Saturday, Oct. 19
'Gather, Nourish, Grow' - An afternoon of Jewish service learning
BENNINGTON -- Congregation Beth El, in partnership with the Coalition for the Homeless, Clear Brook Farm, True Love Farm and Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services, is organizing an afternoon of Jewish service learning to take place on Saturday, Oct. 19, beginning at 12:30 p.m.
The initiative begins a full week of "Food for Thought" events taking place throughout the Bennington faith community to address the issues of food insecurity, nutrition and community supported gardening and agriculture in the area.
"The imperative to respond to hunger is deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition," said Rabbi Jarah Greenfield. "There's a popular idea out there that what it means to be Jewish is that you spend the Sabbath (Shabbat) in the synagogue praying. But there's much more to it. Taking action to address the problems in our midst is as Jewish a thing to do as praying. This initiative is about gathering together across our dividing lines and building a healthier community while rooting ourselves in Jewish tradition."
Participants can get involved in a variety of ways. The program begins with lunch and welcoming at 12:30 p.m., followed by a choice of volunteer projects at the various farm and garden locations. Volunteers will dig, weed, plant, cook and learn with native experts about food insecurity, organic farming, nutrition and issues of hunger. There are roles and activities for people of all ages, including families with young children.
The event will begin at Congregation Beth El, in the Pamela and Richard Ader Social Hall, 107 Adams St. A family-friendly program, it is free and open to the public. Interested participants who wish to contribute donations of time or resources are encouraged to contact the synagogue.
Sunday, Oct. 20
CROP Walk Sunday at Second Congregational Church
BENNINGTON -- CROP Walk Sunday is a busy time at Second Congregational Church. Beginning with worship at 10 a.m., the church will dedicate the walkers and the emergency aid and development programs for which they walk.
Following the Time for the Children in All of Us, children up through grade 5 are dismissed for Godly Play and the middle- and high-school class meets. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon is titled, "The Long Defeat," based on the parable of Jesus about the widow and the unjust judge.
Following worship, a time of refreshment and fellowship takes place in Webster Hall, along with the Hop for CROP for children 10 and under. Registration for the CROP Walk for Hunger begins at 12:45 p.m., and the walk begins with a dedication and singing at 1 p.m. The walk follows a route around town that passes important sites for emergency food and longer-term assistance, including the Bennington Free Clinic, the Community Gardens, the Kitchen Cupboard, Harvest House Soup Kitchen, the Good Shepherd Shelter, His Pantry, and back to Second Congregational Church, site of the weekly Sunday Supper. Walkers should bring their sponsor envelopes with money raised, and anyone who wants to support the walk is invited to bring a non-perishable food item and/or monetary contributions as well.
Funds raised in the CROP Walk support Church World Services relief and development programs, working with partners to promote peace and justice here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Some 25 percent of thef Bennington Walk monies will be returned to our community to be used by the Interfaith Food and Fuel Fund for local needs. The CROP Walk this year is part of the interfaith "Food for Thought" week, which begins on Saturday at Congregation Beth El and culminates in the Empty Bowls supper at St. Peter's Episcopal Church next Sunday.
Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, welcomes all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, sex, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation. Its building is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559 or visit www.bennscc.org. Worship in North Bennington
NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes all to its 11 a.m. worship service, led by the Rev. Penny Rich Smith. The sermon, "Written on the Heart," will be based on Jeremiah 31:27-34 and Luke 18:1-18. There will be a children's time, after which Sunday School classes will meet for pre-school through grade 8.
Following the service, everyone is invited to stay for coffee hour and a time of fellowship. The church is located at 8 Bank St. and is wheelchair accessible from the back door at the parsonage driveway. For more information, call the church office at 442-5161.
Worship, events at St. Peter's
BENNINGTON -- The Reverend Justin Lanier will preside at St. Peter's Episcopal Church as the parish celebrates the Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost.
The 8 a.m. Holy Eucharist is celebrated at the high altar without music in the traditional language of Rite I. At 10 a.m. the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated with singing and music at the free-standing altar using Rite II, the contemporary language service. The Gospel for the day is Luke 18:1-8. The laying on of hands for healing follows each service.
Regularly scheduled events will include contemplative prayer on Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 24, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
Coming Events: Sunday School will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Vestry will meet on Oct. 20 at 11:30 p.m. in the Guild Room.
All Saints Sunday will be celebrated at one service at 9 a.m. on Nov. 3 so that all may worship together. Baptisms are scheduled for the service. To arrange for a baptism, contact Lanier as soon as possible. Remember to set your clocks back one hour.
The Diocesan Convention will be held on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8 and 9, at St. Paul's Cathedral in Burlington. The Christmas Tea will be held on Dec. 14.
St. Peter's invites people of all faiths or those in search of faith to join us in our service of Christ and of each other. The facility is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit www.stpetersvt.org or call 802-442-2911.
'Who Do Our Prayers Say We Are?' at Federated Church
EAST ARLINGTON -- A warm welcome is extended to all people of faith or those in search of faith to join those gathered at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road for the 10 a.m. service of worship on Sunday.
Exploring what our prayers tell us about ourselves and our view of God will be the topic of the day's message from the Rev. Kathy Clark titled, "Who Do Our Prayers Say We Are?" The jumping off point for this week's sermon comes from Luke 18:1-8. Additional lessons will be shared from Jeremiah 31:27-34 and Psalm 119. The choir will be led and accompanied by Mary Edwards, music director.
Children 3 to 10 will begin their Sunday in the service of worship and then leave for Bailey Hall and the church school program which continues to explore the story of Noah and the ark. Following the service plan to stay for coffee hour in Bailey Hall where a basket for gathering contributions for Holy Joe's Cafe, which provides coffee for the work of chaplains serving U.S. troops around the globe.
The Men's Fellowship will gather for a breakfast and meeting earlier on Sunday at 8 a.m. in Bailey Hall and any man in the community is invited. Also on Sunday, walkers from the Federated Church will join people from faith communities in the greater Bennington area for the annual CROP walk that kicks off at 1 p.m. at Second Congregational Church, UCC on Hillside Street in Bennington. Money raised will go to support the anti-hunger efforts of Church World Service as well as local anti-hunger programs.
Senior meals are served on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon in Bailey Hall. The Federated Church of East Arlington is a local church in covenant and connection with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. Its mission is "To welcome all, follow Jesus Christ together, and live God's Word with compassionate service." For additional information, visit www.federatedchurchofeastarlington.org/ or like the church on Facebook.
Rosary at Mary's Garden
NORTH BENNINGTON -- There will be a rosary in the Mary's Garden at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in North Bennington on Sunday, Oct. 27, starting at 1 p.m. Intentions for the rosary will be for respect for life, religious freedom, vocations, world peace and the church. All are welcome to attend. Marian hymns and prayers will also be included as part of the program. For information, call the parish office at 802-447-7504.
The Madonna Della Strada Garden Guild maintains and sponsors programs in the Mary's Garden.
Church seeks vendors for flea market/craft fair
BENNINGTON -- The First Baptist Church of Bennington is seeking vendors for its Cabin Fever Flea Market and Craft Fair taking place on Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market will feature 20-plus tables. For more information and table reservations, call 802-379-4548.
First Baptist is located at 601 Main St., downtown. To learn more about First Baptist and its mission to be "a place for healing, community involvement, and spiritual grounding," visit www.fbcbennington.org.
Opportunity for choral singers at Old First
OLD BENNINGTON -- Choral singers with an affinity toward classical church music in a more traditional setting, who might be available for a regular Sunday morning commitment, are being encouraged by Old First Congregational Church of Bennington to consider the opportunity provided by its choir program.
Under the direction of Charles Olegar, the church's organist and choir director since this past December, Old First Church's choir has been working to develop as a skilled ensemble, bringing to worship distinguished music covering several centuries of the art, including more recent classically-rooted compositions. "Each Sunday's music is selected and prepared with the aim of bringing to our services the spiritual invigoration and nourishment that can be a special province of fine sacred music," states Olegar, whose career now spans over four decades as a professional church musician.
Along with its September-through-June schedule of weekly 11 a.m. Sunday morning services, the choir also appears regularly on Old First's community musicale series, which was inaugurated last March with a program of Bach cantatas, often performed with instruments, which are likewise engaged for special music on Christmas Eve and Easter.
In opening choir membership to the community, Old First Church is reflecting its historic role in Bennington, where it long served as the town's Meeting House, Thus, participation does not carry with it the prerequisite or expectation of church membership. With the congregation's commitment to offering an inclusive, warmly-supportive community that welcomes and celebrates diversity, choir members often choose to become more extensively involved in church life. "We are about the spiritual power of great music offered as worship," Olegar says; "A concert venue might provide some of that, but in the context of worship an already superb piece of music can take on even greater dimensions and meaning. That's our role at Old First."
Old First's choir rehearses weekly on Wednesdays, from 7:-8:30 in The Barn, on Monument Circle, with Sunday morning warm-up at 10:30 a.m., for an 11 a.m. service. Prospective singers should contact Olegar, either personally after a service or through the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 802-447-1223).
U.S. Catholic bishops
welcome End of Shutdown
WASHINGTON--The U.S. bishops welcomed the decision of federal government leaders to agree to end the partial government shutdown 16 days after closing many offices and suspending important programs and services. The bishops also were heartened that so many who had been out of work could return to their jobs.
"The shutdown has had a widespread impact on many people, especially the poor, who suffered for lack of basic services during the period," said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. "With the government now open, beneficiaries of government services, particularly the elderly and children, can hope to resume a normal life with a safety net securely in place."
The bishops will continue to advocate for a "circle of protection" around programs that serve the poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad. The bishops are still urging Congress to replace the mandatory across-the-board spending cuts (the "sequester") with a responsible budget that provides adequate funding for anti-poverty programs.
The bishops also remain deeply concerned regarding the Health and Human Services mandate that will force employers to provide health coverage that entails payment for abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilizations, even if doing so violates the employers' deeply-held religious or moral beliefs. Catholic ministries that provide health care, educational, and social services generally are not exempt from the mandate, and enforcement against them will begin January 1, 2014, putting at risk the poor and vulnerable served by those ministries.
"The bishops have pressed for legislative relief from the HHS mandate since its inception more than two years ago," said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. "Church efforts to protect rights of conscience will continue despite this temporary setback."
The bishops urged the House and Senate to avoid a government shutdown. In Sept. 30 letters to the House and Senate, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Blaire and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, urged "wise bipartisan leadership and moral clarity in crafting a plan to ensure the government continues to operate and meet its responsibility to protect human life and dignity, care for poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, and advance the universal common good."
Archbishop Gomez chairs the USCCB Committee on Migration. Bishop Blaire chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Pates chairs the Committee on International Justice and Peace.
In a Sept. 26 letter, Archbishop Lori and Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston, chair of the bishops' Pro-Life Activities committee, called for legislation that preserves "religious freedom and the right of conscience for all who take part in our health care system."
They urged that the policy of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940/S. 1204) be incorporated into must-pass legislation such as the Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling bill.
"Protection for conscience rights in health care is of especially great importance to the Catholic Church, which daily contributes to the welfare of U.S. society through schools, social services, hospitals and assisted living facilities," they wrote. "These institutions, which have been part of the Church's ministry since the earliest days of our country, arose from religious convictions. They should not be told by government to abandon or compromise those convictions in order to continue serving their own employees or the neediest Americans. Nor should individual Catholics or others be told they cannot legally purchase or provide health coverage unless they violate their conscience."
Family of Nazi criminal searches
for missing body
ROME (AP) -- The case of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke took on another bizarre twist Thursday as his family said it doesn't know where his body is.
Family lawyer Paolo Giachini said he and the former SS captain's family lost track of Priebke's casket Tuesday night, when they tried to celebrate a funeral Mass for him in a church compound in Albano Laziale south of Rome.
At a certain point, he told Sky TG24, a group of about 30 people entered the compound and took the casket out following protests pitting Priebke's right-wing supporters against his detractors.
Italian state radio said the casket was taken to a nearby military base. But Giachini said he hadn't been able to establish who has the body or where it is, and Italian officials have refused to divulge information about it.
"It's unheard of that a casket can be made to disappear in this country, taken from those who had custody of it in a private place -- a place of worship -- and taking it by force without any order, any notification," Giachini said. "We want clarity."
Priebke died Friday at age 100 in Rome, where he was serving a life term for the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome. It was one of the worst atrocities in German-occupied Italy during World War II.
His death sparked waves of outrage in Italy's Jewish community because, in a final statement issued by his lawyer upon his death, Priebke denied that Jews were gassed in Nazi death camps.
In a separate video statement released by Giachini on Thursday, Priebke also defended his actions at the Ardeatine Caves, saying the orders to shoot the civilians came from Adolf Hitler himself and that members of his SS unit were told they would be shot if they didn't obey.
Giachini said he had been in touch with the German embassy for possible burial in Priebke's native land, once the body is located.