St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

1928-1978

A booklet prepared on the occasion
of our 50th anniversary

Olive Carter Luczka

THE CHAPEL PRAYER
(From the 1929 Chapel Directory)

All who are interested in the work are asked to say this daily.

Almighty and Everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth, mercifully hear our prayers, and grant to
our chapel all things that are needed for its spiritual and material welfare; strengthen and confirm the faithful; visit and
relieve the sick; comfort the sorrowing; turn and soften the wicked; arouse the careless; recover the fallen; restore the penitent; remove all hindrances to the advancement of Thy truth; make all to be of one mind and heart; and put it into the hearts of Thy people to offer generously: themselves and their gifts, for the building up and the support of Thy work in this place and in all the world; to the honor and glory of Thy great Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Letter, Bishop Hogg

The Rev'd Walter M. Harris, Rector
St. Stephen's Church
1935 Plaza
Schenectady, New York 12309

Dear Father Harris:

With great pleasure I write to you and the Parish of St. Stephen's as you complete the first fifty years of the parish's history.

A half-century is short enough that there are many still active in the parish who remember its beginnings. To them, who have had so great a part in shaping its development, this is indeed an anniversary of gratifying memories, which they can share with the more recent members of the congregation. Building and working together as a family in Christ they have built well and accomplished much. St. Stephen's is one of the strong parishes of the Diocese from which we now look for leadership. For fifty years the Good News has been preached and the people fed at the Lord's Table. By now the walls begin to be saturated with the prayers which make a place holy.

Congratulations are also appropriate to the Parish of St. George for the missionary vision with which they supported the founding of St. Stephen's. God has surely prospered their vision and the continuing faithfulness of your parish. Even as you thank him for the blessing of the past, you nove confidently into the future.

I am grateful to share with you the joy of this celebration, and to represent the whole Diocese of Albany in your thanksgivings. May the Lord God watch over you as you go forward; the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts with joy; the Holy Spirit strengthen your faith daily.

Yours in Christ,
Wilbur E. Hogg
Bishop of Albany  

Letter, Walter Harris, rector

Dear Friends in Christ,

It is with great joy that I, as your rector, have the privilege to share and offer you our thanksgiving in this our 50th anniversary year. From a humble beginning of great vision and devotion at St. George’s Church, and through your fine leadership, hard work, foresight, and zest for Christ, you have made St. Stephen’s and the statement “all things are possible for those who are in the Lord”, a reality.

As we celebrate 50 years of ministry in the faith of Jesus Christ, may we use this occasion to further “stir up our hearts” to continue to plant, cultivate, and harvest the fruits od His vineyard, here in this corner of god’s Kingdom. Let us look forward with the same vision and devotion with which we began.

We have been blessed, and it is my firm conviction that God will continue to bless those who bless him.

I take this opportunity to extend to you, my warmest congratulations on this, the lord’s day!

Affectionately and faithfully yours,
The Rev. Walter M. Harris

Letter, Joe Sitts, former rector

Christ Episcopal Church
2627 Atlantic Street
Warren, Ohio 44483

October 24, 1978

Saint Stephen's Church
1937 The Plaza
Schenectady, New York 12309

Dear Friends,

Margaret and I extend our warmest greetings to the people of Saint Stephen's on this exciting occasion of your fiftieth anniversary.

Anniversary dates are always important in the life of an institution. They are an occasion for pointing out significant accomplishments of the past, but they also provide an opportunity to re-evaluate and look ahead. Our Lord learned from the past, but he always lived and taught for the future. The ministry of Saint Stephen's is a developing one. It was an exciting part of our lives to be involved in that deve lopment whi Ie we were there.

Our own lives were enriched by the many cari.ng people of Saint Stephen's, and we had a chance to grow as individuals and as a family because of your never-failing support and love. God's blessings be upon you now and in the years to come.

Faithfully,
C. Joseph Sitts

Letter, Tom Moss, first rector

My dear friends;

I send you my warmest greetings as your former Rector and, congratulations to you as you Celebrate Your Golden Jubilee on November 19th.

Through the years your parish has been Blessed with great personalities who labored with love and devotion to strengthen the parish and each other. They simply did ordinary things in an extraordinary way, so their WITNESS through the years culminated in a vigorous parish strong in the Faith, and devotion to our Blessed Lord.

May the coming years be as fruitful as the past, and I am sure they will be as you strengthen the hands of your Spiritual leaders and each other.

I look forward to being with you November 18-19th.

Our love to all,

Tom Moss, Retired Priest
and former Rector

The Growth of a Church

It would not be appropriate to tell the history of St. Stephen's without briefly going back to its "roots."

On Queen Anne's accession to the throne of England in 1700, definite action was taken for the appointment of two Church of England clergy to minister to the Mohawk Indians in a plan by authority of the Queen. Referred to the Archbishop of Canterbury, it was submitted for consideration to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The early English appointees were unsuccessful in their efforts at Albany.

In 1708, the Rev. Thomas Barclay was commissioned chaplain of the garrison in the fort at Albany. He was the first minister to hold English services in a Dutch church once a month, and he established an English school in Schenectady in 1710. However, it was not until 1758, when the population of Schenectady had increased nearly fourfold to 300 homes, including a growing number of English settlers, that a church became a necessity. The idea of establishing a mission of the Church of England in Schenectady became acceptable. Ground was broken for the erection of St. George's Church in 1759, and through the ensuing years, the parish was occupied with its problems and a succession of rectors.

In 1905, when the Rev. B. W. Rogers Tayler arrived on the scene, the church was in an almost dilapidated condition. During his tenure, the church was rebuilt and through his energies, St. Paul's Chapel in Bellevue (1913, cost $5,000) and St. Andrew's in Scotia were built. This man also recognized the need for an uptown chapel, and through his efforts, land was willed to the parish on the corner of Maryland Avenue and Union Street for such a chapel. However, the destruction of St. George's parish house by fire during World War 1, and Dr. Tayler's death in 1924 delayed action. The growth of the city to the east made the location undesirable, and when the heirs put in a claim for the property, it was returned to them in a court action. However, $500 in taxes which had been paid by St. George's vestry was
refunded to them, and that amount was later used to help establish St. George's chapel, since a chapel built on that location would have been too small and too near the downtown area. "All things work together for good to those that love God" (Rom. 8.28).

Time passed and as a few people were interested in starting a chapel, the Rev. George F. Bambach, next rector of St. George's, called a meeting to consider the matter, and everyone was in favor. In the interim, a house-to-house canvas of the chapel district had been made, resulting in 120 interested families. A second meeting was held about a year later on October 22, 1928.

Following the second meeting it was announced that a church school would be started in the near future, with the idea of eventually establishing a branch of the mother church. In the next month, there was considerable activity.

A temporary location at 1734 Union Street near Palmer Avenue was obtained. An elderly carpenter, Mr. William Snook, working in the area, was engaged to make the rood screen and chancel platform from furnished rough designs. He did his work so well that they were later transferred to the subsequent temporary chapel at Baker Avenue and The Plaza. Mr. Snook stated at the time that he had acquired the hammer used in the work in 1888.

St. George's Church presented its old altar to the chapel. The altar had been stored for many years in the church's belfry tower. The mother church also furnished old choir seats and cushions. On Saturday, November 10, 1928, the Rev. Bambach, Mr. C. Kenneth Ack-


Burning the mortgage at St. George's Chapel. The Rev. Oscar Taylor, Mrs. Fitzgerald, Frank Weidman, Robert Cunningham, the Rev. George F. Bambach, and Harry Ryder

The Rev, George F. Bambach

Temporary chapel, 1734 Union Street (near Palmer Avenue). 1928

First service - November 18, 1928. C. Kenneth Ackerman, layreader; Earl S. Whitehead, acolyte and choir; and Benjamin D. Whitehead, organist and choirmaster.

erman, layreader, and Mr. Benjamin D. Whitehead, who had been appointed organist and choirmaster, carefully shopped for an organ. After visiting several music stores, they purchased an excellent secondhand one with a bench for $25.00. Meanwhile, the ladies were busily gilding the cross, varnishing the altar and furnishing and fitting the cloth for the rear of the altar. Among other necessary purchases were the folding chairs at a cost of $26.00 a dozen, some of which are still in existence. On November 11, 1928, St. George's parish calendar issued a notice stating that preparations were being made to open the chapel the following Sunday for the primary purpose of caring for younger children of the parish and older people who found the journey to North Ferry Street too much for their strength. Mr. C.Kenneth Ackerman, a Senior at Union College and a candidate for Holy Orders, was put in char ge under the rector. The services were listed as church school at 9:45 a.m.. morning service and sermon at 11:00, evening service and address at 7:30 p.m.. with Holy Communion every third Sunday of the month at 8:00 a.m.

The final week of preparation was another busy one cleaning, refurbishing, and painting For the tireless, dedicated, and faithful little band of workers, and at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday when the last pieces of church design transparent colored paper were placed on the windows and door, all was in readiness for the first service of St. George's chapel in the converted store on Union Street.

Sunday, November 18, 1928, was a sunny, warm, springlike day and the first service, Holy Communion, was held at 8:00 a.m. with the Rev. George F. Bambach as celebrant, assisted by Mr. C. Kenneth Ackerman as server with 39 people in the congregation. Among them were Mrs. B. D. Whitehead (now Mrs. A. Wilman), Mrs. Thomas (Mildred Male)  Marks, Mrs. John (Frances Hoyt) Martin, Mr. Fred Williams and Mr. Norman Santer, who 50 years later are still part of St. Stephen's family. Other members of the early chapel known to be still associated with St. Stephen's are Janet Hughes Schlansker, Joan Stokes, Raymond Hughes, Roy Myers, George Ott, Mrs. Fred (Katherine) Williams, Mrs. Raymond (Martha) Hickcox, Mrs. Henry Baumis, Mrs. Ernest Salisbury and Mrs. Gertrude Dunmore.

There were also 28 children present at the first Sunday school assembly, with a staff of seven teachers. At the 11:00 a.m. service, with 70 in the congregation, the choir, which consisted of one member, Earl Whitehead (also the acolyte), proceeded into the chapel with the opening hymn, "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken," the first ever sung in connection with St. George's chapel. By the second Sunday, there were six additional choir members. There were no ushers on that opening Sunday, but by the following Sunday, Mr. R. H. Cunningham and Mr. George E. Hallock were acting as ushers and continued with others for many years. Mr. Norman Santer also served as an acolyte in the first chapel. At the evening service, there were 42 present. The offering of $49.15 was given to the fund for the restoration


St. George's Chapel, Easter sunday, March 31, 1929

Members of the choir, St. George's Chapel, March 30, 1935. The Rev. Reginald Bliss, rector; Mrs. Benjamin H. Walker, organist and choir director.

of new churches, schools and hospitals in Puerto Rico and Southern Florida.

Thus began the work of St. George's chapel. In the three short years that followed, the project flourished and the congregation and choir increased. Service organizations were formed. There were quilting bees, food sales, bazaars, church directory and other projects to raise money. Within a short time, $225 was set aside toward a building fund. The rector emphasized that regular and faithful church attendance was needed more than material gains to insure spiritual blessings. Soon the store was too small to hold the growing congregation and meetings were held to look for a more desirable location with room for expansion as a Diocesan Mission.

On Tuesday, April 30, 1929, three active members, Messrs. Benjamin D. Whitehead, Robert H. Cunningham, and William Phillips toured the district to locate a site for a permanent chapel. They inspected one costing $5,500 at the corner of Dean Street and The Plaza and another at Palmer and Union Streets. A meeting was held on May 23 to discuss the matter, but the parishioners decided it was not the time to buy property, and further, the property con-
sisting of vacant lots was unsuitable. Another meeting was held to reconsider the question of buying, but the decision was negative. As of  January, 1930, the Rev. Paul F. Williams was put in charge of the chapel until the following year, when he left for a parish in Burnt Hills. Rev. Van Dyne replaced him. At the congrega-


St. George's Chapel. The Plaza at Baker Avenue.
Voted to acquire June 18, 1931

First three members of the choir, St. George's Chapel, The Plaza at Baker Avenue. Gordon Van Steenburgh, Earl S. Whitehead, and Benjamin D. Whitehead, organist and choirmaster. May 20, 1934

tional meeting on May 12, 1930, a financial report listed $2,069.61 in the building fund.

It was not until May, 1931, when discussion on a new location arose that members visited a house located at the corner of Baker Avenue and The Plaza that was owned by GE Realty Corp. It seemed suitable and following inspection and discussions, it was unanimously decided on June 18, 1931 to purchase the 13-room house with three lots at 1935 The Plaza. On learning that a local builder was planning to purchase it for an apartment house, Benjamin D. Whitehead persuaded the Secretary for GE Realty to hold the property at option with a $25 or $50 deposit. The price was $8,000 and the sale was formalized on July 16, 1931. The Schenectady Gazette recorded on July 18 that the property, consisting of six lots and a three-story house with a value of $15,000, would be remodeled as a temporary chapel. The furnishings were to be transferred from the Union Street address.

Once again, these consecrated men and women now numbering only 80 families, began the task of removal, cleaning, transferring goods to the new chapel and making the new location ready. The first service was held at 9:30 a.m. on August 2, 1931, with the Rev. R. T. Bliss in charge, with an attendance of 84. The first hymn at this service was "Onward Christian Soldiers," a most appropriate selection. A week later there was an ice cream social on the lawn, and so on The Plaza began more years of devotion and service to maintain and support the chapel and to make a dream come true.

The main floor had three rooms. The largest was used as a chapel, the second for changing vestments and as a sacristy, and the kitchen at the back was kept as such. There was an open stairway leading to the upper floors which were used as Sunday school rooms and for parish events. The main floor was also used on occasion for dinners and bazaars. There were new children's organizations, Women's Guild, Men's Club, meetings for enlarging the kitchen, remodeling, various fund-raising activities, parish picnics and other social gatherings, as well as a succession of clergy who also acted as assistants at St. George's Church (Daniel M. Welton, 1936; L. G. Putnam, 1938; and Oscar Taylor, 1940). At various times, tentative plans for a new church were discussed with no results. In July of 1943, the then priest-in-charge, Rev. Taylor, was leaving. He owned the house at 1223 Baker Avenue and eventually it was pur- chased for $2,800 as a future rectory.

At an executive meeting on November 11, 1943, the Rev. Bambach announced that Capt. Tom Moss of the Episcopal Church Army had agreed to help him in his work at St. George's Church and chapel. He would arrive on November 15 and be the speaker at the birthday service on November 18, 1943. On January 26, 1944, there was an "at home" reception at the rectory to formally introduce the new vicar-in-charge, his wife and two small sons to the congregation.

Captain Moss' arrival marked the beginning of a new era for the chapel and its parishioners. Like the Rev. B. W. Rogers Tayler in 1905, he, too, was and is a man of vision, ability and action, but above all, of a deep and great faith. It


Captain and Mrs. Tom Moss and sons
David and Denny, July 2, 1944


Captain Tom Moss, Church Army

was a challenge for him since membership had dwindled and things seemed to be at a standstill.

First, he made a concentrated effort to gain new families. Impressed by his warmth and sincerity, people returned and new ones arrived. In two months, attendance had increased considerably. At a meeting in February, 1944, Capt. Moss reported that he had conducted ten services, attended 16 meetings, visited 31 homes, made 19 visits to hospitals, and pledges had reached $1333.57. He proposed corporate communions and breakfasts, Children's Bible School, a chapel wartime honor roll for which he already had the wood and had numerous ideas for saving money, even in small ways, such as obtaining a discount on envelopes when ordered earlier.


The Rt. Rev. Frederick Barry, Bishop Coadjutor, officiated
at the laying of the cornerstone, November 18, 1947

By January, 1945, church school enrollment  was 100. The vicar's enthusiasm was transmitted to the congregation and the chapel became a beehive of activity with bazaars, meetings, rummage sales, dinners, church fairs, and the  women making and selling clam chowder, preparing and sellin? peanuts, and holding card  parties.

In addition to his many clerical duties, both  at the Chapel and at St. George's Church,  Capt. Moss was studying for Holy Orders and  was ordained to the Deaconate in December, 1944, and to the priesthood in St. George's  Church on June 27, 1945, by the Rt. Rev. G. Ashton Oldham, Bishop of Albany.

By September of that year, plans were being formulated to build a church. Various suggestions, including a wartime Quonset Hut,  were made as to the type of building required.   The Rev. Moss insisted that they should have a 
more durable stone structure similar to a church in Dorset, England, and seating 275 people.

Money was authorized for an architect, Mr. Bechwith of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to draw up plans. By October, 1945, the architect had inspected and approved the ground for building.  However, he advised that a basement would  not be feasible, since there was a lot of stone in the ground and danger of water resulting in  expensive digging and waterproofing. Father  Moss recommended using the stone, if it could  be obtained, from the base of the old armory
which was being torn down on the present site  of Pulaski Plaza as it would save a lot of cut


The Rev. and Mrs. Tom Moss
with sons Dennis and David


St. Stephen's Church, June 19, 1949

ting. He also suggested a Parish House instead of a basement. Meanwhile, the regular routine of running the Chapel and vicarage continued with meetings, confirmation classes, missionary movies, fund raising and other activities as well as keeping both buildings in repair.

The proposed plans were announced to the congregation at the annual meeting on December 2, 1945. The drive for the new church began in earnest in the spring of 1946, since it had become a necessity to build as the congregation had outgrown the chapel. Blueprints were submitted and members of the church council visited various places to look at and price stone for a church.

On June 5, 1946, a special congregational meeting was held for the purpose of discussing plans and selecting a new name for the chapel and church. By a majority of 22 out of the 33 present, "St. Stephen's" was chosen. The new name was effective for the chapel until it was incorporated as a parish a year later. His earlier suggestion having been approved, the Rev. Moss, now rector, was able to obtain the stone for $1,200 and ground was broken on June 27,
1947. There were many difficulties in the process of building, not least among them, the lack of sufficient funds. There were times when it seemed an insurmountable task and when members were inclined to waver, the Rev. Moss, with his ever-present determination, would encourage them, stating that it would take courage, endurance, sacrifice and faith to carry it through to completion. 'The Lord is rich and He will provide if we cooperate with Him." He worked tirelessly also in a physical sense, checking that things were done right in the building, and soliciting donations of all kinds, including memorials.

The Rt. Rev. Frederick Barry, D.o., Bishop Co-adjutor, officiated at the laying of the cor- nerstone on November 16, 1947, following a service of Evening Prayer in the chapel and a procession to the new site. The cornerstone contains ashes from burned mortgages, a newspaper clipping from the Gazette regarding the Church, a photograph of the Rector, a copy of the Program used for the service, names of Wardens, Vestry, Building Committee members, all who contributed to the building and names of the original Chapel founders. Henry Buerker was the contractor.

There were numerous disappointments before the building was finished. For example, there had been two sets of plans for the sanctuary windows, and when they arrived from Whittemore Associates, Boston, Massachusetts, they were too short, having been made according to the first set instead of the revised set. However, they were installed with a space at the bottom of the windows, later built up. Of the other windows, some were plastic covered, some stained glass, and some plain glass. The first service in the new building was held on Easter Sunday, 1949, using the original altar and folding chairs and with the woodwork still unfinished. There were three services at 6:00, 8:00 and 11:00 a.m., with an overflow congregation. Also, a baptismal font, given by St. Agnes Guild, was dedicated. More money was needed to continue the work, as labor costs had in-


Mrs. Nierman, July 1953.

Fifty-fifth wedding anniversary, Mr. and Mrs.
George Lauder, September 1954

creased. Many were reticent to go further into debt, while others felt the Church would never be finished if the work did not continue. The contractor offered to pay for the completion of the Bell Tower with the stipulation that when the money would be available, the congregation could pay the cost. Once again, the Lord had provided.

Next was the problem of securing a suitable bell. The Rector was buying turkeys from a farmer in Latham and saw a bell crated in the barn. On inquiry, he learned that it had been purchased from a New Hampshire congregation whose church had been destroyed by fire. The bell had been cast in Sheffield, England in 1879 and the farmer agreed to sell it if he could have the privilege of ringing it at the first service, which he did. He also gave the purchase price as an offering to the church.

The Church, a cross-shaped structure and  Gothic in architecture, was dedicated at a confirmation service on November 20, 1949, with the Rt. Rev. G. Ashton Oldham, Bishop of Albany officiating. The casement stained glass windows given by parishioners at a cost of $150 each half as memorials to loved ones, had been installed along with other numerous memorials. The Bishop said that he had never seen a church so richly endowed with memorials. Still, the church members could not rest on their laurels, for they must work toward the debt being lifted so the church could be consecrated. They turned their thoughts to the years ahead, with a prayer for strength and courage to go forward trusting and unafraid, and confident that "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." There


Wedding reception, M. Ryder and
F. Denham, 1959

Olive Carter and Mrs. Nancy Carter,
August 1953

were many fundraising activities, a major one being the annual church festival, with booths, pony rides, folk dancers, auctions, etc. Many people worked many hours to make them a success. Socially, there were popular annual parish picnics mostly held at Saratoga Lake.

During the next five years, the work expanded and grew. In November, 1953, the old Chapel was used as a parish house, but it was inadequate since the Church School now had an enrollment of over 200. In 1953, the 25th anniversary, it was decided to enlarge the church and a second financial drive was conducted to reduce the mortgage, payoff the local contractors, and then start the Parish House of Tudor design to complement the new church. The west wall of the church was removed and the Parish House ($78,000) attached to it. It was begun in May, 1956 and completed in June, 1957. Subsequently, the rectory ($38,000) also of English design, was completed on September 7, 1957.


Louis Wrighter (organist), Jack Wrighter,
and Betty Wrighter, Christmas 1963

Fr. Moss and Fr. Barron, December 1964

On Sunday, September 8, 1957, following another confirmation service with the Rt. Rev. Frederick Barry, Bishop, officiating, the choir and vestrymen processed to the parish house for the dedication and then to the rectory singing, 'The Church's One Foundation." Following the dedication, there was a reception and tour of the buildings. Henry Buerker, Inc.. was the building contractor for all three buildings. So the dream of long ago became a reality. Through the years, the Church prospered, with its people ever mindful that the task was not complete until the church could be consecrated. There were many additional memorials and special events in the succeeding years. Among them, a new and larger Balwin electronic organ was given by Mrs. Eleanor Green to replace the earlier one installed when the Church was first built. It was edicated in May, 1961, with a recital by the late Dr. Elmer Tidmarsh, noted local organist. The Rev. Robert Barron was assigned as Curate in November, 1960 to assist Fr. Moss in the heavy parish work load. On May 27, 1961, he was ordained to the priesthood while at St. Stephen's. In September, 1965, the Rev. David Langdon succeeded him and a year later, he left to become rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Elizabethtown.

In 1969, the Rev. Tom Moss observed his 25th year in charge of the Chapel and Church, having expanded this congregation from 80 to 680--being deeply involved in building a church and being a true shepherd to his flock, as well as being active in the community. The Church budget was increased from $1,300 to $41,000 during that time. At the observance dinner


Alison and dick Reid and daughter,
one day after Dick's ordination, 1964

The Rev. David S. Langdon, 1965

honoring Fr. Moss, the mortgages for the three buildings were burned. The Rt. Rev. Allen Brown, Bishop, attended. By this time, children who had attended church school in the Chapel had grown, and some had even entered into church work. Notably among them were the Rev. Richard Reid, son of William Reid, longtime active member, Vestryman, and Warden, Dennis Moss of the Church Army, son of the Rector. Carol Wessel became a missionary. The turkey dinners had been replaced by the chicken barbeque. and new titles were now used for other activities, but basically they were the same fund-raising and social activities.

On November 30, 1969, St. Stephen's Church was consecrated by Bishop Brown and the Rt. Rev. Charles B. Persell, [r., Suffragan Bishop, preached at a most impressive service.

Other clergy as well as the Mayor of the City attended.

By 1970, the Church rules, too, were changing and Holy Communion was celebrated at


Bishop Allen Brown, Suffragan Bishop
Charles Persell and Fr. Tom Moss


Dennis and Joan Moss, December 1867

Dennis and joan Moss's wedding reception. Mrs.
George Reilly, Mrs. Henry Baumis and Mrs. George Bentley (standing).

evening Lenten services, and the Church groups were becoming more community-minded work ing with groups like Better Neighborhood, Inc., and SERRV. Additional memorials were made to the church for blessing on Palm Sunday and Easter.

On Sunday, March 8, 1970, the Rev. Tom Moss, after much consideration and due to the health of Mrs. Moss, regretfully announced his resignation to the Vestry. Father Moss' final week as rector was not without significance. The first two ecumenical weddings in the City in other than a Roman Catholic Church were in St. Stephen's Church, one of which was his last service as rector. He assumed new work in Naples, Florida, where, in a manner of starting again, he proceeded to duplicate the task of building a new church with the help of a similarly dedicated group of parishioners. He has since retired.

A plaque was installed in St. Stephen's Church to commemorate Fr. Moss' more than 25 faithful years of service. In the two and one-half months following Fr. Moss' departure, the pulpit was filled by visiting clergy and layreaders.

On July 1, 1970, the Rev. C. Joseph Sitts received his first parish and became the second rector of St. Stephen's Church. He set his sights on Community Outreach. In this area, during his seven years as rector, we joined the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) whereby food is stored and distributed in conjunction with other churches through referrals from community agencies. In our church, we use the


St. Stephen's consecration, 1969


Installation of the rector, 1970. The Rt. Rev. Allen
W. Brown, the Rev. R.W. Withington, the Rev.
Darwin Kirby, and the bRev. C. Joseph Sitts.

"Food Barrel" to acquire the food for our designated share. The Plaza daily nursery school for pre-school children was started in 1972. For nated share. Using St. Stephen's Parish Hall, The Plaza daily nursery school for pre-school children was started in 1972. For many years, Girl Scouts of all faiths have used St. Stephen's for their meetings. During Fr. Sitts' tenure, Echo, an ecumenical coffee house for young people was established, but has since disbanded. In
March, 1975, the Senior Meal Program was put into effect on a three-day per week basis in conjunction with Catholic Charities, and is presently operating five days a week with a 40-50 daily attendance. In addition to the already established groups within the parish framework, Fr. Sitts was instrumental in strengthening lay participation by organizing adult study groups, retreats, teaching missions, and taking groups of young people to St. John's Lutheran Church in New York City (Operation Eye Opener), where they were able to learn first-hand and observe the
results of drug abuse etc.

The Rev. Dr. John Peatling came to St. Stephen's as weekend assistant in October, 1971, from Greenwich, Connecticut. Fr. Peatling was formerly Manager of Management Information Services for the Executive Council of  the National Episcopal Church. Currently, he is associated with the Union College Character Research Project.

Also, during Fr. Sitts' tenure, St. Stephen's was host for the Union Thanksgiving Eve Service involving all denominations. On Good Friday, 1977, the Rt. Rev. Howard Hubbard, newly-consecrated Roman Catholic Bishop of the Albany Diocese, was guest speaker, another ecumenical first.


Lois douglas, 1975

ECW lunch meeting. Mildred Marks, Mildred Santer,
Daisy Santer, Ruth Lighthall, and Anne Jenny

A church shop for the sale of religious items was set up in January, 1975. Under Fr. Sitts, an endowment fund was established. He introduced the new proposed prayer book services to the parishioners and conducted numerous surveys to obtain their reaction to the various changes.

In 1974, he suggested extensive remodeling, and as a result, the Blessings Rededicated Building Fund program was launched in 1976 to raise an estimated $60,000 to make the im- provements which the congregation had decided were most needed. This cost was defrayed in part by a federal grant in connection with the nutrition program. While the commitment for remodeling was finalized prior to his departure, the project is still in progress, and will be paid for and completed in 1979. Among the major


Norman Hoffmann, Fr. Sitts, and James Borrowman.


Farwell dinner at the Ramada Inn.
The Rev. and Mrs. Sitts.

Justin Northrup, 1977

improvements is a $16,000 ramp to allow wheel chair visitors easy access to the premises. A new lounge and remodeling of Sunday School rooms has been completed, and a new sacristy will be completed in 1979. In June, 1977, Fr. Sitts and his wife Margaret left with their two small daughters, born while he was rector, for a new parish in Warren, Ohio.

From June, 1977 to January, 1978, the parish services were conducted by the Rev. John Peatling, the Rev. Robert Barron, and the licensed lay readers. The first Craft Fair was held in October, 1977.

On January 15, 1978, the Rev. Walter Harris, with his wife Harriet and three daughters, came to St. Stephen's Church as rector. In his few short months in our midst, he has been hard at work becoming familiar with his new parish as a whole and in particular, re-establishing the youth program both in the parish and with the first confirmation camp involving


The Rev. Walter Harris

Father ans son dinner, 1978

other denominations. He is ably assisted by Fr. Peatling and Fr. Barron. He is also active in reuniting the parish family, with his warmth and sincerity. It is fitting that he will be installed as third rector of St. Stephen's at the 50th anniversary service on November 19, 1978.

Through the years, there were and are many individuals who gave and presently give of their time and abilities for making large and small improvements to the church, both inside and out. Some have been publicly recognized, while others are known only to a few, but all have worked because of their love for God and His Church. The purpose in writing this narrative has been to tell of the growth of St. Stephen's Church and the contributions made under its various leaders, without reference to mistakes. Each administration has its own ideas, personality clashes and criticisms, but it might be well for rectors and parishioners alike in this and future generations to realize that they should proceed for the good of the parish as a whole without thought of selfish interests or pleasing a select group, or of causing conflict or of undoing that which has been accomplished, but rather to add to the achievements, continue to build and rebuild if necessary, toward the Kingdom of God and go forward in the name of Jesus Christ and this church will continue to be a house of prayer for all people. At this 50th anniversary, let us renew the pledge made at the 25th, "to look to the future of this parish and rededicate ourselves, our souls and our bodies, to God in renewed faith and service in the work of His Kingdom here on earth. May God grant to us who are privileged to worship here the strength and courage to go forward in His Holy Name, trusting and unafraid."    

Olive Carter Luczka

Clergy Associated with St. George's Chapel
and St
. Stephen's Church

Prior to 1924 The Rev. B.W. Rogers Tayler, rector of St. George's Church, Schenectady, conducted a survey for establishment of an uptown church.
1928 The Rev. George F. Bambach, rector of St. George's Church, established St. George's Chapel.
1929 The Rev. Schofield
The Rev. Paul F. Williams
1930 The Rev. Schuyler D. Jenkins
1931 The Rev. R.T. Bliss
1936 The Rev. Daniel M. Welton
1938 The Rev. L. G. Putnam
1940 The Rev. Oscar C. Taylor
1943-1970 The Rev. Tom Moss
1960-64 The Rev. Robert Barron
1965 The Rev. David Langdon
1970-77 The Rev. C. Joseph Sitts
1971 The Rev. John Peatling
1978 The Rev. Walter M. Harris


First Vestry of St. Stephen's Church

Robert Cunningham, warden
Henry Ryder, warden
Leonard Bleecker
Joseph McAvoy
Clark Congdon
Charles Hughes
Roy Myers
George Hamm
Fred Williams

Present Vestry of St. Stephen's Church

Normal Hoffmann, senior warden
Barbara Dobbins, junior warden
Carey C. Morgan
Charles Daly
James Borrowman
Donald Cornell
Alfred Lowe
Lillian Peterson
Martha Spang, clerk
Justin Northrop
Thomas I vsan

References

St. George's Church History, Volume 1, Willis T. Hanson, Jr. A, B.
Early History of St. George's Chapel, Mr. and Mrs. B.D. Whitehead
(now Mrs. A. Wilman).
St. Stephen's Church, 25th Anniversary Booklet.
St. Stephen's Church, Booklet, 25th Anniversary of
The Rev. Tom Moss, Rector.
Church Records of St. George's Chapel and St. Stephen's Church.

Acknowledgments

Typing, Mrs. J. Liberis (Sue).
50th Anniversary History, Olive Carter Luczka.
Pictures, St. Stephen's parishioneers and church files.