Religion news in brief

Saturday September 29, 2012

Sunday, Sept. 30

End of Life Care forum offered

BENNINGTON--On Sunday, Sept. 30, the First Baptist Church of Bennington will host "Ending Well: Talking About Your End-of-Life Care Decisions," an informational forum from 2 to 4 p.m. With a panel of local professionals in their fields, the forum will explore medical, legal, spiritual and other caregiving decisions involved with end-of-life care. The event will be held at First Baptist, 601 Main St. RSVP requested to 802-442-2105 or

There is no charge to attend this non-sectarian public event facilitated by First Baptist, offered as part of its mission to be "a place for healing, community involvement and spiritual grounding." Special music and a puppet show message

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes all to its 11 a.m. worship service. This Sunday the laity will lead the service with special music and a puppet show message. 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. in North Bennington, across from the bank, and is wheelchair accessible from the back door at the parsonage driveway. For more information, call the church office at 442-5161.

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost at St. Peter's

BENNINGTON -- All are welcome to St. Peter's Episcopal Church for the Holy Eucharist at 8 a.m. (Rite 1) and 10 a.m. (Rite 2). Worship is led by the Rev. L. Paul Gratz, transition minister, and Derek Stannard, organist/choirmaster.

The Chancel Choir will sing at the 10 a.m. service.

In Mark's Gospel, John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward."

Following worship, all are invited for coffee hour in the Parish Hall. St. Peter's 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. Wheelchair accessible, the church is located at 200 Pleasant St. For more information, call the parish office at 442-2911 or visit

Sermon: ‘Who's in and what's "in"?'

BENNINGTON -- "Who's in and what's ‘in'?" is the title of the Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon at Second Congregational Church this Sunday morning. Worship begins at 10 a.m. and includes a Time for the Children in All of Us. Godly Play for children up through grade 5 and a class for middle- and high-school students are offered, and nursery care is provided throughout worship. A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall. Sponsor envelopes for the CROP Walk and Hop for Crop will be available during the Sunday Social.

The Fellowship Luncheon is Wednesday, Oct. 3, at noon in Webster Hall. Come join friends for food and conversation.

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


Fall Basket Bingo

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Immaculate Conception Church will host its annual Fall Basket Bingo on Thursday, Oct. 4, in the church hall. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and games begin at 6:30 p.m. Prizes include themed filled baskets and door prizes. Tickets will be sold at Thopre's Pharmacy and the church rectory. For more information, call 518-686-4737.

First Baptist Church fall tag sale

BENNINGTON -- The First Baptist Church of Bennington will hold a fall tag sale on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5-6. The tag sale will be held on Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Note that the Friday sale schedule is now in the late afternoon to allow more families to shop after school or work. The Saturday hours remain the same as previous years.

The tag sale features a wide variety of items (fall and winter clothing, household goods, children's toys, books, etc.). All proceeds benefit the work of the American Baptist Women's Ministries.

For more information, contact the church office at 802-442-2105 or 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 Worship services are held Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

Harvest Fair

and ‘Night in Italy'

ARLINGTON -- On Saturday, Oct. 6, there will be two events held at St. James Episcopal Church. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Harvest Fair will be celebrated on the church grounds and the Arlington Village Green. Vendors will offer a diverse assortment of arts, crafts, antiques and collectibles for browsing and shopping. The church will be decorated for the harvest season and will be open for visitors. Self-guided tours of the historic cemetery will also be available. Vendor space is still available. Contact the parish office for information about reserving a space for this annual event.

Also on Oct. 6, join the church for "A Night in Italy." Relax and enjoy a three-course served meal. Seatings are at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The cost is $20 per person ($10 for children 12 and under).

Seating is limited, so reservations are strongly suggested. Call 802-375-9952 for tickets, or purchase them at the door.

Blessing of the Animals

ARLINGTON -- On Sunday, Oct. 7, St. James Episcopal Church will hold its annual observance of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi and the Blessing of the Animals at 4 p.m. If the weather permits, the brief service will take place on the church lawn. If not, it will be in the church. All pets are welcome. Dogs must be leashed. Cats, birds and other pets must be suitably contained and under owner's control at all times.


Catholic group faults German bishops' on church tax

BERLIN (AP) -- A Catholic reform group in Germany criticized the country's bishops Monday for declaring that believers who refuse to pay religious taxes won't be able to receive the sacrament, become godparents or work in church institutions.

A century-old agreement with the state adds up to nine percent to the income tax bill of Germany's 25 million registered Roman Catholics, earning the church more than euro4 billion ($5.2 billion) annually. The same tax applies to Protestants and Jews.

The churches use the income to pay employees' salaries and fund social work such as care for the elderly. The churches themselves aren't taxed by the state but instead pay an administrative fee for the collection of religious tax. Donations represent a far smaller share of the churches' income than in the United States.

The Catholic bishops' decree in Germany last week is part of an attempt to stem the steady flow of people who opt out of paying religious taxes. It declares that they have committed a "grave lapse" and effectively left the church.

But the group We are Church -- which claims to represent tens of thousands of grassroots Catholics -- said the bishops' decision to freeze believers out if they don't pay up was "the wrong signal at the wrong time."

The group said many German Catholics choose not to pay religious taxes because they disagree with the church's actions, not because they have lost their faith. It said the decision undermined the bishops' own efforts to regain credibility among believers who have become disenchanted by the fact that for decades the Catholic Church covered up child abuse by priests.

Mormon church dedicates temple in Brigham City

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has dedicated its newest temple after a month-long open house that drew more than 400,000 visitors.

Mormon church officials say the site dedicated Sunday in Brigham City, Utah is the 14th temple in the state and the 139th in the world.

The temple will serve about 40,000 people throughout northern Utah and southeastern Idaho.

Ceremonies including marriages and baptisms are held at temples, which are open only to church members in good standing.


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