The Messenger

October 1997

From the Rector.....
Dear Friends,

Over the last month or so parish leaders have made many phone calls, asking you to think about doing this task or that task at St. Stephen's. We try to consider carefully the gifts we know you have and how those gifts might be used in our parish. I suppose you can say that when you are called on the phone, the church is checking with you to examine whether you have a calling to a particular ministry in some area of our life together. I believe that God calls everyone of us to some ministry, the trouble for us is to be open to what that calling might be.

One of the most compelling sermons I've ever heard was given by the senior pastor at an inner-city Gospel Church one cold January day. I arrived late with several friends; we were ushered up to the front as the music began. Though it was cold outside, the building's interior was filled with warmth and energy. I could feel it as the preacher invited us to stand and sing.

As he began to preach, a sense of anticipation filled the room. I had heard about this man and this community of faith led by him. "The message I want to share is familiar to us," he said.

"Brothers and sisters, the theme for today's sermon has to do with selling out? Jesus says that if we are going to be his followers, we need to sell out and go with him?"

"Amen...Amen....Amen" was heard throughout the room.

The preacher continued, "Let each of you lead the life which the Lord has assigned to you, and in which God has called you. Jesus has called us and wants everything from us. We know the struggles. Yes, Lord, you are our only hope."

As I looked around, I became increasingly convinced of this community's complete trust in Jesus, the one who saves. These people lived in very trying circumstances. Poverty, violence and broken promises marked their days. But this Sunday - that reminder that Jesus calls us to do his work - those words gave them food for their journey.

I I hope this invitation to do God's work is also refreshing for us. So often it is just the opposite.

Let me make a few points to remember the next time a parish leader is on the phone asking you to consider an activity of our congregation.

1. Nobody is called to do everything. God gives everyone gifts for building up the body of Christ and God expects all of us to be responsive to that call. Just because some are not responsive, doesn't mean a few of us are to do it all.

2. We, individually, are responsible to God for God's call in our lives. When something is presented to us, it is up to us to decide with God (through prayer) if we have the gift for the task, and if we will respond to God's call, or not. There should be no guilt trips, no coercing. A "No" is as holy as a "Yes" if considered prayerfully.

3. Our community at St. Stephen's needs the creative use of our members gifts if we are to follow our mission and to obtain our goals and objectives. To allow our gifts to go unused would be disastrous - and maybe even death. Bonhoeffer said that the community that exists with unemployed members, will die because of it.

The prayer for those of us seeking to follow the Lord, is this: Lord, help us to discern your will for us, and when we are asked, help us to 'sell out' for the church's sake. AMEN.

....................James+

SUNDAY MORNING EDUCATION FOR ADULTS

CHRISTIAN SECTS: WITHDRAWN AND IN COMMUNITY

This course has been spending two weeks on each of three Christian Sects, most of whom live within a couple hours drive from Schenectady. The aim of this course is to help us understand the historical background, the form of worship, the organization, the basic doctrinal positions, and distinctive features of the communities. In turn it is hoped that we will become more aware of our own beliefs as we explore those of others. The remaining classes will be held on Oct. 5 The Hutterites: To Care and Not to Care and Oct. 12 & 19 The Shakers. All classes meet in the pairsh hall and are led by the rector

THE SPIRITUALITY OF WORK

How do we carry the lessons and truths of Sunday into the workday world of Monday through Friday? For Christians interested in bringing spiritual values into the workplace, this question presents a creative challenge. In this course you can discover how to bring a true Christian ministry to your daily life by infusing your work world with ethics and competence. Classes will be held on Sunday mornings, Oct. 26 - Nov. 16 in the Parish Hall and will be led by Michael Bishop

EXPLORING THE ANGLICAN ETHOS

This course is intended to introduce prospective members of our parish to the ethos of Anglicanism. It is also a good 'refresher course' in our beliefs for any member of the parish. The study will explore our particular ethos: Anglican traits rooted deeply in the past (200 A.D.) of Britain's relatively pragmatic and moderate peoples. It explores why we Episcopalians do what we do and how our church has been shaped and is being shaped. It is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church, but is open to all members of the Parish Family. Classes are held on Sunday mornings, Oct. 26 - Dec. 7 In the rector's study and led by the rector.

LECTIONARY BIBLE STUDY

The Episcopal Church uses a list of lessons from the Bible which are read at the Sunday eucharist. This 'lectionary' provided for reading large sections of the Bible over a three-year cycle. This weekly course is a study based on the following Sunday's scripture readings and is a good preparation for Church School teachers or anybody who wishes to enrich their Sunday worship experience. The classes meet on Thursday mornings at 10:45 in the rector's study and is led by the rector.

COMMUNION CLASS

The prayerbook stresses that baptism is the beginning of full membership in the Church. Since all baptized Christians are welcome at the altar, discretion is left to parents as to when they want their child to begin receiving communion. Criteria for Confirmation involve the moment when a person is both old enough and prepared enough to know the implications of making a voluntary, public and personal acceptance of the vows made earlier at Baptism on his/her behalf.

Classes for parents and children who are planning to prepare for reception to the Holy Communion, and those who have already begun receiving but who want further preparation, will meet on two Wednesdays: October 22 in the parish hall from 4:45 pm to 6:15 pm and October 29 in the church from 4:45 pm to 5:30 pm. . Those parents wishing their children to take communion for the first time could plan to do so on All Saints Sunday, November 2nd at the 10:15 am Eucharist.

COME CELEBRATE

SAINT STEPHEN'S

"70 YEARS AS A CONGREGATION 50 YEARS AS A CHURCH"

Sunday, November 16th

3:00 pm. - Festive Eucharist at the church

5:30 pm. - Hors d'Oeuvres and Dinner at the Glen Sander's Mansion - Premiere of the new video on Saint Stephen's: "Remembering our Past, Creating our Future"

WOULD ANYONE WHO HAS ANY MEMORABILIA CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF SAINT STEPHEN'S PLEASE CONTACT THE RECTOR

SIGN UP TO HOST A COFFEE HOUR!!!

A sign-up sheet is located at the SHOP for anyone who would like to host a coffee hour after the 8:00 and 10:15 am services. If you've never done it before, sign up with someone who has. Directions follow below.

128th ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE DIOCESE OF ALBANY

The diocese is the most important unit of the Episcopal Church. It is based on geography, generally, but also on Church population, so that dioceses may have borders contingent with state boundaries, or there may be a number of dioceses in a state because of population growth. Diocese are made up of parishes, which receive financial aid. It is in these local congregations that most Episcopalians have their Church involvement.

It is likely, therefore, that most Episcopalians will know more about their local communities than about the larger structures. Many will have no involvement beyond the local boundaries. However, since they are Episcopalians they bear a share of the responsibility for the support of the diocesan and national structures. This means that to be an Episcopalian is to be something more than a member of a local group of Christians, and it demands a greater awareness of larger responsibilities.

Once a year each diocese holds a convention to approve a budget, to elect officers, and to conduct other business that pertains to diocesan life. The annual session of the 1997 Convention of the Diocese of Albany will be held on October 12-13at the Cathedral in Albany.

The Convention Delegates for St. Stephen's are:

James Brooks-McDonald
Pat Jones
John Peatling
Norman Hoffmann
Michael Bishop
Suzanne Coonradt

Election of the following offices will take place:

Trustees
Standing Committee
Diocesan Council
Cathedral Chapter
Ecclesiastical Trial Court
Provincial Synod Delegates

From this parish Norman Hoffman is on the Ecclesiastical Trial Court, Kabby Lowe is Coordinator for the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief, Al Lowe is chairperson of the diocesan Hunger Coordinating Committee, Michael Bishop serves on the Salary & Benefits Committee and James Brooks- McDonald is a delegate to Province II Synod, a member of the Standing Committee and serves on the Communication Committee.

The delegates will vote on a new budget with the following expenditures:

$93,365 - assistance to small congregations
$98,200 - to the National Church
$304,808 - diocesan staff salary and benefits
$85,440 - for the cathedral
$30,000 - for the "Albany Episcopalian"
$111,251 - for our retreat centers: Barry House and Beaver Cross
$40,000 - for the Counselling Center

This would require St. Stephen's assessment to the diocese of over$25,000 for 1998.

KEEPING IN TOUCH

Parish Council

Service - Food collected in the basket on Sunday morning will be taken up to the altar with the collection plates at the Offertory. In this way we will hold up to God more than just our money.

Collected enough school materials for all the children in the six families to attend the first day of school with full backbacks.

Supported over twelve people from our parish who helped repair mission churches in the Adirondacks.

Worship - Tabulated the results from their survey at the Parish Faire and is busy revising the Instructed Eucharist for use in January.

Evangelism - Has submitted regular 'press releases' to local newspapers concerning activities at St. Stephen's. Has purchased three new "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" signs to replace those on Union and Garner and to add one on Balltown Road.

Education - The program year began with over 35 children and 40 adults in classes. Logos began on Sept. 23 with 15 students.

Pastoral Care - Is organizing a committee which will supplement the rector's visits to those in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and at home. Two team members would be on-call each week to check hospital admissions, infrom the parish office of admissions and visit people in the hospital.

Vestry

Finance - The Blessings 2000 Fund drive is entering its final six months. The final stained glasswindow was in installed in the chapel. The remaining altar, lecturn, credeance table and chapel chairs will be available as memorial gifts. Twelve niches in the columbarium remain to be sold to meet expenses.

Fund Raising - "Entertainment Books" are available for sale. Cost is still $40 with the congregation receiving $7 for each book sold.

Building All boilers and furnaces have been prepared for winter, the downstairs bathroom in the rectory has been remodelled, the exterior of the rectory will be painted this autumn, and a number of small repairs still need to be done by volunteers

Grounds - After the tower spotlights were destroyed by the oil tank removal, Sid Woodcock has rewired and replaced them.

UTO INGATHERING

The Fall Ingathering of the United Thank Offering will be held on Sunday, October 5. Every cent of Ingathering money is awarded in grants.

Please remember the good work of UTO!

EPISCOPAL CHURCH WOMEN

The guild met on Monday, September 15 at the church. The meeting began with a social halfhour to give everyone a chance to get reacquainted.

Marysue Andrews and Liz Casale led a discussion about the guild focusing on some type of community service project. They also had spoken to Pat Jones, Sandy Borrowman and Carole Merrill-Mazurek in regard to project concerning women's issues. A suggestion was made to look into the issue of domestic violence. Being that this issue is such a broad and far-reaching subject, the consensus of the group was to briefly discuss and learn about many of the different aspects of violence and abuse.

Upcoming events for the guild include: movie night, Christmas party, cooking class, and a retreat. Suggestions as to the structure of the meeting were discussed. A decision was made to hold the topic discussion from 7:30 to 8:00 and activity from 8:00 to 9:00 pm giving members the option to attend the first half of the meeting. A video on domestic violence was viewed and a discussion was held on how in society boys and gids are raised in terms of accepted behavior in school and in the family - then and now.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, October 20 at 7:30 pm at the church. Melissa Ehier and Liz Varno are hostesses.

HOME FURNISHINGS PROGRAM

St. Stephen's turn with the new HFP truck, came during the last two weeks of August. Thank you to Mike Bishop, John Casale, Mike DeBritz, Charlie Mertz, Tom Miller, Rick Morin, Austin Spang, Charles Trawick, Gregg Varno, Gillian & Sid Woodcock and George Woodzell, who picked up donated furniture and delivered it to families in need.

The Home Furnishings Program needs volunteer help in other areas as well: If you are interested in any of the above, call the HFP office, 924 Albany Street, 346-2444. Items most needed are dressers, bed frames, mattresses and box springs (not king size), kitchen sets, dish sets, flatware, pots & pans, and utensils. Smaller items may be left in the marked basket in the narthex. For larger items call 346-2444.

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

6 - In memory of Jeffrey Knight given by William Bonsal
13 - In memory of the Loved Ones of Jesse & Betty Dipley
20 In memory of Lawrence Peterson, Mr. & Mrs. J. Peterso-n,
- Mr. & Mrs. W. Earle and Elizabeth Card given by Mrs. Lawrence Peterson
27 - In memory of Leigh & Dorothy Lydecker and Jennie & Alfred Lowe Sr. given by Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Lowe Jr.

HAPPYBIRTHDAYTO US!!!

... October marks the beginning of the 28th year of THE MESSENGER. We may have grown a bit from the first issue of 1 -1/2 pages, but the original intent remains the same: "a monthly newsletter to be a means of communicating church news and views between members of the parish - an open forum to express ideas on various subjects."

We are grateful to Fr. Sitts for his leadership in establishing this important parish tool, and hope it will always continue to fill a needed place in the life of St. Stephen's.

ICHTHUS ANNOUNCES TWO EXCITING EVENTS FOR THE FAMILY OF ST. STEPHEN'S

First, coming this fall, a dinner for the entire parish, to thank you for your generous support of our work camp to Tennessee this past summer. Wonderful food, fabulous live entertainment, and a thrilling slide show - what more could you want!! Watch this space - or some space - for more information.

Second, a non-stop bottle and can drive. To raise money for our work camp next summer, we're going to begin collecting boftles and cans regularly. You can drop your containers by the church if you wish, or a crack team of Ichthus container specialists will speed to your door, ready to whisk away those piles of bottles and cans. Call any member of Ichthus - we're starting now!!

MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH GROUP

Calling all 6-8th graders!!! You are needed for a successful PIZZA PARTY .... on Saturday, October 4th beginning at 6:00 pm in the parish hall.

This will also be an organizational meeting for the All Hallow's Eve party. Hope to see you there.

............. Mrs. Chapman & Mrs. Trawick

INTERGENERATIONALS

Plans are underway for a November 2nd and November 30th intergenerational. Our sessions will focus on All Saints' Day and Advent. All parishioners are invited to the parish hall at 9:00 am on these days to participate in these programs. There will be no church school on these mornings.

PARISHIONERS ON THE MOVE!!

Senior Airman, George Robinson Jr. has been transferred back to Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia. George started at Stratton three years ago and was transferred to Griffiss Air Base in Rome, NY working with the Northeast Air Defense Sector. He is now with the Special Security Division and enjoys being "back home".

Jennifer C. Taylor, daughter of David and Suzanne Taylor, has graduated with a master's degree in business administration and a concentration in information systems from RPI. She completed an internship with GE's Silicones Division in Waterford and now works for American Management Systems in Fairfax, Virginia.

Welcome back to the Trawick Family Charles, Debbie, Margaret and Taylor. They were deeply missed when they were at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama for a year. Major Trawick is now stationed at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia.

LIBRARY NEWS

On Sunday, September 10th, children in the parish were encouraged to sign out a church library book. Nine children did so. Hiola Henry picked out a book card with the winner's name. The winner of the children's "sign out a book" raffle was Samantha Legere!

There are many wonderful books and videos available for parishioners to borrow. Stop by and take a look! When you choose a book to borrow, be sure to take out the book card and print on it your name, phone number and the date you are borrowing it. Then put the card in the file box on the shelf.

When you return the book, place it in the yellow box on the bottom shelf marked "BOOK RETURN". If you would like to borrow a video, please see one of the librarians.

The library loves to get donated books, but if you wish to make a donation, please put your name on a piece of paper inside the book so we know who its from. If you would like to have a name plate put inside the book, indicate that also and the wording you would like.

....................The Library Committee: Jane Tatge, Marti Spang, Pat Borden, Eunice Chouffi, Sheela Premsagar

IN A JAM?????

Yes, there will be JAM at the Shop counter one of these days. Chris Jones' basement shelves are so full that he had to put his new peach jam someplace else. Something new: the elderberry plants in his front yard grew like gangbusters, so there will be elderberry jelly! But please, bring back the old jars (both 8 and 12 oz. with bands). A round of applause to Liz Stevens, who found some canning jars at a garage sale and bought them for us!

So look for the jam soon to be appearing at you Shop counter. Remember .... all the proceeds go the help the youth group.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the backpacks for children belonging to "our families". A special thank you to Martha Deschaine and Carey Tiftemore for organizing this event.

..........Pauline Holmes fop the Service Committee

SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK

DON'T FORGET TO SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK OCTOBER 26,1997

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