Judy Albright and Jennifer H. Smith- Design and Publishing

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

June 2024

gratitude and joy!

Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson

Dear Church,


In these final weeks of the ’23–’24 program year, I feel compelled to stop and look back for a moment. To remember. To give thanks for what has been.


Since the trailhead of early September, of Welcome Sunday, I trust each of us has traveled paths blazed by delight and new beginnings, illness and loss, much love and learning, people and plans. Ten months of living can hold a lot. What do you remember? What have you learned along the way? For what are you grateful?


Here at church, when I think back on this program year, I start with the arrival of Lydia’s little sister, Theresa (who will be baptized in our sanctuary at a joint service with Vergennes United Church of Christ on June 9!). Which leads me to the opening of Red Clover Children’s Center. Which reminds me of the joyful reports from a recent gathering of our congregation’s younger parents and children for a Saturday “play date.” I also think of Eliana and our Church School teachers, and the leaders of our Youth Groups, and all the children and youth in our church community. Grateful.


I remember Sunday mornings, too. Not what I said in the services, but how I felt to be gathered with you, to hear your prayers shared with such trust and vulnerability, to sing with you in community. I am also grateful to Jeff, and the chancel choir, and the deacons, and the AV team, and the church office for supporting our services and sharing their gifts with us, for our good. Grateful.


For these past forty-something weeks, it has also been a joy to witness this church in group study and in the many ways you have shown up for one another in small acts of caring. And don’t even get me started on the volunteer hours around here. Whoa. I’m not sure how to express what your commitments to this church mean to me, but thank you is definitely where I’d begin. So, thank you, friends. Thank you for being a part of this place and its programs, its ministry and outreach. I’m glad you’re here. Glad to be here. Glad and grateful.


Happy summer!







Church Council held their monthly meeting on May 8, 2024. We reviewed the Treasurer’s Report and listened to reports from both Pastor Andy and Pastor Elizabeth. Andy noted that the recent Bible study concluded and was a particular joy and well attended. Elizabeth noted that a recent gathering for families with young children was also very well attended. The Senior Youth Group selected Kate Carroll and Lisa Rader as recipients of this year’s Jo and Dave Cole award and the Youth Group is preparing for a service trip in July.

We reviewed the reports from all the Boards. The Board of Membership is working on a summer gathering at Lake Dunmore, scheduled for August 1.

Sally Holland presented gift acceptance policies for the endowment on behalf of the Planned Giving Committee. Council approved an updated Anti-Harassment Policy. An employment agreement for our new Director of Music, Ronnie Romano, was also approved. He will begin in this role in August. The Trustees recommended and Council approved spending $51,000 from the Care and Maintenance of the Church Building endowment account to paint both the north and east sides of the church this year.

Elizabeth presented the report on the Red Clover Children’s Center. A grand opening for the Center will be held on Saturday, June 15 from 10:00 am to noon in collaboration with Let’s Grow Kids. The church and wider community are invited.

Respectfully submitted,

Michele Brown for 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. 

Children & Youth

Eliana Cañas Parra

Dear church,


I can’t believe it’s June! The children, youth and I spent the month of May having quality time together. Sometimes praying, and something playing games. Just some weeks ago, some members of the Jr. Youth Group, youth group leaders and I had a sleepover at the church! We had dinner together, had a scavenger hunt in the church building (which, of course, included a lot of running in the building), spent an hour in the Sanctuary lighting candles and praying, and watched a movie before sleeping in Unity Hall. In the morning, we walked to have breakfast at Otter Creek Bakery, and came back in time for the Worship service. It was fun and wonderful, and I’m thankful for that time with the children. They fill my heart with joy.


And talking about JOY, don’t miss Children and Youth Sunday this week! Children in each grade spent the last two sessions of Church School working on the prayers for this week’s service and reflecting on the ways we worship God and serve the community beyond our walls. They all did this with the support of their incredible Church School teachers. Thank you May, Rik, Stacia and Jenny! The children have worked hard and are excited to worship with you!


To celebrate after church, the Board of Christian Development will host Sundae Sunday down in Fellowship Hall after the service. So, don’t miss the ice cream! See you all there!




New Member: Felipe Chavez Carrillo

My name is Felipe Chavez Carrillo. I was born in the heart of Mexico, Abasolo Guanajuato, but raised in Tecate, Baja California, a little town close to the border near San Diego. After being rejected from several religions for my sexual preference, I believed there was no place for me to build a spiritual community. I did not know some churches in the USA were open to gay people until my mother-in-law told me her church was open and affirming, and that is how I learned about the Congregational Church of Middlebury. After deciding we were moving to Middlebury, VT, I had hope that I could be accepted in this church, and on April 16 of 2023 I knew I had finally found my place after hearing Pastor Andy say, “Welcome to the Congregational Church of Middlebury, United Church of Christ. We are an open and affirming congregation, which means that no matter who you are or where you are on this journey, you are welcome here as you are.” Who would have guessed I had to travel 2,456 miles to find my community. It is worth it and I’m so grateful for being part of this amazing church where every member is very welcoming.

New Member: Linda Foster

Originally from Reno, Nevada, new church member Linda Foster moved to Middlebury about four years ago after living in Alfred, NY. Both her children had also been living in Alfred, but after her son Chris moved to Middlebury, he encouraged her to join him and his family. Some of you may know Chris from his gorgeous trumpet playing during Christmas and Easter here in our sanctuary. So now Linda lives with her son Chris and their children, ages 16 and 20 years old. Linda also has a daughter named Shannon who continues to live in Alfred, NY, where she works at Alfred University, and she has three children ages 20, 26, and 28 years of age.


During her years of employment, Linda worked as a medical receptionist, retiring in 2012. She continues to help her family navigate the complexities of medical insurance … how lucky for them! Having had a knee replacement over a year ago, and wanting a sense of belonging in the community, she began to take water exercise classes at Vermont Sun, where she met Judy Albright and Carol Campbell. Since Linda’s past experience with church was disappointing due to a “fire and brimstone” approach, she was looking for a more open, friendly, welcoming, and liberal-minded church. With encouragement from her two new friends and her son Chris, she began to attend our church. She appreciates the fact that our church focuses on service, helping to support various local organizations, especially the donations of food to Hope.


What Linda enjoys most these days is the beauty of the East Coast, gardening (loves getting her hands dirty), being outdoors in nature, and reading. She shares a large room with her fat cat of 16 years named Gizmo. One very special thing that Linda wants people to know about her is that you may see her buzzing around town in her bright red 1999 Volkswagen Beetle!

New Members: 

Vanessa Dunleavy and Greg Akinbiyi

Vanessa Dunleavy and Greg Akinbiyi arrived in Vermont in March 2020 for a two-week stay, after dating long distance (Vanessa in NY, Greg in NC). Two weeks turned into nine months in VT, followed by nine months in Miami. Then, in 2021, married and expecting their first child, they bought a house in Middlebury and moved here to stay!


Vanessa grew up in Vermont, and her parents still live here. She spent 15 years living in NYC, where she worked in musical theater and furthered her training for voice, yoga, and Thai massage. She teaches and practices these arts in her home studio in Middlebury. Keep an eye out for her voice students’ final recital on June 22 at our church!


Greg works remotely as a consultant and project manager for Salesforce.com. He is a lifelong fan of the Duke Blue Devils, where he served as captain of the football team. He has also a Master’s degree in Decision Analysis from Minerva University.


Vanessa and Greg are the parents of Josiah (age 2) and are excited to welcome Josiah’s baby sister to the family—due August 11! They are happy to be raising their family in a church that is open and affirming, with a strong sense of community.

Coffee and fellowship!

On Wednesday, June 5th, Pastor Andy will host the last informal gathering this year from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. in the Carpenter Room. Join him for some treats, coffee and fellowship.

planned giving - did you know?

Real estate (real property) can be the most advantageous way for an individual or couple to make an important gift to our church. Gifts of a private residence, vacation home, farm property, or undeveloped land may be possible. Real estate given to our church will be sold and the net proceeds used according to the donor’s directions.


Depending on the donor’s circumstances, there can be several advantages in giving real estate. For example:


•  By giving real estate, a donor may have the satisfaction of making a larger gift to the church than would be possible with available cash or securities.


•  There may be significant tax advantages to giving appreciated property.


•  With a gift of a retained life estate, the donor or donors may continue to live in their home after the gift is made.


•  The donor avoids the inconvenience and complexity of selling real estate which may no longer be needed, such as a vacation property or undeveloped land.


To explore your interests in making a gift of this kind, please contact the Planned Giving Committee through the church office or by using the pew card.


Board of Mission & Social Concerns:

Kids Count

We hope you are enjoying our creative ways of making your purposeful shopping more fun. The staff at HOPE are having fun seeing what we will come up with next and are very grateful to the church for this commitment.


The month of May has brought us Spring FLOUR POWER! This request for the food drive was any type of flour, sugar, corn meal, baking soda or powder, cocoa, cinnamon, oatmeal, muffin mixes, etc. As of this writing, we are at 171 lbs. donated!


If you are wondering what June will bring? “Kids Count!”—think about the kids that are home without the school lunch system to support them. Think of granola bars, graham crackers, Taste of India meal pouches, and single-serving cups of ramen, ravioli, or mac and cheese.

la comunidad

La Comunidad is a ministry that focuses on opening a space for the Hispanic and Spanish speaking migrant worker population in Addison County, to connect more deeply with one another and the wider community. Volunteers welcome the guests who gather in Fellowship Hall for a time of prayer in Spanish, candle lighting and share a traditional meal made by people from the Hispanic Community. These monthly gatherings, averaging around 30–40 people, have allowed us to get to know one another more meaningfully. Some of our partners have been the Open Door Clinic and the Addison County Parent Child Center.

The next gathering is on June 9th at 5:00 p.m.

Community Supper help needed

Our Friday night Community Suppers continue to grow. We have a core group of volunteers who serve our guests. But we need more! The commitment is only about 2 hours on Friday night and as frequent or infrequent as you want. The work is not hard but so important: set tables, serve food, clean up afterwards. 

We believe it’s not only important to make sure our guests are fed but that they are greeted warmly, listened to, and given a place to make connections. We try to make sure they leave knowing that there is always a special place for them at the table. Interested? See Deb Farnham (802-233-1283) or Dottie Neuberger to get signed up. Thank you!

Men's and LAdies' Lunch

The Ladies Lunch will be held at the church in the Russell Carpenter Room at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 20th. There are three options for your meal: 1. Order and pay for your meal at Route 7 South Sandwich Shop by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 19th and let them know it is for the Ladies Lunch. Someone will pick it up and bring it to the church. You can order and pay over the phone by calling (802) 388-3354 or by stopping by the sandwich shop. 2. Bring lunch from home. 3. Purchase and pick up lunch from a location of your choice and bring it with you. You do NOT need to sign up.  Questions?  Contact Erika Garner at garnersvt@gmail.com

The Men's Lunch Bunch will be held at Rosie’s Restaurant on Thursday, June 20th at noon. If you plan to attend the lunch or have questions, please contact Mal Chase at patandmalchase@gmail.com.

Green Team’s 4th Annual Seedling Giveaway was a big success! 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Green Team’s 4th Annual Seedling Giveaway! We were able to provide 125 plants to CVOEO this year in addition to sending many home with our congregants. Our next Green Team meeting will be on Monday, June 17 at 7:00 PM via Zoom. We will not be meeting over the summer months, but plan to brainstorm activities for the fall at this next meeting. If you are interested in being a part of fulfilling our mission as a Creation Justice Church we would love to have you join us! Contact sureidstjohn@gmail.com or leanna_maglienti@yahoo.com if you would like to be involved or learn more about our work.

Red clover children center

Save the Date! Join us on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to noon when we are planning to celebrate the opening of Red Clover with a community event. Details to follow. 

Substitute teachers needed: Red Clover Children's Center is seeking substitute teachers to work for a minimum of 3 hours and at most 8 hours on an as-needed basis. Substitutes will work with Red Clover teachers in infant and toddler rooms, and will need to complete onboarding training and background checks. Substitutes will be paid $17/hour. To learn more or apply, please contact Tessa Dearborn (Red Clover Children's Center Executive Director) at: tessa@redcloverchildren.org

Nursery Help Needed!

Have you noticed?  The nursery has been full of babies and little tots on Sunday mornings this spring! If you are as excited as we are about the recent increase of young families in our congregation, and you would like it to continue, please consider helping in the nursery. 

The nursery is staffed by two (paid) youth workers and two adult volunteers. We need to expand our volunteer pool to accommodate the wonderful addition of little ones we are enjoying. If you are at least 18 years old and available to be in the nursery during worship once every 4–6 weeks, please contact Robin Bentley on the Board of Christian Development at rbentley05@gmail.com

helping hands crew

Friends, Monday, June 3rd, will soon be here and the Helping Hands Crew will be back at it. This month we plan to wash down the Seymour Street portico walls and remove fingerprints from the woodwork in the new building. Please bring your mop bucket and cleaning cloth; we will meet at 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. and all are welcome. Thank you!!!

Baptism of theresa gleich munn!

Sunday, June 9th is a special day for our church! Our 10:00 a.m. service will be a joint worship service between our church and the Vergennes Congregational Church. What's the occasion? Our own Theresa Gleich Munn will be baptized! Our choirs will sing together, our deacons will serve together, and our pastors will lead together. As always, all are welcome! Love lives here.

Window Restoration Project – 

Our Endowment at Work and What Comes Next

In April, a major window restoration project began that will extend into the early weeks of summer. This project was years in the planning and is able to take place because of the continued diligence of the Board of Trustees and many dedicated and generous church members.

The existing windows had been installed during a 1923 renovation and wooden storm windows followed in 1979. Ad hoc repairs have been made since that time, but the windows had clearly reached a point where further repairs would have been insufficient. Several replacement efforts have also been considered over the past few decades. A concrete plan for refurbishment, aligning with an available contractor and the means to pay for the project, was proposed by the Board of Trustees and approved by Church Council in August 2023. Restoring the existing windows and adding architectural storms will allow us to maintain the historical appearance of the original Meeting House while simultaneously improving our energy efficiency. In addition, having multiple operable screened windows will improve air circulation during the summer months.

We are extremely fortunate that this project, which will cost approximately $311,000, is being paid for primarily through a withdrawal from our Church’s endowment account which is specifically dedicated to the Care and Maintenance of the Church Building. There are thirteen different funds in this account, the earliest gifts being from Joseph Battell in 1916 and William Porter and Emma Stewart in 1928 and the most recent ones in memory of Russell Carpenter in 2023. The balance from our Campaign to Retire the Debt, which raised approximately $150,000 more than anticipated, is also allocated to this account.

At the end of 2023, the balance in the Care and Maintenance of the Church Building endowment account was $947,315, of which $606,403 was available (please see the 2023 Annual Report for more details). These funds, along with the additional deposits from the Campaign to Retire the Debt to this account, will enable us to pay for the window restoration project this year, as well as painting the north and east exterior sides of the original Meeting House, which will cost around $51,000.


The Investment Committee, the Board of Trustees, and Church Council are in agreement that further capital projects (such as the repair or replacement of the roof) will require additional capital gifts AND that the endowment account dedicated to the Care and Maintenance of the Church Building will need continued support in the years to come in order to support the routine maintenance of the 215-year-old original Meeting House and its addition. We hope to engage the congregation in this conversation, even as we celebrate the tremendous generosity that has allowed us to embark on a major capital project without new capital fundraising.

To that end, if you would like more information regarding how a gift to the church could support either the current projects or how to contribute to the endowment, please be in touch with any member of the Gift Acceptance Committee (Robert Foster, Sally Holland, Leanna Maglienti and Pastor Andy Nagy-Benson) or to discuss an estate gift, contact the Planned Giving Committee (John Emerson, Sally Holland, and Tana Scott). We look forward to sharing more information with you in the coming months about the importance of the endowment and how it contributes to the overall financial health of our church community.

With gratitude,

Leanna Maglienti, Moderator





addison allies network

Addison Allies Network assists migrant workers in Addison County. A big part of what we do is provide items needed by worker households like refrigerators, beds, and other large pieces of furniture and appliances. We generally get items for free through Front Porch Forum and deliver to households that need the items. Pick-up and delivery is our greatest challenge because it requires lining up people to actually move the items and someone with a truck and the donor all being available at the same time. If we had more people willing to help with pick-ups and deliveries, it might not be as difficult. If we had more people then it would not be a burden for the few people we have helping at this time. I am reaching out to area congregations to ask if there are people with a truck willing to be on an email list and consider helping us with pick-ups and deliveries. There would be no commitment required, only to be on the list. We would send out an email to everyone on the list when we need something moved, and if you are willing to help, we work out the details with the donor and movers based on your availability. If you have a truck and are willing to be on the list, please contact me at vciambra@gmail.com. Thank you.

  • June Birthdays

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    • Click on Calendar in the upper left of the screen.

    Janet Franklin June 1

    Alice Livesay June 1

    Mary A. Williams June 1

    Miles Prouty June 2

    Dana Bingham Severson June 2

    Nellie Walcoff June 2

    Adelynn Leonard June 3

    Angelika Brumbaugh June 4

    Heather Viens June 4

    Sara Marshall June 5

    Ellen Whelan-Wuest June 5

    John Klinck June 6

    Richard Westfall June 6

    Maureen Williams June 6

    Christopher Wright June 6

    Kenneth Engler June 7

    Charles Young June 8

    Stella Andrews June 9

    Nancie Crawford June 9

    Katy Smith Abbott June 9

    Fred Barnes June 10

    Matthew Cox June 10

    Camila Nulsen June 10

    Judy Jessup June 11

    Katie Wallace June 11

    Diana Landwehr June 12

    Kierra Lacey June 13

    Nathan Stefani June 13

    Peter Vant June 13

    Cathy Walsh June 15

    Nancy Ward June 15

    Mal Chase June 17

    Uwe Luksch June 17

    Sarah Tully June 17

    Patrick Deering June 18

    Jeff Munroe June 18

    Walter Stugis June 18

    Peter Nelson June 20

    Jim Douglas June 21

    Camille Maglienti June 21

    Rik Poduschnick June 21

    Maddie Stowe June 21

    Cathy Fowler June 22

    Annie Livesay June 23

    Jim Wright June 24

    Candy McLaughlin June 25

    Patrick Greene June 27

    Sarah Wright June 27

    Erik Bleich June 28

    Hadley Evans Nash June 28

    Cindi Gillen June 28

    Cindy Marshall June 28

    Tim Hollander June 30

    Amy Shute June 30



  • June Anniversaries

    Abbott, Steve & Smith Abbott, Katy June 03

    Eagan, James & Margaret June 03

    Marshall, Sara & Rick June 04

    Munteanu, Peter & Cathy June 09

    Jones, Cindy & Larry June 11

    Klinck, John & Sherry June 11

    Ruffa, Jill & Peter June 12

    Jewett, Steve & Kathy June 13

    Williams, Mary A. & Thomas June 13

    Diehl, Stephen & Aimee June 14

    Skor, Kristie & Donald June 17

    Davis, James & Elizabeth June 20

    Lehman, Tanya & Morse, Stephen June 22

    Orten, Mark & Jenny June 23

    Emerson, Amy & John June 29

    Foster, Jim & Joyce June 29