“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

This quote is paraphrased from the teaching of the Talmud, a Jewish sacred text containing the intergenerational conversations and teachings of rabbis through the ages as they comment and expand upon the teachings contained in the Mishnah and the Torah. In the wake of the horrific mass murder at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Saturday, I find myself searching for ways to grapple with this latest violent attack in a series of violent acts carried out by extremists in our country. The senseless murders of eleven Jewish people, who had gathered in their house of worship to pray and come together as a community of faith, was motivated by hatred and anti-Semitic, as well as anti-immigrant rhetoric and ideology.

This kind of language is on the rise in our country, and we cannot close our eyes to the devastating effects it is having on so many communities – be they Jewish, Muslim, Sikh; whether they are transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer; if they are immigrants, refugees, or those who would give them aid; or if they are people of color, especially our Black and Latino neighbors, who may feel targeted because of the color of their skin. We are becoming isolationists, under national leadership who chooses to “go it alone” rather than work to build coalitions and partnerships between nations. We are on a dangerous path as a nation, and we stand at a crossroads. We must choose leadership that will unite and uplift all people within our country and beyond our borders. As people of faith, we are called to stand with the poor and the marginalized; to lift our voices and to put our own bodies on the line when necessary.

Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister who lived most of his life in Pittsburgh, and for a time resided in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the Tree of Life synagogue is located. Mr. Rogers was a believer in a God of love, a God who loves each of us “just the way you are.” He was not blind to the brokenness of the world and he sought to find ways to help children, and the rest of us, cope with the violence of the world and the violence within ourselves as well. When we find ourselves wondering where God is, in the midst of the world’s great pain, sadness, and destructiveness, Mr. Rogers advised us to look within ourselves: “Deep within each of us is a spark of the divine just waiting to be used to light up a dark place.”

He believed that we all have God within us, and that it is in all other people as well. “To be loved as God loves us is a primary way in which we encounter God, and to love as God loves is to make God real in the lives of others. When we love our neighbor, he or she really experiences God; we experience the same when our neighbor loves us. God is present, incarnate, in the sharing and exchanging of human love. Love is a sacrament.” (Michael G. Long, Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers, p.38)

Let us come together, and come alongside our neighbors in the coming weeks, to honor the divine spark within each of us; to shine some light in the dark places; to continue the work of justice, of mercy, of humbly walking with our God, and the God who loves us all.

October 2018 Crossroads

Worship Committee

We have been incredibly blessed to have Claudia Waite with us as Temporary Choir Director, leading the chancel choir and revitalizing our music program over the past year, and we are extremely grateful to her for her guidance and contributions to music at BPC during that time.

The subcommittee that has been conducting a search for a new, permanent Music Director has been hard at work for the past several months. The big news is that their hard work has resulted in the announcement made on Sunday, September 16 that BPC has a new Music Director! Her name is Susan Larson and there will be more information introducing her elsewhere in this Crossroads. Her first Sunday with us will be October 14.

During the summer several “volunteers” washed, mended and pressed the choir robes and stoles so hopefully the choir looks a little bit spruced up as we begin a new season.

We will celebrate World Communion together on Sunday, October 7 and receive communion by intinction. We would like to decorate the Communion Table with colorful cloths from different cultures and traditions. Please let Rev. Trina or Jen Dewar know if you would like to bring a cloth or length of colorful fabric to help decorate the Table on October 7.

Worship Assistants for October and November are list below. If you are available and willing to volunteer for one of the open Sundays, please contact Jennifer Dewar.

As always, we appreciate all those members who help in many ways with worship each week, including worship assistants and communion servers.

Trustees Report

As many of you can see, we had the entrance to the parking lot paved on September 20th. A paving contractor had some material left over from other jobs and gave us a good price to cover more than 2,500 square feet.
The fall cleanup date has not been determined as of this writing but should occur sometime in October or early November. We had a good turnout in the spring so we encourage everyone to plan to help your church again. The fall commuter collection will take place in November. We collected over $4,500 in donations from our spring collection.

The carpets in the Narthex and the double classroom were cleaned and the hallways and Fellowship Hall were cleaned and waxed in September. Try and keep the Narthex carpet clean by wiping your feet on the runner as you enter the church.

A reminder to all to close and lock any window you open and check that all doors are locked before you leave the church. A special request for parents to lock the playground door when you retrieve your children.

Christian Education

This year, our Sunday school classes have a mission focus of the need for clean water after a disaster (and we’ve certainly had plenty of them recently in our own country and around the world!).
Please look for the posters that the children & youth made. We’ll have an empty water cooler placed outside the sanctuary every Sunday and we encourage you to drop your coins or a dollar in it. Our goal is to purchase water filters and jerry cans through Presbyterian Giving.

Mission Advocacy

World Food Day and Bread for the World Sunday
Two of the seven “Great Ends of the Church”, spelled out in our PC (USA) Book of Order are:
• the promotion of social righteousness; and
• the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.

October brings opportunities to help carry out these two “Great Ends”. World Food Day, October 16th, honors the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and focuses on food as a basic fundamental human right. Bread for the World Sunday, October 21st, is a time to join with thousands of other churches and houses of worship to live out God’s vision through prayers for an end to hunger, and letters to our nation’s leaders urging them to support policies that help end hunger and poverty. In the Gospel reading for the day (Mark 10:35-45) Jesus tells his disciples not to lord it over on another but to live as servants just as Jesus himself came not to be served but to serve.

We live in a wealthy nation yet 14.5% percent of US households, nearly 49 million Americans (including nearly 16 million children), struggle to put food on the table. Many Americans age 65 and over want to enjoy retirement but struggle because of food insecurity. Jesus told his disciples that, “with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10: 27). In this spirit of God-given possibility, we are invited to offer our prayers and actions for an end to hunger. During the week beginning October 14th the Church Office will be sending emails to the congregation with reflections on the problem of hunger. On the 21st we will celebrate Bread for the World Sunday with worship and prayers that will focus on hunger. After the service there will be an opportunity in Fellowship Hall to participate in an “Offering of Letters” asking Congress to invest in and protect programs that help improve the lives of men, women, and children facing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. Computers will be available, and with the help of templates provided through links on the Bread for the World website, it will be simple to send personalized messages to our Representatives and Senators. For those unable to attend the event here is the link to access the Bread for the World website.

Churches and charities can help end hunger but can’t do it all; our government also has a part. From the law and the prophets to the words and works of Jesus, the Bible teaches that individuals and the nation’s leaders must help those who are vulnerable to feed themselves. Investments in domestic safety-net programs, such as WIC (Women, Infants & Children), SNAP (Food Stamps), free and reduced-price school meals, and tax credits for low-income workers help our neighbors move out of poverty and feed their families. In the current political environment such programs face potential decreased funding and increased restrictions. We help promote social righteousness and exhibit the Kingdom of Heaven to the world when we advocate for investments in programs that move people out of hunger and poverty.

LOVING GOD, we are grateful for your blessings to us. We pray that we may imitate Jesus in embracing service to others. We pray for those who lack food and who are without loving family and friends. We pray that our public officials may accept their responsibility for all our neighbors, both here and abroad, especially the poor and vulnerable. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Women’s Bible Study

Womens Bible Study is continuing with the Horizons study called “God’s Promise, I Am with You”. All women of the church are invited to join us. We meet on Thursday mornings at 9:30. See Marylou Lynn if you have any questions.

Pumpkin Patch Volunteers Needed

St. Marks’s Episcopal Church, 10 Saint Marks Road, Burlington, will hold their sixth annual Pumpkin Patch event during the month of October. Our church, along with many other churches and civic organizations, has been asked to help with the selling of pumpkins during the month. Our staffing dates are Friday, October 5th and Friday, October 19th. The patch opens at 12 noon and closes at 6pm. We need volunteers to sign up for two hours or more on each day. The hours are 12-2, 2-4 and 4-6pm. Please refer to the sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall if you can commit to helping out. A percentage of the sale proceeds go to support People Helping People. Please speak to our church coordinator, Ken Dewar, if you have any questions.

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

The Burlington Area Clergy 4 Justice (BAC4Justice) is organizing monthly Jericho Walks at the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Offices in Burlington, located in The District next to the Burlington Mall. The purpose is to shed lighton the unjust ways ICE is treating undocumented immigrants and those seeking asylum.

From October-December, we are meeting on the 3rd Tuesday at 1pm (think 3-2-1) for a Jericho Walk. The dates are Oct. 16th, Nov. 20th and Dec. 18th. Please be in touch with Rev. Portillo if you have any questions, otherwise, all are invited to meet at 1000 District Ave. in Burlington to walk, pray, sing and bear witness with us.

Fair Trade Holiday Sale

Save the date and get your Christmas gift list ready! On Saturday, December 8th from 10 – 3, and after church on December 9th, you’ll have the opportunity to do your holiday shopping for a good cause. The Mission Group has invited nine not-for-profit vendors to bring their products for sale here at the church. Possible vendors include Equal Exchange, SERRV, Partners in Just Trade, Fair Trade Winds, and Mayan Hands and a range of products will be available including candles, jewelry, scarves, woodwork, embroidery, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Proceeds will go to mission programs of the church, in addition to supporting the fair trade vendors and artisans who make the products.

Invite your friends and family, and spread the word! We’d love to see a good turnout for this event and will be looking for volunteers to help during the sale on Saturday. If you would like to help with the Holiday Sale, please contact Jane McIninch.

Disaster Assistance
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) urges your support for those affected by Hurricane Florence. PDA is delivering immediate aid to those impacted by Hurricane Florence on the eastern seaboard of the United States. Initial assessments suggest catastrophic destruction, but the full scope of the damage will not be known for many months.
The storm’s path is cutting across areas still recovering from Hurricane Matthew (2016). While these winds and waters have meant loss and destruction, the work of PDA might become, as the Psalmist says, “a river whose streams make glad the city of God.”
PDA is deploying teams to affected presbyteries to meet with Presbyterian and community leadership to assist in coordinating relief efforts and mucking out homes and churches. After initial needs are addressed, PDA will remain—providing spiritual emotional care and Long Term Recovery to address unmet needs of those impacted. Through your prayerful gifts we draw hope out of the chaos.
The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP”—Give. Act. Pray.
GIVE: Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000169 which supports the church’s response to Hurricane Florence. Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check, which can be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

Merrimack Valley Explosions
Financial Donations:
Essex County Community Foundation Fund has established a dedicated fund to accept monetary donations. Donations are accepted via or by calling 978-777-8876.

Merrimack Valley Chamber Foundation relief fund – Please send checks made out to Merrimack Valley Chamber Foundation, 264 Essex Street, Lawrence, Ma. 01840. Include the Lawrence, Andover, North Andover Disaster Relief Fund in the memo line. 100 percent of donations received will be turned over to the relief fund.
Massachusetts Council of the United Church of Christ has set up a Gas Explosions/Fires Response & Recovery Fund.

All of these funds will go directly to responding in Massachusetts to support our clergy and churches in their own recovery efforts and those in their communities. Funds raised that exceed the amount necessary to respond fully to the gas explosions and fires will be directed towards other emergency-relief and disaster-preparedness efforts in Massachusetts.

United Way and TD Charitable Foundation Greater Lawrence Relief Fund — United Way will make an initial distribution of $50,000 to the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, Family Services of Merrimack Valley, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, and Lawrence CommunityWorks. To donate, visit:

The Fruits of the Spirit

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things… If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23, 25

This is always one of my favorite times of the year, when the leaves begin turning and showing their glorious shades of red, gold, and orange, and the air turns crisp and cool, and it just smells like fall. It is a time of harvest, when the fruits of the planting season are ripe and plentiful. As we enjoy the wonderful fall fruits of squash, apples, pumpkin, and yes, even kale, I am reminded that much time, energy, and care goes into producing that harvest. From carefully preparing and tilling the soil, to planting seeds or seedlings and helping them to grow – watering, weeding, pruning, preventing disease – farmers and laborers are constantly vigilant over their crops. Then there is the hard work of actually gathering the produce from the fields, cleaning it, and preparing it for transport to our CSA pickup locations, or to grocery stores and restaurants, before it actually makes it into our kitchens and onto our plates.

In our church year, it is a time when we focus more on stewardship, the giving of our resources – time, talent, and treasure – for the mission of the church and God’s kingdom. Like the farmer watches over her crops, the fruit of the Spirit takes time to develop and come to fruition. Paul’s words to the Galatians about the fruit of the Spirit remind us of the good things that we reap when we cultivate the growth of the Spirit in our lives. What does it mean to be a good steward of these gifts? How do we use them in service to the larger church and community? How have you experienced these gifts as a part of Burlington Presbyterian Church?

We will be exploring these gifts of the Spirit together as our stewardship theme this fall. If you have a story you would like to share with the congregation of how your life has been impacted by the ways you have been touched by the generosity of this church, I am looking for people who would be willing to give a Stewardship Moment during worship leading up to our Harvest of Offerings on November 18th. Please contact me and let me know if you would be willing to share a brief reflection on what being part of this church means to you. Generosity is about more than how we use our financial resources; it is about the gift of time – from giving someone a ride to the grocery store, to taking meals over when someone is sick; it is about the gift of presence – visiting people in the hospital or at home recuperating from illness or surgery; it is about the gift of talent and other resources – helping someone with a task or volunteering your specialized talents for a certain project. How have you seen the fruit of the Spirit at work in yourself, or through others, as part of the mission and ministry of our church?

Pastor Trina

Welcome our newest members next week (June 10)

Session was delighted to get to meet with our confirmation class today after church and learn about them and their statements of faith. Here is a collection of young people inspired to bring God’s love into the world in real and tangible ways! Join us as we welcome five of the eight on Sunday June 10th. The remaining three will be baptized and confirmed later in the summer.

Crossroads June 2018

Summer worship services this year will begin at 10:30 a.m. as during the rest of the year….EXCEPT July 1, when we worship at UCC at 9:30 a.m.

A big thank you to…

All who participated in the Walk for Hunger, including, Linda Roscoe; Tara Goss; Debbie Mirabello; Mercy Agyapong; Vida Pipim’s sons, Sammy and Roderick; Sue McGilvray-Rivet; Caitlin Rivet and Baby Eddie! We raised ~$4805!

Three Great Things!
Our worship service on June 10th will highlight a trinity (how appropriate!) of celebrations:
Confirmation! – Eight of our youth have completed the confirmation class and will officially join the church.
Graduation! – We will honor our two graduating high school seniors, Evynand Akombi and Annabel Greco.
Appreciation! – We will offer thanks for our Sunday school teachers and assistants.

Deacon’s Corner
Earlier this year we collected winter clothing for the folks served by Elm Brook Place. Included in the several bags collected were some spring/summer clothes. Those were recently delivered to the site, along with a check for $300 from proceeds from the sale of Easter flowers. This is how the director replied: “Thank you so much for your community’s kind support of Elm Brook Place!! We use donated money to help fund our health and wellness program at the YMCA, pay for special recreational outings, as well as a slush fund to help people out in emergencies such as homelessness etc.”

Summer Celebration
So that our regular pre-school class teachers can take a break for the summer, we are asking for volunteers each Sunday to lead Summer Celebration, the class for 3-year-olds through 6-year-olds during the worship service. This is FUN & EASY, and we will provide you with everything you need to read & discuss a Bible story, then do a simple craft or game. Please say yes and sign up for a Sunday! Thanks.

New Sounds!
We welcome to our sanctuary a beautiful Knabe Baby Grand piano. This joyful addition to our church was made possible by memorial funds given in memory of Philip Harry Reisman Jr. & Anna Tiebout Reisman, Bill Piper, Bill Simpson, Bobbie Steeves, Patty Rosenthal & Lynda Graham-Meho. Let us remember the loving kindness of those beloved brothers and sisters of ours while we worship God through our music!

Summer Schedule
Summer is finally upon us and here are some worship dates and notes to mark on your calendars:

June 3 – Communion
June 10 – Confirmation of this year’s terrific confirmation class
and Teacher appreciation
June 24 – Special Worship Service to Honor Rev. Rod MacDonald as Pastor Emeritus
and enhanced coffee hour afterwards
July 1, when we worship at UCC at 9:30 a.m.
On August 5 we will host members of UCC and share communion at BPC

Stay tuned for some upgrades to the sound system in the sanctuary, approved by Session in May.

Trustees Report

During the week of May 28th, the men’s room was converted to a unisex handicap restroom. We will keep all the previous toilets and sink (new faucet and mirror) since they are in ADA compliance. A new 36” door with a new closure (one new closure for the women’s also) was installed with a new lockset. The wall as you enter the room was taken down and a new knee wall was built next to the toilet with three safety handrails. A new Pergo floor was installed over the tiles. A new electric heater was installed with a new baseboard. The room was painted a light gray and a baby changer was installed. If you are using the room, make sure you lock the door. We will have a key to get in if there is an emergency.

Women’s Bible Study

Womens Bible Study will be coming to an end at the end of May. We will be having an end of the year brunch on June 7. All the women of the church are invited to attend. It will start at 9:30 am.

Poor People’s Campaign – A Season of Moral Resistance
Most people don’t like confrontation, and many of us become wary when religious discourse threatens to become “too political.” The Old Testament prophets, however, specialized in moral and political confrontation. Consider this passage from the prophet Isaiah:

“Those who enact unjust policies are as good as dead, those who are always instituting unfair regulations, to keep the poor from getting fair treatment, and to deprive the oppressed among my people of justice, so they can steal what widows own, and loot what belongs to orphans. What will you do on judgment day, when destruction arrives from a distant place? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your wealth?” (Isaiah 10:1-3 New English Translation)

Jesus, himself, did not shy away from confrontation with the leaders of his day:
“Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” (Luke 11:39-42 New International Version)

The Poor People’s Campaign initiated by the Rev. Martin Luther King fought for economic justice for poor people in the United States. The Campaign climaxed on June 19, 1968 as 50,000 joined a Poor People’s March on Washington. This was the only mass mobilization of the Campaign, which faltered after Dr. King’s assassination of, and whose legislative agenda was never realized. Today an estimated 43% of Americans are classified as poor or low income.
Fifty years later a new Poor People’s campaign has been organized to draw attention to the needs of America’s poor during a season of “Moral Revival”. The campaign includes public demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience. The Rev. William J. Barber and the Rev. Liz Theoharis, a Presbyterian minister, are co-founders of the new Campaign. The Presbyterian Church (USA), has endorsed the new Poor People’s campaign, and members of Boston Presbytery are participating in local events. Over 200 people joined on the Boston Common in a May 14 rally and sit-in at the Boston State House, demanding lawmakers confront systemic racism. Six weeks of engagement will lead up to a mass mobilization at the U.S. Capitol June 21.

For more information on the PCUSA’s involvement with the Poor People’s Campaign see the following links:

The Mission and Advocacy Committee has identified poverty as its theme for the year, in conjunction with the mission focus of the Presbytery of Boston. Each month, we will lift up a different organization working to alleviate or combat poverty in some way. For the month of June, Project Bread is our focus organization. We are asking that each group or committee lift up Project Bread in prayer at the beginning of your meetings this month, and that we also pray individually for the work of this organization, and so many others, who are helping to meet the needs of those who struggle with hunger and food insecurity, here in Massachusetts, and across our nation and world. Linda Roscoe has written the prayer below, which you may use in your meetings and in personal prayer.

Prayer for an End to Hunger

Almighty God, it is difficult to see people go hungry. We ask you to give them daily bread and end their persistent hunger. Pour out your grace on hungry families, especially parents straining to feed their children.
We pray for cooperation and support for life saving assistance to people struggling with food insecurity around the world. Here in Massachusetts we pray especially for the work of Project Bread and its mission to prevent and end hunger.

Thank you for those who are currently working to end hunger and please call forth others to make a difference. We pray for the church to advance the gospel by working for justice and an end to hunger. We lift up the leaders of our state and country, and ask that they will make ending hunger and poverty a priority. We pray for an end to global hunger in our lifetime. Amen

Pastor Emeritus

All are invited to attend a special service, honoring Rev. Rod MacDonald with the title of Pastor Emeritus.
Please join us on
June 24 at 10:30 am
A reception for Rod and Cathy will immediately follow the service.

News from the Presbytery
Cindy Kohlmann and Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri will be standing for Co-moderators of the 223rd General Assembly, which is meeting in St. Louis, Missouri June 16-23, 2018.
Donations may be sent to The Presbytery of Tropical Florida, 1919 SE 5th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. Please note in the memo field of your check that the donation is to offset expenses for Vilmarie & Cindy as they stand for co-moderator. Any funds received in excess of what is needed will be donated to the Theological Education Fund and the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance efforts in Puerto Rico.

If you would like to give online, click here. You will be redirected to the Presbytery of Northern New England’s online giving portal provided through the Presbyterian Foundation. Enter the amount you’d like to give under “Special Offerings” and then put GA223 in the Note/Memo box.

Cindy Kohlmann graduated from Whitworth College in 1995 with a B.A. in Theatre and Religion and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary with an M.Div. in 1999. While in seminary, Cindy served in the U.S. Naval Reserves as a Chaplain Candidate, where she learned to go to where the sailors worked and gathered in order to do ministry. Discerning a call to parish ministry, she was ordained in 1999 to serve as the solo pastor of the New Jersey Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, OH. In 2005, she married the Rev. Eric Markman and moved to Massachusetts, where she served the Clinton Presbyterian Church for 8 1/2 years. During her pastorate in Clinton, Cindy helped the church become multicultural in worship, leadership, and fellowship, welcoming immigrants from West Africa and Brazil into all aspects of the church’s ministry. In 2010, Cindy added a temporary position with the Presbytery of Northern New England (PNNE). After PNNE went through two years of visioning and reorganization, Cindy was asked to stay on in the newly designed role of Resource Presbyter. At the end of 2014, she said goodbye to the Clinton church, and began a full-time position shared between the Presbyteries of Boston and Northern New England on January 1, 2015. As Resource Presbyter, Cindy provides leadership to both Presbyteries, facilitating conversations about vision and structure, designing opportunities for leadership training, planning programming during Presbytery meetings, and connecting congregations and pastors with both local and denominational resources. To provide balance, she loves walking and running, watching birds and animals and being outside, and reading. In addition to her husband Eric, she has two amazing adult step-daughters and two extremely opinionated cats.

Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri is a teacher and a Presbyterian Ruling Elder. A life-long Presbyterian, she considers serving as a Youth Advisory Delegate (YAD) to the 205th General Assembly (1993) a pivotal experience in understanding for the first time the scope of being a connectional church. Soon after serving as a YAD, Vilmarie was ordained as a ruling elder at the Iglesia Presbiteriana en Caparra Terrace, San Juan, Puerto Rico. At some point in her life, she has served at the session, as a member and chair of several presbytery committees —including the Committee on Preparation for Ministry and Nominating Committee—, vice moderator of Synod Boriquén and council member, a commissioner to the 212th General Assembly and as a member of the General Assembly Committee on Theological Education. Vilmarie has found great joy in working as an interpreter (Spanish/English) at the biennial General Assembly meetings since 2006 and at the past two Presbyterian Women Churchwide Gatherings. At a professional level, Vilmarie holds a B.A. in Education (English as a Second Language) from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s in Education (Curriculum and Teaching) from Turabo University. Dedicating most of her adult life to education, teaching high schoolers and adults, she began her teaching experience as a Sunday School teacher. In 2011, Vilmarie and her husband, Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts, moved from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida, where he is the pastor of First Spanish Presbyterian Church. Since moving to Miami, Vilmarie has taught ESL to adult students from all over the world in a language school in Miami. A member of First Spanish and a PW (Presbyterian Women), she has served as the Moderator of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida (2017), is currently a member of the Leadership Council, serves as clerk of the Presbyterian Hispanic Latino Caucus, Synod of the South Atlantic chapter, and is a faculty member of a CREDO team. An organizer at heart, she loves arts and crafts, decorating and…Christmas! Vilmarie also enjoys spending time with friends and family relaxing over a good cup of Puerto Rican coffee.

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

June 30, 2018 9:00am until 2:30pm
Please put aside items that you want to donate to the sale. Make sure items are clean and in good repair. Please let us know if items need small/easy repairs. If you have items to donate you may bring them to the church during the week of the 24th. If you are dropping things off, please put your name on them in case there is a problem we will know whose “stuff” it is. We need volunteers to help sorting and pricing items for the sale, Tues – Fri. On the day of the sale, we need helpers to set up, tear down and work as cashiers and general staff. There will be sign-up sheets at the church. Please help, if you are able!!!

Yard Sale Donation Suggestions

Appliances Radios, mixers, bath scales, CD players, (must be
in good working order). No TVs, no computers or
computer components.

Arts & Crafts Pictures, supplies and/or creations.

Baby Furnishings Pac-n-plays, potties, porta-cribs, safety gates,
back packs, baby monitors.
No child safety seats.

Books Children’s books are good sellers…

Camping Equipment Tents, stoves, lanterns, sleeping bags, back packs.

Clocks & Watches In working order or only needing a battery.

Household Items Lamps, rugs, chairs, kitchenware, wall hangings,
curtains, dishes, pots and pans, crystal, etc.

NOTE: Do not bring large items to the church until a few days before the sale. Any large items that do not sell must be picked up by the donor after the sale.

Jewelry Earrings, bracelets, cufflinks, necklaces, tiaras. Please separate items into plastic baggies..

Musical Instruments From Kazoos to Trombones.

Pet Supplies Toys, beds, crates, leashes, collars.

Plants All sizes, fresh (indoor or outdoor) or silk.

Records, CDs, In good condition. NO VCR TAPES

Sports Equipment (Small Items only), tennis rackets,
basketballs, footballs, baseball
gloves, roller blades, . No
weight benches or barbells. No skis, poles or boots.
No hockey equipment.

Tools Hand and power, garden, mechanic, tool boxes.

Toys Fisher-Price and Playskool items, dolls, balls, board
games, puzzles, outdoor play equipment, sleds,
video games.

Vehicles Bikes, trikes, big wheels, wagons.

Clothing Is Not a Big Seller and Will Not Be Accepted

Please Be Sure All Items Are Clean!!

Busy times in Burlington

We have finally turned a corner and are enjoying warmer temperatures, sunny days, and cool nights here in New England! The school year is drawing to a close, and many of our regularly scheduled meetings and activities take a short hiatus over the summer months. The month of June is one that is traditionally full of milestones and celebrations, from graduations to weddings, and certainly have much to celebrate as a church this month! On June 10th, we will welcome our first confirmation class in four years into membership in the church. Eight young people have taken the confirmation class in preparation for making their own profession of faith and becoming full members of the church. It has been a privilege and a joy to meet with them over these past few months, and I am excited to witness their continued growth in their faith and discipleship, and the gifts that they bring to the life and ministry of the church!

On June 24th, we will celebrate another milestone as a church, when we honor Rev. Rod MacDonald with the title of Pastor Emeritus. Rod’s ordination anniversary falls on June 29th, and this seems a fitting tribute to 43 years of ordained ministry! Rod and Cathy dedicated many years of faithful service to this church, to the presbytery, and to the wider church and community. We encourage friends of the church from near and far to join us for this special service at the end of the month.

Nationally, the PC(USA) will hold its 223rd General Assembly gathering in St. Louis, from June 16-23rd. You can read more about GA later in the newsletter, as our Resource Presbyter, Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, is one of the candidates standing for Co-moderator of the PC(USA) for a two-year term. Please read more about Cindy and Vilmarie, and pray for them, the other moderator candidates, and all who are headed to GA this summer to do the work of the national church.

Also, I have been working with Rabbi Susan Abramson on an episode of her show “Spiritually Speaking” featuring our congregation! The series is aimed at introducing people to the various faith traditions and communities in and around the town of Burlington, in order to increase awareness and understanding and to strengthen our community ties with one another. You can check out previous episodes here:, or by searching “Spiritually Speaking” on YouTube. I will share a link to our episode when it is finished! Thank you to all who shared your own reflections, and to James McIninch for providing video and camera work last Sunday.

I will be holding regular “coffee shop” hours at True North Café in Burlington, on Wednesdays from 12 – 2 pm through the summer. Anyone is welcome to stop by during this time for conversation, and to enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold beverage together!
Enjoy all that summer has to offer!
Peace, Pastor Trina

Autism Awareness

I wear a silver ring on my right hand. It is made up of linked puzzle pieces. The puzzle piece has become a symbol of autism, representing the complexity of autism spectrum disorders. I don’t wear my puzzle piece ring as a reminder of autism, however, I wear it because the linked pieces remind me that each of us, specially loved by God, is unique, and my youngest son, David, is the unique piece that completed our our family’s puzzle. David also happens to have autism.

April is Autism Awareness month, so I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you to David and share with you some of the aspects of autism spectrum disorders that you may witness when he is at church. The saying goes, when you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. That is, autism reveals itself in myriad ways, and like puzzle pieces, no two individuals on the spectrum are the same. So, the caveat here is that David’s behaviors and the strategies we use with him may not be the same for another individual on the spectrum.

Stimming. David almost never stops moving. Much of David’s non-stop movement during church is “stimming,” or self-stimulatory behavior.

David struggles with regulating sensory input. This means that he sometimes runs, jump, bumps into people and things, and climbs because he is seeking sensory input that he needs to regulate his body. We have techniques we use at home (rolling him up in the blanket, jumping on a trampoline, swinging from the pull up bar) that we can’t do in public. So, you may see me hold him upside down, wrap my arms around him and squeeze, or apply pressure with my hands onto his shoulders. Sometimes this will help settle him. It doesn’t always work, though. If he’s not posing a danger to himself or to others, I will let him move his body the way he needs to re-regulate himself. If his stimming behavior escalates beyond a safe level, then I will remove him.

Sometimes there is too much sensory input. In those cases, you might see David squinting at lights, putting his hands on his ears or covering his head.

Communication. David’s speech has really blossomed over the last year, but he doesn’t always respond verbally. You may see him with an iPad at church. This iPad is his dedicated speech device. It has an app on it that he can use to help him communicate. This is still a developing skill. Please don’t take it personally if he doesn’t speak to you verbally or using his device (or look at you). He usually loves to give high fives, though. And, have no fear, even though he is not responding verbally, he is a sponge soaking up everything around him. He’s always listening.

Scripting. David recites lines from movies he’s seen, songs he’s heard and books he’s read. You may hear this vocalization during church. You might even hear a screech from time to time. He’s not upset. It’s part of the script.

Eloping. It is not unusual for children on the spectrum to elope. While there are many potential reasons for this, David often runs either because he is frustrated or overwhelmed. Please, if you see David running for the door, stop him before he can get outside.

This coming summer, David will receive a highly trained service dog. Among other tasks, the dog will be trained in behavior redirection and scent tracking to find David if he wanders off. We will be bringing the service dog to church with us later this summer. This is really exciting for David, because having the dog will help David access more activities and opportunities. We can’t wait to share this new piece of the puzzle with you all!

If you are interested in learning more about autism spectrum disorders, I recommend the following resources.
National Autism Association
Asperger/Autism Network
The Autistic Brain, by Temple Grandin
Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year Old Boy with Autism, by Naoki Higashida
Look Me In The Eyes: My Life with Asperger’s, by John Elder Robinson
For Kids:
Rules, by Cynthia Lord
Rain, Reign, by Ann M. Martin
Erin McCoy Alarcon, Esq.