Friday, January 3, 2014

The Dialogue January 2014

The Dialogue


Remember and Sing

8/28/1963 I have a Dream Speech
As a Community, let us join together on January 20 and remember and honor the faith and vision of Martin Luther King Jr.
By hearing his own words, singing songs that he admired, and hearing scripture from his faith tradition we will both honor and glimpse the world he envisioned. 
Together we might remember that we are still the agents of bending the moral arc of this nation.

 Do you remember when Rev. Ken White from Austin Texas preached at Bethany in December?

Yes, We thought you would.

He has been called to serve as the minister of College Street Church in Burlington, Vt.

Yes, that is right. He is moving from Austin Texas to Burlington VT.   In February. 

Clearly he needs prayer.

We will let you know when he gets to Vermont.



Do you ever wonder if what we do is making a difference anywhere? It is. And it is appreciated. 

In the Labyrinth Journal you can read the thank yous to Bethany for providing the interactive Chapel and especially the Labyrinth.

We hear it in the office too. And yes, people do say thank you for the Deacon's Fund and they do sometimes give back. 

On the front windows of the church, in the midst of the clutter of signs and warnings, are several hearts, cut and taped. They  also give thanks. "Thanks for the wonderful food we all receive" "Thank you Lovely people"


Want to Officially Join Bethany?  

Have you felt a certain kinship with the members of Bethany? Want to make a statement about your faith and add your voice to Bethany's witness for Justice and Peace? Just want to feel like you have a Spiritual Home? Talk to Rev Mark or Rev. Amy (email, phone, postcard, etc) and we will set up a time for you to join us in the costs and joys of a faith community.

 From the Church

Thanks to all who worked doing and number of things to make our New Year's Eve Fund Raiser a success. Tickets, ushers, servers, kitchen minions, and craftie people.
Thank to Mark LaGrand for starting the idea and watching over the concert.
Thanks to Cindy Cykon  for being in charge of the creative activity for children.
Thanks to Chef Bob Hildebrand for the chefing in the kitchen.
Thanks to Bob Barrett and Paul Richardson for knocking the advertising out of the park.
Thanks to Arthur and Amy for decorating the Fellowship Hall.
Thanks to Joanne Hardy for saying a week before the event that it was already a success because we did it.
Thanks to Rev. Mark and Reg Welch for taking pictures. 

Christian Education

Bethany Youth Group News

Sunday, January 5 - 12 noon - 5:30 pm
Youth Group Trip to the Pumphouse Water Park at Jay Peak. Admission covered by youth group funds. Please let Amy know by Wednesday, January 1 if you plan to go.

Sunday, January 12 - 7:30 am in the church kitchen
Yes, it is Bethany Cup again already! Come help make the muffins - you are needed and wanted and appreciated!

Sunday, January 19 - No Youth Group - Join us next week!

Sunday, January 26 - 7 - 8:30 PM in the Youth Room!
We have planning to do for Super Bowl Subs - and there is fun to be had as well! Join us!

Sunday, February 2 - Super Bowl Subs on Super Bowl Sunday! 7 am at the church!
It's that time of year again! Wake up to the smell of freshly cut onions and come help us make some subs! It is our biggest fundraiser of the year! And the most fun! Join us!

The Youth Group is once again selling delicious sub sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday on February 3rd! Orders will be taken on Sunday mornings, January 19th and 26th, or by calling the church office. The subs will be 10 inches long and available with ham, turkey, salami and/or cheese, with all the fixings! Salads available too! Cost $7.50 per sub or salad! Order yours and enjoy the game! The money raised goes toward youth group programs! Support the Youth Group - eat a sub!

Join the Youth Group for a midwinter
Sunday, January 12th - 8:30-9:30 am in the Parlor!
Come for a COZY breakfast!
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
Music and Concerts

December has been a cheerfully busy month for the Bethany choir, with several
enjoyable concerts and activities, and more to come!

We hosted the Montpelier Community Carol Sing on Sunday evening, December 15th at Bethany Church. The choirs from a number of churches in the city came and sang, each doing one special piece they had prepared. Also taking part were the Capitol Ringers bell choir, a barbershop quartet and the Bethany Baritones, with youngsters from our church acting out the Christmas pageant as it was narrated. 

That Sunday morning was special - right after worship, the Bethany congreation gathered at the front of the sanctuary and made a YouTube video for the community of San Antonio Grande. We sang Joy to the World, and then Feliz Navidad in Spanish. Theresa Lever was our Spanish-speaking narrator, wishing our sister community Christmas blessings.

To see that video, click

The New Year's Eve acoustic concert that will be held at Bethany Church has been well publicized, thanks to many people, among them Mark Legrand, Arthur Zorn, and Paul Richardson who produced the posters you're seeing all over greater Montpelier. There will be kids' activities in the afternoon, an Italian buffet prepared by Chef Bob Hildebrand between 5:00 - 6:30 and the live concert between 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. The musicians will be Spencer Lewis, Mark Legrand & Sara Munro, Lizzy Mandell and Lilly & Nancy Smith. Tickets are on sale online (the Kiosk) or at the door. Please come -comfort food, a great concert and an opportunity to raise $$ for Bethany.

On Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. the Bethany Choir under the direction of Arthur Zorn (pianist: Diane Huling) will present a concert at Bethany: Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio, performed in English. Admission is by donation at the door. The early part of the concert program will include five selections from the Christmas portions of Handel's Messiah. Featured vocal soloists are: Lisa Jablow, soprano; Vera Winter, mezzo-soprano; Linda Radtke, alto; Skip Potter, tenor; Arthur Zorn, baritone; and Stuart Williams, bass.

Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio-Sunday, 
January 5, 2014-3:00 PM. 

Bethany United Church of Christ, 115 Main Street Montpelier. 

 Preceding the oratorio performance the program will feature favorite selections from the Christmas portions of Handel's  Messiah. Performed in English by the Bethany Church Choir, Arthur Zorn, director  with Diane Huling, pianist

Featuring vocal soloists, Lisa Jablow, soprano, Vera Winter, mezzo soprano, Linda Radtke, alto, Skip Potter, tenor,  Stuart Williams and Arthur Zorn, baritone.

Admission by donation at the door.  

Evensong - Sunday
 Third Sundays at 5:00 p.m. 
A time of calm and reflection with music and prayer. January 19 is the date in January. It is a very beautiful time.


If you can, listen to Diana Nyad's TED Talk. Available HERE  She talks about swimming from Cuba to Key West, FL.  What an accomplishment - not by her alone, but by her Team.  We don't reach our goals without a strong team and I think the stronger our team is, the greater the goals are that we can reach.   Our Bethany Church Community is such a Team.  We are making a positive difference in people's lives - and our own.  Diana quotes Henry David Thoreau: "When you achieve your dreams, it's not so much what you get as who you have become in achieving them."  We have achieved many dreams as a Community of caring, faithful people.  I love who we have become and how we are continuing to reach for new "dreams"  with courage and vision.
   Joanne Hardy, Chair  Stewardship Committee

SAVE THE DATE - April 5, 2014
Mark your calendars now and tell all your friends, neighbors, and relatives
to save the date for a fun time. When you are doing your after holiday clean-up, set aside a good quality item or two that might be fun for the auction.
Stay tuned for details in future Dialogues.

San Antonio Grande Annual Campaign-

We invite you to participate in our ministry with San Antonio Grande, El Salvador, our sister parish ministry. 

In 2014, our San Antonio Grande funds will be used to help pay high school and college education expenses for some of San Antonio Grande's young people, as well as a community development sewing project for dozens of adults.We are tremendously grateful for the involvement and generosity of the Bethany community over the 22 years of our sister parish relationship.  This ministry has allowed us to grow in faith, share gifts, and stand in solidarity with each other.

To see a video of the work that is already being done on this project, simply click HERE

If you want to be a part of this work of education and employment, simply mark your donation "San Antonio Grande" and send to the church office.
San Antonio Grande Visit in 2014

There have been questions floating about asking if there will be a 2014 trip to El Salvador.  Well, I have e-mailed the Hotel Oasis - our gracious hosts from years past - and Carolina suggests we come mid August.  Who would like to go?  If you have any interest, please let me or Theresa Lever know so we can keep you in the loop as planning moves forward.
Liz (Sykas-Ringgenberg)


Good Samaritan Meals

Good Samaritan Haven logo
What a wonderful year we have had providing a meal each and every month for the Good Samaritan Haven Shelter for the Homeless. No one can ever say that the folks of Bethany Church saw someone in need "And passed by on the other side". Many, many thanks to all of the folks who contribute food, beverages and/or money to this outreach mission!
The day for January's dinner is the 26th. The sign-up sheet will be available on the Parlor table following worship each week and on the Outreach bulletin board during the week. Again, thanks to all who participate in this wonderful ministry.

Thanks for PINS Christmas Gifts

Through the PINS program, Bethany members donated 30 gift cards to DCF in Barre this year. These cards helped provide groceries, gas, and gifts for local children who have been abused or neglected. Thank you very much for the generous support that helped children most in need to celebrate a happy holiday. 
Sandy Clougher, Sue Day, and Carol Welch

Montpelier Food Pantry
Food is collected on the last Sunday of the month to communicate God's love and care and to nourish those who need help getting food.
On January 26 we will collect food for the Pantry. The focus food will be SOUP.

 From the President
Sacred Space

ISteeple w/out treen her sermon on the fourth Sunday in Advent, Amy Pitton noted a significant difference often evident between theologically conservative and theologically liberal congregations. Theologically conservative congregations tend to be rigid in their understandings about God, yet flexible in structuring their worship experiences. In contrast, the theologically more liberal mainline protestant congregations, including the United Church of Christ which professes that God is Still Speaking, are open to new ways of discerning and responding to God's word but tend to resist any changes to Sunday morning worship.

The most important thing I have learned about change, any change, is that first and foremost, change means loss. Loss of what is familiar, expected, and routine. And this loss is real, even if we want or need the change. As a personal example, in spite of the fact that I welcome and appreciate the inclusive language used in our New Century Hymnal, I sometimes experience a profound sense of loss because the tunes are unfamiliar or the words to familiar tunes are very different. But I am also aware that moving through my discomfort is helping me to grow spiritually. I now pay more attention to the words, regardless of which hymnal we use, and see more clearly how important is was for our congregation to transition to new hymnals. This for Bethany was a step toward more flexibility in our Sunday morning worship.

You have likely heard by now there is talk of making some changes to the pews in the sanctuary. These beautiful solid-wood structures are by design inflexible. This is a particular challenge for families with young children, and for those confined to wheel chairs or who otherwise need more space than current seating in the sanctuary allows. The Trustees, along with the other boards and committees, are currently discussing options for removing one or more pews at the back of the sanctuary and part or all of one pew some way up on each side of the center isle in order to make our communal worship space more welcoming and accessible for everyone.

As we continue our journey of living into new ways of being Bethany, I invite you to engage in this conversation. If you are not already part of a group that has this topic on its agenda, please feel free to contact me or one of the Trustees to share your insights. Changing how we provide seating in the sanctuary might mean that all of us will have to adjust where we sit on Sunday morning. But this kind of flexibility might also mean that more people can join us in the sanctuary to be spiritually nourished in this generous, adventurous faith community.

Peace and Blessings,
Stephanie Ratmeyer


 Minister's Musing  
Don't Stop Believin' 
Moses knew where his journey was going. Out of Egypt. Through the wilderness. Into the promised land. To his amazement, his journey did not end where he expected.
Two guys walking to Emmaus. Never thought they could find what was lost on that journey. They were amazed to find what was impossible to be. 
Paul took three journeys. Never knew what to expect. He had an amazing list of bad experiences. He was martyred at the end of his journey. His journey was an amazing success.  
The Magi journeyed and had to ask for directions. What they found was amazing.
Voyager I started its journey in 1977. It really was expected only investigating the outer planets of our solar system. Last year it left our solar system. There are different cosmic particles in our solar system than out of it. Voyager now travels in interstellar space. It will send information for another 10 years or so. Then its power will be exhausted. In 40,000 years it will be near (in galactic terms) another solar system. Amazing. 
The Church has often felt like it has known where it is going. How to get there. What it would find. What it should do on the way. It has known what to expect. Just like all the voyagers above. We never expect something amazing. Which is kind of amazing, considering our God.  
Here are the pair of questions I think church needs to consider:
  •  Is the church to be serving people in the church or serving those outside?
  •  Is the church seeking a world of morality or a world of justice?  
I suppose we could answer with both groups and both goals. But we can not serve two masters because at some point they will clash, at some point resources force prioritizing. But, maybe more than these, I think it is important that we understand that how we answer these questions forms who are as a church and as a congregation, our character and theology. No one person's answer describes a congregation. But I would love to hear what each of you would say in response to this pair of questions. I think it might be amazing.
The Board of Mission 
I like to think it is obvious that a church will always take care of its people. Worship, counseling, wedding, funerals, life direction, and a sense of purpose. But I can not see how this is the work of the church. Surely we do not exist for ourselves. Certainly Jesus and Paul were not focused on taking care of their own. And everyone is God's own. 
I find our faith calling, impelling us to serve as servants (not masters) to all creation. As servants, it seems a Just world is more significant than a moral one. I hope it is obvious that morality is important, and the work for justice needs to be morally done. But morality is more about an individual. And the hope of a moral life is to get to heaven, where there is justice... It seems too selfish to me. I can imagine morality existing for some but the world lacking justice. I can not imagine a just world that is also Just. Justice seems primary. Justice is for everyone. And every thing, every part of creation.
But I am also aware, as I think about Voyager, that our journey is with God. We take our journey, we go our way based on our listening to a still speaking God. And if we listen and go with God, we will be faithful. And, I think we will be amazed by the journey. 
What do you think? 
And let me leave you with this thought. There is a Voyager II.  
Journey and Don't Stop Believin'