Religion News in Brief

Saturday December 8, 2012

Saturday, Dec. 8

Christmas Goodies Bazaar

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- The Cambridge United Presbyterian Church (USA) will hold its annual Christmas Goodies Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can shop for homemade cakes, cookies, handmade crafts, gifts, and books. Soup and sandwiches will be available.

For information about church activities and working teams, call the church office mornings at 518-677-3863, email, or visit St. Peter's annual Christmas Tea

BENNINGTON -- St. Peter's Church annual Christmas Tea will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

This year, angels will abound at St. Peter's Christmas Tea. They will be found scattered among the candles and greens in the parish hall at St. Peter's. At 3 p.m. the festivities will begin with trays of cookies and tea sandwiches. Tea, coffee and punch will be served. Wait staff will be there to assist those attending and there will be entertainement.

The Christmas Shoppe will be open to shop for small gifts, jelly and jams, breads, and Christmas tree ornaments. The cost for the Tea is $6.

Free community ham dinner

NORTH POWNAL -- The North Pownal Congregational Church will host its annual free community ham dinner on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 3 to 6 p.m. Join them in their new Fellowship Hall as they celebrate the Christmas season together. Free take-out dinners are available by stopping by. In addition, the new teen center, The Loft, will be open for tours.

Call Pastor Gary Rogers at 518-686-4636 for any additional information. North Pownal Congregational Church is located at 3554 Route 346.

Annual Santa Lucia Festival of Light

ARLINGTON -- Once again, the Arlington Community and visiting travelers are invited to share in the Santa Lucia Festival of Lights, to be held on Saturday, Dec. 8.

The Santa Lucia Pageant will begin at 5 p.m. at St. James Church, across the street, and conclude with a Community Swedish Church Supper at 6 p.m. A free will offering will benefit St. James' Church and its community services. All are welcome.

Inn-to-inn tours are $15; all other events are free to the public with a donation requested benefiting local community food cupboards.

For more information about the Santa Lucia Festival of Lights, call Amie at 802-375-6516 or email

Sunday, Dec. 9

Worship in North Bennington

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes all to its 11 a.m. worship service on this second Sunday of Advent. The congregation will light the second Advent candle. The sermon, "Advent Anticipation - Make Ready," will be based on Malachi 3:1-4 and Luke 3:2-6. There will be a children's time, after which Sunday School classes will meet for pre-school through grade 8.

The choir will rehearse following worship.

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.

Second Sunday of Advent at First Baptist

BENNINGTON -- The First Baptist Church of Bennington invites all to join the Advent journey this December. This second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 9, the congregation gathers for the 9:30 a.m. worship service.

An attended playroom is offered for children.

As told by Luke's gospel, the prophetic contrary known as John the Baptist cries out in the wilderness, summoning all who hear to repent. The congregation will offer prayers, listen for the Word, and sing Advent hymns, accompanied by Charles Olegar, the congregation's new director of music. The Rev. Jerrod H. Hugenot offers the sermon "The Prophetic Edge and the Dull Response," exploring John the Baptist's seeming eccentric ways and his message still resounding today.

Over the four Sundays preceding Christmas, many Christians around the world observe the holy season of Advent, awaiting the coming of Jesus, born in Bethlehem in lowly circumstance yet hailed by Christianity as the Son of God, the Word made flesh. The congregation welcomes various households through the season to light the Advent candles, with this week reflecting the multiple generations within First Baptist as the Harrington, Watson, Marsh and Harmon families help worshippers welcome the light.

First Baptist is "a place for healing, community involvement and spiritual grounding." Located at 601 Main St. in downtown Bennington, the congregation welcomes all to join in the ministry and mission. To learn more, visit or "like" the church's Facebook page to receive updates. To contact the church, call 802-442-2105.

'Opening Act' at the Federated Church

EAST ARLINGTON -- The journey continues on this Second Sunday in Advent with the service of worship at 10 a.m. at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road.

The way for Jesus' arrival is being prepared with the day's Gospel lesson coming from Luke 3:1-6. The Rev. Kathy Clark's message is titled "The Opening Act." Additional Scripture lessons include Malachi 3:1-4 and Philippians 1:3-11. The choir will be led and accompanied by Music Director Mary Edwards. All children, 3 through 10, are invited to begin the morning in the service in the sanctuary and then move onto Bailey Hall for the Sunday children's program. Red Stocking gifts are due back on this Sunday, Dec. 9. Coffee hour will follow the service in Bailey Hall with a basket available for donations to Holy Joe's Café which supports the ministries of U.S. chaplains stationed in Afghanistan and many other posts around the world. Following the service all those who will be participating in the Christmas Pageant on Dec. 24 are asked to stay for a first walk-through.

Senior meals are served on Tuesday and Thursday at noon in Bailey Hall. To participate in the ride share program, call the church office at 802-375-2548. For more information, visit or like the church on Facebook.

The Federated Church of East Arlington maintains denominational ties 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."

Worship and activities at Second Congregational

BENNINGTON -- The Jubellaire Ringers frame the 10 a.m. worship on this Second Sunday of Advent at Second Congregational Church.

Beginning with the prelude, they play "Advent Carol," by Hal Hopson, based on the plainsong "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." The congregation will light the second candle on the Advent wreath, the Candle of Peace, and the sacrament of baptism will be celebrated. Following a Time for the Children in All of Us, children up through grade 5 are dismissed for Godly Play and pageant rehearsal. The middle- and high-school class will gather and prepare for the Heifer Project Alternative Giving Fair. Nursery care is provided throughout worship. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon, based on Zechariah's song and Luke's setting of John's wilderness message in the context of those who thought they were in power, is titled, "Into the ways of peace " The Jubellaire Ringers return during the offertory to play "Danza," by Kevin McChesney.

Following worship, a time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family takes place in Webster Hall. Giving Tree gifts are due, and opportunities to purchase gifts in honor or in memory of loved ones through Heifer Project International are available. Those wishing to go caroling to church family members are invited to gather at the church at 2 p.m.

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 on Hillside Street is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559 or visit

Christmas Carol Sing at White Chapel

BENNINGTON -- A Christmas Carol Sing will be held on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. at White Chapel Church. The public is invited.

Free Sunday Supper at St. Mark's

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- The men of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 70 Main St., , invite everyone to enjoy a free monthly Sunday Supper, served from 5 to 6 p.m.

Upcoming dates are Dec. 9 and Jan 13. The facility is handicapped accessible. Call 518-686-4982 for more information.


Holy Hour to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

NORTH BENNINGTON -- Come join us on Wednesday, December 12 for the Holy Hour starting at 5 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Church in North Bennington. It will be dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and Patroness of Life from conception to death.

The program will include the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary, Hymns and special prayers to Honor Our Lady and to promote Respect for Life.

For information, please contact the St. John Parish Office at 802-447-7504.

Evensong with Advent Lessons and Carols

ARLINGTON -- On Saturday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m. there will be a special service of Evensong with Advent Lessons and Carols at St. James Episcopal Church. This is a quiet, reflective service of readings and traditional Advent carols. The music and readings reflect the message of expectation and hope that characterize the season of Advent and anticipate the miracle of the birth of Christ.

Before and after the service, visitors will be able to enjoy the 2012 exhibition of "Los Nacimientos", a display of more than 50 nativity scenes reflecting the art and culture of Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Canada (Inuit and Anglo), England, Italy, China, Portugal, Germany, Poland, the United States and even the Vatican. The nativities are made from papier mach, ceramic, straw, bamboo, stained glass and many other interesting materials. All are welcome. There is no charge for admission. Printed guides to the service and to the exhibition are available.

Lessons and Carols at Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales

BENNINGTON -- On Sunday, Dec. 16, a Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent will be offered at Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church at 5 p.m. The church is located at 238 West Main St.

Old Testament Scripture will be interspersed with music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Italian and English Renaissance composers Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Thomas Ravenscroft, respectively, and modern composer Thomas F. Savoy. Everyone is invited to attend this service and join the Catholic community of Bennington as it anticipates the birth of Christ through word and song.


Church-based opportunity in Bennington for choral singers

OLD BENNINGTON -- Chorally inclined individuals are invited to consider singing with the Choir of the First Congregational Church (The Old First Church).

Under the direction of Charles Olegar, whose career now comprises more than four decades as a professional church musician, the Choir of the Old First Church is dedicated to providing outstanding choral music and dynamic musical leadership each Sunday morning and on special occasions.

The choir's repertoire offers an exceptional opportunity to prepare and present musical treasures covering several centuries, along with a certain amount of more recent classically rooted music, all within the context of worship. Each Sunday's music is selected and prepared with the aim of helping make the Old First Church's services a source of spiritual invigoration and nourishment for all, augmenting the worship service with classical choral literature of recognized spirituality.

The Old First Church's Choir offers an inclusive, warmly embracing, supportive community, welcoming and celebrating diversity, reflective of the larger congregation. Church membership is NOT a prerequisite, although the choir is always delighted should participation lead to that level of involvement in the Old First Church congregation.

The choir likewise embraces a fairly wide range of musical backgrounds, united by the desire to realize each member's greatest potential as a choral singer. The group is blessed with some amazingly high levels of experience and ability, as well as by those who consider themselves relative novices, the majority being at various places in-between. Members simply enjoy choral singing; many bring basic reading skills, but others learn "by ear" and often find their ability to read music enhanced through the weekly round of service music.

Singers who are interested in the Old First Church Choir but are not certain about their vocal quality should not be deterred! Part of the choir's work focuses on developing basic singing technique, which can help individuals discover often-surprising personal potential! Singers are invited to participate on a trial basis for a while, then assess whether or not they wish to continue. They can also plunge in full throttle, should they desire!

In terms of attendance, the Old First Church Choir seeks to be flexible, with the understanding that each member is committed to being as regular as possible and to supporting various aspects of successful group dynamics, such as punctual arrival, reporting impending absence, and the like.

Rehearsals are weekly, on Wednesdays, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Church Barn, One Monument Circle (near the Monument) in Old Bennington. Each Sunday morning the choir warms up at the church at 10:30 a.m., for an 11 a.m. service.

The most typical way of coming aboard the Old First Church Choir is by expressing interest to Music Director Charles Olegar, either personally after a service or by e-mail (contact information is available through the church office, 802-447-1223).

Olegar brings to Old First Church a strong commitment to fostering the great tradition of church music in America through timeless musical expressions of faith.

Religious education at Israel Congregation of Manchester

MANCHESTER -- Israel Congregation of Manchester has announced that the Religious School is continuing its religious education program with classes on Wednesday for students in grades 1 to 8. Classes are held at the Temple from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and are taught by Allison Hill.

Rabbi David Novak and Allison Hill lead preschool children, parents and grandparents in activities and songs, followed by juice and challah. Join them from 9 ro 10 .M. on Jan. 12 for THE next class. Synagogue affiliation is not required for either program. Any questions, call the Temple at 362-4578


Hungarian foreign minister slams call to register Jews as security risks

VIENNA (AP) -- Hungary's foreign minister said Wednesday that calls by an extreme-right politician to register the country's Jews as potential security risks were "completely unacceptable" and the worst yet in a series attributed to the legislator's party.

Janos Martonyi also denied suggestions that his country was lenient with neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists, telling reporters "Hungary does not put up with" actions by such groups and individuals.

Martonyi's comments reflect Hungary's attempts to deal with the fallout from the remarks by Marton Gyongyosi of the far-right Jobbik party, which generated headlines across Europe and outraged human rights activists.

Gyongyosi told the legislature last week that it was time "to assess ... how many people of Jewish origin there are here, and especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who represent a certain national security risk."

Gyongyosi later apologized to "our Jewish compatriots" for his statement, but added that Hungary, a nation of about 10 million people, needs to be wary of "Zionist Israel and those serving it also from here."

Some 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Hungary's Jewish population is now estimated at 100,000.


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