SERRV, which stands for Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation, is one of the first fair trade exchanges in the world. They’ve been promoting just wages and fair trade, sustainable environmental practices and local economic development for 70 years by drawing on the power of the market in first world venues as a non-profit distributor.

Our mission to empower artisans through
fair and meaningful employment is
rewarding beyond measure, but there
are very real challenges with a fair trade
business model and an increasingly
competitive retail market. Your support
means everything to us and those we serve.

SERRV Annual report 2019

Our hosting of a SERRV Sale this Christmas time is a win-win-win proposal. We support the livelihoods of farmers and artisans around the third-world in a constructive transaction that does not take advantage of their marginal situation, we support the nonprofit providing this service and the profits we make (which are fairly minimal) are invested in our local micro-credit institution the Vermont Community Loan Fund.

The sale will be held this Sunday after worship in the chapel. Come browse and purchase some unique Christmas gifts.

Time to Order Poinsettias

It has been our tradition to adorn the sanctuary with poinsettias at Christmastime. To do that we rely on your good graces to purchase one or two. You may do that by calling or emailing Polly at the office, or by signing up on the clipboard. Poinsettias are $12.50 per plant. We’ll run a list of those who purchased a plant in honor or in memory of another. Checks should be payable to Proud Flower. We would like to place the order on December 2. Thank you!

‘Tis the Season

A Little Opera Concert

Mad River Chorale

The MRC’s, under the direction of Mary Jane Austin, will offer a Holiday Concert featuring Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity” and works by Brückner, Rutter, and others, with chamber orchestra. The audience will join the chorus for familiar carols as well as the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.

Sunday December 7, 3:00 pm
Waterbury Congregational Church, Main St.

Solaris Vocal Ensemble

Pledge Gathering — Thanksgiving

The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?

Wendell Berry

I never aspired to be a farmer. And, I feel like there will always be farming in my bones. There were many things I loved about farming: there was nothing like that late summer, last load of hay coming off the field in the long, slanting light of evening, the sweat drying crinkly on the skin, the force of gravity melting tired muscles into the top of the well-stacked hay wagon. Even the miserable bits of it, have, like most hard efforts, a richness that cannot, in the end, be denied. I think our ministry is a bit like farming in this way — that the generous sentences of love we would utter lend richness to our community, in the days of plenty and happiness, as in the days of want and trial, and are a blessing. No matter what, no matter who, neighbors are welcomed, food for the hungry is offered, and a place for the weary body and soul is kept.

It is a beautiful honor to be a “farmer” in the midst of all of you “farmers.”. Together we tend the soil. For we cannot grow corn, year after year, from the same field and expect richness. We must return back to the soil our precious, hard-earned gifts. Berry alludes to it in the third line above — the one born to farming, enters into death yearly. We tend not to talk about death or money because both make us squirm. Life seems short and nature stingy, and so we grasp at that which seems to want to elude us.

Wendell Berry and Jesus suggest a miraculous alternate vision: it is only in letting go of that grip that we can really live, that richness can spring forth and the ground bear its exuberant fruit. This gospel call is both a reminder of that which we have always already known as the well-spring of life deep within and a sign of resistance against the commercial pressures we experience almost daily to find our satisfaction in stuff we can buy. This is not to say that we are called to be monkish. Nor is it a call to sacrificial giving. It is simply to say that life is immeasurably more beautiful and wonderful when we let love “cast out all fear” and allow kindness and compassion to be our guide.

Sunday afternoon, I attended the Waterbury Community band concert held in our sanctuary. Several times during the concert, the director, who did not know I was present, paused between numbers to remind the audience how fortunate we are to have this church in this community. He expressed how grateful he was for all it does to support Waterbury, for all it does to make it a more beautiful place in which to live. He’s absolutely right. You do. This community, both within these walls, and along the beautiful Winooski River, is truly made so much richer by your yearly flooding it with your generosity.

Thank you for your past support. Thank you for your continued support and your generous pledge for 2020.


Rev. Peter Plagge

PS. The finance committee would like to have all of the pledge cards returned to the church by Sunday, November 10. That timing allows them to develop a budget for review by your church council in December. We will celebrate our commitments on November 17 during worship. You may mail your pledge card to the church office or put it in the offering plate during worship.


Vermont Youth Opera

THIS WEEKEND! Sunday at 3pm at the Waterbury Congregational Church! The Vermont Youth Opera is under the direction of Sarah Cullins and their accompanist is Mary Jane Austin. They’ve been rehearsing in our sanctuary on Sunday afternoon all fall and are excited to return the favor, this Sunday at 3 P.M. They’ll be performing a mashup of Mozart’s Magic Flute and Rob Reiner’s (William Goldman) The Princess Bride!

Eleva Chamber Players

Elevating the human spirit through music. . .

Eleva, Central Vermont’s only professional chamber orchestra will be presenting “Suite Sounds” at the church on Saturday, November 9 at 7 p.m.

There are three major and beautiful works on the program: Carl Nielsen’s Little Suite for Strings, Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major.

For more information and to purchase tickets you may visit their website here.

Human Food Chain

There’s no symbol more apt to express our theological understanding that God is the energy of the world creating and we participants in it than humans linked arm in arm against a storm. Whether that storm be of the weather of the skies and seas and mountains, or of arguments and economies, politics and religion, people standing arm in arm, despite their differences (or because of them) presents a powerful image of solidarity, connection and interdependence.

This is a story of humble gracefulness and you are invited to be a part of it on November 10. Here’s the scoop: For the next few weeks, you’re invited encouraged to bring some non-perishable food to the church. After worship on the 10th, out board of outreach will organize all of that food on the front long and we’ll form a chain from the church to the food shelf along which these bags of food will travel.

I hope you can join us. It’s simple. And it’s powerful.

Thanks to our Grounds Crews!

Two weeks ago, Deb Utton and her husband Curt, clipped down the brown stalks of what once were magnificent summer flowers and hauled them off to some compost pile. Deb, we thank you and your helpers for the care you gave Amy’s Garden this past summer. The color on that side of the church attracted so many lingering looks of appreciation from May to October.

Also keeping the church grounds in tip-top shape this year were David and Nancy Metivier who tag-teamed the lawn once a week and kept it looking classic and neat.

Amy’s Garden Flowers

Dragonheart Sock Sale

Dragonheart is a dragon boat team based in Burlington whose mission it is to “strengthen and empower breast cancer survivors and supporters through the challenging sport of dragon boating, instilling in its members the values of teamwork, fitness and community giving.”

Dragonheart members Pat King and Cathy Buck are hosting a sock sale at the church on Sunday, October 13. You place an order out of the catalog (which is reproduced below) and you’ll have brightly colored, stylish socks to give for Christmas gifts, in plenty of time!


Mary Jane Austin and Erik Kroncke invite you to join them in An Opera in Three Acts performed in Middlebury on October 9, 11 and 13 and at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe on October 19 at 3 pm.

The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

It is directed by Douglas Anderson with full orchestra at Town Hall Theater conducted by Guest Conductor Jeffrey Rink.

Tickets on sale to the general public at noon on July 29

Parent Meeting This week!

Dear parents,

The board of Christian Education would like to meet with you following worship this Sunday to go over where we are vis-a-vis programming for the year and our search for a Christian Education director. We have some good and interesting news to share and we hope you can join us briefly after worship in the dining room.

Also, we have committed to doing things a bit differently once or twice a month so that our children can stay with us for the whole hour. This Sunday is World Communion Sunday and we hope they can stay with us. About half way through the service, the congregation will be responsively reading the commitment prayer they wrote last week and we’ll have a beautiful story for the whole congregation in lieu of a sermon — and a special surprise for the children.

We hope to see you Sunday!