The E-pistle

March 15th, 2024

A Note from Father Sam

Dear friends in Christ,

On Sunday, we’ll hear a story from John’s Gospel that begins with an exchange between a group of visitors to Jerusalem and one of Jesus’ disciples. “Sir,” they say to Philip, “we wish to see Jesus.” Philip passes the message along to Andrew, and the two of them go to find Jesus and report the news: people are seeking after him.

There is something timeless about this desire expressed to Philip. “We wish to see Jesus” surely cannot just be the wish of a small group two thousand years ago. We still wish to see Jesus. The world still longs for the healing grace of the Savior. We wish to see peace in lands torn apart by war. We wish to see justice for those who suffer under the burdens of poverty, exclusion, and mistreatment. We wish for true healing for our broken hearts, and spirits, and minds, and bodies. We long for life in the midst of so much death. We wish to see Jesus.

What does it mean to be a disciple of this sought-after Savior? Could it mean, in the midst of our own longing for salvation, to also emulate Philip and Andrew, and point others to Jesus when they ask? Do we know where find Jesus? Are we equipped to point in the right direction?

Jesus answers the longing reported by Philip in a strange way: he tells a parable about a grain of wheat falling into the earth to die, wheat that cannot bear fruit unless it does. He points his disciples and the crowd to his coming passion. It will be in the mysteries of Jesus’ death and resurrection that his saving grace is expressed, and shared. The world will see Jesus on a cross.

“We wish to see Jesus.” Friends, it is my hope that everything we do, on our patch of ground on Main Street, in our worship, in our outreach, and in our personal lives, answers the deep longing of that desire by pointing people to Jesus. And it is my hope that as we approach Holy Week, we will lift our eyes once again to the cross, and see there the longing of the whole world, pouring itself out freely and unreservedly.

My friends, we wish to see Jesus. Come, let us find him at the cross.

Yours faithfully,

Father Sam

Sunday, March 17th

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

Holy Eucharist

Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Scripture for the Fifth Sunday in Lent: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 119:9-16, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33

Serving this week, March 17th (8:00 a.m.)

Celebrant: The Rev’d Jane Tillman

Preacher: The Rev’d Samuel T. Vaught

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty

Lector: Jorja Marsden

Intercessor: Darryl Lafferty

Serving next week, March 24th (8:00 a.m.)

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

Assisting Priest:The Rev’d Jane Tillman

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Verger/Acolyte:Darryl Lafferty

Lector: Rob Maloney

Passion Readers: Fr. Sam, Darryl Lafferty 

Intercessor: Jorja Marsden

Serving this week, March 17th (10:00 a.m.)

Celebrant: The Rev’d Jane Tillman

Preacher: The Rev’d Samuel T. Vaught

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty 

Lector: Kim Savery

Intercessor: Gale Page

Musician: Nancy King

Greeter: Frank Smith

Fellowship: Brett Roberts

Altar Guild: Jennifer Carmichael

Serving next week, March 24th, (10:00 a.m.)

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

Assisting Priest: The Rev’d Jane Tillman

Verger/Acolyte: Darryl Lafferty 

Crucifer: Sharon Billetter

Lector: Virgil Stucker

Intercessor: Kendra MacLeod

Passion Readers: Darryl Lafferty, Virgil Stucker, Vaunie Graulty, Kim Savery, Kendra MacLeod, Martha Bodine, Carl Sprague, Jean Rousseau

Musician: David Smith

Usher/Greeter: Lis and Virgil Stucker

Fellowship: Lis and Virgil Stucker

Altar guild: Robin Race

Parish Prayer List

-Sunday prayer list:  Bruce, Charles, Linda, Veronica, Jeff, Karen, Lisa, Rosalind, Jacob, Kathleen, Doug, Holly, Rick, David, John, Lenore, Vicki, Donna, Cynthia, Eliza, Cindy, Lori, LaDawn, and Kit

-Long-term prayer list: Allie, Irby, Ginger, Joan, Duncan, Bernadette, Ray, Piers, Katrina, Rich, Karen, Michael, 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 Cathedral of the Beloved

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

-Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Grace Church, Great Barrington

-Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Church in Wales

Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series

Final session this Wednesday, March 20, 6pm in the Rectory

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Lenten formation series so far. Last night, we had a packed house of 17 people to discuss the whole of life as a pilgrimage.

Our series concludes with a look back at the COVID-19 pandemic as a collective–and reluctant–pilgrimage that we began together 4 years ago. How has illness been seen as a journey in Christian history, and where can we find God on this difficult road? Come to the Rectory at 6pm on Wednesday to discuss! A simple supper of soup and bread will be served.

Many thanks to Patty Melville and Kim and Don Savery for providing food for this last session.

Upcoming Events

-Wednesday, March 20: Pilgrimage to the Cross: A Lenten Formation Series, 6:00 p.m. in the Rectory. Week 5: COVID-19: A Pilgrimage through Sickness

-Sunday, March 31st: Easter Egg Hunt after the 10:00 A.M. Eucharist

Holy Week Schedule

-Sunday, March 24: Palm Sunday Holy Eucharist in the Church at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM

-Thursday, March 28: Maundy Thursday Holy Eucharist in the Church at 6:00 PM

-Friday, March 29: Good Friday Stations of the Cross Outdoors at the Divine Mercy Shrine at 12:00 PM

-Friday, March 29: Good Friday Liturgy of the Day at Grace Church Chapel at 6:00 PM, 67 State Rd, Great Barrington, MA

-Saturday, March 30: Holy Saturday Liturgy of the Day  in the Church at 10:00 AM

-Saturday, March 30: The Great Easter Vigil at Christ Trinity Sheffield at 8:00 PM, 180 Main St, Sheffield, MA

-Sunday, March 31: Easter Day Holy Eucharist in the Church at 8:00 AM  and 10:00 AM

Maundy Thursday All-night Vigil

365 nights a year, our church is open for prayer and refuge (and may it always be so!). On one night in particular, you are invited to join with Christians around the world by keeping vigil in the church. After communion at our Maundy Thursday Eucharist (March 28), we will move the left-over bread and wine to an “altar of repose” set up in front of the baptistry. The palms from the previous Sunday will adorn the space, mimicking the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed with his disciples after the last supper, asking them, “could you not stay awake with me one hour?” The sacrament will remain on the altar throughout the night, the space lit simply by candles and a few necessary lights. You are invited to deepen your participation in the mysteries of Holy Week by praying in this space for a time throughout the night. You may come and go as you please, but a sign-up sheet is attached here with one-hour slots. Our intention is to have at least two people in the church at all times for safety. This sign-up sheet will be available in person on Sunday morning, as well. If you have any questions, please contact Father Sam.

Easter Egg Hunt—March 31

Will you have children or grandchildren with you on Easter Day? On Sunday, March 31, we’ll joyfully celebrate Easter with an egg hunt in the churchyard for children after the 10 a.m. Eucharist! If you’ll have children present, Martha Bodine would love a heads up so that we can plan to have an appropriate number of eggs (you can email her at [email protected]). Stay tuned for more information, including how you can help stuff eggs after church on Palm Sunday.

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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