Christmas Bird Count

Instructions for PARTICIPANTS

The count will be held on December 26, 2019, plus or minus a day.

For information and to register: Go to the North Branch Nature Center website
The right hand side of the page will have information for the Plainfield Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and for the Hunger Mountain CBC. We are part of the Hunger Mountain Count (Lower section of the menu).

To register, click on the “Sign up Form” link. It will take you to a Google form that will ask for information such as your name, address, etc. We are planning to be feeder watchers, but you could choose to be a field team member who will count birds in a specific sector.

In order to find instructions for the day of the count, click on
“Info packet and data forms.” There you will find:
● general information about the count
● protocol for feeder watchers
● effort sheet (information about weather, time, etc.)
● species list (tally form)

Send your completed form to: Hunger Mountain CBC c/o Zac Cota 175 Depot Street Hyde Park, VT 05655

Thank you!

Christmas Worship Schedule

Christmas returns, as it always does, with its assurance that life is good.

Howard Thurman


December 15 — Third Sunday in Advent.
December 22 — The Church School is presenting the gospel message this morning in a play / pageant about . . . a little robin.

Christmas Eve

4:00 pm family service. We’ll tell the wonderful story of that night so long ago in Bethlehem when Jesus was born through ancient scripture and modern story. At this point, we’re hoping that the music will be provided in part by the bell choir and we are hoping to have amateur hour before the service begins. If you’d like to play something or sing something, please let me know, or sign up on the clipboard sometime in the next few Sundays. The service will end with a cande-light rendition of Silent Night.

7:00 P. M. Ceremony of Lessons and Carols. This year our service takes its direction from a contemporary Christmas Cantata written by Bob Chilcott called Christmas Night. Chilcott’s music is beautifully Christmas and yet something refreshingly different. We hope your can come to one or both of these services.

Advent Workshop this Week

Hopper Feeder

You are invited to stay for a while after worship this week (December 8) so that you can take part in our annual Advent Workshop! This year the projects are bird feeders. We’ll have materials on hand to make 4 different kinds of feeders, from the fairly simple pine cone filled with suet and rolled in bird seed to a wooden hopper feeder that mounts on a deck railing or against the side of your house.

Christmas gifts for the Kirby House

The Christmas Tree in the sanctuary is now fully decorated, thanks to Ned’s work this week. Amongst the red bows and the pine cones, you’ll find paper ornaments with items listed on each that we are trying to provide as Christmas gifts for the residents of the Kirby House.

Take an ornament or two, purchase what is listed and return it to the church by December 22 so that the Board of Outreach can prepare them for drop-off at the Kirby House in time for their Christmas party!

The Kirby House, here in downtown Waterbury is an assisted care living facility for some 30 residents, many of whom have been here since the Vermont State Hospital began shuttering operations in 1995.

Thanks for your gift of Christmas cheer!


. . .. we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us:

Romans 12:5-6

We are inching our way toward our goal of everyone’s making a pledge for the operations of the church for our 121st year. I mentioned in October when we started this year’s in-gathering that throughout time and across geography and despite the size of the church, it takes about $35 per person per week to run a church. I also suggested that our gifts are not all so equally divided out. Some give more, some give less. This is the way it has been from the beginning. St. Paul noted it in his letter to the church in Rome. Some contribute this way, and others that way, but all of it is a commitment to a community and a way of being in that community that has nothing less as its goal, than the peace of the world.

If you have not made or pledge and would like to, please either call the office or drop us a note and we’ll help you do that. Barring that, the Board of Finance will be making phone calls in the coming weeks to check in with you. This is important, and your generous pledge — everyone’s — is vital to our ability to be a thriving church with a beautiful building, a talented staff and wonderful music and vigorous outreach.

Thank you for your gifts!


Back for one more week . . . December 8 following worship.

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

Solaris Vocal Ensemble

Waterbury Community Band

Their annual holiday concert will be held in our sanctuary on Saturday, December 14 at 3 P.M.. Admission is by donation or food item for the food shelf. All monetary donations will also go to the food shelf.

Christmastime in Waterbury

Back last year after a several year hiatus, this community celebration will happen again in our sanctuary on December 22 at 4 P.M. Under the direction of Ann Harvey, a community choir will sing several Christmas anthems and lead the gathered revelers in favorite Christmas songs. There will be story-telling and lots of laughter too! You won’t want to get there late, as it was standing room only last year.

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.