Strength and heart

Newfane: The First Congregational Church of Newfane will meet for Morning Worship at 10 a.m., on Dec. 13, the Third Sunday of Advent. Rev. Rob Hamm's sermon, "Words of Strength and Heart," includes scriptures from Philippians 4:4-7 and Luke 3:7-18. John and Janice Guminak will light the Third Advent Candle, the Candle of Joy. Congregational hymns are "When God Is a Child," "On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry" and "Awake, Awake, and Greet the New Morn." Alice Gausch, pianist, will be joined by Martha LaMoria, organist to play the prelude "Good Christian Folk, Rejoice" arr. by Martin and the postlude "O Come, All Ye Faithful" arr. by Smith. The choir will sing the offertory anthem "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child." The church's missions for the month of December are Brattleboro Hospice and SEVCA Fuel Assistance. The congregation continues to collect donations of canned goods and non-perishable food for the Townshend Food Shelf. Events for the upcoming week include Al-Anon on Monday at 7:30 p.m. and Linus Quilters at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Thursday is a busy day beginning with Men's Coffee at 10 a.m. then The Ladies Aid Meeting at 11 a.m. followed by the Ladies Aid Holiday Potluck lunch at noon. Bells and Choir rehearsals begin at 4:45 and 6:30 respectively on Thursday evening. For more information, call 802-365-4079 or visit


Donkey tales

Chesterfield, N.H.: On the third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m., at The First Universalist Church of West Chesterfield, 10 Main Street, guest speaker and guitarist Keith Penniman will attempt to "pin down three lessons about joy via three donkey tales."

Spilled heart

Brattleboro: On Sunday at Centre Congregational Church, Reverend Bert W. Marshall will lead the Sunday worship at 10 a.m. with "The Heart Spilled in the World." Scripture readings are Zephaniah 3: 14-20, Luke 3: 7-18, and the Book of Mercy #46 By Leonard Cohen. The Adult Book Study group is reading "Rumi: The Life and Work of the Great Sufi Poet," by Annemarie Schimmel. Sunday School begins at 9 a.m. followed by Faith in Action for the school-age crowd. Child care is provided from 9 a.m. through the church service. Centre Congregational Church is an Open and Affirming community as well as a Just Peace church. Centre Congregational Church is located at 193 Main St. On-going church activities include the Prayer Shawl Ministry, 4:30, Mondays; Quilting Ministry, 1:30, Thursdays at the home of Gisela Robeck and Women's Spirit, 4:30, Thursdays. Church Office Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For information, call 802-254-4730 or visit

Divine intervention

Townshend: Rev. Donald Hasham will provide the sermon, titled " Divine Intervention," on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. at the Townshend Church. The text is John 3:14-21. Gabbi Walton will be pianist and the special music will be Gabbi on her guitar. The third Advent candle will be lit during the service. Fellowship hour with coffee and refreshments immediately follow the service. The West River Valley Chorus Holiday Concert will be hosted at the church at 3 p.m. on Dec. 13. All are welcome. The Townshend Church is an ABC and UCC congregation guided by its lay members.

Seasonal stories

West Brattleboro: All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church at the West Village Meeting House invites all to worship on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. The service's theme is "Stories of the Season." All Souls board member Linda Hay shares classic stories for all ages to brighten dark days and perhaps raise a chuckle. Child care is available upon request. All Souls at the West Village Meeting House is a Welcoming Congregation and a Green Sanctuary and is located at 29 South Street .For more information, call 802-254-9377, e-mail or visit

God our refuge

Brattleboro: The words "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" have never felt more timely. Can prayer to God bring anything more than emotional comfort in the face of violence and tragedy? Can prayer actually bring healing solutions where hatred and injustice appear to have the upper hand? "The history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting power bestowed on man by his heavenly Father, omnipotent Mind, who gives man faith and understanding whereby to defend himself, not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering," wrote Mary Baker Eddy. This week's sermon focuses on this supporting influence and protecting power. Sunday morning worship at First Church of Christ Scientist begins at 10:45 a.m. at 57 Putney Road. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 7:45 p.m., the nativity story and the healing presence of Christ today will be the subject of an evening testimony meeting. All are welcome. For more information, call 802-254-4924.

Just mercies

Dumemrston: Worship at the Dummerston Congregational Church UCC begins at 9:30 a.m. This Third Sunday of Advent the candle for Joy will be lighted. It is a real statement of faith to hope for joy in times like these. The scriptures are from Isaiah 40, Micah 6 and Luke 1. The Sermon is " Just Mercies." Music will be under the direction of Mary Westbrook-Geha, organist, and the Rev. Dr. Larrimore Crockett, choir director. Children begin in worship and then go to an open classroom to prepare for the Christmas Pageant, with Billie Slade, church school director. Christmas Pageant preparations will be held this Sunday and after school on Thursday, Dec. 10 and 17, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., with games, snacks, crafts and pageant practice. All children are invited, regardless of church affiliation. Children may take the bus from school with a note from parents. The pageant will be on Sunday, Dec. 20, during worship. The Youth group will host a "Christmas Bash" Teen dance this Saturday, Dec. 12, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for youth in 5th grade and older. Donation of $5 at the door. There will be a disco ball and light show, and refreshments. The church collects donations for the Drop In Center Food Pantry. Non-perishable foods, especially high-protein foods, household goods and personal care items may be left in the church entry. The cupboards are close to bare. The Mitten Tree is up in the sanctuary for donations of mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and other warm gear for the homeless. Donations toward the cost of poinsettias for the elderly, ill or grieving may be sent to the church office, or placed in the offering plate. Please note the way you would like donations to be listed. A gift board for children living at Morningside Shelter still has a few gifts needed. The church will provide the meal for the Winter Overflow Shelter on Tuesday. The church also serves the meal on New Year's Eve. Dummerston Congregational Church, 1535 Middle Road, is an Open and Affirming Congregation and Green Justice Church of the United Church of Christ. For more information, call 802-257-0544 or email or visit

Sunday of Joy

Guilford: The 10 a.m. services Dec. 13 at Guilford Community Church, UCC, will celebrate Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy, with the lighting of candles in remembrance of loved ones. "Gaudete" is latin for "rejoice" and is part of the scripture from Phillipians 4 asking that we "rejoice in all things." Tom Ragle will read scripture from Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7 and Luke 3: 10-18. The congregation will then rejoice through the music of the season, in remembering loved ones who have passed on and in visiting cherished members of the community with caroling after church. There will be a "dessert potluck" after the service and plates will be made for shut ins. The Sunday School will rehearse the pageant and sing carols. The confirmation class will make ornaments for the tree at the Overflow Shelter. All activities are in the spirit of "catching fire," the topic of Rev.Lise Sparrow's sermon, based on Paul's reference to the "Unquenchable Fire" of Christ. Everyone is welcome. The church is Open and Affirming, fully handicapped accessible and committed to providing hearing assistance and ASL interpretation, if given notice ahead. The church is located one mile south of exit 1 on Route 5 just in back of the Guilford Country Store. For more information, call 802-257-2776, visit or find "Guilford Community Church" on Facebook.

Watch and wait

Brattleboro: This coming Sunday, Trinity Lutheran Church lights three candles on the Advent wreath. While our society goes crazy with Christmas preparations and the northern hemisphere grows darker each day, we gather to hear John the Baptist urging us to accept God's good news. Sunday morning worship at Trinity Lutheran Church begins at 10:30 a.m. The service is liturgical in nature, with singing an essential part. Worship is preceded by an Adult Study and Sunday School for all ages begins at 9 a.m. The church is located at 161 Western Ave. and is an Open and Affirming congregation. For more information, visit or call 802-254-4220.

God's Joy

Bellows Falls: On the eve of celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus, we are called to remember that He lives inside of us in every moment of our lives. The joy that the baby Jesus brings during this season of Light is a Joy that we can access all year 'round. God has given us this gift of the Spirit because we are loved deeply and unconditionally. As God's children, we are meant to live happy fulfilling lives of love and service with Joy in our hearts. When we find ourselves unable to enjoy our lives, we are called to look closely and reconsider how we are living, how we see ourselves and others, and how we are caring for our spiritual lives. More specifically, we are to ask ourselves if are we letting in God's Joy or are we putting up barriers? In this third Sunday of Advent, we are being asked to actively seek God's Joy in our own lives. We are also being asked to share it with others, to shine Divine Light on them and help them to experience the boundless love that is our God. Come and join us in celebrating the Joy of Jesus' birth with candle lighting, beautiful music, the warmth of Christian fellowship and the Love of our Lord. All are welcome to join for worship, music and community. Sunday School begins at 9:45 and the Sunday Service begins at 10. Child care is provided following the children's time. Pastor's office hours will be held this Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. followed by Bible Study from 3 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 802-463-3220. Located at 9 Church Street.

Action or prayer

Chesterfield, N.H.: It seems as if every time we turn on the news or pick up a newspaper there is another report of a mass shooting somewhere in the country. Statistics have shown that more than one will likely occur every day. The news hits us hard and leaves us anxious, scared, and asking what if. It is easy for moments like this to make you lose faith in your neighbors, your community, your leaders, and may even cause you to doubt your faith. We cannot help but ask what do we do now? What can we do? This Sunday at 10 a.m., Asbury Church will start asking these questions. In light of a world racing towards Christmas, we will challenge ourselves as to how are we to respond to moments that shake us to the core. We will ask how we are called to act when we feel hopeless in the season of hope? Are there moments when God doesn't want our prayers but wants our actions. Join us as we tackle this tender question while taking further steps towards Christmas. Asbury is the one of oldest United Methodist Community in New England, and is committed to a journey of discernment that recognizes the role that scripture, experience, tradition and reason play. We invite you to join us. For more information find Asbury Church on Facebook or visit


Not safe: The Jamaica Community Church welcomes all visitors to join as the congregation gathers on Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. On the 3rd Sunday in Advent, the Rev. Norma Drosky will preach on "Jesus: Not Safe, But Good," based on Zephaniah 3:14-20 and Luke 3:7-18. Advent is a time of anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. But are we looking for Jesus with a magic wand to make things go our way, or a Jesus who challenges us to change the world, and maybe even change us? The Jamaica Community Church is located "In the Heart of Jamaica" at 7 Depot St.. For more information, email, leave a message at 802-874-7019 or find Jamaica Community Church Jamaica VT on Facebook.

Hold me up

West Brattleboro: Dec. 13 is the third Sunday in Advent at First Congregational Church, 880 Western Avenue, an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ Interim Pastor Jeremy Kirk's sermon, "Will You Hold Me Up?" is based on Exodus 17:8-13 and Luke 3:7-18. The Prelude will feature the church's Handbell Choir ringing a selection of Christmas Carols. Organist William McKim's Offertory will be a meditation on "Come Creator" by Clokey and Postude, "Savior of the Nation, Come" by Manz. Congregational hymns will be "Now Bless the God of Israel," "On Jordan's Bank, the Baptist's Cry" and "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence." The service also includes lighting of the Advent Candle of Joy. Sunday worship at First Congregational is at 10 a.m. with child care provided. Following worship there is a Fellowship Hour in the Church's Fireplace Room. For those with disabilities, there is a ramp leading to the sanctuary level. For a ride to worship call 802-257-1548. There is an on-going collection of canned foods, pasta and sauces, peanut butter, tuna fish and cereals for the local food shelf. Church office hours are Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m to noon and Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Telephone is 802-254-9767 and e-mail is

Full of joy

Brattleboro: Worship on Sunday at First United Methodist Church will celebrate the third Sunday of Advent — Joy. The service will feature scripture from Zephaniah 3:14-20, read by Betty Stacy, where the joy of the coming of the savior is foretold. Rev. Cheryl Meachen's sermon, "Joyful," will explore how we can express the joy of Christ in the midst of difficult times. The Children's Message is "A Heart Full of Joy" based on John 15:11 when Jesus says that he taught us so that we may be full of joy. The children will learn more about Advent calendars and candles, as well as the song, "I've Got the Joy ... Down in My Heart." Holy Communion will be celebrated and all may participate. The choir will sing and Kevin Mills will play the organ. The church will also hold the annual Drive Through Nativity from 5 to 7 p.m. where people may drive cars through scenes depicting the Christmas story. The church is located at 18 Town Crier Drive off Putney Road and is handicap-accessible. For more information, e-mail, call 802-254-4218 or visit