The E-pistle

February 29th, 2024

A Note from Father Sam

Friends in Christ,

On Sunday, we’ll hear St. Paul’s famous words about the foolishness of the cross. If we’re honest with ourselves, the cross does look pretty foolish. Suffering and defeat is not what we first think of when we think about the saving power of God! And Jesus’ death on the cross was not exactly what the disciples were hoping for in the Messiah.

Paul says that while the cross is indeed foolishness to the world, “to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” It turns out, putting your faith in the one on the cross is not foolish, but powerful. The cross reveals God’s power, which is a power made perfect in weakness. The wisdom and power of this world looks at the cross and says, foolish, unthinkable. How could God be there? But the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus is that God is not to be found in the mighty places of this world, but in the places of deepest darkness, where all hope has been extinguished. At the cross there is hope for us who suffer here, for us sinners, for those in distress, in poverty, in sickness, in death. On the cross, God in Christ is with us in it all.

When I think of this foolish errand of God in Jesus, I am reminded of a poem by the great George Herbert, a seventeenth century English priest and poet whose feast day in our church calendar was just this Tuesday, February 27. Herbert wrote moving verse, much of it about his relationship with God, and some of his poems have made their way into our hymnal, such as “King of glory, King of peace.” You can learn more about Herbert and read more of his poetry here. May Herbert’s words draw you deeper into the mystery of Christ and his cross.

Redemption, by George Herbert

Having been tenant long to a rich lord,

   Not thriving, I resolvèd to be bold,

   And make a suit unto him, to afford

A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old.

In heaven at his manor I him sought;

   They told me there that he was lately gone

   About some land, which he had dearly bought

Long since on earth, to take possessiòn.

I straight returned, and knowing his great birth,

   Sought him accordingly in great resorts;

   In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts;

At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth


   Of thieves and murderers; there I him espied,

   Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died.


Father Sam

Sunday, March 3rd

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

Holy Eucharist

Collect for the Third Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Scripture for the Third Sunday in Lent: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, John 2:13-22

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

Serving next week, March 10 (8:00 a.m.)

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

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty 

Lector: Sharon Billetter

Intercessor: Darryl Lafferty

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

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

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty 

Lector: Jean Rousseau 

Intercessor: Diana French

Musician: David Smith

Greeter: Jean Rousseau

Fellowship: Brett Roberts

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, Lori, and LaDawn.

-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: The Lee Food Pantry

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

- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Christ Church, Fitchburg

- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Church of the Province of Uganda

-Anniversaries: Ginny & Doug Willcox

Upcoming Events 

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

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

-Sunday, March 3: Newcomers’ Lunch after 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist

-Wednesday, March 6: Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series, 6:00 p.m. in the Rectory. Week 3: The Gifts of God for the People of God: The Pilgrimage to the Altar in Worship. Dinner of soup and bread provided!

-Sunday, March 24: Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. Stay tuned for more details on Holy Week and Easter liturgies.

Newcomers’ Lunch this Sunday 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 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!

Absalom Jones Offering–Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Absalom Jones Fund through our plate offering on Sunday. We raised over 700, which will go to provide support to St. Augustine’s University and Voorhees University, two Historically Black Universities affiliated with the Episcopal Church. If you weren’t in church and would like to give to the fund, or would like to learn more, you can give online and read more at this page on the Episcopal Church website.

Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series

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

Two down, three to go! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Lenten formation series on pilgrimage through rich, insightful conversation. Last night, we discussed the Stations of the Cross.

Next week, we’ll focus on a pilgrimage we take each Sunday in church, when we leave our seats and walk from one part of the church into another, to kneel or stand at the altar rail and receive the bread and wine of communion. Is this really a pilgrimage? Why is this movement important to our worship? Come to the Rectory at 6pm on Wednesday to discuss with others! A simple supper of soup and bread will be served.

Remaining sessions:

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

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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