The Messenger

April 1998

From the Rector.....

Dear Friends,

The Resurrection is so pivotal for the Christian faith, that without the claim that Jesus was raised from the dead we probably would not even know his name today and, certainly, there would be no Christian Church. The entire New Testament depends on the belief that Christ is risen and that universal hope exists through him and in his name.

It happened at dawn. Mary Magdalene made a discovery that morning that have lasting significance.

She met a person who changed her life. The story is very human. She was not looking for a resurrected savior, she was looking for someone to tell her what had happened to the body. She asked the man she thought was the gardener. Only when he spoke to her did it dawn on her that it was the Lord. 'Rabboni' was her cry of recognition. We sometimes forget that Christianity is not essentially about believing a series of doctrinal beliefs or adhering to the tenets of a particular Church. It means encountering a person who has overcome death and who is the Resurrection and the Life.

Mary's dawn discovery was of the power of the Resurrection. It made her a new person - a person made whole, renewed or, in the words of St Paul, 'a new creation'. This miracle still continues to happen.

There is a powerful story about a journalist during the last war. The journalist was out looking around after a night of heavy bombing. Despite the wreckage around him, it was a beautiful day with blue sky and sunshine.

He came to a small house. Its windows had been blown out by the bomb blast; the tiny garden was littered with roof tiles. At the door was a young woman with a baby in her arms. She stood there with all the devastation around her. The journalist stopped at the gate. 'What a terrible night', he said. 'Yes, but what a wonderful morning' was her moving reply. It was a statement of resurrection, new possibilities, new hope, new beginnings.

That was Mary's experience when she met the risen Christ that first Easter Dawn. Let it also be ours.

James

HOLY WEEK WORSHIP SCHEDULE

Palm Sunday - April 5, 1998
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am & **10:15 am Procession with Palms & Eucharist

Holy Monday - April 6, 1998
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:30 pm Eucharist

Holy Tuesday - April 7, 1998
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:30 pm Eucharist

Holy Wednesday - April 8, 1998
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:30 pm Eucharist

Maundy Thursday - April 9, 1998
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 - April 10, 1998
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
** 7:30 pm Lessons & Prayers

Holy Saturday - April 11, 1998
9:00 am Morning Prayer
7:30 pm Great Vigil of Easter, **Lighting of the New Fire, Lessons & Prayers, Festive Eucharist & Baptism

Easter Sunday, April 12, 1998
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am and **10:15 am Festive Eucharist

** 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.

CROP WALK FOR THE HUNGRY

Set aside Sunday, May 3, 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 1997 over 1,00 walkers from area churches and other groups participated, making it the largest CROP WALK in New York State. We raised more than $59,000 which was transmitted to CROP, the Community Hunger Appeal arm of Church World Service. From this amount, about $15,000 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 relief, assisting victims of strife in Bosnia, refugees in Africa, and the hundreds of thousands of people whose standard of living is too low to enable them to meet basic nutritional needs. This year CROP has also helped with the ice storm relief efforts in northern New York, purchasing and delivering generators and 2,500 blankets to the affected communities.

Last year 30 parishioners from St. Stephen's walked, and many other parishioners contributed in other ways, raising over $1500.

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

Please join us!! CROP WALK forms and sign up sheets, as well as details on time and location, are available after both services each Sunday, (except Easter).

..............Richey Woodzell. Richey

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.

PALM SUNDAY

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!" (Matthew 21:9).

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.

MAUNDY THURSDAY

\ 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 arrested.

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 liturgy.

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.

GOOD FRIDAY

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 atonement.

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 reality.

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 ago.

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.

EASTER VIGIL

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 morning.

A pick-up choir will be formed for the Holy Saturday service on April 11. This is an opportunity for those who would like to sing but can't make a long-term commitment to serve. 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 Lilies for our Shut-ins

Easter lilies will adorn the altar on Easter Sunday and until after services the following Sunday, April 19, and will be taken to shut-ins in the parish. A list of shut-ins will be posted. If you can help, please check off on the list the persons to whom you are delivering after the service on April 19th.

Delivering flowers from the altar is a very special ministry, and gives a great deal of pleasure for the short time it takes to do it. If you wish to become part of this service one Sunday each month, please contact Jane Tatge or Kabby Lowe.

Thank you very much.

.................Kabby Lowe

EASTER BASKET PROJECT

The Service Committee again is creating an opportunity for us to reach out to some of our less fortunate neighbors by organizing an Easter hamper 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, April 12th. 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 forth annual Easter egg hunt at St. Stephen's from 9am to 10:15am on Easter morning. The egg hiders are getter better every year!

CONFESSION

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.

Explaining God

Found on the internet. Written by Danny Dutton, age 8, from Chula Vista, California, for his third grade homework assignment to "Explain God".

"One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things here on earth. He doesn't make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way, He doesn't have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk, He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV on account of this. Since He hears everything, not only prayers, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere, which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting His time by going over your parents' heads asking for something they said you couldn't have.

Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.

Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind like His Father and He told His Father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said OK. His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important, of course. You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to hear you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God. Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong! And, besides, the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim very good and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids. But you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases. And that's why I believe in God."

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

April 5 - PALM SUNDAY. The palms are given as a thankoffering By Gillian and Sid Woodcock

12 - EASTER DAY - see Sunday bulletin

April 19 - In memory of Frances Reid by William Reid

April 26 - In memory of Norman Santer and the loved ones of Mildred Santer

BLESSINGS 2000 - THE END IS NIGH!

June 30 this year marks the official end of the Blessings 2000 project. The success of the project is attested to by the beautiful chapel and offices the church now enjoys. This has all been due to the generosity of you, Saint Stephen's members. The giving has now reached about 90% of the pledged total, and donations are still coming in. It is clear that there is going to be a shortfall from the budgeted amount, and there are good reasons for much of this: obviously people move, (or are moved!), personal circumstances change and so on.

We would like to wind this project up, and, more importantly, pay off the remaining borrowing. If you still have an outstanding pledge, please review whether you can help by fulfilling it. If you are fully paid up, but could afford to give an additional pledge, your contribution would be most gratefully appreciated!.

............Mike Bishop - Chairman, Endowment Committee

THE LOGOS PROGRAM

Reaching Children and Youth through the Church

The LOGOS Program will conclude on April 8th this year. We are finally ready for our marionette show, "Dry Bones". We will present our show (including a performance by the LOGOS bell choir) in the Parish Hall Theatre on Palm Sunday, April 5th, at 4:00 p.m. with a pot luck supper following. Everyone is invited (and expected) to come and take part in our enchanted valley where bones come to life, ravens sing and other strange occurrences take place (our loose interpretation of Ezekiel 37).

Thank you to all who have been a part of our program this year, especially Bill Peake, our resident Gepetto and puppet master, and Stacy DeBritz our resident artist, costume and set designer. We have had a good year but are in need of many more adult volunteers. Please consider if you can be a part of LOGOS nexy year. Without more adult participation the program cannot continue. If you are interested and want more information please talk to me, Debbie Trawick or Father James.

Thank you again,

Jean Kolb

"SAY IT WITH A BOOK"

You are invited to express yourself by donating a new book to the Church Libraries.

Each donated book will display a label with the donor's name and personal message.

This is the perfect opportunity to....

All friends members of Saint Stephen's congregation are welcome to become involved in this venture. It's a great way to help our library grow.

The next time you have something to say....

"SAY IT WITH A BOOK."

General information contact Pat Borden.
THANK YOU!

Saint Stephen's Book Reviews

TRUST

by Salvatore Belardo and his son Anthony Belardo

This book is a comprehensive survey of business management and planning practices that have evolved due to the accelerating changes in markets and economics over the last decades and now particularly because of globalization of most markets and economies. Emphasis is on the human considerations, which is even more important, for the creativity of all from the line operations to all levels of management through trust not only resuts in individual satisfaction but is requiredfor overall success in satisfying the ultimate customers and markets.

Not only is the human element important from the point of view of the success of the enterprise, but it is the responsibility of a just society to each individual. It is the Christian (and some of the other great religions of the world) philosophy to respect each individual and to practice agape, so this point of view in my opinion is doubly important.

With "change" a continuing condition, the philosophy for unleashing the creative contributions of all, through pervasive "Trust" will help meet the requirements for the success of the organization and the satisfaction of individuals as they strive to contribute to the satisfaction of their customers and all of society.

Sal and Anthony have written an enlightened, refreshing and practical guide for all involved in organizational management in a just society. They have said it so well, with inspiring illustrations from other great writers. It is an inspiring book for all responsible people to read.

............Al Lowe