Religion News in Brief


Sunday, Feb. 2

Worship and events

at Second Congregational

BENNINGTON -- Begin this Sunday with worship at 10 a.m. at Second Congregational Church, UCC on Hillside Street.

All people of faith or in search of faith are welcome, without regard to age, race, sex, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation. During A Time for the Children in All of Us, folks are invited to share "Epiphany Moments," moments of insight or inspiration, and then children up through grade five are dismissed for Godly Play while the middle- and high-school class meets. Nursery care is provided throughout worship. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon, based on the Beatitudes from Matthew's gospel, is entitled, "Super Blessing." The whole church family is then invited to share in the sacrament of Holy Communion .

A time of fellowship and refreshment follows in Webster Hall.

The monthly fellowship luncheon will be held on Feb. 5th. Come and join friends for soup, sandwiches, dessert and conversation at noon in Webster Hall.

Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, welcomes all people. Its building is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559 or visit our website at

Worship, events 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 Feb. 2, the Feast of Preparation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple also known as Candlemas and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

There will be a procession and blessing of candles at both liturgies. 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 (at the free-standing altar) using Rite II, the contemporary language service. The Gospel for this day is Luke 2:22-40. The laying on of hands for healing follows the service.

Contemplative prayer will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 5. On Thursday, Feb. 6, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m., commemorating the Martyrs of Japan. All are welcome.

Date correction and reminder: The next big fundraiser, the annual spaghetti dinner, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28. Check with Colleen Gates at 518-423-2485 to see how you can help.

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.

'Mountain Message - Who?' at the Federated Church

EAST ARLINGTON -- A warm invitation to the service of worship is extended to one and all on Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road.

We continue to worship around tables in Bailey Hall and on this Sunday we will also be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion which is open to all. As the season of Epiphany continues, our attention turns to the Sermon on the Mount as told in Matthew's Gospel. The day's message from the Rev. Kathy Clark comes from the Beatitudes and is titled, "Mountain Message - Who?" The Federated Church Choir will sing under the leadership of Mary Edwards, music director.

On this Sunday when a special football game is front and center on the minds of lots of folks, the children of the congregation will have soup pots after worship in which they will gather monetary contributions on what we know as Souper Bowl Sunday. All donations will go to support the important work of feeding our neighbors through the Arlington Food Shelf. Non-perishable food items are also gathered this Sunday to be shared with the Arlington Food Shelf. The service of worship will be followed by coffee hour which is a time of fellowship and refreshment.

The church is currently collecting items from now through 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. The February book study begins on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 3 p.m. with Ian Morgan Cron's book, "Chasing Francis."

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 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. Holy Communion will be celebrated. The Meditation, "With What Shall I Come?," will be based on Micah 6:1-8 and Matthew 5:1-12. 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. For more information, call the church office at 802-442-5161.

Worship in Williamstown

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- First Congregational Church-UCC of Williamstown, 906 Main St., will hold worship at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary. The Rev. Mark Longhurst's sermon is "A Song of Justice." Scripture is Exodus 15:1-21. Sunday school and childcare will be available. All are welcome.


Family Shabbat Connection on first Fridays

On Friday, Feb. 7, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., little children may celebrate Shabbat with their parents and siblings Open to all, regardless of synagogue membership or affiliation.

Activities will be geared toward children under 5, but older children are welcome and encouraged to help lead activities for younger kids. We'll light candles, say blessings, sing songs, and enjoy a vegetarian potluck Shabbat dinner. It's a time to enjoy each other's company and make a Shabbat community.

The event will take place again at the home of Dianna Ivey. RSVP to Sherry Schwartz at if you can attend and/or e-mail with any questions.

Spaghetti dinner fundraiser

BENNINGTON -- The annual Pasta Dinner will be held at Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Parish Hall, on Saturday, Feb. 8, beginning at 5 p.m.

There will be a wide selection of pastas including spaghetti and meatballs, with two types of sauces -- both meat and meatless, a huge salad bar with lots of dressings, fresh Italian bread, desserts and beverages. Take out will be available.

The cost is $12 for adults, $5 for children and a family rate of $25 (2 adults and 2 children) Reservations are available by calling 802-447-1967 or the parish center at 802-442-3141. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Parish Hall is handicap accessible, has plenty of parking and is located at 236 Main St.

Shabbat-in-Action Family Education

BENNINGTON -- Shabbat-in-Action, on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 12:30 to 3 p.m., "Energy, Earth & Sustainability," will focus on what the Jewish tradition teaches about our relationship to the earth's resources and how to best preserve our natural resources for future generations. Join Congregation Beth El for Shabbat-in-Service on the afternoon of Feb. 15 for communal learning, through text and action, around the topic of sustainability.

This is a required Family Education program. It will be facilitated by Rabbi Jarah Greenfield and Rabbinic Intern Jacob Adler.

Zion Church Celebrates St. Valentine with renewal of marriage vows

MANCHESTER -- Zion Episcopal Church invites the community to join them as they celebrate St. Valentine on Saturday, Feb. 15. Yes, we know the 14th is actually the official date, but as love is eternal, we thought the 15th would work just as well.

The event begins the evening with an Italian food pot luck dinner at 5:30 p.m. during which there will be a presentation on St. Valentine, love, and marriage, followed by a service of the renewal of marriage vows in the sanctuary. All are welcome as we hope this will be a family affair.

Call the Zion office at 802-362-1987 or e-mail Zion at Zion Episcopal Church is located at 5167 Main St., between Gringo Jack's and Ye Olde Tavern.

Hungry in southern Washington county

CAMBRIDGE -- During this frigid winter weather how many people have to ask whether they should buy fuel oil or food to feed their families? 350 people a week come to the Cambridge Food Pantry, Christian Outreach Center, Inc., known as "Loaves and Fishes," which distributes 3,500 pounds of food a week to hungry people who live within the Cambridge School district.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, Presbyterian Church, the Cambridge Community Garden, Hubbard Hall, Round House Bakery Cafe and Battenkill Books will screen as a fundraiser the award winning documentary, "A Place At The Table." The film will be shown in the lower floor of the Brieman Building at 81 East Main St. The Brieman Building is the auxiliary building of the United Presbyterian Church which houses and supports the food pantry.

Jim will give a tour of the "Loaves and Fishes" food pantry in the Brieman Building. Round House Bakery Cafe will serve healthy snacks from ingredients supplied by the Cambridge Food Co-op which will also provide healthy beverages. Battenkill Books has donated the book, "A Place at the Table: The Crisis of 49 Million Hungry Americans and How to Solve It" by Peter Pringle (editor), as a door prize.

This event will take place at 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Free childcare will be available. Donations to cover the cost of the film and to support the Cambridge Food Pantry's work will be appreciated.

Recital at Catholic church

BENNINGTON -- On Sunday, Feb. 23, 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 compositons 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.


Police search for lost pope relic in Italy

ROME (AP) -- Police are searching a neighborhood in central Italy for a tiny relic bearing Pope John Paul II's blood after three suspected thieves tossed it away.

Dozens of officers were hunting for the relic Thursday on the outskirts of L'Aquila city in an area built for people left homeless by a 2009 earthquake.

The artifact, about the size of a fingernail, contains blood from when John Paul was wounded in a 1981 shooting. It was stolen last week from a chapel in the Apennine mountains where he liked to ski.

Police found part of the metal container but the relic inside was gone. Police say the suspects, unaware of its value, threw it away and don't recall where.

John Paul, who died in 2005, will become a saint on April 27.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions