Judy Albright - Publisher
Elizabeth Davis - Editor
Judy Albright - Publisher
Elizabeth Davis - Editor
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I put my hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before each watch of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
- Psalm 119:147-148
Lately, I do my best praying in the middle of the night. And these days, I am frequently up and out of bed in the dead of the night. To be honest, most of the time my prayers are desperate words to God (“Dear God- please make this baby sleep!”), and in better moments, my prayers are of quiet gratitude. In the dark of the night, when everything is silent except for the sounds of my baby eating and cooing (and also sometimes screaming!), I pray to God for my life, for my family, and for all of you—my church. It’s a new silence that I have come to both dread and appreciate. This gratitude has become a new spiritual practice for me: to pray in thanksgiving to God who is always present, watchful, and waiting; to pray in thanksgiving for new life, for beloved community, when the sky is the darkest. Some nights all I can do is pay attention, which according to Mary Oliver, is a prayer unto itself. And so, I leave you with her poem, “Praying,” and know that this pastor of yours prays for you nightly.
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
- Mary Oliver
Church Council met by Zoom on January 12, 2022. We listened to reports from Elizabeth and Andy, as well as the Chairs of the Church Boards.
We discussed a proposal from the Nominating Committee to amend the bylaws to reduce the size of three Boards. The motion did not pass, and this will not be added to the Warning for the Annual Meeting.
We approved the Warning for the Annual Meeting, which will be held on January 30, 2022, in person and by Zoom.
We approved renaming the firehouse room the “Russell Carpenter Room” in honor of our outstanding long-time Church Moderator.
We approved holding the January 26 All Boards Meeting by Zoom.
We listened to a report from Andy about the Digital Content Creator Position, which is proposed to be used more strategically at times of the year when it is needed the most.
We listened to a very detailed presentation from Rich Carpenter about the year-end 2021 Financial Report. The year ended with a surplus of $22,437 because of a combination of unbudgeted gifts and lower-than-planned expenses. The surplus is carried over into the 2022 budget and helps make it a balanced budget.
After listening to a detailed presentation by Rich Carpenter of the 2022 budget, it was approved by Council. It provides for a 5% cost of living increase in all salaries, plus other increases the Budget Committee proposed, and it is a balanced budget. The Stewardship Campaign was very successful this year. Council expressed appreciation for the hard work of the Budget and Stewardship Committee.
We had a short discussion of the Campaign to Retire the Debt and approved investing any excess funds in the Care and Maintenance of Church Building Account.
We expressed our deep gratitude to Katy Smith Abbott for her outstanding leadership as our Moderator over the past two years.
Nancy Foster, Church Clerk
“What’s your Star Word?” I love hearing that question. Once again, we are journeying together as a church community through the season of Epiphany. In these long, dark winter months it is wonderful to have our stars lighting our way and offering us opportunities to reach out to each other and connect. God is still speaking, and we are still listening and learning. If you are interested in finding out who else is traveling the same road as you (with the same Star Word), write your name on a sticky note and put it next to your word just outside of the Sanctuary. On March 1, I will take down all the words and pick one to be our King or Queen of 2022. They will receive a gold crown and a cake of their choice from the Otter Creek Bakery!
The Junior Youth Group met in January to discuss their Star Words and then worked on a mixed media art project led by Judy Albright. Their collages can be seen displayed in the church lobby right outside of Unity Hall. Stop by and see what they created!
Confirmation Class was happy to welcome back Pastor Elizabeth, and we discussed the sacrament of baptism. Each confirmand shared his/her own baptism story. Several confirmation mentors also attended the class.
Music That Can Touch the Soul: César Franck’s “Panis Angelicus”
written by Ken Rummer, retired minister, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
reprinted with permission from Presbyterians Today blog
I’m working up a violin piece for church. With our choir still on pandemic hold, the call went out for special music and I raised my hand.
Have you ever heard music that seemed familiar, even though you were hearing it for the first time? Music that moved you to the edge of tears? Music that set off sympathetic vibrations in the deep places of your heart?
The piece I’m practicing, “Panis Angelicus,” is that kind of music for me. The title is in Latin, and that may be a bit off-putting, but it just means bread of angels.
César Franck—his last name rhymes with honk—wrote the piece in 1872. He was living in Paris at the time, supporting his composing dream by working as a church organist and music teacher.
For the words, he chose a verse of a Latin hymn written by Thomas Aquinas in the 1200s. Old words paired with new notes—it’s a recurring theme in church music.
The text Franck chose from Aquinas’s hymn conveys wonder, that the bread of angels is made the bread for people, and that, in the sacrament of Holy Communion, even the poor get to feed upon their Lord. The opening words, panis angelicus, have come to serve as a title for Franck’s composition.
I first fell in love with this music through the anthem “O Lord Most Holy” when I sang it as a teenager in our church choir. Words in English were printed below the notes, and then the Latin words below them. I remember being puzzled as a first-year Latin student, trying to make sense of “O Lord most holy” as a translation of “Panis angelicus.”
It turns out, the English words are not a translation at all, but a new text joined to Franck’s music, one apparently authored by Arthur H. Ryder who is listed as editor on the sheet music. Old notes paired with new words—it’s another recurring theme in church music.
In the 1904 edition, Ryder’s new words offer a deeply felt prayer. Singing with the help of the “Panis Angelicus” melodies, the prayer acknowledges willful hearts and wandering thoughts and asks for God’s help and favor. I found it moving, and still do.
Of course, in the arrangement for violin and piano I am playing, neither Ryder’s words nor Aquinas’s will appear. I’ll have the bread of angels and the holy Lord in mind when I play, but it will be Franck’s music itself that reaches out to the gathered congregation and to God.
As I hear the music, the mood is prayerful, but it is a prayer that includes both shouts and whispers. The notes suggest the struggle, but point to wonders, too. The tune invites us on a journey that brings us, by the end, to the answer that is beyond our questions, and to the presence that is more than home.
Looking for music that can touch the soul? I recommend “Panis Angelicus.”
GivePlus Mobile will be retiring January 2022. Vanco Mobile is the app you can download to give to the church through your smartphones going forward! The same Login should work.
Winter can be the best season for indoor projects.
Although our November 2022 Holiday Bazaar is months away, now is the perfect time for anyone who sews, knits, or crafts with wood or other media to decide what items inspire them, then create and donate to our amazingly popular Craft Table!
Our Craft Table was so popular last year that we sold out of everything! By making crafts during these cold months, we’ll be able to refill our storage tubs with your creations and have them ready for shoppers in the fall.
To start your creative juices flowing, here is a list of crafts we know are popular and will be popular at the 2022 Bazaar:
What a joy it will be to see what you create! Please don’t hesitate to email or call us with questions.
With immense gratitude,
Ruth Penfield and Judy Jessup, Bazaar Chairs
The Green Team received the good news at the end of January that our church’s work towards Creation Justice has been officially recognized by the Environmental Justice Program at the United Church of Christ! Hooray!
While the Green Team has been working hard to expand our thinking beyond our church’s walls and put together the application, it is really the work of the whole congregation that is being recognized.
Thank you, to the pastors who preach about creation care from the pulpit and to the staff who are thoughtful about the resources they use in the office. Thank you, to the kitchen committee collecting food scraps and to the trustees considering how to conserve energy in our building. Thank you, to the volunteers who attend service trips in communities impacted by extreme climate events and to our youth group volunteering for the Green Mountain Club here at home. Thank you, to anyone who tried to reduce their use of plastic during a Lenten plastic fast and to anyone tuned in to the work of the Vermont Climate Council. Thank you, to the congregation for ratifying our Creation Justice Covenant, and committing our congregation to the urgent responsibility “to tend to creation as God would: with love and a respect for the needs of all living things.”
We are so proud to be a part of this Creation Justice Church!
If you are interested in joining us, the Green Team is always ready to welcome new members. Our next meeting will be Sunday, February 6 at 7:00 via Zoom. Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the link to attend.
Q: What Do Real Estate, Closely Held Stocks, Initial Public Offering Stocks, and Stock Options Have in Common?
The Trustees voted on December 15 that certain real estate and these three types of stocks can be considered as gifts to our church. For the time being, real estate is limited to residential property with no tenants, owned by an individual, couple, or trust. For more information, contact Gift Acceptance Committee chair Sally Holland at email@example.com or 603-412-2241 (cell).
Rev. Charles Henry Dickinson served the Congregational Church of Middlebury from February 1907 to January 1911. He came to Middlebury from Fargo, ND, and after four years in Middlebury, resigned his pastorate and transferred to Boston.
His educational background and career experience: Amherst College, BA, 1881; Yale Divinity School, BD, 1884; post-graduate work at Yale, 1884–1889; an honorary DD, 1903; ordained to Congregational ministry in 1885; pastor, Wallingford, CT, 1885–1893; Canandaigua, NY until 1901; First Congregational Church in Fargo, ND until 1905; Middlebury VT until 1911; writer and preacher in Boston 1911–1913.
He was in charge of religious and extension work in Calhoun, AL, 1913–1924 and 1932–1935, vice president, 1915–1924; literature work from 1925; corporate member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1896–1911: trustee at Fargo College 1903–1905. He also belonged to the Masons.
Charles is the 8th generation of Dickinsons in MA/CT, being descended from John1 of Londonshire, England. John1 emigrated with his family from England to Wethersfield, CT; subsequent generations settled in the Hadley area of MA: John1, John 2, Johnathan 3, Jonathan 4 Jr., Levi5, Simeon 6, Henry Kirk White 7, Charles Henry Dickinson8.
Charles H. Dickinson married Mary Lord Thorn on 20 Jan 1886 in New Haven, New Haven, CT. Parents of Charles were Henry Kirke White Dickinson (born in Hadley, Hampshire, MA) and Angeline Eliza Dunham (born in Southampton, Hampshire, MA); parents of Mary were Samuel Gilbert Thorn (born Portsmouth, NH) and Harriet Elizabeth Lord (born South Berwick, York, ME). Mary‘s occupation was librarian.
Charles Henry Dickinson was born 21 Dec 1857 in West Springfield MA and died 14 Apr 1938 in Pleasantville NY. His wife, Mary Lord Thorn, was born 9 Mar 1860 in New Haven CT and died 30 Jan 1922 in Calhoun, AL. Charles and Mary, while in Middlebury, lived in the parsonage at 1 South Pleasant Street. They had two children (Thorne and Sydney), both of whom were born in Wallingford, New Haven, CT.
Next month, we will examine Rev. Archibald A. Lancaster and family.
Mal Chase, Historian
Bob DeLaney February 1
Su Reid-St. John February 1
Dorie Bechtel February 2
Patrick Marshall February 2
James Wright February 2
Louise White February 3
Teagan Glen February 4
John McLeod February 4
Jenny Orten February 4
Natasha Causton February 7
Ginger Fiskio February 8
Erin Quinn February 8
Carole Cummings February 9
Bob Gleason February 9
Polly Birdsall February 10
Peg Lawrence February 10
Alan Marshall February 11
Helen McFerran February 11
Peter Munteanu February 12
Luke Nuceder February 14
Mitzi Poduschnick February 15
Kirsten Hendy February 16
Julian Roy February 17
Jaska Leach February 18
Diana Cotter February 19
Bastiann Phair February 19
Bill Miller, Jr. February 21
Gavin Krahn February 24
Mary Nagy-Benson February 24
Samuel Stinson February 25
Hunter Munteanu February 28
Priscilla Tully February 28
Tiffany Nourse Sargent & Bill Sargent February 1
Frank Van Gansbeke & Annie Magri February 16
Jon Andrews & Lisa Rader February 24
Matthew & Robyn Stattel February 29