Friday, November 30, 2012

December's Dialogue

Advent and Christmas at Bethany Church
Sunday, December 2nd - The First Sunday in Advent
10 am Worship, lighting the First Candle in the Advent Wreath, Communion
10:15 am Sunday School – Be a Giver!
7 pm Youth Group – Plaid Night!

Sunday, December 9th The Second Sunday in Advent
10 am Worship Service, lighting the Second Candle in the
Advent Wreath
10:15 am Sunday School – Be a Giver!
6:30 pm Community Carol Sing at Christ Church
7:00 pm Youth Group – gift making
Wednesday, Dec. 12th

6 pm Greening of the Church

Sunday, December 16th – The Third Sunday in Advent
8:30–9:30 am Christmas Bethany Cup
10 am Worship Service, Lighting of the Third Candle in the Advent Wreath
10:15 am Sunday School – Pageant Rehearsal for Christmas Eve
Sunday, December 23rd - The Fourth Sunday in Advent
10 am Worship Service, Lighting of the Fourth Candle in the Advent Wreath
10:15 am Sunday School – Pageant Rehearsal for Christmas Eve 7 pm Youth Group Christmas Party at Amy's
Monday, December 24th - Christmas Eve
6 pm Family Christmas Service with Pageant
10 pm Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols
Sunday, December 30 Christmas Sunday
10 am Worship Service with Carol Sing

3 pm Vivaldi's Gloria performed at Bethany Church

Please join The Deacons for the 
Greening of the Sanctuary,
Wednesday, December 12th at 6:00 p.m.
We will begin with a light dinner of soup and bread, and then make our way to the Sanctuary to hang garland and wreaths, creating sprays, attach blue bows and decorate the windows with candles. We will also be creating decorative cut bags for our Christmas Eve luminaries. Come and be part of the fun!
Some tools/supplies that would help include:floral wire heavy clippers (for clipping branches)exacto knives (small – for cutting designs in the bags)
Let us know you plan to join so we can be sure to have enough soup & bread!
Dorothy Redmond, Carrie Youngblood, Eric Benedict, Esther Farnsworth,
Judi Joy, Liz Sykas-Ringgenberg, Phyllis Rowell and Reg Welch

In this season of giving,  I thank God for the congregation of Bethany Church and the wider community which continue to give so generously to the Bethany Bowl.  The Bowl has just entered its 14th year, making it one of the church's longest local missions.

As most of you are aware, this Tuesday community luncheon does not do fund raisers nor does it request funds through the regular church budget.  In keeping with the wishes of Sally Donaghy and Pat Seivwright, the two women who were instrumental in starting this mission, all funds are raised through direct donations. On behalf of the Bethany Bowl volunteers, thank you for all you do to make this outreach effort a continued reality. You are, indeed, God's instruements.   I like to refer to the Bethany Bowl as Bethany's little miracle. 
Each Tuesday, we feed an average of 120 folks from the central Vermont area. Recently someone asked me if all of these folks really need food. My answer lies in how we define food. The dictionary definition that I respond to is "something that nourishes, sustains or supplies".  The Bethany Bowl does  all of these.

We provide nourishment through a full meal as well as through opportunities for fellowship,  conversation and  the occasional need for good counsel from Rev. Mark. Friendships that have been formed here can be sustained through the weekly gathering. We supply clean clothes, books (from the annual yard sale), magazines, bread, left over food to take home for a second meal, warm coffee and pastries from La Brioche, warmth on a cold winter day, good humor and much more. We who volunteer are nourished by this "food" as well.

And so my answer is yes, all who come need the "food" we offer.  Perhaps it is not such a little miracle after all.  Thank you and blessings. 
For the Bowl, Phyllis Rowell

Bethany Center for the Arts presents:

The Bethany Church Choir, Arthur Zorn, director, performing the Vivaldi Gloria,
featuring concert pianist Diane Huling, accompanist and vocal soloists Skip Potter and Arthur Zorn.
Sunday December 30th, 2012 at 3:00 PM
Bethany Church 115 Main St Montpelier, Vermont

Also to be performed, Dietrich Buxtehude's Cantate Domino performed by the vocal trio featuring Stuart Williams, Skip Potter and Arthur Zorn and a Telemann recorder sonata with guest artist Sara Lisniansky, recorder
Admission by donation at the door
For additional information call Arthur Zorn at 223-2424 ext 224 or


This is written before Advent's time of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. I am still in the time when I am thankful and grateful. I am thankful for this year's week between Thanksgiving and Advent because I do not express my gratitude often enough or clearly enough. Certainly my friends do not hear it or feel it very often. Nor my parents and sister. The people I live with hear it more, but not in proportion to how much they should hear it. Actually, God comes closest to clearly hearing, feeling my gratitude enough. I think the unscheduled time helps gratefulness to become full and God gets most of that.
But at this time I want to mention that I am thankful for you and to you. I am grateful I am allowed to explore faith and spiritual growth with all of you. I am humbled that you look for me to lead or guide or encourage our life of faith and our togetherness. I am grateful to be a part of all that you, collectively as Bethany Church, stand for. I am grateful too that I do not have to personally be a part of everything and can still be a part of it all. I give thanks for this collective, this community, this... this Bethany thing. I give that thanks to God.
Brown Bag, Friday coffee, Confirmation Class, hallway conversations, come to mind as examples of times when I am with some of you with out agenda or task. I have profound gratitude for these times, they teach me so very much. I am also thankful for questions to me, even in disagreement, as signs of both trust and interest – allowing me to learn and clarify. Disagreement does not change my core gratitude for you, individually and corporately. As father, minister, and husband working with my spouse, disagreement is a common part of my life. Some times it can be disagreeable, but that is different, don't you think? Times will always come when there is disagreement. So what. 
I have hopes for us and I seek our peace, it is a real joy to be with you and love you. It is getting to be that time to consider those advent attitudes. But I have not let go the gratitude attitude. Soon it may always be with me, like prayer and Christmas. That is why I say I am a practicing Christian following an ancient way and grateful for the journey. Thanks for the time with you.

Ceremony of the Bells

On Saturday, January 5th , the Monteverdi Young Singers Ensemble will perform movements from Britten's "Ceremony of Carols" and other prepared pieces in the Bethany Church sanctuary – concert time is 4:00pm and will be followed by a reception in the parlor.   Come celebrate the joyful sounds of the Christmas season and the gifts and talents of young people in our midst.  This concert is part of our continuing effort to expand the reach of the Bethany Arts Center to our wider community.  
The Monteverdi Young Singers is open to children in grades 1-8, and would welcome newcomers for the 2013 winter-spring sessions.  For information please contact:  Rebecca Elgood, Director at the Monteverdi Music School at 46 Barre St. Montpelier, VT 05601      Phone: 802-229-9000

C.E. And Sunday School

The Board of Christian Education has much to be thankful for.  Hopefully, you enjoyed the wonderful presentation of God's Only Successful Prophet by the Sunday School on November 11.  We would like to thank Reverend Mark Pitton and Amy Papineau for leading this unit, and to Karen Songhurst, Amy Bell, and Stephanie Ratmeyer for their help.
What's next?  The children are now participating in "Be A Giver" where they are learning to hear God's call to give. Not really your typical gifts: instead we give thanks, give encouragement, and give nourishment.  Thank you to Jennifer Weinert, Janel Johnson, and Jim Connemann for teaching this rotation unit!

Then, the last two weeks of Advent, we will be practicing the Christmas Pageant. If you are not familiar with our Pageant, it is a simple way for the kids to participate in the special evening.  We need shepherds, angels, and wise-folks.  If your children want to participate, come to church December 16 and 23 to be assigned parts and costumes.  On Christmas Eve, bring your children to the Chapel at 5:45! The service begins at 6:00. We also need a few parents to help supervise the children at that time, and as they go into the sanctuary for the pageant.

Bethany Youth Group News

Sunday, December 2 - Meet from 7-8:30 pm in the Youth Room
It's PLAID NIGHT! Wear plaid to youth group to show you are ready for winter! Prize for the person who wears the most plaid items!
Sunday, December 9 - Meet from 7-8:30 pm in the Parlor
Need a gift to give for Christmas? Amy will bring her beads and you can make a bracelet or necklace to give to someone special! Bring $5 to cover the cost of the beads and supplies.
Sunday, December 16 – Meet at 7:30 am in the kitchen
It is a Christmas Bethany Cup! We will be making some great holiday muffins! You all did a terrific job last month – let's do it again!
Sunday, December 23 – Youth Group Christmas Party at Amy's house – 7 – 8:30 PM
Join us for our anchovy Christmas party! Bring a Yankee Swap gift – something recycled or costs less than $2 and wrap it up pretty!
Sunday, December 30 – no youth group! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Godspell at Montpelier High School! Montpelier High School will perform “Godspell” on Thurday, Dec. 6, Friday Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. The classic musical, based on the Gospel of Matthew, will be staged in the Smilie Auditorium each night at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee set for Dec. 8. Tickets cost $5 for students and $10 for adults and will be available at the door.
Jessica Collins and Carolyn Jones are a part of the cast and Patrick Fraser is the stage manager. Come support the youth of Bethany Church! Come see a great show!

Sunday, December 16th
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

Confirmation Update!

The Confirmation Class has been going very well! We would like to thank the Stewardship Committee, Denise Ricker and Janel Johnson for providing dinners for us! The Stewardship Dinner was quite a surprise! In December, we will be attending MHS' performance of GODSPELL, and talking about forgiveness of ourselves and others, as well as about offerings. Please keep the class in your prayers as they make their way along this faith journey!

Prayers Needed…
Please keep Brad David, the church lock up person, in your prayers – he will be having surgery the week of December 3rd.
Please keep Sarah Ricker, and her parents, Denise and Peter, in your prayers, as Sarah will be having surgery at Boston Children's Hospital the week of December 16th.

Our Sister Parish Ministry Thrives
Check out December Events
Thanks to wide participation from members and friends of Bethany Church, our 21-year-old partnership with San Antonio Grande, El Salvador continues to enrich both us and our sister parish. The scholarship program is a success, and, more importantly, our Christian care and love for each other flourishes. We experience the privilege of sharing joys and concerns with the people of San Antonio Grande. 
The letter below is a sample of the joy, and the commemoration of the martyrdom of four U.S. churchwomen is one of the sorrows. Each year we remember these women who were murdered by the Salvadoran military on December 2, 1980 for the “crime” of standing with the poor. Bethany travelers to El Salvador learn that the U.S. government funded and trained the military during the 12-year civil war that claimed 75,000 civilian lives. We learn that the peace we all yearn for requires attention to issues of justice and that our actions as U.S. citizens can have both very positive and very negative impacts on our sisters and brothers around the world. 
We also learn that the people of San Antonio Grande love a party! Want evidence? Come to the slide show in the chapel after worship in December 2. Last August’s travelers will share pictures of their life-changing trip. Each December, we remember the martyrs and keep our SAG friends close at heart for Christmas.

We also staart our scholarship campaign. Bethany’s generosity has made it possible for some of the village’s young people to achieve academic success that was previously only an impossible dream. This month you will have the opportunity to purchase Carolina’s jewelry, make a contribution for “stars and cards,” and donate directly to the scholarship fund. 
 October 24, 2012

Dear Bethany Church,
I send you brotherly greetings, hoping that the Almighty God is filling you with blessings and that all of your hopes and dreams are coming true.
The reason for this letter is to thank you for all of your economic support and all of the trust that you had in me. I would like you to know that I have received all of the funds that I requested, which meant that I didn’t have any problems paying the necessary fees to the University.
On Tuesday, October 23rd, I passed my thesis, or graduation project, which in my country is a fundamental requirement for graduation. Now I’m only waiting for graduation, where I will receive my degree as a Public Accountant, a dream which thanks to God and you all I have been able to achieve. I want you all to know that you have been and will always be in my thoughts and in my heart and you will always have a friend in El Salvador.
I didn’t want to communicate with you until I knew for sure of my graduation, which will be between the 15th and 20th of December. This fills me with joy and hope, and with the commitment to be a good professional and always help my community from God’s hands.
Without having any more to say, I would just like to reiterate my and my family’s gratitude.

Rogelio Amilcar Pacheco Leiva
Thank you for being a part of this amazing ministry!

The choir is working very hard preparing for our December 30th presentation of the Vivaldi Gloria. It will be done in the sanctuary beginning at 3:00 p.m. See more information later on in this Dialog.
The Community Carol sing will be held on Sunday, December 9th at Christ Church on State Street in Montpelier. Starting time is 6:30 p.m.
ON MY MIND: something that has been on my mind for a really long time is the Prelude and the abundance of talking going on during it on any given Sunday. This seems to be the time when everyone arrives, greets each other during the music and talk freely amongst themselves. To me, that is not what the prelude is. Arthur Zorn works really hard to prepare meaningful music to help center the congregation towards the service. I find it very distracting when there is loud talking so that one can be heard above the music! It would be appreciated if your greetings were done with a hand wave, a nod of the head or a note passed to someone you wish to speak with. Help everyone get centered toward the service by having this a NO TALKING time. The same should hold true for the postlude which doesn't seem to be so bothersome to me.
Anyway, just my thoughts and we hope you enjoy the Music during the Advent season.
 Judy Ribolini, Music Committee 

... and SOULS
The Bethany Church building is much more than sticks and stones. Have you ever thought of it as a mission and ministry worthy of generous support, not just a building that can become self supporting so that more of our pledge money can go toward doing the ministry that we want to do?  Please consider this:"The Giving Group" is just one of the groups that uses the building for meeting space. Andy Christiansen, one of their members, explains that the energy of the church (people) aids in the energy brought to the healing group, and how being in this building helps them in what they do. 

We have a small group of people who have learned to transmit healing energy to those in need through the use of prayer and in my case, what I call dowsing. This is something I learned from my grandmother, who used to tap into this energy back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Similar to Reiki, we position hands over areas of the body that are injured or have disease until we feel a tingling or warmth as energy flows through. Some of us are Christian and some are not, but there is an understanding that there is an intelligence greater than our own at work. Because of this, we recognize that we cannot control events or outcomes, but we do our best to achieve a healing effect, if not physically, at least in the support of a loving community. That is why we call ourselves a “Giving Group.” We may not perform a “miracle,” but like a local Fire Department, we try our best to put the fire out. More times than not, we are grateful for the times when a miracle has seemed to have occurred.
 It is a special opportunity for us to work in Bethany Church. By its location, it is accessible for many people near the center of town, but it is more than that. Over time, when people gather together to do good works and support each other as they do at Bethany, it leaves a patina of positive energy that is in itself healing. That Bethany Church does so much to assist low-income people and those with great needs, only strengthens that connection. We are grateful for the opportunity to meet in the parlor and I have experienced it both as one giving energy to others and as a recipient, having had cancer this past summer. Thank you for your generosity and kindness.
Best, Andy Christiansen"
Supporting the operation, maintenance, and improvement of the "sticks and stones" of the building is helping improve the lives and destinies of many people.
Thank You for helping this ministry flourish!
Jim C

The Working Poor
Some people come in for a warm safe place to sit. Some come needing financial assistance. If you would like to help them, contribute to the Deacon's Fund. This helps with gas, electric, rent, and work needs. Just make note on check or Envelope. We make a difference!

Flying Fingers of Faith!
The Prayer Shawl Group will meet after church on Sunday, December 2 in the fellowship room to work on our most recent shawls. Don't knit? Come and join us anyway! You can still contribute to this ministry with your prayers, creating prayer tags to attach to the shawls, or gifts of money for purchase of yarn. Contact Cassandra at 498-7328 with questions.


Flowers for Christmas may be ordered now. Please place your order before December 14 with a check or cash for $10.00 and leave it in the church office. If you have questions about your order, call Esther Farnsworth, 225-6006. Thank you.

Name_____________________________ Phone _______________

In memory of________________ _______

In honor of_________________________

Memorial Gifts

The television set that has been used in worship and by the Sunday School and Brown Bag was given in loving remembrance of Betty Reed. Betty was a long time member of Bethany Church and a much loved and remembered Sunday School teacher.

Keeping In Touch
Next Month the Dialogue will come to many of us via the internet. With this, we will have better access to information, web links to expand what is said, to show what is being talked about, and ways to be involved with it. We will be able to see color photos of things we missed at church or are happy to see again. [Please, people take pictures and send them in!] This e-dialogue will be emailed, posted on the website and linked from facebook. This will allow people to read it at home, or office, or anywhere/anytime they have a lap top, tablet, or smart phone. And those who are tired of reading things on the screen, can print off a hard copy in what ever font size will be easiest to read. 
Because this should take less staff time, we will also start a weekly letter that will give information about Sunday's worship (scripture, sermon, music), Sunday School, Youth Group, concerts, special events. It will also be able to inform about recent prayer requests, news items, mission opportunities, etc. Although brief, it should be a reminder and encouragement. And there will be a way to unsubscribe if you do not want to receive it. It too will be posted on the website and linked onto facebook.
We hope everyone will send a copy along to someone who might like it. But, we really want to send it to everyone who is a part of Bethany. If someone has an email address, we want them to have it. So that teens, college folk, twenty somethings, both married partners, people who travel, who winter else where, ALL might get the best, most up to date information the fastest way possible. 
So, help. Please make sure the office has your email. Make sure we have other friends and family. If you want it mailed, just let us know. If you have a photo of the life, mission, or ministry of this church, send it in. Go to our website and save the location, even make a tab for it. Become friends on facebook. Explore some of the mission links on the website or in up coming Dialogues. 
Please also help by having some patience the first couple of months as we use new tools on old computers. And, actually some of our brains are getting a little old too. We will be trying to figure out formats, content, and balance so things might look different week to week for a while. And feel free to give your calm reflection. 
The Word became flesh and dwells among us.” And the Christian Church has always been fast adopters of new ways to taking words of Jesus and making Gospels, printed books, radio sermons, TV lessons, and websites. All words are precious to us.
May the words of our mouth and hands and computers be acceptable in your sight.