The World Turned Upside Down
This week’s gospel reading (Luke 6:27-38) is a continuation of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain, which we began reading last Sunday. Jesus challenges us to go against the grain. Last week was blessings to the have-nots and woes to the haves; this week it is love your enemy and turn the other cheek.
Jesus comes to earth to challenge business as usual—and he makes it clear that he expects his followers to do the same. Easier said than done, right? Is it even possible to survive in this world if we follow these extreme teachings?
No question, what Jesus requires is hard. Jesus turns everything upside down. What are we to do? This week we will consider what it means for ordinary folks to take on Jesus’s call to radical mercy, compassion, and hope. Are you willing to try this thought experiment? Welcome to St. Paul’s.
O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
St. Paul’s Mardi Gras Celebration — Sunday, March 3, after the 10:00 service
This year we will celebrate the end of the season after Epiphany with a Chili lunch in the Parish House. We’ll provide meat and vegetarian chili and the fixings; you provide accompaniments to the meal (chips, saltines, salads, desserts, cheese, bread, etc.) We’ll have our own Mardi Gras parade as we enjoy one last celebration together before the sparseness of the Lenten season. Questions? See Natalie Boyce or Father Sam.
Ash Wednesday service will be Wednesday, March 6 at 6:00 p.m. in the church.
Our Lenten Study – Thursdays, March 7 – April 25
Making Sense of the Christian Faith
Our Lenten group study for adults will focus on the questions we have about God in the world. Using the book Making Sense of the Christian Faith by David Lose, we will explore our core beliefs. The study employs the four primary sources of our theological thought: Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason. Lively conversation and lots of room for all questions are assured. In addition, this class will serve as preparation for confirmation, reception, or affirmation for any who might so desire.
We will undertake the study in conjunction with our friends at Christ/Trinity Church in Sheffield. The same session will be offered noon-1:00 pm at the Church in Sheffield and 6:30 – 7:30 here in Stockbridge, with participants free to attend either. (Participants are welcome to bring a sack lunch/dinner to any/all sessions.) To participate you are encouraged to purchase a book (available from Amazon.com in either electronic or paperback form for less than $13.00) and read the introduction and first chapter before the first session. Questions, or want to discuss confirmation? Ask Father Sam.
February Vestry Meeting Recap
The vestry met on Monday, February 18th. Highlights of our discussion included:
- a report on efforts led by new vestry member Duncan Pollock to re-engage and attract members of the church
- plans for events and services around Lent and Easter, including the Lenten study series
- finalizing policies around weddings and concerts in the church
- plans for the second year of the church Revival
- upcoming facility work, including electrical repairs and replacement of the stone steps leading to the tower room door
While the vestry needs to make decisions about the possibility of organ renovation, it was decided to delay that topic until March, when Organ Committee Chair John Davies will be present.
The vestry’s next meeting will be Saturday, March 16, 8:30 am on the second floor of the Parish House. All members of the church are invited to attend.
Lee Food Pantry
This week’s food pantry suggestion is canned fruit and vegetables. Please bring this or other non-perishable food items with you to church on Sunday to share with those in need in our community. (Suggested item for next week is: toiletries and diapers.)
St. Paul’s Prayer Circle will meet this Tuesday, February 26, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., for evening prayer.
If you would like to honor or remember a loved one by providing altar flowers, the following Sundays are available: Mar. 3; June 9; Aug. 25; Sep. 22; Nov. 10; Dec. 1, 8. To sign up, please email email@example.com and tell us the date you’d like to reserve, the wording of the announcement, and whether or not you’d like the office to order the flowers for you (cost is $60).
Worship Teams (If you exchange shifts with someone, please notify the Church Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This Sunday, February 24
Celebrant: The Rev. Jane Tillman
Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith
8 am: Jorja Marsden, Assisting
10 am: Tom Skakel, Greeter
Jean Rousseau, Usher & Intercessor
Kendra MacLeod, Lector
Jorja Marsden, Altar Guild
Nancy King, Organist
Next Sunday, March 3
Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith
8 am: Pam Drumm, Assisting
10 am: Tracy Johnson, Greeter
Natalie Boyce, Usher
Bill Higgins, Lector
Martha Bodine, Intercessor
Jennifer Carmichael, Altar Guild
Nancy King, Organist
Parish Prayer List
- People we pray for on Sundays: Cecilia, Ray, Jackie, James
- Long-term prayer list: Jeff, David, Doug, Barbara, Charles, ZsuZsa, Tom, Rich, Ronnie, Karen, Michael, Christy, John, George
- 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: Gideon’s Garden and Construct
- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St Mark’s, East Longmeadow
- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Anglican Church of the Central American Region
- Birthdays: Tommy & David Carman, Matthew Weston (23rd), Lisa Thorne (24th)