Bible Study & “Good Grief” Groups

A SUMMER PAUSE: The Wednesday evening -in person – Bible Study is on summer break and will resume in September.  Following the June 27 gathering – the Thursday morning Zoom Bible Study will be on summer break and will resume meeting in September.


Wednesday evening Bible Study – in person at First Church.  Newcomers welcome.

  • 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.

  • CLICK for the June – calendar of readings for Wednesday evening participants.
  • CLICK for June 5, 2024 study guide.
  • For more information contact Director of Congregational Life, Ava Bilton.

Thursday Morning – Bible Study on Zoom:

  • All are invited to participate in this weekly conversation about scripture with our Lead Minister, the Rev. Elissa Johnk.
  • The Zoom link for the Thursday morning Bible Study with the Rev. Elissa Johnk, is also posted on the front page of our website every Thursday morning.



June 2024 – Grief Group:


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First Church this Week

Welcome to First Congregational UCC of Burlington

This Sunday – July 14 – we are worshipping at the College Street Church in a collaborative service that will lift up and celebrate the themes of Peace Camp 2024!

Meet at First Church at 9:30am on Sunday July 14 to walk over to the College Street Church with others from the congregation – or – park near 265 College Street and we’ll see you in the College Street sanctuary for this special collaborative worship service.


The virtual option for worship at the College Street Church is via Zoom using this LINK: ZOOM LINK      

The Sunday July 14 Order of Worship/Bulletin is available HERE:  BULLETIN LINK



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

Worship at First Church 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 summer 2024 Sermon Series – “Friendship: no greater love than this” – starts on Sunday July 21.  Let’s gather in worship at 10am on Sundays – in person at First Church UCC/BTV – or on YouTube – as we explore friendship and faith.


CLICK HERE to read Director of Congregational Life Ava Bilton’s letter about the Summer Bucket List project… there are many ways to get involved – to do good together at First Church and in the community this summer. Step in and make connections – invite a friend to participate with you – find what works for you and enjoy summer together!



Let’s JUMP in for GOOD: The First Church Outreach Team invites you to donate hygiene supplies to folks in need in our community through JUMP during July.  The shopping list below can be used and packed in any bag – or pick up a reusable bag (and shopping list) in the Church Office during office hours – or on Sunday morning – and return with requested items.  Thank you!


CLICK HERE to connect to information about participating in 2024!


Annual “ALL CHURCH YARD SALE – Saturday August 17:  It’s that time of year again! The First Church – ALL CHURCH – Yard Sale will be on Saturday, August 17.   Do you have some items that need a new home? You can make donations to the yard sale early on the morning of the Yard Sale!  We will need volunteers to help organize, and staff the yard sale. Contact Jennie Coleman to learn more and look for sign-up sheets for volunteers at church soon!


First Church Raised Bed Gardens

This summer our Outreach Team will tend the four raised beds on the front lawn.  With the support of Doug Viehmann and Theresa Mazza, the beds have been weeded, prepared, and planted.  Already we have lettuce, basil, and parsley ready to harvest and we look forward to green beans, cucumbers, nasturtium blossoms, and several kinds of tomatoes. Look for free veggies from the garden each Sunday near the coffee table.  Want to help with weeding, watering, or harvesting?  Contact Reid Willis (610-291-5867) or Louise Brewster.


CLICK HERE to learn more about our two weekly Bible Studies that will resume in the early fall.


Each month the Climate Justice team offers articles under the Climate Corner to share ideas about what we can do to help preserve this beautiful world and the life on it that we’ve inherited. 


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.


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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We are Hiring!

We are hiring!  First Congregational Church (UCC) is a vibrant congregation of approximately 300 members, located in an urban setting in downtown Burlington, Vermont. We are an Open and Affirming congregation with a diverse church family.

We are currently inviting applications for a Youth Ministry Leader and for a Minister of Music. 

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Give to First Church: Giving, Pledging & Special Offerings

STEWARDSHIP is GIVING to FIRST CHURCH: The ministries and missions of First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington rely on the pledges and support of all of our members and friends.

See below for information about giving online and via check – about any current special offerings – and about making a pledge to support First Church during 2023 and about how to make a 2024 pledge.  Thank you.

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 A DONATION to FCCBUCC to 73256 – 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


Current Special Offering:

  • Give to OGHS by check to First Congregational Church, MEMO: OGHS
    or ONLINE using OGHS on the drop-down menu.


Stewardship 2024 – Together we will…


Stewardship Co-Chair, Steve Hyde’s

December 22, 2023 – Letter to the Congregation

Together we will… and so far, together we have…

This year’s stewardship campaign is going well – but we aren’t done yet!

So far, we have received 109 pledges of monies and/or service in support of the 2024 First Church operating budget. These pledges total nearly 75% of our anticipated 2024 budget.

Our goal is to exceed 130 pledges by the end of the first week in January. If you have yet to make your pledge, please do so. Our Trustees and Executive Team are working to finalize the 2024 proposed budget as they prepare for our upcoming Annual Meeting and will soon begin to take action on all of what we have said we want to do together.

What has been particularly exciting for me is to see what we, as individuals, have shared with each other as expressed in the “Together we will …” statements that people submitted with their pledges. I have posted them on the bulletin board outside the sanctuary for all to see (including the sample below!). Please check it out. When I look at it, I know I am in the right place. I hope you will feel the same way.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me or the church office.

Peace and kindness be with you,

Steve Hyde, Stewardship Co-Chair

The Rev. Elissa Johnk’s November 10 Letter to the Congregation:

Together we will…

One of the most common laments today is about the division in American society – between generations, parties, classes, and neighbors. Here at First Church, we have members from both sides of the political aisle. We have kids in their first few months of life, almost 40 active children, and members who have been here 8 decades. We have folks who own multiple homes, and those who are homeless. And while we might not agree on everything, we do agree on one thing: the importance of being together.

It is, in fact, a sacred responsibility. In the Hebrew Bible, we are charged to set aside the sabbath as a day of “sacred assembly.” Even in the first century, when gathering wasn’t safe, Paul wrote that we were not to “neglect gathering,” but rather to “encourage one another, and continually consider how to spur one another to love and good deeds.”

Gathering is the way we express, practice, and grow our faith. And gather we have. In 2023, we have averaged almost 100 for worship in the building, and over 125 (!) online. We have gathered for benefit dinners, breakfasts, cooking competitions, and simple meals. We have gathered for concerts, art receptions, dragon-boating, discernment and retreat. We have gathered for worship in just about every room in the church, as well as by the lake, on the lawn, downtown in service, and with College Street down the road.

I firmly believe this is why First Church is thriving…    CLICK HERE to read more of the Rev. Elissa Johnk’s message


Jack Lynch comments on his path to faith
and stewardship at First Church.
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