The E-pistle

July 20th, 2023

Sowing Seeds of Faith and Action -- July Vestry Notes


We began the July Vestry meeting with a reflection on the Parable of the Sower - the Gospel reading on Sunday, July 16. We shared our thoughts on these questions

·     What are the seeds being sown at St. Paul's this year? 

·     What will it take for those seeds to flourish?

·     What might get in the way of the seeds growing?

·     What might be your role as a vestry in this story of the sower and the seeds? 

Words that came up repeatedly were outreach, kindness, welcoming, caring for one another, and the importance of communication. Like the sower, the Vestry sees our job to pull the weeds (figuratively and literally!) that get in the way of our congregation fulfilling our mission. We are also working with Pastor Libby to enrich the soil of our parish, allowing everyone to thrive.


We again thanked Jorja for all the work she is doing around the renovation of the Rectory and the fixing of water lines for the rectory, church, and parish hall. We also approved an idea she put forth to replace the "Drop in the Bucket" bucket (which most people are unaware of) with a lovely bucket and designate donations for the diocesan outreach ministry Human to Human ( At this meeting, we made a $200 donation to a golf tournament fundraiser for Human to Human.


We thanked John Davies for his work on the church audit/financial review, an annual requirement to make sure our finances are in good order. There were no areas that required comment or recommendation - just the results that indicate what a fine job John does month after month!


The weekly E-pistles from Pastor Libby are keeping us up to date on both the Rectory and the search for our new rector, so I won't repeat those.  

                                                                                                   Martha Bodine, Jr. Warden


Summer Sundays -- One Service at 9:00 A.M. on the Lawn

This Sunday after Church, those who are able are encouraged to stay and do a bit of gardening. So dress in your best weeding clothes! If you can bring a lawn chair for worship, that would be helpful. For those who find walking on the uneven ground difficult, we’ll reserve a few chairs just off the walkway and we’ll bring communion to people in their seats. Of course, if it’s raining, we’ll worship inside. 

Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen


Scripture for July 20th: Genesis 28:10-19a, Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23, Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30,36-43.

Worship Team for July 23rd

On the Lawn at 9 AM

Celebrant             The Rev. Libby Wade

Assisting Priest The Rev. Jane Tillman

Preacher               The Rev. Libby Wade

Reader                             Genet Jeanjean

Intercessor                     Sharon Billetter

Usher/Greeter                         Jim Wade

Hospitality Host             Martha Bodine

Musician                         Doug Schmolze   

Worship Team for July 30th

On the Lawn at 9 AM

Celebrant                The Rev. Libby Wade

Preacher                  The Rev. Libby Wade

Reader                     Sharon Billetter

Intercessor              TBD

Usher/Greeter        Ginny Willcox

Hospitality Host     Anne Covell

Musician                  Doug Schmolze

Parish Prayer List

--People we pray for on Sundays:  Bruce, Charles, Irby, Ginger, Joan, Duncan, Bernadette, Linda, Veronica, Jeff, Karen, Lisa, Ray, Allie, Rosalind, Estreeta, Michael Curry, Kit, and Beth.

--Long-term prayer list:  Piers, Katrina, Rich, Karen, Michael, Tom, Khali, George, Doug, Barbara, Christy, John, and Anthony.

--Our partners at Grace Church, Great Barrington, and their priest Tina Rathbone; Christ Trinity Episcopal-Lutheran Church, Sheffield, and their priest Erik Karas; the Austen Riggs community and the Riverbrook Residence; victims of war, violence, abuse, persecution and disaster at home and abroad; and those who continue to be impacted by COVID.

--Outreach Ministry of the Week: Gideon's Garden

--Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Trinity Church, Shelburne Falls

--Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Church of the Province of Central Africa

--Birthdays: Ginger Schwartz, Tracy Weston

--Pray for the repose of the soul of Alexandra Taylor Brenner

You Can Help


Are you a welcoming person? We need you to serve as a greeter/usher on August 6 (indoors) or August 20 (on the lawn).

Are you a prayerful person? We need you to lead the Prayers of the People on Sunday, July 30 or Sunday, September 3.

Do you like to prepare culinary treats? We need you to host hospitality time after church on September 3.

Do you appreciate the beauty of flowers and plants? We need you to provide a plant or flowers to enhance our altar. If you bring a plant, it will be added to our gardens after worship. Summer dates currently available are July 23rd and August 30th.

Sunday, July 23 – After Worship

Quick Weeding of the Garden


We had so much fun working in the church yard in May, that we’re doing it again!

Come in work clothes and stay about 45 minutes. Chris Johnson will guide our work.

There will be ample food and drink. With your help, much can be accomplished in a short time.

St. Paul’s Welcomes Appalachian Trail Hikers


On Tuesday of this week, St. Paul’s team of Trail Angels welcomed 11 AT Hikers at the Sheffield site, offering shade, comfy chairs, cell phone chargers, and abundant food. Some hikers enjoy talking about their adventure. Others just enjoy a place to relax for a while. Our team sowed seeds of hospitality with the hikers and enjoyed conversation among themselves between visits by hikers. Thanks to Ministry Intern Sharon Billetter for coordinating this mini-mission trip and to St. Paul’s team: Martha Bodine, Diana French (and Bella), Chris Johnson, Robin Newton-Irelan and her son Julian Newton-Demary, Deb Pege, Jim Wade, and Torey Winn. Thanks also go to Deb Pege and Jane Tillman for funding the Big Y gift cards that help us “pay it forward” with this ministry coordinated by Christ Trinity and Sheffield Congregational churches. 


St. Paul’s Next AT Trail Angel Day is Saturday, August 12

Summer Brings Visitors from Near and Far


The last couple of Sundays, we’ve had up to five visitors worship with us. That’s always invigorating. When you’re here on Sunday, if you see someone you don’t know, please make a point of speaking to them and inviting them to stay for Hospitality Time after worship. The worst that can happen is that you’ll meet someone who’s already part of St. Paul’s, but attends a service at a different time than you normally do. The best that can happen is that you make the acquaintance of someone with an interesting story to tell and your welcome brings them nearer to God.  


We also receive visits during the week from people who we may never meet. A few leave their name in one of our guest registers. Many leave prayers in our prayer basket. In the last four weeks, our worship space has been visited by folks from Albany, Greenbush, and West Nyack, New York; Gladstone and Short Hills, New Jersey; Knoxville, Tennessee; Cleveland, Ohio; Royalston, Massachusetts; Rome, Italy; and Germany. Two of these couples were married at St. Paul’s, 19 and 29 years ago, respectively. 


In the basket on our altar, visitors have left prayers for health for self, family, or friends; peace in the world; the repairing of family relationships; thankfulness for jobs; help in stressful situations; safe travels; and much more. Here are two prayers we might all share: “Help us to love one another…no matter what. Amen.” “May all beings be happy, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be free of suffering and the roots of suffering.” 


With gratitude, a traveler who spent time in St. Paul’s took time to e-mail:

“Dear St. Paul’s, Last week, a friend and I spent three days in the Berkshires. Each of those days we visited St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and spent time praying there. Thank you for making the church accessible all day. In addition, I appreciated the quiet atmosphere and music. For me, it was a refuge of being alone with God. Thank you! J.S.”

Creating a Welcoming Space for a New Rector

Rectory Renovation

Kitchen Cabinets are almost Finished!

Calendar of Upcoming Events


+ Every Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. (Zoom link) – Morning Prayer


+ Every Sunday, 9:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist on the Church Lawn

(In the case of inclement weather, worship will be inside.)

+Sunday, July 23, After Worship – Church Gardening

+ Sunday, August 6 – The Sacrament of Holy Baptism will be celebrated. If you or a member of your family would like to be baptized, please contact Mother Libby.


+ Saturday, August 12 – Appalachian Trail Angels Work Day

+Saturday, August 12 - St. Paul's team serves at Lee Food Pantry


+ Gideon’s Garden Summer Volunteer Hours: Mondays from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. or Wednesdays from 1-5 p.m. Come for the whole time or just a little while. Gideon’s Garden is on Division St. across from Taft Farms in Great Barrington. Produce harvested goes to local food programs, including Lee Food Pantry.

Coming Soon!! The debut of St. Pauls' new website and the posting of St. Paul’s Rector Search!! Please pray for the Search Committee as they organize and prepare for their role in this process. 

If you were intrigued by the collects we used to publish regularly in the E-pistle from the South County EfM group, you might be interested in joining an online EfM group that starts this September. We will meet for 36 weeks on Zoom, beginning on Monday September 9, from 2:30 – 5:00 pm (eastern). Over the course of the year we engage in prayer, discussion, and theological reflection with the group and read substantially in the Christian Tradition. First year participants read the Old Testament, second year, the New Testament, third year Christian History, and fourth year Christian theology and ethics. Participants sign up for one year at a time. This link will take you to the program’s website.

 For more information, please contact Karen Byers, kdbyers at 

From Our Diocese

Safe Church Training Summer/Fall 2023


All Vestry members and those who volunteer with youth or vulnerable adults are required to receive this training and renew every 3 years. If you can’t remember your most recent training date, it may be time to renew. At the end of June, almost all of St. Paul’s vestry was up to date on training. This training is open to anyone who would like to know more about best practices for keeping all of us safe.  

The Rev. Tanya Wallace, our Diocesan Safe Church Officer, will lead Safe Church training on the following dates via Zoom:


Friday, August 25, 9-2 p.m. Clergy, Staff, Lay leaders

Tuesday, September 5, 5-8 p.m., Volunteers

Tues/Thurs, September 19 & 21, 5:30-8:00 p.m., Clergy, Staff, Lay leaders

Sunday, October 22, 2-5:00 p.m., Volunteers

Please sign up early. Registration closes one week prior to training date. Your parish will be billed for your registration fee. You may register by clicking on the date of your choice above. Thank you for helping to keep our churches safe.

An Invitation from the Berkshire Opera Festival

Oour Parish Administrator, Kyra Saltman, also works as Operations Manager for the Berkshire Opera Festival in the summers. BOF is hosting a free presentation and discussion at the Berkshire Atheneaum about Puccini's La Bohème. Attendees will receive an invitation to attend the dress rehearsal of La Bohéme as well!


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

29 Main Street, P.O. Box 704

Stockbridge, MA 01262

Church Office Voicemail: (413) 298-4913

Email: [email protected]

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