A Light in Dark Times
We are living in perilous times, not unlike our Hebrew ancestors who struggled with what it means to be faithful to God. In this third section of Isaiah, it turns out that fasting and keeping the Sabbath are not sufficient marks of faith. The great Prophet tells the community, which has recently returned to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon, that faith is not a passive matter of refraining from certain things like food (fasting) or work (Sabbath), but that we are called to actively be repairers of the breach (Isaiah 58:12).
According to Isaiah, what does a repairer of the breach do? Work to relieve injustice, to lessen the heavy burden on the poor, to let the oppressed go free, to feed the hungry, and to bring the homeless poor into one’s own home. This is how light will come to shine in the darkness. In these dark times we are called to be the light of Christ in the world. Come to St. Paul’s this Sunday and join us as we strive to become God’s people of compassion and mercy in the world.
Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Liturgical Colors – As God has flooded the earth and sky with color, so the Church has sensed the symbolic use of color in its worship. As dominating colors in nature change with the seasons of the fourfold year, so in the Church Year there is a structured change in the colors of the Eucharistic vestments, the liturgical colors.
This sequence of liturgical colors has a principal role in Christian visual education, in teaching the Gospel through the eye. Green, the color of living things and of God’s creation, is used on the Sundays in the season after Epiphany and Pentecost.
Words of our Worship – Adult Study
Last Class: Tuesday, February 18, 6:00-7:30 pm
Episcopalians love using specific language for various aspects of our communal life. Our adult study will use that specialized vocabulary as a launching point for a general explanation of Anglicanism. This week we will focus on theology. Join us for our last Tuesday in the Church. Questions? Ask Father Sam. If there are concerns about weather, attendees should check the front page of the website for cancellations, www.stpaulsstockbridge.com.
Join Us for a St. Paul’s Tradition: Thomas Bray Dinner on Shrove
Tuesday, February 25, 6:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s has long celebrated the “last hurrah” before Lent NOT with pancakes, but with heartier fare! This year we will gather again in the Parish House to enjoy a New Orleans staple: Red Beans and Rice! Revelers are invited to bring salads, breads and cornbreads, or desserts to share with all—along with your finest Mardi Gras beads and masks! Beer and wine, as well as attractive alternative beverages will be supplied. After a feast we’ll dance and parade – laissez les bon temps rouler! (Questions? Ask Natalie Boyce.)
Ash Wednesday service Wednesday, February 26 at 6:00 p.m. in the church.
Lenten Book Study: A Resurrection-Shaped Life – Thursdays in Lent, noon and 6:30 pm
Beginning March 5
St. Paul’s will join with the people of Grace Church in Great Barrington and Christ/Trinity Church in Sheffield to read and discuss this intriguing new book by Jake Owensby, retired Episcopal bishop of Western Louisiana. Diana Butler Bass said of this book, “it made me remember what kind of human I long to be—and why I can’t quit Jesus. Read A Resurrection-Shaped Life and fall in love again with God—and with hope.” Each Thursday for five weeks will offer the same content noon – 1:00 p.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m., at the office/chapel of Grace Church (where Centering Prayer is also offered each Thursday at 5:00 p.m.) The book is available in paperback and on Kindle. A Resurrection Shaped Life. In preparation for the first gathering, please read the Prelude and the first chapter. Questions? Ask Father Sam.
Don’t do Facebook, but want to see what we post? Sign up for our “Weekly Update from St. Paul’s” or visit our website to see the “Latest News”. Last week our own Jane Tillman was the guest of honor at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte, NC for their Faith Forum Series: The Call to Wellness. You can watch the video here; https://player.vimeo.com/video/385841895. LOTS of food for thought here!
Lee Food Pantry: This Sunday’s food pantry suggestions are canned fruits and vegetables. When you shop this week, please consider buying a few items to bring to church next Sunday, to share with those in need in our community. (Please be sure that food you bring for the pantry has not expired – we are not able to give away food beyond its freshness date.) St. Paul’s will volunteer at the Lee Food Pantry this Saturday, February 8 at 10:00 a.m.
If you would like to honor or remember a loved one by providing altar flowers, the following Sundays are available: Aug. 23, Nov. 29 & Dec. 20. To sign up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
For the first time, in 2020 the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online. The process will be quick and secure. You can respond to the census in less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee. You’ll still be able to respond by mail. To learn more about what to expect, visit 2020census.gov.
Worship Teams (If you exchange shifts with someone, please notify the Church Office by Thursday morning at email@example.com.)
This Sunday, February 9
Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Libby Wade
8am: Jorja Marsden
10am: Diana French, Greeter
Matt Fillio, Usher
Nancy Murray, Lector
Darryl Lafferty, Intercessor
Natalie Boyce, Altar Guild
Ginny Willcox, Hospitality
Nancy King, Organist
Next Sunday, February 16
Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith
8am: Pam Drumm
10am: Kim Savery, Greeter
Tracy Johnson, Usher
Matt Fillio, Lector & Intercessor
Jorja Marsden, Altar Guild
Kendra MacLeod & Ginny Willcox, Hospitality
Nancy King, Organist
Parish Prayer List
- People we pray for on Sundays: Cecilia, Sarah, Donnice
- Long-term prayer list: George, Jeff, David, Doug, Barbara, Charles, ZsuZsa, Tom, Rich, Ronnie, Karen, Michael, Christy, John, George, Khali
- Prayers of repose for the soul of Chris Williams
- 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: Trinity Church, Chicopee
- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Anglican Church of Canada
Birthdays: John Carmichael IV (Feb. 8th)