Religion News in Brief


Sunday, Feb. 23

'Payback' at the Federated Church of East Arlington

EAST ARLINGTON -- In the midst of the wild weather of winter, a warm invitation is extended to all people of faith or in search of faith to come in from the cold for the service of worship on Sunday at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road.

This will be the final winter worship service held in Bailey Hall and the day's message from the Rev. Kathy Clark follows on the heels of Jesus' words found in Matthew 5:38-48 and is titled "Payback."

Additional scripture lessons include Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 and Psalm 119:33-40. The Federated Church Choir will be led and accompanied by Mary Edwards. All children are invited to begin worship with the congregation and then they will head off to church school where they will continue to learn about Joseph and his many-colored coat with this weeks theme focused on jealousy. Following worship all are invited to stay for a coffee hour time of fellowship and refreshment with contributions gladly accepted for Holy Joe's Cafe which supports the ministries of U.S. military chaplains around the globe.

This will be the final week to bring items from now through Friday, 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, like the church on Facebook or call the office at 802-375-2548.

Worship at Second Congregational

BENNINGTON -- What did Jesus say?! "It doesn't get any easier " is the title of the Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon during this Sunday's 10 a.m. worship at Second Congregational Church.

The church will continue its reading from the Sermon on the Mount and explore the demanding words of Jesus but not without reminding ourselves of who we are and Whose we are and what support is available for living the Jesus' Way. During the Time for the Children in All of Us, people will share Epiphany moments -- glimpses of the holy in the midst of our lives -- and then children up through grade 5 are dismissed for Godly Play. The middle- and high-school class will not meet this Sunday.

A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall, and the Eaarth Advocates meet in the Clayton Room at 11:35 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. Its building is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 802-442-2559 or visit

Worship at St. Peter's

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Justin Lanier will preside as St. Peter's Episcopal Church celebrates the Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer on this Sunday, the seventh 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, our contemporary language service. The Gospel for this day is Matthew 5:38-48. The Laying on of Hands for Healing follows the service.

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

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, from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $10/adults, $8/children ages 4-12, and children 3 and under are admitted free. To help, contact Emily Kennedy at 802-442-5300.

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 us in our service of Christ and of each other. The facility 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 Rev. Penny Rich Smith. The sermon, "The Voice of Mercy," will be based on Isaiah 49: 8-16 and Matthew 6: 22-34. 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 and is wheelchair accessible from the back door at the parsonage driveway. We are worshipping in the social hall for the winter months. For more information, call the church office at 442-5161.

Organ recital at church

BENNINGTON -- On Sunday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m., 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, Feb. 24

Monday Night community dinners

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 held on 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, contributes to 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 at


Spaghetti dinner at St. Peter's

BENNINGTON -- A spaghetti dinner will be held at St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Friday, Feb. 28. Chef Gary Whiting and his team will be preparing spaghetti with marinara and meat sauces, garlic bread, green salad with Nancy Bower's homemade dressing, brownies with real whipped cream and beverages. The price is $10 for adults, $8 for children under 12 and 3 and under are free. This event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. The church is accessible to all. For information, call 802-442-2911 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

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@; visit 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 Mount 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 Chairwoman Kathy Murphy at 802-442-5037.

Church flea and craft market

BENNINGTON -- First Baptist Church will hold its "Cabin Fever Flea and Craft Market" on Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Bennington, 601 Main St.

The market will feature 20-plus tables of collectables, antiques, books, boutique and vintage items and more; a penny auction. Homemade lunch, brunch, and snack items will be provided by and sold by the First Baptist Church. For more information, contact the church office at 802/442-2105 or e-mail


Floor collapse at Miss. church center; 35 hurt

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- As a student minister preached at a youth center in Mississippi, the wooden floor started to rumble and quickly collapsed, sending about 70 people tumbling and sliding onto the first floor below.

About 35 people were injured during the youth service Wednesday night, with most of them suffering cuts and bruises. A 16-year-old girl had a head injury, but none of the injuries was considered life-threatening. Everyone was released from the hospital by midnight.

"We were blessed by the Lord," said Tommy Davis, a pastor at Freedom Baptist Church. "Today, we are getting all the inspections done to a get a better perspective about what happened Wednesday night."

The two-story metal prefabricated building had been used as a community activity center for basketball games and meetings in Laurel, which is in southern Mississippi.

There are classrooms and a large recreation room where the young congregation had gathered. The adult members of Freedom Baptist were worshipping at the church next door.

Linda Cranford, a spokeswoman for the Jones County Fire Council, said church leaders and members got their first good look inside the building Thursday.

"The floor collapsed in like a ‘V' or funnel. It was an area of about 30 feet by 40 feet that gave way," Cranford said.

Witnesses reported hearing a low rumble before the floor gave way as student minister Kevin Price gave a sermon.

"Kevin was preaching on everything we own isn't our own," Tori Hodge, 18, told The Chronicle newspaper in Laurel. "Everybody heard it. The floor started crumbling and waving. People started falling through the ceiling, just like you'd see in a movie."

The floor is above a kitchen area. The drop was about 12 feet, said Sheriff Alex Hodge.

Davis said the building was built in 1998 and had not had any problems before.

"The floor gave way right in the middle. You can see board hanging there," Jones County Emergency Operations director Marda Tullos said.

Davis, the pastor, praised the leaders of the worship service for their quick action in restoring calm. He said the students, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years, had all been reunited with their parents.

Several of those hurt were shaken but had only minor injuries and were treated and released at the scene. Others were taken to hospitals.


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