Saturday, Feb. 15

Shabbat-in-Action Family Education

BENNINGTON - Shabbat-in-Action, on Saturday, from 12:30 to 3 p.m., "Energy, Earth & Sustainability," will focus on what the Jewish tradition teaches about our relationship to the earth's resources and how to best preserve our natural resources for future generations. Join Congregation Beth El for Shabbat-in-Service on the afternoon of Feb. 15 for communal learning, through text and action, around the topic of sustainability.

This is a required Family Education program. It will be facilitated by Rabbi Jarah Greenfield and Rabbinic Intern Jacob Adler.

Church marks St. Valentine with renewal of vows

MANCHESTER - Zion Episcopal Church invites the community to join them as they celebrate St. Valentine on Saturday, Feb. 15. Yes, we know the 14th is actually the official date, but as love is eternal, we thought the 15th would work just as well.

The event begins the evening with an Italian food pot luck dinner at 5:30 p.m. during which there will be a presentation on St. Valentine, love, and marriage, followed by a service of the renewal of marriage vows in the sanctuary. All are welcome as we hope this will be a family affair.

Call the Zion office at 802-362-1987 or e-mail Zion at office@zionchurchmanchester.or g. Zion Episcopal Church is located at 5167 Main St., between Gringo Jack's and Ye Olde Tavern.

Sunday, Feb. 16

Worship and work

at Second Congregational

BENNINGTON -- All people of faith or in search of faith are welcome in the worship and work of Second Congregational Church.

Sunday morning worship begins at 10 a.m., and during the Time for the Children in All of Us, "Epiphany Moments" -- moments of glimpsing or sensing God's presence -- are shared by those gathered.

Following this, children up through grade 5 are dismissed for Godly Play, where they will be treated with pictures and stories from a recent trip to India. The middle- and high school class also meets. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon, continuing in the series from the Sermon on the Mount, is titled, "You have heard it said "

Following worship a time of fellowship and refreshment takes place in Webster Hall.

Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, welcomes all people without regard to age, race, sex, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation. Its building on Hillside Street is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559 or visit www.bennscc.org.

Federated Church welcomes Rev. Dorey

EAST ARLINGTON -- A warm invitation to the 10 a.m. service of worship in Bailey Hall at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road is extended to one and all on Sunday.

This is Pulpit Swap Sunday for many of the UCC ministers within the Southwest Association in Bennington and Rutland Counties. On this Sunday, the Federated Church will welcome the Rev. Dr. Marcia Dorey, current pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Shaftsbury to the pulpit. Her message, based on Matthew 5:21-37, is titled, "By Whose Authority?"

The Federated Church Choir will be led and accompanied by Mary Edwards. All children are invited to begin worship with the congregation and then will go off to church school where they will continue to learn about Joseph and his many-colored coat with the theme of "Forgiveness." Following worship all are invited to stay for a coffee hour time of fellowship and refreshment.

Earlier this weekend, on Saturday, the Prayer Shawl MInistry will meet to knit, crochet and share over a brown bag lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Bailey Hall where new participants, regardless of skill level, are always welcome.

The Men's Fellowship will hold their monthly meeting this Sunday, at 8 a.m. at the Grange Pancake Breakfast, held at American Legion, Post 69 on Legion Road in Arlington.

The church continues to collect items from now through Feb. 28 to assist the school nurses at Fisher and Sunderland Elementary Schools. Donations of new children's sweatpants, socks, underwear and snack items are much appreciated and can be left in the designated box in Bailey Hall. 

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 addtional information, visit the church website at www.federatedchurchofeastarlington.org, like the church on Facebook, or call the office at 802-375-2548.

Worship and events

at St. Peter's Episcopal

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Justin Lanier will preside as St. Peter's Episcopal Church celebrate the Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer on Feb. 16, the sixth Sunday after the Epiphany. The 8 a.m. 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 music and singing using Rite II, the contemporary language service. The Gospel for this day is Matthew 5:21-37. The Laying on of Hands for Healing follows the service.

Contemplative prayer will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, Feb. 20, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

Earlier this weekend, Church School will be held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The monthly meeting of the Vestry will follow the 10 a.m. service this Sunday.

The Church office will be closed for President's Day on Monday, Feb. 17.

The first meeting of the Confirmation Group will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Lady Chapel of St. Peter's Church. Bring your prayer book and Bible if you have them already.

The next meeting of the Rector's Bible Study will be in the Parish Hall on Feb. 23 after the 10 a.m. service.

The Annual Spaghetti Dinner, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for children 4 to 12, and children 3 and under are admitted free. Join us from 6 to 8 p.m. for dinner! To help, contact Emily Kennedy at 802-442-5300.

Reminder: St. Peter's Silent Auction, has been moved from Saturday, March 15, to June 14. More details to come.

St. Peter's invites people of all faiths or those in search of faith to join them in their service of Christ and of each other. The facility on Pleasant Street is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit www.stpetersvt.org or call 802-442-2911.

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, "Deep Within Your Heart," will be based on Psalm 119:1-11, John 13:33-35 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. 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. The congregation is worshipping in the social hall for the winter months. For more information, call the church office at 802-442-5161.

Announcements

Vendors sought for church sale

BENNINGTON -- The First Baptist Church of Bennington is seeking vendors for its Cabin Fever Flea Market to take place on Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 pm. The market will feature 20-plus tables. For more information about table reservations, contact 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. Worship services are held Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

Upcoming

Interfaith group to host Habitat for Humanity

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative (NBIAI) will welcome representatives from Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity at the Friday, Feb. 21, meeting at the First Baptist Church of North Adams, starting at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

The discussion will focus on the work of NBHfH and will begin a discussion on how this great organization can get area houses of worship more involved in their work.

The meeting will begin with introductions, announcements, spiritual sharing and a time of silent prayer.

The Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initative is a group of people of different faiths and denominations working together with others of goodwill to serve our community. It runs the Friendship Center Food Pantry in North Adams, an emergency voucher system in Northern Berkshire, and holds monthly meetings to discuss topics and programs of civic and religious concern. For more information, call Mark at 664-0130; see http://northernberkshireinterfaith.blogspot.com or visit our page on Facebook.

Organ recital at Catholic church

BENNINGTON -- On Sunday, Feb. 23, Donald McMahon will perform a recital at the Esty-Resig organ of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church at 238 West Main St. This magnificent organ of 1,438 pipes will be featured in performances of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach and others. As a bonus, McMahon will play a medly of classic American film scores by Elmer Bernstein, Dimitri Tiomkin, and others. There is no admission charge. All facilities at the church are accessible to those with disabilities and convenient parking is available.

Monday Night Community Dinners at Beth El

BENNINGTON -- Congregation Beth El sponsors a monthly community dinner from 5 to 6 p.m. on the last Monday of each month (from September through May) for those in need of a good meal. The next Community Dinner will be Monday, Feb. 24. These dinners rely on the efforts volunteers to help set up, serve, clean up and/or bring salad, drinks, desserts or paper goods. There are many ways to be involved, such as:

Providing part of a meal each month, whether it is the salad, the desert, the entrée, the side dish, the drinks or the paper goods, contributesto sustaining an easy and reliable system. Meal items may be dropped off at the CBE community building in advance.

Setting up, cleaning up and helping to serve meals - whether on a regular basis or just one time.

Helping to warm up food, set out plates and wash dishes are also opportunities to connect with the guests and volunteers of the community dinner.

If you would like to get involved, contact the office at 802-442-9645 or email Rebekah atoffice@cbevermont.org.

St. James Episcopal Church free community dinner

ARLINGTON -- St. James' Episcopal Church in Arlington, Vt. is pleased to announce the next in a series of Free Community Dinners on Friday, Feb. 28. Dinner is served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the undercroft of the church on Route 7A at the intersection with Route 313 west.

Mark your calendars. The Rev. Scott Neal, rector, and the parishioners of St. James' Episcopal Church extend a cordial invitation to each and all to come and enjoy a hearty welcome, good food, friendly conversation and the chance to meet new people and greet old friends. The menu includes home-made macaroni and cheese, salad, bread, dessert, coffee, tea and water. Take a break from your regular schedule, not to mention the winter weather, and enjoy a dinner in a comfortable setting. Bring your family and friends. All are welcome. There is no cost to attend. The next free dinners are scheduled for Friday, March 28 and Friday, April 25, both at 5:30 p.m. No reservations are necessary. Come and join in the food and the fun.

Established in 1764, St. James is the cradle parish of the Episcopal Church in Vermont. The present church building was consecrated in 1833, built after an earlier one was destroyed by fire. In 2014, St. James' is celebrating its 250th anniversary as a faith community. There will be many special events in celebration of this milestone all of which will be open to everyone. At St. James' we strive to be a community of open hearts and discerning minds. Everyone is invited and welcome.

For additional information about these events or any other services or activities at St. James' Episcopal Church, contact the St. James Parish Office at 802-375-9952; send an e-mail to stjamesparishoffice@ gmail.com; visit www.stjamearlingtonvt.org or find the church on Facebook.

Wintertastic celebration

BENNINGTON -- The School of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales invites the public to this year's Wintertastic Celebration and Live Auction, on March 1, at the Mount Anthony Country Club. This event is sponsored in part by Whitman's Feed Store, Bennington Health and Rehab by Revera and Rifenburg Construction Inc. The 5th annual Wintertastic Celebration will raise funds to secure the future of the parish school.

Last year's event resulted in the purchase of multiple Smartboards for the classrooms, as well as updated computer system for the office.

Wintertastic committee members are promising a fun-filled evening. A few of the great donations include a family golf membership at Mt. Anthony Country Club, a queen sized Therapeutic Bed from WCW, Inc., a personal tax return by Love, Cody & Co., one year of dining at Chili's, unlimited car washes for a year from Bennington Car Wash, four 1-day Park Hopper tickets to Walt Disney World, six yards of topsoil from Jerome Construction, four seats for Broadway's Lion King with VIP backstage tour with cast member, one week Florida timeshare. There will be a silent auction as well; fun excursions with SHS teachers, gift certificates, massages, museum memberships, mulch, gravel, and the list goes on. For $25 per person, enjoy hors d'oeuvres and cash bar starting at 6 p.m. with the auction beginning at 7 p.m.

Or your evening can start at 5 p.m. with an optional $20 (plus tax and gratuity) preview dinner at The GRILLE (call 802-442-2617 for dinner reservations). For more information, contact the school at 802-442-2446 or Committee Chair Kathy Murphy at 802-442-5037.

Nation/World

Mass. man convicted of torching local church

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) -- A Brewster man described by his family as mentally ill has been convicted of burning down a church.

Adam Finnegan was convicted Wednesday in Barnstable Superior Court after a three-day trial and two hours of jury deliberations.

The 30-year-old Finnegan wasn't immediately sentenced pending a psychiatric examination. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Finnegan used gasoline and matches to burn down the 300-member Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church in Brewster in the early morning hours of Nov. 30 2012. No one was hurt. The church is less than two miles from Finnegan's home.

The Cape Cod Times reports that Finnegan's lawyer questioned the evidence, and said damage was so severe it was impossible to figure out the fire's cause.

The church is being rebuilt.