December 14th, 2023
Sunday, December 17
ONE SERVICE -- 10:00 A.M.
Followed by Rectory Open House Brunch
An intriguing display of creches from around the world will be on display in the Rectory.
Thanks to Bernadette Brusco for gifting these nativity scenes to St. Paul’s, to the Rectory Renovation Committee, the Fundraising Team, and all those who are making this brunch a festive event.
This Sunday, December 17
Third Sunday of Advent
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Collect for 3rd Sunday of Advent
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Scripture for December 17: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
Worship Team for December 17
ONE SERVICE ONLY at 10:00 a.m.
Celebrant The Rev. Libby Wade
Preacher The Rev. Jane Tillman
Reader Jean Rousseau
Intercessor Diana French
Ushers/Greeters Gale Page & Frank Smith
Musician Nancy King
Fellowship Brunch in the Rectory
Worship Team for December 24
10:00 A.M. – 4th Sunday of Advent
Rite I Holy Eucharist
Celebrant/Preacher The Rev. Libby Wade
Reader/Intercessor Darryl Lafferty
Usher/Greeter Jim Wade
Fellowship Jim Wade
Parish Prayer List
-People we pray for on Sundays: Bruce, Charles, Linda, Veronica, Jeff, Karen, Lisa, Rosalind, Kit, Jacob, Kathleen, Doug, Holly, Rick, Keith, David, and John
-People on our Long-term prayer list: Allie, Irby, Ginger, Joan, Duncan, Bernadette, Ray, Piers, Katrina, Rich, Karen, Michael, Tom, Khali, George, Barbara, Christy, John, Anthony, Margie, and Estreeta
- Our partners at Grace Church, Great Barrington, and their priest Tina Rathbone; Christ Trinity Episcopal-Lutheran Church, Sheffield, and their priest Erik Karas; the residents and staff of the Austen Riggs community and the Riverbrook Residence
- Outreach Ministry of the Week: Cathedral of the Beloved
- For peace and an end to violence and oppression in the world
- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. Matthew’s in Worcester
- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
- Birthday: Bill Drumm
- Marriage: Piers Boyce and Brii White (12/16)
- Altar Flowers are given by Peter Dillon in memory of Brian Dillon.
Advent Candle Liturgy -- Week Three: Joy
Creator of the stars of night,
Your people’s everlasting light,
O Christ, Redeemer of us all,
We pray you hear us when we call.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and set lights in the sky—sun and moon and stars. By these stars, our ancestors charted their journeys. By these stars, they knew God was with them. Today we light three candles to bring the fire of the stars down from heaven to earth, to nestle among the greens. We name this candle Hope. (Light the first candle.) We name this candle Love. (Light the second candle.) We name this candle Joy. (Light the third candle.)
We too are on a journey, and we do not always know the way. But we chart our path by the star of joy. Even when despair is all around us and apathy seems the order of the day, we set our face steadily towards the light. Listen now to the prophecy of Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion—to give them a garland instead of ashes; the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Lord Jesus, as we search for signs of joy this week, help us to become the signs of joy that others are searching for. As these candles are but a glimpse of the light of the heavens, help us to be a glimpse of heaven’s joy. Amen.
Christmas Poinsettias – Due Date Monday, December 18
If you would like to give money to purchase poinsettias to adorn the church on Christmas in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for someone or some event, please send your check (in any amount) along with the following information to St. Paul’s Church, PO Box 704, Stockbridge, MA 01262 (or place the info and check in the offering plate on Sunday). In order to print the names and purchase the flowers, we must have this info no later than Monday, December 18.
I/We would like to contribute toward flowers
In memory of ___________ or In thanksgiving for__________.
Your Name and Contact Info __________________________
Stewardship Commitment for 2024
As we eagerly await the January arrival of St. Paul’s new Rector, the Rev. Sam Vaught, the vestry has drafted an annual budget to support our parish mission. We’re trusting that those who haven’t yet made a financial commitment for 2024 will do so quickly, because we need everyone’s help to remain strong as a parish. Thanks to those who have already turned in a pledge card. If you haven’t done so, please mail or e-mail your pledge commitment today or place your pledge card in the offering plate on Sunday.
Saturday, December 16, 4:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Festive old and new holiday music with an earth-conscious message
Register and Purchase Tickets at www.CrescendoMusic.org
Tickets will also be available at the door.
More Information: https://crescendomusic.org/
Artistic Director Christine Gevert says, "The music and the message of the texts are there to uplift us, and to make us pause in these hectic and anxiety-filled times. The light and hope that the Carols bring to us in a familiar, yet new way, and the extraordinary beauty of the motets by William Byrd and Thomas Tallis shine through any darkness in or around us. As we often do in our programs, we present early music in juxtaposition with contemporary music. This invites you to listen differently, as you experience traditional tunes and harmonies next to meditative and the festive new compositions. Do come, and be part of a unique musical moment that our singers, instrumentalists and myself want to share with you!”
During the transition between rectors, the role of Senior Warden becomes more substantial. Jorja Marsden was the right person for this time in the life of St. Paul’s, giving freely of her time and skills! In addition to being Senior Warden, she’s also been the project manager for the rectory renovation. Though that project still has a bit more work to be done in 2024, the interior is now beautiful and functional. Recognizing the amazing energy and expertise Jorja has invested, a lovely bouquet of flowers was recently delivered to her on behalf of the whole parish. She writes, “Thank you, St. Paul’s family, for the beautiful flowers and card. I so appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness. You all hold a very special place in my heart. Sending much love and admiration to you all. Love, Jorja.
Our Ministry Intern Sharon Billetter graduated last weekend from the Province I Deacon Formation School. Congratulations on this important step in the ordination process, Sharon.
It’s been a joy to have Sharon working at St. Paul’s since last February. She’ll continue with us through this winter. Sharon soon will begin preparing a portfolio to present to the Diocesan Commission on Ministry. Then, God-willing and pending recommendation from the COM along with Bishop Fisher’s approval, ordination as a Vocational Deacon will follow in the spring.
St. Paul’s Creates
Wow! With a bit of guidance and tons of interesting crafting materials supplied by Patty Melville, a group of St. Paul’s folks enjoyed creating Christmas cards and chatting after church last Sunday.
Thanks, Patty, for sharing one of your many talents with us. The card shown was created by one of the workshop participants.
A Message from Libby – A Place of Warmth and Welcome for All
I love this photo of St. Paul’s with every pew full. What you don’t see is the 20 or so people standing in the back of the church, because the church was SRO. This isn’t a worship service at St. Paul’s, for even our Christmas Eve services aren’t this full. This is a photo of the audience crammed into St. Paul’s on Sunday, December 3, to hear the Monument Mountain Regional High School chorus, chamber orchestra, and jazz band perform during the Stockbridge Christmas on Main Festival.
It was raining and we provided warm, dry space. Yes, some came because we offered shelter from the rain, but many came to support these youthful musicians and to be inspired and uplifted by their holiday music. I’m so glad St. Paul’s chooses to be a resource to the community and a welcoming sanctuary for all and hope you will continue that tradition.
In my prayer time this month, I have returned over and over to this image of a full church. My dream is that the day might come when there’s standing room only for a worship service, a time when people flock to worship here to support each other and meet God, to be restored to newness of life and strengthened for service in the world. I know it’s a bold vision, but seeing the church full even for a concert gives me hope, as does the faithful group who are currently part of the St. Paul’s community.
While I’ll soon turn over the spiritual leadership of St. Paul’s to the Rev. Sam Vaught, Jim and I will at some point return to St. Paul’s as worshippers. This congregation and it’s well-being will always be in my prayers. I expect that God has much good in store for St. Paul’s! This prayer from A New Zealand Prayer Book, p, 454) is my prayer this Advent/Christmas Season: ‘God, you shape our dreams. As we put our trust in you, may your hopes and desires be ours, and may we be your expectant people. Amen.
Oakes & Smith Concert
The church was awash in candle light last Saturday for our annual concert by Oakes and Smith. Thanks to the generous parishioner who funds this concert each year and thanks to Robert and Katherine and their musical friends who grace us with their music each Advent. In this photo, Katherine is poised to process up the aisle at the beginning of the concert.
This year, we encouraged audience members to make a donation to St. Paul’s designated Christmas Outreach offering, Multicultural Bridge. Almost $600 was donated, which will be added to our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day loose plate offerings for this organization that does such amazing work in the Berkshires.
Though we aren’t sponsoring a family this year at Christmas, there are several possibilities for giving to others through St. Paul’s. As you read above, our loose-plate Christmas Offering will go to Multicultural Bridge, a catalyst for justice, social change, and building community in the Berkshires. For 15 years, this organization has been building bridges of mutual understanding and respect among diverse groups. Learn more at www.multiculturalbridge.org
“Change a Diaper. Change a Life.” That’s an apt slogan for Berkshire Community Diaper Project. St. Paul’s supported this project in its beginnings and we continue to pray monthly for the good work they do in our community. Since 2014, the Diaper Project has distributed over 1.8 million diapers. This Advent, as we contemplate the awesome birth of baby Jesus, let’s see how many diapers we can accumulate around our baptismal font for the Diaper Project. Bring diapers anytime in December and we’ll make sure to deliver them.
The “Reverse Advent Calendar” is a fun way to increase our giving to the Lee Food Pantry during Advent. The Poster with food suggestions has been in the last two E-pistles. This week’s photo is of our St. Paul’s Food Pantry volunteers working last Saturday to provide food for almost 60 family units.
Bring your food and diapers to church anytime, but please make sure they’re here on or before Sunday, December 31.
That’s a festive Lessons and Carols service, as well as Libby’s last day as our Interim Priest. She would like nothing better than to see our space overflowing with people, non-perishable food items for Lee Food Pantry, and diapers for the Diaper Project!
Upcoming Worship Services and Concert at St. Paul’s
Every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.
Morning Prayer on Zoom
Saturday, December 16 at 4:00 p.m.
Crescendo in Concert – Carols for the Earth
Sunday, December 17 at 10:00 a.m.
3rd Sunday of Advent Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 24 at 10:00 a.m.
4th Sunday of Advent Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 24 at 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist
Monday, December 25 at 10:00 a.m.
Christmas Day Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 31 at 10:00 a.m.
Lessons and Carols with Holy Eucharist
The Rev. Libby Wade’s last Sunday as Interim
Sunday, January 7 at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist celebrating the Epiphany
The Rev. Jane Tillman, Celebrant and Preacher
Sunday, January 14 at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
The Rev. Samuel T. Vaught’s first Sunday as Rector
Community Events of Interest
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
29 Main Street, P.O. Box 704
Stockbridge, MA 01262
Church Office Voicemail: (413) 298-4913