What does it mean to “Be the Church”
          : Care for the poor.  Fight for the powerless
          : Share earthly and spiritual resources
          : Protect the environment
          : Reject racism
          : Celebrate diversity
          : Forgive often
          : Love God. Enjoy this life


Lenten Meat-Free Recipes

The food we eat has an overwhelming impact on the climate crisis. For this season of Lent Eaarth Advocates are inviting you to consider fasting from meat. Lent is a time when our church encourages us to draw near to Jesus in the suffering he bore, to draw near to others who are more vulnerable than we are, and to draw near to the pulse of the entire earth. Some people think of the earth as if it is one organism, and each of us is one element in something far greater than ourselves. It is this unity we are called to engage. Eaarth Advocates are suggesting that you commit to go meatless one day a week, or two, or three, or skip meat for Lent.

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  • “The Glory of God is the human being fully alive!”

    Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey, YOU are invited to join is on the journey at Second Congregational — a church for young and old and in-between. Second Congregational Church is a progressive church, musical and mission-minded, with opportunities for questioning and seeking. Vermont’s first “Open and Affirming” Congregation of the United Church of Christ, we welcome all people of faith or in search of faith to our work and worship, without regard to age, race, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation.

Second Congo’s next Pastor is someone

whose Heart matches our Church’s Heart

A meeting of the congregation took place within the worship service of Sunday December 17, following a powerful sermon “Is Advent Political” by Mark Blank. The congregation voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the Pastoral Search Committee to issue a formal call to Dennis Mark Blank to assume the position of Co-Pastor/Pastor of the Second Congregational Church, UCC of Bennington, Vermont. Congregation members had the opportunity to meet with him after worship at Jesus Birthday Party in the social hall.

Mark is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is 39 years old, having had a career in musical theatre. He comes from Pennsylvania (the Penn West Conference of the UCC) with stellar references and is an articulate and inspiring preacher. The Search Committee was very impressed with his personal profile, references, as well as the sermon the Committee heard him preach on December 3. A warm and engaging person, Mark embraces the opportunity to begin work in January 2018 with our pastor Mary Lee-Clark during this time of transition prior to Mary’s retirement in April 2018.


During Advent and Christmas, our church sanctuary was graced with choirs of angels, one for each member of our congregation. Cindy Hudson-Knapp researched “silhouettes of angels” and printed out a variety. The installation required a lot of scissor-action, then hanging the angel cut-outs on Christmas ornament hangers and suspending them from delicate gauze fabric that was festooned with myriads of tiny star-like lights. Barbara True-Weber, Mike Weber, Marsh Hudson-Knapp and others created this special enhancement of our worship.

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After such a good time doing an “improv” Christmas pageant the past two years, we held our third annual impromptu pageant on Sunday December 17, with no rehearsals and no assigned parts. Rev. Mary Lee-Clark read the story of the first Christmas in verse. As she mentioned a character, folks in the congregation who wanted to portray that character would go to the table of simple costumes, put one on and come up front while the rest of the congregation sang a few verses of a carol. Roles were not gender or age specific so people could play whoever they wanted; we had two Josephs, numerous shepherds and heavenly personages including a dancing 4-year-old angel, two kings and a knight (these three wise personages all were aged seven and younger). Immediately after the pageant, our new co-pastor Mark Blank, who has had a career in musical and improvisational theater, told the participants and the rest of the congregation how much he enjoyed the pageant, saying that improv theater is a spiritual endeavor in that participants open themselves to the vulnerability of the unexpected.



    Feb. 22nd – Elizabeth Buttle
    Tim Foley
    Feb. 23rd – Tom & Nancy Jean Steffen’s 61st Anniversary
    Sigrid Baker
    Feb. 25th – Jan Fabricius

     Ministries Council meets after worship
     5:00 pm Sunday Supper

     Do you have personal memories of Mary that you would like to share with her? We are putting together a book for her. Email what you’d like to share with her to Lorna Cheriton <chertop@comcast.net>, or write your thoughts, sign your name and give the paper to Lorna or put it in her mail slot in the lobby. To put it all together, we need your contribution by February 28.
     Lent began Wed February 14. To encourage us to help the earth’s environment by eating less meat, the Earth Advocates Group is offering a Lenten challenge. Completed pledges can be placed in the offering plate or they can be given to Barbara True-Weber. Earth Advocates are also offering a booklet of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Please see Marsh Hudson-Knapp if you would like a copy.

    Gospel Singers will rehearse Feb 28th!! New comers welcome!!


     On Wednesdays throughout the rest of Lent, we will observe Lenten Evening Prayers at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Mark.

    For your information—While Mark is still in the process of settling in and getting “plugged in,” his temporary office hours will be Tuesday-Thursday, from 9 a.m.-noon (in his temporary office, Rm. 1). His cell phone number is 814-573-1836, and his church e-mail is markblank@sover.net.


Our Pastor

1__200x_mary-lee-clark-150x150Pastor – Rev. Mary H. Lee-Clark –
Mary has been pastor at Second Congregational Church since 1995. Prior to that she served churches in central and northern New York. She graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1978 and Middlebury College in 1974. Mary and her husband Bruce have two grown children, Meredith and Alex.

Co Pastor

Co-Pastor- D. Mark Blank –
As of January 2018, Mark is serving as Co-Pastor of Second Congregational Church. Raised in the United Methodist Church, Mark found a spiritual home in the UCC in 2007. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Mark graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2017 having attained a BA from the University of Tampa in 2000. Mark draws on his background in theatre, music, and storytelling in leading worship.

Snowball Bazaar 2017

Second Congregational Church was a "hopping place" Friday December 1 and 2 with the 69th annual Snowball Bazaar! Community folks ...
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Raking Leaves

On a chilly Saturday morning November 18, a team of energetic 2CC members raked leaves and dragged tarps full of ...
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Sewing and Crafting Bee

sewing and crafting bee on Saturday, November 4 was a busy and fun morning of making toys and treats for ...
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Update on Eaarth Advocates

The cold reality of human impact on the environment Update on Eaarth Advocates’ Environmental Activism So, Why is “Eaarth” spelled ...
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Living Lightly on God’s Earth: A Guide to Spiritual Practices Focused on the Environment During Lent, instead of fasting, let's ...
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Lent and EAARTH

Lent and EAARTH (1) There are a number of ways to live Lent. One is to suffer a bit, to ...
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  • Want to know more about the national United Church of Christ that we’re a part of?

  • Please contact us by telephone, letter, email, or 

    Second Congregational Church,  115 Hillside Street,  Bennington VT 05201
    Telephone: 802-442-2559,  e-mail: bennscc@sover.net

    Or visit the church
    From middle of town intersection of Routes 7 & 9,  take Route 7 south 2 blocks.
    Turn left onto Hillside St.  (just before Friendly’s).

    Church is located on right at top of hill.

    We will be pleased to hear from you

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