Religion News in Brief


Saturday, March 22

Yankee Pot Roast Dinner at Federated Church

EAST ARLINGTON -- The community is invited to a meal to support a vital local cause. Bring your appetite on Saturday, March 22, at 6 p.m. to the Yankee Pot Roast Dinner to be held at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road.

On the menu will be pot roast, vegetables, mashed potatoes, beverages and great desserts provided by Mother Myricks, The Stratton Market and local cheesecake baker Sandy Barnes. Freewill donations will be accepted to benefit the important work of the Arlington Food Shelf. No reservations are necessary and take-outs will be available. Dinner will be served until the food is gone. Phone 802-375-2548 for additional information.

Author on ‘A Religion of One's Own'

MANCHESTER -- Thomas Moore will present "A Religion of One's Own" at 7 p.m. at the Northshire Bookstore. The New York Times bestselling author and trusted spiritual adviser offers a follow-up to his classic "Care of the Soul." Something essential is missing from modern life.

Many who've turned away from religious institutions -- and others who have lived wholly without religion -- hunger for more than what contemporary secular life has to offer but are reluctant to follow organized religion's strict and often inflexible path to spirituality.

In "A Religion of One's Own," Moore, a bestselling author and former monk, explores the myriad possibilities of creating a personal spiritual style, either inside or outside formal religion.

Sportsman's banquet at church

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- At 6 p.m., Hoosick Falls Community Alliance Church will host its 5th Annual Sportsman's Banquet. The guest speaker this year is outdoor sports enthusiast Pastor Gary Rogers of North Pownal Congregational Church.

Rogers loves being out in the woods and has been hunting since his teen years. He has hunted for deer, turkeys, quail, dove, feral hogs, javelinas, geese, and elk in his travels to Texas, Virginia and Idaho, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont.

There is no cost for the event, but if you are interested in attending, call and make a reservation.

Attendees are asked to bring a "game" dish of their choice (though not required). Side dish, beverage and dessert will be provided. Hoosick Falls Community Alliance Church is located at 484 Hill Road. To reserve a ticket, call HFCAC at 518-686-3269.

Sunday, March 23

Sermon: ‘When Much is Given, Much is Expected'

ARLINGTON -- In this third week of Lent, all people of faith or in search of faith are extended a warm invitation to the service of worship at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road.

Throughout Lent, the church continues to ask each person attending to bring a non-perishable food item and place it in the front of the church. All of the food will be brought to the Arlington Food Shelf to be distributed to our neighbors and friends in need. On Sunday, the Federated Church will welcome one of its own, Karen Underhill, to the pulpit. Her message, arising from Matthew 12:33-35 is titled "When Much is Given, Much is Expected."

Additional Scripture lessons include Psalm 37 and 1 Timothy 4:11-16. Just a reminder that the One Great Hour of Sharing offering and the gathering of the banks with loose change will be blessed on Sunday, March 30. Children 3 to 10 are invited to begin the service with the congregation and then will depart after the Time for Children to begin the church school program. The Federated Church Choir will offer special music under the direction of Mary Edwards. Following the service all are invited to Bailey Hall for a time of fellowship and refreshment. Don't forget the Holy Joe's Cafe basket which supports the important ministries of U.S. military chaplains around the world.

On Saturday, March 22, all are invited to the Yankee Pot Roast Dinner which begins at 6 p.m. in Bailey Hall. No reservations needed. Proceeds from the free will offering will go to the Arlington Food Shelf.

If you are seeking a midweek break, consider attending the Taize service on Thursday, March 27, at 7 the Federated Church. This simple evening service of about 30 minutes in length offers a quiet time of scripture, music, prayer and silence set amid candlelight.

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, like the church on Facebook or call the office at 802-375-2548

Worship at Second Congregational

BENNINGTON -- Worship will be held on this Third Sunday in Lent at 10 a.m. at Second Congregational Church, UCC, on Hillside Street. The church continues in its exploration of issues and actions in being faithful stewards and advocates of the Earth, as Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman at the well about water and what gives life. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon on this passage from John's gospel is titled, "High Noon at Jacob's Well." The Time for the Children in All of Us looks at our use of water and plastic. Godly Play is then offered for children up through grade 5, and the middle- and high-school class meets. Nursery care is offered throughout worship.

A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall. The Eaarth Advocates group meets at 11:30 a.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.

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

Worship and events at St. Peter's Episcopal Church

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Justin Lanier will preside as St. Peter's Episcopal Church celebrate the Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer on March 23, the third Sunday of Lent.

The 8 a.m. Eucharist will be 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 John 4:5-42. The laying on of hands for healing follows the service.

Safe church will be held here on Monday, March 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contemplative prayer will be held on Wednesday, March 26, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, March 27, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. All are welcome. The next meeting of the rector's study group will be held on March 30 after the 10 a.m. Liturgy.

Mission District 5 will hold a Lenten Quiet Day on April 5 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at St. Mary's in the Mountains, Wilmington. The Quiet Day will be led by Lanier and the Rev. Scott Neal, St. James Church, Arlington, focusing on contemplative prayer training and simple chanting practices using Taize chants. Please bring a brown bag lunch.

Reminder: St. Peter's Silent Auction, has been moved from 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 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 on this third Sunday in Lent. The sermon, "Living Water," will be based on Exodus 17:1-7 and John 4:5-42. 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.


Free community dinner at St. James

ARLINGTON -- St. James' Episcopal Church will host the next in a series of free community dinners on Friday, March 28. Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the undercroft of the church on Route 7A at the intersection with Route 313.

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 stroganoff, 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 dinner is scheduled for Friday, April 25, from 5:30 to 7 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; visit the website at or find the church on Facebook.

'Lenten Dinner Church' offered

ARLINGTON -- St. James' Episcopal Church is offering "Lenten Dinner Church" on Wednesdays in Lent. Participants meet in the St. James' Rectory (next door to the church) at 5:30 p.m. Seated around a table, we begin with an informal service of Holy Eucharist where we will hear the readings that we will discuss. A simple supper of soup and bread follows the liturgy during which we will share our reflections on the Biblical texts we have read and heard. We will end on or about 7 p.m. The remaining dates for the gatherings are March 26 and April 2 and 9. All are invited to participate. You need not be an Episcopalian to join the gathering. Everyone is welcome. Individuals may attend one, two or all of the gatherings. There is no requirement to attend each one. The Bible readings are provided each week. They are also available in advance by calling the church office at 802-375-9952 or sending an email to

Lenten Dinner Church provides an opportunity for people to gather together informally and share ideas and experiences in relation to the texts for Lent. This form of gathering is derived from the oldest traditions of Christianity. The earliest metaphors of the Gospel speak of discipleship -- following the teaching of Jesus -- as transformative through an alternative community and the reversal of conventional wisdom. This is an opportunity to experience, in our own contemporary times, an alternative style of worship that looks back to the Christian community's earliest form of worship.

In issuing the invitation for all to participate, the Rev. Scott B. Neal, Rector of St. James', says: "Ultimately, our Faith journey is about changed behavior and self-sacrifice. Christianity is a way of life, fed and nourished by daily prayer, scriptural reflection (Bible study) and corporate worship. Christianity is about transformation, a new birth, a new set of eyes to see the world. Let us walk together during Lent, explore our relationship to God and commit ourselves to a deeper connection to Christ as we anticipate the heavenly joy of Easter."

For more information about the Lenten Dinner Church or any other service or program at St. James' Episcopal Church, contact the St. James Parish Office at 802 375-9952; send an e-mail to, visit or find the church on Facebook. All are welcome.

Talk on Jewish Identity in the U.S.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- On Sunday, March 30, Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., will present Jewish Identity in the United States, a lecture on Jews and Jewish life in America based on the recent extensive survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. The 2 p.m. talk, which will include a question-and-answer period and a reception, will be given at Temple Anshe Amunim and is sponsored by the Hilda Vallin Feigenbaum Memorial Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the community. This talk has been rescheduled from its original Dec. 15 date; it was postponed due to a snowstorm.

The major new survey by the Pew Research Center suggests that Jewish identity is changing in America. While the vast majority of American Jews say they are proud to be Jewish, many see their Jewishness solely as a matter of culture or ancestry and do not identify with any religion, including Judaism. The extensive survey was conducted in 2013 by Pew Research Center staff members. Cooperman oversaw the research project and served as lead editor of the report.

The Pew Research Center's survey is the most comprehensive nationwide survey of American Jews in more than a decade. It has generated news coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, as well as widespread discussion in the Jewish press and international coverage via the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Presse.

Cooperman has given briefings on the survey's results to the leadership of the Jewish Federations of North America, the UJA-Federation of New York, the Orthodox Union, the American Conference of Cantors, the National Association of Temple Administrators, the board of directors of Taglit/Birthright, the Anti-Defamation League, the board and staff of the Conservative movement, the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and leaders of AIPAC, J Street, B'nai Brith, and numerous other Jewish organizations.

Alan Cooperman leads the Religion & Public Life Project at the Pew Research Center, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that conducts public opinion polling, demographic studies, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Known as a "fact tank," Pew Research does not take positions on public policy debates. Cooperman is an expert on religion's role in U.S. politics and plays a central role in planning the project's research agenda and writing its reports. Before joining the Pew Research Center in 2009, Cooperman was a national staff reporter and editor for 10 years at the Washington Post. He also served as a foreign correspondent in Moscow and Jerusalem for the Associated Press and U.S. News & World Report. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1982 and started in journalism at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.

Temple Anshe Amunim is located at 26 Broad St. in Pittsfield. For more information, call 413-442-5910, email, or visit

Ecumenical choral concert: ‘The Sound of Hope'

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- "The Sound of Hope" is a spring choral concert featuring the music of Randall Thompson, Aaron Copland, Jean Ritchie and others presented by the North County Ecumenical Choir. Audience participation is encouraged during the hymn singing. The concert is at 7 p.m. on March 28 hosted at the First Congregational Church. Co-directors for this concert are Matthew McConnell and Jill Wheat. McConnell will be accompanying on piano.

The North County Ecumenical Choir is a community choir open to all who wish to sing with members mostly from local churches and community members.

It is an affordable, local opportunity for "North County" community members to sing in a vocal ensemble with expert directors who have music degrees or experience. Thus creating an environment to improve artistic excellence and foster an enjoyable, educational environment for singers.

NCEC attempts to expand local awareness and appreciation of the choral arts by offering the gift of music freely to the community. The choir gives back to the community by accepting freewill offerings at concerts. These are donated to our hosting institutions and help with production costs. The concert is free, but encourages offerings. This spring season of music has been hosted by The First Baptist Church of North Adams and The First Congregational Church of Williamstown. Some of the many charities they sponsor are Higher Ground, Meals on Wheels, and The Friendship Center Food Pantry.

Contact Jill Wheat at for additional information.

Church supper in Pownal

POWNAL -- The Pownal United Methodist Church, corner of Route 346 and Church Street, will serve a Friday Night Supper with soup, sandwiches and pie on April 4 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. or until gone. This event is to benefit the "Beeper Snyder Benefit Fund" and Pownal United Methodist Women. "Beeper" needs our prayers and financial support as she undergoes cancer treatment.

The menu includes: Assorted soups including corn chowder, minestrone, broccoli/cheese and several more; sandwiches including, chicken, ham, tuna, and egg salad, turkey/cheese, ham/cheese, and peanut butter/jelly with potato chips served family style; your choice of many kinds of homemade pie; and lemonade, tea, and coffee. Tickets available at the door. $6 adults and take outs, $4 children 4-10 yrs., free for children 3 years and under. For more information, contact Mary Louise at 802-823-7769.


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