Friday, May 1, 2015

May Dialogue

Bethany Dialogue May

 Pastor's Piece

At the end of this month, Mark and I will end a nearly 26 year run working as co-pastors. When we started, as co-associate ministers of Grace Church in Rutland in August of 1989, we were kind of surprised that we were actually going to work together. When we graduated from seminary three years earlier, we had actually written in our ministerial profiles (resumes) that we didn't want to work together because we thought our skill sets were too similar. Boy, were we wrong! It turned out that we had different skill sets, different talents for ministry, and way different styles that, most of the time, they worked quite well together.

But 26 years later, we are feeling called to different ministries. I still have lots of energy and vision for ministry here at Bethany, and Mark is finding that he needs some time away from parish ministry to regroup and decide what he wants to do next. His job at the Vermont Conference utilizes many of his skills for ministry and is a good job for this time of discernment. While we will miss working together, and will have to make some real adjustments as we navigate this life change, we are also excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for each of us.

There is no question that it will be different here at Bethany without Mark's presence. We will miss him a lot and in many different ways. He has done good ministry here and without him, we will not be the same church and will not be able to do ministry in the same ways. It will be different and that might be hard at first. But we will adapt, and remembering what he has taught us about ministry, continue to do the work God calls us to.

I know that some of you are particularly sad about Mark's leaving, and also sad that, because of rules around ministerial ethics, he will not be around for the next year or so. It's been a long time since Bethany had a minister who left on good terms, so you have not been through the experience of saying goodbye and holding that boundary of letting go fully. This is something that every healthy church and departing minister go through when a minister leaves. It is what Mark and I did when we left the church in Rutland. I know it seems harsh, but experience in
the United Church of Christ has found it is the right thing to do for the good of the church – trust me. I also know it is hard to say goodbye – it will be hard for me too – but I trust that God will continue to be with us and that we will be fine.

I hope that you will come and celebrate Mark's ministry on Sunday, May 31^st. Elsewhere in the Dialogue you will find details about the celebration! Let's send Mark off with lots of good wishes and love.


 Let us Pray.

Does your heart ache for Baltimore? Freddie Grey? The people who have held their anger in for so long? Those who finally could not bear the indignity and pain? How about for our nation that has such a deep seam of racism that can only be seen when white privilege is acknowledged? Does the whole thing just make you ache and wonder what your church has to say at 'a time such as this'?

The United Church of Christ website has had a series of articles on this. This one calls for positive responses from many different groups. Are you in this article? HERE

Would you like the sense that there are those who are working for Justice and PEACE? Does the church and our denomination offer anything that will help? You might like this article that reminds us that news organizations are a commercial venture wanting to focus on what will sell their product, even if it is not the complete story. And it points out that Baltimore is the location of protest, but the problem is systemic through out our nation. Read here  .
And, for now, there is this article. It calls for people of faith to do more than pray. We use "If you want peace work for justice" as a bumper sticker slogan. The truth is that it is the truth. If you want to stop things like Ferguson and Baltimore, then pick one of several justice issues and work to bring God's justice, equality, and fairness into this world. Wages, employment, education, equality, representation/enfranchisement,  health care, taxes, respect, incarceration, etc...

Prayer will help all these things. ESPECIALLY if you pray to our God that you are motivated to DO something when you are done listening to God in prayer. Here is the link to the article 

 Disaster Response

On April 25, 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal causing significant damage and destruction in Kathmandu and surrounding areas. Since Saturday's quake, our partnership through the ACT Alliance has been responding and working hard to help stabilize the situation through provisions of food, water, medicine and temporary shelter.

UCC Disaster Ministries is supporting these essential on-the-ground efforts, as the death toll continues to rise. Currently it is reported more than 5,000 have died as a result of the earthquake.

UCC Disaster Ministries is requesting financial contributions to the International Emergency Relief fund to support these essential on-the-ground efforts. Donors can designate their gift by noting it is for Nepal Earthquake relief. Note this on envelope or check and Bethany will send it on to the Conference.

It is because of our support of OCWM and OGHS that we were sending help and on site within hours of a disaster. It is because of OWCM and OGHS that every penny given for a disaster goes to that disaster. What have we done, what are we doing? Check it out.   And here  too.

Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty
out values all the utilities of the world.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844


Please join us May 10th at the 10 o’clock service. It is time to honor the Sunday School Students, the Teachers, the Nursery Helpers, and the Graduates! Our church blooms yet another Sunday!You won’t want to miss it!

 Bethany Youth Group News

Middle School Youth

Bethany Middle School Youth Group will meet on Friday, May 1 from 6-8 in the Youth Room. We will have pizza and play games! Come for the fun!

The Bethany Area Interfaith Middle School Youth Group (with the Unitarian Church) will meet on Friday, May 15 from 6-8 at Bethany Church. Program to be announced>Save the Date!All Bethany Youth in grades 6-12 are invited to a cook-out at Amy's house on Sunday, June 7th – and maybe some kickball or ultimate frisbee! Come for the fun!

 Confirmation News

We are nearing the end of the Confirmation program. On the weekend of May 8-9, the Confirmation Class will go on their final retreat. On Sunday, May 24th, the church might celebrate Confirmation Sunday, if the Confirmands want the opportunity to confirm the promises that their parents made at their baptisms. I hope you will join us!

The members are: Angus Fraser, David Frey, Liam Frey, Henry Jones and Justin Murray. We have meet for 2 hours on many Sundays since we started last fall. We have traveled to New York City.

Many thanks as well to all those who provided dinner for the class over the course of the year. I want to applaud you, the members and friends of Bethany Church, for the all you have done for these boys over the years they have been a part of Bethany Church.  The promise that you made at baptism to love, support and care for those who are baptized at Bethany Church has been lived out in making Sunday School happen, God's Word for All Ages, Youth Group, this class, and all the ways that you have welcomed them and included them. Special this year was the church's desire for a student to teach as she learned. Having Laura Cadmus broadened what the class could do and learn. I am very jealous of sharing a confirmation class. So, it is to her credit that she was such a solid part of their experience.  They feel at home and loved at Bethany Church, and we can be proud.

And as of now, we will be extending our time together. There will be a final Retreat next fall .
Amy Pitton

 By Law Update and Information

Informational Meeting about Bethany's revised Bylaws! Curious about Bethany's new bylaws and structure? Come to a meeting on Sunday, May 17th after church to learn about the changes! Copies of the new bylaws will be available in the church office starting on May 4.

The Spring Meeting of the Washington Association will be held on Sunday, May 17th at 1 pm at the Willliamstown Congregational Church. The Rev,. Lucia Jackson, chair of the Vermont Conference Stewardship Department will be the keynote speaker. If you would like to hear about innovative ways to raise money in the church, you are encouraged to attend! Those who went to her Workshop at the recenet Vermont Conference Annual Meeting found her informative and a great presenter!

Bethany is blooming!

As you have heard, Bethany is blooming! And you ain't seen nothing yet! Come to worship this Sunday, Stewardship Sunday, and celebrate the many blossoms that are Bethany Church! We will be receiving Giving Plan cards as well – if you did not receive a Giving Plan card, extras will be avaiilable. We are asking that folks consider increase their giving 5% or more – this will cover the cost of inflation as well as provide a little extra money for all the wonderful ministry that Bethany is doing! Join us!CE Sunday is coming!!!

Knit Together in Ministry

The Prayer Shawl group will meet at the home of Melitta Maddox at 4 Walker Terrace in Montpelier on Tuesday May 12th at 7:00 p.m. We welcome any new members to our group as we start out the new season. Bring your own knitting or crochet projects or check out yarn and patterns as we visit. We also welcome suggestions of names of members or friends who might be comforted by a shawl.

The Warmth of Being Connected

The minister and members of the Visiting Committee are happy to visit members who are ill or unable to come to church. Remember to let the Bethany office know when you know of someone who might appreciate a visit, a call or a card.

 FY 2015 Finance Update from Bethany’s Board of Directors

As of March 31, 2015, we are nine months through the current fiscal year. Thanks to the generosity of the Bethany community we have received operating income of $161,908 which is 78% of the total estimated income for this fiscal year.  Expenses through the end of March totaled $191,497, which is 64% of anticipated costs for this fiscal year.

Despite the fact that costs continue to run lower than projected, expenses exceed income. We anticipated this situation when the congregation approved the current financial operating plan at our meeting in September. As discussed then, we are drawing on investment funds and the Jackman bequest to cover the gap. If you would like to read the financial statements, copies are available for review in the church office.

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


There will be a Farewell Party/Lunch for Rev. Mark  on Sunday, May 31st at 11:30 AM.
On May 17th at 1:00 PM we will have a time to Create Pages for an Album of Memories. There will be Scrapbooking supplies available.  Please bring pictures, memories, creative ideas for your “Page”. Sign up at Hospitality on Sunday or speak to a Committee Member: Arthur Zorn, Vera Winter, Melitta Maddox and Joanne Hardy.

Report In

Annual Reports are due on Monday, May 18th!  If you are the leader of one of our team ministries, please write a short report about what your team has done this past year.  Then please send it to the church via email (uccbethany@comcast,net (mailto:uccbethany@comcast,net) ) Thanks so much!


Fritz Reindel’s legacy

Many of us remember Fritz Reindel fondly.  He was Helen Jean’s husband and a generous and very active member of Bethany Church.  You may or may not know that he was a skilled potter who created the communion plates and cups that we use every month as well as candle holders we use in the windows at Christmas.  When he passed away, a special fund was created in his honor.  He wanted to provide ongoing support to charities serving individuals and families, and he trusted Bethany Church to decide where to donate the money.  Every year we are instructed to give at least 10% of the remaining balance.
This year the Board of Directors decided to donate $1000.00 from the Fritz Reindel fund to VLIAC, the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Counsel.
Thank you Fritz and Helen Jean!

Hospitality for All
From These Fine People:

May 3  Phyllis & Conrad Rowell
May 10  Stephanie Ratmeyer & Paul Richardson
May 17  The Ricker Family
May 24   Carol & Don Welch
May 31  Farewell Committee
June 7  The Frey Family
June 14   San Antonio Grande Committee ( T. Lever)

It Is Not Possible to Have Too Much Fun

Bethany's Fun & Frivolity Team- Invites you to Bethany's "Minute To Win It" game night this Saturday, May 9 from 7-8:30 pm. Contestants take part in a series of 60 second challenges that use objects commonly available around the house. All are welcome to come and participate or just'll be fun for all. Refreshments will be served. Spread the word- Invite your family, friends, your neighbors for a great night of fellowship here at Bethany.