Faith Community Church of Barre, VT, held their annual church picnic and outdoor baptism on August 5. Chris and Pat Beltrami, who have been active in the Barre church since it met in the basement of a local motel, invited the entire church to their home for the picnic. The baptism was held in their pond.
Terry Dorsett, pastor of the church, baptized ten of the eleven candidates. Many of the baptism candidates were teenagers, including two 14 year old twin boys, as well as the two teenage sisters of the very first person ever baptized by the church back in 2004.
Three adults were baptized, including an 80 year old great grandmother, who had to sit in a chair and have it tipped backwards in order to be fully immersed. In explaining her spiritual transformation, the great grandmother said, “When I lost my husband, I realized I needed Jesus and I also needed all of you people. You have changed my life.”
One of the candidates, an 18 year old young woman who was leaving for college just a few days later, was baptized by her grandfather, Albert Collins. Pastor Collins served a nearby church for nearly 50 years as pastor before his recent retirement. Many consider him the “father of evangelical faith” in the Central Vermont area, and it was a real honor to have him participate in the baptism service. His granddaughter testified, “Though I came to know the Lord as a child, I wandered a bit in my faith during high school, but now I’m completely dedicated to Jesus and happy to proclaim that faith to all who know me.”
The church, which is rapidly growing, already has a list of additional people who want to be baptized.
Sunday, August 12, marked a special day in the hearts of many in Southern Vermont as Mettowee Valley Church and its first daughter plant, Foundation Church, celebrated a joint baptismal service at Lake St. Catherine. Eight people in all were baptized, two of which came from Foundation Church, who will begin their regular Sunday services on September 9, 2012. After the baptismal service, the two groups fellowshiped and reminisced about the emotionally challenging, but joyous process of church planting. One person at the celebration reportedly said, “It sure was difficult to see my pastor of five years transition to a new church plant, but who can complain, when we see people coming to Christ as a result.” Indeed, church planting may be a challenging endeavor, but may we continue to see new churches planted in our state, so that more lives may be transformed by the Gospel. Please pray for Foundation Church and the town of Poultney, as church planter Lyandon Warren and his ministry team faithfully labor in the harvest.
On Sunday August 12, 2012, two new believers were baptized at Mountain View Baptist Church in Lancaster, NH, by Roy Palmer, Assistant Pastor. Roy works at the same place as the young man and had been witnessing to him for the last several months. During Roy’s ordination service, the young man realized his need for Christ. Soon after that, his fiance followed the spiritual example he set and also came to Christ. The young couple are planning a wedding and are excited to start a marriage on a spiritual foundation.
God is doing amazing things in the Old North End in Burlington through Burlington City Church. Read about the kids camp here: http://kevinpoundsblog.com/community-service/kids-camp-in-the-old-north-end
On Monday, July 16, Barre Baptist Fellowship, with the assistance of South Elm St. Baptist Church from Greensboro, NC, held their first Sidewalk Bash. Forty-seven people from the neighborhood enjoyed the games, crafts, face painting, balloon animals, hamburgers and hotdogs. There were 6 professions of faith. Pastor Greg King, from Kingdom Ministries, held everyone captive with his illusions, all of which were a presentation of the Gospel. This is the beginning of a new outreach to the children in the community. The church has plans to start Team Kid in September and will begin working toward an after school program. The team also helped pain the church building.
Glory Fellowship Church partnered with Burlington City Church during the second week of July to sponsor a basketball clinic on the west side of Winooski. Winooski is a tightly packed 1.4 square mile just across the Winooski River from Burlington. The western half of Winooski is the second most diverse community in all of Vermont (second only to Burlington’s Old North End) due primarily to the influx of refugees. The result is an exploding sub-Saharan African population from countries such as Somalia and Burundi, ethnic stores popping up, an Islamic community center, and over 25 languages being spoken in the public schools. It is also the neighborhood where Burlington City Church launched their second Home Fellowship in April.
The goals for the clinic were:
- Determine if a basketball clinic would work in this community.
- Learn from the experience to see if basketball clinics could be used for outreach in the future.
- Use the basketball clinic as a relational bridge for our Winooski Home Fellowship to build long-term Jesus-centered relationships in their community.
Kevin Pounds, church planter said, “This clinic was further evidence that the round ball is an effective bridge builder whether we’re in Burlington, Birmingham, or Botswana. We had 25-40 teens attend each day, primarily from Somali and Burundi backgrounds. They learned serious basketball skills and seemed to really enjoy the experience. Long-term relationships were built. A collegiate basketball player from the local community volunteered and following the week’s clinic said she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.”
One of the volunteers overheard what was probably the best comment of the week from some kids on the sidelines. As they watched Glory Fellowship’s Pastor Adam Brewer and Coach Randy Stacner beat two of the teens in a basketball game: “They just look old.” Old or not, apparently they still got game!
Through the partnership between the Green Mountain Baptist Association and the North Carolina Baptist Convention, a team from North Carolina joined members of Restoration Baptist Church of Burlington, Vermont for a day of great ministry to the streets during July. The group gave out more than 40 bibles. They also distributed socks and snacks to the homeless. Many great conversations about Christ developed with a lot of people on the streets because of these efforts.
Arlington Community Church enjoyed a wonderful week of great messages on marriage, relationships and parenting by Pastor Chris Craig during the second week of July. Pastor Craig led a team from First Baptist Church of Ruston, LA. The team did a variety of ministry, including a family fun day. Pastor Tim Snyder reports, “We were so blessed by all that the team did while they were in Vermont.” The church also had their very first Vacation Bible School the following week, which went very well.
Every year the Green Mountain Baptist Association collects a special mission offering called the Borders Mission Offering. It is named after Merwyn and Linda Borders, our first SBC church planting missionaries to Vermont. The offering is used to support specific church plants that happen around the association and is also used to help meet emergency needs for pastors in the association.
Though each and every gift to the offering is a blessing, this year a very special gift came in that is remarkably similar to the Widow’s Mite in Luke 21. David Russell, pastor of Restoration Baptist Church in Burlington, writes, “I am sending the GMBA $69.40 that was collected by 5 homeless folk. This group is made up of believers and call themselves The Little Flock of Jesus. They fellowship with us on a regular basis. They said they just wanted to give back because of all the help they received this year. They also said they were very sorry they could not collect more.” What a humbling gift!
How many Christians reading this post have far more money than any of these homeless people can ever hope to have, yet did not give to the Borders Offering? We all make our excuses, but in the end, we do not give because we want to keep our money for ourselves. These homeless people have set the example for generous giving. Shall we follow their example?
Terry Dorsett, Director for the Green Mountain Baptist Association, challenges each person who reads this post to match the gift these homeless people gave. Checks should be made out to the GMBA and mailed to 30 Jones Brothers Way, Barre, VT 05641. Please write “Border’s Mission Offering” on the memo line of the check. Don’t let a homeless person outgive you!
On Sunday, June 17, Burlington City Church celebrated its first baptism! Following the North Avenue Home Fellowship’s Sunday morning meeting the group strolled down to Lake Champlain to baptize Maura. With onlookers from the sand and bike path, Maura was baptized as an outward testimony of her inner faith. The event even got a standing ovation from two power walkers going by on the bike path! Kevin Pounds, church planter, says, “We are so excited about what God is doing in Maura’s life as a new follower of Jesus. It’s amazing to see the spiritual rebirth Jesus has brought to her life and how God continues to place the right people in her life as she pursues Him.”
Please pray for Maura as she continues following Jesus- she’s leaving Burlington for a two year stint with Teach for America in NY City.