On Sunday, November 24, Rabbi Shaul Praver was awarded the Samaritan Peace Medal. This award was presented to Rabbi Praver, of Congregation Adath Israel, by Samaritan Chancellor Benyamim Tsedaka, editor of AB — The Samaritan News and a tireless world advocate of the Samaritan people and their rich historical traditions.
The Samaritan Medal for Peace and Humanitarian Achievement is awarded by the Samaritan people of the Holy Land for peace efforts, humanitarian service and Samaritan studies demonstrated through their lives and actions in the spirit of the Good Samaritan. Its purpose is to recognize and reward service to humanity, especially in the cause of peace. Although many organizations offer “Samaritan Medals,” the one presented to Rabbi Praver is the only Samaritan Medal actually awarded by the original and authentic Samaritan people themselves.
Members of Newtown Clergy Association have announced plans for the town’s faith communities to offer services and support for residents in upcoming weeks, as the first anniversary of 12/14 approaches. The town's faith communities are diverse in faith and practice, but are united in common compassion and a commitment to minister faithfully to all residents. “Because any single event on the Anniversary of December 14th would create challenges on multiple levels, we have decided that it would be best to offer a variety of opportunities for our beloved Newtown community to come together: to remember and honor those we have lost, to support all who are grieving, and to steady one another on our journey together. We pray that one or some may provide a way for many of you to come together for comfort, support and encouragement," the group announced on December 4.
Faith at Newtown has a new place of worship: 4 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook. Entry is from the lower parking lot, below The Villa Restaurant. The church, led by Pastor Tim Kuhn, studies the Bible verse by verse and applies it to everyday living. All are welcome for Sunday worship services, which begin at 10 am.
"Unity in Diversity," a weekly television program, can be seen on Mondays and Wednesdays on Charter Communications Channel 21. Each week, viewers may experience leaders and representatives of a variety of local faith communities, sharing their message in a nonthreatening manner. The scheduled for December has been announced.
The next Monthly Interfaith Gathering for Prayer is scheduled for Sunday, December 1. The brief service will begin at 4 pm and will take place in the lower meeting room of Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street. Sponsored by the Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association, this month the gathering will have as its theme “Prayers for the Holidays.”
Newtown’s clergy gathered, along with two choirs and nearly 200 residents, for a Newtown Interfaith Thanksgiving Gathering at Trinity Church on Sunday evening. The November 24 program featured readings by young adults, as well as short essays by other young adults on what they are thankful for this holiday season.
A children’s choir performed “Simple Gifts” and “Rejoice and Be Glad,” which charmed those in attendance at the historic Main Street church. They were followed by the adult choir, who sang “We Are Marching in The Light of God.”
The evening, said co-organizer Margo Deselin Woodall, was meant to focus on the hope and promise of youth.
On Saturday, December 7, at 9:30 am, Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown will mark the first anniversary of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting with a traditional Jewish memorial service. The service will be on that date in keeping with the Hebrew date of the anniversary. The morning will begin with a regular Saturday Sabbath service, followed by the memorial service at 11. Rabbi Shaul Praver, the spiritual leader of Congregation Adath Israel, will officiate. Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray has been invited as a special guest, and child-friendly activities will be provided in another part of the building during the service. In respect for the Sabbath day, photography, videography, and any other electronic recording devices will not be welcome on the synagogue premises.
On Sunday, November 24, at 7 pm, Trinity Church will host an interfaith program that is intended to bring residents together as a united community. The gathering, according to organizers, will be a way for attendees to feel thankful for the many ways all have shown compassion this past year and dedicated to serving one another in the months and years ahead. The hope, they say, is that with this commitment to service before them, attendees can raise the bar on how all communicate and problem solve in town, and strengthen the culture of compassion and cooperation that has gained so much momentum this past year. Two special choirs, one of children and the other of adult singers, will provide the music for the event; any local singer interested in participating in either choir is welcome to attend.
On Sunday, December 15, at 5 pm, a free public lecture will take place at Newtown Meeting House, 31 Main Street. The speaker will be Fujiko Takai Signs of Tokyo, Japan, and Pleasant Gap, Penn. “Choosing Love” is the title of the one-hour talk, which is sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Southbury. The talk will explore the power of prayer to bring healing, the importance of having a childlike consciousness to experience more harmony, health, and practical spirituality and unity, and — perhaps most importantly — the power of divine Love to bring peace.
Jean Conover was completely surprised Friday, November 8, when she was awarded a Church Women United (CWU) Valiant Woman Award during the World Community Day Celebration at Nunnawauk Meadows Community Room. More than 30 residents and CWU members were there for the annual celebration hosted by the Newtown and Greater Danbury unit of CWU. The Reverend Leo McIlrath made the award on behalf of CWU. The presentation followed the panel speakers, Deacon Kenneth Stroud of St Rose Roman Catholic Church, who was introduced by Ms Conover, and Charlotte Dines, a Nunnawauk resident, who was introduced by Linda Manganaro, CWU Celebrations chairman and executive director of Nunnawauk Meadows. Both spoke of how their faith had sustained them through great trials.