Judy Albright - Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

October 2021

The Time Apart

Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson

Dear Church,


I returned from sabbatical after last month’s Church Matters deadline, so I would like to take this opportunity to share some chronological highlights from my time away and to express my heartfelt thanks.



From April to June, I had the pleasure of being the Assistant Coach of the girls’ lacrosse team at MUMS. Having led this team for several years, it was lovely (and lighter) to serve in a supporting role. It was a joy to coach Rachael and her teammates, six of whom are now in our Senior High Youth Group! Over the years, coaching has allowed me to get to know many youth and families from the wider community. I value these connections.


8-day Silent Retreat

At the end of May, I made an 8-day silent retreat at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, MA. While the prospect of me being quiet for a week straight would not have been something my mother could have imagined when I was young, I have been—and was again—profoundly nourished by my experience at Eastern Point. I plan to return there for another sip of silent prayer at the end of this month. Here’s a link to EPRH, if you’re interested in learning more: https://www.easternpoint.org


Book Project

From July 2020 to June 2021, Andi Lloyd and I exchanged letters that brought ecology and theology into conversation around climate change. The spaciousness of “sabbatical time” allowed me to do my part in completing the manuscript. Andi and I are currently searching for a publisher for 24 Letters: A Pastor, An Ecologist, and a Year.


Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) 

In June, I began my studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. The school’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program is comprised of several cohorts; I’m enrolled in one called Creative Writing and Public Theology. The three-year program started with a week-long intensive course, Faith and Place in Public Theology. My second course, a two-month exploration of the craft of memoir, will end in early October. I am reading and writing a lot—and loving it. The quality of my classmates’ work continues to inspire me.


Family Time

While this was a “working sabbatical,” I enjoyed the gift of time with family throughout these four months. Our family spent time on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, including a week with my parents, siblings, and their families. And my younger brother, Tim, and I had a blast hiking in the White Mountains. After so many COVID-related deferments, it was a special kind of blessing to spend time with the ones I love most.


I am deeply grateful for this time away, and I want to express heartfelt thanks to Pastor Elizabeth for her excellent leadership, and to James Calvin Davis, Steve Jewett, Larry Jones, and Mark Orten for their invaluable contributions during that time. I want to thank you, church, for your financial and prayerful support of my sabbatical.


For the gift of this time apart, and for the delight of being back among you, I thank God.


Grace and Peace,


Fall Bible Study: Philipians

The text:          Philippians


The dates:       Tuesdays in October (5th, 12th, 19th, 26th)


The time:         Noon to 1:00 p.m.



10/5                 Chapter 1

10/12               Chapter 2

10/19               Chapter 3

10/26               Chapter 4

Zoom Link

crop hunger walk

October 3rd

12:30 p.m.

Middlebury Town Green

Hunger is one of the greatest injustices facing our world, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Ending hunger is possible,  and it is possible in our lifetime. You can help make it happen. Register for CROP Hunger Walk, raise funds, and take us one step closer to ending hunger once and for all. Join the movement!

Envelopes can be picked up at the Church Office M-F from 9:00 a.m, - 1:00 p.m.

Register for Crop Walk

Children and Youth

Jennifer Smith, Director of CHILDREN and Youth Ministries

What a true joy it is to be back in person with all the children and youth; I have missed their smiles, energy, and laughter. Praise be to God! 

Everything in Church School is off to a smooth start as we begin to learn about each other as well as learn from the new lectionary-based curriculum by Sparkhouse.

Our Junior Youth Group is designed for our 6th–8th graders and began on September 21. We played some ice-breaker games as well as discussed our covenant:


•   Love One Another (John 13:34)

•   With God All Things Are Possible (Matthew 19:26)

•   Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all (Mark 9:35)

•   Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)


Our confirmation class met at the end of the month with their parents and mentors. Each student has been assigned an adult mentor from our church. This was an opportunity for the parents, mentors, and students to get to know each other better.


Our nursery is open and staffed! We are asking children over age 2 to wear a mask. We have a pager system to help ease any anxiety. The care providers can contact you immediately if there is an issue.



Jennifer Smith

Senior Youth Group Word Cloud

"The Good Life"

Bazaar Update...  moving forward!

With input from the Church Task Force and from our Church Bazaar Committee members we have designed the most workable and safe guidelines for holding our annual Middlebury.

Congregational Church Bazaar on Saturday, November 6. With gratitude and appreciation, we are thrilled to be continuing this traditional fundraiser for its 97th year! 

There are two significant changes to our 2021 Bazaar:

  • Our traditional Luncheon will not be served as we follow the protocol for no eating of foods indoors during this time of mandated indoor masking. Instead, we will be soliciting volunteers to make more homemade soups and whole pies than usual for take-out. These will be packaged and sold in addition to the already wide variety of delicious homemade foods that are sold in take-out bags and containers from the Food Table.  
  • The Attic Treasures and Finer Things Rooms will not be part of the 2021 Bazaar, therefore we will not be accepting donations of items for these rooms. Please hold onto these items until next year!  


Donate Jewelry before November! Bring your fashion and finer jewelry for the Jewelry Table to church during the month of October so that those chairpersons can price items early and gradually. Place them in a collection box which will be near the church office. 

Donations for the following Tables and Rooms

  • Will be gratefully accepted during the 3 days prior to the Bazaar (Nov 3-5) at these times: Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9am – 7pm, and Friday 9am—5pm.
  • Fashion and Finer Jewelry, Scarves, and Silk Ties
  • Books (no reference or textbooks, please)
  • Games, Puzzles, and Toys for all ages
  • Garden Table Plants and bulbs

For now, “stay tuned” for updates and know that we so appreciate and are grateful for your patience and support as you volunteer to be a part of a successful community Bazaar as we move forward!


Ruth Penfield and Judy Jessup, Bazaar Co-chairpersons

  • Bakers, Candy Makers, Canners Needed!

    Happily, we still plan on our ever-popular Food Table being filled with your delicious array of baked and canned goods ready for purchasing!


    The Food Table is calling for you to bring in your prized creations to tempt the eager buyers: yeast or quick breads, cakes or coffee cakes, cupcakes or cookies, muffins or pies, fudge, truffles, barks or candy, jams or pickles. We want it all! Pie pans will be provided if desired. Just call Maureen Williams, Food Table co-chair at 802-388-0866.

  • Planned giving

    Did you know?

    Sue Saul’s 2019 bequest to the church provided $200,000 to the endowment for the care and maintenance of our church building in perpetuity. At her request, only the income from that endowment is used, which in 2020 was approximately $20,000.

Mobile Church giving

GivePlus Mobile will be retiring at the end of September 2021.  Vanco Mobile is the app you can download to give to the church through your smartphones going forward! The same Login should work. 

Hold on!

Jessica Allen, Director of Music

I was recently reminded of a wonderful spiritual that includes the admonition, “Keep your hand on the plow and HOLD ON,” and it plunged me back to memories of my early childhood on a farm in southwestern Iowa. I loved my childhood there and often think of what I cherish most about that first decade of my life. Wide-open fields, lots of room to roam, a world of curiosity and discovery, living in the heart of nature and seeing how life—human, plant, and animal—lives, grows, dies. There were joyous times, but some really scary and deeply sad ones as well. Through it all, there was a lot of room to dream, and summer nights would often find me sneaking out of my bed to press my 8-year-old nose against the screen of an open window. I would take in the smells of dewy hay and the sounds of evening crickets, see the fireflies twinkling in the cornfields, and let my eyes wander up to take a long, long drink of the starry night sky. In those moments, anything was possible.


Over the past year and a half, I have remembered back to my childhood on the farm a lot. It was hard work, being a farm girl. I had the wonderful example of my ever-problem-solving parents (the real farmers in this scenario) and my Grandparents Allen, too, who I saw nearly every day joining in some work effort, whether it be farm chores or cooking. Remembering them gives me some courage now as a musician navigating her way through a continuing pandemic. When times are hard, sometimes we must set ourselves firmly on the ground, dig in with a plan, start the tractor and hold on tight, seeing if the soil is quite ready yet to yield to what we are intending. If not, we get off the tractor and take a look, mull over ideas, and give it another try. I’ve come to think that there is something of the holy in not only holding on, but sometimes, in holding off for a while. We are in a time of slow emergence for our church choirs, and that is OK. That is holy right now. May God be praised in our slow motion and in our standing still, as well as in the brisk walks we take through this life.

MIDD Movie in the Morning

The Monthly Affinity group will gather to watch the documentary 'Kiss the Ground' in Unity Hall on Friday Oct 8.  9:30a.m. -12:30 p.m. Kiss the Ground is a full-length documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson that sheds light on an “new, old approach” to farming called “regenerative agriculture” that has the potential to balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world. 

All are welcome. The group will continue to meet monthly (usually the 2nd Friday of the month).  Please email May Podushnick if you have any questions.  maypoduschnick@gmail.com.  

Make Your Voice Heard in the Fight Against Climate Change

Concerned about climate change? You’ve got a lot of company—including the Vermont legislature. Last year, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change, it passed the Global Warming Solutions Act. In a nutshell, the Act requires Vermont to:


• reduce greenhouse gas pollution to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025;

• reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below by 2050; and

• consider opportunities for long-term carbon capture and storage, and identify ways the state can prepare for more extreme weather.


Now, the Agency of Natural Resources is working to develop a Climate Action Plan, and they’re looking for input from Vermonters like you. Please consider joining one of the two upcoming Zoom virtual events, one on Tuesday, 10/5, at 6:00 for BIPOC communities and the other on Wednesday, 10/6, at 6:00 for all Vermonters. For more information, visit http://climatechange.vermont.gov/getinvolved.

October is Stewardship Month

Behold! I am about to do a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

As we think about what we have collectively and individually one through these past 18 months, it feels a little like a wilderness. We believe that God has accompanied us through the desert and is now inviting us to “Do a New Thing.” We believe God is with us in this work. As you think about where we’ve been as a church and where we are going, how do you see God doing a new thing with this faith community? What vision or hopes do you have for our church family? What have we/you learned while we were isolated from one another?

As we ask church members to give of themselves financially, we’d love to hear your thoughts and dreams

as we look ahead to the new year with hope. Thank you! 

Stewardship Sunday is October 24th

Make Your 2022 Pledge

Reading for Racial Justice Project

Have you been reading any good books? Have you picked up any of the suggested titles in our Reading For Racial Justice program? 

Tara Affolter is offering a summer reading opportunity for us all to keep learning about racism in America and to keep interrogating our own internalized racist ideologies. Pastor Elizabeth is reading Me and White Supremacy, if you want to talk to her about it at any point this summer. If you’re reading Stamped from the Beginning, you can find some reading prompts here. Happy reading!


Every year in the fall, the Nominating Committee meets to nominate church members to fill positions on our six Boards (Deacons, Christian Development, Pastoral Care, Mission and Social Concerns, Membership and Communications, and Trustees). The members of all of these Boards serve a three-year term; and each year, one-third of the members are elected at the Annual Meeting in January.

If a Board member resigns from their position before their three years are up, the Nominating Committee will nominate another church member to fill that position for the remaining portion of the term. This person must be approved by Church Council. Sometimes the position is filled when the resignation happens, and other times it is filled during the annual process in the fall.

When a member completes a full three-year term on a Board, that member may not serve on that same Board again until at least one year has gone by. But they may serve on a different Board. A member who fills a vacancy and serves only a partial term may be re-elected to serve a full term on that same Board.

The Boards and their duties are as follows:

  • Board of Deacons:  The Board of Deacons works with the pastors in coordinating the worship services, including the preparation and administering of communion and baptism, finding lay readers for the services, and ushering. This includes Sunday morning worship as well as any other services, such as Sunday afternoon New Light.
  • Board of Christian Development:  The Board of Christian Development is responsible for educational programs for all ages, children to adults, and works closely with the Director of Children and Youth Ministries.
  • Board of Pastoral Care: The Board of Pastoral Care ministers to church members by assisting the pastors with visitation of members who are homebound or in the hospital, providing rides, providing meals, and honoring seniors who have special celebrations. This Board also hosts receptions after memorial services and funerals.
  • Board of Mission and Social Concerns: The Board of Mission and Social Concerns provides information to members about the church’s mission and outreach programs. The Board also provides opportunities to help meet human needs in the local, national, and global arenas.
  • Board of Membership and Communications: The Board of Membership and Communications undertakes programs to support church growth and provides opportunities for members to get to know one another. This Board assists the pastors in installing and welcoming new members. The Board also assists the staff with communication about activities and events.
  • Board of Trustees: The Board of Trustees is responsible for the maintenance of the physical property of the church, and also has responsibility for trust funds and endowment funds.

If you are interested in serving on any of these Boards, or would like more information about any of these Boards, please contact Michele Brown (Chair of the Nominating Committee) at 802-349-9843 or at michelelbrown59@gmail.com.

Who was Rev. Adelbert Franklin Keith, Acting Pastor?

Rev. Adelbert Franklin Keith served the Congregational Church of Middlebury during the time period 1888 to 1890. He came to Middlebury in June 1888 from a pastorate in Providence, RI. Rev. Keith was signed to a two-year contract in hopes that he would become the settled pastor afterward. This did not work out, and in November 1890 he resigned due to poor health and returned to the business world.


The biography Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts by J.H. Beers & Co. gave an excellent summary of the life of Rev. Keith:


… eldest son of the late Franklin and Betsey (Bailey) Keith, was born Aug. 2, 1841, in North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Mass., under his grandfather Keith's roof, at the corner of Main and Plain streets. His early educational training was acquired in attendance at the common schools of his neighborhood, and by diligence in his studies he became a good scholar. At an early age he was strongly inclined to prepare himself for the ministry, but deciding otherwise for the time, he became bookkeeper for Martin L. Keith & Co., then one of the leading shoe manufacturing concerns of the community, and he continued in that capacity until 1862, when he procured a clerkship in the war department at Washington, D. C., which position he held until 1864. He then returned to Campello [village within Brockton] and commenced the manufacture of shoes in partnership with his father, this partnership continuing for about three years, until 1867. Strong convictions of duty still following him, he entered the Theological Seminary at Hartford, Conn., where he prepared himself for the ministry, and from which he was graduated in 1870. He then married, and accepting a call from the Congregational Church at Windham, Conn., he was ordained Oct. 26, 1870. Here he continued to preach with great acceptance to his people until 1874, when he requested and was granted dismission. He was then invited to become pastor of the Congregational Church at Danielsonnville, Conn., accepted and preached to this people for a period of three years. He then accepted the call extended to him by the North Congregational Church at Providence, R. I., in 1877; this society at that time being a feeble one, the outgrowth of a mission, it afforded its pastor a welcome field for the work which he loved and for which he was so well fitted. How faithful these labors were is witnessed by the growth from feeble beginnings to its present sturdy proportions, and by the erection of a beautiful and commodious church. Owing to impaired health, and with a feeling that "the world was the true field," Rev. Mr. Keith asked for his release from this pastorate in 1884, which was granted, and he then accepted an invitation to preach at Middlebury, Vt., remaining there for a period of about three years. On account of continued ill health and throat trouble, he then retired from the ministry, and returning to Campello accepted a clerical position with the George E. Keith Company, in which capacity he remained for about four and a half years, when he went to California in hopes of regaining his broken health, and there he resided for about two years, until his death, which occurred Nov. 29, 1897, at Corona, California.


Rev. Adelbert Franklin Keith is the eighth generation of the Rev. James

Keith family to settle in North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Plymouth MA: Adelbert Franklin8 (Franklin7, Cpt. Ziba6, Benjamin5, Levi4, Timothy3, Timothy2, Rev. James1)

  • Rev. James1 Keith was born in 1644 and educated at Aberdeen, Scotland, where he was graduated, likely from Marischal College, his name appearing on the roll in 1657, said college having been founded by George, the fifth Earl of Keith Marischal, in 1593. At age 18, he emigrated to the Colonies, arriving in Boston in 1662. He was introduced to the church at Bridgewater by Dr. Increase Mather, whom he always esteemed as his patron and best friend.
  • Adelbert Franklin8 Keith married Eliza Gillette Baker on 22 Jun 1870 in CT. The parents of Adelbert were Franklin7 Keith (born Brockton, MA) and Betsey Bailey (born Sidney, ME); the parents of Eliza were William M. Baker (born Windsor, CT) and Frances B.  Gillett (born Torringford, CT). Eliza’s father was for many years a general ticket agent of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company. Adelbert and Eliza most likely lived their Middlebury years in the church parsonage. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Keith made her home in Campello (small village within Brockton, MA). Both Adelbert and Eliza were buried in Union Cemetery in Brockton, MA.
  • Adelbert Franklin Keith   born 2 Aug 1841 Brockton, MA   died 29 Nov 1897 Corona, CA
  • Eliza Gillette Baker      born Nov 1842 CT         died 1 Jan 1931 Brockton, MA

Adelbert and Eliza had three children:

  1. Fannie Baker Keith was born 4 Nov 1873 in CT and died 14 Nov 1877 in RI
  2. Edward Adelbert Keith was born 1 Sept 1876 in Danielson CT and died 26 Dec 1950 in New England Baptist Hospital in  Boston. He married on 5 Oct 1904 Grace Eudora Coggins {born 28 Jan 1877 and died 24 Sept 1967). Edward’s occupation was tied into the shoe business of George T. Keith in Brockton. 
  3.  Esther Frances Keith was born 11 Jun 1881 in Providence RI and died 7 Dec 1971 in Brockton MA. She completed four years of schooling and never married. There is no occupation given for Esther in any of the decennial census records.

Next month we will present the biography of Rev. George Nelson Webber, Acting Pastor, who decided to move on in less than two years, for health reasons.

Mal Chase, Historian

  • Save the Date

    HOPE Food Drive

    November 20th

    Details to follow

  • October Birthdays

    Kathy Jewett                             October 1

    Harper Smith                            October 1

    Rich Carpenter                          October 3

    Sara Kent                                  October 4

    Barbara Stiles                            October 4

    Liz Robinson                             October 6

    Tiffany Nourse Sargent              October 6

    Dana Scribner                           October 6

    Christine Giorgio                       October 7

    Debra Karpak                            October 7

    Steve Abbott                             October 8

    Peter Karpak                             October 8

    Melissa Bartley                         October 11

    Juliette Kubacki                         October 11

    Jane Campbell                          October 12

    Richard Viens                            October 12

    Al Zaccor                                  October 12

    Anna Hardway                          October 14

    Aurelia Lyons                            October 14

    Gail Miller                                 October 14

    Mark Orten                               October 14

    Amy Emerson                           October 16

    Mary Lou Webster                    October 16

    Evie Stinson                              October 17

    Katherine Franklin                     October 18

    Joe Smith                                  October 19

    Tara Affolter                              October 21

    Michaela Kubacki                      October 22

    Allison Swift                              October 23

    Simon Martin Abel                    October 24

    Wendy Warren                           October 24

    Chris Ketcham                           October 26

    David Hallam                            October 27

    Kaitlyn Evarts                            October 28

    Helmut Hietzker                        October 28

    Sharon Klinck                            October 28

    Dorance Gorton                        October 30

    Kay Bussiere                             October 31

    Churchill Franklin                      October 31

    Alexander Loomis                     October 31


  • October Anniversaries

    Jennifer & Erik Bleich                            October 6

    Jake & Brittany Dombrowski                 October 6

    Churchill & Janet Franklin                      October 7

    Jeff & Erika Garner                                October 9

    Karen Foster-Baccei & David Baccei     October 12

    Bob & Penny Campbell                          October 14

    Mark & Nicole Foster                              October 17

    Holly Puterbaugh & Lois Farnham          October 20

    Mary Lou Webster & Bruce Jensen        October 22

    Bob & Mary Jo Champlin                       October 24