Religion News in Brief



Free Kids' Christmas Party at MCL

Northshire Baptist Church will host a free Kids' Christmas Party at the Manchester Community Library "lower level" on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

All children are invited, but ages 5 to 12 will especially enjoy it; parents are welcome to sign their children in and do holiday errands, or to stay and watch the kids have fun. The party will include games, crafts, songs, the original Christmas story from the Bible, and snacks. No need to RSVP, but for more information e-mail or call 802-362-1988.



Christmas Pageant Sunday at the Federated Church

A warm welcome is extended to experience the Christmas story at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road at the 10 a.m. Service of Worship on Sunday, Dec. 17.

The 3rd Advent candle of joy will be lit and the children of the congregation will present this year's pageant titled, "Deck the Halls and Trim the Tree" with carols to be sung by all. Non-perishable food items continue to be gathered under the Christmas tree in the church in an effort to meet the One Ton Challenge for 2017 in support of the Arlington Food Shelf and this is the day to bring in the gifts for the Thatcher House family. Immediately following worship, everyone is invited into Bailey Hall for a birthday party for Jesus. The monthly pancake breakfast offered by the Battenkill Grange will be offered before worship this Sunday from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

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. The Federated Church is an Open and Affirming and Reconciling congregation, with the mission, "To welcome all, to follow Jesus Christ together and to live God's word with compassionate service." For additional information phone the church office at 802-375-2548, send an email to or visit the church Facebook page.


Worship and events at St. Peter's Episcopal

The Rev. Justin Lanier of St. Peter's Episcopal Church invites people of all faiths or those in search of faith to join us in our service of Christ and of each other.

On Sunday, Dec. 17, the third Sunday of Advent, Lanier will celebrate Holy Eucharist at the 8 a.m. service, using Rite I (traditional language) of the Book of Common Prayer. At the 10 a.m. service, Lanier will lead Holy Eucharist using Rite I of the Book of Common Prayer. During this service, there will be a Christmas Pageant. St. Peter's Choir will be lead by Organist and Choir Director John Riddle. The Gospel for this Sunday is John 1:6-8, 19-28. A Healing Service will follow each liturgy.

Saturday, Dec. 16, today, is Church School. Join Mary Gerisch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a fun morning of Bible stories, crafts and making lunch together. Also, we will be getting ready for the Christmas Pageant tomorrow. Call Gerisch at 802-379-6311 if your children are interested in attending church school.

Vestry meets on the third Monday of the month, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, Dec. 20, Evening Prayer will be said from 5 to 5:30 p.m., followed by contemplative prayer from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Lanier will lead a Eucharist service Thursday, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m. in the chapel.

St. Peter's Choir will rehearse on Thursday evening, Dec. 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the parish hall.

On Sunday, Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, there will be two services in the morning as usual. However, additionally, there will be a 5 p.m. Christmas Eve service as well as an 11 p.m. service, with music starting at 10:30 p.m.

Monday, Christmas Day, Dec. 25, there will be one 9 a.m. service.

St. Peter's is wheelchair accessible. For more information about the church, visit or call 802-442-2911.


Worship at the Congregational Church

The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes everyone to its 11 a.m. Worship Service led by the Rev. Penny Rich Smith on this third Sunday of Advent. We will light the second and third Advent Candles of Joy and Love. The sermon, "Birthing a Promise," will be based on 2 Samuel 7:1-11 and Luke 1:26-55. There will be a children's time, after which Sunday School classes will meet for pre-school through grade 9. We will not be holding morning worship on the 24th, since it is Christmas Eve and we will have a Candlelight Service at 5 p.m., thus we are lighting two Advent Candles today.

Following the service, all are 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.


Sunday worship at Second Congregational Church

As the darkness deepens, we light the Candle of Joy this Sunday morning at Second Congregational Church. Worship begins at 10 a.m. with the lighting of the Advent Wreath Candles, and we welcome Mark Blank, our pastoral candidate.

Children up through grade 5 are invited to hear the Christmas story in a Joyful Path, in preparation for our Improv Pageant. Blank will preach on the Scripture reading from Isaiah, and a Congregational Meeting will take place to vote on the recommendation of the Pastoral Search Committee. Following the vote, we'll move into our Third Annual Improv Christmas Pageant, and all are invited to take part. Here's your chance to be an angel, or shepherd, or "wise person"! We will celebrate the birth of the Christ Child by singing "Happy Birthday to Jesus!" and enjoying an informal lunch of sandwiches and birthday cake.

At 1:30, those who wish to go caroling with the choir are invited to gather at the church.

Second Congregational Church is an Open and Affirming, Green Justice Congregation of the United Church of Christ. We welcome to our work and worship all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation, and we seek to care and advocate for the earth and her creatures. For further information, contact the church office at 802-442-2559 or visit


Service of Lessons and Carols

A Service of Lessons and Carols for Gaudete Sunday will be offered at Sacred Heart Saint Francis de Sales Church at 238 West Main Street on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m. Gaudete Sunday is a day of rejoicing for Catholics across the world as they anticipate the birth of Christ. Old Testament Scripture will be interspersed with traditional carols, motets, and Gregorian chant drawn from the Church's rich heritage of sacred music. Everyone is warmly invited to join together for a time of prayer, song, and reflection. All facilities at the church are accessible to those with special needs, and convenient parking is available.


Christmas Family Night at First Baptist Church

On Sunday, Dec. 17, at 5:30 pm the First Baptist Church will be hosting a Christmas Family Night in the church annex, which includes a Christmas Pageant, Christmas Carols, a pot luck supper, and a surprise visit from Santa and Mrs. Santa. Bring a dish to share, if able. First Baptist is located at 601 Main St.

On Dec. 24th, Christmas Eve, First Baptist Church will hold regular church worship services at 9:30 a.m. At 7 p.m. there is a special Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Both services will be held in the church sanctuary. After the Candlelight Service, there will be a gathering in the church lounge for coffee and cookies. First Baptist is located at 601 Main St.


Lessons and Carols at Old First Church

The Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols at the First Congregational Church, Monument Avenue at Route 9, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m.

This long-standing Bennington tradition in "Vermont's Colonial Shrine" will feature the singing of the Bennington Children's Chorus; organist, Jacqueline Metsma; soloist Kerry Ryer-Parke; pianist Matt Edwards, carol singing by the congregation; scripture readings by members of the congregation and a brief sermon by the Rev. Kenneth A. Clarke. Those who are able to walk a bit are asked to leave parking immediately in front of the church for others. A freewill offering will be taken with proceeds going to the Interfaith Council's Emergency Food and Fuel Fund. A wheelchair ramp will be provided. The public is warmly invited.


Chapel on the Green Christmas will hold a Candle Light Service, Sunday Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. Light refreshments following the service.

Christmas Eve


Christmas Eve at Second Congregational Church

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve will be a full day at Second Congregational Church. At 10 a.m., we begin worship on this Fourth Sunday in Advent, lighting the 4th Advent candle in our wreath, the Candle of Love. We'll hear the story of the Anunciation to Mary that she had been chosen to bear God's Child, and we'll sing all those Christmas carols you've been waiting all Advent to sing. Bring some extra Christmas cookies to share during our Sunday Social.

At 4:30 p.m. the Second Congo Brass will serenade us with Music of the Season, and at 5 p.m. we begin our Christmas Eve Service by candlelight, with handbells and anthems galore, lessons from Scripture, and a warm welcome to visitors and members alike. Nursery care is provided. Afterward join us for a cup of hot (or cold) cider and greet old and new friends.

At 10 p.m. our Service of Candlelight, Carols, and Communion begins a more contemplative way to settle into Christmas.

Both Christmas Evening services will receive a freewill offering for the Emergency Food and Fuel Fund. Checks should be made out to Second Congregational Church, with EFF in the memo.

Second Congregational Church is an Open and Affirming, Green Justice Congregation of the United Church of Christ. We welcome to our work and worship all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation, and we seek to care and advocate for the earth and its creatures. Our building is located at 115 Hillside St. in Bennington, and is wheelchair-accessible. For further information, contact the church office at 802-442-2559 or visit


Christmas Eve at Old First Church

On Sunday, Dec. 24, the First Congregational Church of Old Bennington will offer a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m. This family service will be filled with familiar readings and carols and concludes with the congregation singing "Silent Night" with lighted candles in front of the church. A wheelchair ramp will be provided. The public is warmly invited.


Christmas Eve service

The Arlington Community Church will hold a Christmas Eve Service on Sunday, Dec. 24, at 7 p.m. at Chapel on the Green, 62 Covered Bridge Road, off of Rt. 313. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Northshire Baptist services Dec. 24

Northshire Baptist Church ( will hold services at special times on Sunday, Dec. 24. From 9:45-10:30 a.m. there will be a children's Christmas Pageant and short Worship Service at Equinox Terrace Assisted Living (324 Equinox Terrace in Manchester Center, behind Shaw's). All are welcome.

Then from 11 a.m. to noon, they will have a Christmas Eve Worship Service at Northshire Baptist Church (5769 Main St. in Manchester Center). Children's Church is provided for children ages 2 to 6 during the 11 a.m. Worship Service. The regular Sunday Worship Service time is 9:30 AM. For additional information, contact Pastor Tim Counts at 802-430-1949 or


Christmas Eve Service at the Congregational Church

The community is invited to a Christmas Eve Celebration at the Congregational Church of Rupert on Sunday, Dec. 24, at 7 p.m., with a Service of Lessons and Carols. Jane LoBrutto will lead the service, which will include a short homily and a special time for children. We will conclude with a special candle-lighting ceremony. Kevin Bishop will direct the chorus and provide musical accompaniment on the church's Estey pipe organ. The church is located at 2501 Route 153 in Rupert and is handicap accessible.


United Church of Dorset and East Rupert celebrations

United Church of Dorset and East Rupert invites the community to its Christmas celebrations on Sunday, Dec. 24. There will be three services.

Our Sunday Service for the Fourth Sunday of Advent will begin at 10 a.m. This will be a service of Lessons and Carols.

The family service will begin at 4:30 p.m. It will include a Christmas story, a special time with the young and congregational candle-lighting. Soloist, Marcia Holland will be singing both the gathering and offertory songs.

The second service will begin at 8 p.m. and will include Communion and congregational candle lighting. Soloist Richard Grip will begin the service and our choir will be singing as well.

There are no services on Christmas Day.

The Church is located at 143 Church St. (Off Route 30) in Dorset. Questions: call the office at 802-867-2260.


Christmas Eve Service at Peru Church

Christmas Eve service at the Peru Church will take place at 6 .pm. If seating is necessary, we recommend that you arrive by 5:30 p.m. at the latest. Dr. Fox is our choral and instrumental conductor and Pastor Margaret will be preaching. Our community choir will serenade the congregants. We hope to see you there.     

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day


Catholic Christmas Mass schedule

Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church, 238 Main St., will offer Masses as follows:

- Sunday, Dec. 24 - Masses will be offered as follows: 4 p.m. ~ Traditional music led by the Youth Ensemble; 8 p.m. ~ Music with a cantor and organ; Midnight ~ Music with the Church Choir

- Monday, Dec. 25: 9 a.m. ~ Traditional music with cantor and organ.

Call 802-442-3141 or visit for more information.


Catholic Christmas Mass schedule

St. John the Baptist Church, 5 Houghton St., will offer Masses as follows:

- Sunday, Dec. 24: 4 p.m. ~ Children's Christmas Story, and Music with the Gospel Group.

- Monday, Dec. 25: 10 a.m. ~ Music with the Choir.

Call 802-447-7504 or visit for more information.


Zion Church Christmas Services:

Zion Episcopal Church invites the community to a choice of five services, all of which include Holy Eucharist (Communion). Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at 5 p.m. at Zion is the family service with Christmas Pageant, followed at 7 p.m. with a service at St. John's Chapel (Manchester Village), and back at Zion at 9 p.m. for the Candlelight Service with choir and special guest Joana Genova of Taconic Music.

On Monday, Dec. 25, a Christmas Day service will be held at Zion at 10 a.m.

Zion Church is located at 5167 Main Street/Route 7A between Gringo Jack's and Ye Olde Tavern and is fully accessible. For more information contact Zion Church 802-362-1987 or or visit website at


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