Vermont Conference, UCC 

E-KIT (Electronically-Keeping In Touch)

October 30, 2013 - Vol. 6, Issue 44  
In This Issue
Conference News
Association News
Items of Interest
Peacemaker's Pulpit
Help Wanted
Upcoming Events, Webinars, Online Seminars...
UCC News Updates
Stewardship Message
Lectionary and Thoughts
Quick Links

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·Conference Directory    

·Conference Calendar  

·Conference Newsletter Archive
·Conference Resource Center

·Covenant Hills Christian Camp  

·Global Ministries   

·UCC Website 

·UCC Insurance Board  

·UCC Pension Boards


Save the Date!



The Annual Meeting of the Vermont Conference is going to be different this year!


Earlier date: Friday/Saturday
April 25-26, 2014


New place: Lake Morey Resort
Fairlee, VT   


Different focus: A retreat experience, alongside needed elements of annual meeting business, with time for contemplation, exploration of spiritual practices, and more... 


Our theme: "Rooted and Grounded in Love"  

Ephesians 3:14-19




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Greetings Members & Friends,



This week, I veer off my normal path of either trying to inspire or intrigue or inform you, dear readers, and take a moment of personal privilege.


This evening, at the First Congregational Church UCC, Randolph Center, the Windsor Orange Association will gather for an Ecclesiastical Council. My Ecclesiastical Council. Since most of you won't be there, but have traveled at least part of this journey with me, I wanted to use this space to say thank you.


It has been quite an amazing experience, given I seem to be a bit of a poster child for the road less traveled. I was honored to be included in the first cohort of three accepted as Members in Discernment who were seeking Ordination through the new Multiple Path process. We learned as we went, seeking (in my words) equivalency of outcome, not equivalency of process, trusting the Spirit for guidance.


I owe so many of you a debt of gratitude for your encouragement, mentoring, and course corrections. It has been a journey taken in community. I can't start naming you individually, because I wouldn't know when to stop. I have truly been blessed.


I know not what the future holds for me, but I am ready to put my hand in the hand of my Creator and follow wherever God might lead me. Minnie Louise Haskins, in her poem, "The Gate of Year," writes:


I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year


'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'


And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God


That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'


So let's go, shall we? Let's see what awesome things God has in store for us.





Jim Thomas

Associate Conference Minister for
Stewardship, Church Vitality, and Finance


Conference News

Conference Ministers' Schedules

~On Saturday, November 2, the is a Board of Director's meeting at the Conference Office which the Conference Ministers will attend.

~On Sunday, November 3, Pam Lucas will be attending the Grafton-Orange Association Fall meeting in Claremont, NH.  

~Also on Sunday, Jim Thomas will be preaching at Berlin's First Congregational Church and leading a stewardship workshop. 


Please Hold in Your Prayers ...

...The family of Virginia "Ginny" Batten who died October 25 at the age of 58.  Ginny was the sister/sister-in-law of Les and Cindy Batten, pastor of the the W. Newbury Congregational Church.

Funeral services will be held Monday, November 4, 2013, at 12:30 p.m., at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery Chapel in Randolph Center. 


...The family of Eleanor Longfellow who died October 23 at the age of 70.  Eleanor was the longtime director of the Atkinson Retreat Center in Newbury.  A complete obituary is available here.  


...The family of Rev. Dr. John C. Fuhrmeister, 91, who died October 19.  Rev. Dr. Fuhrmeister served as the pastor of St. Johnsbury's South Congregrational church from 1970-73 and its North Congregational Church from 1971-73.  A complete obituary is available here.

Advent Day Apart





 Pastor's Advent Day Apart

Jesus invites us to 'come apart and rest awhile...'


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

at First Congregational Church of Randolph Center

10:00 am to 3:00 pm

(lunch provided)


The Vermont Conference theme for 2014 is



How can we live into being God's people

In a broken world?


Exploring a Rule for Life


Facilitated by

Jim Thomas and Pam Lucas

Associate Conference Ministers


RSVP to Lynn Thomas at thomasl@vtcucc.org



Association News
Association Fall Meetings- Click here for a listing.  


Windsor-Orange Association - Ecclesiastical Council of Jim Thomas  - Wednesday, October 30, 2013.  7:00 PM.  1st Congregational Church of Randolph, Randolph Center.


 Southwest Association - Ordination of Amanda Beresford - Sunday, November 10, 2013, 4:00 PM, Peru Congregational Church.  Click here for more information.    


Champlain Association - Installation of Rev. Jared Hamilton - Sunday, November 17, 2013, 2:00 PM, United Church of Hinesburg.  Click here for more information.    


Items of Interest
Clip from Jonathan Farrell's steeple interior video. 
College Street Congregational Church Steeple Fire Update - Damage assessment at the Church continues as work on deconstructing the steeple is underway.  Contractors for the job are juggling sometimes competing factors of historic preservation, safety and cost, according to Bill Harwood, an involved congregation member.  Steeple keeper Jonathan Farrell provided a video of the inside of the steeple to the Burlington Free Press, which can be found along with additional information on the Free Press website.  Last Sunday the congregation worshipped at the First Congregational Church in Burlington and plans to do so again this Sunday.  The Church Office has relocated nearby at the offices of the Burlington Free Press.  The Church is accepting donations to a Restoration Fund to help in the recovery from the fire.  Contributions can be sent to:  College Street Congregational Church, 265 College Street, Burlington, VT 05401.  Please put Restoration Fund on the memo line.  You can also read Church Council President Aubrey Choquette's letter to the congregation by clicking here.

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Health Exchange ForumsVermont Interfaith Action continues to sponsor forums -   to explain Vermont Health Connects, the new health insurance exchange, to people all over the state. The exchange will insure small businesses with less than 50 employees, individuals who have been purchasing private insurance, and many moving out of VHAP and Catamount beginning in 2014. Registration is open from October 2013 through March 2014.


Please join us for one of these forums, sponsored by local congregations, and invite friends, neighbors, and family who will be affected!

  • November 5, Tuesday, 5:30 to 7 pm at United Church of Northfield, 58 South Main Street

  • November 7, Thursday, 7 to 8:30 pm at First Congregational Church of Morrisville, 85 Upper Main St.

  • November 10, Sunday, 5 to 7:30 pm at First Congregational Church of Essex Junction, 1 Church Street near Five Corners

  • November 21, Thursday, 7 to 8:30 pm at Vergennes Congregational Church, 30 S. Water St.

For more information, contact the VIA office: office@viavt.org  or 802-651-8889.


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EST Reminder: Daylight Savings Time - A reminder that Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, November 3. Be sure to adjust your clock back one hour before going to sleep on Saturday night, so that you won't be too early for worship on Sunday morning.  



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2014 Summer Chaplaincy for the Chatauqua UCC Society - The Chatauqua UCC Society is receiving applications for its 2014 Summer Program. It invites nine clergy to serve one week in the summer. Chaplains preach at one worship service, lead an informal vesper service and provide pastoral services if needed. Beyond responsibilities, chaplains can enjoy the week at Chatauqua. The chaplain receives two gate passes, room for up to four family members and access to kitchen-dining facilities.  For more info: www.cuccs.org (info on how to apply).  For info about the 2014 season: www.ciweb.org .  Applications are due on November 30. Because there are only 9 Chaplains, the application process is competitive.    


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United Church Fund Q3 2013 Performance Webinar - On Friday, November 1 at 1:00 PM, join United Church Funds' Chief Investment Officer David Klassen for a review of UCF's third quarter investment performance, outlook for the coming months, and Q&A following. A PDF of the webinar slides will be available on our website at www.ucfunds.org a day prior. For those unable to join the live webinar, a video will be available for viewing on UCF's website by end-of-day on November 1.  Questions? Give us a call at 877-806-4989.  We look forward to your participation.  Click here to sign up.


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Covenant Hills Christian Camp - September/October Newsletter - click here.






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Boundary Awareness Trainings in New England - Click here - for a listing of upcoming Boundary Awareness Trainings in other New England States.


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Peacemaker's Pulpit 

 A Monthly Message from the Department of Mission's Just Peace Advocates


"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace...."


These are dark days for would-be peacemakers. Many of us are war-weary people who in our hearts have come to believe that any effort on behalf of peace will probably fail. Too many peace talks have collapsed. Too many good pro-peace proposals have gone nowhere. Too many people question the value of the symbolic gesture, such as a peace vigil, peace pole, peace fair, peace park, or peace march.  We cannot be optimistic about prospects for world peace, considering the violence in the Middle East and other war zones (known, oddly, as "theaters" of war).  We have good reason to feel discouraged.


We realize, however, that if we would be pro-peace leaders, we need the three qualities of all good leaders, the first of which is Optimism (the other two are Relevance and Courage; their turns will come). Short term, it  is difficult to be optimistic about our personal roles as peacemakers.  But we can take a longer view, as was recommended by UCC theologian Reinhold Niebuhr 60 years ago in his book, The Irony of American History: "Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith.  Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint; therefore, we must be save by the final form of love, which is forgiveness."   Optimism lies in taking this longer view.


--Rev. David Brown

Member, Department of Mission Just Peace Advocates


A Request - the Just Peace Advocates invite YOU to offer something for the Peacemaker's Pulpit!  If you are interested, please contact Theresa Lever (thelevers@comcast.net) or Betty Edson (bedson30@gmail.com) for details.


Help Wanted

Help Wanted


Choir Director - The Waitsfield United Church of Christ has a vibrant music program with a committed and energetic choir and a dedicated organist. We need a choir director who is familiar with worship and music that speaks to the work of the church. Choir season is September through May, stipend provided. Contact: Jean Joslin - email: jjoslin@accessvvt.com.


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Permanent Part-time Pianist or Organist - The Pittsfield Federated Church, UCC is searching for a permanent part-time paid pianist or organist for church services and events.  Contact:  Pastor Howard Gunter, howardgunter1@myfairpoint.net, 802-746-8698.


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Seeking Church Pianist/Accompanist for the United Church of Underhill -  Active and vital music program with experienced and enthusiastic musicians (includes weekly adult choir, part-time 3-octave handbell group, and select soloists) seeks Pianist/Accompanist to work with our adult choir. The Pianist/ Accompanist will practice with the choir on Thursday evenings (7-8:30 PM), accompany the choir during one Sunday service each week (10:30 AM service), and play congregational hymns, responses, and possibly a prelude and/or postlude. The ideal candidate will have good sight-reading skills, work well with other musicians, be flexible, be willing to play during a few special services during the year, and like to have fun. The candidate will not be required to play the organ but if she/he can, great! For more information please call the church office at: 802-899-1722, or send an email to: rev.kevg@yahoo.com.


Upcoming Events, Webinars, Online Seminars


Don't Forget the Following Events!





New England Wide Committee on Ministry Training Event.  November 9, 2013, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM.  Shrewsbury, MA.  Sponsor: New England Council for Theological Education.  Click here for more information/registration.  



Vermont Interfaith Power and Light (VTIPL) Fall Conference - Facing Climate Chaos with Hope and Action: Empowering People of Faith and Spirit with keynote speaker Dr. Stephanie Kaza, Director of UVM's Environmental Studies Program.  Saturday, November 16, 2013.  9:30 AM - 4:30 PM.  Location: First Congregational Church, 38 South Winooski Ave., Burlington, VT.  Discount Registration Deadline:  October 31 / Registration Deadline:  November 7. The conference flyer and registration form are on the website: www.vtipl.org. For more information, contact VTIPL at 802-434-3397 or info@vtipl.org.


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Click here for more Upcoming Events.


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webinarsUpcoming Webinars & Other Online Seminars


Webinar: Website Basics for Churches - Thursday, November 7, 2013, 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM.  Sponsor:  Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR).  Click here for more information/registration.  


Webinar: Incorporating Video into Your Church Outreach Efforts.  Thursday, November 21, 2013, 01:00pm - 02:00pm.  Sponsor:  Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR).  Click here for more information/registration.  


UCC Online Event - Homegrown Faith and Justice: Conversations on Faith Formation at Home. Friday, November 22, 2013. 3:30PM - 5:00PM EST. Click here for more information. 


  • For a listing of webinars from the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and Faith Trust Institute, "Addressing Domestic and Sexual Violence: Tools for Faith Leaders" Series, click here. 

  • For a listing of upcoming webinars from the UCC Center for Progressive Renewal, click here.
  • For a list of upcoming conference calls/webinars from the UCC Pension Board, click here.
  • For a list of upcoming webinars from the UCC Insurance Board, click here.
  • For a listing of upcoming Alban Institute webinars, click here.
  • For a listing of Andover Newton Theological School's Online Seminars, click here 
UCC News Updates   
5,154 Churches, 7,578 Ministers - Want to know more detailed information about the state of our denomination? Check out the 2013 UCC Statistical Report. This  profile provides a general statistical overview of the state of the denomination and offers a closer look at church location, size, membership, ministerial demographics, and overall income and expenses. Information is drawn primarily from data reported to the national offices annually for the production of the UCC Yearbook.








Got news? Please take a minute, and let the UC News team know. Please send your news tip via email to newsteam@ucc.org.  P.S.  Let the Conference know too - vtconference@vtcucc.org!


CalendarFor Calendar items, please see the online Conference Calendar or the latest biweekly issue of E-Events NewsletterTo submit an event: click here.  


The next E-Events Newsletter will be published on Thursday, November 7. [Deadline to submit events:  November 7, Noon].    


Don't miss these events: 


Conference EventsAssociation Events
Local Church EventsEcumenical Events
Regional EventsNational Events
Other Events of Interest

Stewardship Message for November


Stewards of Surprising Gifts


May God... who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech. - 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 from The Message


My brother always said he didn't want to have children, so I was a bit anxious when his son, Christopher, was born. Happily, I was surprised, relieved and thankful to see how much he loved that little baby. He was too! He marveled, "When I look at that innocent face, I realize I would give my life to keep him safe."


God surprises us with such amazing, transforming gifts!


Scripture assures us that first God gives to us: "God reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence." We can take heart; God knows our needs and hopes and wants only the best for us.


God's gifts enliven our capacity to respond with our gifts. In the next few weeks, many UCC churches will be inviting their congregations to remember how good God has been to them and pray about making their pledges of support for the ministry of their churches on Consecration Sunday, November 10. No matter when or how your church invites your support, with a confident and hope-filled heart let your response flow naturally. When we open our hearts to God, our response may surprise even us.



A message from Stewards in the Household of God: a Resource for Holistic Year-round Stewardship available from United Church of Christ Resources.





For monthly Stewardship messages from the UCC, click here.


[This resource is a free service and is made possible by your gifts to Our Church's Wider Mission.]



Lectionary Gospel Lesson & Thoughts for the Week

The Gospel lesson this week is:  Luke 19:1-10, the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. 
Here are some thoughts for the week:
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Money can buy the husk of many things, but not the kernel. 
It brings you food, but not appetite; 
medicine, but not health; 
acquaintances, but not friends; 
servants, but not faithfulness; 
days of joy, but not peace and happiness.
Henrik Ibsen
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He is no fool 
who gives what he cannot keep 
to gain what he cannot lose.
Jim Elliot
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It is important to note that the idea of a redeemer, a savior, is impossible without the idea of fallen humanity. You cannot be saved if you are not lost. You cannot be redeemed if you are not in hock. You cannot be freed if you are not enslaved....
Our culture does not believe in wickedness-that is, in culpability. The "conviction of sin" is hardly possible to us. We believe not in sin and forgiveness but in illness and recovery. It is the endless message of our culture that everyone is basically good and that most of our problems will be solved when we realize this-in other words, when we build up our self-esteem.
Brian Abel Ragen
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Jesus lived, apparently, with an abandon of love, scattering his seed over all kinds of ground, not counting the cost of scattering seed on beaten paths, on rocks, or among weeds. So he went about offering his love to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, prostitutes, call girls, racketeers, blind beggars, and God knows what all! The spontaneity of it, the uncalculating spirit, the generosity of it--this is what gives it its magic and wonder, and draws us to him.
Edmund A. Steimle


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Did you know...

Your OCWM (Our Church's Wider Mission) contribution to the VT Conference makes this email newsletter and the numerous programs described herein available to you and your church.
Have you considered remembering the Vermont Conference in your will? You could leave a lasting legacy which would support the good works of the Conference and our churches.

To submit items for E-KIT, please send them to Sybil McShane at mcshanes@vtcucc.org.  Items are due Friday for publication the following Wednesday.
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802-728-4999 | Vermont Conference, UCC | 36 N Main St | Randolph | VT | 05060
E-KIT 10-30-2013