Religion News in Brief


Sunday, Sept. 29

First Service by Rev. Lucy Ijams

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Lucy M. Ijams, who began her ministry with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bennington earlier this month, will preach her first sermon this Sunday. The topic will be "Have it your way," a reflection on what it means when a minister comes to join a religious community.

The service begins at 10 a.m. at the Meetinghouse, 108 School St. The Rev. Ijams was most recently consulting minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica, N. Y. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School.

She will serve the Fellowship on a half-time basis. Information is available at

Second Congo worship and events

BENNINGTON -- Sunday morning worship at Second Congregational Church, on Hillside Street, is open to all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, sex, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation. Worship begins at 10 a.m. and includes a Time for the Children in All of Us, after which children up through grade five are dismissed for Godly Play and the middle- and high-school class meets. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon this Sunday is titled, "Across the Great Divide," based on Jesus' story in Luke's gospel about Lazarus and the rich man seeing one another in the afterlife.

A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in the Webster Hall. The deacons will continue to sign up folks for their portraits to be taken Oct. 8 through 10 for the church family directory. CROP walkers will be seeking sponsors.

The monthly fellowship luncheon is on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at noon in Webster Hall. Come and join friends for conversation, salad, sandwiches, and dessert.

Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, welcomes everyone. Its 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

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Justin Lanier will preside as we celebrate the Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer on the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost at St. Peter's Episcopal Church.

The 8 a.m. Holy 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 singing and music at the free-standing altar using Rite II, the contemporary language service. The Gospel for this day will be Luke 16:19-31. The laying on of hands for healing follows each service.

Regularly scheduled events: There will be contemplative prayer and evening prayer on Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 3, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

The annual Blessing of the Animals will be observed on Friday, Oct. 4, at 5 p.m. Join us with your favorite animal friends for this event on the south lawn of the church.

The annual chicken pie supper will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5.

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.

Live classical and religious music

at Old First Church

OLD BENNINGTON -- Old First Church of Bennington will continue its series of public musical presentations on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m., as organist Charles Olegar and Old First's choir present an hour of choral and organ masterpieces interspersed with congregational psalm reading, led by Old First's minister, Dr. Kenneth Clarke, and several hymns. Musical highlights include J.S. Bach's monumental Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor for organ, along with English choral music from the early twentieth century by Edward Bairstow and Charles Waters.

The Sept. 29 musicale, open to all without charge (freewill donations encouraged), launches the autumn segment of the Musick and Song at Old First Church community-outreach series, inaugurated this past winter. Noted for its outstanding beauty as a widely-renowned example of Colonial architecture, along with its historic role as the community meeting house, Old First Church also possesses exceptionally fine acoustics, providing an ideal setting for classical music.

In addition to its prominent musical content, the vent will feature a substantial amount of congregational participation, chiefly through responsive reading, a form strongly associated with the Congregational tradition, to which Old First is affiliated. "A Psalm rendered this way, in speech," Olegar said, "is its own form of music. Two responsorially-read psalms on this occasion, as well as other congregational readings and several sung hymns, assure ample full-group participation."

Olegar also underscored the spiritual dimension of Musick and Song at Old First Church events: "We wish to place this great music in its intended forum, worship. It is written expressly to glorify God, and needs to be encountered in that context, wherein it can take-on meaning quite different from that imparted by concert presentation."

Old First Church is located at 60 Monument Ave., and Main Street, on the public green and adjacent to Old Bennington's historic cemetery.

'Reversal of Fortune' at the Federated Church

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

It is a pleasure to welcome the Rev. Joel Tibbetts back to the pulpit. The message today is titled "Reversal of Fortune." The Scripture lessons for the day come from Amos 6:1, 4-7 and Luke 16:19-31. Tibbetts will ask if this is a story about two people -- a rich man and a poor man, or a story about each one of us who contains both characters? Can we live with both?

The choir will led by Music Director Mary Edwards. All children ages 3 to 10 are invited to begin worship in the church sanctuary and then will leave for the church school program. New children are always welcome. Following the service of worship plan to stay for Coffee Hour Plus in Bailey Hall with food offered that is enough for a meal. Baskets for voluntary contributions to the kitchen equipment fund will be available on each table.

Plan to join the Federated Church of East Arlington on Thursday, Oct. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Bailey Hall for the first Family Night Dinner and Movie. This is a free night for busy families to relax and communicate without phones, ipods, demands and clean-up duties to which everyone is welcome. On the menu will be chili, bread, brownies and drinks. There will even be popcorn for the movie.

Senior meals are served on Tuesday and Thursday at noon in Bailey Hall. To participate in the ride share program, call the church office at 802-375-2548. For more information visit, or like the church on Facebook.

The Federated Church of East Arlington is 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."

FCC Williamstown Church Service

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. --The First Congregational Church of Williamstown worship's at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary.

This Sunday, the Rev. Mark Longhurst will preach a sermon, "Covenant: Mutual Obligation and Grace," the second of a four-part series on "Relationships and Storytelling." Scripture is Genesis 15:1-11, 17-18. Sunday School will be held for grades K to 6. Childcare is available. A coffee gathering in the Fellowship Hall follows worship service. At 11:15 a.m. Longhurst will facilitate a workshop on creating a relational covenant together by identifying the church's values and expectations for relationships.

First Congregational Church - UCC is located at 906 Main St.; phone: 413-458-4273.

Monday, Sept. 30

Make and share dinner to address hunger

BENNINGTON -- On the last Monday of each month, Congregation Beth El hosts a dinner for people who are in need of a good, warm meal. For this Monday's community dinner, 4 to 6 p.m. they currently need volunteers to make, bring, and/or serve a main dish, salad, dinner rolls, beverages (2-liters of seltzer, soda, juice), and dessert. If you are able to supply any of these items (you can even drop them off during the day on Monday), or if you are interested in serving and/or cleaning up, email Autumn Rizzio ( for more details.


Church seeks vendors for flea market/craft fair

BENNINGTON -- The First Baptist Church of Bennington is seeking vendors for its Cabin Fever Flea Market and Craft Fair taking place on Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market will feature 20-plus tables. For more information and table reservations, call 802-379-4548.

First Baptist is located at 601 Main St., downtown. To learn more about First Baptist and its mission to be "a place for healing, community involvement, and spiritual grounding," visit

Opportunity for choral singers at Old First

OLD BENNINGTON -- Choral singers with an affinity toward classical church music in a more traditional setting, who might be available for a regular Sunday morning commitment, are being encouraged by Old First Congregational Church of Bennington to consider the opportunity provided by its choir program.

Under the direction of Charles Olegar, the church's organist and choir director since this past December, Old First Church's choir has been working to develop as a skilled ensemble, bringing to worship distinguished music covering several centuries of the art, including more recent classically-rooted compositions. "Each Sunday's music is selected and prepared with the aim of bringing to our services the spiritual invigoration and nourishment that can be a special province of fine sacred music," states Olegar, whose career now spans over four decades as a professional church musician.

Along with its September-through-June schedule of weekly 11 a.m. Sunday morning services, the choir also appears regularly on Old First's community musicale series, which was inaugurated last March with a program of Bach cantatas, often performed with instruments, which are likewise engaged for special music on Christmas Eve and Easter.

In opening choir membership to the community, Old First Church is reflecting its historic role in Bennington, where it long served as the town's Meeting House, Thus, participation does not carry with it the prerequisite or expectation of church membership. With the congregation's commitment to offering an inclusive, warmly-supportive community that welcomes and celebrates diversity, choir members often choose to become more extensively involved in church life. "We are about the spiritual power of great music offered as worship," Olegar says; "A concert venue might provide some of that, but in the context of worship an already superb piece of music can take on even greater dimensions and meaning. That's our role at Old First."

Old First's choir rehearses weekly on Wednesdays, from 7:-8:30 in The Barn, on Monument Circle, with Sunday morning warm-up at 10:30 a.m., for an 1100 a.m. service. Prospective singers should contact Olegar, either personally after a service or through the church office (; phone 802-447-1223).

Benefit Clothing Sale seeks donations

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The second annual Friendship Center Food Pantry Benefit Clothing Sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12, at All Saints Episcopal Church hall (located next to the North Adams Post Office) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organizers are seeking donations of all types of clothes and particularly children's clothes and winter clothes. Donations may be dropped off at the offices of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition 61 Main St., Suite 218, North Adams, between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; at the Friendship Center Food Pantry between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or you may call Mark at 664-0130 and leave a message to arrange pick-up. All proceeds will benefit the food pantry -- an effort of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative -- which in 2.5 years of operation has served more than 1,400 households in North Adams, Clarksburg and Florida, Mass.


Annual German Dinner to benefit

Food and Fuel Fund

BENNINGTON -- On Saturday, Oct. 5, Redeemer Lutheran Church, will hold its Fall German Dinner at The Elks Lodge on Washington Ave. in downtown Bennington. For the fifth year in a row, all proceeds will be donated to the Bennington Interfaith Council Emergency Food and Fuel Fund. In 2012, almost $3,000 were donated. The buffet-style menu includes home-made sauerbraten, spaetzle, potato pancakes, German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, carrots, apple sauce, bread, apple cider and coffee and Black Forest cake for dessert.

Tickets are $15 for adults/$7 for children under 12. Take-out is available for $10/container. The dinner will feature two seatings, 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and reservations are needed. Call 802-442-8423 to leave your name, phone number, number of people in your party and preferred seating time. Info:

Annual Chicken Pie Dinner

BENNINGTON -- The annual Chicken Pie Dinner at St. Peter's Episcopal Church will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5, with two seatings, at 5:15 and 6:30 p.m.

The church is located at 200 Pleasant St. On the menu will be homemade chicken pie topped with homemade biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, mashed winter squash, apple cabbage salad, orange-cranberry relish, more biscuits and warm apple crisp with real whipped cream. To make reservations, contact the church office at 442-2911 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. or email

The cost for the dinner is $12 for adults; $5 for children under 13; and children under 3 are free. The church is accessible to everyone.

First Baptist fall tag sale

BENNINGTON -- The First Baptist Church of Bennington has announced it will hold a fall tag sale on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and 5. The sale will be held on Friday, Oct. 4, from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The tag sale features a wide variety of items: fall and winter clothes, household goods, toys, books, fabrics, decorative and household items, linens, and furniture. All proceeds benefit the work of the American Baptist Women's Ministries.

For more information, contact the church office at 802-442-2105 or

First Baptist is located at 601 Main St., downtown. To learn more about First Baptist and its mission to be "a place for healing, community involvement, and spiritual grounding." Website: visit Worship services are held Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

Chicken Pie Supper

SHAFTSBURY -- Save the date for the annual Chicken Pie Supper at Shaftsbury United Methodist Church, 127 Church St., on Saturday, Oct. 12. For reservations, call 802-447-3479. Settings will be at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Adults, $12; children 6 and under $6. Take outs available.


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