Category Archives: Uncategorized

Carol Spooner to Receive Eco-Spirit Award

Spirit In Nature announces Eco-Spirit Award and Annual Meeting The Board of Trustees of the Spirit in Nature Paths in Ripton are glad to announce that the 2023 Eco-Spirit Award will be presented to Carol Spooner, founding member of SpIN, at the SpIN Annual Meeting. This meeting will be at the Ripton Community House, on Sunday March 19, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Prior to the Annual Meeting will be a short guided walk, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, starting at the SpIN parking area. All are invited to attend one or both of these events, which are free of charge.

Carol Spooner has been a guiding light for SpIN since its inception, starting with the SpIN declaration of purpose: “Spirit In Nature’s mission is to educate the community about the environment through the vehicle of traditional religions, and to promote action based on spiritually-sensitive concerns for the environment.” Carol was the President of the Spirit In Nature Board of Trustees for ten years, during which she significantly expanded the financial base of the organization, encouraged the growth of its path network, and established ties with faith-based communities in the area.

SpIN maintains a network of walking paths just off Goshen Road in Ripton, on forested land that SpIn maintains under a license agreement with Middlebury College. This year, 2023, marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of SpIN, inspired by the Dalai Lama’s visit to Middlebury in 1998. Each path has quotations from a particular spiritual or religious tradition.

The View from the Mountain top

Rev. Caryne Eskridge

Exodus 24:12-18
Matthew 17:1-9

In order to get a sense of the lifespan of the Green Mountains, we have to stretch our sense of the passing of time to its limits. The geological term for the birth of mountains is orogeny, from the Greek words for mountain and creation. The orogeny of the Green Mountains starts 1.4 billion years ago, when two landmasses collided and part of the edge of that collision was pushed upward into a mountain range. Mountains actually keep growing until the forces that pushed them upward wane and erosion, the process that gradually wears them down, becomes primary. That first mountain range eventually eroded down over millions of years to hills. If we fast forward to 450 million years ago, the rocks that remained from that first orogeny became part of another mountain range. After millions of years of erosion, this range is what we know as the Green Mountains. It is mind-bending to try to conceptualize the lifespan of these mountains that we see, walk beside, and hike up. At the same time we’re aware of the ancient story of the mountains and aware of our presence in that moment. We feel both utterly connected to the larger story and at the same time we are acutely aware that we are a small part of that story.

[Click here to read full sermon.]

Fifth Annual Weybridge Haiku Contest

Open Your Hearts and Imaginations

Weybridge’s haiku contests for the past two pandemic years have asked writers to open their hearts and imaginations and address the challenging world around them. Those prompts drew 177 responses from 28 writers in 2021 and 217 responses again from 28 writers in 2022.

The 2023 contest, the fifth annual, again prompts writers to open their hearts and imagination to the light and darkness, happiness and sadness, joy and wonder in our lives.

“Writers have a blank slate to consider questions big and small,” novelist Chris Bohjalian, a contest judge, commented. “Earthbound questions like what do squirrels know that we don’t and what’s the future of the maple tree. And more cosmic questions like Life is all about saying good-bye, about being reborn. When does the soul crave darkness, hanker for light.” “I would be sad if all the haikus were gloom and doom. I hope that we can also focus on something other than the virus,” fellow judge Martha Winant, Weybridge winner of the 2021 contest,” suggests. “Consider lighter topics like Coming Out of Hibernation. ” In addition to Bohjalian and Winant, this year’s judges include Narges Anzali, Weybridge’s youth poet laureate and a past youth winner, and Gwen Nagy-Benson, Weybridge winner of the 2022 contest.

Haiku. The poem should be in the haiku form—either the traditional form of three lines no more than seventeen syllables total (5-7-5) or a short three lines that captures the spirit of the haiku. There are no limits on the number of haikus a writer can submit.

Eligibility. Participants of all ages are encouraged to submit. There is a youth division, through high school, and an adult division. You do not have to be a Weybridge resident but must be a Vermonter. No experience needed. Give it a try!

Deadline. Submit haikus to George Bellerose, contest administrator, by March 1. Email or 80 Meetinghouse Lane, Weybridge, VT 05753. He will forward them to the four judges. Winners will be announced at the end of March to celebrate Poetry Month in April Awards. Judges select three youth winners, both Weybridge and Vermont, and three adult winners, Weybridge and Vermont.

Winners can choose from books by Weybridge’s co-poet laurates, Julia Alvarez, the founder of the contest, and novelist Jay Parini, as well from books by Chris Bohjalian.

Everyone is way above average in this contest, with each writer receiving a Certificate of Participation and a playful Best of Honorific.

For more information: George Bellerose, haiku contest administrator 80 Meetinghouse Lane Weybridge, VT. 05753 Tel. 802 545-2035 Email

Service Project Sunday at Cornwall Church

On January 29th,  Weybridge folks are invited to join our neighbors at the First Congregational Church of Cornwall for worship in the form of a service project. Stay tuned for details about the project. Plan to be at the First Congregational Church of Cornwall at 10am to join the effort. (There will be no worship at Weybridge Church on January 29th.)

Christmas Eve Invitation and Zoom Link

From Pastor Caryne

“Happy holidays to all of our neighbors in Weybridge and beyond!

All are invited to the Christmas Eve Service at the Weybridge Congregational Church, on Saturday the 24th at 5pm. (Masks are recommended.) We will sing carols and bring the Christmas story into our own time and lives, once again. Kids are welcome! We’ll have activity packs with a special bulletin for them to follow along at their own pace. We’ll have refreshments and time for greeting and visiting after the service in the Fellowship Hall.

For those wishing to join by Zoom, please use the link below:

Topic: Christmas Eve Service – 5PM

Time: Dec 24, 2022 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Link to Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 868 8395 1535

Passcode: 834531

        +1 646 931 3860 US

Hope Fund

Message from the Conference

Friends of the Vermont Conference,

This week, our Vermont Conference Hope Fund Discernment Team met for the very first time. This team has the role of discerning how best to use the money that has been given to the Hope Fund to have the biggest impact on the Vermont Conference over the next ten years. We didn’t want to have our first meeting on Zoom, so we gathered at the Hummingbird Center for Common Ground in Berlin in person for a day long retreat. (I highly recommend this spot if you are looking for a retreat location. The mountain views are spectacular!)

The members of the Team (Caryne Eskridge, Paul Eyer, Lava Mueller, Mary Hoadley, Dan Haugh, Jessica Moore and myself) are a good mix of veteran pastors and pastors starting out in ministry. All have a hopeful spirit about the future of the church! Elise from the Conference Office came along to help us out. We had such a fun and meaningful day!

One book that the group is using in their work is “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You are Going”, by church consultant Susan Beaumont. In it, discernment is defined as “an ever-increasing capacity to ‘see’ the work of God in the midst of the human situation, so that we can align ourselves with whatever God is doing.“ This is the objective of the Discernment Team. In that spirit, we will be looking for projects that nurture relationships with people who don’t go to church, build disciples, children, youth and adults, and welcome the community, by seeking justice and the common good. We plan to set up a simple Application process for grants that churches and individuals in the Conference can use starting on Jan. 1st.

As we approach this special time of the year, we invite churches in the Conference to consider giving part of their Christmas or Epiphany offerings to support the work of the Hope Fund. May our churches be beacons of hope all throughout the state of Vermont, both now and in the years to come!

Faithfully yours,

A Successful Chicken Pie Supper! Thank you.

I’m taking nature’s invitation to begin to slow down, notice the details of the changing landscape, and embrace transition. What can I let go so that my focus can go where it’s needed? That is the question I’m keeping with me for now.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Chicken Pie Supper: Take-out and Tent Edition a success! I had so much fun joining a whole team of folks to do prep at the church on Monday night, and it was such a joy to welcome folks and meet so many folks as they picked up their food on Tuesday. We sold all 100 meals, and I even spotted a day-of request on Front Porch Forum from someone looking for any extra tickets that would go unused. Even with the chilly and breezy weather, there were some who ate under the tent! The fire pit from the Myhres’s house was a welcome way to warm up a bit for those of us who were outside. And, of course, the food was spectacular (thank you, Martha!!). I am grateful that we were able to try something new – never an easy thing – and I certainly came away feeling nourished by the company and the food. ~Peace, Pastor Caryne

CROP Walk, October 2

Addison County CROP Walk – October 2nd!

Afghanistan and Pakistan are a far cry from Weybridge, Vermont.  And the journey is much more than the actual distance.  The challenges and hardships are difficult to accurately imagine and certainly to relate to.  

What can we do?  

Fortunately, our friends and allies at Church World Services are doing the hard, grass roots, action-oriented work to make a difference.  CWS is one of the leading refugee resettlement agencies responsible for Afghans move to the U.S.  I had a recent conversation with a friend who works as an Afghan resettlement coordinator in New York – it is tireless work, but they are doing their best to answer the overwhelming need.  And, as we see photos of the deadly floods in Pakistan, one main word comes to mind: loss. Thousands of lives, entire communities and the livelihoods of millions have been lost to the raging waters.  CWS has hundreds of workers on the frontlines of disasters, many of which have been significantly intensified because of climate change.  

So, what can we do?  Few of us will be able to do the actual work done by CWS, but we can support it.  Please consider walking, fund raising or donating (or all three!) to this year’s CROP Walk effort.