Welcoming All, Seeking Justice, Finding God

First Congregational Church of Burlington

All are invited to Advent &
Christmas at First Church

The Christmas Oratorio: The entire community is invited to gather on Sunday December 11 at 10am when Camille Saint-Saëns’ beautiful Christmas Oratorio will be featured at First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington.

First Congregational Church Director of Music Amy Shortt will conduct the Christmas Oratorio.  Ms. Shortt, who also serves the University of Vermont as University Organist and Affiliate Artist, moved to Vermont from North Carolina last winter to lead the music program at First Church.

All are invited to enjoy the First Church Sanctuary Choir and the many gifted guest musicians (soloists and instrumentalists playing the harp, organ, violin, viola and cello) from the music faculty of East Carolina University, the University of Vermont and from the wider community of Vermont professional musicians as they come together to offer the Christmas Oratorio.

Invite you family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to experience the Christmas Oratorio – and Advent and Christmas – at First Church!  On December 11 at 10am all will hear both an inspiring message for Advent from Lead Minister, the Rev. Elissa Johnk and what Amy Shortt describes as the “rustic charm” of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio! READ MORE using this LINK

This Weekend:

Saturday December 3: 10am to noon

  • Our annual wreath sale supports youth programs at First Church.
  • CLICK HERE to reserve a wreath online – or come into the church between 10am and noon on Saturday December 3 and buy a wreath then!
  • Our youth still have 40 wreaths to sell!  Our beautiful balsam wreaths and garlands are made in Vermont.
  • All who pre-ordered wreaths are asked to pick them up at church between 10am and noon this Saturday. Thank you!



  • All are invited to the Christmas Fair – a great event for the whole family… on Saturday December 3 at First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington – 38 South Winooski Avenue in BTV
  • The Christmas Fair includes a Chicken & Biscuit Supper this Saturday and a Wreath Sale & Christmas Bazaar also on Saturday December 3 from 10am to 4pm (and following the 10am Sunday Dec. 4 worship service).
  • Enjoy new fun for all ages activities inside & outside – buy a wreath – and some treats – visit with new guest crafters and explore our “White Elephant” – “Vintage Jewelry” – and yummy baked good tables!
  • PreOrder Take Out Chicken & Biscuit Supper tickets ($14) – pick up is at the church from 4pm to 5 pm. Use this link for Take-Out Tickets: https://bit.ly/chickensupper2022
  • Enjoy the 12/3/22 Chicken & Biscuit Supper in the FirstChurchBTV Dining Room from 5pm to 7pm.  Walk-ins welcome – $14 each – OR – reserve tickets using this link: https://bit.ly/chickensupper2022

WORSHIP at First Church or Online:

You are invited to worship with First Church at 10am on Sundays in our Sanctuary at 38 South Winooski Avenue in Burlington OR on the FirstChurchBTV YouTube Channel. Worship services are live-streamed at 10am on Sundays on and the recordings are available on our YouTube channel anytime following the worship service. Fellowship time follows worship at First Church and online on Zoom) following the live-stream of worship.

The 2nd SUNDAY of ADVENT – DECEMBER 4 – Peace Sunday:  All are invited – all are welcome – to worship at 10am on Sunday in person – or remotely on YouTube – at First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington, an open and affirming congregation in the United Church of Christ.

Sunday December 4 is the second Sunday of Advent when the worship will celebrate and lift up the importance of peace.  All are invited to gather in the First Church Sanctuary to enjoy the nearly 18′ Christmas tree – to watch as the congregation lights the Advent candle – and to continue the journey of Advent together.  The worship service will include the Rev. Elissa Johnk preaching – the Sanctuary Choir singing and a service of Communion open to all. Let’s gather in prayer and song – let’s listen and look – as worship illuminates the sacred during Advent.

Worshiping remotely? Watch the December 4 – 10am worship here:
  • Check back here on Sunday morning for a link to the worship service live stream (open about ten minutes before the 10am worship) and later recording of the service and for links for the Order of Worship, Announcements, and Celebrations & Prayers.
  • Giving to First Church? Learn more about how to give & about our current Stewardship Campaign using this LINK
  • Visiting First Church in person or remotely? Complete our Welcome Card using this LINK
  • CLICK HERE to receive the First Church e-Newsletter

CLICK HERE or on the graphic below for our 2022 Advent Calendar  – based on one written by the Rev. Molly Baskette:


  • New to First Church? Want to know more?
  • Participate in: First Church 101 on Sundays Dec 4 & 11.  Meet with Elissa to explore what First Church and the UCC are all about – learn more about church membership and connecting with this community of faith.
  • Questions/RSVP: email: [email protected]


Note the new time for our first Sunday of the month, Silent Vigil for Racial Justice – all are invited to gather on the front lawn of First Church from 11:30am to noon – to stand together in solidarity for racial justice.  Dress warmly and bring a sign – all are welcome.


It’s Stewardship time at First Church – use the links below to learn more:

  • CLICK HERE to read the Rev. Elissa Johnk’s Dedication Sunday letter to the congregation.
  • CLICK HERE to learn more about stewardship and First Church.
  • Please join in supporting the ministries and missions of First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington – CLICK HERE for online pledge information.


UPDATES FROM OUR REGATHERING TEAM: Our Team continues to meet regularly. The fall updates to our guidelines includes recommended mask wearing for all over age two in the church building and a change to permit food and beverages in the building.


  • Poinsettias & Greens: Donations will be used to decorate the sanctuary with poinsettias and greens for Advent and Christmas. Gifts beyond these costs will be dedicated to the Christmas Mission Offering.
  • Christmas Mission Offering: Our Outreach Team invites your support of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ’s “Hope Fund.”  The Hope Fund will provide grants for new initiatives in Vermont UCC congregations that help build relationships with people outside our churches; bring our best to the common good; and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. CLICK HERE to learn more.
  • Dedicate Your Donation by December 15: Donations can be given “in honor of” or “in memory of” someone special to you. Use this LINK to submit your dedication – and give by check or online by December 15.  All dedications will be shared in the Order of Worship (online and in person) on the 4th Sunday of Advent – December 18.


SHARE CHRISTMAS, a First Church tradition, is a way to give the joy of the holidays to others – and a way to receive practical support (and joy!) from the congregation.
To GIVE: Support Share Christmas with a gift or time or treasure, use this LINK
To APPLY: If you are affiliated with First Church and need support, apply for Share Christmas assistance using this LINK


The Rev. Elissa Johnk invites all to participate in a conversational Bible Study – on Zoom – on Thursday mornings at 8:30am.  All are welcome and invited.  CLICK HERE for the Zoom link or call in: 301-715-8592, then enter 951-190-153# –  https://zoom.us/j/951190153


2022- 2023 Youth Programs – A Burlington UCC Collaboration:  The College Street Church & First Congregational Church UCC

YOUTH PROGRAMS: We are happy to share that our collaboration with the College Street Church will be on-going and that the fall calendar for youth programs is taking shape!  For details make sure that you subscribe to our Church Newsletter. Families with middle and high school youth are encouraged to contact Hilah Clarke, Director of Faith Formation ([email protected]) to be added to the e-list for youth program updates.

College Street Church will host the youth on November Wednesdays – 6 to 8pm. The Youth Program Update for November 25, 2022 – including details about the great “PENNY CHALLENGE” – is LINKED HERE


CLICK HERE for the November 25, 2022 Choir Update and to learn more about making music at First Church!


  • CLICK HERE to watch our Sanctuary Choir, soloist Kristen Elder-Connors & Music Director Amy Short offer: “I Believe”
  • CLICK HEREto watch our Sanctuary Choir & Music Director Amy Short offer the John Rutter’s: “Look at the World”
  • CLICK HERE to watch Emy Berger, flute and Music Director Amy Shortt, piano offer Katherine Kennicott Davis’s “Let All Things Now Living.”


In the Midway Art Gallery 

In the exhibit “Behind the Hands” photographer Jorge Carlos Alvarez Diaz focuses on the lives of Vermont’s migrant farm workers.  The exhibit – open to all – is currently in our Midway Art Gallery.Through their focus on immigration issues with VT Interfaith Action, our Outreach Team learned about the photo exhibit now on display in the Midway Art Gallery.

The exhibit includes two sets of photos by Jorge Carlos Alvarez Diaz.  The “Hands that Speak” images— are paired with Dartmouth College student interviews with migrant workers at six dairy farms.  The interviews and photos seek to bridge cultural barriers and tell the stories of essential workers who, though our neighbors, are nearly invisible in VT society.

The second set of photos: “Look Me In The Eyes; Face to Face with People on the Other Side of the Wall” are images taken at a Mexican border wall by Diaz in an effort “to unveil everything that darkens the judgment towards these faces. It is a genuine avenue to open artistic windows of empathy.”   Diaz sees photography serving as a “witness, language and sense of communication enriching culture.”

The Midway Art Gallery is open on Sunday mornings and during Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 10am to 3pm.




BOOK SELECTIONS for 2022-2023: The Women’s Book Group has made their reading selections for 2022-2023. Most months, the meetings are on Zoom at 7pm on the 4th Monday.  CLICK HERE to learn more.



There are many ways to support First Church by helping out… outside!

  • If your “green thumb” is experienced… or if you are a novice gardener or mower… we are grateful for your involvement and will help you get started.
  • Many volunteers work in pairs – we can match you up with someone or you are welcome to schedule your time volunteering with someone.
  • Please complete the form linked here: https://bit.ly/greenthumbfccb and we will be in touch soon!
  • Got questions?  Contact Caroline Catlin in the Church Office: 802 862 5010 ext 4 or email: [email protected] OR contact Bob Wolf of our Connections Team at: [email protected]


CLICK HERE for the “Sermons Online” page of this website – giving you access to video recordings of many past worship services at First Church.




CLICK HERE &/or subscribe to our E-Newsletter HERE





Comments are closed.