Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher
Elizabeth Davis - Editor
Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher
Elizabeth Davis - Editor
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stephanie Mitchell (email@example.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
Park phone: 802-247-5925
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.”
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.
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
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