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Father James Dodson places ashes on Matthew Jacques, 14, forehead during the 8:45 a.m. Ash Wednesday mass at St. Michael Roman Catholic Church on Feb. 10, 2016.
The wilderness

West Brattleboro: The worship service on Feb. 14 at First Congregational Church, 880 Western Avenue, an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ, features Interim Pastor Jeremy Kirk's sermon "Wilderness: Preparing for Action," based on Psalm 91:1-2,9-16 and Luke 4:1-13. Organist Bill McKim's prelude is "Ballo del Granduca," by P.Sweelink. The anthem is "For God So Loved the World," by D. Grotenhuis. The offertory is D. Paxton's "Tone Poem," and the Postlude Rossi's "Corrente Decima." Congregational hymns are "Before Your Cross, O Jesus," "In the Cross of Christ I Glory," and "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross." Sunday morning worship is at 10 a.m. with child care provided following the Children's Time. There is a fellowship hour following worship. For those with disabilities there is a ramp leading to the sanctuary level as well as large print bulletins and hymns. There is an on-going collection of canned fruit and vegetables, soups, tuna fish, peanut butter and pasta for the local food shelf. For a ride to worship, call 802-254-4522. The church's website is and email is Telephone is 802-254-9767. The church office is open Wednesday and Friday 1 to 5 p.m.


Busy lives

Bellows Falls: Sunday's Service at First Baptist Church of Bellows Falls focuses on how living busy lives makes it easy to overlook what is truly important. Often we substitute to-do lists and material goals in the place of being thoughtful and careful with our actions. Our minds become overwhelmed by the need to 'have it all' and we sacrifice comfort, neighborly love and peace in the process. In our Gospel reading from Luke this week, Jesus is tempted by the devil to assert his divinity over the world around him. He is asked to act as the master of the material world and prove himself to his tempter. Being true to himself and his divine nature, Christ answers "Do not put the Lord you God to the test." Jesus does not need to prove anything or own anything in order to fulfill his role as God's son. As God's children, we are cautioned to remember that owning too many 'things' and trying to control the material world solely for our benefit can lead us astray and cause us to get lost in the wilderness. Fortunately for us, Christ knows this place well and will seek us out to revive our weary souls if we call out to him. The name of the sermon is "Into the Wilderness." First Baptist Church of Bellows Falls welcomes all to join us 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. where we will be looking at the Gospel of Mark. For more information, contact Pastors Steven and Terri at 802-221-1518. Located at 9 Church Street, Bellows Falls, VT. American Baptists serve others as "the hands and feet of Jesus."

A time of testing

Brattleboro: Each year on the first Sunday in Lent we hear about Jesus being tested in the wilderness. In this way Jesus joined with us, who are also, one way or another, tested in some wilderness. We say Sundays "in" Lent, since when counting the forty days of Lent, we omit the six Sundays, because Sunday is always a celebration of Christ's resurrection. So this Sunday we are both in Lent and beyond Lent. Sunday's service begins at 10:30 a.m. is preceded by Sunday School and an Adult Forum at 9 and is followed by a coffee hour. Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 161 Western Ave., and is an Open and Affirming congregation. For more information, visit or call the church office at 802-254-4220.

Looking for guidance

Jamaica: The Jamaica Community Church welcomes all visitors to join us as the congregation gathers on Sunday on February 14, 2016 at 10 a.m. On the first Sunday in Lent, the Rev. Norma Drosky will preach on "Entering the Wilderness," based on Deuteronomy 26:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. At some point, most of us have been in the wilderness, lost and looking for guidance. Lent is a perfect time to strengthen our faith, through prayer and our community, for those times when we face temptations. 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.

God's shelter

Newfane: The First Congregational Church of Newfane will meet for Morning Worship at 10 on Feb. 14. Rev. Rob Hamm's sermon is titled "Shelter in God's Love," with scriptures from Luke 4:1-13. Congregational hymns are "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," "O Jesus, I Have Promised," and "How Can I Keep from Singing." The Newfane Community Handbell Choir will play the prelude "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," arranged by McKechnie and the postlude "Lord, I Want to be a Christian," arranged by Wagner. The choir will sing the offertory anthem "Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me," by Scott. The annual financial meeting will be held directly after the service and then the Contemplative Prayer Adult Study Group will meet after that. The church's mission for the month of February is Grace Cottage Hospital and it continues to collect donations of canned goods and non-perishable food for the Townshend Food Shelf and are also seeking donations of items for Hygiene Kits for use by Church World Service. Each kit includes a hand towel, washcloth, nail clipper, wide-toothed comb, wrapped bath size bar of soap, a tooth brush in original package, and standard size band aids. Events for the upcoming week include Al-Anon on Monday at 7:30 p.m., and Linus Quilters at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Trustees will meet at 6:30 on Wednesday evening, followed by a Council meeting at 7:30. Bells and Choir practice begin at 4:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. respectively on Thursday evening. Call 802-365-4079 or visit for more information. Everyone is welcome.

Courage and faith

Brattleboro: Lives of Faith and Courage is a Tuesday series where you can learn about five very different and inspiring individuals and find how they respond (or have responded) to various world challenges with amazing vision, imagination, and action. Some of these individuals are still alive, others have died. Some of these individuals are well-known, others are not. The format of each session will involve a presentation and a discussion and will end with a brief time of worship and prayer in the form of Compline. The evenings begin with a simple dinner in the Undercroft from 5:15 to 6 p.m. followed by the program from 6 to 7 and the Compline from 7 to 7:15. The series begins on Feb. 16 with Thad Bennett, presenting "Tom Tull: Pay Attention and Do Something!"

Showing love

West Brattleboro: Sunday service at All Souls Unitarian Universalist at 29 South St. features Linda Hay and Maisie Crowther reflecting on love as caring, and exploring ways our community can show this caring in "How Do We Show our Love?" For more information, call 802-254-9377, email or visit Office hours are Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Light of Soul

Brattleboro: "Let your light shine." How do we do that? What is that light? When Moses came down from Mt. Horeb with the two stone tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments, his face "shone." Isaiah said, "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory." There is a light that doesn't come from the sun and can't be seen with the eye. Still it's brilliant, and we can all experience its radiance. This theme of light is central to this week's sermon on "Soul." Sunday worship at First Church of Christ, Scientist, is at 10:45 a.m. at 57 Putney Road. Excerpts from each week's sermon are on display 24/7 in the window of the Christian Science Reading Room at 10 Elliot St. Or drop into the Reading Room Monday through Friday (Call 802-254-4924 for hours).

Angels of bread

Brattleboro: All are welcome at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., an Open and Affirming Congregation and a Just Peace Church. This Sunday, pastor, Rev. Bert W. Marshall, will lead worship at 10 a.m. His meditation is entitled, "The Angels of Bread." The scripture references are Deuteronomy 26:1-11 and Luke 4: 1-13. The Adult Class will meet from 9 to 9:50 a.m. in the church library, now reading "Rumi: The Life and Work of the Great Sufi Poet by Annemarie Schimmel." Sunday school for children begins at 9 followed by Faith in Action for the school aged crowd. On this Sunday the Faith in Action group will be preparing a dessert for homeless people in the overnight shelter. Child Care for younger children is provided from 9 through the church service. Ongoing church activities include the Prayer Shawl Ministry at 4:40 on Mondays, Quilting Ministry at 1:30 on Thursdays at the home of Gisela Robeck, and Women's Spirit at 4:30 on Thursdays. Currently, there are volunteer opportunities at Loaves and Fishes where meals are prepared for the homeless, and at Carry Me Home where clothes for Syrian refugees are being packaged and shipped. Call 802-254-4730 or see for further information.


Dummerston: Worship at the Dummerston Congregational Church UCC begins at 10 a.m. for January through March. First Sunday in Lent focuses on Genesis 1 and Luke 10. The Sermon is "Humility Before the Word and the Wonder of Creation." Music leadership will be provided by Franz Robert, guest organist. The Children's Story begins our "Walk Through Holy Week," based on Luke 19 and the Story of Palm Sunday. Children begin in worship and then go to an open classroom, led by Billie Slade, Church School Director. There will be a prayer group with soup on Feb. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the parsonage. On Sunday, the Youth Group will host a French Toast fundraiser breakfast, 9 a.m. at the church. Money raised by donation will go to the youth group and a mission trip to a Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Returnable bottles and cans may be brought to church or to the Redemption Center on Putney Road for the BIYG account to support the Interfaith Youth Mission Trip to South Dakota. A "Dove Board" has been placed in the church entry with suggestions of small items for people living with AIDS. Donations of durable foods, personal care items and household goods for the Drop-In Center Food Pantry may be left in the church entry. Dummerston Congregational Church,1535 Middle Road in Dummerston Center, is an Open and Affirming Congregation and Green Justice Church of the United Church of Christ. For more information contact Pastor Susanna Griefen at 802-257-0544 or or visit Worship is cancelled when driving is treacherous. Please use good judgment about your own circumstances. If worship is cancelled for the morning, all events for that day are cancelled. Check for cancellations on the church's Facebook page, local radio, call the church office, or be sure you are on our cancellation call list.

The greatest thing

Townshend: The Townshend Church's Sunday service will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. Martha LaMoria will be providing the sermon titled "The Greatest Thing in the World" as well as the music. The Biblical reference is 1 Corinthians 13. Fellowship hour immediately follows the service. All are welcome. The Townshend Church is an ABC and UCC congregation guided by its lay members.


Saxtons River: This Sunday, Rev. Ivy Merrill will be conducting Worship Service, which will include Communion. Continue to meet in the Fellowship Room during these winter months at 10 a.m. Coffee and conversation follow. Wednesday, Lenten Study group is meeting from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Pastor's Study. It is open to anyone interested in attending. Rev. Merrill is leading the group and study materials are provided. The Wednesday Blue Door Suppers, which begin at 5:30 p.m., give an opportunity for members of the group to remain after the meeting and enjoy a nice hot soup dinner with friends and neighbors. Christ's Church is handicapped accessible and all are welcome. For more information, call 802-869-2340 or visit

Earthly love

Brattleboro: Worship at First Baptist Church, 190 Main St., begins at 10 a.m. Sunday. Children will share their special story time before being dismissed for Sunday School at 10:15. Pastor Suzanne Andrews' meditation will draw attention to "Earthly love and the love of Jesus." She and Rev. David Garrecht will sing "My God and I." Following the service, everyone is invited to a time of refreshment and fellowship. On Feb. 15, the community will meet at the church at 10 a.m. to remember Bill Guay and the effect he had on all those who knew him.