Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November's Dialogue

Worship to look forward to!

Sunday, November 6th is when the clocks fall back! Who will be early to worship?

Sunday, November 20th is our Thanksgiving Sunday. How will you give Thanks? To whom will you give it?

Sunday, November 27th is the first Sunday in Advent. During the worship service, we will be lighting the first Candle in our Advent Wreath and the Deacons will be leading the worship service. Don’t miss it!


SAVE THE DATE!

On Sunday, April 29, 2012, we will be worshipping together with other churches from the Washington Association at the Barre Opera House at 11 am. You may remember we did this several years ago when we all worshipped together at Harwood High School. Plans are already underway for this wonderful event and both Amy Pitton and Liz Sykas –Ringgenberg are on the worship committee! Look for more information in the coming months!


Bethany Youth Group News!


Sunday, November 6 – Meet from 7-8:30 in the Youth Room

Games Night! Let’s have some fun with some Cranium!

Sunday, November 13 – Meet at 12 noon at the church

Youth Group Lunch at Positive Pie! We will meet at the church and walk over to Positive Pie 2 for lunch. Bring $10 to cover the cost of your lunch! Parents can pick you up at 1:30 at the church.

Sunday, November 20 – Meet at 7:30 am in the church kitchen

Come for Bethany Cup preparation! We need everyone’s help so plan to be there! Hey Patrick, pumpkin and anchovy muffins are on the menu….

Sunday, November 27 – No Youth Group- Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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CAN YOU SPARE SOME TIME?

The Bethany Bowl is still in need of a cook or cooks for the second Tuesday of the month. We are presently covered through December. If committing to every month is too much, please consider one month (of your choice) or maybe two months (again, of your choice). There are plenty of volunteers to help with the details. You would be the head cook, so to speak. Your job would be to plan the menu and buy the needed items if the well stocked pantry does not have what you need (you will be reimbursed for purchases). On the day of the meal you concentrate on the main entree (maybe something like macaroni and cheese or chili, etc) while the volunteers are taking care of other tasks such as making sandwiches, salad, laying out desserts and drinks, setting tables, etc. We actually have some good times as we work, and the appreciation you will receive from the guests is very special and heart warming.

If you are concerned about cooking for a large group, we can offer recipes and advice. For more information, call Phyllis Rowell at 476-4277, e-mail her at conradrowell@aol.com or see her on Sunday. Many thanks.

Your ministers work in Christian Education.

The Board of Christian Education would like to update you about the role of our ministers in Christian Education.

Both Pastor Amy and Pastor Mark serve vital roles in our Christian Education program.

Amy writes or obtains almost all of the Sunday School curriculum and tailors it for our children, leads workshops for training our teachers, and provides background information to the teachers so that they have deeper understanding of the lessons when they work with students. She also teaches some units. Outside of Sunday School, Amy leads our vibrant youth group, shepherds our confirmation classes every other year, and facilitates adult CE programs. Amy also provides the CE Board with policy leadership: how to implement changes and improvements with teaching and safety in mind. These ministries would not function without her regular presence. Mark leads adult CE programs, works with the confirmands and also devotes time to Sunday School curriculum and activities, including writing the play based on the Moses story that the children are working on this fall.

Prior to the arrival of Amy and Mark Pitton, there was a separate line item in the budget to pay for a part-time Christian Education coordinator. This person planned and led the Youth Group activities, as well as the Sunday School program, schedule, and curriculum. Before that, these ministries were often divided between our Senior and Associate Pastors. The current line-item budget for CE is quite tiny (even tinier this year), but it is only a fraction of the story. Your pledge supports CE because our ministers are vital to good CE programs at Bethany!

The CE Board

SUNDAY SCHOOL SCHEDULE:

Currently, the children are working on the story of Moses. The older children are preparing for a play, while the younger children have been doing craft projects which will serve as props in the play. On October 30, the younger children will join the older group practicing for the play. Come to the Intergenerational Service on November 13 to enjoy the story of Moses!

Patty Turley for the CE Board

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The Bethany Center for the Arts presents:

Mary Bonhag, soprano

with Matthew Odell, piano

Friday, November 18, 7:30 PM

Preforming: Messiaen's Poèmes pour Mi; deuxième livre, Webern Op. 12 Vier lieder

Ture Rangström songs (Swedish), Dickinson poetry set by American composers including: Aaron

Copland, Lee Hoiby, Tom Cipullo, and William Bolcom and some lovely Jazz Standards!

Admission $15.00

From a Minister:

We have been reading about the earliest church in the Tuesday night Bible study. As Luke describes it, the earliest days of the community were more like Occupy Wall Street than anything else. They were just a group of people passionate about being witnesses for what they saw, not caring if authorities said “stop”. They were on a mission.

Eventually they organized, maybe OWM will too. The church organized as a reaction to some need or theology. As needs and theologies changed over time, so did the principles of organization. When that change was rejected, a new church was formed that eventually responded to needs and created their own organization and tradition.

As part of the United Church of Christ, we obviously have a tradition about how we order ourselves. There are a few key principles involved. First and fore most is that Jesus is our sole leader, THE head of the church. As such, it is our job to follow. When we vote at any level in the church it is not for what we want, but for what we believe Jesus wants. It is like the prayer, “Your will be done...” How do we know what Jesus wants? As a church we trust that the majority of our faith community will be able to discern this together better than one individual or a group of elders. Other traditions trust to the one and to the few, our tradition trusts the many. The majority may be wrong, certainly, but again we trust that the faith community will perceive this and respond. Those who believe(vote) another way from the majority can be a part of the community and pray the majority is right; or they can pull back and wait to say, “I told you so!”; or they can grumble. Of course, since we were five years old, we all know we can also go home with our marbles. But to be part of the community means following when the community has decided on something.

Our tradition is that the entire congregation makes decisions. On the really important things, the whole church is called to discern the will of Jesus (vote). Big pictures are for the whole congregation to decide for the whole community. Between times when the church meets as the whole body, we have a representative council (we call them the Trustees) that makes policies and decisions (still based on corporate perception of the will of Jesus). Boards make policy decisions in their area of the church's ministry. Please note, all areas of our church life are shared areas. And one Board can not tell another Board what to do. Committees do the work and make the practical decisions 'on the ground'. We need to trust that everyone is doing their level best. Second guessing, especially when we are not a part of the conversation, and grumbling only reduces the the overall sense of trust in our structure and between people. It is also irritating when you make a decision and people think they know better when they do not know everything.

Of course, the will of Jesus is notoriously difficult to discern and people (even a well meaning, informed, group of faithful people) will get it wrong. Each strata of decision making can revisit (a nicer way of saying you think someone is wrong) a decision made by a level below them. Anyone in the congregation can ask the whole congregation to settle a matter. Which is to say, a church meeting has the final say as to what is right (or more accurately to say: what they decide to trust is the will of Jesus). But, once asked and answered, we the congregation work to make that answer work. Failure to do that means that a person is more committed to their own vision. Which is not to say that they are wrong, just that they are being willful.

In some traditions, the minister is the one who makes all final decisions about what the will of Jesus is and how to follow that will. That is not our tradition. For us, a minister is a servant in the community. A minister speaks to the church, not for it. A minister teaches and preaches, seeking deeper/wider/stronger connect between people and God. The assumption is that if that connection is there, they will be able to more accurately discern where Jesus, as the head of the church, is leading. It is the ministers job to be the prophet, speaking for God to the people and for the people to God. But as a servant who also leads, the minister also listens to the will of the community and works to make their decisions come out as best as possible. There are times when the minister for theological (or other) reasons can not lead and serve a congregation's decision. Since the tradition is that a minister and church have a covenant, not a contract, the minister and church are still connected. Even in disagreement, they still are bound together seeking to follow the will of Jesus.

Once the minister was mostly preacher/teacher, bringing guidance to people's spiritual life. Now they are increasingly CEOs of churches. Once it was recognized that ministers sometimes speak the sharp word of a prophet, to society and their community. Now people expect a comforting word from a pastor. But in our tradition, the minister is not 'in charge' of a church or its people. All three (minister, church, and people) are responsible for their own decisions, listening for God's still speaking voice in the vote and voice of the other two.

You will occasionally hear people say that what is great about the United Church of Christ is that we can do anything we want. Clearly, that is just not true.

Mark

Bethany Church

Memorial Poinsettias

The Bethany Church flower committee will be taking orders for memorial poinsettias. The plants will be on the altar beginning Sunday, December 19. If you wish to purchase a memorial poinsettia, complete the form below. Please return this slip with money to the church office no later than Sunday, December 11. Price will be listed in the church bulletin or call for price: 225-6006 or call the church office.

Number of poinsettias _____________________

Given by ____________________________________________

In honor of ____________________________________________or

In loving memory of ______________________________________

Your phone number or email _______________________________(not published)


BETHANY CHURCH GAMES NIGHT and PIE AUCTION!

Saturday, November 19th – 6:30 PM

in the Church Parlor

Come join your Bethany friends for a fun-filled night! And bring some other friends along, if you’d like! We will be playing Board Games as well as bidding on PIES! Games (Scrabble, Cranium, Apples to Apples, Scategories and others) will be set up and you can choose what you’d like to play. Don’t forget your checkbook so you can buy a pie or two to take home! If you are planning on attending, sign up on Sunday morning or let the church office know so we know how many to prepare for! And also…

PIES NEEDED!

Do you like to make pies? It can be a ready-to-eat pie, a frozen pie that is ready to bake (just in time for Thanksgiving), or an IOU for a pie that can be made at the purchaser’s request (just in time for Thanksgiving)! Please email Amy Pitton at revamyp@comcast.net and let the church know about your pie!

All funds raised will go towards the Bethany Church operating budget.

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Join the Youth Group for

Bethany Cup!

Sunday, November 20th

8:30-9:30 am in the Parlor

Come for warm, homemade muffins, great coffee, yogurt parfaits, an oatmeal bar and artisan bread for toasting!

$5 for full breakfast

$3 for coffee and a muffin

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Operating Budget Update

Thanks to the dedication and resourcefulness of members of the Bethany community, we are well on the way to meeting our financial operating budget goals for this fiscal year. In fact, because of additional pledges and new gifts, the projected budget deficit of $9151.00 has been reduced by $5,425.00!

The budget and first quarter income and expense totals are included in the chart below.
  • From July 1st to September 30th, which was the first quarter (25%) of the fiscal year, Bethany received 26.7% of budgeted revenue.

  • In those three months we also paid out 20.7% of the projected expenses.

Income and expenses fluctuate by season, and autumn is the time when budgets for heating oil become actual costs. In early October, the Finance Committee, Property Committee and Treasurer decided to pre-buy 7000 gallons of the fuel needed to heat our large and much used building this winter. Your financial support of our operating budget help make possible all that Bethany does to serve the local and wider community.

Finance Committee

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MISSION: 1 - is a denomination-wide effort between November 1 (11-1-11) and November 11 (11-11-11) of this year to:

  • In 11 days, the United Church of Christ will collect more than 1 MILLION ITEMS OF HEALTHY FOOD

  • In 11 days, the United Church of Christ gather online contributions of more than $111,111 for Neighbors in Need food-related ministries,

  • In 11 days Your denomination wants to raise $111,111 for East Africa famine-related ministries.

  • In 11 days, the United Church of Christ will offer more than 11,111 LETTERS to Congress asking our government to reform U.S. foreign assistance in a way that more effectively benefits hungry and poor people worldwide.

A Message from the Mission Department:

Mission: 1 Letter Writing - Update - We hope your congregation will engage in all three aspects of Mission: 1, including writing letters to Congress in support of programs that reduce hunger and poverty. We plan to have a delegation consisting of the Conference Minister and representatives of the Mission Department hand-deliver the letters to the Vermont offices of Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch. So, no need to send the letters. Date the letters between November 1 and 11. The important thing is to get the letters written and to their destination!

While They Are Away

Pastor’s Vacation: Mark and Amy will be on vacation from November 21st through Monday, November 28th. If you need pastoral assistance, please contact Joanne Hardy, Chair of Trustees, or Liz Sykas-Ringgenberg, chair of the Deacons.