Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

August 2023

With God's help...

Rev. Elizabeth Gleich

For the last year and a half, members of our church have been working hard to open the Red Clover Children’s Center within our church building! In mid-spring of last year, the then “Child Care Exploratory Work Group” reminded the church that there is a profound need for child care in our community, especially for those ages 0 to 3. We told you that in Addison County alone, there is a need for an additional 452 child care spots to meet the needs of families who have children ages 0–3. On June 19th, our church enthusiastically voted to start a child care center serving these children most in need – infants and toddlers. What a leap of faith for our beloved community!

Since then, contractors have been hired, sinks have been added to classrooms, a fence has been erected for a play area, a laundry room has replaced the old elevator shaft, rooms have been painted, and furniture has been ordered. The exploratory group is now the Red Clover Board of Directors, and we have expanded to include community members whose experience have been a great asset to this project. We’ve continued to apply for and receive grants and also make important connections with the child care community around us. Most excitingly, our board has been in the process of interviewing some excellent candidates for a founding Director to lead Red Clover Children's Center

None of this happened in a silo. Each month, the Trustees, Board of Christian Development, and Church Council have received reports from and made decisions in partnership with the Red Clover Board about building usage, lines of communication, church school classroom usage, and big picture planning. At the beginning of June, Dan Brown and his crew of 20 stepped up to transform the former nursery into a lovely space for our Junior Youth Group and painted Room 14 a lovely, soft green color. Each step of the way, we’ve all worked together towards our common mission—to love our neighbors as ourselves!

Many continue to ask, “When will Red Clover open?” It’s a good question, but not one we can answer until we have a child care director hired and onboarded. Once that happens, we will have a much better sense of how many months it might take to open our doors to the littlest ones in our community. As I’m sure you can imagine, Red Clover feels that it’s extremely important to hire the right person for this job.

I’m confident that with God’s help, we will find that person soon.

I’m so grateful to this beloved faith community and the hard-working people on the Red Clover Board (Alyssa Sinclair, Ellen Whelan-Wuest, Ginny Sinclair, Erika Garner, and Kate Ritter). Please reach out to me if you have any questions about what we’re up to or how you can help!


Pastor Elizabeth



Church Council met on July 12, 2023, and listened to the Treasurer's report, a report from Pastor Elizabeth, and updates from Church Boards. Robert Foster reported on the discussions on the best ways to pay for the window repairs.

  • It was noted that the nursery is not staffed this summer, and that is something we would like to see changed next summer. 
  • Council approved the job description for the Church Administrator. 
  • Pastor Elizabeth gave a detailed report on the progress being made on the child care center, with a big thank-you to Dan Brown and his crew for all the work they did in the past couple weeks. 
  • Council approved the job description and the contract to hire a Kitchen Supervisor for Friday night community suppers. 
  • Council approved the first suggested church portion of the expense for Eliana Cañas Parra in her progress as a Member in Discernment (around $750). 
  • Council had a discussion about reviving the church library. There were several points of view and different thoughts about this topic. No decision was made. 

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. 

34th general synod reflection

Eliana Cañas Parra

Last month, I attended the UCC’s 34th General Synod as a delegate. It was my first one, and it was incredible. During the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the things I experienced while in Indianapolis, and one of my major takeaways is the fact that Synod allowed me to see what the church is like at the national level, and to appreciate everything we do as a church and as a denomination. It was an affirmation that what we do here in Middlebury really matters because that’s what the wider church is too: many individual churches working in their communities to make life better for everyone, especially for those who suffer.

I was constantly reminded that, as difficult as the world seems right now, there are many reasons for us to continue to be people of hope. A hope that is rooted in our faith in a loving God. A hope that helps us get up every morning to try our best and to work toward the common good.

Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, our keynote speaker (I’m a fan!), reminded us of that hope, first by acknowledging that there are many things to be afraid of. Things like the “possibility that we have already lived through the most peaceful and prosperous period of history without realizing it and that we can’t get it back.” However, Nadia pointed out that we are part of an old story, one of people who have faced struggles throughout thousands of years, but who have kept their hope in God. There is reason to hope in the Gospel, in the God that is making all things new. She ended by saying that “despite our anxieties of faith, we still dare to get our hopes up.”

The message Nadia gave was aligned with the Scripture passage that was the focus of Synod: Isaiah 43:18–19 “making all things new,” and the way God is at work in the world. A passage more than 2,000 years old that challenges us to ask ourselves what “making all things new” looks like right here and right now. A passage full of hope.

At Synod, this hope was tangible. I learned about the many ministries of clergy and lay leaders around the country. Ministries at the border that support immigrants, ministries working with LGBTQ+ groups, and ministries standing up against gun violence, racism, and other injustices.

This Christian hope also looks like the 14 resolutions that we, delegates, worked and voted on during our five days there. These resolutions have to do with our commitment, as the Church, to environmental justice (such as the reduction of single-use plastic), to a more peaceful country and world (such as the prevention of gun violence), to working toward reparations and making wrongs right (such as reparations to native people, transgender affirming resolutions, and white-supremacy-free zones). In short, they spoke about our commitment to the greater and the common good. If you feel so inclined, you can read about each resolution here: https://www.ucc.org/gs-livestream/.

I left Synod feeling energized after experiencing the diversity and vitality of the church, and I’m excited for the future of it. It is evident that there is a lot of work to do, but we are a group of people whose hope is in a God that makes all things new. Let’s also not forget that we are a better church when we work together, and when we embrace the diversity of the body of Christ.

Our Amazing Quilt Donation

Bazaar Raffle 2023!

For our Bazaar Quilt Raffle, this past spring Dorothy Douglas created a lovely queen-size quilt. Its beautiful pattern is called Starlight Waltz and is done in deep reds, greens, and blues. The photo we have included give you a taste of Dorothy’s amazing quilting work, and we are so very grateful for her donation of this quilt for our ever-popular raffle. 

The quilt will be on display in Fellowship Hall, and tickets will go on sale in September. Please do come and admire the Starlight Waltz Quilt, and purchase your raffle tickets for family members, friends, and yourselves when they go on sale. Your ticket could be the winner!

Your 2023 Bazaar Co-Chairs: Ruth Penfield (ruthpenfield@gmail.com) and Judy Jessup (judyjessupvt@gmail.com)

Summer Social & Potluck Picnic

We’re excited! Celebrate summer together at the All-Church Potluck Picnic!

Thursday, August 3rd from 4:00-7:30PM at Branbury State Park at Lake Dunmore in Salisbury. The Board of Membership and Communications and our Pastors invite you to enjoy an informal afternoon and potluck supper in a beautiful location, RAIN OR SHINE!

All are welcome! While in the park with a view of beautiful Lake Dunmore, you may choose to participate in activities that you bring with you, such as swimming and lawn games, or simply “lounge around” and socialize. We plan to eat together at 6:00 p.m.

Admission for our group: When you enter by the gate, announce that you are with “The Congregational Church of Middlebury.” The Park charges a reduced, per-person entrance fee for groups like ours. If you have a Vermont State Park Pass (borrowed from your town library) or an Over-62 Senior Park Pass, please bring it with you to show at the park’s entrance gate. If you have no pass, tell the attendant you are with the church group and the Board of Membership will cover the admission fee. We'll also accept contributions at a donation box in the pavilion. The Park’s group admission fees are $2 for children ages 4-13 (younger kids are free) and $3 for everyone else. 

Where to park and meet: Park as close to the EAST Pavilion as possible. After parking, meet in the Pavilion, which is to the right side of the concession stand and near the beach. We have reserved this covered, screened pavilion which has 6 picnic tables inside and will arrange to have park staff place a few extra picnic tables nearby and outside the pavilion.

What to bring for the picnic? Yourself and a friend! Lawn or beach chairs, blankets, towels, swimsuits, and your favorite lawn games. Bring your own snacks and meal. You also may choose to purchase a variety of foods (and creemees!) at the Concession Stand right next to our pavilion. Dishes to pass (with serving utensils) are optional but always welcome! Watermelon and desserts will be provided by the Board of Membership. Plan to bring your own place settings and choice of beverages. BM&C will also supply, water, cans of seltzer and ice in coolers. Paper plates and plastic utensils will be supplied from the donated supplies from the church pantry. The park policy is Carry-In /Carry-Out, so rubbish bags and recycling containers will be available for our group.

Activities: Plan for swimming and enjoy the beach. Bring your outdoor games. Two sets of Bocci have already been promised! Bring your bug repellent, a hat and sunblock. As always, be prepared for changeable weather conditions. 

Questions: Contact Ruth Penfield (ruthpenfield@gmail.com) or Stephanie Mitchell (sfmitchell111@gmail.com) Board of Membership and Communications.

We’re hoping for a great turnout of members and friends of all ages!

LOCATION: Branbury State Park

3570 Lake Dunmore Rd, Salisbury, VT 05769


More info on the park website

Park phone: 802-247-5925


New Home for Nursery

We’ve moved! The location of the church nursery has moved from the room off the Fellowship Hall to Room 11 in the addition. 

Good news! The Nursery will be open and staffed for the summer!

We are looking for a church administrator

Do you have good communication and organizational skills? Are you someone with a strong affinity for teamwork and collaboration? Are you craving a supportive work environment?

The Congregational Church of Middlebury is searching for a part-time Church Administrator. This position will provide administrative and programming support to our church, managing the day-to-day operation of the church office, and will serve as the public face of the office in dealing with all church constituencies and the public.

We encourage interested applicants to visit our church website to learn more about our church and below for a full job description.


20 hours a week on average, providing regular office coverage Monday through Friday.


Negotiable. Commensurate with professional/life experience.

Projected start date:

The ideal candidate would be available for orientation/training during the summer, transitioning fully into their role before the next programming year begins in September.

We will begin reviewing applications July 10, 2023. Candidates should send a cover letter and resume to the attention of Pastor Andy Nagy-Benson and Pastor Elizabeth Gleich at office@midducc.org.

New Member: Tory Heatherly

Tory Heatherly joined Middlebury UCC in April 2023. She arrived in Vermont in 2014 from Emporia, Kansas, where she was a massage therapist and owned her own business, Guiding Touch Massage. Prior to that, Tory lived in California where she built a successful business helping people get their OSHA certifications. Tory now is practicing as a spiritual life coach and her business is called Soaring Through Light.

Tory lives in Middlebury with Louise White and enjoys fishing and kayaking. She is just getting back into golf, a sport she has played from childhood when she “cut her teeth on a 9 iron” as her stepfather was a semi-pro golfer. Tory is a fan of professional football and was happy to see her team, the Kansas City Chiefs, become Superbowl champions this year!

Tory has found the Congregational Church of Middlebury to be an authentic place of worship. Her favorite book is the Bible and she enjoys mentoring others. You can learn more about Tory on her website! https://soaringthroughlight.simdif.com/meet-tory.html

New member: Deb Farnham

Deborah Farnham was born in the Catskill Mountains of New York. When she moved to the Green Mountains of Vermont in 1982, she knew she was home. She has lived in Michigan, Georgia, NY, Florida, St. Thomas USVI, and Japan—but Vermont is clearly where she belongs. The mountains ground her and speak to her of God’s mighty love and steadfast grace.

Deb is a PK (preacher’s kid) so of course rebelled against the church from about the age of 20 till she and her husband became snow birds to FL and she found the Community Church of Vero Beach (UCC). She became a member, was active in their excellent music program, and participated in a small women’s spiritual group. After Bruce died in 2018, Deb made the decision to come home to VT. She now lives in Bristol with her old rescue dog Bravos.

Deb’s second home is a remote cabin on a hill in Tunbridge VT (think: Tunbridge World’s Fair). Water is gravity-fed from a spring, and a small solar panel provides enough power to charge her devices and two cabin lights. It is here, surrounded by nature, where she feels closest to God.

Deb has sung in various choirs including the 4-member celestial Sirens who were featured on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion during a Talent from Towns Under 2000 contest. She loves to read, write, bird-watch, kayak, cook, walk, travel, and hang out with her siblings and their families and her stepdaughters and their adult children who live in MD and FL. She wishes they were closer but is so grateful they are in her life.

“What I love about Middlebury UCC is that what is preached is actually acted on. Love truly lives here but doesn’t just stay here; it is radiated out to the community beyond. I’ve been welcomed, challenged, supported and encouraged since arriving at this church a year ago. The Wednesday prayer group, the adult education classes, the New Light services, the Sunday morning services … all have nurtured and strengthened my belief that God is alive and at work. One of my favorite sayings is from Ram Dass ‘We are all just walking each other home.’ I’m grateful to be on this journey here as we walk each other home.”

New member: Jane Owen

Jane Owen joined the church recently at the same time as her friend, Nancy Ward, after the two met at The Residence at Otter Creek. Jane arrives at the Sunday service early and said she enjoys meeting people as they take their seats. “They’re all warm and friendly,” she said. She has enjoyed attending church dinners. 

Jane moved to Middlebury about a year ago from Lyme, NH. Now 83, she grew up in Plainville, Conn., where she met and married Robert, her high school sweetheart. Robert died 11 years ago; Jane cared for him at home in the last year of his life. Jane swims three times a week at The Residence. She has two daughters, one living in Bristol, VT; one son; and six grandchildren. She is a Vermont native, although she’s spent most of her life out of state. In the 1980s she and her husband lived with their young children in Weybridge for eight years, during which time she worked as a secretary at Middlebury College. 

She said she is happy to be back in Vermont. 

  • august 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.

    Lois Farnham                August 1

    Natalie Peters               August 1

    Nicole Foster                August 3

    Louise Salant                August 3

    Jackson Neary              August 4

    Robin Bentley               August 5

    Nyna Cole                    August 6

    Matt Dickinson              August 7

    Zayne Lacey                 August 7

    Kristie Skor                   August 7

    Gail Hietzker                 August 8

    Cris Kossow                 August 9

    Beth Campbell              August 10

    Brian Slavin                  August 11

    Michele Brown              August 12

    Ford Neary                   August 12

    Elliott Abbott                 August 13

    Ben Marshall                 August 13

    Andrea Perham             August 13

    Aaron Wright                 August 13

    Camden Devlin             August 14

    Ben Miller                     August 15

    Ralph Landwehr            August 18

    Alison Durst                  August 19

    Seth Wright                   August 19

    Lindsey Franklin            August 20

    Rosie Kemp                  August 20

    Baker Nelson                August 20

    May Poduschnick          August 21

    Arianna Slavin               August 21

    Tyler Giorgio                 August 23

    Ceci Luksch                  August 24

    Nancy Rucker               August 24

    Peter Ruffa                   August 24

    Muffin Carothers           August 26

    Annie Garner                August 26

    Ian Sinclair                    August 26

    Tom Eastman               August 27

    Lauren Turner               August 27

    Jack Wallace                August 27

    Courtney Loomis           August 28

    Glenna Emilo                August 29

    Juliette Hunsdofer         August 29

    Travis Karpak               August 29

    Annie Magri                  August 30



  • august Anniversaries

    Eric & Julie Berg                                   August 3

    Mal & Pat Chase                                   August 3; Celebrating 60 years!

    Doug & Ginny Sinclair                           August 5

    Al & Irene Zaccor                                  August 6

    Will Nash & Deb Evans                          August 7

    Joe & Nancy Merolle                             August 8

    Ron & Nancy Rucker                             August 10; Celebrating 60 years!

    Duane & Cathy Fowler                          August 11

    Jim & Sarah Donnelly                            August 15; Celebrating 64 years!

    Ed & Irene Barna                                  August 18

    Rick & Heather Viens                            August 21

    Neil & Alyssa Sinclair                             August 22

    Joe & Jennifer Smith                             August 22

    Melissa Bartley & Sean McAuliffe           August 26

    Jim & Helen Wright                               August 26

    Barbara Kent & Julie Tatkon                  August 28