Midtown: Community

Church reaffirms hope, faith after Newtown tragedy

After the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Raleigh held a remembrance service for the victims. But in the days and weeks after the service, the pastors realized that people in the congregation and the community were still troubled and needed to continue to explore and talk about the tragedy.

“We all were so shocked and saddened by what happened,” said the Rev. Diane Knauf, associate pastor at St. Andrews. “People kept talking informally about Newtown and how as Christians we get our arms around the horror of a mass shooting.”

St. Andrews Presbyterian decided to continue the discussion by holding a seminar series.

“We want to provide a place for the Christian community to come together to share ideas. It is a good idea for us a community to reaffirm hope and faith during times of struggles,” Knauf said. “We want to be a voice to speak up about the areas of our culture that are unhealthy or promoting violence.”

Hollon Benson, a social worker with Triangle Pastoral Counseling, will speak about mental health issues related to the Newtown shooting on Sunday, Jan. 13. The church will hold an Intergenerational Peace Fair in the Youth Center on Sunday, Jan. 20. The event will include planting memorial trees and making origami. Gun violence will be discussed on Sunday, Jan. 27, using a curriculum created by Presbyterian Church USA, but gun control will not be part of the discussion. Each session is stand-alone and all events will be from 9:50 to 10:45 a.m. at the church, 7506 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh.

“If the Newtown shooting has been heavy on your heart and you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the whole situation with these shootings and issues, this would be a place for you to come to listen, share and learn and have new information,” Knauf said. “We hope you will leave the series with the equipment to look at these issues differently and be able to make a difference in even a small way.”

For more information, call 919-847-1913 or visit www.sapc.com.

Singles worship night

Hope Community Church is having its monthly singles worship night from 7 to 9:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh. Singles of all ages will share a potluck meal, socialize and enjoy live music. Doug Stride, formerly of the Watoto Church in Uganda and now on staff at Hope Community Church, will kick off the New Year by sharing a powerful message: The Passionate Pursuit of God. For more information, call 919-532-0620, email singles@gethope.net or visit facebook.com/hccjourney.

Hillyer Memorial guest preacher

Rev. John McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service, will preach at the 11 a.m. worship service Sunday, Jan. 13, at Hillyer Memorial Christian Church, 718 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. Church World Service is an international humanitarian agency providing emergency relief, advocacy, sustainable development and refugee assistance. McCullough has been part of several ecumenical delegations to trouble spots around the world including Israel, Palestine, North Korea, Columbia and West African countries. After the service, worshippers will have a chance to converse with McCullough in an informal reception. For more information, call 919-834-7214 or visit www.hillyerchurch.org.

Soup on Sunday

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church will have its monthly Soup on Sunday meal at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at the church, 4801 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. The meal is free, and everyone is welcome. As part of a partnership with The Healing Place of Wake County, church volunteers pick up residents of the men’s and women’s shelters and bring them to the church on the second Sunday of each month for food and fellowship. The January meal will include hamburger soup, homemade cornbread, dessert, fresh lemonade and iced tea. For more information, call 919-787-0544 or visit www.stmarksraleigh.org.

Female rabbi visits

Rabbi Lynn Claire Feinberg, the first female rabbi in Norway and all of Scandinavia, is participating in Yavneh’s service at 7:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1725 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh. Feinberg is a historian of religion, a spiritual director and the rabbi of Havurat Kol haLev in Oslo, where she also serves as an external consultant to the Jewish Museum. A reception honoring Feinberg’s congregation will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Irregardless Café, 901 W. Morgan St., Raleigh. For more information, visit yavneh-raleigh.org.

Hope Lutheran Trivia Night

Hope Lutheran Church will hold an adult trivia night hosted by the youth at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the church, 3525 Rogers Road, Wake Forest. Tickets are $10 each or $75 for a team of eight. Child care will be provided with reservations and a donation. Bring snacks to share with your table. For ticket information, call 919-554-8109 or email kyoung@hopelutheranwf.org.

Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at nrnews@newsobserver.com.