Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October Dialogue 2014

Dialogue for October 2014

Finance Meeting
Bethany Church will hold its annual Financial Meeting on Sunday, September 28th.  Financial information packets will be available on Sunday, September 14, and if you have questions, please talk with one of the ministers or a member of the Board of Directors (Amy Bell, Judi Joy, Sandy Clougher, Joe Murray, Stephanie Ratmeyer, Judy Ribolini, and Patty Turley) prior to the meeting. The Finance Meeting is will be held in the midst of worship, like the last Annual Meeting. Choices and decisions are going to be tough, being consciously in God's presence as we do so reminds us that we are a community of faith. Here is some information you might need or want:
* This document is New Ways of Being Bethany . It is about the new structure of the church that was voted at the last Annual Meeting. It is how we are going to do what we do as a Church.
* This document is the Financial Plan we will be voting about on September 28. It has explanatory material as well as numbers.
* This is details of the 2014-2015 Financial Year.
* Here is the form to submit a Giving Plan .
* Information about Partners with Sacred Places is below

Work begins with Partners for Sacred Places

[First appeared in the September Dialogue.]
As you may remember [This FAQ sheet was dispersed last spring], Bethany Church was chosen as one of five churches in the Vermont Conference to participate in the Partners for Sacred Places program.  This program will help Bethany to discern new ways to fund our many ministries.  They will begin with an assessment of our ministry, building, and other assets, then offer us possible avenues to explore.
Two people from Partners for SAcred Places
 and two people from Bethany.
We will also participate in their New Dollars/New Partners program, which builds capacity of congregational leadership to develop community partnerships, increase organizational effectiveness, and manage, fund, and fully use our building.The Partners for Sacred Places team  (Amy Pitton, Amy Bell, Judi Joy, Steve Frey and Arthur Zorn) will meet with PSP staff to begin our assessment on Friday, September 5th, and then will participate in a larger training on September 6th..  If you have questions about PSP, please speak with one of the team members – we'd be happy to answer any question you might have!
Our participation is possible because of donations to Our Wider Church Mission. The Vermont Conference, funded in part through OCWM, organized this program.
More about New Dollars/New Partners on the web .

Hosting a Special Sunday Supper

We are hosting a cook out for the people of the Good Samaritan Haven, the Barre/Montpelier Homeless Shelter. If you have signed up to supply food, bring it. If you have not, money will be used for the hamburgers and hot dogs and rolls. Every month we host a Sunday Supper for people at the Haven.  Every month we bless the food before it goes. They seem to be fed by both the food and the blessing. You, personally, are invited to be a part of that blessing.

More than our usual Help

The last Sunday of each and every month we collect food for he Montpelier Pantry. We are the only church still doing this. Shaw's Supermarkets have removed their donation boxes which means a 7,000 pound annual loss for the Montpelier Food Pantry. The Pantry we support is the emergency food source for 4,000 central Vermonters - many of whom are still struggling to pay off last winter’s fuel bills (and foregoing groceries) before the onset of this winter.
Montpelier Alivehas been helping and downtown businesses are beginningg to step up to the plate. Bear Pond Books will hold a “Window Drive” that should garner community attention. But we too can respond with more than our usual help. The focus food for this month is Cereal. But they also need: Peanut butter, tuna fish, canned fruit, soups, hot/cold cereal, pasta and sauce, tomato products, mac&cheese
This Sunday we will receive food and send it in God's name to ease both the hunger and the fear of being hungry.


This Sunday, worship will include a sermon in two voices, the singing of our Anniversary Song, and the integration of our Finance Meeting. Any budget, home or a churches, is a theological document. It speaks about priorities and values. It indicates which god we serve. It is a faith statement by the congregation. Worship is the perfect venue to discern our sense of God's will for us. Let us be together in the spirit of prayer as we meet and discuss.

Team Working!

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed food, beverages or money to the Good Samaritan Haven dinners for the past few years. Together we have been an awesome "Good Sam Team"!! We were a TEAM before teamwork became the way things are done at Bethany. Wasn't it great when folks cooked together down in Bethany's kitchen? Maybe we can do it again sometime. Nothing is better than working together and having fun for a good cause.
The next dinner is planned for October 26th and I promise to have the sign-up sheet ready early in October so everyone will have a chance to put down their favorite fall dish. Again, thanks and many blessings to you.

 Hey Middle School Youth!(grades 6-8)

Did you know that there is youth group just for you?
Twice a month, we will get together and have some fun!  On the first Friday of each month, just Bethany youth (and their friends) will gather at Bethany Church from 6-8 for dinner and fun.  Then, on the third Friday of each month, we will meet with youth from Christ Church and the Unitarian Church, rotating through each of the churches.
This month, the Bethany Middle Schoolers will meet on Friday, October 3 in the Youth Room at Bethany, and the Ecumenical group will meet on Friday, October 17, also at Bethany.  Amy Pitton will be working with both groups.
Mark your calendars (or have your parents do it!) and see you there!

All Bethany Youth

Grades 6-12!  Let's do some Laser Tag and Bowling! We will meet at the Twin City Lanes on Sunday, October 12 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm for Lazier Tag and two games of bowling.  Please bring $10 and any coupons you might have.  Bring a friend as well!


Confirmation Class is on for this year and is open to all students in grades 8-10!  Over the coming year, the class will be exploring what it means to be a person of faith and a church member.  The program will include lunch, which, like in past years, will be provided by members of the congregation, followed by conversation, activities, and solemn prayer (well, maybe not so solemn – at least not all the time!)
* We will hold our first class on Sunday, October 12, from noon - 2 pm in the Youth Room! The first class will be for both youth and parents.

We will have lunch, go over the expectations and the schedule, and answer any questions you might have. Amy Pitton will once again be teaching the class this year, but will also have help! Laura Cadmus, our student minister, will also be along for the ride. If you have any questions about Confirmation, please contact Amy (revamyp@comcast.net)

 Bethany Board of Directors puts forthPriorities for the coming year

The Bethany Board of Directors has been talking about priorities for the last couple of months.  After Board members had an opportunity to submit their individuals ideas for priorities, and everyone had the opportunity to review them, the Board met on Wednesday, September 24th to make some decisions about where the Board's and the Church's energy should be focused in the coming year.  Three priorities were seen as helping us to Nourish and Communicate.  They are:

Financial Stability: The Board will work to increase the donor base by increasing Bethany's visibility and contributions in the community, work to increase giving by current donors through stewardship education, increase rental income, and explore collaboration with nearby UCC churches.  We will continue to look to outside sources for income, and decrease our dependency on pledging for income.

Beyond Bethany Bowl: The Board will focus on the ministry that Bethany Bowl provides to our community.  Along with support for providing the noon meal, we will look into increasing services available at meal from local agencies.  We will look into reinventing the way we provide the noon meal in collaboration with the other churches and the Food Pantry – perhaps coordination of purchasing and meal prep. We will look at the continued possibility of enabling non-church folk to participate in this ministry.

Telling our Story – The Board will provide ways for members and friends of Bethany Church to learn how to intentionally tell Bethany's story with confidence and pride, letting the wider Montpelier community know who we are, what we do, and what difference we make in the community. Getting our story out can help to increase our ministry and our membership.

 Crop Walk Next Sunday, October 5!



The Bluegrass Gospel Project will be performing at the Chandler Center for the Arts on Friday, October 10 at 7 PM.  Tickets are $25 per person, and proceeds will go to support the many ministries and missions of the Vermont Conference UCC.  You can purchase tickets online at http://tinyurl.com/VTBluegrass  or by contacting Rev. Jim Thomas (thomasj@vtcucc.org) in the Conference Office.  Don't miss this great event!

Literacy and Education Efforts

Through the Neighbors in Need offering, the church expresses a common commitment to justice and compassion throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

One-third of the offering undergirds the work of the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM), including much-needed financial support for 20 American Indian congregations in the UCC. Information is HERE (http://www.caimucc.org/) .

Historically, the forebears of the UCC established churches with the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Ho-Cak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Northern Nebraska. Today, there are 19 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban inter-tribal congregation in Minneapolis. In addition, there are more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations scattered in nearly every conference in the UCC. Your contributions to Neighbors in Need directly impact the UCC's ability to support American Indian ministries and congregations.

Two-thirds of the offering supports justice advocacy and direct service projects such as just-peace programs and community grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. Funding is provided through donations to the Neighbors in Need offering. Information HERE. (http://www.ucc.org/justice/index-011614.html)

Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. Funding is provided through donations to the Neighbors in Need offering. Our donation will be received on October 5. This year we will focus on  how neighbors need education and literacy.

Fiance Update

FY 2015 Finance Update from Bethany’s Board of Directors
As of August 31st, we are already one-sixth of the way through the current fiscal year. Due to the generosity of the Bethany community, income of $35,632 has allowed us to pay operating expenses of $34,093.

Many thanks to everyone who participates in our vital and dynamic community of faith!

Partners for Sacred Places Update

At the September 6 meeting
Bethany Church had its initial interview with the team from Partners for Sacred Places on Friday, September 5th.  We spent about 3 hours introducing the team to Bethany Church, its ministries and its building.  The PSP folks were fascinated with our building, interested in hearing our history, and were particularly impressed with our new governance structure and how many folks had signed up for the different team ministries!  There was great interest in our organ and great confusion at the warren of rooms on our second floor!
On Saturday, September 6th, members of Bethany's SISP team (Strategic Investment in Sacred Places) attended the first training event, which was entitled New Partners/New Dollars.  This program is designed to help the participating churches discern new partners as well as new dollars that could support the ministries of the churches.  There is homework to do as a part of this – Bethany Church will be taking a look at our building and thinking about how we might be able to use it creatively, as well as figuring out how to get our “story” (who is Bethany, what do we do, how do we serve) out into the wider Montpelier community.  The Property Board will be looking at the building, and you will begin to see ways that will help you share Bethany's story with your friends and neighbors.

 Lawn Sale THANK YOU

Thank you to all who donated items for the 2014 Bethany Lawn and Bake Sale - - we couldn’t do it without you. And of course, THANK YOU to all who were part of the crew – there were 71 of us this year, including bakers and those who allowed signs on their lawns. With all the hard work and all the smiling faces, we benefited many in this
community and strengthened the Bethany family. If we plan the dates for next time as usual, those dates are September 19 and 20, with Price&Sort starting on the 14th. Mark your calendars!
Let us know if you have suggestions or concerns.

Save the date!

An All Saints, All Souls, All -Association Worship will be held at 11 am on Sunday, November 2 at the Barre Opera House!  The churches of the Washington Association will gather for worship and communion.  Our preacher will be writer, storyteller, and VPR commentator, Willem Lange.  Arthur Zorn will lead an All Association Choir! Worship will be followed by coffee and fellowship. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to worship with our sister churches here in Central Vermont!   There will be no worship service held at Bethany on that Sunday.