A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness

On the second Sunday of Advent we turn our focus to John the Baptizer. He is a transitional character—one foot in the old world, one foot in the new. This wild man, clearly on the margins of society, attracts the attention of those in the center: “the people of Jerusalem and all of Judea.”

     This wilderness prophet predicts a new day for all. The one whose coming he trumpets will shine a light on corruption and the status quo and gives the opportunity for all to repent. He proclaims a new age of hope and justice, a new entry of God into the world of humankind.

     Welcome to St. Paul’s, where we expect God to continually break into our world with hope, justice and love!


Collect

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Altar Flowers this Sunday are in memory of all who have died with AIDS, and in honor of their caregivers.

On the Airwaves – Father Sam will be a guest on”Religious Roundtable,” this Sunday, December 8 at 8:30 am on WSBS, 860 AM/94.1 FM. Sam spoke with Rabbi Neil Hirsch of Hevreh in Great Barrington on the topic, “In what and in whom do you have faith?” Tune in!

Christmas Organ Concert – Our organist, Nancy King, is giving a short concert of organ music for Christmas for the seniors’ monthly outing group (Owles) from Christ/Trinity Church in Sheffield. The concert will be held at St. Paul’s on Wednesday, December 11 at 11:00 a.m.  Friends from St. Paul’s are warmly invited to attend. 

Oakes & Smith “The Holy Moment” Holiday Candlelight Concert
Friday, December  13, 7:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s
This unique concert experience offers listeners a moment of stillness and peace during the often-hectic holiday season, a moment to touch the depth of this joyful and holy time of year. Oakes and Smith draw from a range of sacred and secular, contemplative and festive, traditional and original holiday music, performing either as a duo or with a full ensemble. Multi-denominational and eclectic in spirit, this program seeks to express the soulful presence shared by many traditions, as well as that found in nature. 

Schedule of Upcoming Services

  • Christmas Eve Candle-lit Services
    • 5:30 p.m. Family Service
    • 10:30 p.m. “Midnight” Service
  • Sunday, December 29 – 9:00 a.m. Christmas Lessons & Carols (one service only!)

Help us Build our Food Tree: We’re building a Christmas “tree” of items for the Lee Food Pantry. Please bring any of the following items: 

  • non-perishable foods like cereal, oatmeal, pasta, hearty soup, tuna and canned fruits & vegetables 
  • personal care items like tissues, deodorant, razors, toothpaste, individual toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, lotion, shampoo, toilet paper, and diapers 
  • laundry and cleaning products 

Feel free to stack them in the front of the church and help grow the tree or leave them in the rear of the church and a food pantry volunteer will do the stacking. 

Christmas FlowersIf you would like to contribute toward special flowers for Christmas, please list those whom you wish to honor or remember on a “Christmas Flower” form by Thursday, December 19. Forms and payment may be put in the collection plate or mailed to St. Paul’s, PO Box 704, Stockbridge MA 01262.  

Our 2019 Christmas Giving Tree Project 
Here in our beautiful Berkshires there are pockets of need. Though often unseen many of our fellow Berkshire residents and neighbors are at risk and need our compassion, love and support. This coming year we will follow the words and work of Jesus through the lens of Matthew’s gospel, which says, “Give to those who ask you.” (5:42a). We are listening to those who serve our most vulnerable neighbors by continuing and expanding the St. Paul’s Christmas Giving Tree Project to include the Elizabeth Freeman Center in Pittsfield, Dreams of Joy through the Lee schools, and Construct in Great Barrington.
      The “giving tree“ will be by the pulpit, parishioners can choose and fulfill requests that will be found on “Christmas Wish Ornaments,” hung on the tree.  Each ornament will carry information about items needed e.g. “girl, age 12, sweater, size 9.” Please take as many ornaments as you are moved to do. We ask you to put unwrapped items in a bag with the “Christmas Wish Ornament” and deposit the bag in the designated “Our Giving” box placed near the Giving Tree. Including wrapping paper and ribbon with your gift would be helpful but not necessary. All gifts must be deposited in the “Our Giving” box by December 16, 2019. Gifts will be delivered to the organizations in time for Christmas giving. We will place a gold bow on the tree as parishioners take the “Christmas Wish Ornaments” and hope to soon have our Christmas tree completely covered in gold bows.
      If you want to take part in this project but are unable to go shopping, please see Bernadette or Vaunie who will be your personal shopper. We are grateful to Matt Fillio who jump started this 2019 project. We hope you’ll take part in this project as we offer support and love to our neighbors. Many thanks! 
~Bernadette Brusco and Vaunie Graulty 

New Office Hours: Gretchen will be helping Grace Church while their  administrative assistant is on leave for the months of December, January and February. During this time the office hours at St. Paul’s will be Tuesdays – Fridays, 12:30pm – 3:30pm. 

Last Call for Volunteers for the Holiday Cookie Sale – Saturday, December 7
Thank you to those who’ve signed up to bake and/or help the day of the sale. More volunteers are always welcome. The more cookies we have the more we can sell! Please sign up on the bulletin board in the Tower Room so we know we can count on you!
We will have three sections of cookies: Gluten Free, Nut Free and Classic Christmas. Please label the gluten free and nut free cookies. Something new this year: pick up cookie plates from Diana or Sam before baking and bring your delicious offerings already plated on Friday, Dec. 6 before 5:00 pm (Office) or Saturday, Dec. 7 before 10:00 am (Church). Questions? See Cookie Sale Chair Diana French. 

Your Vestry will meet Thursday, December 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish House, 2nd floor. All are welcome.

Lee Food Pantry – St. Paul’s will volunteer Saturday, December 14 at 10:00 a.m.

Mark Your Calendars! 

  • December 6, 7 & 8       Stockbridge Main Street at Chrismas 
  • Sat., December 7         Holiday Cookie Sale opening at 10:00 a.m. 
  • Wed., December 11 Christmas Organ Concert at 11:00 a.m. 
  • Thur., December 12   Vestry Meeting at 5:30pm 
  • Fri., December 13 Oakes & Smith “The Holy Moment” Holiday Candlelight Concert, 7 pm, St. Paul’s
  • Mon., December 24
    • Family Candle-lit Service at 5:30 p.m.
    • “Midnight” Candle-lit Service at 10:30 p.m.
  • Sun., December 29 Christmas Lessons & Carols at 9:00 a.m. (One service only!) 

Worship Teams (If you exchange shifts with someone, please notify the Church Office by Thursday morning at stpaulsstockbridge@gmail.com.)

This Sunday, December 8

Celebrant:The Rev. Jane Tillman
Preacher:The Rev. Sam Smith
8 am:Pam Drumm
10 am:Peter Dillon, Greeter
Natalie Boyce, Usher
Kendra MacLeod, Lector
Jean Rousseau, Intercessor
Robin Race, Altar Guild
Hospitality – No Coffee Hour
Ellen Beebe, Organist

Next Sunday, December 15

Celebrant:The Rev. Sam Smith
Preacher:The Rev. Jane Tillman
8 am:Jorja Marsden
10 am:Diana French, Greeter
Kim Savery, Usher & Lector
Peter Dillon, Intercessor
Jennifer Carmichael, Altar Guild
Anne Covell & Bill Higgins, Hospitality
Nancy King, Organist

Parish Prayer List

  • People we pray for on Sundays: Cecilia, Jeremiah
  • Prayers of repose for the soul of Alexandra Willcox
  • Long-term prayer list: George, Jeff, David, Doug, Barbara, Charles, ZsuZsa, Tom, Rich, Ronnie, Karen, Michael, Christy, John, George, Khali
  • Our partners at Grace Church, Great Barrington and the Rev. Janet Zimmerman; Trinity Episcopal/Christ Lutheran, Sheffield and the Rev. Erik Karas; the Austen Riggs community and the Riverbrook Residence; victims of violence, abuse, persecution and disaster at home and abroad
  • Outreach Ministries of the Week: St. Paul’s Children’s Center
  • Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. Luke’s, Worcester
  • Anglican Cycle of Prayer: the work of the Mothers’ Union around the world
  • Birthdays: Donna Gray (11th)