Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

July 2023

Reflecting on Church Celebrations

Rev. Elizabeth Gleich

Dear Church,

It’s the beginning of July, and wow, was our June full of celebrations! Each June, I look forward to the “buzz” that is this month. During the busyness (for many families) of school and sports ending, as a church we pause to celebrate certain ministries and members.

On May 21, we celebrated the Confirmation of Kisung Davis and Rachael Nagy-Benson. The Holy Spirit was in this place! A couple weeks later, we celebrated our children and our youth. They planned, prepared, and participated in all parts of worship, including ushering, reading, preaching, singing, and playing. It was a beautiful sight to behold, our children empowered to lead us in our holy sanctuary. I’m so grateful Eliana, youth group leaders, and church school teachers for guiding and loving our children into this.

On June 18, we celebrated our choir in their last Sunday before “summer music” begins. Even the leadership changes this season, our choir thrived, grew, and made such heart-felt music this year! Thank you to Jessica Allen and Jeff Buettner for directing these talented folks.

On June 25, we had our first ever Pride Worship, featuring our very own Lois Farnham and Holy Puterbaugh. Through word, song, and preaching, we celebrated and re-affirmed our church’s Open and Affirming Covenant, made 30 years ago this year. What a joyful thing to affirm that all of God’s people are beloved, including and especially those in the LGBTQ+ community. During that service, we also commissioned our Senior Youth Group Mission Trip attendees and their leaders. We sent them off to serve in Massachusetts with our love and our blessing. By the time you read this Church Matters article, there’s a chance that you’ve already witnessed their youth reflections during worship on July 2.

I thank God that we are together as an amazing, thriving, and joyful church. We serve, we pray, we sing, and we seek to listen to God calling us ever forward into a world of hope and justice. Thank you, each of you, for the beautiful parts you bring to this Body of Christ.


Pastor Elizabeth



The Church Council met on June 14. We heard reports from both pastors and all the boards. Here are the highlights:

  • Elizabeth reported on the Pride activities for Sunday, June 25. 
  • Andy will spend a week finishing his doctoral program, and then quickly turn around and spend the next week on the Senior Youth service trip. 
  • Robert Foster reported that the Trustees have received the estimates for the window replacement/repair options. Replacing all the windows in the church would cost $426,405, and the other option of restoring the original windows and adding new storm windows with screens would be $289,705. 
  • Ruth Penfield reported that Membership is trying out a new website that will allow sign-ups for church events all in one place. 
  • Michelle Nelson reported that they are organizing the move for the Nursery and the Junior High classroom happening this summer. 
  • It was announced that Ruth Penfield and Judy Jessup will continue as Bazaar Co-Chairs for one more year.
  • There will be a Church pot-luck style picnic at Lake Dunmore on Thursday evening, August 3, at 4:00.
  • Erika Garner and Michele Brown reported on the work they have been doing with our financial systems. There was discussion of the changes they made to the church's Special Funds.

There was discussion of Friday Night Community Suppers and what needs to happen now that they are back under our purview. We discussed making the chef a church employee. Council approved issuing credit cards to the chef and budget manager to purchase food and other necessary supplies.

Council approved splitting the position of Church Administrator into separate positions: a Church Administrator (20 hours per week) and a Director of Communications (10 hours per week). Judy Albright will stay on as the Director of Communications.

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. 

Photo challenge

We need photos of church events and activities for Church Matters and our website. Can you help us?

All you have to do is send them to the office!

Enjoy these photos from recent events.

Mark Your Calendars Now!

Our 99th Church Holiday Bazaar will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023

Here are some ideas for July. . .

July is the perfect time to begin your handcrafted projects for the Bazaar Craft Table. We are so grateful to our skilled and creative knitters, sewers, and woodworkers who donate their time and energy to produce amazing items to sell.

This year, we welcome back the popular Quilt Raffle. Dorothy Douglas has made a gorgeous queen size quilt, which will be pictured in the August Church Matters and displayed in Fellowship Hall soon afterward with raffle tickets for purchase. Stay tuned for details.

July is also the perfect time to begin collecting jewelry and scarves for the fine and costume Jewelry and Scarves Table; choosing books from your library that others might enjoy reading for the Book Room; sorting through your children’s rooms and deciding what toys and more you can give to the Toys, Puzzles, and Games room; donating games and puzzles for ALL ages; and maybe you have a small lamp, table, unique furnishing, painting, or picture we might display in our Small Home Furnishings Corner.

Don’t forget that July is indeed the perfect time to continue nurturing those indoor and outdoor plants you will offer to the Garden Table. And what about a trip to a local berry farm to produce a batch of jams and jellies, muffins, and breads for the Bake Sale Table? Those berries will also make delicious pies for the Specialty Pies and Homemade Soups Tables!

Make some time this July to decide what you can do to help make our 2023 Holiday Bazaar successful. We love helping you make it a success!

Always available for questions and thoughts,

Ruth and Judy

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

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. Also, if you have used our nursery services on Sunday mornings this year and/or expect to in the coming program year, and you have not already done so, please complete a brief survey. Thank you!

If you didn't know, the old nursery will now become our new Youth Room. We want to thank Harper Smith and Peg Lawrence for the beautiful artwork they created many years ago and share some photos before it is repainted!

Come to church camp!

Children are invited to join Church Camp running through to the end of July. Led by May Poduschnick, this will be a one-room group that will meet to play, learn, and spend time together. Children attending will start in the Sanctuary and leave with May after the Children's Message.

Readers needed!

Would you like to participate in our church services by reading either the Call to Worship or the Scripture lesson? Please contact Gwen Nagy-Benson at nbgwen@gmail.com to add your name to the list of readers. No need to contact me if you've already been asked to read - I've got you on the list! There are still many Sundays available throughout the summer. Thank you!

Summer Social & Potluck Picnic

Save the date! Thursday, August 3rd from 4:00-7:30PM at Branbury State Park at Lake Dunmore in Salisbury.

The Board of Membership and our Pastors invite you to enjoy an informal afternoon and potluck supper in a beautiful location! 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 have tentatively planned a short gathering at 6:00PM with our Pastors.

Where to meet in the park: When you enter by the gate, announce that you are with “The Congregational Church of Middlebury.” After parking, meet at the EAST Pavilion, which is to the right side of the concession stand and near the beach. We have reserved this one covered pavilion and also a few outside picnic tables nearby. 

What to bring? Yourself and a friend or two or three! Lawn or beach chairs, blankets, towels, swimsuits, and your favorite lawn games. And your supper! Plan to bring your own snacks and supper, as well as place settings, and beverages. We will supply extra beverages and ice in coolers. Dishes to pass are always welcome!

Admission to the park: Senior Passes are great (if you have one, please bring it!) We are working out details of how to cover the admission cost for those under 62.

Questions: Contact Ruth Penfield (ruthpenfield@gmail.com), Board of Membership.

We’re hoping for a good 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


You Say Tomato...

We have a juicy update for you! Your Board of Mission and Social Concerns has dubbed July "You Say Tomato" month, which means we invite you to bring tomatoes in all their glorious—nonperishable—forms to donate to the food shelf at HOPE. Diced, crushed, whole, paste—all great. Spaghetti sauce? Yes please! Ketchup? Of course. Tomato soup? You get the point.

Our next grocery cart collection is SUNDAY, JULY 2 at the 10 a.m. service. Please join the fun and know that your contribution is helping combat food insecurity in Addison County. We're now past the halfway point toward our goal of donating two tons of food to HOPE by year's end.  

If you don't have tomatoes on hand, you can still participate. Baked beans and canned soups are especially helpful, but all kinds of cans are welcome. The food shelf also needs condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayo, as well as olives, pickles, relish, and marinades, boxed side dishes like Rice Pilaf products, cheesy rice items, toilet paper, adult incontinence products like Depends and Poise, and laundry detergent– either small containers or boxes of laundry pods that can be divided.

Thank you, as always, for your support of this ambitious goal!

Pride Sunday

On Sunday, June 25th during our Pride Worship, church members Holly and Lois shared their story to fight for marriage equality in the State of Vermont. We are so grateful for their testimony, their courage, and for their love.

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.

What are the ties between

the Congregational Church of Middlebury, Middlebury College, 

and the “Westminster Abbey of Hawaii”?

The following is a copy of a letter written to the minister of the Congregational Church of Middlebury, dated February 26, 1990, from W. Storrs Lee:

Many thanks to you and Barbara Wells for the gift of the Bicentennial Calendar. It is a very attractive commemorative feature, bound to keep recipients mindful of the old church throughout 1990. Vividly do I remember the last half-century celebration for I was coaxed into composing the pageantry for it.

If you are not aware of it, you may care to learn that the Middlebury Congregational Church has an interesting connection with what has been dubbed the “Westminster Abbey of Hawaii,” the Kawaiaha’o Church in Honolulu built in 1842. Its designer or “architect” was Hiram Bingham, leader of the first delegation of missionaries sent to what was then known as the Sandwich Islands by the American Board. Bingham was an 1816 graduate of Middlebury College, had attended the town church and been so impressed by it that he did his best to incorporate its features in the structure here.

Lumber and clapboards were not available here, so coral blocks had to be used for the walls, and Kawaiaha’o had to be vastly larger to accommodate the throngs of Hawaiian converts. But the triple entrances, the steeple base, the window contours and interior balconies bear unmistaken resemblance. (The tall steeple was destroyed in a hurricane long ago and was never restored, though its base remains intact.)

The similarity of the two structures never occurred to me until a Middlebury graduate and member of Kawaiaha’o casually remarked to me at a dinner party some years ago, “You know, don’t you, that Kawaiaha’o was copied from the Middlebury Congo Church?” I was amused by his comment and assured him that the two had nothing in common: in exhaustive research while drafting two books on the islands, I was sure I couldn’t have missed an interesting Middlebury item like that. Nevertheless, he avowed that he had read about Bingham’s having copied the architecture in some authentic tome the name of which he couldn’t remember—hasn’t since.

Curiously enough, a few weeks later I received a letter from the editor of Vermont Life explaining that he had read somewhere—he couldn’t remember where—about Kawaiaha’o’s architect having modeled his structure after Middlebury’s. Would I do an article on the subject? I never got around to it and probably never will, unless someone reveals that mysterious source, which must exist, since two very reliable gentlemen, unknown to each other, so allege.

In any case, you probably would be interested in exploring Hiram Bingham’s biographical volume, A Residence of Twenty-One Years in the Sandwich Islands, which must be in the college library. [ed. note: Indeed it is.] As I recall, he gives a very graphic description of the herculean effort expended on the construction of Kawaiaha’o—though he fails to mention Middlebury, possibly for fear of being charged with plagiarism. The Reverend Hiram’s contribution to Hawaiian humanity might even serve as the root of an arousing sermon.


Hiram Bingham, formally Hiram Bingham I, was leader of the first group of American Protestant missionaries to introduce Christianity to the Hawaiian Islands. Like many missionaries, he was from New England. He attended Middlebury College and Andover Theological Seminary. He was known as a missionary, writer, translator, and royal advisor. He also participated in converting the Kingdom of Hawaii to Christianity and serving as Kawaiaha’o’s first pastor.

Bingham became involved in the development of the spelling system for writing the Hawaiian language, and also translated parts of the Bible into Hawaiian.

Bingham designed the Kawaiaha’o Church in Honolulu on the Hawaiian Island of O’ahu. The building, constructed between 1836 and 1842 in the New England style typical of the Hawaiian missionaries, is one of the oldest standing Christian places of worship in Hawaii.

Hiram Bingham was descended from Deacon Thomas Bingham, who emigrated to the American colonies in 1650 and settled in CT. Hiram I was born October 30, 1789, in Bennington, VT, one of thirteen children of his mother, Lydia, and father, Calvin Bingham; Hiram I died 11 Nov 1869 in New Haven, CT.

Next up: A list of all land owned by the Church, and a list of Church Moderators since 1939. Stay tuned!

Malcolm W. Chase, Historian

  • July 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.

    Halina Lyons                 July 1

    Michelle Nelson             July 1

    Mel Kobelin                   July 2

    Deb Venman                 July 2

    Meg Wallace                 July 2

    Nikolai Luksch               July 4

    J.D. Maurais                 July 6

    Ella Nagy-Benson         July 7

    Penny Campbell            July 9

    Willie Glen                    July 9

    Katie McMurray             July 10

    Jacqueline Davies         July 11

    Shannon Gleason         July 11

    Elliott Slavin                  July 11

    Eric McFerran               July 12

    Nancy Merolle               July 12

    Estelle Wright               July 12

    Mark Bilodeau               July 14

    Natalia Nulsen              July 14

    Zoe Reid-St. John         July 14

    Eleanor Orten               July 15

    Luisa Orten                   July 15

    Andy Giorgio                 July 16

    John Emerson               July 18

    Julie Berg                     July 19

    Sarah Donnelly             July 19

    Kate Livesay                 July 19

    Len Tiedemann             July 19

    Jakee Zaccor                July 19

    Thaddeus Stowe           July 21

    Jaine Perotti                 July 22

    Rayna Erno                  July 23

    Randy Stacey               July 23

    Cynthia Stacey              July 23

    Cheyenne Shute           July 26

    Charlie Beazley             July 27

    Max Beazley                 July 27

    Helen Wright                 July 27

    Eric Berg                      July 28

    Blair Kloman                 July 28

    Stephanie Mitchell         July 28

    Cathy Munteanu            July 28

    Louise Whalen-Wright   July 28


  • July Anniversaries

    Rik & May Poduschnick                         July 2

    Jessica Wright                                      July 3

    John & Lisa Evarts                                July 5

    Willie Glen & Josie Masterson-Glen        July 7

    Reeves & Kate Livesay                          July 7

    Tara Affolter & Steve Hoffman                July 8

    Dana & Katharine Scribner                    July 11

    Sam Prouty & Mel Kobelin                     July 12

    Eric & Helen McFerran                          July 13

    Michael Roy & Lisa Gates                      July 13

    David & Debbie Deering                        July 19

    Natasha Causton & Scott Hunsdorfer     July 21

    Elizabeth Gleich & Elliott Munn              July 22

    Patrick & Stacia Greene                        July 22

    George & Sue Cady                              July 23

    Kirsten Hendy                                       July 23