Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

South Riding Church invites the community to join them Sundays in September and October, 10 a.m., at Little River Elementary School, 43464 Hyland Hills St., South Riding, as they explore ÒHow to Build Authentic Friendships-Jesus style!Ó South Riding Church Office, 13314 Pennypacker Lane

Fairfax. Visit or or call 703-961-1983.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 605 W. Market St., Leesburg, is having a fall festival Saturday, Oct. 1, from 2-7 p.m. Food, music acts, arts and crafts, a barn dance, and more. Proceeds will go to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Disaster Response to aid Hurricane Katrina survivors. Rain or shine.

The Blessing of the Animals is an annual ritual at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun. Sunday, Oct. 2, Debby Kay will lead the service and bless pets of any religious persuasion or species. Dogs must be well-behaved and on leashes, cats must be in carriers and other pets such as birds must be in sturdy cages. Larger animals such as pet pigs, llamas, goats and horses will have to remain outside for a separate blessing.

UUCL welcomes everyone to attend Sunday services, held at 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., at the UUCL chapel, 20460 Gleedsville Road, Leesburg. Visit or call the church at 703-737-7644.

At 10:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 2, the Unitarian Universalists of Sterling will explore the history and meaning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Worship Associate Committee of UUS has adapted this service from the liturgical resources of the Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness. UUS meets at 10:30 a.m., every Sunday, at the Sterling Oaks Commerce Center at 22135 Davis Drive off of Church Road near Route 28 and the W & OD Trail bike path. Call 703-406-3068 or visit

Congregation ShaÕare Shalom, Loudoun CountyÕs only Conservative congregation, will hold an open house for those interested in membership, programming, religious schools, and/or touring the synagogue before the Jewish High Holidays, which begin Monday Oct. 3.

The open house is Thursday, Sept. 29, from 6-8 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. Congregation Sha'are Shalom is located across from Heritage High School at 19357 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg. Call 703-737-6500 or visit

Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation will offer adult education with student Rabbi Jesse Gallop. The class will meet once a month during the academic year Ñ September-June, 10 sessions in all Ñ at the Boyd School in Ashburn. The course will be Sundays during religious school, 9:30-11 a.m.; and is intended as an introduction to Jewish customs, traditions, concepts and philosophies. All are welcome to participate. Tuition is free for BCRC members, $36 for nonmembers. To enroll, contact Karlah Louis at 703-421-0884 or by e-mail at

Required texts: Dosick, Wayne. "Living Judaism." HarperCollins: New York, N.Y., 1995; "Introduction to Judaism: A Sourcebook." The URJ Press: New York, N.Y., 1998; Perelson, Ruth. "An Invitation to Shabbat." The URJ Press: New York, N.Y., 1997; Sonsino and Syme. "Finding God." The URJ Press: New York, N.Y., 2002; Telushkin, Joseph. "Jewish Literacy." William Morrow (Publisher): New York,

N.Y., 2001; "Tanakh: The Holy Scripture." Jewish Publication Society (JPS), 1985, recommended, not required.

Martin Indyk, former United States ambassador to Israel and a Middle East expert, will speak at Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, 1441 Wiehle Ave., Reston, Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. His topic will be Israel, Iran, and Middle East Stability. The lecture is sponsored by the Lifelong Learning Program of NVHC. It is open to the public, and admission is free.

Potomac Falls Episcopal Church, 46859 Harry Byrd Highway, will hold a ÒBlessing of the AnimalsÓ Saturday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m., at Horizon Elementary School parking lot on Broadmore Drive in Cascades. Bring your family and pets to receive a blessing and a treat. Pets should be on a leash or in a carrier. Call the church office 703-404-0900.

On St. Francis Day, Oct. 2, St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church plans to return to the Holiday Inn on Route 7 to hold its St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals. All humans and pets are welcome to participate in this one-hour event that focuses stewardship of the animal kingdom and recognizes the huge role they play in people's lives. Visit or call 703-779-3616.

Sterling United Methodist Church, 304 East Church Road, will hold a ÒMidweek Chicken Bar-B-QÓ Oct. 4, from 5-7 p.m., to raise funds for the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina for a suggested donation of $7 per meal. All food, including chicken/hamburger, baked beans, slaw, roll and brownie/cookie, will be carry-out meals. Call the church 703-430-6455.

Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation High Holiday Services:

Oct. 3, Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4, Rosh Hashanah 9:30 a.m.

Oct. 12, Kol Nidre at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 13, Yom Kippur at 10 a.m.

With services throughout the day all the High Holiday Services will be held in Ashburn. Call 703-391-8669.

The High Holy Days mark the beginning of the Jewish New Year (5766). They begin with Rosh Hashanah at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3. Congregation ShaÕare Shalom will hold services the first and second days of the holiday Tuesday, Oct. 4, with Tashlich, at 1 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 5. Services each day begin at 9 a.m. Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre) services begin at 6:15 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 12 and at 9 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 13. A break-the-fast will be held after the conclusion of Yom Kippur services around 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13.

All services and events are held at Congregation ShaÕare Shalom, 19357 Evergreen Mill Road, Leesburg. Rabbinic intern, Neil Tow, will lead Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.

Child care will be provided with a cooperative baby sitting effort by those in attendance. Nonmembers can reserve tickets by calling the synagogue at 703-437-6500. Visit the Web site

Help St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church and the Ashburn Youth Football League feed the hungry in Loudoun County.

On Oct. 8, the church will be joining with the AYFL to help collect food for Interfaith Relief. The church will assign collection stations around town and encourage its neighbors to help the many local families that depend on Interfaith Relief for food. Visit or call 703-779-3616.

Philosopher Ken Knisely will speak Oct. 9, at the Northern Virginia Ethical Society. For the last 15 years, Knisely has hosted one of the most unique programs available: No Dogs or Philosophers Allowed. 11 a.m. Free. Address: 225 Nutley St., N.W., Vienna. Visit or call 703-437-3161.

At 10:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 9, the Rev. Matthew McNaught will deliver a sermon called "Hymns in a Man's Life" at the Unitarian Universalists of Sterling congregation. The sermon's title comes from an essay by D.H. Lawrence. UUS meets at 10:30 a.m., every Sunday, at the Sterling Oaks Commerce Center at 22135 Davis Drive off of Church Road, near Route 28 and the W & OD Trail bike path. Call 703-406-3068 or visit

Ashburn Presbyterian Church invites women to join in the annual, nationally acclaimed THRiVE simulcast. This year's theme is "Leading a Life of Significance."

A lineup of nationally known speakers and authors will connect with tens of thousands of women across North America. Speakers include Ruth Graham, Elizabeth George, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Shaunti Feldhahn, Valorie Burton, Florence Littauer, Carol Kent, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Les and Leslie Parrott.

The simulcast will be held at Ashburn Presbyterian Church, in the heart of Old Ashburn, Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Lunch will be included. Tickets will be available in early September. Call 703-729-2012.

Unitarian Universalists of Sterling, has planned a new program for the children and youth of the congregation. For all age levels the Sunday topics will be based on the six sources from which UU faith is drawn: a shared sense of awe, the prophets from all faiths who guide the way, the world's wisdom, Christian and Jewish truths, reason and science, and nature's cycles.

The Explorers group goes from babies to children age 4. Every Sunday they will play and do an activity relating to the day's theme.

The kindergarten to seventh-grade group is called "Caring Community," which each week will explore a topic from one of the six sources. They will explore the day's theme by choosing from four or five activities.

The YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists) are youth from grades eighth to 12. They will integrate five components including worship, leadership, learning, social action and fun. Some of the activities include donut discussions after the worship service, participating in covenant groups, service to the church and community, the fellowship of fun and games and attendance at Family Fun Nights, which take place the third Friday evening of each month, from 7-9 p.m., and will include board games, movies, music and snacks.

The Unitarian Universalists of Sterling is located at the Sterling Oaks Commerce Center at 22135 Davis Drive. Call 703-406-3068 or visit

Potomac Falls Episcopal Church meets for Sunday services at 10 a.m., at Horizon Elementary School, 46665 Broadmore Drive, Sterling. Sunday school for children and nursery care for infants is provided each week.

The Loudoun Church Alliance is a formal association of churches of many denominations, founded two years ago. It works in the areas of youth development, international missions, evangelism outreach, and is now working to develop relationships with government and business. Contact founder and missionary Jack Stagman at

The Unitarian Universalists of Sterling meet on Sunday mornings, at 10:30 a.m., at the Sterling Oaks Commerce Center at 21355 Davis Drive near Route 28 and Church Road. Call 703-406-3068 or visit

Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation will hold Sunday School every Sunday, from 9 a.m.-noon, at the Boyd Montessori School in Ashburn. In addition to Sunday School, a second day of Hebrew School will be offered Tuesday evenings, from 7-8 p.m., at Sanders Corner Elementary School. Attendance is limited to fourth- through seventh-graders and adults interested in learning Hebrew. Contact Lisa Kimball at or call 703-858-1999.