Judy Albright - Designer and Publisher

Elizabeth Davis - Editor

September 2022

Come September...

Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson

Dear Church,
Come September, I feel a rush of contentment in this college town. The warm days and cool nights are contributing factors. And the subtle golden-browns of the fields. I like it when the school buses are back on our roads, and the college students stroll along Main Street. This time of year feels like a beginning to me.

At church, September is the start of the program year. I’ve never loved the term “program year” (it sounds metallic), but I’m surely happier when Church School is in session, and our hymns soar on the wings of more voices, and I get to hang out with the Youth Group in Unity Hall. I look forward to this time of year.

This September, I’m especially excited. I think it has to do with the theme of this church year: Room at the Table. I like its emphasis on hospitality; it calls to mind our weekly refrain, “No matter who you are or where you on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” I also like its invitation to break bread together.

On Welcome Sunday, September 11, we will worship in the morning and gather around picnic tables at Janet and Churchill’s home for a midday meal. Thank you, Franklins and the Board of Christian Development! This church year will also be laced with monthly potlucks. On the second Sunday of each month, the Board of Membership and Communications will facilitate a time to share a meal and conversation with one another in Fellowship Hall after worship. Thank you, BMC! 

Given what we’ve been through over the past couple of years, the thought of getting to know each other (again) around tables of food strikes me as good medicine.
This year’s theme will also be the focus of Communion Sunday sermons. On the first Sunday of each month, from now until June, Pastor Elizabeth and I will explore the theological import of communion and the riches of Holy Communion. We hope this will be as meaningful for you as we expect it will be for us.

As we step into this church year, may God guide our steps and meet us at tables where there’s room for one more—always one more.

Grace and Peace,



Church Council met on July 13 with a combined in-person and Zoom meeting. Pastor Elizabeth was the only staff present. She updated Council on the progress of the Child Care Exploratory Work Group, and on a new committee that is assessing all the technology that is used in our church.

Ian Phair, who was reporting for the Board of Trustees, had a lot to update us on. He said the foundation for the columbarium is going in and the unit itself should be arriving soon. The racking for the solar panels is being installed and the panels will arrive within a week. There was a discussion about the roof repair work that will soon be needed.

Judy Jessup report for Christian Development and brought up the concerns of Church School sharing their space with the new childcare center and how that will work.

Mal Chase gave an update on his work with the huge number of documents he is sorting and trying to decide what needs to be preserved. He will be looking for assistance in the near future.

Elizabeth and Ellen Whelan-Wuest presented more detail on the work they and others are doing on the new childcare center. Mark Gleason is leading the effort to design and obtain contractors to do the work that is needed in the building. Ellen is leading the effort to set up the new Board of Directors for the center. Ellen also reported on the two most recent grants they have applied for and the progress being made with the 501(c)(3) status.

Church Council approved spending the money to paint the west side of the church ($28,000, approximately). This will use the entire amount currently in the Painting Special Fund.

Church Council will not meet in August.

Respectfully Submitted,

Nancy Foster, Clerk

  • What is Church Council?

    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.

  • What is All Boards?

    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 and Youth Programs Begin!

It's time to register your child for these programs!

  • Nursery

    Nursery care is for for children 0-4 years old and is available from 9:45 – 11:15 a.m. each Sunday. If desired, the nursery staff can stay in touch with parents in the sanctuary through the use of a small hand-held, pager-style device.

    Read more here.

  • Church School Starts September 11th

    We have Church School classes for children in pre-K through 8th grade. Every year the church school program is built around a theme and culminates at our end-of-year Children and Youth Sunday service in June.

    The teachers this year are:

    • PreK/K - Stacia Greene
    • 1&2 - May Poduschnick
    • 3-5 - Melissa Bartley
    • 6-8 - Jenny Orten

  • Junior Youth Group Starts September 13th

    The Junior Youth Group is open to students in grades 6-8. We meet bi-monthly on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. in the Youth Room. The purpose of the group is to build a faith community by living out Jesus’ words, "Love One Another". We will learn together, serve together and have fun together.

    This group is led by our Director of Children and Youth Ministries, Eliana Canas Parra. She is assisted by a dedicated and loving group of volunteers. Contact Eliana if you'd like to learn more.

  • Senior Youth Group Starts September 18th

    The Senior High Youth Group is open to students in grades 9-12, and meets weekly on Sunday afternoons. The regular meeting time is 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. in Unity Hall, but on the third Sunday of each month, the group meets in Fellowship Hall for a meal from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. The group has a three-fold purpose: to play, to learn, and to serve.

    With nearly 30 members in Youth Group, Pastor Andy Nagy-Benson is delighted to be working with dedicated Youth Group Leaders who each bring their own special talents and life experiences to our youth.

September buzz...

Jessica allen, music director

To me, one of the most fun things about September is the buzz of energy in the church building as programs resume and new opportunities open up for music participation, music outreach, and the overall celebration of music activities within our church.


This fall plans are brewing for Chancel Choir, Hand Bell Choir, and Sing for Social Justice that I hope provide an opportunity for anyone of any age to find a comfortable home, the chance to give to our community through music, and to grow musically and spiritually as members of our faith community.


We are in a unique position to use the arts as an expressive outlet to share God’s love, not only to those that worship within the walls of our Sanctuary or Unity Hall, but to those we may not know outside of our building, in and among the wider community.


I hope that you will seek out ways to be involved in the music programs of our church, whether you participate as a family or individual singing or playing an instrument, or as a supporter and appreciator of the musical gifts of others around you. There are many ways to be a part of things, musically or organizationally. Let me know if you are interested in finding the best fit for you, and I would be happy to help you explore the many options available for you to participate!

New Light on September 18th

Our New Light service is back this fall, now happening on third Sunday of each month at 4:00 p.m. in Unity Hall! All are welcome to this contemplative, inclusive, and intimate service of prayer, scripture and music.

Return of the Green Team!

A new program year is beginning, and with it comes the return of our Green Team! If you are interested in being a part of fulfilling our mission as a Creation Justice Church, we would love to welcome you to our team. Here's what some of our members have to say about why they joined the Green Team:


  • I am on the Green Team because I love the natural world and want to do everything I can to help preserve it. It has also been an excellent support group for taking actions that are inconvenient but help the environment.


  • I am part of the Green Team because it makes me feel like I'm trying to be part of the climate crisis solution, because it's a great group, and because I always learn something from our meetings. And because I always appreciate strong leaders and well-run meetings!


  • I joined the Green Team to help our members combat threats posed by global warming. Creating practical and effective tools and helping willing members implement them is important to me.


  • I am on the Green Team because I wanted my energy to have an impact; I can't change the whole world, but I might have some influence in a community I love.


  • The Green Team makes it possible for me to be part of helping heal and preserve God's magnificent creation on a larger scale than I could achieve on my own. There is strength in numbers!


If you see yourself in any of these testimonies or have some ideas that you are passionate about pursuing, we hope you'll be in touch! Our next Green Team meeting is Monday, September 19, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Contact sureidstjohn@gmail.com or leanna_maglienti@yahoo.com if you would like to be involved or learn more about our team. 

  • Planned giving

    A long-range perspective for our church: 

    • In 1898, Emily Starr made a gift to the church's permanent endowment of $4,763.

    Having provided income to the church for 124 years, the Starr endowment is currently valued at $16,869. It now provides roughly $600 to our annual budget, and its impact continues each year.

    Please consider making a bequest to the church in your will.

crop walk  October 2nd

October 2nd

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 Fellowship Hour. 

Rent a room and raise money for habitat!

Rooms for Habitat

October 7–9


For many years, Habitat has managed a “matching” program that connects college visitors with local homeowners who are willing to rent out a room for a night or two. The homeowners act as hosts for a night or two, and the guests donate a flat fee of $150 per night to Habitat!


Everybody ends up with a place to stay, including the local families that Habitat helps find news homes of their own!


Contact Robin Bentley with questions or Steve Ingram to volunteer vtstevevt@gmail.com.


bazaar Update

We have Bazaar details for your calendars!


Bazaar set-up days are October 31–November 4.


  • Donations will be accepted on Wednesday–Friday, November 2–4, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Seymour Street parking area and entrance portico. Volunteers will be on hand to accept and carry your donations as needed.



Your involvement is so appreciated and necessary!


Specialty Soups and Pies


What sold out in less than two hours at our 2021 Bazaar? Our wonderful selection of homemade pies and soups!


This year we plan to sell even more. Nancy Foster and her able assistants will again be signing up bakers and makers after church and supplying them with pie plates and soup containers. Berry pies (all kinds), lemon meringue, pecan, pumpkin, cream, and custard can fill the pie tables; and chicken noodle, squash, split pea and ham, minestrone, or your favorite recipes are perfect for the soup tables selection.


Theme Baskets Table


Gail Hietzker, our Theme Baskets Chair, can help you come up with a creative idea to attract the bidding of our Bazaar shoppers. Gail also has available baskets for you, will gladly share guidelines and timelines for delivering your completed theme basket, and can answer any questions you might have.


Book Room Reminder


Sally Holland, our Book Room co-chair, is happy to accept and store book donations now if you are moving. Please contact her at sallyholland19702@gmail.com to make arrangements.



Thank you!

With gratitude,

2022 Bazaar Co-chairs: Ruth Penfield (ruthpenfield@gmail.com)

and Judy Jessup (judyjessupvt@gmail.com)

Who is the Rev. Charles T. Riggs?

Rev. Charles T. Riggs was ordained in the Congregational Church in 1900 in Auburn, NY. He was named an honorary pastor of the Congregational Church of Middlebury for the time period 1947 to 1953. He served as a missionary in Turkey for 45 years.

Charles T. Riggs married Mary Randall Steele June 5, 1900, in Philadelphia, PA; they had two children (Sarah and Charles Jr.). Mary was buried in the West Cemetery, Middlebury, and Charles was buried in Istanbul, Turkey. Charles’s father was Edward Riggs [mother unknown]; parents of Mary are John Bacon Steele and Sarah Lounsbury Randle (Randall). Charles and Mary lived on South Street when they returned to Middlebury.

Charles T. Riggs born 1 Sept 1871, Sivas, Turkey died 15 Feb 1953, Istanbul, Turkey

Mary Randall Steele born 4 Dec 1870, Middlebury VT died 13 Jul 1947, Middlebury VT

Two children:

  1. Sarah Randall Riggs born 19 Nov 1901 in Marsofan, Turkey, died 23 Jan 1988; married 21 Jun 1932 Charles Stuart MacNeal
  2. Charles T. Riggs, Jr. born 23 Aug 1904 in Constantinople, died 3 Oct 1917; buried Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton, MA); single

The following presentation was made to our church at the annual congregational meeting on January 30, 1947, by Stephen A. Freeman, Moderator.

In accordance with the vote of the Board of Deacons and of the Nomination Committee, I wish to propose for the office of Honorary Pastor of this Church, the Rev. Charles Trowbridge Riggs. Born in Sivas, Turkey, in Asia Minor, of American missionary parents who also had been born in Turkey, the Rev. Mr. Riggs is the third generation of a family which has devoted itself to spreading the gospel in the lands where the apostle Paul first preached. He was educated in Princeton University where he received the A.B. degree in 1893. He graduated from Auburn Seminary in New York, in 1899, and returned at once to Turkey. Forty-five years of intense and self-sacrificing labor in the Lord’s vineyard have born rich fruits, and constitute their own reward. Under the American Board of Foreign Missions, he had preached widely in that region, in three languages: Turkish, Greek, and Armenian. He served as a leading member of the Commission to make a new translation of the Bible into Turkish, superseding the first Turkish translation which his grandfather had made about 1860. He is also one of the editors of a new revised English-Turkish dictionary now in press. He is highly honored as a scholar and linguist because of the high quality of his work in the enterprises.

In 1945, Mr. and Ms. Riggs returned to this country and delighted us by making their home with us here in Middlebury. He at once interested himself in the work of our church; and in spite of his modesty and unassuming friendliness, we soon discovered that we had a rare spirit and a shining light among us. He has given us unsparingly of his time and energy. He has shared in our deliberations with wise counsel. On frequent occasions, as the need arises, he had been ever ready to help in our services, even sometimes on short notice. He has led our devotions, he has guided our thoughts in sermons that have been noteworthy for the sincerity and the depth of their religious faith, as well as for the clarity and penetration of their exposition of Christian truths.

We have been stimulated and enriched by the serene glory of the Christian spirit that shines in his words, as in his life. Our pastor, the Rev. Edwin S. Holden, joins with us in requesting him to consider us all as his pastoral flock, to the greater glory and honor of God in this place. Mr. Chairman, I am happy to nominate the Rev. Charles T. Riggs as the Honorary Pastor of this Church, and I move that we elect him by a rising vote.

Mary Randall Steele was born in Middlebury, VT on 4 Dec 1870, the daughter of John Bacon Steele (born 17 Jun 1836 in Castleton, VT) and Sarah Lounsbury Randall (born 30 Sept 1844 in Norwalk, CT). She was married to the Rev. Charles T. Riggs in Philadelphia on 5 Jun 1900 and with her husband went directly to Turkey where they were missionaries for 45 years. They returned to Middlebury in 1945 where they since made their home. Her father, a graduate of Middlebury College, first served as a minister in New York State, coming to Middlebury in 1869 where he conducted a business until 1873.

Next month, the family of the Rev. Walker Taft Hawley will be summarized.

Malcolm W. Chase, Historian

  • September Birthdays

    Missy Gill                                  September 1

    Kathy Heitkamp                        September 1

    Jake Miller                                September 3

    Ruth Westfall                            September 4

    Tre Bonavita                             September 5

    Andrew Gleason                       September 5

    Nancy Tellier                             September 5

    Jeff Ellison                                September 6

    Anna Berg                                 September 8

    Leanna Maglienti                      September 8

    Michael Roy                              September 8

    Frankie McDowell                     September 9

    Corey Gillen                              September 10

    Henry Schauer                          September 10

    Hillary Swift                              September 10

    Jim Swift                                   September 10

    Phil Heitkamp                           September 11

    Matthew Kubacki                      September 11

    Margaret Durst                         September 12

    Sam Prouty                               September 12

    George Devlin                           September 14

    Meredith Durst                         September 14

    Nick Marshall                            September 14

    Lydia Gleich Munn                    September 15

    Hogan Beazley                          September 16

    Lisa Evarts                                September 16

    Donald Maglienti                      September 17

    Margaret Orten                        September 18

    Harmony Wright                       September 18

    Luke Bleich                               September 19

    Cindy Jones                               September 19

    Ruth Penfield                            September 20

    Mark Gleason                           September 22

    Hugh McLaughlin                      September 22

    Tiffany Stowe                            September 22

    Dorothy Douglas                       September 23

    Alexander Dalton                      September 24

    Tassi Luksch                              September 24

    Patricia Thompson                    September 24

    Asher Lehman                           September 25

    Giovanna Neary                        September 25

    TJ Springthorpe                         September 25

    Dana Livesay                             September 26

    Pam Spatafora                          September 27

    Michael Evans Nash                  September 28

    Christopher Evans Nash            September 28

    Dottie Neuberger                      September 28

    Kyra Diehl                                 September 29

    Barbara Walter                         September 29

    Jan Lyons                                  September 30

    Doug McKain                            September 30

  • September Anniversaries

    Bronwen & Gregor Kent                        September 5

    Raymond & Amy Shute                          September 5

    Peter & Michelle Nelson                        September 6

    Jim & Liz Robinson                                September 9

    Al & Barbara Stiles                                September 10;   Celebrating 67 years!

    Gary & Cindi Gillen                                September 13

    Brian Slavin & Jennifer Stefani               September 16

    Chas & Halina Lyons                              September 19

    Sarah Tully & Tom Weiner                      September 23

    Ruth Penfield & Doug McKain               September 25

    Mary Alice & Chuck Beazley                  September 28