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St. Philip's Episcopal Church

Easthampton, MA
Be careful:  If you come here, you will grow!

A Note from the Rev. Michael Anderson Bullock

Dear Folks:

It usually at this point in the season of Lent that I think of Bill.  Whatever “novelty” (or opportunity) this penitential season holds has by now revealed how very limited our willpower and spiritual discipline are.  As such, Lent begins to weigh heavily at this point.  With everything that is happening in the world (Covid, war, harsh politics, and social fragmentation), one is sorely tempted to ditch Lent and all our good intentions of keeping it.  At three weeks into this season of the soul, as I say, Bill comes to mind.  In particular, it is Bill’s trenchant comment about Lent that I hear.

He was a diocesan colleague, a fellow priest, someone I not only liked but also sought out for his integrity and no-nonsense (gruff) faith.  Older than I and more experienced, I remember his snarling seasonal pronouncement: “We need to give up Lent for Lent!”  Knowing Bill as I did, his was not an escapist’s sentiment.  Rather, I have always taken it as a chastening corrective to how so many of us keep Lent and regard its place in our lives.  While sacrifice and foregoing what we want are important aspects of the Lenten experience, such things are meant to be tools in service to a greater issue.  “Giving up for Lent” is meant to be more like the discipline of spring cleaning one’s house, especially after a long, gritty winter.  It may not be what we want to do or how we want to spend our precious time and energy.  Nonetheless, beyond the fact that such reordering needs to be done, the purpose of such cleaning and Lent is to make room for something greater.

In its invitation to “the observance of a holy Lent”, [BCP., page 264-65] the Ash Wednesday liturgy reminds us of Lent’s purpose.  Rather than merely giving up for Lent, the invitation reminds us that, like spring cleaning of our homes, Lent’s purpose is joyful and life-giving.  This liturgical invitation reminds us of Lent’s original and primary purpose: namely, that it was the final lap in a convert’s preparation for Holy Baptism at Easter.  As a result, Lent was a joyful , anticipatory time.  It was a time of reorientation (what “repentance” means) in order to receive new life, God’s life.  It was a time to prepare for Easter’s promised reality, to receive the gift that only God can give.  

To the extent that Bill meant giving up on keeping Lent in its negative and mechanically pinched practice, I agree with his directive.  Lent is not a matter of some kind of spiritual Olympics, where we achieve some goal or (more likely) fail at such an accomplishment.  Lent is still and foremost about making room to recognize and receive what resurrection is all about: a waking up to a life that is not defined by fear or death but by the love and presence of God.  Such a gift is beyond our understanding, which is the reason we are called to do some preparatory work now and always to make some room in our lives for what we need and cannot provide for ourselves.

Keep the faith!
The Third Sunday in Lent
March 20, 2022

Our Holy Eucharist service is in-person AND  streamed online at 10:00 am.
The Prelude starts at 9:55 am.

Due to the fast-changing Covid situation, we now wear masks for worship.

We stream live on our website:
Sunday Lectionary Study is at 8:45 a.m.

Meeting ID: 832 0782 9066   |    Passcode: 270862

To Join by Telephone
Audio conferencing participant (joining by telephone) will need to call: +1 929 436 2866 US AND follow the verbal instructions. Enter the meeting ID you wish to join followed by the # key. If you are asked for a password, enter the password followed by the # key. You will be asked to enter your participant ID. If you do not know your participant ID, simply press the # key.
Expanding our worship life
Two parishioners, Bonnie Katusich and Becky Taylor, are now trained to be Lay Eucharistic Visitors and can bring Communion to those who are unable to worship in person with the St. Philip’s congregation.  If you would like a pastoral visit from one of them, and the opportunity to share the sacrament and pray together, please let the parish office know.  If you are interested in becoming a Lay Eucharistic Visitor, please speak with Father Michael.  These visits will happen on Sunday afternoons.


of Recent Meetings

Learn what your Vestry has been discussing and deciding for the parish. Click on the the links below to read the minutes from recent meetings.

February 22, 2022

January 25, 2022

December 21, 2021

November 23, 2021

October 26, 2021
Mission Matters
News from the
Episcopal Diocese 
of Western Massachusetts  

March 15, 2022
Lent Retreat with
the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

Mar 19, 9:30am

A Lenten Quiet Day on March 19, 9:30 a.m.-12pm via Zoom, sponsored by both Massachusetts Episcopal dioceses, open to all and led by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. Through brief presentations and conversation, as well as silent prayer and guided meditation, this retreat time will give space for participants to explore and pray about the places in their lives where God may be inviting them to let go burdens of resentment, guilt or shame.

Register here
Barbara C. Harris Camp Opens
Summer Camp Registration

"We’re thrilled to announce that camp is back for summer 2022! Summer Camps at BCH are inclusive Christian formation ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in partnership with the dioceses New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts. You and your family are welcome here! As an Episcopal camp, we are passionate about being a safe space for all campers and families and we strive for a rich diversity of campers and staff. Each week chaplains participate in all camp activities and lead space for chapel and reflection."

Read more and register for camps
Spring Meetings for Supporting the
Poor People's Campaign

April 9, 4pm
May 15, 4pm

"The MA Poor People's Campaign is having open houses for those who are interested in learning more about the campaign, ways to get involved, and get resources to mobilize for the Poor People's and Low-Wage Workers' Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 18, 2022!"

All Open Houses will be online from 4:00-6:00 pm. Click below to register for the session of your choice.
Saturday, April 9
Sunday, May 15

Office Hours
Tuesday - Thursday, 1 pm - 4:30 pm
Since not all afternoons are in person,
please call or email for an appointment. 

Phone: 413-527-0862

Submissions for the NOW
This newsletter is published every Thursday at 10:00 am.
The deadline for submissions is 1:00 pm on Wednesdays. 
Please email them to the office by that time.
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