NOMINATING COMMITTEE APPOINTED
In an attempt to be as inclusive as possible in nominating parishioners for elective offices, the vestry has appointed the outgoing members of the vestry as a nominating committee: Suzanne Coonradt, Gloria Lukas,
Carl Hatlee, Pat Codoret.  They are securing the nominations for six positions vacant for next year.  In addition, nominations will continue to be made from the floor of the Annual Meeting of the parish.  The elected offices are:
1 - three year term for 1999 Vestry
2 - two year terms for 1999 Vestry
2 - three year terms for 1999 Vestry
1 - Warden - two year term
REQUIREMENTS FOR VESTRY MEMBERSHIP
Basically there are only three    requirements for vestry membership:
(1)  be a confirmed member of the          parish church
This can be accomplished through      confirmation or reception by a bishop    or through a transfer from another    Episcopal Church.
(2) have been  regular in attendance of    Sunday Eucharists
(3) have been faithful in working,              praying, and giving for the spread of    the Kingdom of God
This includes giving of Time
Talent and Treasure
WHAT IS THE 'VESTRY'?
The vestry is a group of eleven lay representatives from the parish who are charged with the temporal affairs of the congregation.  They meet monthly with the rector presiding.  The vestry spends considerable time on income and expenses and on writing the annual budget.  They set the salary scales and are responsible for raising the money to meet expenses.  The vestry also has the important job of finding a new rector whenever a vacancy occurs.  Three representatives are elected at the annual parish meeting for a term of three years.  In addition, a Warden (vestry officer) is elected for a term of two years.
THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
The name "Epiphany" is derived from a Greek word meaning "manifestation" or "appearing." It is also called "The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles."  This phrase is a reference to the story of the Wise Men from the East.
A Christian observance on January 6 is found as early as the end of the second century in Egypt.  The feast combined commemorations of the visit of the Magi, led by the star of Bethlehem; the Baptism of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan; and Jesus' first recorded miracle, the changing of water into wine at the marriage of Cana of Galilee -- all thought of as manifestations of the incarnate Lord.
The Epiphany is still the primary Feast of the Incarnation in Eastern Churches, and the three fold emphasis is still prominent.  In the West, however, including the Episcopal Church, the story of the Wise Men has tended to overshadow the other two events.  Modern lectionary reform, reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, has recovered the primitive trilogy, by setting the event of the Baptism as the theme of the First Sunday after January 6th.
Our celebration of Epiphany at St. Stephen's will take place on Sunday, January 3rd at 8:00 am and 10:15 a.m. with Eucharist and Baptism.
HOUSEHOLD BLESSING FOR EPIPHANY
A custom from Eastern Europe that is presently being recovered in North America is the practice of blessing homes on Epiphany.  Members of the household go from room to room expressing thanks to God for each room  and asking God to bless the room and its intended use.  Some small symbol of the blessing may be carried to leave in each room: a candle, a cross, "gifts" of the Magi.
The procession ends outside the front door where the door's lintel is marked in chalk with the year and the initials C,M,B - each separated by a cross - recalling the traditional names of the Magi: Casper, Melchior and Balthasar.  The members of the household are then invited to add their own initials.  Also at this time it is appropriate to pledge volunteer time or other gifts for Bethesda House or some local homeless shelter as signs of our thankfulness to God.  The ritual ends with a celebration of the Eucharist.
Talk to the rector if you would like to have your home blessed.
....to the ICHTHUS, the high school youth group who directed the Christmas pageant and organized the following potluck.....and to the parents who helped it all come together
....to June Russell who accompanied the Christmas pageant and the bell choir for a wonderful concert following the pageant
....to the Altar Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Christmas beautiful
....to all who took time on a busy Saturday-before-Christmas to help 'green' the church
...To Tim Olsen, the choir members and all the instrumentalists who helped to make Advent and Christmas beautiful
...To the lectors, 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 volunteer office help, Julie McDonald, Barbara Dobbins,
Hoagy Walker, Marilyn Causey, and Marti Spang who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements
REMEMBERING YOUR CHURCH IN  YOUR WILL
PLANNED GIFTS THROUGH WILLS - Each year, thousands of individuals, exercising their privilege to determine the final distribution of their estates, designate that a portion of their assets be used for the benefit and support of their church.  Gifts by wills have become an integral part of the American philanthropic tradition, because such gifts enable a person to make significant contributions that may have not been possible during life.
Bequests can take various forms.  The following samples of several types of church bequests are included for your consideration.
Specific Bequest: A specific bequest is probably the most popular type of charitable bequest.  With such a bequest, you may designate that St. Stephen's is to receive a specific dollar amount or a specific piece of property.  These may include cash, securities, real estate or tangible personal property such as jewelry or artwork.
Percentage Bequest: More and more frequently, such bequests are expressed as a percentage of the estate rather than a specific amount. For example, where a $20,000 bequest was planned from an estate currently valued at $200,000, the will would designate 10% of the estate as a gift to the church.  If fortune should change the size of the estate over the years, this bequest would change in the same proportion.
Residuary Bequest: A residuary bequest is used to give the church all (or a portion) of your property, after all debts, taxes, expenses, and all other bequests have been paid.  This may augment a specific bequest if the size of the estate allows, or assure that other beneficiaries receive specific bequests prior to distribution to the church.
Contingent Bequest: In anticipation of an unexpected occurrence, or if there should be certain other specific conditions that apply, a contingent bequest will ensure that property will pass to St. Stephen's rather than unintended beneficiaries (including the government).
Restricted Bequest: You may prefer to restrict your bequest for a specific purpose.  For example, if you wish to memorialize a family member or an honored colleague, you can establish a named fund that will provide support for a program in which you or the honored person were particularly interested.
ABOVE ALL, MAKE A WILL.  IT IS A MINOR EXPENSE.  DON'T LET THE STATE OF NEW YORK DETERMINE WHERE YOUR WORLDLY GOODS WILL GO.