Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

November 2023

Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson

Dear Church,


Grace and peace to you.


November is Thanksgiving month, as far as I’m concerned, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you. I work alongside and lead a stellar staff—I’m grateful for each of them. I’m also thankful to be part of a congregation where the volunteer hours are too many to count. I am deeply appreciative of our many Committee and Board members. Our Church Council and officers. Our Church School teachers and Youth Group leaders. Our musicians and choirs. Our Holiday Bazaar team. It goes on and on. The vitality of our congregation is God’s work in your hands. I give thanks for each of you, and I thank God for the time we all get to share on Sunday mornings.


On a personal note, I also want to thank you for supporting my ongoing education. The Doctor of Ministry program—Creative Writing and Public Theology—has been an excellent experience. With coursework behind me, I am currently hip deep in the final creative project (a collection of 35–40 pages of poetry) and theological paper. Here’s one of the poems, inspired by a public sculpture called “Chaos Xaxis” by Jedd Novatt on the campus of Middlebury College:




Take three

wooden blocks and

bronze them.


Excise everything

but angle

and edge.


Stack them.


Send them

tumbling —


open squares


in place,


a frozen moment



Do you see how

we hold each other


for balance


wherever life begins

to tip and slide?



May this season’s invitation to give thanks be met with a joyful noise, with songs of praise for God’s presence and provision, and for the gift of being church together.





Church Council met on October 11 and heard reports from both Pastor Andy and Pastor Elizabeth. Elizabeth will be on parental leave starting in a couple weeks. She reported on CROP Walk, Youth Group, and the child care center. Andy reported on a long list of activities he has been a part of during the past month.


Judy Albright reviewed the new updated church website and showed us two of its new features.


Tessa Dearborn joined our meeting and gave us an update on the progress she is making with the Red Clover Children’s Center.


We reviewed and approved a contract for our Acting Director of Music.


We listened to and discussed an update on the Friday Night Community Suppers.


We spent about an hour in Executive Session for the annual review of our two pastors. When we came out of Executive Session, we passed motions expressing our gratitude for the dedication and commitment of both, and our appreciation for all the work they have done in the past year.


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. 

Eliana Cañas Parra

Dear Church,


We are more than a month into our children and youth programs, and after a couple of tweaks here and there, things feel like they are going smoothly. On Sundays, I usually stop by every classroom to check in with the kids, support the adults if needed, and participate in whatever activity is going on. We’ve been talking about essential needs like food, our need for community, and how the church (universal) can help provide some healing for those needs.


I’ve been enjoying getting to know the children, families, and adult volunteers a little more. I’m grateful for the time everyone puts into making sure our youth have a safe and fun place in our church where they can explore what it means to love God, love their neighbor, and love themselves.


The Junior Youth Group has met a handful of times this fall. I love witnessing how they care for one another, for our community, and for the world. What a group of thoughtful, smart, caring, and fun kids! In one of our previous meetings, we baked some sweets that will be sold at the bazaar—make sure to grab a bag!


I’ve also been meeting with Tessa Dearborn as we navigate the sharing of spaces in our building to welcome Red Clover Children’s Center. We’ve had some great conversations and made some decisions regarding the classrooms, with the BCD support and blessing, that align with our shared goal of caring for the little ones in both communities—Sunday school children and the ones that will be part of RCCC. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I invite you to go downstairs and visit the new location of our church nursery, which has a lot of new stuff for both RCCC and the nursery!



Drum roll, please! 

The 99th Annual Holiday Bazaar

Saturday, November 4th

We are excited that Saturday November 4th is our church’s annual Holiday Bazaar. We thank everyone for your support, preparations, and donations! Below is the final schedule for Holiday Bazaar Week.




Set-Up Days

  Sunday – Tuesday Oct. 29–31: Tables, chairs and display shelves arranged by our logistics team. On Tuesday, we will be decorating and doing additional setup, including signs on both floors and outside. If you have taken a yellow “Bazaar Saturday” lawn sign to post at your property’s roadside, now is the time to set it out!

  Wednesday, Nov. 1: Donors can drop off contributions from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.. Bazaar workers will be setting up spaces, sorting, and pricing merchandise and nonperishable food items.

  Thursday, Nov. 2: Workers continue to receive, price and set up from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m..

  Friday, Nov. 3: Friday is the last day to drop off donated items, and the first day to drop off perishable foods including baked goods (whole pies, etc.) and soups from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.. On Friday, Theme Baskets should be brought to the church between 9:00 a.m. – noon. (To make alternate arrangements to drop off baskets, contact Chris Ketcham.)

Bazaar Day

  Saturday morning, Nov. 4: Perishable foods (pies, soups, food table baked goods) can be delivered 8:00 - 8:30 a.m.. Workers need to be in place by 8:30 a.m. for any last-minute instructions and final set up.

  DOORS OPEN – Saturday, Nov. 4: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.. Plan to come out to see all the wonderful offerings we’ll have for sale. Invite your family members, neighbors and friends to join you!


Second Chance Sunday November 5th

  A Second Chance Sale and Quilt Raffle Drawing will be held on Sunday Nov 5th at Fellowship Hour. Some items that were not sold on Saturday will be displayed in Fellowship Hall. The winner of the raffle drawing does not need to be present to win.


To add to the excitement this year, the Bazaar will feature three items generously donated by church members: Shoppers will be able to choose from two dozen framed photographs from the collection of renowned National Geographic photographer James P. Blair. Second, with this year’s renewed interest in Barbie, fans will discover a large selection of highly collectible Barbie dolls and Barbie accessories, donated by a longtime church member and collector. Finally, for a chance to own a beautiful new, handcrafted queen size quilt in the Starlight Waltz pattern, Quilt Raffle Tickets will be on sale at the Bazaar ($3.00 each, or 2 for $5, or 5 for $10.00).


Shoppers will also find the many other popular items that the Bazaar has been well known for for many years! So, please help to spread the word with friends and neighbors that this 99th Bazaar will be one of the best ever, where they can find items for themselves and to give as gifts.

A list of the 2023 Table & Room managers and other information is posted on the Bazaar Bulletin Board in Fellowship Hall. If you have questions about the drop-off times or volunteering, please contact Ruth Penfield or Judy Jessup, 2023 Bazaar co-chairs.

Thank you!  

Co-chairs Ruth Penfield ruthpenfield@gmail.com and Judy Jessup judyjessupvt@gmail.com. 


It's time to think ahead even though it's barely November. You can order a poinsettia (red, white, or pink) to help decorate the sanctuary for Christmas, but November 10th is the deadline to guarantee color and plant. After that we can probably get them but it will depend on inventory supplies. 

The cost is $26 per plant. You can, of course, claim your chosen plant afterward. If you wish to dedicate your poinsettia, let us know. If you want more than one and wish a dedication, please number them for us ( for example 1: John Smith 2: Harry Smith).

Please send orders to Polly Birdsall at pmb210@gmail.com or look for the person taking orders after church on Sundays in November. We will need payment with the orders.

Hook, Needle and Stitch

A new idea is afoot! There is some interest with those of us who Hook, Knit, Crochet, Embroider, or just want to sit and chat with those who do while having a Fellowship Hour coffee!

We thought we'd gather once a month after church in the Youth Room and enjoy each others company while working away on our projects. What do you think? We will meet on November 26th. For info contact Chris Ketcham.

Are you aware...

of the land holdings of our church?

Part 1


Have all the real estate transactions been in Vermont? The answer may surprise you…


The Congregational Church of Middlebury (UCC) has been involved in several land and fiscal transactions. This article highlights the potential value to the church of each of these transactions.


The parcels being examined are The Henshaw House, The Monroe House, The Hayward Block, The Lazarus Property, Charter House, Cobble House, and The Battell Memorial Chapel. For the purposes of this article, a historical lineage of the owners of each parcel is not necessary. The church’s rationale in obtaining and/or selling each parcel is the important aspect of each transaction.


The Meeting House — The Congregational Church of Middlebury at 2 Main Street; owned from 1806 to current. The land owned by the church is discussed in two books:


1.  Stephen A. Freeman, The Congregational Church of Middlebury, Vermont, 1790–1990, copyright 1990 by the Middlebury Congregational Church.

2.  Glenn M. Andres and Greg Pahl (revised and edited), A Walking History of Middlebury, copyright 1997 by the Sheldon Museum.


The land was formerly owned by Gamaliel Painter and deeded in 1789 to John Deming for the construction of a blacksmith shop and tavern. Shortly thereafter, the tavern was moved down Seymour Street (and demolished in the 20th century). The town was then ready to build its meeting house.


The Henshaw House — 1 South Pleasant Street; owned by the church from 1863 to 1925 (62 years); the need arose to provide a residence for the pastor. The first of two Congregational Church parsonages was purchased by the Religious Society in 1863. The Society voted on March 30, 1863, to purchase the “Bascom house” or any other house habitable for the pastor. The Bascom house has never been identified. Another unnamed house was purchased as a parsonage around July 1863, and repairs authorized. The Henshaw House (as it was later named, based on the name of an earlier infamous owner) was sold in 1925 for $6,000; at that time, the pastor (Henry C. Newell) was given a housing allowance in addition to his annual salary.


The Munroe House — 42 Seminary Street; owned from 1945 to 1975 (30 years). The second of the two Congregational Church parsonages was a gift to the church from Charles A. Munroe, whose parents had lived there and were members of the church. This house, at 42 Seminary Street, was deeded to the church in 1945, in time for Rev. Walker T. Hawley to move into the new parsonage. The house was sold to Richard Livingston in July 1975; the net proceeds from the sale of the house and furnishings totaled $55,375.


Hayward Block, College Street — owned from 1964 to ????  A bequest from Alice Hayward Woodcook of the Joseph Dexter Hayward Block in 1964 posed some interesting and involved problems. To study them—to explore the potential in the building, weigh the practicalities of such procedures as appeared possible, and proceed to a reasonable degree with ideas and basic plans for any indicated procedures—the chair of the Prudential Committee appointed a sub-committee consisting of John G. Bowker, Richard C. Hubbard, and Ivan D. Hagar. To assist and advise the committee, the firm of Freeman, French, & Freeman, architects of Burlington, was employed and provide several plans for remodeling the building and putting it into full and practical use.

After considering the various options, the Hayward Block was not deemed of use for the church and thus sold to Middlebury College for $25,000 with the proceeds invested for later possible use by the church.


Cobble House — 32 North Pleasant Street; owned from 2012 to present; the Cobble House was purchased for $325,000 to provide possible space for church offices, church school class rooms, and community space without the need to cross Route 7. After the purchase, Cobble House was rented out for a few years, before the house and land was razed to provide additional space for the construction of a new addition to the north end of the church.


Considering the above parcels of land, the two parsonages were homes for the pastors. The additional land was part of the church’s property but only for a short period of time. The Hayward Block did not add land to the church’s holdings; while the Cobble House provided a permanent long-term parcel to the church. The land provided from the Cobble House purchase provided ample space for church offices, classrooms, and meeting rooms in a new north wing to the church so that there was no further need to have to cross over Route 7.


—to be continued next month—


Malcolm W. Chase


did you know?

You can provide for yourself and your family and be generous to your church, all at the same time. A Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) can:


  Provide you with a steady income stream for the rest of your life,

  Provide new, higher rates of return than in past years,

  Reduce what you will pay in income taxes,

  Provide a generous gift to our church after you die, which can support the church for years to follow.


For current rates, see: https://www.acga-web.org/current-gift-annuity-rates


—The Planned Giving Committee – John Emerson, Sally Holland (chair), and Tana Scott


The Nominating Committee meets each Fall to recommend church members for open positions on the six church Boards. Each year, a third of the members on each board rotate off the board and are replaced by new members. This is specified in the Church's by-laws, and this practice encourages more participation as well as new ideas and energy on each board. The term of service is normally three years, and it begins each February. 

If you are interested in serving on a board, please contact Michele Brown at 802-349-9843 or michelelbrown59@gmail.com.

  • November 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.

    Pamela Quinn                           November 1

    Michael Cummings                    November 3

    Jill Ruffa                                   November 3

    Debbie Deering                         November 4

    Victoria Luksch                          November 4

    Levi Nuceder                             November 4

    Brett Viens                                November 4

    James Davis                             November 6

    Bronwen Kent                           November 6

    Tanya Lehman                          November 6

    Josie Masterson-Glen                November 8

    Matthew von Behrens                November 8

    Devon Karpak                           November 10

    Frank Winkler                            November 10

    Jennifer Stefani                         November 11

    Jae Davis                                 November 13

    John Evarts                              November 13

    Josie Abbott                             November 16

    Mira Maglienti                           November 19

    Mike Fiskio                               November 20

    George Cady                            November 21

    Frank Van Gansbeke                 November 21

    Greta Allen-Buettner                  November 23

    Doug Sinclair                            November 23

    Mary Alice Beazley                    November 25

    Mary Jo Champlin                      November 25

    Harper Sinclair                          November 29

    Sandy Youell                             November 29

    Callum Krahn                            November 30



  • October Anniversaries

    Conor Stinson & Ellen Whelan-Wuest      November 12

    Jeff & Diane Munroe                              November 13

    Charles & Nancy Jakiela                        November 17