Religion News in Brief


Sunday, Jan. 12

Worship at Second Congregational

BENNINGTON -- Experience the warmth of the Spirit this Sunday morning at Second Congregational Church, UCC, on Hillside Street.

Worship begins at 10 a.m., as we celebrate the Baptism of Christ. After a Time for the Children in All of Us, when we share our "Epiphany moments," children up through grade 5 are dismissed for Godly Play. The middle- and high-school class meets this Sunday at the Kitchen Cupboard for their monthly service time. Nursery care is provided throughout worship.

The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon, based on the readings from Isaiah and Matthew, is titled, "So it begins"

A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall. The Eaarth group meets at 11:30 a.m. in the Clayton Room to discuss activities during Lent.

Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, welcomes all people 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

St. Peter's Episcopal Church

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Justin Lanier will preside at one Eucharistic service with a Baptism at 9 a.m this Sunday morning at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The church will celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord using the traditional language of Rite I of the Book of Common Prayer at the high altar with music. There will also be a party in thanksgiving for the newly baptized and the ministry of all who are baptized. The Gospel for the day will be Matthew 3:13-17. The laying on of hands for healing follows the service.

Contemplative prayer will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15. On Thursday, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

Note 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. Committee chairpersons should have had their reports in the office by Jan. 10 in order to get the reports into the packet. This is a very important meeting, so all are urged to attend. Be in touch with Cathy Perkins if you are able to help with the lunch.

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.

'Changed' at the Federated Church

EAST ARLINGTON -- Winter brings all forms of precipitation and today at the Federated Church of East Arlington all are invited to join us in exploring the power of water.

The water that will be the focus of the day's service is the water of baptism on this Baptism of Christ Sunday. The message from the Rev. Kathy Clark is titled, "Changed." The 10 a.m. service of worship will take place in Bailey Hall with Scripture lessons from Matthew 3:13-17, Acts 10:34-43 and Psalm 29 and will include the renewal of our baptismal vows.

All children 3 to 10 will begin Sunday in worship and then leave to go upstairs for the church school program. Following the service plan to stay for coffee hour in Bailey Hall where there will be a basket for Holy Joe's Cafe to support the work of U.S. military chaplains around the world.

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 additional information, phone 802-375-2548, or like the church on Facebook.

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. The sermon, "Out of Our Minds," will be based on Isaiah 42:1-9, Matthew 3:13-17 and Acts 10:34-43. 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 442-5161.


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.

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.


Summer 2014 at Camp JRF

Come be a part of the fun and excitement of Summer 2014 at Camp JRF.

At Camp JRF, we not only teach Jewish living skills, but we also create a warm and caring community where campers can build character and learn a deep respect for Jewish tradition and what it has to offer in everyday life. Reconstructionism is a progressive approach to Jewish life which integrates a deep respect for traditional Judaism with the insights of today.

The Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Campus is situated on beautifully wooded lands in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and includes a waterfront with canoes and kayaks; a low and high ropes course and climbing wall; a heated swimming pool; endless hiking trails; a street hockey rink, baseball diamond, tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and athletic fields; a state-of-the art theater; an arts center; and an indoor gym.

Financial support is available for those who qualify. For more information, visit


Catholic leaders urge Senate to promote decent work and just wages

WASHINGTON, D.C. --Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, in a letter today called on the US Senate to advance policies that promote decent work and just wages.

Noting that the current federal minimum wage fails "to provide sufficient resources for individuals to form and support families," they conclude that it does not meet the standard for just wages as set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

They also point out that "A full-year, full-time worker making the minimum wage does not make enough money to raise a child free from poverty. Because the minimum wage is a static number and does not change, each year it becomes more difficult for workers making the minimum wage to survive. . . . Workers deserve a just wage that allows them to live in dignity, form and support families, and contribute to the common good."

The letter recalls the sentiments of Pope Francis from last September, saying it is necessary "to remove centrality from the law of profit and gain, and to put the person and the common good back at the centre" of economic life.

The letter complements an op-ed that Archbishop Wenski wrote in Monday's Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. He points out the many struggles of low-wage workers and remarks, "Most distressing of it all is the loss of hope. Low-wage workers desperate for a fair shake are giving up hope of financial security."

The letter can be found at

Nigeria military: 38 Islamic extremists killed

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigeria's military says it killed 38 suspected Islamic militants and lost a soldier when troops repulsed an attack on a northeastern farming village.

Spokesman Col. Muhammed Dole said soldiers informed of the insurgents' plan "to cause havoc and mayhem" were able to repel the attackers and inflict heavy casualties when extremists arrived at Damboa village in Borno state around 1 a.m. Thursday.

He said the soldiers captured three vehicles loaded with high-caliber weapons, ammunition, homemade bombs and food.

A military aircraft was pursuing fleeing attackers including some wounded in the shootout.

Dole made no mention of civilians who have suffered the biggest casualties in a 4-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria, where the government has imposed a state of emergency since May.

Homeless seek out shelters in western Mass.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- The dangerously cold temperature has caused homeless people to fill Springfield's shelters to near capacity.

The Republican newspaper of Springfield reports that the Friends of the Homeless, which has 150 beds, is making floor space available for emergencies. Executive director William Miller says "We don't turn anybody away." He says police and hospitals are referring homeless people to them.

A staff member at the Springfield Rescue Mission says the shelter was "at capacity." It can hold 40 people.

Group seeks fed recognition for Utah gay marriages

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's largest gay rights group is asking the federal government to recognize same-sex couples that married in Utah before the Supreme Court put these unions in the state on hold.

The court's decision has created confusion for more than 1,000 couples. In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the Human Rights Campaign asks Attorney General Eric Holder to allow those couples to receive federal benefits.

The letter came one day after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert instructed state agencies to hold off on processing any new benefits for the newly-married couples. Agencies are not supposed to revoke any benefits that have already been issued.

A Supreme Court decision last year extended many federal benefits to married same-sex couples.


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