First Church this Week

WORSHIP ONLINE:

You are invited to worship with First Church on the FirstChurchBTV YouTube Channel. Worship services premiere at 10am on Sunday and then are available anytime.

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for April 18 2021

All are invited to “Coffee Hour” – a time in fellowship following the worship premiere on Zoom (at about 11am on Sunday).  The Zoom link is “live” here on Sundays.

 

CHURCH SCHOOL is on Zoom at 9:30am on SUNDAY morning for all children through grade 5  – “live” with Depson Fabe, our new Elementary Ministries Coordinator; Hilah Clarke, Director of Faith Formation, and Laure Elder-Connors, Director of Children’s Music – for the Zoom link CLICK HERE

 

 

THE HAVEN – our program for middle and high school youth is meeting monthly on Zoom at 6pm on a Sunday.  Our next movie night is set for Sunday, April 25th at 6 pm.  We’ll be announcing the movie choice soon.  To learn more – to share a movie idea – and for the Zoom link – please contact Hannah Sachs, Director of Creative Ministries.

 

 

SATURDAY APRIL 24 & SUNDAY APRIL 25:

WEEKLY GATHERINGS

We are hosting regular gatherings using the platform “Zoom”.  You should be able to join a meeting simply by clicking on the link below the event, 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. 

YET MORE LIGHT – TUESDAY thru FRIDAY at 12:30pm on Facebook:  All are invited and welcome for time of prayer and refection with leadership from the Rev. Elissa Johnk and Hannah Sachs, Director of Creative Ministries, on the FirstChurchBTV Facebook page.  Video of these 10 to 15 minute prayer times are also available to view later on our FirstChurchBTV Facebook page.

 

 

 

THURSDAY – 9:00am Bible Study:  All are invited to the Rev. Elissa Johnk’s Thursday morning Bible Study at 9am. The Zoom LINK is: https://bit.ly/BibleStudywithElissa
Or PHONE IN: 1- 301-715-8592, then enter 951-190-153#

 

 

 

 

 Let’s “Stay Tuned Together!”  All interested in singing are invited to join in weekly, Thursday evening at 7pm, Sanctuary Choir Rehearsals on Zoom.  Music Director David Neiweem ([email protected]) welcomes all to rehearsals.  Got questions? Email David to learn more. ZOOM DETAILS:  LINK HERE: http://bit.ly/ThursdayChoirZoom  Or phone in  1 646 876 9923  and then enter the
Meeting ID: 936 0108 1116#

 

 

 

Our April Spirit Seekers series began on the 16th with Lois Farnham and continues on April 23 with Laura Elder-Connors and Steve Hyde on April 30!

  • LAURA ELDER-CONNORS – April 23 Spirit Seeker: Educator, Children’s Choir Director, parent to four young adults, wife, singer, and extraordinary baker of pies… Laura Elder-Connors has been an active member of our First Church Community for more than 30 years.  All are invited to be present on Zoom on April 23 as Laura shares highlights of her life story and faith journey.
  • ZOOM LINK for SPIRIT SEEKERS: http://bit.ly/spiritseekerszoom – OR Call in: 301-715-8592, enter 994-109-977#
  • SPIRIT SEEKERS is a forum for sharing life stories and faith journeys.  All are invited! If you have a story to share, or someone you’d like us to interview – please let us know by clicking here!
  • Earlier “Spirit Seekers” are available on our podcast – First Church Phonic  – https://anchor.fm/firstchurchbtv

 

OUR PODCAST: FIRST CHURCH PHONIC
CLICK HERE for First Church Phonic  – https://anchor.fm/firstchurchbtv – 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.

– Yet More Light prayer times with the Rev. Elissa Johnk.
–  Story-tellers from May’s “Good Luck, Bad Luck, or No Luck at All!”

FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN

 

Subscribe to our weekly E-Newsletter for Families – email:  [email protected] and ask to be added to the e-list.  Thank you.

 

 

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First Church Responds to COVID-19: Guidelines & Updates

As people of faith, we understand that Science, Math and Reason are all gifts of God.  As such, we trust the research that indicates we must do our part to flatten the curve.  All of this has informed our decisions to do our part to lessen the advance of the Coronavirus. We are implementing the practices urged by the CDC and W.H.O., doing our very best to protect the health of all.    

What does this mean? 
From now, until further notice, we will offer worship exclusively online. Our small groups, teams, task forces – anything for which you formerly came to 38 South Winooski Ave. will  be conducted via Zoom or conference calls. 

CLICK HERE to Complete April 2021 Re-Opening Survey

April 16, 2021 Covid Update from the Rev. Elissa Johnk

 

Dear Friends –

This past week marked our two-year anniversary together, and it seems strange to think that the last year has been our own congregational version of a long-distance relationship!  Instead of gathering in our beloved sanctuary, I have been invited into your homes for every meeting, every visit, every worship, every week.  You have offered yourselves in testimony and witness, and I now know how it is you respond to forms of trauma and stress. While these are not the same things we would have learned about each other in any other year, in many ways, it has felt like many years of ministry condensed into one.

But I’ll tell you what I miss (beyond the obvious preaching to a present congregation, communal music, laughter, and prayers) – I miss the hallway conversations. The ways you get to know someone, and what is happening in their life, in passing. The details that are shared over a warm mug of coffee or tea, with children running just a little too fast around your knees.  Like me, I am sure you are eager to get back to this – even if it means forgoing the warm mug.

To this end, I am pleased to tell you that the Covid Response Team (comprised of members of staff, Deacons, Building and Grounds, Personnel and Worship) has been working to establish a plan to get us back to one another as soon as it can be done, and done safely.  Drawing on resources from public health officials, denominational resources, and the wider church, we have developed what we are calling our “PEACE Plan”, which establishes a five-part plan for a phased reopening.

P, or phased-in worship regathering, involves our worship LEADERS coming back to the sanctuary to record our worship for streaming. This will involve staff, lay readers, musicians, leaders, and our new A/V team, to begin to learn the new equipment.  We anticipate this will start in late May or early June, as our staff will (hopefully!) be finishing their vaccinations by this date. Indeed, all who are in the building during this phase will be required to be fully vaccinated, to wear masks, and practice social distancing. There should be no more than ten people in the sanctuary at any given time.

Phase Experimentation will begin shortly thereafter, and will involve staff, worship leaders, and designated groups such as the Trustees, Deacons, Worship Team, or Faith Formation Team, gathering to test out what a hybrid regathering would be like, then discuss it later and make changes based on experiences and science. During this phase masks and distancing will be required, and all present will be required to have at least the first dose of a vaccine. There will be no more than 25 people in the sanctuary at any given time.

Once Phase Experimentation is underway, and we begin to work out the “kinks” of hybrid gatherings, we anticipate Phase A adding the broader adult congregation – will occur shortly thereafter, hopefully in mid to late June. This is, of course, the phase we are all waiting for!  And, as exciting as this will be for all of us, I want to remind us that this will not look like what it has in the past – there will be no congregational singing, or passing of the peace, attendees will have to register in advance, and masks and distancing will be required.  To move into this phase, a few additional factors will have to be established:

  • most of the adult church population has been vaccinated with at least one dose,
  • the majority of the Chittenden County adult population has been vaccinated with at least one dose
  • No more than 2 percent positivity rate in the County, and 14-day downward trends
  • No known presence of vaccine-resistant variants in the area

The next two phases – adding Children, and Everyone! Everywhere! – also have a set of environmental and congregational “triggers”, which we will tell you more about as we get closer to those stages.

I want to reassure you that your Covid team has been incredibly thoughtful about putting together this plan.  A summary of this plan can be found by clicking here.  Please note, however, that this is not locked in stone.  In fact, every part of this plan is subject to change, based on new information or circumstances.  We are putting this out to you simply so you have a better sense of the guiding principles behind our decision making and procedures.  Before each phase is complete, and we move to the next, conversations will be had between the Deacons, Trustees, and Covid Response team, to ensure we are safe to proceed to the next steps.

To help us ensure we are on the right track for you and your family, we have compiled a short survey we hope you will complete.  This will help us evaluate our plan, and consider appropriate steps between phases.  As it has been all year this is a congregation-wide effort, and we really do need to hear from you to make sure we most effectively focus our attention and resources moving forward.

There is an old joke that a man bought his wife a bouquet of 48 roses for their 50th anniversary.  When she asked why 48, he said “one for every good year.”  She looked at the bouquet and threw out a few more before giving him a kiss.

I know this year has been hard. But with the amount we’ve learned about one another, and ourselves, I would still call it good. So happy anniversary, friends. Here’s to the year ahead, in faith.

Blessings,

The Rev. Elissa Johnk

November 19, 2020 Covid Update from the Rev. Elissa Johnk

September 2020 Update from our Staff & Covid-19 Response Team

GUIDELINES FOR THE CONGREGATION

May 21, 2020: As the country begins to ponder re-emerging from our homes, I am reminded how grateful I am to live in Vermont, which leads the nation in successful response.  As we are consistently reminded, however, now is not the time to lose our diligence.  Even as restrictions are loosened, we are being asked to follow best practices – staying close to home, wearing masks, and limiting social gatherings.
CLICK HERE  for The First Church BTV Covid-19 General Guidelines including guidelines related to: Worship, Team Life, Office and Building Protocol, Pastoral Care, the Possibility Shop and Renters.

UPDATE FROM OUR TASK FOR FOR RE-OPENING

June 18, 2020: In her sermon on workplace relationships this winter, Elissa called worship our “staff meeting.”  It is the place we come to “discuss the issues at hand, encourage one another, and equip ourselves for our particular jobs spreading the love of God, serving God in the world, each in our respective assignments.”  It has been just over three months since we were able to physically gather for “staff meeting”.
CLICK HERE to read the full update from the Task Force for ReOpening

Transformation & Vision: Our Next Steps

June 2020: Few are the moments in one’s life that are so transformational that you know you are experiencing one in real time: saying “I do”, the birth of a child, the death of a beloved. They are moments so profound, so disorienting – so re-orienting – that you know you will be changed forever.
Pentecost, which we just celebrated in worship, was one such moment for Peter.  Having denied even knowing Jesus three times, at Pentecost he finally had the chance to take it all back – to be who Jesus believed he was: the rock upon which even our church here at 38 South Winooski is founded. Here at First Church, we are in an extraordinary place, because we are living in the middle of two transformational moments at once.
CLICK HERE to read Elissa Johnk’s Message: Transformation & Vision: Our Next Steps

CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITY

  • For any prayer requests, emotional support, or other assistance you may need during this time, please email our Partners in Pastoral Care and Clergy at [email protected]  
  • Our Partners in Pastoral Care and Deacons Teams are working together to be in regular contact with our members and friends during this time.  If you haven’t received a call, or know of someone who is in need, please email [email protected]  

GIVING

Your stewardship is more important than ever in this time.  You can mail in your checks, or use one of the options below.

Click HERE to Give Now

  • GIVE to First Church by texting: FCCBUCC to 73256 to give a gift using your text messaging. Standard text message rates apply.

BUILDING USE

  • JUMP – with COVID-19 precautions in place in Vermont – JUMP has created “JUMP FLEX” – so that phone and email can be used to connect people in need with valuable and much needed direct services. 
  • Our AA and NA meetings will resume meeting at First Church when they feel comfortable after “stay at home” is lifted. 
  • Small Potatoes continues serving Saturday morning breakfast and bag lunch (now outside) at First Church having made adjustments to menu and serving methods; volunteers have agreed to disinfect any space used following the meal. 
  • The New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church has temporarily cancelled all in-person events. 
  • The Possibility Shop is closed and can not accept any donations at this time.  We are grateful to our volunteers, donors and customers for their generosity and patience.
  • The Office will be open from 10-3 Tuesday thru Friday, but most staff will continue working from home for the time being.  To make sure that staff will be present, it is always good to call ahead (802-862-5010, ext.4) before visiting the church.  Ring the doorbell when you arrive.
    • A small crew of volunteers will be regularly disinfecting the common areas for the safety of our office staff and volunteers.

RESOURCES:

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Online: Sunday 10 a.m. Worship

You are invited to worship with First Church on the FirstChurchBTV YouTube Channel. Worship services premiere at 10am on Sunday and then are available anytime.

Sunday Worship premieres online at 10am
on April 18 with New Members Joining
Watch here by clicking on the graphic above – or go directly to our YouTube/FirstChurchBTV channel.
CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for April 18 2021

All are invited to “Coffee Hour” – a time in fellowship following worship on Zoom. The ZOOM link is: https://bit.ly/sundayfellowship – OR- Phone in: 1-301-715-8592. When prompted, enter 591-074-317#

 

CHURCH SCHOOL is on Zoom at 9:30am on SUNDAY morning for all children through grade 5  – “live” with Depson Fabe, our new Elementary Ministries Coordinator; Hilah Clarke, Director of Faith Formation, and Laure Elder-Connors, Director of Children’s Music – for the Zoom link CLICK HERE

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/FirstChurchBTV  – the last few Sunday worship services are linked below.  Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for updates when new videos are posted.

RECENT SUNDAYS WORSHIP SERVICES:

 

CLICK HERE for the Easter Sunday Order of Worship

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for Palm Sunday March 28.

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for the March 21 Worship Service.

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for the March 7 worship service.

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for Sunday, February 28, 2021

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for 2.21.21

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for Sunday February 14

 

CLICK HERE for the Order of Worship for Sunday February 7

 

 

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Give to First Church: Giving, Pledging & Special Offerings

In this time of physical separation we rely on your regular giving now more than ever.

Online/E-Giving & Giving by Check: One-time donations & recurring pledges  – all of your donations fuel the missions and ministries of First Congregational Church.

TO GIVE ONLINE – connect to First Congregational Church’s secure Online/E-Giving system by clicking here.  Use the drop-down menu provided in “Fund” to designate your donation.

YOU CAN TEXT YOUR DONATION: You can also text FCCBUCC to 73256 to give a gift to FCCB using your text messaging.  Standard text message rates apply.

Or… GIVE by CHECK – made payable to First Congregational Church (to designate a specific use – such as the Pastoral Care Fund – or a special offering – use the MEMO line on your check) and mail to: First Congregational Church, 38 South Winooski Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401

____________________________________________________________

A Message from your Stewardship Team Chair: Dawn Plante

Our Stewardship Campaign theme for 2021 is “Building Bridges to Our Church’s Future”.  Our staff and church leaders did not use the pandemic “stay at home” time to put our souls on hold.  Instead, they have used these months as an opportunity to expand the ways we worship and connect with each other…  READ MORE

CLICK HERE to open the 2021 Stewardship Brochure

PLEDGING:  Our church leaders and Stewardship Team are inviting your January thru December 2021 Pledges in support of the ministries and missions of First Congregational Church.

CLICK HERE to make your pledge to First Church online  – OR – you can pledge thru your First Church Realm Account.  If you have yet to access your First Church Realm Account – please contact our Office Manager, Caroline Catlin at [email protected]

Or… MAIL in your pledge – CLICK HERE to access a printable copy of the pledge card to print and mail.

Please CLICK HERE to complete a Time & Talent Pledge Card

Thank you!

 

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Discipleship Then & Now: Celebrating the Promise – Lent Sundays at 11:15 a.m.

March 8 thru April 5 at 11:15 a.m.

During Lent we will gather after 10 a.m. worship, looking to our history for inspiration to form a vision for the future… what has our discipleship looked like here at First Church? How will this history lead us forward?

The first three sessions – at 11:15 a.m. – are:

  • Sunday March 8: the Rev. Elissa Johnk on Discipleship.
  • Sunday March 15: Lucy Samara (and friends!) on Discipleship and Mission. 
  • Sunday March 22: Hilah Clarke on Discipleship: Youth and Faith Formation.
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Hannah Sachs: Director of Creative Ministries

Our new Director of Creative Ministries is: Hannah Sachs

On Sunday March 1, 2020, Caroline Crawford (Church President-Elect for 2020-2021 and Chair of the Search Committee for Director of Creative Ministries) announced that Hannah Sachs has been selected to serve with us at First Congregational Church.

Hannah is a theatre director and arts educator who is passionate about serving God in creative ways. Originally from Virginia, she graduated with highest honors from Smith College with a degree in theatre directing, religion, and social change. Hannah then spent a year teaching in the Czech Republic on a Fulbright, during which time she met her wife, Renata.

In addition to more conventional theatre and art education work, Hannah has been blessed with many opportunities to use the arts in diverse ministry contexts–including serving in refugee camps, leading workshops for survivors of trafficking, and creating programs for individuals experiencing homelessness. In May, Hannah and Renata will both be graduating from Yale Divinity School. Hannah will have earned a Master of Divinity degree, along with certificates from the Institute of Sacred Music and Andover Newton Seminary.

Hannah Sachs will begin her work as our Director of Creative Ministries in June.  She is absolutely thrilled to be joining First Congregational Church of Burlington’s vibrant community and is looking forward to collaborating with all of you in the beautiful work of creatively embodying God’s extravagant love.

 

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I & Thou: Creating Sacred Relationships – Sermon Series & Discussion Groups

 

Link HERE to watch videos of the  I & Thou Sermon Series

 

 

 

Sermon Series: I & Thou – Creating Sacred Relationships

January 26 – February 23:

Discussion Group Opportunity

         Based on a sermon and study series originally crafted by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, “I & Thou” is designed to help us engage one another in conversation about how the lessons and stories of our faith can teach us about the most important relationships of our lives.

Using both scripture and scholarship, I hope “I & Thou” helps you delve into one of humanity’s deepest mysteries – that we are made in and for relationship.  And discipleship, like faith – and life itself – is born from awe, from encounter.

Attend worship on Sunday, and then enjoy this journey in free-form discussion with a small group (whenever your small group decides to meet throughout the week) and discover the power of faith in relationship.

To sign up to host a small group, or to indicate your interest in participating in a group, email Caroline: [email protected].                 – The Rev. Elissa Johnk

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Epiphany Sunday – January 5 at 8 & 10 a.m.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 5  –  “Epiphany”

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”    – Matthew 2: 1-2

We’ll celebrate the arrival of the Magi at the manger during “Epiphany Worship Services” at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday, January 5.

The 10 a.m. service will include K-5 Church School, Middle, and High School youth meetings (starting at 10 a.m.) before all ages gather in the Sanctuary for the “in person” arrival of the wise ones, followed by Communion.

Both worship services will include Communion – for all ages – with gluten free bread and un-fermented grape juice.

The Nursery/Toddler/Pre-School room will be open at 9:50 on the 5th for our youngest children.  All ages are invited to be in the Sanctuary for the re-telling of the great story of Epiphany.

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Star Sunday with VT Folk Artist Patti Casey – January 12

Star Sunday – January 12 – worship services at 8 a.m. & 10 a.m.

  • Get your star for next year—where will it lead you?
  • Don’t know what this is all about?  You’re in for a treat!
  • Our new minister, the Rev. Elissa Johnk will lead this innovative, joyful worship for all ages.
  • Vermont folk artist and singer, songwriter Patti Casey will be our special guest, leading music, during the 10 a.m. – January 12 – “Star Sunday” multi-generational worship service.
    • The nursery/toddler room will be open and staffed from 9:50 through the worship service.
  • There will be an 8 a.m. worship service on Sunday January 12.

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We are Hiring!

WE ARE HIRING!
WE ARE SEARCHING for:
– An OFFICE MANAGER: This position has been filled.
– A DIRECTOR of CREATIVE MINISTRIES:
Please use this LINK to learn more about this full-time staff opening at First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington.
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