The E-pistle

February 23rd, 2024

A Note from Father Sam

Friends in Christ,

February has been a busy month in our common life, with our Annual Meeting and Ash Wednesday and the start of our annual Lenten journey. February is also, as always, Black History Month, and it’s good, before the month passes by, to acknowledge the importance of this commemoration. 

Here at St. Paul’s, we’ve been marking this month in a couple ways:

Lift Every Voice and Sing, a hymnal inspired by African American sacred music, sits in our pews. While it is available for use every week of the year, we have made an extra effort to include music from this hymnal each week in the month of February. On February 11, we sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” composed by Wallace Willis, a Choctaw freedman who lived in what is now the state of Oklahoma in the mid nineteenth century. You can learn more about Willis, his compositions, and his connections to the famous Fisk Jubilee Singers here.

This Sunday, we’ll remember Absalom Jones, the first Black man ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, by directing our loose-plate offerings to the Absalom Jones fund, which supports two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) associated with the Episcopal Church: St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC, and Voorhees University in Denmark, SC. There will be more information about this fund and about Absalom Jones in your bulletin on Sunday.

Finally, you likely know of our local connection to the great W.E.B. Du Bois. If you have a chance this weekend, you can catch the end of the week-long celebrations in Great Barrington commemorating this influential early civil rights activist. More information here

Acknowledging, working, and praying for racial justice is part of the call of all Christians in this world broken by sin and evil. As your new rector, I’m curious how we can make this work part of our Christian witness here in Stockbridge and the wider Berkshires. Where are the invitations we are feeling from God’s Spirit to learn more about the truths of our past, to be in relationship with people different from us, and to partner with our neighbors to right historic wrongs and build a community where everyone can flourish? May the ways in which we mark Black History Month in February help our walk of discipleship all year long.


Father Sam

Sunday, February 25th

8:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M.

Holy Eucharist

Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from thy ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of thy Word, Jesus Christ thy Son; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Scripture for the Second Sunday in Lent: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38

Worship Team February 25 (8:00 a.m.)

Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev’d Samuel T. Vaught

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty

Lector: Sharon Billetter

Intercessor: David Pearson

Worship Team February 25 (10:00 a.m.)

Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev’d Samuel T. Vaught

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty

Lector: Gale Page

Intercessor: Frank Smith

Musician: David Smith

Greeters: Gale Page and Frank Smith

Fellowship: Patty Melville

Altar Guild: Jorja Marsden

Worship Team March 3rd (8:00 a.m.)

Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev’d Samuel T. Vaught

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty

Lector: Rob Maloney

Intercessor: Sharon Billetter

Serving next week, March 3rd (10:00 a.m.)

Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev’d Samuel T. Vaught

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty

Lector: Martha Bodine

Intercessor: Darryl Lafferty

Musician: Nancy King

Greeters: Jim Wade

Fellowship: Ginny Willcox

Altar Guild: Natalie Boyce

Parish Prayer List

-People we pray for on Sundays: Bruce, Charles, Linda, Veronica, Jeff, Karen, Lisa, Rosalind, Kit, Jacob, Kathleen, Doug, Holly, Rick, David, John, Lenore, Vicki, Donna, Cynthia, Eliza, Cindy, and Lori

-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, 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: Gideon's Garden

- For peace and an end to violence and oppression in the world

- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. Philip’s, Easthampton

- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Anglican Church of Tanzania

Upcoming Events 

-Every Wednesday at 8:30 AM- Morning prayer on Zoom

-Every Friday at 8:30 AM- Intercessory Prayer in the Church

-Wednesday, February 28th- Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series at 6:00 PM in the Rectory

Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series

Wednesday nights at 6pm in the Rectory, beginning Feb 21

Our first session of “Pilgrimage to the Cross,” our Lenten formation series, was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came and shared personal reflections of pilgrimages taken near and far. The conversation was warm and insightful.

Next week, we’ll focus on the pilgrimage that Jesus took in the final moments of his life: The Way of the Cross (or the “Stations” of the Cross). Why are these final moments recorded in such detail, and why do we remember them liturgically each year? Come to the Rectory at 6pm on Wednesday to discuss with others!

A simple supper of soup and bread will be served. Thank you to Virgil and Lis Stucker and Natalie Boyce for providing next week’s food.

Remaining sessions:

Feb 28: The Way of Cross (Stations of the Cross)

Mar 6: The Gifts of God for the People of God: The Pilgrimage to the Altar in Worship

Mar 13: Cradle to Grave: The Pilgrimage of Life

Mar 20: COVID-19: A Pilgrimage through Sickness

Newcomers’ Lunch, March 3 after Church

Are you new at St. Paul’s? Have you been around for a few months, or weeks, and are looking to meet more people and get involved? Join Father Sam for lunch after service next Sunday, March 3, to learn more about the parish and how you can make a home in this community of faith. We’ll meet after the 10:00 Holy Eucharist in the tower room and walk over to the upper level of the Parish House to share lunch and conversation. All are welcome!

Two Opportunities to Pray Together Each Week

Wednesday: Morning Prayer at 8:30am (Online)

Every Wednesday, a group of parishioners meet at 8:30am to pray Morning Prayer online via Zoom. All are warmly welcome to join via the Zoom link on our website. Thank you Darryl Lafferty for continuing to lead this weekly offering.

Friday: Intercessory Prayer at 8:30am (In-person)

Some may remember that several years ago, a group of parishioners met each week to pray for the needs of those on the parish prayer list. All are invited to join on Friday mornings in the church as we revive this tradition of intercessory prayer. Thank you Alice Wohl for your leadership in reviving this weekly offering.

Getting Ahold of Father Sam

Father Sam now has a working church email address, [email protected], that can be used for all church communication. You can call him at the church office, (413) 298-4913, or any time at his cell phone, (765) 401-6112. Father Sam will observe Monday as his sabbath day each week and therefore not check email, but will always respond to a pastoral emergency if contacted by cell phone.


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

29 Main Street, P.O. Box 704

Stockbridge, MA 01262

Church Office Voicemail: (413) 298-4913


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