The E-pistle

June 15th, 2023

A Message from Libby– "We have a praying mantis!"

I arrived at the office early Monday morning. A dad was dropping off his child at the Children’s Center. A mom was blowing a kiss to her child through the “good-by” window. A grandparent was walking a little girl hand-in-hand through the parking lot. It was a normal morning at St. Paul’s. 

As I slipped between a parent and child, a teacher held the door open for me. Several children said “hi.” When I began unlocking the toddler gate at the foot of the Parish House stairs, a child proudly reminded me that she can walk up a staircase and come down again by herself, because she’s 4 years old now. She wondered what happens upstairs, then skipped into her classroom to choose a free-play activity. 

Just inside the classroom door, a boy raised both arms above his head in a silent shout, grinned from ear-to-ear, and said, “Libby, we’ve got a praying mantis!” Right on cue, Children’s Center Director Lisa Kane appeared with a jar holding a praying mantis. We were all excited after watching these insects since they were tiny eggs in papery cases sitting in an aquarium. Today was the day they became adults, and joy was in the air. With small magnifying glasses, the kids examined these creatures more fully before releasing them on the playground later in the morning. On days like these, I feel particularly blessed by the children’s eager curiosity and joy, and I love that they want to share themselves and their discoveries with me. 

For 50 years, St. Paul’s Children’s Center has provided developmentally appropriate early childhood education. Hundreds of families have been touched by this gift St. Paul’s made to the community five decades ago. This Sunday during our worship service and at a brunch in the Children’s Center after worship, we’ll celebrate those 50 years and honor the vision, daring, and resourcefulness of this parish and the Center’s staff in creating a safe environment of loving care, fun, and sound practice.   The Rev. Tad Evans, Mrs. Patricia Tarrant (widow of the Rt. Rev. John Tarrant), the Rev. Tom Damrosch, preschool staff, and current and former students and their families will be our special guests. We’ll also offer prayers for all this year’s graduates and educators connected with our congregation as part of the service. Come enjoy the celebration and greet our guests as the St. Paul’s Children’s Center looks toward a bright future.    

Sunday Worship


Collect for the Third Sunday after Pentecost

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Scripture for June 18th: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25, Psalm 78:1-7, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Matthew 9:35-10:8

Worship Team for June 18 10 AM One Service in the church

Celebrant/Preacher           The Rev. Libby Wade

Assisting Priest              The Rev. Jane Tillman

Reader/Intercessor              Jean Rousseau

Usher/Greeter                           Martha Bodine

Brunch after the service

Worship Team for June 25th

One Service at 9 AM on the church lawn

Celebrate/Preacher         The Rev. Libby Wade

Assisting Priest              The Rev. Jane Tillman

Ministry Intern                           Sharon Billetter

Reader                                        Kendra MacLeod

Intercessor                                          Torey Winn

Usher/Greeter                               Jorja Marsden

Fellowship Host                             Natalie Boyce


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, and Michael Curry.

--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 the pandemic

--Diocesan Cycle of Prayer:  Church of the Nativity, Northborough

--Anglican Cycle of Prayer:  The Anglican Church of Australia.

--Birthdays: Michael Cosby, Nick Dillon, and Ron Muir.

--Anniversaries: Libby & Jim Wade, and Tom & Patty Melville.

--May the soul of Dominic Bioh rest in peace.

--This week’s altar flowers were donated by Peter Dillon in memory of Monika Dillon.

Healing Prayers and Anointing of the Sick


“Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.” (James 5: 14-15).


Last Sunday at St. Paul’s we resumed offering healing prayers, laying on of hands, and anointing of the sick. These ancient sacramental practices are a sign and means of God’s grace. Our catechism describes God’s grace this way: “Grace is God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills.” (BCP, p. 858). While there are two sacraments of the Gospel, Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist, there are five other sacramental rites we observe in the church, and Unction of the Sick is one of these. Unction is the rite of anointing the sick with oil, and/or the laying on of hands through which “God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind and body.” (BCP, pg. 861). While anointing is performed by a priest, deacons and lay members of the congregation may be called by the Rector to the ministry of laying on of hands, offering intercessory prayers for healing.


The point of healing prayers and anointing is to open ourselves to the power and mystery of God’s grace working through the Holy Spirit within us. It is God alone who heals us, and our seeking anointing and prayers are signs that we are open to God’s healing presence in our lives.


At St. Paul’s we have amended the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer and offer healing prayers following Holy Communion, rather than immediately following the Confession and before the exchange of the Peace. When indoors, those offering intercessory prayers or anointing will stand in the baptistry. When outdoors, we’ll offer healing prayers and anointing near the Memorial Garden fountain. If you wish to receive healing prayer, come to the designated spot after taking communion, and let us know what you are asking us to pray for. If the prayers are for you and your own healing, then anointing and laying on of hands will be offered. The oil, which is blessed by the bishop and distributed to clergy during Holy Week, is used to make the sign of the cross on your forehead, and this is an outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace that is part of God’s loving action in our lives. When offering prayers, hands will be placed on your head during the prayer, also part of the ancient rite of healing. If you are seeking healing for someone other than yourself, when you make your request known, intercessory prayers will be offered, and those praying with you will touch your shoulders or hands as we join in prayer for the person or situation you are offering up to God for healing.


Through this summer, the Rev. Jane Tillman and Ministry Intern Sharon Billetter will be the ones who offer this ministry of healing, not every Sunday, but most Sundays.

Healing prayers, laying on of hands, and anointing are all powerful moments in a life of faith offering our concerns to God for solace, healing, and restoration.

                                                                                                                       --Jane Tillman+

“My Soul in Silence Waits”

Meditation and Prayer Group 

Tuesdays at 4:30 p.mon Zoom

Our format will include a brief reflection on a psalm followed by a time for silent prayer, meditation, or journaling, and ending with spoken prayers. 

Come into this quiet time for centering, reflection, and prayer.  Nourish your soul in silence and safety.  Participate every Tuesday or drop in whenever you can.  You will be welcomed!    Contact: The Rev. Libby Wade at ( )  

Morning Prayer on Zoom

Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m.

Led by Darryl Lafferty

Form community….Offer prayers….Learn about Saints’ Days

Is God Calling You?


Dear sisters and brothers, as we approach the end of another academic year, I find myself reflecting once again on my gifts and how God is calling me to use them for the uplifting of the church. Similarly, I wonder how God might be calling each of you. I pray that some may feel called to assist with our worship. There are many opportunities to serve: greeter, usher, altar guild, acolyte, lector, and hospitality host. Please reach out to me or Mother Libby or Martha Bodine for additional information. For Sundays in July and August, Martha will have a clipboard on Sundays so that you can sign up for a role. Thanks to those who’ve almost filled the hospitality host slots for July and to our faithful altar guild (they would welcome new help!). All other slots are open!

– Darryl Lafferty, Verger

Summer Volunteer Hours at Gideon’s Garden

Now that plants are in the field, new volunteer hours start this week. If you would like to volunteer at the Garden, please come on Mondays from 9 am-12pm or Wednesday from 1-5 pm. Come for the whole time or just a little while. Come for the work and stay for the conversations! Gideon’s Garden is on Division St. across from Taft Farms in Great Barrington. It is a ministry of Grace Church that supplies Lee Food Pantry and other area food programs with fresh produce. Jim Wade and Gale Smith from St. Paul’s are regular volunteers. 


St. Paul’s Team at Lee Food Pantry

On June 10, our team of 12 volunteers served 52 family units at the Lee Food Pantry. Need is great. Your contributions of time and of non-perishable food are much appreciated. Our next Saturday to work at the Pantry is July 8.

Appalachian Trail Angels Ministry

Tuesday, July 18

Saturday, August 12

If you’d like to be part of a St. Paul’s team on one of these dates, please contact our Ministry Intern Sharon Billetter ( or sign up on Sunday at church. In addition to volunteering in person, donations toward Kroger gift cards will be gladly accepted to purchase food for the meals provided at the Trail Angels site.                                                                                             

As a United Way Project several years ago, St. Paul’s erected a Berkshire Book House at one of the entrances to our church yard. As you can see, it’s rather bare at the moment. Though this box is intended for children’s books, it was full of adult books this week. Libby removed those and restocked with books donated by the Johnsons and the Skakels. We need a “librarian” for our Book House! Duties include periodically checking to make sure only appropriate books are inside (not censoring or banning, just keeping it for children!) and choosing books from our already ample supply to put in the house. “Find books that make YOU happy! Take them home, IN JOY,” says a sign inside the Book House. This is one more way of offering welcome to the Stockbridge community and visitors to town. If you could help with this simple yet fulfilling task, please contact Libby Wade. 

Rectory Renovation

Fundraising Team Appointed 

Our contractor, Henry Kirchdorfer, is working diligently on the Rectory kitchen and bathrooms. Once he finishes, the painter will return to complete his work, the floors will be refinished or cleaned, work will be done on several of the chimneys, and, at some point, the roof will be repaired or replaced. As you can see from the photo, the sun porch is full of insulation and boxes of cabinets and appliances ready to be installed. Jorja Marsden is doing an outstanding and time-consuming job as our project manager. As the renovation moves forward, a Fundraising Team has begun meeting to design a path to funding the portion of renovation cost not covered by the vestry-authorized endowment withdrawal. Please welcome Martha Bodine, Genet Jeanjean, and Virgil Stucker to this leadership role. They bring wisdom, broad experience, and fresh perspectives to the task. This decades-overdue renovation will create a welcoming and comfortable home for St. Paul’s new rector and enhance our presence in the Stockbridge community. 

Calendar of Upcoming Events


+ Every Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. (Zoom link) – Meditation & Prayer


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


+ Friday, June 16 – Marriage Ceremony at St. Paul’s for Linda Boborodea and Naren Dhamadharan


+ Sunday, June 18 – ONE SERVICE ONLY at 10 a.m. – Celebration of Graduates and 50th Anniversary Celebration of Founding of St. Paul’s Children’s Center; Brunch in the Children’s Center after worship


+ Wednesday, June 21, 5:30 PM – Safe Church Training for volunteers at Grace Church Office in Great Barrington


+ Sunday, June 25 – ONE SERVICE ONLY at 9 AM outdoors

THANK YOU to Jean Rousseau for donating the plants pictured at the beginning of last week’s E-pistle and to Natalie Boyce and Darryl Lafferty for donating new purificators and lavabo towels for use in worship.

Alas, the Internet isn’t working in the church. We’re sorry for any inconvenience that may cause and ask for patience as we search for a solution.

Honoring Secular Holidays


A Prayer for Father’s Day (June 18)

Heavenly Father, you entrusted your Son Jesus, the child of Mary, to the care of Joseph, an earthly father. Bless all fathers as they care for their families. Give them strength and wisdom, tenderness and patience; support them in the work they have to do, protecting those who look to them, as we look to you for love and salvation, through Jesus Christ our rock and defender. Amen. (


“Will you respect the dignity of every human being?” (Baptismal Covenant) A Short History of Juneteenth (June 19)

(from “Tuesday’s Child,” e-newsletter of Grace, Great Barrington)

Juneteenth, anniversary of the full emancipation of Black people from chattel slavery in the United States became a federal holiday in 2021, though festivities with special food and music existed since 1867. It marks the day Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas in 1865, two months after the Confederacy had surrendered in the Civil War and two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Southern states….As the Episcopal Church comes to a reckoning with our participation in the colonial enslavement project, we are bound by our Baptismal Covenant to acknowledge, lament, and repair the culture of white dominance that continues to perpetuate tragedies of injustices for economic gain. 


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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