Sunday, September 2, 2012

September Dialogue

Gathering Sunday is coming! September 9th. Is the day.
Enjoy the changing season and celebrate by coming to the special Service on September 9th. Worship will include Communion and a sermon entitled, “Better Together. We Are!” and music from special guests from Americus Georgia! Do NOT miss!
It is the first week of Sunday School and a day of great energy in Bethany.  The first Sunday School Unit is  We are Better Together.  Pastor Amy Pitton has developed the materials for this unit, and we know the kids will enjoy the activities.   
The Stewardship Committee would like to invite everyone to gather in Fellowship Hall, after the service, for a Hot Dog Luncheon.  We will be having hot dogs, rolls, etc., and assorted drinks. You are invited to bring a food dish such as a salad, chips, ???,  or dessert to share, if you wish. 
Theresa Lever and Amy Papineau will create the entertainment that will include "audience participation". Come for the Food; Come for the Fun; Come for the Fellowship.
We're looking forward to Gathering with you!

Our Denomination has helped, we can too!
National UCC Disaster Ministries has generously donated money to buy a "Tool Trailer" that can go on site to support the work of volunteers. Now we need to stock the trailer.  Do you have tools you can donate to The Southeastern Vermont Long Term Recovery Group? Families still need help and  volunteer groups are working, and they need tools to work.   If you have a new or used in very good condition tool to donate, please contact Jim Conneman or send an e-mail with your name, church and the tool to To avoid duplication, we ask that you contact us about tools still needed here.
Donations would be gladly accepted as well. These could go to VTCUCC Disaster Fund c/o the Conference Office, 36 N. Main St., Randolph, VT 05060, Memo: Tools, or to SEVT LTRF (Southeastern Vermont Long-term Recovery Fund) c/o United Way of Windham County, 28 Vernon Street, Suite 312, Brattleboro, VT 05301, again Memo: Tools. 
While the trailer will be housed by SEVCA (Southeaster VT Community Action) it can be made available for any part of the state.
A Reflection is here.
Thank you. Together we make a difference.

Gathering Sunday is coming!  Enjoy the changing season and celebrate by coming to the special Service on September 9th.
The Stewardship Committee would like to invite everyone to gather in Fellowship Hall, after the service, for a Hot Dog Luncheon.  We will be having hot dogs, rolls, etc., and assorted drinks. You are invited to bring a food dish such as a salad, chips, ???,  or dessert to share, if you wish. 
Theresa Lever and Amy Papineau will create the entertainment that will include "audience participation". Come for the Food; Come for the Fun; Come for the Fellowship. We're looking forward to Gathering with you!

Something Always Cooking at Bethany Church
Once again, many many thanks to everyone who has provided delicious main dishes, healthy salads and veggies, homemade breads or rolls, yummy desserts and beverages for the folks residing temporarily at the Good Samaritan Haven. The fourth Sunday of each month is very special with the gathering and blessing of the meal. This mission of the Bethany Outreach Board has a significant impact on the people who receive it. Not only are they fed but they know that there are people out in the community who truly care about them and wish them well. It also has an impact on the Bethany congregation in that we can know that we are helping others and sharing God’s infinite love.
I have been invited to a meeting for food service providers at the Shelter on the second Sunday in September. I have no idea what is on the agenda but if any changes arise from this meeting I will keep everyone informed.
Thanks again, Judi Joy
Bethany continues to serve up welcome, comfort, hope, and some really good food. Our thanks to Two Rivers for some fresh vegetables that we have served and gave away. Big thanks to those who come every week to help share this ministry. Thanks to the person who going to join our list of once a month cooks! Needed on the Second Tuesday of each month, we will give you more training than you need!
And super special thanks to Phyllis Rowell

World Wide Communion Sunday
On October 7th Bethany Church will have our opportunity to hear from the travelers to San Antonio Grande, El Salvador. By then they will have pictures sorted, memories confirmed and reflections started on God, mission work, and how God's love binds us world wide. Communion will be a part of this worship.
Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the UCC that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States.  One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry(CAIM). Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries(JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. More information is coming in the next Dialogue and through our website.
Bethany Church will receive the NIN offering on October 7, 2012 as part of World Communion Sun

A "note" on Music Making at Bethany.   
Please consider coming to a few rehearsals of either the Choir or Bell Choir, anytime.  Then,  you will see if making joyful musics, makes you as happy as it does our current members.  If you have a middle or high school student in your life, please encourage them to check out the choir loft with all of us.  Rehearsalsresume on Thursday Sept 6th at 6:15 for Bell Choir and Choir from 7:00 to 8:30 PM and Sundays at 9 AM. If you have any questions please email Arthur (Zorn) at  or call at (802) 622-0376

The Brown Bag Study Group-
We will return from our summer rest on Sept 6th. Will meet as usual in the parlor at 11:30 am. Bring your lunch (hot water will be furnished.) We're excited and enthused about our new study: The Gift of Years written by Joan Chittister, one of our favorite writers-intelligent, speaking from the heart to ours. Letters are being sent to members. If interested in sharing this study call Phyllis Merritt @ 223-2669 for further info. Books will be available at the first meeting.

Two Events with Celia Whitler!
Women's Retreat with Celia Whitler
Saturday, October 6, 2012 10:00 am -3:00 pm
at the Barre Congregational Church
Who doesn't enjoy taking a few moments to sit at a table to eat chocolate! Stories from our lives... stories from Scripture...Women will gather.... sing songs...hear stories inspired by everyday living...Share their lives with others...and eat a lot of chocolate!
The cost of the day-long retreat is $40 per person, lunch included! If you are interested, email Amy Pitton at by September 23rd. If we can get a group of 5 or more, tickets will be discounted to $35 a person. 
Celia Whitler in Concert
7 PM Saturday, October 6
at the Barre Congregational Church
Tickets $10. each!

News from the Vision Facilitation Committee -
Giving Bethany 2020 Vision!
The Vision Facilitation Committee has met a couple of times this summer to put together a process for envisioning Bethany Church's future. The first phase of the process is information gathering and throughout the month of September, folks who are involved with Bethany Church in all kinds of ways will be asked to consider their answers to specific questions. The questions will be listed in each week's bulletin, as well as being posted on Bethany's facebook page and on the church's website, as well as being asked at an interview booth at the Lawn Sale. You can submit your answers by writing on the sticky note that will be provided in the bulletin and placing the note on the poster provided, by responding to the question on facebook, or by sending your answers via email to Some of the upcoming questions will be: Bethany Church is..., The most important thing Bethany Church does is..., and What I need from Bethany Church is... Look for each week's questions and please give us your answers – we need as much information as possible as we begin to discern our future!
What will we look like in 2020?

September 9 is Gathering Sunday, the first week of Sunday School and a day of great energy in Bethany.  The first Sunday School Unit is  We are Better Together.  This is a wonderful message to start the year. Pastor Amy Pitton has developed the materials for this unit, and we know the kids will enjoy the activities.   
Our next unit will be an interactive Jonah unit, culminating in a presentation of a play to the congregation at an intergenerational service on Sunday, November 11.
We are developing the nursery schedule for the year.  Usually, volunteers are scheduled to be in the nursery with our youngest ones, 3-4 times total in the year.  If you are interested, please see Melitta Maddox.
If you want to teach a unit in this year’s Sunday School, we would love to hear from you.  Please let a Board Member know:  Amy Bell, Kassi Benedict, Cindy Cykon, Melitta Maddox, Stephanie Ratmeyer, Karen Songhurst, Patty Turley, or Amy Papineau (Chair).

Over the summer, there was an activity offered to the children who attended Sunday services.  We hope this allowed the children to enjoy a meaningful activity, while allowing parents some reflective time to enjoy the service.  Please join the CE Board and thank these volunteers for their time with the kids this summer:  Amy Bell, Amy Papineau, Patty Turley, Stephanie Ratmeyer, Cassandra Brush, and Liz Sykas-Ringgenberg.
Thank You, The CE Board!
Thanks from the Pantry
"As we see less and less available from our traditional food sources at the Pantry, we are comforted by the efforts of the Congregants at Bethany Church for their "special item" donations each month.  Knowing that your happy volunteers will be arriving once a month with bags and boxes filled to the brim is truly priceless.  Thank you all for the tremendous work you do and for your unwavering support.  
Many thanks, Kimberley Lashua"
Over the summer Bethany received several thank you notes.
From Good Samaritan Haven for continued generosity. Noted that they have served 107 people from January to May of this year.
From Hunger Free Vermont and Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council for financial gifts
From Rev. Mark for the amazing way people greeted and included strangers during worship in August.
From the United Church of Christ for our contributions for Our Churches Wider Mission and Neighbor's in Need
SERV and La Leche League for our support
Amazing things happen at Bethany
because we support it financially and spiritually.

September 15 & 16, 2012
Please bring your donations 2 to 8pm on Monday 9/10, and 8am to 8pm on
Tuesday 9/11, Wednesday 9/12 and Thursday 9/13.
CLOTHING (sorted by age and gender) * BOOKS (no encyclopedias or Readers Digest)
TOOLS * ANTIQUES * FURNITURE (no mattresses or boxsprings) * TOYS
BABY GEAR (no car seats, other items must be within current safety guidelines)
SPORTS EQUIPMENT (no downhill skis/ boots) * HOUSEWARES * CRAFTS
BAKED GOODS * BAGS for “Buck-a-Bag.”
(Please, no tires, analog televisions, computers, computer monitors,
or used fixtures/appliances that were built-in.)
Items should be CLEAN and in GOOD WORKING ORDER.
We need many volunteers to help make this a fun and successful event:
SORTING and PRICING clothing and lawn items - daytime and evening - starting 9/10,
SETTING UP on Saturday at 7am sharp and on Sunday after the worship service,
CASHIERS and HELPERS for downstairs and on the lawn during the sale,
ANNOUNCERS to inspire our customers, CONCESSION SERVERS on both sale days,
DRIVERS to help carry away the leftovers, and
CLEAN-UP CREWS – Saturday at 4pm, Sunday at 3pm, Monday at 9am.
Sign-up sheets are in the hall by the Chapel -

Check List for the Silent Auction!
Get ready for the SILENT AUCTION at the Yard Sale! - A message from Theresa Lever
Without delay, you should:
  1. Redeem your winnings from last year! You only have until September 14 to do so. If you can’t remember what you won or whom to contact, call or e-mail me; I have all that info. 229-0415,
  2. Let me know what you want to see on the auction board. What would you like to win? I’ll try to get someone to offer it. I know going to nudge certain persons to offer sewing services again – they’re worth a fortune to me!
  3. VERY IMPORTANT – let me know as soon as possible what service YOU can offer. If you contact me first, I won’t have to bug you! And you know I will! Perhaps it’s not a service you have to contribute but a valuable item – I’ll be happy to put that in the Silent Auction, too!

From A Minister

God is Love” - Check
Many people at Bethany (and way beyond) hold to this simple and straight forward statement, “God is Love.” It boils things down nicely, appeals to our sense of good and right, often matches our experience and is clearly our hope. It is also biblical for those keeping track of such things.
But once we have checked this off our list of things to learn, there are some additional items that need to be checked off. Of the options, they all describe or saying something significant about love. Which also to say God. With out discussion about love, we are left with lowest common understanding of it that may call us to love kindness, but will not lead us to do justice, and walk with God. Jesus and his God call for all three from us.
I am reading a story right now that is set in a future dystopia. Like Hunger Games (and 1984 before it), the world is hellish and fearful. A very few use control and fear by keep the status quo, which favors them. To this point in the story the world's plight has been laid out and you keep wondering what is going on in the community we grow to know. As we figure things out with a couple of the characters, we realize things are horribly wrong. The leaders use injustice as a powerful tool to keep things nice. Injustice is created/maintained by lying, ignorance, and fear. 'Go along, no questions, or we will kill you' is the unspoken rule. There are many unspoken rules. People are manipulated into thinking that horrible things have to be done for the greater good. But nearly everyone is kept ignorant of what the greater good actually is.

Of course, heroes and heroines emerge and try to counter the leadership, the type that Jesus encountered from Rome. At this point the heroes have gained some power. And the stage is set for a battle between those who think that fear and lies are the tools to 'keep things together' and those who think that fear and lies have created the lack of togetherness. And that fear and lies are wrong. Jules wants to lead with different tools. “Full of knowledge, of purpose. Think about it. Instead of manipulating people, why not empower them? Let them know what we are up against. And have that drive our collective will?”
Fear is a great tool for getting what you want. “Wait until your dad gets home!” “Behave or I will get my belt or be angry at you!” “We need better finances or the church will break, or stop, or die, or not be able to do this or keep that!” “If you do not vote for me, the other guy will take all the stuff you really like and want. Then someone else will have your stuff!” “We have to do this or bad things will happen!” Be afraid, be very afraid at home, church, nation.
If we are going to feel the love, we will have to let go of fear. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love."  I John 4:18  God is love. God and love join us together. Fear divides and then separates. Let fear of yesterday dissolve in forgiveness. Let God's love cast out our fears of tomorrow, of what might be, of losing or dying, of not having. Let's cast out all the ways fear is used to make us do this or do that. Throw away even the fear we us for our own good: “I have got to exercise or I will die!” Allow God's love to not only be our goal, but our way to that goal. Like Jesus. Let's focus on the excitement about who we are and what we do here at Bethany. This is a seriously cool church doing seriously cool ministry. Together, with purpose, we can feel the love and share it to every fearful corner of our own souls and the world.
The whole church is working on visioning what we will look like in 2020. This will sharpen our focus on our purpose and empower us as we move forward. God is love is our foundational belief We have done well to checked that off the to do list. As we envision, as we go about our daily lives, as we go about our ministries in Bethany: may the way we go be way of love love. Not fear.
And if you could speak to our politicians to stop using fear as a tool, we could all feel the love.
Rev. Mark

Confirmation Class to gather!
Information Meeting for parents and youth -
Monday, September 24th at 7 PM

It looks like we have enough students for a Confirmation Class this year! Any youth who is in high school and has not been confirmed is eligible to attend Confirmation Class.
What is Confirmation you might ask? Confirmation is a year-long opportunity for a young person to take some intentional time to think about his/her faith with the help of ministers and friends. When one is baptized, parents promise to raise that child in the Christian faith. At high school age, the child is encouraged to take responsibility for his/her own faith journey and to confirm his/her own faith in a ceremony in church.
We will have our first meeting for this year's Confirmation Class, both students and parents, on Monday, September 24th. This is an informational/planning meeting so that you can hear more about Confirmation and ask any questions you may have. Amy Pitton will be the lead teacher of the class with help from others in the congregation. Please email Amy ( if you are interested in the class and let her know you will be coming!

Bethany Youth Group News!
A new year of Youth Group begins
Sunday, September 19th at 7 PM in the Youth Room! 
All youth in grades 7-12 are welcome to attend! We will have our traditional Ice Cream Sunday night – everyone should bring their favorite Sundae topping to share – ice cream and whipped cream will be provided! And without Patrick we wont have anchovies!
Looking ahead, here's what's coming up:
Sunday, September 23 - Meet in the Youth Room from 7-8:30 PM
GOOFBALL! Let's teach the new members how to play – and since we are teaching, let's make this an official bring a friend night and teach them too! Join us!
Sunday September 30 Meet in the Youth Room from 7-8:30 PM
Survey says...! Haven't you always wanted to be asked what you thought? Well, tonight you will be! Come ready to share your opinions!
Friday, October 5 - 6:15 pm -9:30 pm – Travel to the Barre Congregational Church
Together We Can Youth Event with Celia Whitler at the Barre Congregational Church! Check her out at!