Judy Albright - Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

May 2022

Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson

Dear Church,

Each May, the apple tree in our front yard hums with bees. When the apple blossoms bloom, words like “idyllic” and “edenic” come to mind. I’m pretty sure I think more about the Garden of Eden in May than in all the other months combined. I have St. Jerome to thank for this — Eden’s apple starts with him.

In the original Hebrew text, in Genesis chapter three, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil bears “fruit.” Just fruit. Not apples. Then, about twelve hundred years later, when Jerome translates Genesis 3 (along with most of the Bible) into Latin, he goes with “apple.” It’s wordplay. He chooses malus for “fruit,” because malus can mean “evil” and “apple.” Jerome drops a pun into Paradise. I love that.

The story of Adam and Eve eating fruit that they were asked not to eat is a holy reminder that there’s some unholy mess in all of us. That’s not the whole story, of course. In the opening chapter of Genesis, we are also “very good.” But the leitmotif of human missteps is hard to miss, and in the shadows of Eden, it begins with disobedience (literally, “a refusal to listen”). That’s the first sin of Hebrew Scripture — disobedience — followed quickly by the unflattering propensity to shirk responsibility and to blame the other. Adam and Eve hear God’s instructions and choose not to listen.

When it comes to climate change, there is an ignominious legacy of not listening. Not listening includes choosing to tune into voices that tell us that a warming planet has little to do with human activity. Not listening includes listening to voices that privilege the self (and profits) above all else. Not listening includes selective hearing. I think we all know something about that. I know I do.

I’ve known about climate change for years, but we still pay to heat our home with oil and to schlep around in a gas-powered minivan. I’ve pressed my ear to the scientific data and even more to the wisdom of God’s Word. I’ve been teaching and preaching stewardship of creation, and neighbor love, and special care for the most vulnerable among us for nearly half my life. I still don’t get it right. “Nobody’s perfect” is demonstrably true. And yet, God wants us to flourish.

This May, I’m thinking about what it means for life on Earth to flourish. And I’m thinking about how I — and our church — can be part of that. Listening seems like a good place to start (again). Listening for God in the buzzing bees and birdsong. Listening for God in the cries of creation. Listening for ways to include more stakeholders in green energy solutions. Listening for God in every creative solution to arrest climate change.

Solar panels on the church’s addition is a good step, from my point of view. I celebrate Church Council’s decision last month to move in this direction. And it’s time to keep going.

How else might we help make life on planet Earth a viable option for generations to come?


dedication of the russell c. carpenter room

On Sunday, April 24th after worship, we dedicated and blessed the Russell C. Carpenter Room. Named after our beloved friend and longtime moderator, Russell, this room will henceforth honor his good work among us until his death in February 2020.  A reception in Fellowship Hall followed the dedication. 



Church Council met twice in April. Our first meeting was on Zoom and was an informational meeting with only one agenda item: discussing a solar project for our church. The proposal is to place 90 solar panels on the south-facing roof of the addition. This was proposed by church staff and the Green Team, and has been reviewed in detail by the Board of Trustees. It is being financed by Vermont Solar Fund LLC; the church would lease the rooftop space to them for the placement of 90 solar panels. We reviewed the details of the proposal, asked questions, and decided it would be on the agenda for a vote at our regular meeting. Information is to be distributed to church members, with our moderator and Ian Phair being available to answer questions.

We held our regular Church Council meeting on April 13. We did all the normal reports, but spent the bulk of our time on new business. We spent a good amount of time learning about the Childcare Exploratory Workgroup. The group members are Ellen Whelan-Wuest, Elizabeth Gleich, Tanya Byker, Mark Gleason, Alyssa Sinclair, and Ginny Sinclair. They have had several meetings in the past month, and Ellen and Elizabeth gave a detailed report on their progress so far. They laid out a timeline of how they hope things will proceed, of the reasons our community needs this, and of the opportunities we have to use part of our space to help with this significant need. They outlined a long list of things they still need to investigate. Church Council applauded the work this group has done so far, and gave their encouragement to continue researching the areas they have identified.

We heard an update on the search for a new Director of Church and Youth Ministries. We approved joining the UCC Ministries Flexible Benefit Plan.

Our last major new item of business was voting on the solar panel proposal. Since we had spent significant time discussing this the week before, we had only a few questions. The council unanimously approved this project, which includes a 35-year lease agreement to Vermont Solar Fund LLC for the use of rooftop space for solar panels. This lease includes an option to purchase the solar project in 10 years at a cost that is estimated to be around $10,000. It was noted that the Trustees, as well as Pastor Andy, and the Green Team strongly endorsed this move.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Foster, Church Clerk

Lots Going on!

Jennifer Smith, Director of CHILDREN and Youth Ministries

"Justice will bubble up, hope will raise its head, love will rise to the surface. Hate and fear will try to drown them out, but you cannot silence what was here first, which was love, and it was good. It was so good. So even the stones will cry out. Remember that at your parade."

—from the poem "Even the Stones Will Cry Out" by Rev. Sarah Speed

  • Jr. Youth Group

    The Junior Youth Group met during Holy Week to paint our hopes, prayers, and joys on stones that we laid at Jesus’ feet. 

    Thank you! With your help, the Junior Youth Group collected the following items for the Homeward Bound animal shelter:

    205 cans of cat food

    4 cans of dog food

    10 bags of cat treats

    10 bags of dog treats

    43 rolls of paper towels

    4 jugs of laundry detergent

    16 boxes of trash bags

    And $242 in cash!

  • Confirmation Class

    The confirmation class met in late April to discuss the four Gospels and did a comparison reading. We will have our last class on May 15 and will get a history lesson of the church building and new addition, as well as a tour. Please save the date of Sunday, June 5, to join us for Confirmation Sunday!

  • Teacher Recognition

    On May 15, we will take a moment during worship to honor and recognize our exceptional teaching staff. We will celebrate Stacia Greene, May Poduschnick, Cindy Marshall, Eliana Cañas, Melissa Bartley, and Jenny Orten. It is because of their love and dedication that our Church School is thriving.

  • Children and Youth Sunday!

    Mark your calendars for our annual tradition of Children and Youth Sunday on June 12! The children and youth will write the Call to Worship, Prayer of Dedication, and Benediction. You will hear music from some of our youth. Because this is the last Children and Youth Sunday that I will lead, I have the honor of delivering the sermon. I do hope you will be able to join us.

Special Music for Summer

Jessica Allen, Director of Music

It is hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of our program year for music. Summer music begins in mid-June, and the planning starts now! If you are someone that enjoys sharing your music with others in a more casual summer service environment, I would love to hear from you. In the past we have had singers and instrumentalists do solos or put together songs with others in the form of duets, quartets or small bands. 

If the thought of participating appeals to you, we could explore how to get you or your child or youth involved. Our summer music programming is always greatly appreciated, and feels like a wonderful representation of the mosaic of musical gifts among members of our congregation and their families. If you are willing, I hope you will be a part of it.

Work is underway for the

2022 Bazaar

Jewelry Basket

With your help, let’s start filling a festive “May Basket” with your early donations of fashion and finer jewelry for the 2022 Bazaar’s Jewelry, Scarves, and Ties Table. Conveniently placed on the table outside Unity Hall, we hope the May Basket will inspire you to begin sorting through those pins, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces you are planning to donate to the upcoming Bazaar. Starting early will allow our jewelry chairpersons plenty of time to organize and price these items to sell in November.

Craft Ideas on May 22

Also this month, we plan to have another Craft Projects Idea Table available to peruse on Sunday, May 22, during Fellowship Hour. We are so grateful for the number of sewers, knitters, and other crafters who have already shown an interest in creating items for the 2022 Bazaar Craft Table. Offering the Craft Project Ideas Table again in May gives us all another wonderful chance to connect about ideas for projects. Your input and involvement are essential and so greatly appreciated!

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact Bazaar Co-chairs Ruth Penfield and Judy Jessup directly with questions or thoughts.


With gratitude,

Ruth Penfield (ruthpenfield@gmail.com) and Judy Jessup (judyjessupvt@gmail.com)

exciting news!

Dear friends,

I write to share some joyful news. As many of you know, I have spent the last few months in the search and call process, searching for a church to serve. I am so very happy to report that on Sunday morning, April 24, the members of the Trinitarian Congregational Parish of Castine, Maine, voted to call me as their settled pastor. Their vote and my whole-hearted ‘yes’ are the culmination of weeks of conversation and prayerful discernment of what God is calling them, me, and - now - us to do. TCP, as the church is known locally, is a small but vibrant church in the small but vibrant coastal town of Castine, on Penobscot Bay. I am humbled by the trust that they have placed in me with this call - and am looking forward, with eager anticipation, to the ministry that we will do together.

I start in Castine in early July — and the weeks between now and then hold all manner of watershed moments. This week is the final week of classes at divinity school; Yale Divinity School graduation is on May 23. And then at 3:00 PM on June 5, in our church, I will be ordained. You’ll be hearing more about that soon! After that, there’s just the small matter of moving to the coast of Maine. Needless to say, I view that move with equal parts joy and sadness. The coast of Maine is near and dear to my heart: I spent formative parts of my childhood on Penobscot Bay, and this is very much a homecoming. And, Vermont has been my home for 25 years. To say that I will miss it - and all of you - is an understatement, to say the least.

But all of that is still to come. For now, I simply want you all to know that my gratitude to each of you and to this whole community runs deeper than words can say. This journey would not have been possible without this church’s exuberant welcome when I first walked through the doors 4 1/2 years ago and your love and support as I have discerned my call to ordained ministry. I thank God for each of you and for this whole beloved church community.

With love,


Green Team at work!

The month of May brings us well into the season of spring, and with it, an abundance of opportunities to rejoice at the rebirth of new life. While caring for creation is a year-round activity, the Green Team is offering multiple opportunities for engagement this month.

Highlights in May:

A state-wide Walk/Bike Summit is happening at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury on Friday, May 6. Organized by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, and the Walk-Bike Council of Addison County, the event will highlight how our local communities are creating more livable, healthy, and bike-, pedestrian-, and public-transit-friendly places. There is a fee to register for this event, and more details can be found here: https://vtwalkbikesummit.com/

Green Up Day is Saturday, May 7, and all are welcome to join members of the Green Team at 9:00 a.m. that morning on the front steps of the church. We will fan out in the downtown area, cleaning up a portion of the banks of Otter Creek, the Marble Works, and the Town Green. This is the 52nd year of this annual state-wide event, and participating in your own town or neighborhood is also encouraged.

Our next Green Team meeting is Monday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. New members are always welcome! Contact sureidstjohn@gmail.com or leanna_maglienti@yahoo.com if you would like to be involved or learn more about our team.

Our second annual Seedling Giveaway is Sunday, May 15! Church members will be invited to take home a seedling after church to grow over the summer (while supplies last). Our enthusiastic growers have a variety of veggies and herbs to choose from and will also donate seedlings to HOPE for their clients this year.

Finally, we wish to extend a word of gratitude to the Trustees and Church Council for pursuing an opportunity to install solar panels on the roof of the new addition. We are so grateful for the many ways that all members of our church community lean into the idea of Creation Justice and put their faith into action.


  • announcements!

    The Board of Pastoral Care provides rides for church members when a need arises. Please contact Jim Eagan at 802-352-9042 (home) or 802-989-4241 (cell) if you need a ride.


    Fellowship Hour is back and so are the sign-up sheets on the bulletin board downstairs in Fellowship Hall. We are asking for cookies only, for the time being, if you sign up to bake.

    Save Date!  Lydia Gleich Munn will be baptized on June 12 at 3:00 p.m. during the service of Installation for Rev. Elliott Munn at the Vergennes Congregational Church. As a pastors’ kid, Lydia will be lucky enough to grow up in both churches. As such, we hope members from both churches can be there to welcome her into God’s family. All are welcome!

Who is the Rev. James Thomas Hyde?

Rev. James T. Hyde served the Congregational Church of Middlebury from 1857 to 1867. After his marriage to Augusta Saltonstall Hempstead in 1852, they settled in Hartford, CT and then came to Middlebury in 1857. Hyde was ordained June 10, 1857. Upon leaving Middlebury (being dismissed on November 1, 1867), they moved to West Haven, CT. Rev. Hyde was the sixth settled pastor to serve the Middlebury church.

James is descended from William Hyde (born 1598 in Stockport, Cheshire, England) and Helen (Hester) Francis Trott (born 1609 in London, London, England). This couple settled in Connecticut: William died in 1681 in Norwich, New London, CT, and Hester died in 1682 in Saybrook, Middlesex, CT. James Thomas Hyde is the 7th generation in this branch to have settled in Connecticut.

James Thomas Hyde married Augusta Saltonstall Hempstead on April 27, 1852, in New London County, CT. The parents of James are James Nevins Hyde and Mary Ann Thomas; the parents of Augusta are Daniel B. Hempstead and Grace Lamphere. James and Augusta had four children; the oldest two (James Nevins Hyde and William Hyde) were born in New Haven, CT, and other two (Grace and George) were born in Middlebury, VT.

James graduated from Yale College, Class of 1847, and Yale Divinity School, Class of 1851. In 1855, the family settled in Braintree, MA; in 1860, they were living in Middlebury next to the Middlebury College president, Benjamin Larabee; in 1870, they resided in West Haven, CT; by 1880, James was a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary. Both James and Augusta were buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.

James Thomas Hyde born 18 Jan 1827 Norwich, CT died 20 Mar 1886 Chicago

Augusta Saltonstall Hempstead born ca 1827 New Haven CT died 20 Jun 1882 Chicago

The four children of James and Augusta were:

  1. James Nevins Hyde, born 30 Jan 1853 in New Haven, CT. He lived with his parents through 1870; he is not listed in the 1880 census, but in the 1900 census records, he was listed as a clerk living in San Francisco, CA. There was no paper trail after 1910.
  2. William (Willie) Hyde, born 29 Jan 1858. He died in Middlebury on 8 May 1868 at the age of 10 years and is buried in the Middlebury (West) Cemetery.
  3. Grace Hempstead Hyde, born 10 Nov 1860 in Middlebury. She lived with her parents until their death in the 1880s. She married William H. Beard on 12 Aug 1886 in Chicago and lived her married life in Minneapolis, where her husband was an art critic. Grace died 7 Mar 1913 and was buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. Grace and William had two children.
  4. George Merriam Hyde, born 26 Feb 1865 in Middlebury. He lived with his parents at least through 1880 and graduated from Amherst College in 1888. He was employed as an art critic in New York City and married Violet Buel on 11 Jan 1899. Violet’s father, Oliver P. Buel, passed away on Friday, April 7, 1899, the death greatly affecting George. On the following Tuesday, April 11, he left his house about 1:00 p.m. and did not return. His body was found in the Hudson River, off Hoboken, on June 4. It is believed that he drowned himself while temporarily insane.

Malcolm W. Chase, Historian

  • MayBirthdays

    Paige Russell                May 1

    Alyssa Sinclair              May 2

    Lucas Nelson                May 3

    Felix Poduschnick         May 4

    Nancy Jakiela               May 6

    James Foster                May 7

    Nathan Marshall            May 9

    Alexander Marshall       May 9

    Janet Winkler                May 9

    Andy Nagy-Benson       May 10

    Beverly Woodin             May 10

    Mary Ann Eastman        May 13

    Robert Foster                May 13

    Lois Kaufmann              May 13

    Elliot Munn                    May 13

    Robert Champlin           May 14

    David Preble                 May 14

    Cathy Molloy                 May 16

    Mary Williams               May 16

    Nancy Foster                May 17

    Stacia Greene               May 17

    Jackson Kubacki          May 18

    Tim Williams                  May 19

    Holly Puterbaugh          May 20

    Galen Fastie                 May 21

    Irene Barna                   May 22

    Eliana Canas-Parra       May 22

    Michael Durst                May 23

    Elizabeth Gleich            May 24

    Lucy Poduschnick         May 24

    Buz Brumbaugh            May 25

    Aiden Cole                    May 25

    Ethan Roy                     May 25

    Ronald Rucker              May 25

    Sara Ruffa                     May 26

    Barbara Kent                 May 29


  • May Anniversaries

    TMark & Shannon Gleason                  May 4

    Donald & Leanna Maglienti                  May 8

    Glenna Emilo                                        May 15

    Andy & Gwen Nagy-Benson                May 17

    Jim & Dorothy Douglas                        May 24

    Robert & Nancy Foster                        May 25

    Chris Ketcham                                     May 28

    Peter & Margaret Carothers                 May 30

    Hugh & Candy McLaughlin                  May 31