Welcome to a Holy Lent

We begin our services this Sunday with the Great Litany, as do many other Episcopal congregations—it has become a tradition to recite or sing this prayer on the first Sunday in Lent. While a form of this prayer was used as early as the fifth century in Rome, this litany, much as we prayed it this morning, was the first public prayer written in English, penned by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1544. Remember that, up to this time, worship was not in the vernacular of the people—it was in Latin. This prayer was first published in 1549.

Henry VIII subsequently ordered the Litany’s use in church processions when England was at war with Scotland and France. It first got the name “Great Litany” with our 1979 Prayer Book, in order to distinguish it from other litanies. This is part of the wealth of our tradition that lives between the covers of the Book of Common Prayer.

Welcome to St. Paul’s, where we celebrate the legacy of prayer that has been passed on to us. May these riches stir us to ever greater praise and service of Jesus Christ, our Savior.


Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

BEGINNING TODAY– And continuing on Thursdays through 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.

40 Days of Love and Kindness
A Lenten program created by our churches in the Berkshires

40 Days of Love and Kindness is a generosity challenge for Lent. Make generosity, love and kindness a part of your Lenten spiritual discipline. Let’s pray that each act of generosity, love and kindness is a drop in a huge ocean, with a ripple effect that starts a wave.

     If you’d like to interact with others taking the challenge, join the WMA Way of Love group on Facebook. We will list the suggested activities for each week throughout Lent – but they are only a guide. Be creative!

40 Days of Love and Kindness Challenge, This Week
Be kind and compassionate to one and other, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.

Titus 3:4

Thurs., March 7:       Donate non-perishable food items to your church food pantry or local food bank.

Fri., March 8:              Purchase a gift card at the grocery store and ask the cashier to give it to the next person who comes through the line.

Sat., March 9:            Thank a soldier. A Million Thanks: http://www.amillionthanks.org

Sun., March 10:         Donate supplies to an animal shelter.

Mon., March 11:       Give a stranger a compliment.

Tues., March 12:       Pray for someone who has hurt you.

Wed., March 13:       Turn a negative conversation into a positive one.

Berkshire Conversation Project

The good people of First Congregational Church here in Stockbridge are organizing a series of important community dialogues. Beginning March 13, a coalition of organizations and educational institutions will gather a broad cross-section of the community at Berkshire South for a series of dialogues (not arguments, debates or fights) about the intersection of community, safety and firearms. Copies of the registration form, which gives more information, are available on the bulletin board in the Tower Room.

Lee Food Pantry
This week’s food pantry suggestion is toiletries and diapers. 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: tuna.) St. Paul’s will volunteer at the Lee Food Pantry this Saturday, March 9.

St. Paul’s Prayer Circle will meet this Tuesday, March 12, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., for evening prayer.

Altar Flowers

If you would like to honor or remember a loved one by providing altar flowers, the following Sundays are available: June 9; Aug. 25; Sep. 22; Nov. 10; Dec. 1, 8. To sign up, please email stpaulsstockbridge@gmail.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 by Thursday morning at stpaulsstockbridge@gmail.com.)

This Sunday, March 10

Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith

8 am:               Jorja Marsden, Assisting

10 am:             Sebastian Bonner, Greeter

                        Carl Sprague, Usher

                        Kim Savery, Lector

                        Peter Dillon, Intercessor

                        Ginny Willcox, Altar Guild

                        Diane Dillon & Anne Skakel, Hospitality

                        Nancy King, Organist


Next Sunday, March 17

Celebrant:       The Rev. Jane Tillman

Preacher:        The Rev. Sam Smith

8 am:               Pam Drumm, Assisting

10 am:             Lila Berle, Greeter

                        Diana French, Usher

                        Vaunie Graulty, Lector

                        Ginny Willcox, Intercessor

                        Ginny Willcox, Altar Guild

                        Ginny Willcox, Hospitality

                        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: St. Paul’s Children’s Center
  • Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Christ Church, Fitchburg
  • Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Province of the Anglican Church of the Congo
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries: Elisabeth Wheeler (7th), Danielle Fillio (9th), Emma Skakel (13th)