First Church this Week

Welcome to First Congregational UCC of Burlington

You are invited to worship in person at First Church at 10am on Sundays in our beautiful Sanctuary at 38 South Winooski Avenue in Burlington OR via the live-stream (or later recording) on the FirstChurchBTV YouTube Channel. Fellowship time follows worship at First Church.

The Rev. Elissa Johnk, Lead Minister


Worshiping virtually?

Worship is live-streamed (and the recording is available later) on the FirstChurchBTV YouTube Channel.  The Order of Worship, Announcements, etc. for Sunday’s worship are updated prior to the worship service weekly and are posted here:



Our Connections Team invites you – to enjoy a great free, drop-in breakfast on any Sunday in April!  Want to participate as a volunteer or contributor during April? Use this LINK to volunteer to help build a breakfast!


April 7th– Leendert Huisman, The Netherlands

April 14th at 9am – Laurie Nelson, Canada

April 21st at 9am – Alzira Agostinho, Mozambique

April 28th at 9am – Baki Nelson, the Persian Culture






Do you ever wish you had a better understanding of scripture? Have you wondered what’s hidden within the depths of Leviticus or 2 Chronicles? Do you find yourself picking up the Bible to read Revelation and putting it down five minutes later when nothing makes sense? Then this Bible study with Director of Congregational Life Ava Bilton is for you.

Join us as we Read Through the Bible together – from Genesis to Revelation (well, a few chapters at a time) – Wednesday evenings starting April 10 from 6:15-7:30pm. This Bible Study is designed to give you the context, clarity, and community you need to read through scripture in a way that is accessible while still being meaningful and sacred.

All you need to bring is your dinner and your Bible. Don’t have a Bible? We recommend the NRSV translation. As church parking is limited on Wednesday evenings, we ask that all attendees who are able use street parking for this event.






Looking ahead to July… SAVE THESE DATES for PEACE CAMP 2024:

Mon. July 8th – Thurs. July 11th

  • Peace Camp – a truly joyful multi-generational experience – will run from July 8 thru 11, 2024 (5 to 7:30pm) and will be a collaborative event with the College Street Congregational Church.  Dinner is included each evening – and activities are organized by age group from the adult group with the Rev. Elissa Johnk and the Rev. Ken White to groups for youth, older and younger elementary and nursery & preschool.
  • Registration and volunteer information will be available soon – meanwhile mark your calendar and plan to participate!
  • CLICK HERE for a quick video glimpse of a “closing campfire” from July 2023.


The Women’s Book Group is meeting via Zoom, Monday, February 26th at 7pm via Zoom to discuss The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA’s Double Helix by Howard Markel, with Nancy McClellan facilitating.   To receive e-updates about this monthly gathering, contact Janice Clements: [email protected]CLICK HERE for the 2023-2024 book selections.



Following the Investments and Trusts (I&T) presentation on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing at the 2023 First Church Annual Meeting, interest was expressed in a seminar on the topic to be sponsored by our I&T Team this winter.

As we develop our seminar presentation, it would be helpful to have feedback from you.
Please CLICK HERE for our ESG Investing Poll. We appreciate your response by November 30th to help us tailor our presentation to your interests.


Learn about the First Church Elmwood Community Snack Project HERE


Our FirstChurchBTV Outreach Team invites volunteers to donate meals for youth at Outright Vermont gatherings. Want to know more?  Please contact Outreach Team member Louise Brewster at [email protected] for details and potential dates.



Sunday Faith Formation Programs for Children &
Youth Program for Middle & High School Youth

  • Kidz Lab – our Sunday Church School for grades K through 6 – begins anew officially on Sunday September 17 during the 10am worship service.
  • Our Nursery/Toddler and PreSchool room open at 9:50 every Sunday morning.
  • REGISTER NOW: Parents/Guardians are asked to complete an online “Faith Formation Registration” for each child/youth participating in the 2023-2024 year.  Use this LINK for the online form.
  • Kids Lab/Church School Questions? Contact Director of Faith Formation, Hilah Clarke


Youth Programs – a Burlington UCC Collaboration:  The College Street Church & First Congregational Church UCC

YOUTH PROGRAMS: Our successful Youth Program collaboration with the College Street Church will continue for the 2023-2024 year.  For details contact Director of Faith Formation, Hilah Clarke. make sure that you subscribe to our Church Newsletter.

  • REGISTER NOW: Parents/Guardians are asked to complete an online “Faith Formation Registration” for each child/youth participating in the 2023-2024 year.  Use this LINK for the online form.
  • YOUTH GROUP: Every Wednesday 6-8pm youth grades 6th-12th, joint with College Street Congregational Church, gather for fun, food, and faith related activities like “Messy Olympics” and “Penumbra Treasure Hunt.” In March, we will be meeting at College Street Church – in April at First Church.
  • Families with middle and high school youth are encouraged to contact Hilah Clarke, Director of Faith Formation to be added to the e-list for youth program updates.

In June 2023, nine middle and high school youth, our Lead Minister, the Rev. Elissa Johnk; the Rev. Ken White, Minister at College Street Church; and our shared (First Church & College Street) Youth Leader, Jason Vanderlaan, had a meaningful mission experience serving with HOME,Inc. in Orland, Maine. Our group served in a variety of ways including painting the home in these photos!  Our trip leaders and youth are thankful for your support and prayers.


All First Church Choirs welcome new participants – singers, ringers and instrumentalists are welcome! 

For more information, contact Interim Director of Music, Chris Lyons-Dinh

  • The Sanctuary Choir rehearsals are Thursdays at 7pm at First Church.
  • Our Bell Choir rehearsals are Wednesdays at 6:45pm at First Church.
  • Rehearsals for our Children’s – Cherub – Choir and Youth – Alleluia – Choir rehearse following worship most Sunday mornings. The Cherub and Alleluia Choirs are not rehearsing on February 25 or March 3, 2024.


Our PIPC – Partners In Pastoral Care – Team and affiliated volunteers known as: “Friends at First” have been busy in the ministry of providing meals for many years.  In collaboration with our clergy, PIPC coordinates meal deliveries within our church community in response to various times of need.  Interested in participating in an upcoming Meal Train? Contact PIPC Chair: Janice Clements at [email protected]


NAME TAGS help BUILD COMMUNITY We’ve rolled out new, magnetic name tags!  Please use this LINK  to request a name tag  – let us know your specific name request (nickname, pronouns, etc.). Thank you


ZOOMING: We are hosting regular and periodic gatherings using the platform “Zoom”.  You should be able to join a meeting simply by clicking on the link provided, and following the instructions.  You can also call in using the numbers listed below each event.  For more detailed instructions on how Zoom works, CLICK HERE.


CLICK HERE for First Church Phonic  – offering you the opportunity to listen to:
– Sermons
– Spirit Seekers Interviews – including recent Spirit Seeker guests: Helen Head, Becky Levasseur, Richard Gagne, Hilah Clarke and Carlanne Herzog!  Listen online on HERE.



    • OUR THRIFT STORE – THE POSSIBILITY SHOP is OPEN: The Possibility Shop is open – 10am-3pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
    • DONATIONS: Please bring Possibility Shop donations to First Church any time between 10am and 3pm – Tuesday though Friday.  Clean clothing and household items in good  condition are always needed.
    • ESPECIALLY NEEDED NOW:  Fall and winter clothing in excellent condition for all ages.
    • VOLUNTEERS INVITED: On open days (Wed. & Fri., 10-3); on weekdays when the shop is closed (Tues. & Thurs.); &/or projects at home.
      • Greet customers in the midway (near Church Office), count those entering and exiting, keeping the number within the allotted safe amount… a great opportunity for readers and knitters!
      • Assist with the financial aspects of the shop, @two to three hours per month.
      • Handle and help sell older, valuable items that are donated to the shop.
      • Questions?  call Karan Dewar 802-922-3821 or Brenda Fraser 802-862-4747.  Thank you.
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