MUSIC, MISSIONS and MINISTRY! *See Pastor's Message below...
The Overflow Shelter is open every evening 5:00pm - 7:00am for free supper, socializing, and space to sleep. Mats, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags are available. We always welcome donations of more. Open to men, women & children. Zero-tolerance for alcohol, drugs, smoking on church property. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer. You may call the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center at 802-257-5415 for more information. Last winter 172 people stayed, including 41 women and 7 children; some are living in apartments now! Opening a month earlier this year (Nov. 3), we average 20-30 people each night. Our volunteers are dedicated and much appreciated. We will be open through April 30 due to the ground being cold & wet. More sleeping bags and tents are needed: May 1st through Summer.
We must brainstorm how to raise $55,000 to meet our $115,000 budget this year, and to stay open to house the Homeless Overflow Shelter 2014-2015. We dearly want to retain the services of Pastor Suzanne, our Office Administrator, and our Sexton. They keep us functioning as a healthy, purposeful and effective congregation serving our local and global missions. Please pray for our continued role in the community. Thank You!
Look at the video of our Homelessness Marathon Feb. 19, at "videos on demand" at www.brattleborotv.org and BCTV Channel 8 locally.
See the beginning of an Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service held November 26 in our Sanctuary, at www.brattleborotv.org, and on BCTV Channel 8. We regret the camera malfunctioned after 22 minutes. Participants shown on-air include Rev. Carra McFadden, Rev. Sandy Daly, Rev. Barbro Hansson, Asim and Ali, Wendy Bayliss and Kate Judd, Jewish Spiritual Leader, Helen Ruth Belanger, organist, Peter Amidon and members of the Interfaith Choir. We collected $225 and 6 bags of food for Project Feed the Thousands (Brattleboro Area Drop In Center Food Shelf).
Special Thanks to all who baked for and donated to our Rummage Sale, Yard Sale, and Welcome Center "Coffee Break" fundraisers last fall. With your help and on-site volunteers, we raised over $3,400 ... some of this money will pay fuel & utilities costs for hosting the Overflow Shelter ... our fuel bill is $2,200 each month!
Wishing You a Healthy, Happy and Christ-Centered Life Today and Everyday... Come Celebrate the Love of God with Us! We thank You for your donations of time, energy, goods and money toward the success of our mission programs here and abroad... you can make a difference here at First Baptist Church. Come visit!
*See Pastor Suzanne in a timeless service by going on-line to www.brattleborotv.org. In the right-hand column, click on Local Shows/Videos on Demand, look for "Religion/Spirituality," and scroll down to First Baptist Church listings. If your TV is not in High Definition, click on the Standard Definition link. Look for "Mary & Martha, Luke 10:38-42", http:/vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T010304&video=172262
*SEE PASTOR SUZANNE leading a timeless service on BCTV Channel 8 in Brattleboro, or by going on-line to www.brattleborotv.org, at "Watch Local Shows on Demand" on the right side bar. Under "Videos," click "Religion & Spirituality," and look for First Baptist Church listings.
The current video link is --
To obtain the MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. We can email it to you if you call and request it, or email Helen Ruth Belanger at email@example.com.
Call the church office (802) 254-9566, or stop by Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.- Noon.
MUSIC: 103-year-old Estey Pipe Organ, "Opus 300,"
Rehearsal and Performance Space Rentals
Large Concert Hall with Superb Acoustics
MISSIONS: Grace's Kitchen, free home-cooking, Wednesdays, 5:30 P.M.
Homeless Overflow Shelter, November 3, 2013 - April 2014
MINISTRY: PASTOR SUZANNE'S OCTOBER MESSAGE:
“At God's command amazing things happen, wonderful things that
we can't understand. He commands snow to fall on the earth,
and sends torrents of drenching rain. He brings our work to a stop;
he shows us what he can do.
The wild animals go to their dens. The storm winds come from the south,
and the biting cold from the north. The breath of God freezes the waters
and turns them to solid ice.”
Job 37:5-10 (Good News Version)
I can't believe it's October so soon! What happened to Summer?? Some of you have been making preparations to cover your bushes and store salt in your garage for those icy walkways. Then there's wood to be stacked and chimneys to clean. And yet, of all God's creations, human beings probably make the least preparation for the cold season. In the days of old when most folks lived in the country, extensive preparations were made – crops were gotten in, meat was carefully salted away, the woodshed was filled with firewood, and the hayloft was crammed with hay. Today in our lifestyle, winter comes and goes with little effect on some of us. We buy winter clothes and that's about all. Most of our homes are heated automatically with no daily effort on our part. Our huge supermarkets have the same food on the shelves all year round.
Yet sometimes we get so busy making our own preparations for the cold that we forget how wonderfully God takes care of his living creatures – both plants and animals. Especially at this season, Autumn, can we see his loving concern for all he created, as they prepare for the winter season. Out in the fields and forests frantic preparations are under way. The cold season would literally kill many plants and animals unless God got them ready to survive.
Pine trees don't worry about the cold. They change very little during our New England seasons. But did you ever think about their leafy brothers and sisters? Fall is such a beautiful time of year with breathtaking colors surrounding our senses. Then the leaves drop and the trees are pulling their watery sap back down into the roots. Imagine an ice storm on an oak tree or a maple tree all covered with green leaves. Every limb would break under the strain. With all leaves off and the limbs and twigs dehydrated, the tree stands stripped, strong and ready for the coldest blast and heaviest load of ice. To be reborn in the Spring.
Under the trees lie many thousands of seeds. They sleep all winter. Next spring many will sprout. Some will grow into another mature tree. God's world is amazing!
As the streams and ponds and lakes grow colder down under the muddy bottom frogs dig into the slime. There they will sleep till next spring, with heart beat and blood circulation barely maintained. Only in this way can the frog live through the hard freezes which would kill him in the open air. God is Incredible!
A few inches below the earth and in rocky caves snakes entwine together for a long winter's nap. Their bodily functions slow down to the barest minimum, but they live, despite the cold. This is God's way of saving them for next spring.
Up in the trees squirrels pad their nests with down. They busily cram nuts, bird seed (mostly from my feeders!) and acorns into a thousand and one hiding places, to be enjoyed later for a delicious January dinner. Sometimes they hide their food in the ground. Later, no matter how deep the snow, they come back to exactly the right spot and dig them up. God is Astounding!
Many birds realize they can't face the cold. They fly south, in noisy swarming droves in the shape of a “V”. I am always amazed at their formation and how they instinctively know where they are going. They pick up their food along the way, and I sadly say goodbye to Summer and Fall. Next Spring they'll come back, locating their old nesting places, somehow, without a road map or compass. I have had five generations of Blue Birds nesting in our bird houses. God is Magnificent!
Thousands of varieties of weeds and grasses are not made to live over the winter. They are called “annual” plants. So they drop their seeds, confident that God will bring them back to life. As for these plants themselves, they die and soon decay. But life goes on through their seeds. God is Omnipotent!
The bears are fattening up about this time of year, eating all the seed they can find. Many of you have seen them in your yards. I remember Barbara and Phil Spencer telling stories of their black bears on their porch! Instinctively the bears are putting on layer upon layer of fat to be used during their winter snooze which we call “Hibernation.” Barbara and Phil's black bears will sleep until Spring and once again raid their bird feeders. So, as the bears sleep away, God is providing for them.
All fur-bearing animals put on heavier coats, even our cats and dogs. Squirrels, rats, raccoons, beaver, mink, mice, chipmunks, and even the horses which graze across the street from my house in Bernardston.
So you see, even though we make few preparations for winter, God is very busy caring for all his creatures.
Jesus told us that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without God's knowing it. He cares very much for us, but also loves the wonderful plants and animals without which we couldn't live.
I am proud of First Baptist Church for opening her doors once more to shelter the homeless this winter. This will be our eighth year of housing our Homeless Shelter. Without your help, the countless volunteers, the help of the Drop-In Center, and God, this important mission of our church could not be realized. Together we are saving lives.
And so my beloved friends, may this winter bring you warmth on the coldest of days and remind you of God's constant love for all his creation. Amen.
Peace and love, Pastor Sue
PASTOR SUZANNE'S SEPTEMBER MESSAGE:
Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
You know everything I do;
from far away you understand my thoughts.
I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light around me to turn to night
but even the darkness is not dark for you
and the night is as bright as the day... Psalm 139
Kevin Gassett left this Testimonial which was read at his Memorial Service. I would like to share his special message with you. These are his words, and have not been edited. I would like to thank the Rev. Carra McFadden, from Centre Congregational Church, for sharing this with us.
by Kevin Gassett
“Finding the Lord as my Savior created a big, positive change in my life. I loved sports in school and was an enthusiastic skier until health problems forced me off the slopes. I lost my ability to walk and I am diagnosed with four different kinds of arthritis, so I am pretty much confined to my motorized wheelchair. I have been on my death bed twice, first from an allergic reaction to medicine, and second, a GI ulcer that had me spend twelve days in the ICU.
realize at the time that she was the pastor of First Baptist Church, which is where I was baptized as a child. Her visit and prayers began a big change in my life. When I got my strength back, and right around the time of my birthday, Jon took me to First Baptist for Sunday worship. Pastor Sue was kind of surprised to see me, and my next visit was on my own on Easter Sunday. It was then that I just made up my mind that worship and being part of a church community was going to be part of my life, and I began going to church regularly.
A year later I asked to be baptized, and I was blown away at how good I felt as I came up out of the water.
Everything negative released from my body. I felt like a totally different person, and I can say that I finally understood what is meant by being a born-again Christian. That following Christmas, I was nominated to be a Deacon, an even bigger change for me as I accepted a leadership role at the church.
the Lord does hear my cries for his help.
I made a big mistake after the falling out and stopped going to church. A year and a half later I could feel that backward slide again into a dark, bad attitude – not a good feeling. With my friend Jon's encouragement, I began to visit other churches in town. I attended Sunday worship for several weeks before coming to Centre Church, and I liked that I was welcomed here in such a warm way. This congregation has an obvious faithfulness to God and a positive attitude that I want in my life. Thank you all for your welcome and for including me. I have learned to slow down and smell the roses. I have learned not to let little things bother me. I have learned not to be in a hurry to get somewhere. Having faith in our Lord has changed me completely.
Remembering the kindness to me at First Baptist, it is time to move on as that chapter in my life ends and another new one starts here at Centre Church. I am so grateful for my new friends. God bless you all.”
(Kevin died on March 5, 2013. He is no longer confined to a wheelchair. He has no more pain, anger, or anxiety issues. There is no more suffering, only peace. I believe that Kevin is in Heaven with our Lord. Thank you, Kevin, for having touched our lives. Love, Pastor Sue)
Revelations 21:1-4 (Good News Translation)
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The first heaven and the first earth disappeared and the sea vanished.
And I saw the Holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared and ready like a bride dressed to meet her husband.
I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne:
'Now God's home is with people! He will live with them,
and they shall be his people.
God himself will be with them, and he will be their God.
He will wipe away all tears from their eyes.
There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain.
The old things have disappeared.'”
May God bless you all,
PASTOR SUZANNE'S MARCH MESSAGE...
“Have faith in God”
Never adopt the attitude that faith is easy. If you put a twelve-foot plank, two inches thick and a foot wide, down on the ground, almost anyone can walk across it. But put the same plank between two buildings three or four stories up in the air, and then see how many can walk across it. The very thought of it is enough to make some people weak and dizzy. Especially me!
Faith means venturing out in life when it is dangerous and uncertain. It means taking unpopular attitudes towards many questions, or befriending those whom everyone else despises. Faith means opening our church for the seventh year to house the Homeless, and reaching out to them with acceptance and Christian love. It means risking the ridicule of the crowd when you stand up for something you believe in. It means believing when others doubt, and trusting when you cannot understand how God works. This is always hard, and sometimes we pull back.
Yet faith is required of us. The life of Jesus stands out because he had faith in God - a faith so great that he accepted even the cross. To learn to trust in God, even when you are scared and know not where the future leads. To have faith in God is part of the cost of being a Christian.
I challenge you to read Hebrews, Chapter 11, which speaks of Faith.
“As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends, from beginning to end…” Hebrews 12:1-2.
In Christ’s Love, Pastor Sue
Remembering Melinda Holden Bussino...
Monday March 5, 2012
BRATTLEBORO -- Melinda Bussino, a hero to many people in Windham County for her infinite patience, intelligence and compassion, died Sunday.
Bussino, 65, the one and only executive director of the Drop In Center, was transported to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital after suffering a heart attack last week. She was surrounded by friends and family all weekend.
For more than two decades, Bussino dedicated her life to helping others whether it was finding housing, food or clothing or assisting with employment.
Her motto was to work on one problem at a time and that by working together, things will get done.
Because of her selfless attitude, she helped thousands of people get back on their feet and her absence will leave a void in area that may never be filled, said one of her friends.
During a 2008 interview with the Reformer, Bussino described her work as the most fulfilling way to spend her time.
"These are mostly wonderful people with real hard times and sad stories," she said at the time. "It's not easy and you don't get rich, but you go home every night knowing that you've done something to make this world a better place."
This past weekend during Gallery Walk and the annual Gimme Shelter Dance, people raised more than $900 to help keep the Overflow Shelter open through April, said Larry Smith, president of the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and who worked with Bussino on many service projects including Project Feed the Thousands.
"Someone like Melinda only comes along once in a life time," Smith said. "She was such an advocate for those in need."
One of Bussino's passions, the shelter provides warmth, food and a place to take a shower or do laundry for those without anywhere else to go, he said.
People wrote loving thoughts, messages, prayers and drew pictures in a guest book prior to the dance.
"The family wishes to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughts throughout this very difficult week," Smith said on behalf of the family.
Funeral arrangements are being made by Ker Westerlund Funeral Home and a date and time will be announced soon.
Josh Stilts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.
From the Pastor's Comments in the Annual Report, February 5, 2012...
"First Baptist Church was built on faith and prayer, beginning in 1867 and faith remains our cornerstone today. Our forefathers and foremothers created the foundation of First Baptist Church and we are the generations to carry on the important ministries they began so long ago.
Beloved congregation, we boldly move forth in faith. We continue to face many challenges and are faced with more challenges ahead. We sold our St. John the Divine Tiffany window in order to keep our doors open for God's ministry. Our roof is finally fixed as a result of this. For the fifth year we have partnered with the [Brattleboro Area] Drop-In Center, housing those less fortunate than we are. We can be proud that our church was the only one who would open her doors to those less fortunate than we are. For Jesus said that when we take care of the least of these, we are serving Him.
For another year, the team that serves Sunday breakfast has been a huge success, welcoming those in the community for a delicious meal. Grace's Kitchen continues to feed the hungry and share hope with those who are desperate and in need. Our guests not only come for a home-cooked meal, they come for fellowship and warmth as a respite from the troubles of this life.
We continue to support AA and the [Brattleboro Area] Pastoral Counseling Center and help them continue their ministries. Mission outreach reaches out to help others in need around the world.
New members were welcomed among us and baptisms brought all of us closer to Jesus. God continues to bless us with children and gifted Sunday School teachers. Our Deacons and Trustees are talented and dedicated in continuing the spirit of First Baptist Church, walking in the words of our Church Covenant, "That we will endeavor to live as worthy disciples of Him Whose Name we bear, seeking Christlikeness in character and in conduct, and striving to know and obey God's will." We are blessed with a committed congregation who believe that together, we will serve the Lord our God and preserve the American Baptist tradition.
Times are tough and we are often worried that our doors will close. As your pastor, I firmly believe that somehow, someway, our church will stay open. With faith and prayer, God will help us against all odds.
"So, then, let us rid ourselves of every thing that gets in the way...and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end." Hebrews 12:1-2.
My beloved congregation, don't give up! Give everything you can to our church and to our God. Together we can go against all odds and continue to BELIEVE that God is with us!
By faith, we will trust in God's wisdom and will continue the important ministries of First Baptist Church. Together we will continue to climb the mountains God places before us as we faithfully trust in His will.
In Christ's Love, Pastor Sue"
Grace's Kitchen Report for 2011-2012:
We continue to serve a free evening meal for those in need, every Wednesday throughout the year. We continue to provide the only free evening meal in the area. Our teams consist of a leader (member of FBC) and volunteers from the area. The majority of our volunteers are not FBC members. Without these volunteers, our program would not survive. We thank the Trustees of First Baptist for their continued support of this program.
We serve between 25 and 30 [people] each week. There are times when we exceed this number. Our food is purchased through the Vermont Foodbank, along with donations from Grafton Cheese, the summer Farmer's Market, the Coop and others. Our monies consist of donations through various supporters in the area and offering envelopes at Sunday Services. We thank all our contributors.
Jeanne Deyo, Coordinator
OVERFLOW HOMELESS SHELTER REPORT for 2011 - 2012:
During the winter of 2010 - 2011 the Overflow Shelter provided 2,517 bed nights to 114 separate people. As we move through the current winter of 2011 - 2012 we are seeing a 49% increase in the number of people we are serving. We are also seeing an increased level of need in those we serve. This winter, through January , 2012, we had  separate people, all adults, stay at the Overflow, and we provided [1,500] bed nights of shelter.
All of this is done at the Drop In Center's oversight and at the Drop In Center's expense. For instance, we have paid $3,500 for oil for FBC, and have delivered to FBC many supplies [...]including: 3 cases of bathroom towels, 1 case of toilet paper, 2 cases of hot cups, 4 cases of coffee, 2 cases of sugar, 4 cases of large trash bags, a half case of light bulbs, and 2 large boxes of ice melt. [...]
We appreciate the generosity of First Baptist Church in providing us with a rent free space to run the Overflow, and we are attempting to see that we are covering the church's [related] expenses as we did in past years. Overflow guests, volunteers, and staff are providing some cleaning and snow shoveling as well.
We are doing our best to make sure everyone understands that because the bulk of our Overflow funding is federal funding, we have to keep clear boundaries between the Drop In Center and FBC so that we are not violating the separation of church and state. We welcome and encourage input from FBC around the Overflow, and we are most grateful to FBC for the commitment of space for us to shelter the homeless again this year. Please know that you are helping us to save lives! If you have any comments for us please contact me directly at 802-257-2005, x103, or email@example.com, or see me after church. Thank you!
Melinda Bussino, Drop In Center and Overflow Executive Director