The E-pistle

February 8th, 2024

A Note from Father Sam

Dear friends in Christ,

It feels hard to believe, but the season of Lent is nearly upon us! With an early Easter (March 31) comes an early Ash Wednesday—next Wednesday, February 14. In less than a week, as we receive the sign of the cross in ashes on our foreheads, we’ll hear those sobering words once again, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Why go through this strange ritual each year? For me, Ash Wednesday is a grounding reminder of reality as it is: that despite all that our culture would have us believe, we are in fact mortal, finite creatures, and that here on earth, we do not live forever. Those of us who face sickness or bereavement hardly need a reminder of this reality, it’s true, but for many of us, Ash Wednesday is a yearly chance to remember that our health, and wealth, and indeed our lives themselves are not absolutes to be taken for granted. It is a chance to remember that despite what the poet told us, we are not the masters of our fate nor the captains of our soul.

Ash Wednesday begins the forty-day season of Lent, when we are asked to look deeply inward as we prepare to celebrate the great mystery of our faith: that despite our mortal nature, there is indeed a Master of our fate, a Captain of our soul who has won for us an abundant life that extends beyond the grave. He himself was not spared the grave, but in the mystery of his resurrection, Christ pulls us along into his new life, a life that does not end in death. This is, of course, the mystery of Easter.

Lent shouldn’t be about beating ourselves up. Instead, it should help us slow down and prepare to celebrate the joy of Easter, acknowledging reality as it is while we look forward in hope to an even deeper, more mysterious reality. There are several ways that we can slow down and observe Lent together as a community: Ash Wednesday and Sunday services, a Wednesday evening formation series, and more. All the details are below.

And of course, before we enter this Lenten pilgrimage, we’ll celebrate Shrove Tuesday together in the Rectory on Tuesday night at 6. I hope to see you there!


Father Sam

Sunday, February 11th

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

Holy Eucharist

Collect for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; 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 Last Sunday after the Epiphany: 2 Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-6, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9

Worship Team for February 11th

8:00 AM and 10:00 AM

Celebrant                                             Father Sam

Preacher                                                 Father Sam

Assisting Priest                The Rev. Jane Tillman

Reader (8)                                          Rob Maloney

Reader (10)                                            Kim Savery

Intercessor (8 & 10)                      Sharon Billetter

Usher/Greeter                                  Ginny Wilcox           

Fellowship                  Patty Melville, coordinator

Musician                                               David Smith

Worship Team for February 14th

Ash Wednesday at 6:00 PM

Celebrant                                     Father Sam

Preacher                                      Father Sam

Assisting Priest      The Rev. Jane Tillman

Reader                                         Kim Savory 

Intercessor                            Jorja Marsden

Usher/Greeter                              Jim Wade

Musician                                   Kyra Saltman

Worship Team for February 18th

8:00 AM and 10:00 AM

Celebrant                                             Father Sam

Preacher                                                 Father Sam

Assisting Priest                The Rev. Jane Tillman

Reader (8)                                         David Pearson

Reader (10)                                         Virgil Stucker

Intercessor (8)                                 Darryl Lafferty

Intercessor (10)                              Martha Bodine

Usher/Greeter                     Lis and Virgil Stucker           

Fellowship                           Lis and Virgil Stucker

Musician                                               Nancy King

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: St. Paul’s Children’s Center

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

- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Good Shepherd, Clinton

- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan

- Birthdays: Leonard McCue

Upcoming Events 

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

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

-Sunday, February 11th – Holy Eucharist  at 8:00 and 10:00 AM, followed by the Annual Parish Meeting

-Tuesday, February 13th– Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at the Rectory at 6:00 PM

-Wednesday, February 14th– Ash Wednesday Holy Eucharist at 6:00 PM

-Sunday, February 18th– Holy Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:00 AM

-Tuesday, February 20th– Vestry Meeting at 5:30 PM in the Parish House

-Wednesday, February 21st- First Meeting of Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series at 6:00 PM in the Rectory

Annual Meeting– This Sunday, February 11

The Annual Meeting of Saint Paul’s Church will be held this Sunday, February 11, after the 10:00am Holy Eucharist. We will elect Vestry members and Delegates to Diocesan Convention, receive ministry reports and the 2024 budget, and hear the Rector’s annual address. Join us to share in fellowship and reflect on the last year of our common life.

Read the annual report before Sunday by clicking on the image below:


Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper–February 13th

Join Father Sam and Brett to celebrate this last festive day before Lent begins with a pancake supper in the Rectory at 6:00pm. We’ll gather to enjoy some pancakes, other food, and drinks, and then we’ll step outside to burn last year’s Palm Sunday palms to prepare this year’s Ash Wednesday ashes.

Father Sam and Brett will provide the pancakes. Maple syrup is covered (thanks, Patty Melville!). We could still use some things from the following list. If you’d like to bring something, please email Father Sam to let him know, and we’ll avoid too many doubles! Thank you.

  • Orange juice
  • Sausages
  • Chopped fruit/fruit salad

Please come to the Rectory via the front door.

Ash Wednesday–February 14th

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word…

We will observe Ash Wednesday with Holy Eucharist, including the imposition of ashes, at 6:00pm in the church. If you can’t make it at 6, consider attending service at one of our fellow South County churches:

10:00am - Grace Church, Great Barrington (in their chapel at 67 State Rd, Suite 2)

12:00pm - Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield

Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series

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

Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? Would you like to learn more about them?

Join Father Sam in the Rectory on Wednesday nights in Lent for a formation series we’re calling “Pilgrimage to the Cross.” Each week, we’ll explore a different type of Pilgrimage and its relevance to our lives as together we make a common pilgrimage through the season of Lent. Feel free to come to one, a few, or the whole series! A simple supper of soup and bread will be served. If you think you might attend the first session, RSVP to Father Sam so we can have a rough count for food. All are welcome!

The schedule:

Feb 21: Pilgrimages to Holy Sites (Jerusalem, the Camino, Iona, etc.)

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

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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