Sunday July 3rd As we celebrate Independence Day, we are reminded how inter-dependent we are in today’s world. So join us as we come together in worship at Second Congregational Church this Sunday morning at 10 o’clock. Shep Jones will be offering special music for the day, and Rev. Mary Lee-Clark’s sermon, based on the readings from Galatians and Luke, is entitled, “Better Together.” The Sacrament of Holy Communion will be celebrated, and all are invited to the table.
A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall.
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 honor and preserve the Creation. Our building is located at 115 Hillside St. and is wheelchair-accessible. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559.
*10:15 am Children & Youth Godly Play (Christian Ed Classroom)
*2:00 pm A celebration of life for George Shepard Jones will be held at the home of his father, 1616 Walloomsac Rd in Bennington

Please signup a)to provide snacks for Sunday Socials after worship on one of the Sundays in July and August, or b) to provide part of the food for the first Wednesday Luncheon on July 6th

During the months of July and August we will have one of the hymns during worship as a “request” hymn, so if you have a special hymn that you would like to sing, please list it on the form and return it to the office. Forms will be in the office and Sanctuary.

July 16th FAMILY ICE CREAM SOCIAL will be held at 3 pm on July 16th in Webster Hall. Grandparents, bring your grandchildren! Kids, bring your parents! Cool off and reconnect mid-summer with a favorite summer treat.

The LGBTQ community and the Greater Bennington Interfaith Council held a vigil Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Four Corners in Bennington to honor victims of the Pulse Nightclub shootings in Orlando FL. The Bennington Banner reported that over 100 people attended, including members of Second Congregational Church. Leaders of faith communities of Bennington and Arlington participated, several wearing rainbow-colored vestments. Rainbow signs were held by members of the Unitarian Fellowship. On the corner under the clock, a young woman with rainbow-colored hair and a man with rainbow-colored socks shared the sidewalk with a sign “We Weep for Orlando and all LGBT communities.” (See photos below)

Letter to the Editor of the Bennington Banner:

Thank you for your coverage of the tragedy in Orlando, including how it affects people living in our local community. Adding to the heartbreak of the “facts” of the event are the waves of fear and hatred and distortions of blame, if not outright lies, that continue to ripple out. As far has we can tell at this point, the shooter was not a practicing Muslim, was born in the U.S., had anger issues, had frequented the Pulse Club himself, had been under FBI investigation, and yet was able to legally purchase his weapons of slaughter. So it is that to single out his religion, or his citizenship, or his mental instability, or his sexual identity exploration as motivation for this horrific crime or representative of all others in those categories does not serve the common good.

I was saddened to read the response of one of the local LGBTQ community in today’s article, who said that “religion fuels hate.” “If your religion requires you to hate,” as one of the photos making the rounds on Facebook says, “you need a new religion.” All the world religions, at their best, teach love and compassion. Which, obviously, doesn’t mean that some people who claim to adhere to a religion do hate, do hateful things, say hateful things. But to paint all religious people with the brush of hate is as unfair as painting all gay people as pedophiles, or all Mexicans as rapists and criminals, or all refugees as terrorists. It is in fact our “religion” that inspires us at Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, to affirm that “we welcome all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation to our work and worship.”

Rev. Mary H. Lee-Clark
Pastor, Second Congregational Church. U.C.C.

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