Religion briefs, Jan. 31, 2021

February is typically a month focused on love, candy, and sweethearts. But Covid19 has us cloistering like hermits. So, the congregation of Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society is inviting its members and the public to expand positive connections with others, in a socially-distanced way of course. Each week of February or “Fun-uary” has a different theme for connecting.

February 1-7 is “Make a Friend” week. “Celebrate by saying hello to someone new, such as a neighbor you haven’t met while out walking. Or telephone a casual acquaintance to share current interests,” says Maryann Bracken, co-chair of the Social Activities and Events committee at the church.

“Studies show that on average people will remain long-term friends with one out of every 12 people they befriend. Friendships can be for a moment, a season, or a lifetime,” she added.

Feb. 8-14 is “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Week.”

Feb. 15-21 is “Do a Grouch a Favor Week.”

Feb. 22-28 is “Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Share experiences by joining the Zoom “Lunch Bunch” with Bracken, Rev. Terry Sweetser, and others each Monday. To access the Zoom link, go to www.shorelineunitarian.org and click on Calendar, then Feb. 8 “Lunch with Rev.” Or communicate your experiences directly to Rev. Terry at rev@shorelineunitarian.org. The church has served the Shoreline since 1962 and a worldwide faith for more than 500 years. The church office can be reached at 203-245-8720.

Contributed photo: Maryann Bracken, right, with Liz Miranker, at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society (before the Pandemic).

Lutheran congregations merge in Hamden

HAMDEN — Two Lutheran churches, the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and Christ Lutheran Church, have embarked on a new journey together as a merged congregation as of Jan. 1. The new congregation is called Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

The merger offers the promise of a brighter future for the two congregations which have both experienced decline in membership over the last decade, members said. “We will be better together. The possibilities for developing and growing ministry are greater,” said the Rev. Les Swenson, who is serving as the transitional pastor of the new congregation until a new pastor is called.

The two congregations, both organized in the 1950’s, have been worshipping and carrying out their ministries together since June 2019. The deliberate path toward merger was completed Nov. 15, 2020, when the members of both congregations unanimously approved the merger agreement.

Because of its concern for the health and well being of one another, the congregation holds its Sunday morning worship services and other gatherings on Zoom.

As part of the merger agreement the congregations decided that it will use the current Christ Church facility, 600 Shepard Ave., Hamden, as its future center for ministry. The Good Shepherd building at 3680 Whitney Ave., is now for sale.

Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran body in the United States with about four million members in more than 10,000 congregations.

For more information about this new congregation, go to christgoodshepherdlutheran.org

Congregation Mishkan Israel holding services

HAMDEN - Congregation Mishkan Israel, 785 Ridge Rd, Hamden is conducting virtual services and events online.

For more information and list of events, visit cmihamden.org or call the office at 203-288-3877. For pastoral emergencies, call Rabbi Immerman directly on at 203-584-7396

Temple Beth Sholom service schedule

HAMDEN — Temple Beth Sholom, 1809 Whitney Avenue, Hamden is conducting virtual services. For more information visit www.tbshamden.com or call the Temple Beth Sholom office at 203-288-7748.

Congregation B’Nai Jacob schedules services, events

WOODBRIDGE — Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, is continuing to hold services using Zoom. If you don’t know how to Zoom, visit https://www.bnaijacob.org/ or call 203-389-2111.

Weekday minyan services at 7:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Zoom

Saturdays. 9 a.m. Bread and Torah on Zoom

Shabbat morning service 10 a.m. on Zoom

Jan. 31, 10 a.m. on Zoom. BJ member David Banach MD, MPH will give an update on Covid 19.

Feb. 3, 7 p.m. Sami Ginzberg will lead discussion on James Baldwin’s book on racism, “The Fire Next Time.”

Feb 8, 7:30-9 p.m. May 8 Rabbi Shapiro’s Winter- Spring class “How did the Siddur come to be the way it is?

Feb. 11, 7 p.m., Dr. Barry Zaret will lead a Zoom discussion, “What is Jewish Poetry?”

Winter coat collection for Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen. The donation box is located between the outer and inner doors of the synagogue.

CBJ has also joined with the United Church on the Green to collect funds for Columbus House.

Temple Emanuel continues online services, events

ORANGE — Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven, 150 Derby Avenue, continues to conduct virtual services and events via Zoom and YouTube. “Stay connected with our community. Keep your physical distance while maintaining your social and spiritual connections,” members said.

Details are on the Temple Emanuel website, www.tegnh.org, or call 203-397-3000.

St. Andrew’s clothing shed reopens

NORTHFORD — The clothing donation shed at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, which was temporarily closed due to global effects of the pandemic, recently reopened to the public.

If you’re not familiar with the clothing donation shed, it’s designed to give community members a uniquely clean, convenient, and well-cared-for option to donate their used clothing to. St. Pauly Textile Inc., the company that has provided the shed, partners with businesses and various organizations to distribute donated items both here in the U.S. and worldwide, where they’re ultimately re-worn by people who need them. St. Andrew’s receives funding for donated clothing, and additionally has the option to use donations to serve community needs.

The church estimates that the donated clothing ends up in 44 different countries (including the U.S.) yearly. In 2019, the company was able to help keep more than 20 million articles of clothing out of landfills, which clothed an estimated 2.5 million people worldwide. The company was founded in 1996 and is an A+ rated member of the Better Business Bureau.

Accepted items: clothing, shoes, belts, purses, blankets, sheets, curtains, pillowcases, and stuffed animals.

Christ Episcopal, Ansonia, resumes services

ANSONIA — Christ Episcopal Church, 56 South Cliff St., has resumed fall and winter hours for Sunday services at 10 a.m.

For more information, visit www.christchurchansonia.org/ or call 203-734-2715.

Beth Israel Synagogue is online

WALLINGFORD — Beth Israel Synagogue, 22 N. Orchard St., Wallingford, is continuing online services.

Torah teachings will be conducted online at www.bethisraelwallingford.org

The Rabbi will remain in contact on when and what time any events will take place online. The Board of Directors continues to meet monthly via tele/video-conferencing.

Visit www.bethisraelwallingford.org for more information.

Temple Beth David offers online programs

CHESHIRE — Temple Beth David, 3 Main St., Cheshire, is closed, but virtual events are being held on the online platform Zoom and on Facebook Live.

To reach the temple, email office@tbdcheshire.org or call 203-272-0037; Rabbi Micah is always available to talk at rabbiMicah@tbdcheshire.org.

St. Andrew’s provides services, food pantry

NORTHFORD — St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church is located on Middletown Avenue, Northford, at the intersection of Routes 17 and 22.

St. Andrew’s is a member of the Middlesex Area Cluster Ministry (MACM) Network, along with Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Killingworth and St. James Episcopal Church in Higganum. Rev. Jim Bradley is Interim Priest-In-Charge.

Due to the COVID pandemic, Sunday services are held on Zoom, and may also be viewed on St. Andrew’s Facebook page.

St. Andrew’s is also home of the Food Pantry of North Branford, located on the lower level of the church’s parish hall and the Community Dining Room, which serves South Central shoreline in Connecticut, and utilizes the church’s kitchen and parish hall to prepare and deliver meals for the homebound.

Two community resources serving families in need in Northford and North Branford. Like us on Facebook: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Northford, CT. For more information, contact Nan Monde, Sr. Warden, at 203-710-7005, or MACM Network office at 860-345-0058.

Church holding can, bottle drive

ANSONIA — Christ Episcopal Church at 56 South Cliff Street, Ansonia (directly across from Ansonia Public Library), is collecting clean bottles and cans.

Grocery stores have closed their bottle redemption centers during the pandemic. Clean bottles and cans can be dropped off in the collection bin next to the office entrance at any time.