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


  • SECOND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, UCC BENNINGTON, VT chosen as a winner in the Community Inspiration category of the Cool Congregations Challenge.

    The Regeneration Project of the national Interfaith Power & Light announced the win in late February and will highlight out church’s achievement on its blog, Facebook account, and on IPL’s Cool Congregations Website.

    Second Congregational Church has long been interested in energy efficiency and over time has made the church building as efficient as possible. In the early spring of 2015 the church installed a set of solar panels on their roof.

    We began to think that our next challenge was to extend ourselves beyond the limits of our church walls and engage with the larger community on environmental issues. We decided to have a celebration of our new solar system and invite the community to join in a festival. We named the festival Sun and Fun and organized it so that the emphasis was on the environmental and climate issues and on solar energy.We decided to not use the event as a fundraiser but instead to stress the ideas of simplicity and community rather than a feature of the consumer system. We did not charge a fee for vendor booths or admission and we asked vendors not to sell products at the event. We invited community groups and solar-energy-oriented businesses to participate. We offered gourmet food, outstanding music, and a children’s component. We had over 300 community people attend. We had demonstrations on electric bikes, the ELF electric car/bike, a tiny house and more. We also had a panel on how to get your own solar energy either at your home or from community solar, a seminar on climate change from a well known scientist, books on the environment, displays of outdoor recreational opportunities, and demonstrations of bee keeping, creatures in our rivers, and the power of the Sun.

    Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy president of Interfaith Power & Light noted that the congregations winning in each of five different categories “are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change. Whether a small or large congregation, rural or urban, these projects demonstrate that when we work together, we can create positive change, save energy and money, and live out our calling to care for Creation.”

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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.




     5:00 pm Sunday Supper

    This coming week:
     Mutual support group of those who have experienced depression will meet Monday March 19 at 4:45pm in the Clayton Room.
     Wednesday, Mar. 21, Climate Advocates 7pm Clayton Rm
     Wednesday, Mar. 21, we will observe Lenten Evening Prayers at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Mark.

     We are well into Lent. To encourage us to help the earth’s environment by eating less meat, the Earth Advocates Group is offering the Lenten challenge to make some meatless dinners. Earth Advocates are also offering a booklet of vegetarian and vegan recipes that can be found in the Webster Hall or you can ask Marsh Hudson-Knapp.
     We are collecting peanut butter for all of Lent. Please place any contributions into the box at the back of the sanctuary. These jars of high-quality protein will eventually be added to the ‘Peanut Butter and Jam Slam’ donations for local food pantries.
     We need volunteers to sign up to be a second adult in the Nursery and Joyful Path.
     One of our projects to celebrate the 180th anniversary of Second Congregational Church was to create a “time capsule” to be opened on our 200th anniversary in 2036. The contents of this Memory Box is displayed in Webster Hall today. Have a look at them before the 25th when we’ll close it up and Pastor Mary Lee-Clark will entrust it to our Co-pastor Mark Blank.


     We have a photography event for a new picture directory Wed May 30 – June 2nd. Scheduling to begin after Easter.

    We are a Cool Congregation! (you already knew that). Our Sun and Fun event has caused us to be designated as one of 5 “Cool Congregations” nationally by Interfaith Power and Light! We received $1000 prize, which Eaarth Advocates will use for other earth-friendly purposes. Well done, one and all, and thanks to Barbara True-Weber for submitting our application!

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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