Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Dialogue


Helping the Good Samaritan Haven – Our Homeless Shelter

Bethany Church is helping the Good Samaritan Homeless Haven with their Walk-a-thon. The walk will take place on Saturday, July 9th at the Barre Rec Field from 10:30-1. BETHANY CHURCH has 2 teams. Each teach will need walkers but also sponsors/donations. The two teams are:
All You Need Is Love”
Judi Joy’s walking team for the Walk-a-thon will be joined on the walk by her 7-year-old granddaughter, Sophia. So if you are younger or slower this is the team for you to join. Let’s make this a multi-generational, multi-giggle event! If you are interested call Judi at (802) 279-3177. .

Let Liz Sykas-Ringenberg know if you would like to be a part of this team! Invite friends from anywhere to be a part of this team. Meet and greet people ecumenically! And we won't care about speed either!

Bethany Church has had Swing Services of Worship and has had memorable Easter Sunrise worship at the Parking lot of u-32. Even our own parking lot can be a place of worship. This August the entire month will find us worshiping in Fellowship Hall.
Come for worship that will allow us to see faces, have a central focus, comfy seats, and the echos of Bethany Bowl Spirit to feed us.

The worship will have “Hospitality as the theme: ours, God's, the stranger's, and receiving it. Scripture will be enacted and communion served. Music will be special.

For August, hospitality (usually after worship) will happen BEFORE worship at 9:30. Bring your own mug (especially if it has a story), grab a muffin, and enjoy coffee all through worship. Then head to you summer plans, like Fun at Lake Elmore!

If you would like to help with this summer worship, see Mark or Amy.

For those who like the pews and the hot Sanctuary, we will return there on September

Fun at the Lake
Join your church family for some fun at the lake! The Bethany Church family will be gathering at Lake Elmore State Park on two Sunday afternoons this summer, July 17th and August 21st. We will meet after lunch and stay as long as we want! Bring everything you need for an afternoon at the beach! You can also bring kayaks or canoes for a paddle around the lake. There is an admission to the park for day use of $3 for adults and $2 for children 4-13 years old. In case of inclement weather, it will be your call whether or not you go to the lake.


STILL AVAILABLE: There are currently 80 cookbooks left for sale. If you ordered one and have not yet picked it up, please cupplies remainontact Judy Ribolini at or call 223-7134 and leave a message. We have paid for the cookb ooks we ordered and those sold from here on are profit fror the Church. Cost is $12.00 each and I will mail it for an additional fee of $4.00 per book. We will also sell them at the Share Fair on November 5 if there are supplies remaining.


Mission, Community Building, Fund Raiser:
The magic of the LAWN SALE is already happening! THANK YOU to all who have signed up already, especially the very generous person who
will be our new crew leader for the Bethany Boutique. To find out who this is, you must stand within arm's length of the sign-up sheets - - and while you are there, feel free to write your name just about anywhere. Lots of great positions are still open!

A very special thanks to the Barretts for the donation of a fine electric lawn mower to replace our old, loud and smelly gas one that died.


There are no summer choir rehearsals on Thursday evenings in June, July and August. We will meet by the piano each Sunday at 9:15 a.m. to prepare an anthem for the service. Please join us.

Our Life in the Wider Church
This was not the first VT Conference Annual Meeting I have attended. The more often I attend, the more it’s like a reunion – a chance to connect with others from across the state that I don’t see on a regular basis.

Again this year my favorite part of Annual Meeting was the 7 a.m. Peace Breakfast. I got to hear about the wonderful missions that are being done in the
Celebrating our Graduates!
various churches to help build a more peaceful and just world. After listening to all the amazing stories, those gathered join hands and sing… “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”. This never happens without sending chills running down my back as we all raise our joined hands on the last line – a repeat of the first.

This year I also came away with a new “tool” for being with God. Lecto Divina – praying the scriptures. Read or listen to a scripture passage and see what word or phrase draws my attention. Read/Listen to the scripture again, what it is about the word/phrase that is speaking to me and then sit quietly with that to see what I can hear from God. Reading the scripture a third time closes my prayer time. This experience had a powerful impact on me and so I thought I would bring it back to Bethany – to the Deacons – as a way to be a spiritual group together in our mission of worship. I am happy to share more about this with anyone who is interested.

Thank you all for allowing me the blessed opportunity of being a VT Conference Annual Meeting delegate from Bethany.
Peace to all,
Liz Sykas-Ringgenberg

Stewardship is more than....

I wrote my Article for this Dialogue last night and instead of hitting the button that saved it, I deleted the whole thing! I thought, “OK, God. I guess that wasn't what you wanted me to say. I'm tired. I'm going to bed and I will trust that you are going to have something for me in the morning”.

So I had a dream ----I was on a beach and a Tsunami came. I had time to let people know that it was coming. No one panicked, they just turned away from the beach and started to walk/run to higher ground. I appreciated the fact that the wall of water that was about 30 ft high seemed to be moving at the same pace as we were. No matter what how quickly we were walking or running to safety, the water was keeping pace – being very gentle and not trying to scare us? Even though being following by a 30 ft wall of water was a little disconcerting.

So, this morning I asked God, “What is the message? Instead of taking the human view of a tsunami and its destruction, I always keep in the back of my mind the fact that God looks at things a little differently. What if that “water” represents a cleansing, a washing away, an opportunity to “float” and to be carried to what we are becoming. What if that water is an Abundance that we can't even realize so God is not going to hit us over the head with it, God will just show it to us and wait for us to get ready.

I heard a lot about the Emergent Church at Annual Meeting. Churches are going through a great time of change. If I use my dream as an analogy, we can either run in panic and look back at the “water” coming at us with fear and suspicion thinking it will “drown” us or.......we can move at our own pace – all of us together – and see that wall of water as God's Abundant, Unconditional Love that is always with us and all we need to do to be able to “Receive” more of it is to learn to swim (or buy a boat!).

I hope this is what God wanted me to say and that I will be able to save it.......
Love and Blessings
Joanne Hardy

There were no surprises for me at the Annual Meeting. In the first place, I had been part of the of the Planning Committee for the previous 12 months and had been over and over and over the schedule. I knew exactly what would come where, who would say what, when everything would happen.

There were nothing but surprises for me at Annual Meeting. I had no idea it would be so hard to find my dorm room for the weekend. I didn't know that the keynote speaker would be charming, entertaining, enlightening and a joy to be around. I had no idea the workshop I attended would be so thoughtful and well attended. I had no idea that all the resolutions and the budget would pass without rancor. Or, for that matter, any debate or even discussion.

I had expected to reconnect with old friends and make new friends within the Vermont Conference and beyond. THAT certainly happened - no surprise there!

Carrie Youngblood
[Carrie has been the
President of the Conference
for the last year and ran the Annual Meeting. -ed.]

Conference Updates

The Annual Meeting Offering was $2,308.52 - the largest in recent memory. This will be split evenly between Church World Service and Dillard University.
Go to Bethany's Web page to find the links for :

*Two of the local church videos which played at the Conference at the beginning of each Plenary and during breaks.

*A short film: Remembering Edna, about the life and work of Edna Fairbanks Williams, long time Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council (VLIAC) board president. Edna died in May of last year in an automobile accident.

*For the texts of Rev. Ben Guess' Plenary presentations and pictures of Annual Meeting taken by Annual Meeting photographer, Ms. Anne Collins.

Bethany Church is a member church of the Washington Association of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ. Every 2 years our denomination (UCC) as its Annual Meeting. The Vermont Conference does it every year. Eight People from Bethany Church attended The Vermont Conference Annual Meeting. Here are reflections/comments from 3 of them.

The following members of Bethany Church have graduated in the past year:

Olivia Fraser graduated from Montpelier High School and will be attending Champlain College in the fall. Olivia is the daughter of Anne and Bill Fraser.

Stacy Ribolini graduated from Stonehill College with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Stacy is the daughter of Lynn and Judy Ribolini.

Kylie Cowens graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master's degree in Kinesiology.
Kylie is the daughter of Putt and Kathy Cowens.

William Adams graduated from Union Institute and University with a Master's degree in Education.

Theresa Lever graduated from the University of Vermont with a Master's degree in Education.

If we missed you, please let us know.

Mark and Amy Pitton will be on vacation from June 27 – July 4, and from July 24-August 3. Filling our pulpit will be Theresa Lever on July 3rd, Rev. Stuart Brush on July 24th, and Theresa Lever again on July 31st. Stuart Brush in the father of Dan Brush, and grandfather to Aurora, Emery and Bethany Brush and comes to us from Connecticut!

If there is a Pastoral emergency, please call the church office, the Church President, or the Chair of the Deacons.

September 11 is Gathering Sunday for the Sunday School and for the entire congregation. Sunday School starts, then there will be lunch and then we will have a Church meeting to decide on direction and priorities for the coming year (i.e. we vote on our budget).~

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Edith Leonard. Edith was a long time member of Bethany Church. Her memorial service will be held at Bethany on Saturday, July 23rd at 2 PM.

Giving and Receiving

Reach Care Bank is a program of the City of Montpelier with funding from the US Administration on Aging. The Care Bank is a network of over 100 individuals and organizations that provide care and support for each other. For each hour of service you perform helping someone in the network, you get an hour to spend on anything that is offered by the members. Reach Care Bank matches up volunteers who offer a wide variety of services including transportation, preventive health & wellness services, companionship, meals, and help at home. Reach is open to everyone, and it has a special focus on our most vulnerable populations, including elders. The Care Bank strives to help our senior population stay living in their homes and active in our community. You can join for yourself or on behalf of someone else in your family who needs care. Groups and organizations may also join so they may have access to volunteers. For more about Reach, visit, or call 802-2262-6043.

Rachell Rice the Director of Development, and Training will be in worship for a Moment for Mission on July 17.

Food for the Hungry
That is what we will collect all through July and give it to the Montpelier Food Pantry. Jelly, preserves, fruit butters, whatever is good on toast or Peanut Butter. CEREAL! That is what we are collecting through all of August (during worship in Fellowship Hall – see the last page!) Granola, flakes, O's, chunks, hot or cold, instant or slow cook, sweet, organic, or free range. Bring your favorite or the one you know you should like. We will bless it and give it to the Montpelier Food Pantry.

And yes, we will continue to serve Sunday Dinner to the Homeless Shelter on the 4th Sunday of every month. We could use your help, call the office.

From Mark:
Every once in a while I find a quote raising to the surface of my mind. Not often, to be sure. My mind does not often retain quotes. But it has a few that can come to me unbidden, but at the right time. Almost a year ago it was:
A vision without a task is but a dream,
a task without a vision is drudgery,
a vision with a task is the hope of the world.

Inscription on a church in Sussex, England, 1730

I have known this quote for years. And since it drifted into awareness I have been living with it and seeing where in my life and in the church's life there are dreams and drudgery. I have been trying to limit both my dreams and drudgery. Dreams have led to disappointment. Drudgery has led to defeat. How long can anyone hold one dream or how many dreams can be unrealized before the dreamer no longer wants to sleep, perchance to dream? How long can a worker do drudgery before they are only a drudge?

Yes, I do need my vacation that is now two days away. But it is not just me. Parts of the church need one too. Individuals and groups have kept doing things that once were connected to a purpose. The reason for doing something was once known and appreciated, but that knowledge (or appreciation) is gone. If someone wants to do it – great- and anyway they want to do it is fine because it really does not matter enough to discuss the best way to do it. There is no way to adjudicate what is good, better, or best. And so we find a fast and easy way to do it.

Someone might ask “Why are we doing this?” if it becomes frustrating or inconvenient. But an answer is not really looked for. And we just get the task over with.

And no one really wants to have a dream because it will just mean that someone will have to do the work to turn dream into a vision. Since we are all shackled to drudgery, using time and energy to risk a dream that might bring disappointment is more than we will do. Especially since we know how hard it is to get others to add 'one more thing!'. This is why the July 3rd parade float and the Auction were so important this year. We did them!

To be honest, one of the best ways to find out the reason to do something is to stop doing it. But, despite our faith claims, we are afraid to let anything we do to die. What if we do not light any candles for worship? Can worship happen in fellowship hall or parking lot? If the steeple fell down, why would we put it back up? Why not try Sunday School before worship? Really, why do we think it would be bad if we stopped doing everything that seems like drudgery? The Share Fair came back!

History can only tell use why someone else thought it was important. We still have to own their reason or our own reason. It is simply not life giving to do something for someone else's agenda. Additionally, a historical reason is usually a construct of what was history for them and their own values. That is, at best history can only tell us why other's thought we should do something, not why we might want to. “Want” has life giving power, not “should”.

Theologically it also has to be said that part of our problem is we are trying to give meaning to things our self. That is, we are not letting God be the giver of meaning and value. We want to decide (for our selves) instead of discerning God's vision. And in some cases, God cares less than we do about what we do and how we do it. But we still assign the tasks to others without connection to God's vision.

I am right now bombarded with countless biblical descriptions of what our 'task' is. Ambassador, witness, planter, sower, sign, cross carrier, liberator, giver of food, home, shelter, clothing, release, comfort, hospitality, challenge. These tasks when combined with God's vision of justice, peace, and a servant's life really is the hope of the world. I want the tasks I am doing to be working towards God's vision. I want my church to see God's vision and do the tasks that create peace and justice. I want the tasks my church does to be driven by a vision of the still speaking God's inclusive love and extravagant welcome. I want my tasks to do more than just maintain what is, but fulfill the prayer 'thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'.

That's my newest vision. Tasks that I see linked are: asking, “Why?”, discerning an answer, doing less but with joy and life, prayer, study, worship, to know God, see what God sees, and willing to let things die if they are not bringing hope to the world.

God's vision with our task is the hope of the world.