Counting and Waiting
As a child I always had what we called an Advent calendar – a way to understand how many days until Christmas Day. But in actuality, it was a Christmas countdown calendar, because it followed the December calendar (starting on December 1), rather than with the first Sunday of Advent. But this year, the two are the same!
December 1 begins the season of Advent, when we both remember the past and anticipate the future as we watch, wait, repent, expect, rejoice, and hope. Our readings for this Sunday start with Isaiah, who foretells by centuries the coming of the Lord from Jerusalem. The prophet speaks of the one who will bring peace to the world: “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” In these cold winter days, in the dark places of the world where war, famine, injustice, and suffering continue day after day, there is good news. Light has come into the darkness, and light will continue to shine in the darkness.
Welcome to a deep and holy Advent, as we wait and watch in the dark for the light of Christ that continues to shine in the world.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Altar Flowers are given in memory of David & Carolyn Covell, Marie & Michael Higgins and Fred Schultz.
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 Flowers: If 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 beginning Tuesday, December 2nd. 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 – Holiday Cookie Sale Volunteers – 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.
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,
7:00 p.m., Friday, December 13 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.
2020 Stewardship Update
|Received to date:|
|Estimate of Giving Cards|
|28||(38 received for 2019)|
|2020 Giving Estimated:||$110,714||($88,554 total estimated|
|Number of Increased Estimates:||17|
|Number of New Estimates:||3|
Thank you to all who have made a commitment to St. Paul’s!
Mark Your Calendars!
|December 6, 7 & 8||Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas|
|December 7||Holiday Cookie Sale opening at 10:00 a.m.|
|December 11||Christmas Organ Concert at 11:00 a.m.|
|December 12||Vestry Meeting at 5:30 p.m.|
|December 24||Family Candle-lit Service at 5:30 p.m.|
|“Midnight” Candle-lit Service at 10:30 p.m.|
|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 email@example.com.)
This Sunday, December 1
|Celebrant/Preacher:||The Rev. Sam Smith|
|8 am:||Jorja Marsden|
|10 am:||Carl Sprague, Greeter & Lector|
|Jean Rousseau, Usher|
|Natalie Boyce, Intercessor & Altar Guild|
|Georgeanne & Jean Rousseau, Hospitality|
|Nancy King, Organist|
Next Sunday, December 8
|Celebrant:||The Rev. Jane Tillman|
|Preacher:||The Rev. Sam Smith|
|8 am:||Pamm Drumm|
|10 am:||Peter Dillon, Greeter|
|Natalie Boyce, Lector|
|Kendra MacLeod, Usher|
|Jean Rousseau, Intercessor|
|Robin Race, Altar Guild|
|Diana French & Patty Melville, Hospitality|
|Ellen Beebe, Organist|
Parish Prayer List
- People we pray for on Sundays: Cecilia
- 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: Lee Food Pantry and Berkshire Community Diaper Project
- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: All Saints, Worcester
- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: mission agencies and their work throughout the Anglican Communion
- Birthdays: Matt Fillio (29th) and Peter Wright (4th)