Religion in Brief

Friday June 17, 2011

Sunday, June 19

Farewell gathering for priest

NORTH BENNINGTON -- St. John the Baptist Church will hold a farewell gathering for the Rev. Sebastian Madike.

Madike, who has been serving on Holy Days and weekends at St. John’s, will be leaving the Diocese of Burlington and returning to Nigeria. He has spent three years in the diocese stationed Christ The King in Rutland. He has provided an inspirational ministry and will be missed by the parishioners.

A farewell gathering for him is scheduled for this coming Sunday, June 19, after the 11 a.m. Mass in DeMasi Hall. All parishioners and friends are welcome to attend and wish Madike well as he continues in his ministry. The ‘Great Awakening’ comes to Bennington

BENNINGTON -- In 1761, Bennington’s first settlers arrived, in part to form a new church.

Their religious sensibility was formed out of the Great Awakening, a religious revival movement that produced significant divisions and dissent in New England’s social order. On Sunday, June 19, at 2 p.m., the Rev. Ken Clarke discusses "The Great Awakening Comes to Bennington," a Bennington Historical Society Program. This event will be held in the Ada Paresky Education Center located on the second floor of the Bennington Museum. It is free and open to the public.

In the first half of the 1700s, the church played a major role in the life of a community in New England. "In the beginning the church was Bennington and Bennington was the church." according to Ken Walling, historian at Old First. The Old First Church was "gathered" on Dec. 3, 1762, the first Protestant congregation in the New Hampshire Grants. The organizers were "Separatists," influenced by the Great Awakening, from Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, and were proprietors of the new town of Bennington.

The first meetinghouse was a plain pine structure built in the center of the village, the green in front of the present structure, and served for general public meetings, as a school, and for worship. The organization of the Bennington church, literally a "new church in a new land in a new time" showed how lessons of dissent resulted in innovation and, in turn, provided a way for religion to exist in a society full of change.

Clarke is a lawyer and the minister at Old First Church in Bennington, with an interest in history. "He has a reputation for speaking plainly and personally about subjects that shape our lives" states Ken Walling, historian. Earlier in his ministry, Clarke served the historic First Church of Salem, Massachusetts, organized in 1629 as the first Protestant church formed on American soil. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College, Vermont Law School and the Harvard Divinity School.

Trinity Sunday

at St. Peter’s

BENNINGTON -- All are welcome to the Holy Eucharist at 8 a.m. (Rite 1, said) and 10 a.m. (Rite 2, with hymns) led by the Rev. L. Paul Gratz, transition minister. The St. Peter’s Choir will be accompanied by Derek Stannard, organist/choirmaster.

Trinity Sunday celebrates the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

There will be a community hymn sing at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, at St. Peter’s. All community members are invited. Your favorites can be requested by calling the church ahead of the event at 442-2911.

Following worship, all are invited for coffee hour in the parish hall. St. Peter’s, at 200 Pleasant St., is an open and affirming church that respects religious inquiry and welcomes all people to the Good News of Christ’s presence and a place at his table. The facility is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call the Parish office at 442-2911 or visit

Outdoor Service to launch Summer Lunch Program

EAST ARLINGTON -- Everyone in Arlington, Sandgate and Sunderland is invited to join in the celebration and worship together as an interfaith community at The Grange off of Route 313 in West Arlington at 10 a.m. to celebrate the beginning of the summer lunch program for 2011.

The participating faith communities include The Federated Church of East Arlington, St. James Episcopal Church, Christ Our Savior Parish/St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church, Sandgate United Methodist Church and West Arlington United Methodist Church. The sacrament of Communion will be shared and an offering will be gathered to benefit the Summer Lunch Program.

All those attending are requested to bring a lawn chair as well as a dish to share at the potluck lunch which will follow the worship service.

Father’s Day

at Second Congo

BENNINGTON -- All are welcome to worship at 10 a.m. Sunday morning at Second Congregational Church on Hillside Street. This Father’s Day, worship will be led by David Haley. Tim Foley will introduce David Nicol, Bruce Smith, and Dean Hanson, who will be sharing "Thoughts on Fatherhood." Nursery care is provided throughout worship. A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall.

SecondCongregational 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

Children’s Day at North Bennington Congregtional

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes all to its 11 a.m. worship service. Sunday is Children’s Day and the Sunday school will lead the service. There will be special music, readings, a puppet show, and the celebration of a baptism. No Sunday school classes will be held again until the fall.

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.

All are welcome. For more information, call the church office at 442-5161.

Activities at Cambridge United Presbyterian Church

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- The Cambridge United Presbyterian Church (USA), 81 East Main St., will worship starting at 10 a.m., led by the the Rev. Kate Kotfila, pastor. All are welcome.

Upcoming, there will be a Vacation Bible School in the Brieman Building each night of the week of July 25 to 28, from 6 to 8:15 p.m. All community children are invited to attend and they always have a wonderful time. The Community Sunday School has ended until September.

The Cambridge United Presbyterian Church has invited the Embury Methodist Church to hold worship services with them during July and August. The first service together will be our annual outdoor service on July 3. The worship hour will change from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for the summer services.

The Presbyterian Church Choir. During the summer months, the anthems usually sung by the church choir will be replaced by "interlude," which will be special music, readings, guest musicians, duets, solo work, hymn requests, etc. Those who wish to participate during this time should contact Lucile Playfair at 518-677-5147.


Strawberry shortcake supper in Pownal

POWNAL -- The Pownal United Methodist Church located at the corner of Route 346 and Church Street will serve its annual Strawberry Shortcake Supper on Thursday, June 23. The menu includes cold ham and roast beef, scalloped potatoes, Jell-O and coleslaw, rolls, coffee, iced tea, or lemonade, and homemade strawberry shortcake. The family-style dinner begins at 5 p.m. with continuous serving. Tickets at the door will be $10 for adults, $5 for children 4 to 10 years, and free for children three years and under. Suggested take out time is 6 to 7 p.m.

Questions: contact Mary Louise Mason, 3815 Route 346 North Pownal, VT 05260; phone: 802 823-7769.

Send in choices for community hymn sing

BENNINGTON -- All are invited to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, June 26, at 3 pm for a community-wide hymn-sing of favorite tunes.

Lasting about one hour, this hymn-sing will feature many popular hymns, as well as other festive music selected by the newly appointed organist and choirmaster Derek Stannard. Singers of all types and from any faith background are welcome. Stannard will provide a narrative, and will accompany on St. Peter’s pipe organ. Do you have a favorite hymn that you’d like to see featured in the concert? Email Stannard at to make your suggestion today.

A freewill offering will benefit the music programs at St. Peter’s Church, which is located at 200 Pleasant St. Refreshments will follow. Call St. Peter’s Church at 802-442-2911 with any questions.

’2011 Gathering’ at Grace Christian

BENNINGTON -- Local churches are called to come together for the "2011 Gathering." The three-day event will take place in the auditorium of Grace Christian School on July 13 to 15. The goal is to build on the foundation of last year’s "2010 Gathering," to encourage the churches, strengthen faith, and deepen our commitment to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as we follow Jesus together in oneness of heart and purpose.

In addition to Gathering Meetings each evening at 7 p.m., special daytime meetings will be held during the three days.

A women’s meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 13, at 10 a.m., with guest speaker Monika Paidipamula, Wife of P. Yesupadam, founder of Love-N-Care Ministries International, which has headquarters in Visakhapatnam, India, and branches in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and South Korea. Pastor Yesupadam is also a frequent speaker in many places around the world.

A special meeting for teens will be held on Thursday, July 14, at 1 p.m., with Pastor Yesupadam. On Friday, a meeting for pastors will be held at 8 a.m., the usual time of the area pastor’s prayer meeting.

For more information, call 802-442-2711. All people are welcome to attend. Freewill offerings will be collected at evening meetings.


’Peace Pilgrimage for a Nuclear Free Future’

GRAFTON, N.Y. -- A Peace Pilgrimage for a Nuclear Free Future will be held from Saturday, July 16 to Tuesday, Aug. 9.

It will begin on Saturday, July 16, with a "Rally to End the Nuclear Age" at Copely Square in Boston from 2 to 5 p.m. It will conclude on Tuesday, Aug. 9, Nagasaki Day, with fasting at Albany, N.Y., Capital Building. The march will stop at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass., Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, in Seabrook, N.H., and Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vt.

On Monday, Aug. 1, the marchers will travel between Brattleboro, Vt., and Wilmington, Vt., on Aug. 2 between Wilmington and Bennington, Vt., on Aug. 3 between Bennington, Vt., and Petersburgh and on Aug. 4 from Petersburgh to Grafton. On Friday, Aug. 5 a Hiroshima Day ceremony will be held at 8:30 p.m. at the Grafton Peace Pagoda.

The pilgrimage is initiated by Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order, locally headquartered at the Grafton Peace Pagoda, 518-658-9301. Participants will walk a total of 300 miles, beginning each day at 8 a.m. and typically walking 15 to 18 miles per day. Feel free to join the walk at any point for any length of time. Respect that the walk will be free of drugs, alcohol and weapons. If you plan to join them for more than a day, bring a sleeping bag.

For more information, call Tim Bullock at 413-485-8469, Julie MacDonald at 518-307-2715 or email


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