Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

October 2023

an all church read

Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson

Back in January, a few weeks after below-freezing temperatures and broken pipes in our family’s basement, I had the privilege of being a student in a creative writing course led by poet Ross Gay. It was five days of creating poems with joy beside the Gulf of Mexico, which was as off-the-charts as it sounds. This was part of my D.Min. program in Creative

Writing and Public Theology. And, to date, it was the best part. I’m grateful for that experience—and for your ongoing support as I move into the “final project” phase.

So, Ross Gay. Ross Gay did something big about four years ago—his book of short essays called The Book of Delights became a New York Times Bestseller. If you haven’t read it, the book is a poet’s record of joy over the course of a year. Sometimes it’s joy, nevertheless. Sometimes it’s joy that comes from paying close attention to the little things that we all know aren’t so little. (And I should add: every once in a while, the essays include some language and themes that are meant for a mature reader.)

Anyway, I want to invite you to read or reread the book. An all-church read. For those of you who are interested, I’ve ordered several copies and will keep them outside the church office—feel free to borrow-and-return or keep. I’m sure our libraries have this title. I’m also sure The Vermont Book Shop would love our business.

Then, on Sunday, November 12, after we receive new members into our congregation and enjoy a special fellowship hour, I would love to gather with fellow readers and share in a conversation about The Book of Delights. Unity Hall, say 11:30?

If your life is extra stretched these days and you can’t take on one more thing, please let this go. If your life is extra stretched these days and you can take on more thing, maybe just get the book and leave it out where you ca see it. You’ll get to it when you can. And I think you’ll want to get back to it once you do.

Gathering joy—this will be fun.





Church Council met on September 13, 2023. We heard all the normal reports and reviewed the Board report summaries. It was noted that the annual staff evaluation process has started. It was also noted that Table 21 has given the Friday Night Community Suppers a grant of $60,000. 

Elizabeth Davis presented an outline of how we can have a small, mobile, up-to- date church library. After discussion, Council approved this proposal and authorized her to move forward with this project. 

Eliana Parra reviewed her proposal for a community time in Spanish for the migrant community in Addison. It would meet once a month and include a meal, as well as a short spiritual time. It was voted to approve the use of $1,000 from the New Initiatives Fund to support this program through the end of 2023. 

There was a report on the Red Clover Children’s Center, including the hiring of a Director and plans for the next few months. There is hope that one or two classrooms might be open by the end of 2023. 

There was a report on the Friday Night Community Suppers. There was a good discussion of how several items in this program are working out. 

There was discussion of the desire to maintain all of our programs with fewer people to run them in the next several months. Elizabeth will be out on maternity leave, and we don't have a Music Director. We are fortunate to have the dedicated staff that we do have, and a few retired ministers in our congregation who provide assistance when asked. 

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. 

La Comunidad

Eliana Cañas Parra

Dear Church,


One of the things I love the most about this church is the way we make each other feel welcome and seen as part of a community. We do this not only during Worship but also in the way we get together and get to know each other. For a while, I’ve been also thinking that it would be beautiful to expand that welcoming spirit to those who feel isolated in our wider community. This is why I came to Council last month to propose that we create a time of fellowship for the local migrant farm working population. A time of fellowship that will work as a bridge-building opportunity for us to connect with them. 

I shared that idea with some people at the church, our pastors, our moderator, and then with Council, and they have given it their blessing. La Comunidad (as I’m calling this ministry) will start on November 12 and will focus on opening a space for the Latinx population in Addison County to connect with the community. Volunteers and I will welcome the participants to gather in Fellowship Hall for a time of candle-lighting and prayer (in Spanish), and then we will proceed to have a meal together, cooked by two people from the culinary coalition Viva el Sabor. During the meal, people will have the chance to get to know one another with the hope that we can create that feeling of community for the farm workers. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to do this, and for the people who have supported me, given me advice, and who want to be part of it—people at our church, at the Open Door Clinic, Addison Allies, and more. I am excited to start this ministry, and I look forward to seeing where it leads. Your prayers, questions, and comments are welcome! 



Communion by Intiction

Communion by intinction is the administration of the Lord’s Supper by dipping the bread into the wine (juice). Our church celebrated communion using the intinction method two or three times a year prior to the pandemic. We are returning to this practice on October 1, World Communion Sunday. 

During the service, the pastors will invite the congregants to come forward to receive communion. Congregants will take a piece of bread from a deacon and dip it into the chalice of grape juice held by a pastor. Other deacons will have bread and individual cups of juice available to bring to anyone who wishes to remain seated in their pew. 

The deacons and pastors look forward to reinstituting this method of receiving communion.  

Crop hunger walk 2023

The 48th annual Addison County CROP Hunger Walk will take place on Sunday, October 1. Registration will open at 12:00 on the Middlebury Town Green, with walking group “team photos” at 12:30. The two-mile walk through town will begin at 1:00.

Be a part of this year’s CROP Walk. Individuals and teams of walkers can register on the Addison County CROP Hunger Walk page. https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2023/event/middleburyvt


Share the link with family and friends and invite them to donate early and often! For that matter, share the link with whomever might be interested in walking on 10/1.


If you or others would like to use old-school CROP Walk envelopes to collect donations, they will be available for pick-up this week and next at The Congregational Church of Middlebury, 30 North Pleasant Street, from 9:00-noon.


Help spread the word about the upcoming walk.

CROP Hunger Walks are community-based walk fundraising events held in cities and towns across the United States, created to support the global mission of Church World Service, a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster. After a CROP Hunger Walk ends, 25% of the funds raised is returned to the host community to support local hunger fighting efforts.

Introducing Red Clover Children's Center's new  Director

Hello! My name is Tessa Dearborn and I am incredibly excited to be joining the Congregational Church of Middlebury community and the team at Red Clover Children's Center! As a native Vermonter and resident of Addison County, I understand the importance of a connected community and the amazing things a group of like-minded, caring community members can achieve.

When I learned about RCCC and its mission to contribute to early education in Middlebury and the surrounding areas, I was moved and eager to learn more. This mission connects both my professional passion and my values in giving to the greater good! I am honored and so grateful for the opportunity to join as the Director and be able to contribute to a cause and community that I believe so strongly in.

I have been in early childhood education for over a decade and understand the immensely important role it plays in the well-being of children and families. I am so excited to be part of bringing more high-quality care and education to the youngest learners in our community and to lead a team of educators who are valued and respected for the critical work that they do. In my personal time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Dan, and our daughter, Millie. We love being outside and staying busy enjoying all the wonderful things our little state has to offer! 

I look forward to building relationships within this community, and connecting with you all as RCCC continues to bloom! 

Tessa Dearborn

Director, Red Clover Children's Center

did you know?

After you reach age 59 1/2, you may make taxable withdrawals from your retirement funds without penalty. When you reach age 73, you will be required to take taxable withdrawals from your accumulated retirement funds; the age had been 72 but changed to 73 early this year. 

The portion of a withdrawal which you contribute to our church or other qualified charitable organization may be tax-free when contributed directly from the retirement fund to the charity. (Consult your tax advisor about your own circumstances.) 

october beananza!

Your Board of Mission and Social Concerns invites you to join the October BEANanza! This month, we’re focused on all forms of beans for our HOPE food drive. Bring in any kind of nonperishable beans—black, white, green, pinto, refried—they’re all wonderful and provide excellent nutrition for families in need. 

This Sunday, October 1, is our monthly grocery-cart collection at our 10 a.m. service so, if you’re able, please drop off your bean donations (or any other nonperishable food items) on your way in. If you can’t make it to the service, but still want to join the BEANanza, we’ll be collecting food all month. You can also call the church office if you need assistance.

We also have an exciting update on our year-long food drive for HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty's Effects). As of last week, our church had donated 3,478 pounds of food – so there’s just a little more than 500 pounds to go to reach our goal of donating two tons of food this year! What seemed like a very ambitious goal in January feels tantalizingly close as we start October. HOPE tells us that they experienced record usage of the food shelf over the summer, including serving 1,164 people in August alone. Your donations are much-needed, and greatly appreciated.

Countdown to the 2023 Holiday Bazaar

Saturday, November 4th

It’s with gratitude and appreciation that we are thrilled to be holding our church’s Holiday Bazaar fundraiser for the 99th time! Building on last year’s success, our Bazaar Committee is excited to continue offering diverse and unique shopping opportunities for all. Details below. 

Sale Tables & Rooms & Quilt Raffle

Specialty Soups and Pies 

Q: What sold out in under two hours at our 2022 Bazaar? 

A: Our wonderful selection of homemade pies and soups! 

And this year, we hope to sell even more! Berry pies (all kinds), lemon meringue, pecan, pumpkin, cream, custard, and other favorites can fill the pie table. Chicken noodle, squash, split pea and ham, minestrone, and other recipes are perfect for the soup table. 

Nancy Foster and her able assistants will be signing up bakers and makers after church throughout October and supplying you with pie pans and soup containers (quarts and pints). During Bazaar week, you can drop off your food items on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday morning before 8:45. 

Jewelry can be donated any time before November. Bring your fashion and finer jewelry to the church during the month of October so that the Jewelry Table managers can price items early. Please place your items in the collection basket next to the large planter near the church sanctuary north door. 

Other donations will be gratefully accepted during the three days prior to the Bazaar (November 13) for Hand Crafts, Fashion and Finer Jewelry, Scarves and Silk Ties, Books (in good condition; no reference or textbooks, please), Games, Puzzles and Toys (for all ages), Garden Table Plants and Accessories. We will also accept a limited number of Small Home Furnishings, such as small tables, lamps, and framed paintings. We can not accept large items, electronics, kitchen items, linens, dishes, and glassware. However, if you sell your larger items (on Front Porch Forum, for example), you may decide to donate the proceeds directly to the Bazaar. 

Quilt Raffle Ticket Sales 

The Starlight Waltz pattern quilt, made and donated by Dorothy Douglas, will be displayed and raffle tickets sold every Sunday in October in Fellowship Hall, as well as on Bazaar Day in Unity Hall! Tickets are $3 for one, $5 for two, and $10 for five. Enjoy purchasing tickets for yourself, family, and friends. Take a book of five tickets and sell them to relatives, friends, or workplace colleagues. The winning ticket will be drawn Sunday, November 5, after the church service in Fellowship Hall. You could be the winner! 


Watch for weekly email updates in Together in Community. 

To volunteer, contact the table/room manager where you would like to help. 

Still have questions? Feel free to contact Judy Jessup or Ruth Penfield. 


2023 Table and Room Managers:  

Jewelry, Scarves, Ties (Unity Hall): Glenna Emilo and Pat Zeliff 

Hand Crafts Tables (Unity Hall): Polly Birdsall 

Quilt Raffle: Deb Farnham 

Theme Baskets (Hallway near sanctuary door): Chris Ketcham 

Book Room (Russell C. Carpenter Room): Sally Holland and Janet Franklin 

Garden and Plant Table (Fellowship Hall): Candy McLaughlin and Wendy Warren 

Food Table (Fellowship Hall): Maureen Williams and Alice Munson 

Specialty Soups & Whole Pies (Fellowship Hall): Nancy Foster and Kay Bussiere 

Puzzles, Games and Toys (Youth Room): Robyn Stattel and Michaela Kubacki 

Small Household Furnishings (Fellowship Hall): Stephanie Mitchell 

We look forward to your participation, in whatever way you are able, in continuing the success of our Holiday Bazaar tradition, and in making this a fun time for our Community to enjoy coming to our church. 

Thank you!  

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

Interested in Becoming a Member?

New members will be welcomed into our church on November 12th. There will be an informational question and answer meeting for prospective members on October 29th after church in Unity Hall. If you have some interest, contact Pastor Andy.

Save the Date

There will be a presentation on mental health offered by NAMI Vermont on Sunday, October 15th. Learn about the challenges of living with a mental health codition, pathways to hope and recovery, and how faith communities can support members of their congregation in their mental health journeys.

  • October 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