From the Rector.....
We say it again: Easter is the high point of the Christian year. Jesus went through the
depths to get to that climactic Sunday, and during Lent, we are following in our minds
and hearts that harrowing way. Then, out of agony, triumph. This is the crux of
Christmas is another summit in the church year. We don't encourage competition
among our celebrations! But in the Bible, two gospels give lovely accounts of the Birth;
all four concentrate on the Death and its Sequel. The earliest gospel, Mark, begins with
Jesus' baptism, and then gives half of the text to the Passion and the Resurrection. But
page counting doesn't really count. What is important is that Christmas derives its
deepest significance from Easter. The precious bundle in the manger is worshiped
because it is bound for the empty tomb. In orchestral terms, Christmas is the
anacrusis, the conductor's first upbeat which focuses the player's attention, and Easter
is the downbeat when the major theme is sounded.
During this month we will be surrounded by marshmallow bunnies and chromatic eggs
and fantasy hats. And after a winter of dark cold days we can all rejoice in jonquils and
tulips and birdsong and SPRING.
But for Christians this month is our holiest time of the year, our "high holy days." These
are the few special days in the year when we celebrate the great events of our faith.
Nothing is "higher" than the events of Holy Week. Easter cannot have its meaning if we
haven't made the journey to the Cross that begins on Palm Sunday and goes through
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (both of which come during the week, yet are
essential for us). On Maundy Thursday we remember Christ's last supper with his
disciples and the beginnings of our Eucharist. On Good Friday Christ hung on the
Cross for us all. It should not be a day for business as usual for any of us. It's a day to
be in church. It's a day even to follow the lead of our Jewish friends and stay home and
be still on our most holy days.
And then at the very end of the month, out of the darkness of the vigil on holy Saturday,
Easter breaks forth! However you interpret that, it is a specific instance, a revelation of
God's will, God's dependability, God's care, God's community. This month we move
from the agony of the cross to the triumph of the resurrection. Our holiest days.
Thanks be to God!
HOLY WEEK WORSHIP SCHEDULE
Palm Sunday - March 23, 1997
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am & **10:15 am Procession with Palms & Eucharist
Holy Monday - March 24, 1997
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:30 pm Eucharist
Holy Tuesday - March 25, 1997
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:30 pm Eucharist
Holy Wednesday - March 26, 1997
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:30 pm Eucharist
Maundy Thursday - March 27, 1997
9:00 am Morning Prayer
10:00 am Eucharist & Healing
** 7:30 pm Foot Washing, Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar
9:00 pm Prayer Vigil through the night
Good Friday - March 28, 1997
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
** 7:30 pm Lessons & Prayers
Holy Saturday - March 29, 1997
9:00 am Morning Prayer
7:30 pm Great Vigil of Easter,
**Lighting of the New Fire, Lessons & Prayers,
Festive Eucharist & Baptism
Easter Sunday, March 30, 1997
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am and **10:15 am Festive Eucharist
Bishop Vincent Pettit, Celebrant
** Child care provided
Stations of the Cross
A 'Station' is any place in the church where, during a solemn
procession, there is pause for a prayer. At St. Stephen's
these include the creche at Christmas, the entrance to the
church on Palm Sunday and the baptismal font on the day of
Pentecost (when there are no actual baptisms!) During Lent
there is a practice in which fourteen 'stations' are visited in
turn, with a pause for a reading, a versicle and response, a
prayer, and a time for meditation. In this case, the 'stations'
are fourteen pictures depicting incidents in the narrative of
Christ's passion, from Pilate's house to the entombment.
These pictures will be placed around the church on Fridays
and booklets which lead the participant through each station
can be found on the table in the back of the church. The church and
chapel will be open each Friday from 9 am to 9 pm.
The Bible and Handel's
As a sequel to our Advent study Richey
Woodzell and Allison De Kanel are leading the Sunday Morning Adult Education hour in a biblical study
that explores the Scriptural texts of
Handel's Messiah and includes musical
commentary. The classes meet on
Sunday morning beginning at 9:00 am
and last until 10:00 am in the parish
hall. Participants are asked to bring
their Bibles to each class.
The remaining schedule is as follows:
Mar. 2 - Who is the King of Glory?
Mar. 9 - I Know That My Redeemer
Mar. 16 - Who Do the Nations Rage?
Mar. 23 - Hallelujah, Worthy Is the
HOLY WEEK TRADITIONS AT SAINT STEPHEN'S
Holy Week, formerly known as "Passion WeeK', is the final
and most important week in Lent. Holy Week marks the
final phase of the spiritual preparation for Easter, A
preparation which began on Ash Wednesday with prayer,
reflection, worship, study and self-sacrffice. The time
from Palm Sunday to Easter is a time when we relive the
passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we
recall the events of Jesus' last days on earth.
On Palm Sunday we recall Jesus'arrival in Jerusalem.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus sent two of the
disciples ahead to Jerusalem telling them, "Go into the
village opposite you, and immediately you will find an
ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them
to me" (Matthew 21:1). Following Jesus' instructions,
the disciples found the animals and prepared them for
Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. As the crowd saw Jesus
entering, some spread their garments on the road before
him; others cut branches and laid them there. The crowd
shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who
comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
This Sunday has a two-fold focus; the triumphal entry of
Jesus into Jerusalem is marked with the blessing of the
palms and procession, while the emphasis of the Eucharist
itself if upon the passion of our Lord, his suffering and
death. This is the only Sunday of the year on which the
Gospel centers upon Jesus' death, since Sundays are in
their own nature 'IIttle Easter' celebrations of the
resurrection. There is a double irony to this double
observance: what is apparently a triumphal entrance into
Jerusalem was followed six days later by betrayal and
crucifixion. What is apparently the total defeat of the
cross becomes God's areat victory over evil and death.
On Maundy Thursday we recount Jesus' last evening with the
disciples to prepare for their Passover by going into the city
and securing a furnished room for the meal. The disciples did
as they were instructed and prepared the meal. According to
John, Jesus washed the disciple's feet during the supper. This
humble act was Jesus' way of teaching them to respect and serve
others regardless of their status. During the meal with his
disciples, Jesus took a cup, and when he had given thanks he
said, "Take this and devide it among yourselves; for I tell you
that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine
until the kingdom of God comes'(Luke 22:17-18). He also gave
them bread saying,'This is my body which is given for you. Do this in
remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19).
After the meal, Jesus took his disciples to the Mount of
Olives. Not able lo keep watch with Jesus, the disciples slept
while Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethesemane. He placed his
life in God's hands and prayed, "Father, if thou art willing,
remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine
be done" (Luke 22:42).
Later that night Judas betrayed Jesus with the sign of a kiss,
identifying him to an armed crowd which then took Jesus to be
The name 'Maundy Thursday" comes from the Latin word "mandatum"
or "commandment" referring to the "new commandment" of love
given by Jesus at the last supper (John 13.-34). The term "Maundy" or "mandatum" then was applied to the foot washing
ceremony of this day (John 13:1-15).
The double theme of the service is thus the Last Supper as the
institution of the Eucharist and the foot washing as an example
of humility and love.
After the holy communion, the remaining sacrament is removed
from the sanctuary where a prayer watch is kept, in
commemoration of the watch in the Garden of Gethsemane. The
altar is "stripped" in order to prepare for the Good Friday
FOOT WASHING: On Maundy Thursday at the 7:30 p.m.
Eucharist we would like to have
volunteers from the congregation for
footwashing by the clergy. If you would
like to be one of these representatives of
the congregation, please sign up at
the parish shop.
PRAYER WATCH: There is a sign-up sheet on the shop
counter for the Maunday Thursday Vigil.
It is suggested that two or more persons
sign up for each one hour segment.
On Good Friday we remember the crucifixion of Jesus and the
events which led to his death. After Jesus was convicted of
committing blasphemy by the high priests, Pontius Pilate
condemned him to be crucified, Yielding to the pressure of the
crowd. On the way to Calvary ( 'the Place of the Skull"),
Jesus was whipped, mocked, spat upon and crowned with a wreath
of thorns. Simon of Cyrene was forced to help carry the heavy
wooden cross upon which Jesus would hang.
The outline of the Good Friday service we know as a separate
service, comes from the Jerusalem church in the 4th century.
The focus is upon the crucifixion of Jesus. The liturgy begins
with the reading of the Passion Gospel (tradftionally the
account from John). This may be read or sung by various
lectors with the congregation taking a part. The second major
element is the Solemn Collects, prayers of the people,
preserved from the early liturgy.
The very name of this day, "Good Friday" (which originated In
the English Church) expresses the double-sidedness of our response
- sorrow for our sins which brought about the suffering and
death of our Lord and yet humble thankfulness for the
GOOD FRIDAY OFFERING:
On Good Friday we remember in a
unique way the witness that Jesus gave
to us on the cross. Through his
obedience and through his suffering --
through the fateful steps he took each
day of Holy Week -- he showed the world
just how much God loves us. Jesus'
entire life was a witness to that love and
the cross continues to be a sign of that
In the midst of religious tensions, historic
animosities and political unrest, the
Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the
Middle East stands witness to the people
of our Lord's homeland, proclaiming and
serving the same message that Jesus
brought to that land almost 2,000 years
On Good Friday we stand with the
Episcopal Church in Jerusalem as it
witnesses to the love of God in a
strife-filled part of the world through our
prayers and financial support. Please be
generous in your support of the
continuing ministry of our sisters and
brothers in the Middle East.
This service is the most ancient liturgy (except for the
Eucharist itself) in the church. The Easter Vigil is the preparation for and leads into the first eucharist of
Easter. it begins with the blessing of the new fire and
lighting of the paschal candle, which symbolizes the
light of creation, the pillar of fire at the Exodus, and
the Risen Christ - "The Light of the World". The service
moves from darkness to light, from death to life. The
vigil continues with a series of lessons from the Old
Testament, sketching out the history of God's dealings
with God's people, from creation to the promises of the
new covenant. This Liturgy of the Word is followed by
baptism. With the paschal candle
lighted, the promises of the covenant proclaimed and
baptismal vows renewed, we await the resurrection of our
Lord and prepare for the Festive Eucharist on Easter
A pick-up choir will be formed for the Holy Saturday service
on March 29. This is an opportunity for those who would
like to sing but can't make a long-term commitment to serve.
We will rehearse from 8:30-9:00 pm on March 6, March 13 and
If you are interested please contact Tim Olsen at 383-6101.
We invite all members and friends of St.
Stephen's to be present at these services.
If you are infirm, please call the office to
arrange for communin to be brought to you
at home by one of the clergy.
EASTER BASKET PROJECT
Following on the success of the Christmas Tree Project, the
Service Committee would like to create another opportunity for us
to reach out to some of our less fortunate neighbors by
organizing an Easter hamper 00,6 project. The intention
is to give Easter hampers of food to our "Christmas Tree"
families. Rather than asking members just to give cash, we
will place request slips naming needy food items, on the
"old rugged cross" in the Community Room. These are
generally canned and dry goods, that we can organize into
hampers for "our" families, giving each hearty Easter fare.
Please take a slip and return the food item by the 10:15 am
service on BASKETS Easter Sunday, March 30th. Any
questions, please call Pauline Holmes at 384-0904. Thank
you for your support.
REMEMBER OUR VISITORS - PLEASE WEAR YOUR NAMETAG
EASTER EGG HUNT!!
Come to the third annual Easter egg hunt
at St. Stephen's from 9am to 10:15am on
Easter morning. The egg hiders are
getter better every year!
Making a confession in preparation for
Easter is a long-standing tradition for
many in the Church. This is an individual
confession to a priest. The service of
Reconciliation of a Penitent in the Book of
Common Prayer provides an excellent form
for personal self- examination, confession
and reception of God's forgiveness. If
anyone is interested in participating in this
rite as we move toward Easter, please feel
free to contact the rector. A short brochure
describing this sacrament can be found on
the Welcome Table in the parish hall.
AUCTION: reaching up for Outreach
The April Auction preparations are well underway. The
auction committee wishes to thank everyone for the goods and
services pledged to date. If you have not notified us of
your contribution please do so now. All items must be in by
March 16th. This deadline is very important as we need to
catalog and organize our merchandise for the preview bidding
to begin on March 23rd.
Preview bidding for the silent auction only will continue
through March 30th. We will display as much silent auction
merchandise as space allows, all other items will be
cataloged for bids. Final bidding will take place Friday,
April 4th, the night of the event. You need not be present
to win a bid, but it is highly recommended. A $2.00 bidder
registration charge will be collected prior to your bidding.
All family members may use the same bidder number.
At this time we are continuing to solicit businesses and
restaurants for merchandise and gift certificates. If you
are associated with or know of any business that may donate
items please ask them for contributions or notify us and we
will approach them. We have forms available that most
businesses require for their own donation records. We
stress that many businesses are very willing and eager to
contribute and give back to the community they serve.
Please extend yourselves with this worthy endeavor.
We are also requesting donations for our children's
raffle. We are in need of toys, books, videos, puzzles,
etc., either new or used in good condition. A book of 25
tickets will go on sale Friday, April 4th for fifty-cents.
Kids can buy multiple books and use as many tickets on any
item as they would like.
A "pajama party" will begin after the children's raffle
in the community room. Kids are invited to bring along a
sleeping bag and pillow and enjoy some standard slumber
party activities: video & snacks; ghost stories for the
older set and games.
For further updates and information see the auction
display in the Parish Hall.
We expect all parishioners to be present Friday, April
4th and suggest everyone bring at least one friend. Our
auction has been publicized widely throughout the greater
Schenectady area (look for our press releases in local
monthly journals and daily newspapers as well as posters,
fliers and brochures at area establishments). So come
early, enjoy a delectable delicacy and get a good seat!
The Auction Committee
Jean Kolb, Kim Chapman, Co-Chairs
REPORT FROM THE ECW EVENING GUILD
At the meeting of February 17, 1997, we were fortunate to
have with us Deacon Karen Kleinman, who spoke about the bishop
selection process. Deacon Kleinman is on the committee that
has been searching for a new Bishop for the Albany Diocese.
She graciously answered our many questions, and the very
educational evening closed with Compline.
Father James has ordered copies of Six New Gospels and as
soon as they arrive an announcement will be posted in the
church. Marilyn Dare and Mousumi Franks will do their best to
distribute the copies to those who have ordered them, in plenty
of time to read them before the April meeting. Deacon Pat will
lead a discussion of the book.
We have a reservation at Barry House for May 30 & 31,
1997. There are still a few spots open, so if you would like
to go and haven't reserved a spot, please call Mousumi Franks
at 393-2237. The retreat will begin with evening prayer and
dinner on Friday evening and continues through dinner on
All evening guild meetings are held on the third Monday of
every month, with the business portion of the meeting beginning
promptly at 7:30 pm. The next meeting will be held at St.
Stephen's on March 17th, where a presentation will be made
about activities of the ECW in this diocese. Hope to see you
SCHENECTADY INNER CITY MINISTRY
Relatating the resources of the churches
to the human needs of the city
The FOOD PROGRAM is exploring expanding hours at the food
pantry by opening the last Tuesday and Thursday mornings of
each month. Jars of baby food, cocoa mix envelopes, tea
bags, jello/pudding, Freihofer coupons - all are needed food
items. To expand the hours ten volunteers will be required.
Please call Pat Obrecht, 346-4445, if you are able to help.
BETHESDA HOUSE also needs volunteers from 1-3 pm. The project
director there is John Davis, 374-7873.
DAMIEN CENTER is sponsoring a new "light supper night" and is
looking for folding tables, folding chairs, volunteers for
cooking and drivers who would help guests get to the center on
Monday, Wednesday or Friday nights. Laurie Bacheldor, 374-8215
or 374-2683, is the one to contact.
YOUTH GROUP WORK WEEK: TENNESSEE, HERE THEY COME
It's not too late!!! Campers entering 9th
grade in the fall of 1997 through age 20 are
welcome to join the group July 5 - July
13. There will be a can drive at a later
date. Save empties and call Suzanne if there
is a space problem.
Plans are underway for
a car wash - possibly in conjunction with the
June 14 rummage sale A special thank you to
Chris Jones for his great jellies.
EPISCOPAL CANDIDATES ARE ANNOUNCED
Four candidates have been named as possible successors to
Bishop Ball when he retires as bishop of the Albany
Rev. Kenneth John Dorsch from the diocese of Maryland.
The 51-year old has been rector of St. John's in Hagerstown
since 1992 and was ordained in 1971.
The Very Rev. Philip Menzie Duncan 11 of the diocese of
Dallas. He is 52, was ordained in 1970 and has been the
dean of St. Matthew's Cathedral since 1993.
Rev. Daniel William Herzog of Christ Church, Schenectady.
He was ordained in 1971 and has been at Christ Church since
Rev. Pierre Welt Whalon of the diocese of Central Florida.
He is 44 and was ordained in 1985.
Notice to all pack rats! Start sorting now to donate to St.
Stephen's rummage and yard sale JUNE
Organize your basement, clean out the attic, redecorate,
Toys and Games
Infant clothing to size 2
More information in the Messenger next month. Meanwhile -