The Messenger

April 1997

From the Rector.....

Dear Friends,

My favorite cartoon is of two Roman soldiers guarding Jesus' tomb on the first Easter morning. Each has a mug of tea in his hand, and the sun is just rising above the horizon. One is encouraging the other. "Cheer up, it's Sunday morning. As I see it, we have one more day of guarding the tomb. By Monday the whole thing will blow over."

The world is still astonished that millions of Christians celebrate Easter with such excitement. Like those guards at the tomb they assume that "By Monday the whole thing will blow over." But it doesn't. You see the more we enjoy this life the more we enjoy Easter. Christians already have much to rejoice about in this life. God loves us, we are forgiven, we find a strange power of the Holy Spirit that freed us to love others. Why make so much of Easter?

Look at it this way. The more we enjoy the love of God, the more we sense that this world cannot be all that God has in mind for us. We know we are loved, but all around us people are terribly unloving. There are wars, cruelty in families, injustice, people hating and despising one another. Not only is the world imperfect but our own bodies are frail, easily get sick and miserable. As we grow older we watch our loved ones one by one grow old and die and we know that our turn is coming. If God really loves us, God must have something better in mind for our bodies.

Even when we are healthy we are frustrated because we are not free to attain what we would love to achieve. We begin with great plans and aspirations, and we have some successes but even they turn sour, and slowly we find ourselves hemmed in. We know that in this life we can never be free to be what we would love to be.

Easter reminds me of a story: Once upon a time there were twins inside their mother's womb. Every day they argued about life after birth. One of them said "How could there be another life? There is nowhere to go. This world is all there is. Here in this womb we can hold each other's hand and kick our feet and turn around. But that's it. When we die that's the end of the road."

The other twin said "There must be more to life than the two of us kicking each other in this place which is too tight for us already. And can you hear that music and those noises from out there?" So they kept arguing about life after birth till the ninth month when the woman went into labor. Suddenly they started getting squashed and squeezed to death. They said "This is the end of the world." Then one of the twins disappeared, and the other said "He's gone. I'll be dead next."

Then he also was born, and the twins found themselves next to each other sucking at their mother's breast. And the world which they now began to discover was infinitely bigger and more wonderful than they could possibly have imagined. Eventually they would visit Toronto and the Rockies, the Grand Canyon, the Amazon, and a million other exciting places.

The interesting thing about this story is that in one sense the twins were as close as they could be to their mother. They were actually inside her, but they could never know her face to face till they were born. Although God is never more than an inch away from us we will never know the beautiful perfection of his love this side of life after death. We should also remind ourselves that all of us have already made the transition from the world of our mother's womb to life after birth into this huge and marvelous world. Jesus' resurrection assures us that the next transition will be infinitely more wonderful.

On that first Easter day the disciples saw the resurrection of body of Jesus for the first time. And he showed himself to them in that form for forty days, so they could go out into all the world and proclaim that resurrection is not less but infinitely more than we can ever imagine. That is why we say "The Lord is risen" and Christians all over the world reply "The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia.

Peace,

James+

1997 Auction for Outreach

FRIDAY, APRIL 4th 1997, 6:30 PM

PREVIEW A T 6:15 PM

Many special, biddable items
including one-of- a-kind handcrafted items,
service vouchers,
certificates from local area businesses and restaurants.
BONUS!!!f Special Children's Raffle!
Toys, games, videos and more!
Babysitting ("pj party") will be provided on the night of the event,
Delicious desserts and coffees will be served!

A $2.00 registration number that is required for bidding, is on sale at the SHOP.

Preview bidding on silent auction merchandise is well underway at the Shop counter and we are ready to unveil our "premier" live auction items on April 4th at 6:15 pm.

We have an evening planned that promises to be filled with great fun for the kids (Kay Bee Toys is sponsoring our children's raffle as it donated over 60 items! - ages 1 -12), delicious desserts of cheesecakes, pies, flavored coffees and teas, a "piano bar" by the accomplished Mr. Dick Barnes, reduced rate massages by masseuse Betty Brzuchac (a full massage session can be bid on in the live auction), raffle and door prize giveaways and the opportunity to outbid your fellow parishioners on expertly handcrafted items made by our own talented members. If you don't have a good time (i.e., laugh at least once) we will gladly refund your $2.00 bidder fee, no questions asked!

Bring a friend, your sweet tooth, and come early for a good seat!

The following is a recap on how the auction will work: $2.00 bidder fee on sale currently - when you buy your bidder number you will be given a ticket with your number on it. Bring this ticket April Th and trade it in for your bidder paddle. Register for raffle and door prizes.

Kids buy a book of 25 raffle tickets (fifty cents per book) on April Th. You can purchase as many books and put as many tickets in for each item as you would like.

6:15pm doors open for preview of items 6:30pm silent auction & kids raffle opens 7:00pm kids raffle followed by pajama party 7:30pm live auction begins 8:00pm silent auction closes 8:30pm silent auction winners announced

The Auction Committee
Jean Kolb, Kim Chapman, Co-Chairs

BIBLE STUDY

Do you know the difference between epistles and apostles? Who came first, John or Jonah? When was the last time you heard a lesson read in church and wondered what it really meant?

Perhaps you are ready for some Bible study. Several years ago we presented a Bible study course published by The Kerygma Program entitled "Kerygma: Discovering the Bible." This is a basic introduction to the Bible as a whole, presented in 30 sessions. We found that a mid-week meeting of 1 hours was most satisfactory, allowing time for study and discussion.

Some preparation is needed each week, but no prior Bible knowledge is necessary. If you would be interested in participating in such a course beginning next fall, please sign up at "The Shop" or let me know.

Pat Jones

THANK YOU.......

... To Gillian and Sid Woodcock and Pauline Holmes Bishop who hosted a beautiful evening tea.

... To all cooks who cooked and baked our suppers before the Thursday Lenten studies.

... To the altar guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Easter Day beautiful with flower arrangements.

... To Tim Olsen, the adult and children's choirs, and all instrumentalists who helped to make Easter Day joyous.

... To the rectors, chalice bearers and acolytes who made our worship possible.

... To all those who helped in the toddler and nursery rooms.

.,.To the ushers and to the offering counters.

... To our administrative assistant, Janice, who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements.

... To Dave, our sexton who made the church shine.

... To the ECW who made our palm crosses.

... and the list goes on and on.

JUBILEE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

November 16,1997

On November 18, 1928 the first worship service of Saint George's Chapel was held. And on November 16, 1947 the corner stone of Saint Stephen's Church was laid. So we are approaching a couple of anniversaries: 70 years as a congregation and 50 years as a church.

Therefore, our congregation will mark these anniversary with a celebration on Sunday, November 16th. That morning there will be a festive Eucharistic celebration hopefully with our new bishop, who will consecrate the Chapel of the Resurrection, the needlework cushions and other items. Later that day we will move our festivities to the Glen Sanders Mansion for dinner.

Perhaps former rectors Joe Sitts and Walt Harris would leave the warm weather of their respective habitats (Florida and Hawaii) to join us.

At that time we will unveil a video presentation on Saint Stephen's that will later be used for new members classes.

Marilyn Causey, Gillian Woodcock and Janice Robinson are working on the taskforce to make our Jubilee celebration happen. It's not too early to mark November 16 on your calendars!

There will be no Church School for the children on April 20th. Child care will be available from 9 am to 11:30 am.

WORSHIP COMMITTEE: CHANGES IN USHERING

It has been several months since we changed the way that ushers serve during the 10:15 service. Before the change, ushers stood in the center aisle during Communion to indicate when people should go forward to the Communion rail. In order to make the serving of Communion flow more smoothly, without delays and gaps, we decided to let communicants come forward freely, Ushers now assist people at the chancel steps ( or any other time or place that assistance is needed). Most communicants have adjusted to the new system, but if you are not yet comfortable, here are some suggestions:

1. Father James will indicate by extending his arms that the choir and congregation may come forward.
2. People in the front pews may start forward while the choir is receiving Communion.
3. You may wait until the line is shorter before you go forward.
4. Ask an usher if you need Communion brought to your pew.

It is perfectly all right to stand in the chancel, where the choir is, to await your turn at the Communion rail.

On occasions such as Christmas and Easter, when there are more people than usual, the ushers will use the "old" system to guide people, allowing 9 or 1 0 at a time from each side of the congregation to move forward, with a few ready and waiting in the chancel.

We hope that this information will answer your questions and make it easier for everyone to share easily in this most important activity. We welcome your suggestions, questions and comments, and thank you for helping us to find the best way for this wonderful and unique congregation to worship.

Pat Jones for the Worship Committee

Gospel in miniature

Luther called John 3:16 'the heart of the Bible the Gospel in miniature.' It's so simple a child can understand it; yet it condenses the deep and marvelous truths of redemptionin to these few pungent words:

'God' ............... the greatest lover
'so loved'............. the greatest degree
'the world'.............the greatest number
'that he gave'..........the greatest act
'his only begotten Son'...the greatest gift
'that whosoever'....the greatest invitation
'believeth'..........the greatest simplicity
'in him'............ the greatest person
'should not perish'.... the greatest deliverance
'but'..................the greatest difference
'have................the greatest
'everlasting life'............the greatest possession

PRESIDING BISHOP'S FUND

The Presiding Bishop's Fund headquarters wishes to thank everyone in the Albany diocese who helped raise our diocesan contributions in 1996 to $29,433.36 $1,500 more than in 1995. Totally the PBF received close to five million dollars in 1996 - almost one million more than in 1995.

So many needs in so many places, and your gifts help so many people.

Kabby Lowe

EARLY APRIL

There is a certain white light
at this time of year.
It is a cleansing of winte
and a scouring for whatever

is to come.
It lays bare each ridge
and each trough.
It is as white

as the whitest bone.
that by walking step
by measured step the light

seeps up
through the soles
and up through the spine
until everything is clear.

It is so searing
each blade of grass blares,
each bud
hums from the eaves of trees.

Lying down in the warm grasses,
feel the slow taking of the earthby the sun,
the long taking of the body into light.

.............Noel Smith

THE GOSPELS AS LITERATURE

The bible can be understood in many ways: historically, critically, literally, etc. One attempt is to understand Biblical literature simply as literature, often in a manner paralleling the interests and It seems methods of contemporary literary critics such as T. S. Eliot.

This literary approach will be used by The Rev. Charlie Sheerin to help us understand the four gospels of the New Testament as short novels. Mr. Sheerin is a retired English teacher who has taught in independent schools in Massachusetts, Virginia and most recently at the Albany Girls Academy. He now assists at St. Peter's Church in Albany.

Come and discover new ways to understand the gospels! The course will take place in the parish hall at 9:00 am beginning on April 20th and concluding on May 11th.

The flowers on the altar in April are given to the Glory of God.

6 - In memory of Frances N. Reid by William B. Reid.

13 - In memory of Norman Santer and the loved ones of Mrs. Mildred Santer.

20 - In memory of Dorothy L. Wieczorek by Linda, Belachew, Daniel and Rebecca Emaelaf.

In memory of William McMahon by Howard and Margaret Phillips.

27 - The loved ones of Jesse and Betty Dipley. In memory of Thomas Fleetwood by Shana Hopperstead.

CROP WALK FOR THE HUNGRY

Set aside Sunday, May 4, for the annual 10-kilometer CROP WALK in Schenectady. This event, which raises money to fight hunger locally and worldwide, begins and ends at City Hall on Jay Street. Registration at Center City, at the corner of Jay and State Streets, is from 12:30 to 1:15 pm. The WALK begins at 1:30 after a 15-minute ceremony.

In 1996 over 1,200 walkers from area churches and other groups participated, making it the largest CROP WALK in New York State. We raised more than $54,000 which was transmitted to CROP, the Community Hunger Appeal arm of Church World Service. From this amount, about $13,500 was returned for local hunger fighting efforts by area food pantries and the Nutrition Program for the Elderly. The other 75% was used for worldwide hunger programs.

We need: walkers or runners sponsors for walkers or runners registrars for the day of the walk greeters to welcome returning walkers or runners.

Last year 28 parishioners from St. Stephen's walked, and many other parishioners contributed in other ways, raising about $1,200.

Please join us!! Beginning Sunday, April 6, CROP WALK forms and sign up sheets will be available. St. Stephen's recruiters are Marty Deschaine, Carey Tittemore and Richey Woodzell. Richey

Easter. Despite the bribes paid the Roman guards and an elaborate cover-up conspiracy, word got out. A glimmer of faith took hold, and takes hold still. ...........Philip Yancey

Saint Stephen's RUMAGE SALE

Notice to all pack rats! Start sorting now to donate to St. Stephen's rummage and and yard sale JUNE 14.

NEEDED Donations of just about anything except clothes. Infants clothing to size 2T accepted. Sorters to set up during the afternoon and evening of June 13. Workers for the sale. There will be two shifts. Many helpers are needed.

Movers and Haulers to bring in "big stuff" and to cart away what isn't sold. Can you drive your van or truck during the week of the sale or on the 14th? "Muscle" is also needed.

An empty garage is available to store donated items for those who won't be here the week of the sale. To make arrangements, contact Marilyn Causey, 372-2469.

Sign up sheets will be on the SHOP counter in late April, and your help greatly appreciated. Proceeds from the sale will support the purchase of specially padded tables for the bell choir.

..........Marilyn Causey

EPISCOPAL CHURCH WOMEN - Evening Guild

The ECW evenina guild met March 17 with Suzanne Coonradt and Nan Blausfuss hostessing. Julia Conde'from the YWCA Encore Plus Program gave an informative presentation on breast cancer and self examination.

On April 18 the ECW will host a PIZZA AND GAME night from 6 pm - 10 pm. Robyn Stewart and Liz Casale are organizing the event. A sign up sheet will be posted at the SHOP.

The next meeting of the evening guild will be April 21 at St. Stephen's. Marilyn Causey and Sandy Borrowman are hostesses. The program will be a book review and discussion of Six New Gospels led by Pat Jones.

If you are interested in attending the retreat at Barry House on May 30 and 31 please see Mousumi Franks or Marilyn Dare.

PARISH PERSONALITIES

- Meet Helen and Don Reid

Don, son of Bill and the late Fran Reid, grew up with St. Stephen's as his parish church. Helen was a member of St. Michael's in Colonie when the two met and they were married there in 1964. Don and Helen continued attending St. Michael's as they raised their two daughters, Heather and Pamela. Both daughters are now married - one living in Florida and one in Massachusetts, and the Reids are proud grandparents of Heather's two children.

Helen and Don began regular attendance at St. Stephen's in 1994, although they had occasionally joined Bill and Fran for Christmas and Easter serices. Today Don is an acolyte at the 8 am service and helps to train our church's young corps of acolytes. Helen runs the SHOP, serves on the altar guild and is a member of the evening ECW.

Scottish culture has played an important part in the Reid's family life. Helen made certain that her girls were dressed in authentic Scottish costumes when they danced at the Scottish games. For years Don played the pipes and two years ago he provided an Agape'program, explaining all the clothing items he wore as a piper and giving a demonstration of the pipes. Today Don is a drum major at various Scottish gatherings.

Pamela's wedding at St. Stephen's last May was a colorful Scottish event. The groom, Don and many of the men came in formal attire of kilts and jackets. At the wedding reception Don passed on his pipes to his new son-in-law, Brian Green, pipe major for the Manchester Pipe Band.

Helen is an educational assistant for BOCES at the Maywood School in Colonie. She enjoys quilting and counted cross stitch as hobbies. Don is a tool and die maker for Albany Steel in Selkirk. At one time both were very active volunteers for Midway Fire Department, Don as an EMT-fireman and Helen as first responder and fire police.

It's good to have Helen and Don "back home."

............. Marilyn Causey

UNITED THANK OFFERING INGATHERING APRIL 27

Envelops will be in the pews and blue boxes on the resource table.

Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi

by Tomie de Paola

An ALA Notable Book - 1982

This story is about Saint Francis of Assisi and his companion, Clare. Francis was the son of a rich man who indulged him with money, fine clothes, armor and a horse. He was a noisy kid and got in trouble a lot, but then had two long illnesses which subdued him. His life was changed forever when the voice of the Lord spoke from a crucifix in an old church, telling him to rebuild the church. Francis returned his material possessions to his father and began his simple life.

Each page of this story has a colored picture to go with the prose. The illustrations are simple as was St. Francis' life and typical of de Paola's paintings.

About the author: Tomie de Paola (de-pow-la), always a favorite of mine, is a professional artist, designer, painter, and muralist. Many of his works were done for Catholic churches and monasteries in New England. He grew up in Connecticut with a very social mother and father and his house was always filled with people. His father loved to cook and his mother read aloud to the family every night. He made the decision to be an artist and author when he was four years old. After graduating from Pratt Institute he spent six months in a Benedictine monastery in Vermont.

Mr. de Paola has illustrated and/or written over 160 books.

Stellaluna

by Janell Cannon

A Reading Rainbow Award - 1993.

Stelialuna is a fruit bat who is very lucky. She gets lost from her mother but is rescued and welcomed by a family of birds who take care of her and feed her like one of their own. (They feed her bugs and crawly things she hatesl) Poor Stelialuna is quite confused, but this provides humor to the story. Unexpectedly she finds her mother who introduces her to delicious fruit, how to hang by her feet, and night flying. The baby birds and Stellaluna remain friends.

This story sends a wonderful lesson in tolerance and friendship and the illustrations are delightful. Stellaluna is Jannell Cannon's first published picture book.

............Eunice Chouffi

SUMMER CAMP!

in the

The Episcopal Diocese of Albany

Ever thought about a week ... or two... or three ... exporing God's creation in a beautiful setting with old and new friends ... to experience God in your life and to share God's love with others?

CAMP SESSIONS FOR 1997

Week 1--- Age 7- 9yrs--- Date 6/29 - 7/ 5
Week 2 --- Age 8 - 10 yrs--- Date 7/ 6 - 7/12
Week 3--- Age 9 - 11 yrs--- Date 7/13 - 7/19
Week 4--- Age 10 - 12 yrs--- Date 7/20 - 7/26
Week 5--- Age 11 - 13 yrs--- Date 7/28 - 8/ 2
Week 6--- Age 12 - 14 yrs--- Date 8/ 3 - 8/16

Beaver Cross Conference Center Box 218 - Springfield Center, NY 13468 (607) 547-9489

THE RECTOR'S WISH LIST

This is a relatively new column that began last September and will appear occasionally listing some of the tasks that a volunteer could do in the church. Each activity will have a clear beginning and an end, and the volunteer will be equipped with any tools and materials that are needed.

First, let me thank the following members who completed tasks from the last list: These are left over from last September: Added for this spring and summer: With the purchase of the Baker Ave. offices, there are more landscaping needs. I suggest that a person or group take a section of property and plant flowers, bushes and do whatever it takes to make that area pretty. I suggest:

Please call the parish office if you are willing and able to do any of the tasks above. And thank you.

The Anniversary Taskforce is currently compiling an invitation list to be sent out early next autumn. If you know of someone who should be included (past member, friends of the parish, etc), please call the parish office to check if that person in on the list. Thank you.