Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

April 2023

awe, beauty and pain

Rev. Elizabeth Gleich

Grace and Peace, friends:

By the time you read this, we’ll be nearing the end of our liturgical season of Lent. I hope this season has been a rich time of reflection for you, and that you've had moments when you feel God's overflowing love for you and the whole of creation.

We enter Holy Week in a matter of days—those full, quiet, sacred days when we walk with Jesus toward the cross, the empty tomb, and resurrection. I hope that each of us can be fully present to all that Holy Week contains: awe, beauty, and pain. Together, we face these days as a community of faith, rooted in God's love, together journeying toward new life in Christ. This year, I hope you join us in celebrating Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday here at church and around Middlebury.

Holy Week at MiddUCC

  • Palm Sunday: 10:00 a.m. in the sanctuary
  • Maundy Thursday: 6:00 p.m. soup and bread; 7:00 p.m. Maundy Thursday service in Fellowship Hall
  • Good Friday: 12:00 noon ecumenical service at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
  • Easter Sunday: 
  • 6:15 a.m. Easter Sunrise service at Alumni Stadium, Middlebury College; 
  • 10:00 a.m. service in the sanctuary. 

All are welcome. God bless you in these holy days.


Pastor Elizabeth


On Easter Sunday, our nursery room will not be staffed in order to let our workers sit in the sanctuary with their families during worship. But the space is available to use if a parent/caregiver would like to come to the nursery and stay with their child. Thank you for understanding.

Congratulations to Baker, Eva, Lucy, and Margaret—our nursery care workers—on successfully completing Pediatric First Aid and CPR training through the American Heart Association. They recently spent a Saturday afternoon taking the training class and are now officially certified!



The Church Council met on March 8, 2023 and listened to reports from Pastor Andy and Pastor Elizabeth, as well as the Chairs of all the Church Boards. We heard about the MANY activities planned for the coming month.

The Trustees approved the purchase of a new flat-screen monitor for the hallway near the office.

Council will be looking at the anti-harassment policy in the next few months. It dates back to June 2004, and most likely should be updated.

We listened to and had a discussion about the new budget procedures that Erika Garner and Michele Brown have set up for payment of expenditures.

We listened to an update from the Red Clover Children's Center. We discussed and approved moving junior high programs from Room 13 in the addition to the nursery room in our original building. The nursery will move to one of the newly renovated rooms being used by the children's center. Some renovation of the current nursery room is needed before it can be used by the junior youth group.

We discussed the question "What do we see happening in the church in the coming year?" Leanna would like to have all the Boards discuss this at their next meeting, if they have not already done so.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Foster, Clerk

  • Between annual meetings, the Church Council meets once a month to fulfill its responsibility to coordinate the church's programs and business. Council has the powers generally ascribed to a corporation's board of directors.

    The Church Council is composed of the following Church members:  Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor, and the chairpersons of the six church boards. Also, there are three at-large members. One is elected every year and serves a 3 year term.

  • The basic life and work of the church is under the direction and supervision of church boards, which meet monthly at the All Boards Meeting and report to the Church Council. Members of these boards are elected from the membership of the church. 

Holy Week

Holy Week is an important time for Christians throughout the world. Holy Week, the final week of Lent, begins on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. 

Join us in celebrating Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday here at church and around Middlebury.

Soup & Bread

A Maundy Thursday Soup and Bread Dinner will be hosted by the Board of Membership and Communications on Thursday, April 6th at 6 PM in Fellowship Hall. 

The service will follow in Fellowship Hall.

Children of God

Eliana Cañas parra, Director of Children and Youth Ministries

Dear church,

Happy April! March included many good events and blessings, including the beginning of Spring! The longer days, the singing of birds, and the buckets on the maple trees make me feel excited every year.

Our children and youth programs kept busy as well! Our Nursery Care providers (Eva Andrews, Baker Nelson, Margaret Orten, and Lucy Poduschnick), and a couple of members of the Board of Christian Development completed a Pediatric CPR and First Aid training conducted by Gina Ciancia Jackson, NP. We are grateful for Gina’s time, who dedicated a Saturday afternoon to teaching the class. I’m also grateful for these kinds of opportunities for our youth, opportunities that equip them with better skills as they care for the youngest members of our church. Thanks be to God.

We also had our Lent for All Ages event. This was a lovely time together. The participants had some quiet time to reflect on their Lent journey, pray in the Sanctuary, light candles, draw and color, and make some crafts. Thanks to the BCD for providing snacks and for their support in some of the stations, especially the ones that children were more drawn to!

Junior Youth Group

Shout out to JYG for their Children Message on March 26 as they talked about their art exhibition and what Room at the Table means. They are such an important part of our community, and I’m sure we all valued their take on how to welcome everyone. After all, as they said, we are all beloved children of God.

The JYG will participate in National Earth Day Prayer on April 22, so stay tuned to your social media and emails to pray with our youth for all Creation!



in celebration of

Being a creation justice Church

In honor of Faith Climate Action Week (April 14-23) and Earth Day (April 22), the Green Team would like to celebrate the continued good work of this congregation as a Creation Justice Church. This congregation endorsed our Creation Justice Covenant at the 2021 Annual Meeting and our application to become a Creation Justice Church was submitted and approved by the Environmental Justice Program at the United Church of Christ in January 2022. Since then, we have continued to work diligently to incorporate creation justice into our worship services and our institutional practices, build awareness of creation justice issues in our community and state, and connect with broader environmental justice movements. We would like to share the Covenant with you again this year as a reminder of our obligation and our inspiration. The next meeting of the Green Team will be on Monday, April 10, 2023 at 7:00 via Zoom. Please contact leanna_maglienti@yahoo.com or sureidstjohn@gmail.com if you are interested in attending. 

Middlebury Congregational Church Creation Justice Covenant

From the beginning, God entrusted us as stewards of God’s good creation. In fashioning us in God’s image, God bestowed upon us the responsibility to tend to creation as God would: with love and a respect for the needs of all living things. In affirming the divine gifts of creation and our connection to God, each other, and the world around us, the Congregational Church of Middlebury, UCC, commits ourselves to this urgent responsibility. We pledge to increase our awareness of how the abuses of creation cause environmental degradation and human suffering, and to celebrate and support work that preserves or restores ecological processes that benefit all life. We promise to fight the injustices of climate change, supporting and advocating for those most harmed by its effects. Furthermore, as we confront this growing crisis, we resolve that these deeply felt commitments will be reflected in all dimensions of our congregation’s life and extend far beyond our church’s walls. In this way, we acknowledge and honor God’s glory and perfect intent.

Nursery Volunteers Needed!

The church nursery, downstairs next to the fellowship hall, is open Sundays from 9:45 to 11:15 a.m. for children age 0–4 and staffed by two highly capable youth from our congregation. In addition, our Safe Church Policy requires an adult to be present in the nursery alongside our teenage nursery care providers. 

We are trying to grow our pool of adult volunteers so that each individual would be signed up approximately once every six weeks. Adult volunteers will complete a background check and be oriented to nursery procedures and the Safe Church Policy. Please contact Matt Kubacki at mskubacki@gmail.com if you are interested in becoming an adult nursery volunteer.

what can i do to benefit my community

and help my church?

In the March Church Matters, we suggested that one way to help is donating to a local resale/consignment shop under our church’s account number (for example, our By Again Alley account number is 506; Neat Repeats is 45). Visiting resale/consignment shops, donating items for resale, and making purchases are indeed both beneficial to our community and helpful to our church.

A second way is doing a little spring organizing in your home and squirreling away a box of items for the 2023 November Holiday Bazaar. You could make someone very happy on Bazaar Day by saving toys, games, and puzzles (for all ages) that you no longer need and setting them aside to donate to the Bazaar’s popular Toys, Games and Puzzles Room.

Another popular Bazaar shopping area is The Book Room. Fiction and nonfiction, recently published and engaging books, books for all ages—our volunteer sellers transform the Carpenter Room into a welcoming, organized place for book browsing and purchasing.

You all know that the Church Bazaar is our largest annual fundraiser. It is an important part of our outreach to the community and the support of our church programs. It will be our 99th Bazaar, and you can help make it a success!

Ruth Penfield and Judy Jessup will be happy to field any questions you might have about donations.

As always, thank you, thank you, for your help. And Happy Spring.

planned giving question of the month:

Q. How can I continue my financial support for the church after I am gone?

A. By endowing your annual pledge to the Stewardship Campaign. Here are three illustrative examples:

  • An annual pledge of $100 can be endowed with a bequest of $2,500. 
  • An annual pledge of $1000 can be endowed with a bequest of $25,000. 
  • An annual pledge of $10,000 can be endowed with a bequest of $250,000. 



Pull up a chair... 

all are welcome here!

Our last pot luck of the year is April 16th! Our theme is "Room at the Table". We will also be honoring Edith Olmstead who will be celebrating her 103rd birthday on April 20th. There will be cake!

The tables will be set and all you need to do is bring a dish to share. Food that needs to be refrigerated or kept warm can be dropped off in the Fellowship Hall kitchen before church and the Kitchen Crew will follow your instructions. Looking forward to seeing everyone for a great meal and some fun activities. 

happening in our church

  • Adult Study in May

    On four Tuesdays in May, beginning May 9, Pastor Andy and Rev. Andi Lloyd will lead an adult study on their book, Letters from the Ecotone: Ecology, Theology, and Climate Change. Classes will be held on Zoom from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. If you need a copy of the book, please be in touch with Andy.

  • volunteer seedling growers needed!

    The Green Team is looking for gardeners (new and experienced) to grow seedlings for our third annual Seedling Giveaway. At least a dozen vegetable and/or herb seedlings are needed per person. The Seedling Giveaway will take place in the Fellowship Hall after the service on May 14. Not only will we offer plants free to interested members of our congregation, but we will also once again provide seedlings to CVOEO to give to community members who visit their Food Shelf. Intrigued but have never grown a plant before? This would be a great time to give it a try! 

    We can supply you with all the tips and advice needed to get you growing. Helping members of our community grow their own food is a wonderful way to both celebrate the fruitfulness of God’s green earth and help reduce carbon emissions. Please contact Su Reid-St. John at sureidstjohn@gmail.com if you can help. Thank you!!

Keep that food coming!

Hello friends, and greetings from the Board of Mission and Social Concerns. We have good news, less-good news, and a request.

The good news is that last year our church community donated more than a ton of food to HOPE, which helped feed many of our Addison County neighbors. We'd love to double that this year (!), and think our church is up to the challenge. The less-good news—and the reason for our ambitious goal—is that our friends at HOPE have told us that visits to the food shelf are up by 30 percent this past year and still rising. The end of pandemic-era food benefits and inflation have pushed many families to food-insecurity. And that leads to our request. There are always food-collection baskets at the church, and we collect every Sunday. Feel free to drop something in the baskets every week if you're able! The more of us who can make this a habit, the better we can serve families in need.

All nonperishable food items are welcome, but HOPE has a particular need right now for baked beans, kidney beans, cold and hot cereals, cooking oils, hearty soups, and personal products (primarily for men—shaving cream, razors, shampoos, and deodorant).

The Fishbowl Series...

Porter Medical Center presents The Fishbowl Series. A series designed with YOU in mind. Get your questions answered anonymously by dropping them into the fishbowl!

They are holding an informative discussion on the impacts of Anxiety and Depression from children to the elderly.

Join us April 5th from 5-7 at CSAC, 109 Catamount Park, Middlebury.

Open to all, free to all

Light refreshments will be available

For more info or to register in advance click below.


Who is The Rev. Jonathan New?

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan New served the Congregational Church of Middlebury during the time period November 2007–November 2009. He came to Middlebury from an intentional interim posting at the Williston Federated Church, Williston, VT.


The Rev. Dr. Jonathan New has served as Executive Director of the Interim Ministry Network (IMN – an inter-faith, international interims ministry training organization) since January 2023. Prior to this, he was a settled pastor at Waitsfield United Church of Christ (1998–2005), and served several other churches as an intentional interim, including Williston Federated Church, Williston, VT (2006–2007), Norwich Congregational Church, Norwich, VT (UCC) (2010), First Congregational Church of Burlington (UCC) (2011–2012), Bethany Church (UCC), Randolph, VT (2012–2014), and First Congregational Church of Natick (UCC), Natick, MA (2020–2022). Jonathan also served as Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development with the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ (2014–2020).


In addition, Jonathan has taught United Church of Christ History, Polity, and Theology courses as an adjunct professor at Andover Newton Theological School and in a variety of other settings and has served as an Open and Affirming facilitator and consultant on congregational vitality and stewardship.


Jonathan is a graduate of Oberlin College (B.A. 1989), holds theological degrees from Harvard Divinity (M.T.S. 1993) and Andover Newton Theological School (M.Div 1997, D.Min. 2011), and was ordained through the Metropolitan Boston Association in 1998. He makes his home in South Burlington VT with his wife, Debbie.


Debbie is currently lead community organizer for Vermont Community Geothermal Alliance (VCGA) and serves in several other roles fighting climate change through her Same Planet – Climate & Communication initiative. Prior to working on climate issues full-time, Debbie taught dance and choreographed musicals at various high schools including Harwood Union, U32, Montpelier, and the Green Mountain Valley School. For many years Debbie also taught dance through Contemporary Dance and Fitness, Montpelier, VT. Debbie is a graduate of Oberlin College (B.A. 1989), and holds advanced degrees from Indiana University (M.A. Anthropology 1992) and Harvard Graduate School of Education (Ed.M. 1993).


Jonathan Buchner New married Deborah Ann Golodetz on 7 Sept 1991 in Waitsfield, VT. The parents of Jonathan are Ben E. J. New (born Dallas, Texas) and Mary Helen Morrow (born Grand Prairie, Texas); the parents of Deborah are Arnold Golodetz (born Hamburg, Germany) and Virginia Grace Demaree (born Ventura, California). Jonathan and Debbie lived in Waitsfield VT, Cambridge MA, and South Burlington, VT.  They lived in Waitsfield during his tenure at Middlebury.


Jonathan Buchner New: born 24 Oct 1965 in Portsmouth, NH

Deborah Ann Golodetz: born 29 Oct 1966 in Boston, MA


[1] Sarah Elizabeth New: born 4 May 1993 in Concord, MA; single; B.A. Vassar College (2016), resides in Brooklyn, NY

[2] Elinor Grace New: born 20 Aug 1996 in Cambridge, MA; single; B.A. New York University (2021), resides in Burlington, VT


During Jonathan’s tenure at The Congregational Church of Middlebury, he proved to be a huge draw for the young ones in the congregation. He made it clear that there would be a Brown Bag story for the young ones every Sunday, regardless of the attendance. The draw was a large brown grocery bag – the youth caught on very quickly to realize that there was something different in the bag every Sunday. As a result, there was an increasing excitement in walking/running to the front of the Sanctuary to check out the contents of the bag, and the associated story.


Next month we will look at the life story of Rev. Andrew Nagy-Benson


Malcolm W. Chase, Historian

  • April Birthdays

    • to view birthdays for any month of the year SIGN IN to our online directory.
    • Click on Calendar in the upper left of the screen.

    Alice Munson                April 3

    John Wallace                April 3

    Elizabeth Robinson       April 5

    Spencer Smith              April 5

    Colin Foster                  April 7

    Jennifer Smith               April 7

    Robyn Stattel                April 7

    Lisa Gates                    April 8

    Alex Bonavita                April 10

    Abby Gleason               April 10

    Rick Marshall                April 10

    Anna Roy                     April 10

    Grady Leonard              April 11

    Jennifer Bleich              April 12

    Jean Fifield                   April 12

    Harper Hendy               April 12

    Elise Blair                     April 15

    Ken Brownsword           April 16

    Cathy Chase                 April 16

    Gary Gillen                   April 16

    Rihannon Ellison           April 17

    Wendy Hollander          April 17

    Raymond Shute            April 17

    Dorothy Krahn               April 19

    Peggy Rush                  April 19

    Edith Olmstead             April 20

    Ginny Sinclair               April 21

    Rachael Nagy-Benson   April 23

    Bob Campbell               April 24

    Joyce Foster                 April 25

    Neil Sinclair                  April 25

    Gregor Kent                  April 28

    Eva Andrews                April 29

    Patty Hallam                 April 29

    Irene Zaccor                 April 29

    Jessica Wright              April 30


  • April Anniversaries

    Tim & Wendy Hollander                         April 1