounts.  If you plan to mail your check, do it early so it arrives on time!  If you need more information on what you owe, please contact Judy Ribolini at judy.ribolini@gmail.com. If you give Extra Pledge money, please note on the memo section of your check Extra Pledge.

Mark your calendars for the 20th Annual BETHANY LAWN AND BAKE SALE September 13 & 14. We will need many helpers starting September 8. Sign-ups will start soon - don't miss out on your favorite way to help support your church and community.THANK YOU
Bethany Lawn Sale Committee

A Little Help?
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPACE WHERE LAWN SALE DONATIONS COULD BE STORED UNTIL LAWNSALE WEEK ? Please let us know asap. (sarah5432@gmail.com or 223-5307)   If you choose to accept this mission... at the time you agree to a private arrangement, it is wise to have the donor PROMISE to take the items from your space to the church during the collection week. For those of you looking for somewhere else to put those items, one option is to sell them independently and then donate the proceeds to the church. And if there is anyone out there who would be willing to manage sales of donated items on Craigslist or Ebay, we need you all year round!! THANK YOU
Bethany Lawn Sale Committee.

Montpelier and Northfield Seek Host Families
for Chinese Cultural Exchange

Montpelier High School and Northfield Middle/High School are excited to offer English language programs for over 30 Chinese middle and high school students and an exciting cultural sharing opportunity for students and families in the greater Montpelier and Northfield area.

The Montpelier program will take place this summer from July 10th – July 23rd at Montpelier High School and the Northfield program will happen July 23rd through August 4th 2014 at Northfield Middle/High School.

Want to host or find out more information?  Please contact Program Director Sam Hagen at 802-498-7742 or samhagen360@gmail.com or Housing Coordinator Molly Clark at 802-917-4576 or clarkie1229@yahoo.com


VIA's Correction Action is a big success!

Last night, 100 church, synagogue, and community members affiliated with VIA attended a terrific Action, the culmination of over a year of research on Corrections Reform. We won commitments from Doug Racine, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services; Chris Barton, Restorative Systems Administrator for the Department of Corrections; and Sen. Diane Snelling, member of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Corrections to work with VIA to improve preparation for re-entry into society for offenders released from incarceration.

The main points VIA leaders asked for were:
  • consistent use of the existing re-entry checklist, which ensures that offenders have transportation, appropriate clothing, medications, referrals to health care, employment, housing, etc. upon release
  • more effective, better coordinated case management
  • photo identification that does not carry the stigma of a "Department of Corrections" label
  • more collaboration with outside organizations like Mercy Connections and Vermont Works for Women to provide job and life skills for inmates while incarcerated
  • expansion of the highly successful Circles of Support and Accountability and mentoring programs to provide support for offenders after release.

The highest praise goes to the combined Local Organizing Ministry of St. Paul's Cathedral and Christ Church, Presbyterian, whose members worked so hard to make the Action a success! And thanks also to those who candidly shared their stories of incarceration in this public forum.

WCAX covered the event! Seven Days also attended and did extensive interviews. Look for a feature story in next week's print edition.

We can all be proud of the great impact VIA is having on this important issue!

Friday, June 6, 2014

KIOSK! June 5-13

KIOSK!

This Sunday June 8


 Pentecost
Annual Meeting
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21Priorities and Discussion
Music: Second Sunday Concert with Justin MurrayIn Worship: Prelude and Fugue in C by J. S. Bach, "Halleluujah" Leonard CohenOur Annual Meeting with vote on By-Laws


The Week of June 5-12

Sunday:
9:30 am Second Sunday Concert
10:00 am Worship with Annual Meeting
11:15 am Hospitality

Monday:
6:00 pm Conversational Spanish with Betsy Parah


Tuesday:
11:30 am Bethany Bowl
6:30 pm Habitat For Humanity (Barre-Mont.)

Wednesday:
7:00 pm Deacons

Thursday:
7:00 am Spiritual Exploration Group
11:00 am Worship    Gary Home
11:45 am Brown Bag Westview Meadows
1:00 pm Worship    Heaton Woods

Sunday:
10:00 am Sunday Worship
11:00 am Hospitality


 Announcements

Second Sunday Concert
Justin Murray sings with A. Zorn on Piano
[Please note: there is no Bethany Cup.]

Annual Meeting
Annual Meeting is this Sunday June 8. The meeting will be integrated into worship, after the Second Sunday Concert. Annual Reports can be picked up in the Church office on Friday, or again on Sunday morning. Make sure you have read all the material for the meeting, lots to think about before deciding!

Save the Date
Mark your calendars for the 20th Annual BETHANY LAWN AND BAKE SALE September 13 & 14. We will need many helpers starting September 8. Sign-ups will start soon - don't miss out on your favorite way to help support your church and community.THANK YOU
Bethany Lawn Sale Committee

Pledges and Extra Pledges
June is the end of our fiscal year and June 29th is the last Sunday of the month. It would be very helpful in closing the books on Monday, June 30th to have all monies in by that Sunday, June 29th that need to be credit to your pledge accounts. If you send money via mail, please mail it early as they sometimes do not deliver on Saturday. I will check at noon on Monday, June 30th and deposit any money that comes that day. If you need more information on what you owe, please contact me at judy.ribolini@gmail.com. If you give Extra Pledge money, please note on the memo section of your check Extra Pledge.


The Bethany Bowl is looking for a head cook on the third Tuesday for the months of July, August and September. Anyone interested? Call Phyllis Rowell at 476-4277 for more details or e-mail her at phycon68@charter.net   The head cook's responsibility is to plan a menu, buy any ingredients that may not be already in the well-stocked pantry, and on the third Tuesday prepare the main entree. The other helpers will prepare all other parts of the menu. Reimbursements are made for all expenditures.

A Little Help?
Hello to all, It's Spring, and we are cleaning out our garages and attics. The  usual buzz about looking forward to the Bethany Lawn Sale is  starting. At this time of year, some folks are wishing there was SOMEPLACE ELSE to store those special boxes and bags (the ones that contain clean, attractive items, in good working order).  It is still our policy to ask donors to wait until the week before the sale to bring their donations - and when we get requests for exceptions, the policy is to suggest that donors make private arrangements with other members who have extra space. Consequently, it would be helpful for us to know who has extra space so that this suggestion work well.  DO YOU HAVE ANY SPACE WHERE LAWN SALE DONATIONS COULD BE STORED UNTIL LAWNSALE WEEK ? Please let us know asap. (sarah5432@gmail.com or 223-5307)   If you choose to accept this mission... at the time you agree to a private arrangement, it is wise to have the donor PROMISE to take the items from your
space to the church during the collection week. For those of you looking for somewhere else to put those items, one option is to sell them independently and then donate the proceeds to the church. And if there is anyone out there who would be willing to manage sales of donated items on Craigslist or Ebay, we need you all year round!! THANK YOU
Bethany Lawn Sale Committee

Bethany Bowl
JUNE 3, 2014, FED 100  HEAD COOK: Phyllis Rowell with lots of help from John Hnylka SOUP GATHERER: Tom Lever and it was a really delicious Broccoli Cheese Soup  DISH WASHERS: Conrad Rowell and Eric Norkeveck HELPERS: Cynthia Latimer, Anne DeVaughn, Ira Gravatt, Chris Terry, and Pete Gomez. The menu was a choice of two NECI soups: Broccoli/Cheese or Vegetable, Tossed Green Salad, Orzo/Vegetable Salad, Egg Salad, Apple Sauce Cup, Manghi's Bread, Assorted Desserts and Beverages.  Many thanks to John and Donna Hall...the hens are back in production.

Montpelier and Northfield Seek Host Families
for Chinese Cultural Exchange

Montpelier High School and Northfield Middle/High School are excited to offer English language programs for over 30 Chinese middle and high school students and an exciting cultural sharing opportunity for students and families in the greater Montpelier and Northfield area.
The Montpelier program will take place this summer from July 10th – July 23rd at Montpelier High School and the Northfield program will happen July 23rd through August 4th 2014 at Northfield Middle/High School.
Want to host or find out more information?  Please contact Program Director Sam Hagen at 802-498-7742 or samhagen360@gmail.com or Housing Coordinator Molly Clark at 802-917-4576 or clarkie1229@yahoo.com


Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Dialogue

 Bethany June Dialogue



 From the President:
Priorities for Next Year

As we prepare to gather on June 8th for this year’s Annual Meeting, I invite everyone in the Bethany Church community to consider our two focus areas: Nourishment and Communication.  Under the new governance structure we anticipate implementing next year (July 2014 – June 2015), the congregation is called to define its mission and goals.  The Trustees propose that we continue to build on progress made this year to improve communication and highlight aspects of nourishment in everything we do.  These are broad concepts, and at Annual Meeting you will have an opportunity to help next year’s Board of Directors clarify priorities.

This Annual Meeting will be incorporated into our regular worship service at 10 am.  Everyone present will be invited to participate in the discussion.  Formal members of Bethany will also be asked to vote on several items. Others in attendance will have voice without vote.  Materials for the meeting are available at the church office.

June 8th is also Pentecost – a reminder of the Holy Spirit’s power to move us toward living our faith. On our journey into new ways of being Bethany, I trust that the Spirit will continue to guide and encourage as we seek new life in humble and unexpected places.
Stephanie Ratmeyer
President

Mission: 
Feed The Hungry

The Good Samaritan Haven Dinner in May was another success! The list did not get filled up but some wonderful people stepped-up at the last minute and made sure we had everything we needed. Many thanks to ALL who contributed. Somehow the list made its way into the office, so I couldn’t get it to make the reminder calls or see who was bringing what so please, please leave it on the Outreach Bulletin Board. Thanks!!Our next dinner will be on June 22nd and the sign-up sheet will be available, in the parlor, on Sundays during Hospitality. Again, thanks to all who participate in the loving justice of feeding the hungry.

Montpelier Food Pantry!
Peanut Butter and Jelly!
Bring it June 29!


Pentecost: 
Defining the Church

Sunday June 8 is Pentecost. Pentecost is oftentimes called the Birthday of the Church. It celebrates the God’s gift of the Holy Spirit on the people gathered as a faith community. It is the day fire fell. It celebrates how that gift brought life and purpose to that community. It celebrates God’s gift of the 10 Commandments that give order and structure to life and living.

This year all of this will, of course, be true at Bethany. This day will also be our Annual Meeting. It is an appropriate day for our Annual Meeting. It is the Holy Spirit that blesses our activity and makes it Holy, Sacred to God. And this year we will also focus on our future life and purpose as a community of faith. We will vote on what structure and order we will have for the coming year.

Please note: the Annual Meeting will not be after worship, it will be in the midst of worship. This too is appropriate. For we will pray together, together discern  God’s will, and recommit ourselves to being a part of this thing we call Bethany Church: our work and life together. And whether you think we are inviting God to our meeting or having our meeting in God’s time, both are so importantly true.

So, join us. If you do not have a vote (official members who have joined), come and add your voice. Join us, even if you have been uncomfortable at these things before. Join us, even if you think what you want to happen will happen. Join us, because you are a piece of the ‘us’ we speak of.

Here is the Order/Agenda for the morning.

WARNING
ANNUAL MEETING OF BETHANY CHURCH
Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014
10:00 am Integrated Worship and Business Meeting
Order/Agenda:

Opening WorshipApproval of Minutes of the June andSeptember 2013 congregation meetingsDiscussion of Focus Area Priorities for Next YearConsideration and vote on the resolution to implementa new Governance and Ministry zone model for one year.Offerings of Gifts and Service
Vote to accept Annual ReportsElection of Board of DirectorsVote on FY15 Interim Financial PlanInvitation to Offering of Individual GiftsMinistry of MusicPrayer of DedicationHymnOther business the may appropriately comebefore the CongregationPrayers of the ChurchHymnBenediction
Please note, there will be a Second Sunday Concert, but not Bethany Cup.


SAVE THE DATE
Mark your calendars for the 20th Annual BETHANY LAWN AND BAKE SALE September 13 & 14. We will need many helpers starting September 8. Sign-ups will start soon - don't miss out on your favorite way to help support your church and community.
THANK YOU - Bethany Lawn Sale Committee

Hello to all,
It's Spring, and we are cleaning out our garages and attics.
The  usual buzz about looking forward to the Bethany Lawn Sale is  starting. At this time of year, some folks are wishing there was SOMEPLACE ELSE to store those special boxes and bags (the ones that contain clean, attractive items, in good working order).  It is still our policy to ask donors to wait until the week before the sale to bring their donations - and when we get requests for exceptions, the policy is to suggest that donors make private arrangements with other members who have extra space.
 Consequently, it would be helpful for us to know who has extra space so that this suggestion work well.  DO YOU HAVE ANY SPACE WHERE LAWN  SALE DONATIONS COULD BE STORED UNTIL LAWNSALE WEEK ? Please let us know asap at (sarah5432@gmail.com or 223-5307)   If you choose to accept this mission... at the time you agree to a private arrangement, it is wise to have the donor PROMISE to take the items from your space to the church during the collection week.
For those of you looking for somewhere else to put those items, one option is to sell them independently and then donate the proceeds to the church. And if there is anyone out there who would be willing to manage sales of donated items on Craigslist or Ebay, we need you all year round!!
THANK YOU - Bethany Lawn Sale Committee


SECOND SUNDAY CONCERT,
June 8 - featuring Justin Murray! 9:30 a.m. in the Chapel; coffee served. This is the last concert for this year with the summer hiatus coming up. We will resume concerts hopefully in September.


Summer-time Ministerial Coverage
During the summer there are times when Revs. Mark and Amy are not at home or obviously in the office. This is especially true during a vacation. But sometimes they might picnic or switch a day off. Email can always reach them and the office can reach them. Messages on their home phone now work better than a few years ago. And if you want a cell phone number, just ask Rev. Mark. We want you to be able to reach them, especially in a pastoral emergency.


Music Board Report, May-June 2014
Choir is transitioning towards summer, with the final choir rehearsal for the year on Thursday May 29th, and a choir pot luck dinner at Arthur's home in Barre on Thursday June 5. The choir will continue to meet each Sunday at 9:15 AM to prepare an anthem for the June, July and August summer services.   The choir will be seated with the congregation during the summer months.
We have two new choir members: a bass and a soprano!
Nancy and Lilly Smith – mother and daughter vocal harmony with acoustic guitars - were featured performers for the May Second Sunday Concert, and were well received. For our last Second Sunday Concert in June, Bethanyites look forward again to hearing several vocal selections from our own Justin Murray.
The organ continues to have falling or near-falling pipes replaced (normal age issues).Judy and Arthur continue the mice hunt in the organ with success, but not for the mice.
No big issues other than the budget keeps shrinking.


Dear Members of Bethany,

As we approach the end of an exciting church year, the Finance Committee extends our thanks to everyone who has supported the broad variety of Bethany’s programs through participation on committees or boards and with financial support.
Last September, the congregation approved a financial plan in support of the programs and services we want and believe are important to Bethany Church, the Montpelier community, and those in need around the world. Now we seek your help in order to balance operating income and expenses by the end of this Fiscal Year 2014. As you may have noticed in the 2014 Annual Report, as of the end of April our expenses exceeded income by approximately $19,000. It is up to all of us to help close this gap!

How can you help?
1. Complete your pledge payments by June 30th.2. If you have not contributed financially this year, please consider doing so by June 30th.3. If you have completed your pledge payments, please consider an additional gift to Bethany by June 30th.
You may recall that a letter went out several weeks ago asking for increased giving of $300 - $500. We know that not everyone can do this, but some of us can probably give more than that. If you have already responded to a request for greater giving, Thank you!
Even in times of financial uncertainty, we are blessed to be part of a generous, creative, and resourceful congregation.
Finance Committee
John Maddox and Don Welch

Prayer
We all can tell someone else that prayer is talking to God. But do we talk to God when we pray? God, who understands every language, does not need us to translate a prayer into English. God does not need to be given clues as to who someone is when you pray for them. How you know someone is not news to God. Nor is a tragic background or circumstance. When you are trying to remember some year or detail, God knows it before it is on your tongue. Prayer is not a time to use a stage whisper to tell individuals 'thanks' or send them a message. Prayer is not a time for preaching. We all know that people will do this in public prayers. But it does not have to be you.


Summertime Hospitality
The current Hospitality Committee were kind enough to post a sign up sheet for summer-time Hospitality. Please reward this by signing up. It is not hard. Maybe coffee (Mark whines, but ignore him), lemonade or ice tea or/and  juice. a little something to munch on: healthy is good non-healthy seems to be enjoyed as well. Costs to you can be defrayed/repaid.

But this is really important in the summer. We have visitors and this time allows us to meet them and for them to see us liking each other. If you have a new idea, just check it out and go for it. It happening is more important than how it happens.



From the Minister’s Return

So, after a bit of vacation visiting with my parents and sister I returned to the office on Thursday the 29th. On my mind was a bulletin for Sunday, the KIOSK!, The Dialogue, and time with Brown Bag. I simply avoided thinking that it was also my birthday.

As these things happen (at least to me), I found three unexpected things upon my return that delighted me. In the main office I discovered a box addressed to the minister of the church. Picking it up it clearly was a book, a very heavy book. Looking at the return address I saw that it was from CAIR, some educational outreach group. This did not please me. Once or twice a year we get unsolicited books from groups. The books have always been worthless or stupid (ignorant) or hateful. Some have hit the trifecta and make me really furious. “Trees died for this JUNK!” I assumed I was about to learn about the terror of Mormons, Muslims, homosexuality, liberals, evolution, or the secret world conspiracy (possibly by the Jews) to overthrow all that is good and right. Seriously. We get this stuff. I almost put off opening it just to keep a vacation vibe in my heart and soul.
Abraham in Arabic Calligraphy

I opened it to get it over with and discovered that it was sent by CAIM, an educational outreach group of Muslims who are sharing the Quran to increase mutual understanding. [If you want to read more about this go to cair.com. Council on American-Islamic Relations.] This thrilled me VERY much. I have read the Quran before, but not lately because I have not been able to find my copy. I bought a new one a few months ago, but it was a miserable translation. But THIS is a beautiful edition: original Arabic, modern English translation, commentary, and historical notes. There are even several examples of Arabic calligraphy (which I love). This is a very precious gift. I am looking forward to being able to dive in to it. These are our cousins in faith. First up will be a three faith discussion of Abraham for Brown bag on June 5.
  Second, the stairs to my office had been painted. It is not that there is a lot of traffic up the stairs, but now travelers do not have to come up wondering why it seems like they are in a parking garage stair well. I know we are a city church more focused on mission than looks, but now when mission folks walk up they feel wanted a bit more.*

Lastly, when I got to my office door there was some index cards balanced on my doorknob. Again, I feared some need/request that would bum my mellow from vacation. But NO. This was the annual questions the Sunday School gathered for me. They like asking me anything and I like answering them. Always, the questions vary from simple factual stuff, really complicated stuff, questions impossible to answer, and answers impossible to know. I love they ask. I love the struggle of answering them. This year there are 8.5 questions that include: Have you ever witnessed a miracle? and Why did people want so much power in the Bible Stories; especially when Jesus came along? Oh boy.

Questions are great. The struggle for answers is the essence of learning. AND the challenge of concrete language for the Sunday School and short answers is a real challenge for me. And maybe some point I will share my answers with everyone (after the Sunday School gets them). But, if you do not feel like you have the same permission to ask me questions then please pardon me for not making that clear. Please ask. I don’t mean the paradoxical/trap questions, “Did Adam have a belly button?” (Yes, by the way.) or “Why do bad things happen to good people?” (Who else is there?). I mean: things that come up from a sermon or scripture. or questions that pop up when the family talks about God, or someone’s answer that does sit right with you, even questions that might be a challenge to tradition or what you think I think/believe. I love them all.
?
But the better the question the less likely it can even be touched in the greeting line after worship. You might ask then, but let’s make sure that we honor the question. I am hard to offend and will tell you when I have no idea and when I am guessing/thinking about it. Often, I do not give a definitive answer. A description of an answer is much more likely. I am not an answer man.

So, in a few minutes the Dialogue will be done and all the initial ‘things’ on my mind/list will be accomplished. Then I can open the Quran or one of these excellent Sunday School questions. I can mold my sermon for Sunday. I can be ready for your questions. I can grow and learn with you. And that is exactly what I think a church is all about. Working on important questions together and helping the answers (however provisional they are) influence our living. Together.

And may your life be filled with surprises that delight you (even if at first you roll your eyes a bit).
Rev. Mark


*[ed. We are glad such things make Rev. Mark happy. So, please do not mention that the church clerk also goes up those stairs and that her husband takes care of our property.]