Send announcements or events, which are open to the public at no or minimal cost, to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102 or e-mail <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call 703-917-6454.
On Saturday, Sept. 27, at 4:30-8:30 p.m., All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) will hold the 7th Annual Interfaith Peace Gathering at the ADAMS Center, 46903 Sugarland Road, Sterling, in remembrance of the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Interfaith groups will be represented and speaking at this event. ADAMS will also be honoring local police and fire departments for their continuous community service. Local government officials will also be speaking at this event. Visit www.adamscenter.org.
Congregation Sha'are Shalom, 19357 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg, will hold free study sessions in preparation for Rosh HaShanah (the new year) and Yom Kippur (the day of atonement). The Jewish High Holy Days ("yamim noraim" or days of awe) start with Rosh Hashanah, Monday evening, Sept. 29, which marks the beginning of the year 5769, and end with Yom Kippur, a 25-hour fast, which will begin Oct. 8, Wednesday, at 6:15 p.m.
The final session takes place Saturday, Sept. 27, 8- 9 p.m., Selichot: The Gates are Opening, an evening of prayer, study and spiritual preparation beginning with havdalah, continuing with selichot (prayers for forgiveness), and concluding with a brief study of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy.
Call Congregation Sha'are Shalom at 703-737-6500 or write to CSS at P.O. Box 4518, Leesburg, VA 20177-8577. Visit Congregation Sha'are Shalom on the Internet at www.sha-areshalom.org.
The 10:30 a.m. service Sunday, Sept. 28, at the Unitarian Universalists of Sterling will be led by seminarian and guest preacher, Shelly Paige. UUS meets every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., at the Sterling Oaks Commerce Center at 22135 Davis Drive. Visit uusterling.org or call 703-406-3068.
Leesburg United Methodist Church, in cooperation with the Northern Virginia Christian Riders, Chapter 348 of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, will conduct a Blessing of the Bikes after each of its three morning worship services Sunday, Sept. 28. Pastor Jim Wishmyer will preside in brief services held in the parking lot directly across from the church, located at 107 W. Market St. The services, which will begin at approximately 9:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., will include blessings and prayers for the riders, their families and their motorcycles. All motorcyclists are welcome to attend.
Congregation Sha'are Shalom, Loudoun County's Conservative synagogue, has announced its schedule for High Holy Day services for the Jewish year 5769. The High Holy Days mark the beginning of the Jewish New Year for 5769 and start with Rosh Hashanah (the beginning of the year) at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 29. Services will be held the first and second days of the holiday Tuesday, Sept. 30 and Wednesday, Oct. 1. Services each day begin at 9 a.m. Yom Kippur (day of atonement) services begins with Kol Nidrei (all vows) at 6:15 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, and resume at 9 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 9. A break-the-fast will be held after the conclusion of Yom Kippur services around 7:20 p.m., Thursday.
All services and events are held at Congregation Sha'are Shalom, 19357 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg. Nonmembers can reserve tickets by calling the synagogue at 703-737-6500 or by downloading the reservation forms at www.sha-areshalom.org.
Potomac Falls Anglican Church will hold a Blessing of the Animals, Saturday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m., at Horizon Elementary School, 46665 Broadmore Drive, Cascades. The Rev. Jack Grubbs invites the community to bring their family pets to receive a blessing and a treat. All pets and stuffed animals are welcome. Pets should be on a leash or in a carrier. The congregation will be collecting old towels and blankets for Loudoun Country Animal Shelter and pet food for Loudoun Interfaith Relief. Call the church office at 703-404-0900 or visit www.potomacfallschurch.org. Potomac Falls Anglican Church meets for services each week, at 10 a.m., at Horizon Elementary School in Cascades.
From Sunday, Oct. 5-Nov. 16, Leesburg United Methodist Church will engage in a spiritual campaign called "40 Days of Purpose," based on Scripture and the Rev. Rick Warren's best selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life."
In the three Sunday morning worship services, numerous small study groups throughout the week at the church and in host homes, and in individual daily prayer and reading of "The Purpose Driven Life," the congregation and any others who wish to participate will spend six weeks exploring the question, "What on earth am I here for?"
The campaign also will emphasize both short-term and continuing mission projects, in which participants can apply their individual talents in God's service. Children are welcome; activities for those from preschool age through fifth grade will be offered each Sunday evening at the church. Child care will be offered at the small study groups.
The campaign will begin with a kick-off, Saturday, Oct. 4, beginning with dinner, at 6 p.m., in the fellowship hall of the church, 107 W. Market St., Leesburg. The program will include a DVD presentation by Rick Warren at 6:45 p.m. and a preview of campaign activities. Participants will receive copies of "The Purpose Driven Life," an $8 donation is suggested, and choose a small group for the weekly gatherings. Contact Leesburg United Methodist at 703-777-2056 or go to www.leesburgumc.org.
CONNECT, the young adult group at Sterling United Methodist Church, 304 East Church Road, Sterling, is seeking new members. CONNECT focuses on bringing people together in a social setting as they commonly search for Christ's direction in their lives. The group is open to all men and women in their 20s and 30s, married or single, with or without children. There is no cost for membership, although activity participation fees may apply. Call 703-430-6455 or visit www.sterlingumc.org.
Stephen Ministry at Ashburn Presbyterian Church, 20962 Ashburn Road in Ashburn, is a one-to-one listening ministry for those who need support for reasons such as divorce, loss of a loved one, recent hospitalization or terminal illness. Although Stephen Ministers are not counselors, they do empathize with those they are called to support and help them to find comfort through God's loving presence. Call Mark Armstrong, associate pastor at 703-729-2012 or visit the church Web site at ww.ashburnpresbyterian.org.