Religion News In Brief


Saturday, Jan. 18

Healing service in Manchester

MANCHESTER -- Zion Episcopal Church invites the community to a Healing Service on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. The special guest will be the Rev. Roy Henderson of The Ministry for the Renewal of Love and Mercy.

Henderson received the gift of healing a year after a personal pilgrimage to Lourdes which led to his conversion into the Roman Catholic faith and his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest. In 2012, after 20 years, Roy decided to leave active ministry to promote the healing ministry full time. Those who attend the healing service enjoy a quiet, gentle, compassionate environment where it is safe to receive God's healing love. A free will offering will be taken for the Ministry for the Renewal of Love and Mercy.

For more information visit

Zion Church is located at 5167 Main St., between Gringo Jack's and Ye Olde Tavern. For more information contact Zion Church at 362-1987.

Habitat potluck

EAST ARLINGTON -- Join with Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity volunteers and families to share good food, good company and inspiring conversation at the Annual Potluck Dinner which will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Federated Church on Ice Pond Road in East Arlington at 5:30 p.m. Please bring a main dish or a side dish for eight people. Beverages and dessert will be provided. RSVP is encouraged. Contact Alison at 802-367-1000 or for more information.

Sunday, Jan. 19

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 on this Ecumenical Sunday. The sermon, "Word and Witness," will be based on Isaiah 49:1-6, John 1:29-41 and 1 Corinthians 1:2-9. 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. For more information, call the church office at 442-5161.

'Come and See' at Second Congregational

BENNINGTON -- Diana Butler Bass' book, "Christianity after Religion," says that people are longing for "belonging" rather than "belief."

The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark will explore what that might mean in her sermon, "Come and See," during this Sunday's 10 a.m. worship service at Second Congregational Church, UCC, on Hillside Street. A "commercial interruption" from the Re-thinking Church Task Force will follow-up on this brief sermon.

Following the Time for the Children in All of Us, where those present are invited to share "Epiphany Moments," children up through grade five will be dismissed for Godly Play and the middle- and high-school class meets. Nursery care is provided throughout worship.

A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall.

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

'Named and Called - Pass It On' at Federated Church

EAST ARLINGTON -- On this Sunday of Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, we invite all people of faith or in search of faith to the 10 a.m. service of worship in Bailey Hall at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road.

The day's focal scripture comes from John 1:29-42 where those around Jesus are coming to grips with who and what he is about and how to give voice to his identity and work. King's work involved the continuing struggle for justice for all people and we are still trying to figure out how to carry on his work also, especially in light of Jesus's message. The sermon from the Rev. Kathy Clark is titled, "Named and Called - Pass It On." Additional Scripture lessons come from Isaiah 49:1-7 and Psalm 40. Mary Edwards, music director will provide accompaniment and lead the choir.

All children 3 to 10 are invited to begin worship together with the rest of the congregation and then they will leave with their teachers for a lesson on the 23rd Psalm and looking for a king. Immediately following worship there will be a time of refreshment and fellowship as well as a chance to review the financial parts of the annual report and have questions answered.

The Men's Fellowship extends a warm invitation for breakfast and conversation about the upcoming February Ham and Bean Supper. The men will gather at 8 a.m. in Bailey Hall and new men are always welcome to join in.

Senior meals are served on Tuesdadys 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, events at St. Peter's Episcopal Church

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Justin Lanier will preside at St. Peter's Episcopal Church as it celebrates the Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer on this second 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 at the free-standing altar using Rite II, the contemporary language service. The Gospel for this day is John 1: 29-42. The laying on of hands for healing follows the service.

Church school will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Vestry will hold its monthly meeting on Jan. 19 after the 10 a.m. service. On Monday, Jan. 20, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the office will be closed.

Contemplative prayer will be held on Wednesday, Jan, 22. On Thursday, Jan. 23, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

Remember that the annual meeting will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26. There will be two services, one at 8 a.m. and one at 10 a.m., with the annual meeting commencing after the 10 a.m. service and a brief coffee break. This is a very important meeting so everyone is urged to attend. Be in touch with Cathy Perkins if you are able to help with the lunch.

Reminder: The next big fundraiser, the annual spaghetti dinner, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21. 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 is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit or call 802-442-2911.

Dr. Stewart Burns to speak at annual interfaith service

MANCHESTER -- The Interfaith Council of the Northshire will welcome historian Dr. Stewart Burns to the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Service on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 4 pm, at Israel Congregation of Manchester, 6025 Main St.

Burns is on the staff of Williams College's Center for Learning in Action. He is the author of "To the Mountaintop: Martin Luther King's Sacred Mission to Save America 1955-1968" published to commemorate what would have been Dr. King's 75th birthday 10 years ago.

"The Interfaith Council of the Northshire embodies the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose memory, as a modern prophet, continues to inspire us to strengthen our sacred efforts in our communities," said the Rev. Kathy Clark, chairwoman of the Interfaith Council.

Refreshments will be served following the service. For more information, contact Rabbi Novak at Israel Congregation: 362-4578.


MLK Day special event in Bennington

BENNINGTON -- The Greater Bennington Peace & Justice Center together with the community's Interfaith Council are sponsoring a special event for Martin Luther King's Day.

"Moving Toward Economic Justice in the Greater Bennington Community: The Dream & the Reality" will be held at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20. There will be a Candlelight Vigil and Song (BYO candle) at the Four Corners in Bennington at 6:30 p.m.; gathering for fellowship, desserts and hot beverages at the UU Meetinghouse at 6:45 p.m.; a panel & small group discussion -- examples of economic injustice in our area and promising programs or opportunities that are helping to break the cycles of injustice. The Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse is located at 108 School St.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee welcomes everyone to join them on Monday, Jan. 20, to celebrate the life, principles, and ideals of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by partaking in a "Day of Service" to the community followed by a celebratory luncheon.

This 21st annual celebration will begin on at 9 a.m. for coffee and refreshments at MCLA's Church Street Center. Around 9:15 a.m., participants start their choice of a community project with either on-site tasks at MCLA's Church Street Center or off-site at various community locations (The Friendship Center Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, or 10+ other locations).There are service projects that are suitable for all ages and abilities and include tasks such as: painting, cleaning, organizing, building, winterizing, or sewing.

The free luncheon and community celebration begins at 12:30 p.m. at MCLA's Church Street Center. While enjoying lunch, musical entertainment and words of inspiration will be offered. The special highlight will be the presentation of the Peacemaker Award to Paul Austin of the Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity for his many years of dedicated service to build homes for families in Northern Berkshire.

This event is free and we encourage everyone in the community to volunteer and celebrate our Northern Berkshire community. MLK Jr. Day of Service is sponsored by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. For more information, contact Kathy Keeser at or at 413-346-7196.

Free Community Supper at the Dorset Church

DORSET -- A free Community Supper will be held at the Dorset Church, 143 Church St. (off Route 30) on Thursday, Jan. 23. Dinner will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Everyone is welcome. Bring your family and friends. Take-outs are available. Questions: call Jane at 802-867-2260. There will be additional free dinners on Wednesday, Feb. 12, and Thursday, March 13.

Talk at Cornerstone Fellowship

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Dr. Ed Wright, a professor at Northeastern Baptist College in Bennington, will speak on evangelism at Cornerstone Fellowship on Saturday, Jan. 25. There will be a worship service at 6 p.m. followed afterward by the talk. All are welcome. Cornerstone Fellowship is located at the corner of Route 22 and Johnson Hill Road.

St. Mary's Academy
open house

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- St. Mary's Academy will hold an open house for prospective families on Sunday, Jan, 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. Registrations for grades Pre-K through 8 will be accepted for the 2014-2015 school year. We are also accepting applications for the current school year for grades K-8. The school offers a Full Day Pre-K program for both three and four year olds, with an enrollment scale of one to five days a week. Before and after care are available. Students can be dropped off as early as 7 a.m. and After Care is offered until 6 p.m. We welcome all members of our community to visit us and experience what St. Mary's is all about.

Please contact Principal Maureen Daurio with any questions, at 518-686-4314 or

Service for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The second annual Interfaith Service for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding will be held at New Hope Methodist Church on Sunday, Jan. 26, beginning at 7 p.m.

This will be an inclusive and supportive event in an informal setting. All are welcome.

New Hope is located at the corner of Main and Water Streets in the former TGL Photoworks building.

Last year's service was quite powerful and well-attended and this year's service is shaping up to be the same. It will be led by the Rev. Dan Randall, the recently installed pastor of New Hope, who has planned the service. It will last about an hour. Refreshments will be available.


Church releasing sex abuse files on Chicago clergy

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago is getting ready to release thousands of pages of documents involving clergy sex abuse.

Attorneys for abuse victims will receive the documents Wednesday, and they'll make the documents public next week as part of a yearslong effort to hold the church accountable for how it handled allegations against priests that date back decades.

Attorneys say the church in some cases concealed crimes and permitted priests to continue working in situations that allowed them to abuse more children.

The archdiocese agreed to release the files as part of settlements with abuse victims.

The documents include complaints and other files for about 30 priests with substantiated abuse allegations.

Cardinal Francis George has apologized to victims and Catholics. He says no priests accused of abuse are in active ministry.

Brawl hurts Berlin
Jewish community

BERLIN (AP) -- Under the golden dome of the Berlin synagogue, elderly worshippers traded shoves and obscenities flew. A man held up his phone to film the ruckus; the leader of the city's Jews snatched it away. Then punches began to land in a chaotic scrum, a man rammed a table into another's stomach, and demurely clad women put each other in chokeholds. Police had to be called to restore calm.

The ugly scene, described in interviews with witnesses and seen on an Internet video, is indicative of a Berlin Jewish community in crisis -- riven by cultural rivalries, its finances under official scrutiny. It's hard to say who is at fault, but the feuding is fed at least in part by a clash between an old guard of German Jews dating to before World War II, and a growing presence of relative newcomers from the former Soviet Union.

What is clear is that the 10,000-member Jewish Community of Berlin, having experienced a stirring post-Holocaust rebirth, now fears it's in danger of falling apart. And Berlin authorities are so alarmed by alleged financial irregularities that they have suspended millions of euros (dollars) in subsidies the community has enjoyed for decades.

"The quarrels highlight the demoralization that has been taking place in this community," Lala Suesskind, who headed the Jewish Community of Berlin until February 2012, told The Associated Press. "The community is in such a hopeless situation that even violence and intimidation are being used. That's unprecedented."

At the center of the storm is Gideon Joffe, who was elected nearly two years ago as community president, and whose leadership style has alienated members even as he comes under official scrutiny of his financial management.

The brawl in the famed Neue Synagoge on Oranienburger St. erupted last May after the Berlin Senate, the community's main source of funding, made a stunning announcement: It was cutting off payments for the community's salaries until Joffe explained why his latest budget included an 11 percent increase in subsidies for personnel costs -- a jump of about 600,000 euros (more than $800,000). Joffe refused to give details of where the money would go -- or even the number of staff the community employs.

The city responded by blocking the funds -- and the community was unable to pay salaries.

Joffe declined to be interviewed, but his spokesman, Ilan Kiesling, speaking to the AP, said: "A small group from the opposition is trying again and again to create a bad atmosphere in public, even though the community's institutions are working very well. The opposition does in no way reflect the entirety of this community."

The Senate pays about 5.5 million euros a year toward community salaries -- 40 percent of the total -- and can't calculate the budget without knowing exactly how many employees are involved, city officials said. Estimates provided by Joffe of between 300-350 persons on the payroll are too vague, they said.

"We are happy to provide money to the Jewish community. We're eager to support its growth, and due to our historical responsibility we're willing to be generous," said city spokesman Guenter Kolodziej. "After the war, the rebirth of Jewish life was worth its weight in gold.

"However, we are obligated to control how the money is being spent, and we weren't able to do so."


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