The Messenger
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
March 2000

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Click on the table of contents items below, or scroll down and browse....

ASH WEDNESDAY Bits and Pieces
Lent Flowers, Birthdays, Anniversaries
Dialogue Circles on Race Relations SICM News....
Hamilton Hill Forum to Address Legislators CROP Walk Recruiters' Workshop
Letter... Easter Flowers 2000
CALLING ALL ECW WOMEN!!! Rector's Letter
SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE SUPPER Church School News
Notes for Lectors and Chalice Bearers Parish Profile

March Schedule

The March Cartoon

Thank you, thankyou, thank you...


ASH WEDNESDAY

BRING YOUR PALMS FROM 1999 PALM SUNDAY TO BE BURNED FOR ASH WEDNESDAY.

Ash Wednesday is March 12th with the Imposition of Ashes and
Eucharist as follows:

7:00 a.m.
12:3 noon
7:30 p.m.

Services will be held at various times so that each Christian can
observe the beginning of this penitential period which leads us into our
celebration on Easter Day. Barring illness, every Christian certainly
will be in church on Ash Wednesday to begin his/her disciplined
preparation for a meaningful celebration of Easter.

CONFESSION

Making a confession in preparation for Easter is a long-standing
tradition form 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.


This month's CARTOON, by S. Woodzell.



Lent

Lent, the annual celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ,
is an intense period of Christian teaching and training. In earlier
centuries,
the season provided the background for the preparation of the catechumen

(new converts) for baptism on Easter morning.

The catechumens were later joined in their studies by professional
Christians seeking continued study and spiritual renewal. By the third
century, Lent also was a time when Christians who had lapsed in the
faith could prepare for reuniting with the body of Christ on Maundy
Thursday (Great Thursday). Their journey began on Ash Wednesday when
ashes gathered from the burnt palms of the previous year's Palm Sunday
were placed on the confessor's forehead as a sign of repentance and
total dependence on God. Thus, Lent has become a time for all
Christians - new converts, committed followers, and renewed believers,
to reflect on their baptism in the light of Christ's baptism and
temptation.

Lent is a time for spiritual preparation; a time for discipline; a time
to "repent" or "turn around" as the Greek words "metania" implies. The
spirit of Lent is to take on anew all that it means to belong to Christ.

Lent is a way of growing into Easter.


Dialogue Circles on Race Relations to Start in March

Everyone in the community is invited to participate in dialogue groups
(study circles) on race relations to be launched in late March. Groups
of 10 to 12 people of diverse backgrounds will meet for two-hour
sessions over five consecutive W. eeks to share experiences, policy
perspectives and action steps. A follow-up Action Forum will address
issues that emerged from the process and plan further steps toward
community change. Individuals interested in joining a dialogue group
should contact SICM at 374-2683.


Hamilton Hill Forum to Address Legislators

The Hamilton Hill Forum will discuss the Empire State Economic Security
Campaign with legislators at noon Friday, March 3 at Sacred Heart-St.
Columba Church, 801 Stanley St. Everyone is welcome to attend. The
campaign is a broad-based coalition effort to ensure the economic
security of all New Yorkers with such provisions as affordable child
care, jobs with living wages, welfare benefits that raise families above
the poverty line and adequate health care for all. For more information,
contact Jim Murphy at 346-6848.


CROP Walk Recruiters' Workshop Set

Get ready to gear up your congregation for the 2000 CROP Walk by
attending the recruiters' workshop at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 14 at
Emmanuel- Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace. Information will be
provided on efforts to expand the benefits of the walk in the local
community. Promotional materials, pledge forms and information on walk
day improvements also will be available. A light supper will be served.
(There is a workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 29 in Clifton Park, if that is
more convenient.) For more information, contact Marianne Comfort at
374-2683.


SICM News....

Congregations to Receive Gift of SICM Video

Each SICM member congregation has received, or will receive, a SICM
video to show to educational forums, youth groups and committees and to
loan out to interested individual members. The 14-minute video takes
viewers on a tour of SICM's programs, with comments from staff,
volunteers and recipients of services. If you would like someone to
attend a showing of the video to answer questions afterward, contact
Marianne Comfort at 374-2683.

SICM Helps "Get out the Count"

Mayor Al Jurzcynski has asked SICM Urban Agent Phillip Grigsby to
provide leadership for the 2000 Census effort to ensure that everyone is
counted. The Census is important in determining allocations of
government funding, helping employers site new businesses and pointing
out the needs for educational, transportation and social services.
Several city churches have agreed to open their doors as Questionnaire
Assistance Centers to answer questions and help individuals complete the
Census form. Information collected on individuals by the Census is by
law withheld from law enforcement agencies, immigration authorities,
municipal housing officials and other government bodies. For more
information, contact Rev. Phillip Grigsby at 374-2683. For information
on Census jobs (test required), call JOBS etc. at 347-2562.

Mayor Addresses SICM Assembly

Mayor Al Jurzcynski, during a talk at the February Assembly, emphasized
his goal to make homeownership accessible to more city residents. He
stated his support for a homesteading initiative and for revitalizing
Albany Street. The mayor also said he wants to establish a housing
commission that will work closely with SICM's Housing Task Force to
address housing issues in the city.


Flowers

March 5 For the loved ones of
Stewart & Naomi Vanda

Birthdays

1 Katherine Hoshko
2 Michael Bernard
3 Dora Gardner, David Sherman
4 Ethan Brooks-McDonald
5 Elizabeth MacFarland
6 Nicholas Bernard
Paul Pratico
Elizabeth Webster
7 Joan Campbell
10 Diane Kilbourne
Kelly Nolan
Logan Oldberg
12 Kathryn Hoffmann
13 Shirley Voelker
14 Cassandra Hatlee
15 Frank Sherman
16 Bud Mazurek
Michael Valerio
18 Carole Ann Michelson
19 William Beck
22 Susan Townsend
28 Luke Prescott
29 Beth Newlands-Campbell
30 Helen Reid

Anniversaries

6 John and Susan Liberis
22 Hugh and Beth Campbell
28 Dennis and Karen Holcombe


Bits and Pieces

Because of Lent, the next (and last of the Œ99-ı00 season) Agape will be May
12th. Kelly Nolan will talk about ³Interesting Local Nature Walks.²

Please note in your directory: the telephone number for Liz MacFarland is
incorrect. The correct number is 381-3810.

The deadline for the next Messenger is March 26th.


Letter...

Dear Fellow Parishoners:
It has been exciting to see the growth in our church-- so many new
families and worshippers on Sunday-- so many new faces to greet and
enjoy.

Last Sunday I looked at the coffee hour sign up list for the 10:15
service. People have been wonderful in signing up but last Sunday's
space was blank. Alas, no coffee hour and no extra opportunity to extend our
worship into our lives beyond the service.

Coffee hour gives us a chance to bond more fully with our fellow
parishoners and is one of the wonderful attributes of life at St.
Stephens. The friendliness of the congregants here was one of the main reasons I
brought my son here 9 years ago and made St. Stephens my church home.
I am sure you will agree with me that there are more than enough
congregants who participate in the coffee hour for there never to be a
blank spot for any Sunday or that the same giving people respond time after
time.

I know that, when I first joined, I was reluctant to sign up for
coffee hour because I felt out of place-- afterall, I didnt know where anything
was located or what was required. But when I asked, I found out that it was
not so difficult as I had imagined.

If you want to ask someone and are hesitant, I will be glad to
answer any questions you have. I know there are others in the congregation who
know how coffee hour is done. It seems like a big deal, but its very easy.

So I ask everyone to make it a habit to look at the sign up sheet each
week and see if there is a blank spot you could sign up for. It is located
on the shop counter in the hall.

Thanks and God bless you.

Robyn Stewart


Easter Flowers 2000

I would like to share in the Easter flowers:

In memory of__________________________
or
Loved ones of _________________________

Given by:_____________________________

Phone:________________

Pledge Box Number _______

Donation:$_________

Checks should be made payable to St. Stephenıs Church. Please place you
Easter flowser envelope or this coupon with your check in the collection
plate or mail to the parish office no later than April 16th. Any amount will
be gratefully received.



There are still several Sundays available for altar flowers:
Please contact Naomi Vanda if you would like any of these dates.


CALLING ALL ECW WOMEN!!!

The ECW will meet on March 20, 7:30PM at the Parish Hall The theme will be
on Gardening. All women from St. Stephen's Church are welcome to attend.
Please call Liz Varno at 346-5370 for any questions.


Rector's Letter

Dear Friends,

The cold winds blow here and there, and though the snow was late in
coming this winter, come it did! However. Very soon it will be time to
pack up our winter wools and retrieve things bright and cotton and cool
to hang defiantly in our closet until the thermometer takes notice and
begins to rise with some regularity.

Winter's harshness has taken its toll within the hearts and spirits of
many members at St. Stephen's Church. Depression became more than a
passing mood and deepened into a daily struggle for some to rise in the
morning. For some of our congregation sadness lingered longer than it
was warranted. For some the irritable escalated to irreconcilable
anger. I remember a winter in Chicago when city workers stood on top of
their snowplows and went berserk and began crashing into parked cars.
Winter does this to people sometimes.

I mention this for a couple reasons. First to assure any of you who
have kept to yourself during this winter that you may not be as alone as
you assumed. Second to remind all of us that for some people the only
hope they have is the coming of spring daffodils.

During this month, no matter the weather, we will be reminding each
other that, though we are eternally grateful for the coming of
springtime, we are saved not from within ourselves or the earth, but we
are saved from without - by God who refuses to let anything separate us
from the love which is for us forever. So spend days listening again,
in classes, in the liturgy, through music and with this congregation.
Listen again for a hope that does not depend on the weather or on our
moods or on anything else less that the dependable, steadfast,
unshakable love of God made known to us on the cross.


SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE SUPPER

Don't miss the traditional Pancake Supper at St. Stephen's marking the
last time for festivities before Lent begins, on Tuesday, March 7th!

Menu includes pancakes, sausages and a beverage. The price includes all
you can eat!

Bring your family, your friends and your appetite! Volunteers are
needed to help cook, serve and clean up.


Notes for Lectors and Chalice Bearers
from Marilyn Causey

Lectors: please read the first leson and lead the Psalm

Chalice Bearers Read the second lesson, administer the chalice, and lead the
Prayers of the People in the absence of the Deacon.

Please note special services (You may sign-up to read at Easter Vigil. There
is usually a sign-up sheet on the shop display case. No lecturer is
assigned.)

As always, please arrange for your own substitute from the list.

Thank you everyone, for your help in enriching our worship at St.
Stephen²s.


Church School News

March 5 (following the 10:15 service) - Teachersı meeting in the 2dn and 3rd
grade classroom.

Thank you very much to Vicki Hoshko, Kim Chapman, and Janine Phillips, who
have been teachingfor the first half of the year. We welcom Liz Varno and
Dave Crates, who will now have the Kindergarten and 1st grade class, and
Dawn Rizzo an Gaye Mertz, who will teach the 2nd and 3rd gradfe class. Due
to the size of the K-1 class, we would still like to have a parent or other
parishioner helping there each week. Please sign up on the classroom door.

During February, the uounger classes heard about Jesusı summary of the law
contained in the two great commandments: to love God and to love your
neighbor, as they made Valentineıs Day cards for their parents and other
members of the parish. They also heard the story of Valentine, an early
Christian who was imprisoned when he refused to renounce his beliefs.

Later I the month, they began learning he song ³Peace Like a River,² and
heard some of the stories about Abraham and his fatith and obedience to God.
The children dressed up to act out the song ³Father Abraham,² (which bears a
resemblance to ³The Hokey=Pokey²).

At the March 5 meeting, teachers will pla for special Lenten memorizations
or projects for their classes and will begin perparations for Youth Sunday
on April 2.


Parish Profile
by Louise Peake

Please extend a special welcome to Steven Koch and Susan Townsend, neew
members at St. Stephenıs. The Kock-Townsend family received a wonderful St.
Valentineıs Day gift: a new baby, Samuel Carleton! Little Samuel was born on
February 13 and both mother and son are doing fine. Brothers William and
Daniel and sister Emma are delighted with their new brother. Willima is six
years old, Daniel is 18 months, and Emma is five.

Steven is a native of Connecticut and Susan is from the Baltimore area. Both
work for General Electric at the Research and Develment Center on River
Road.

Willima and Emma attend Sunday School and Daniel has joined our Nursery
Group.

Spare time is a rare commodity in their busy lives, but Steven likes to golf
when he gets the chance and Susan finds gardening relaxing.

The family transferred from Grace Church, Watervliet.

Susan and Steven searched for a church close to home. They reside at 842
Downing St. in Niskayuna. Susan made such glowing comments about St.
Stephenıs (³Itıs an incredible place for children!²), and the family felt
comfortable right away. They have met other members who share common
interests, so that makes them feel even more at home. What a wonderful
testament to St. Stephen's


March Schedule

  Mar 5 Mar 8 (Ash Wed) Mar 12 Mar 19 Mar 26
Altar Guild A ABC B C A
Chalice 8 am G. Woodzell C. Jones M. Causey P. Holmes C. Jones
Lector 8 am P. Nevius D. Crates D. Molino K. Miller S. Coonradt
Chalice 10:15 O. Luczka   P. Holmes N. Hoffman G. Woodzell
Lector 10:15 L. Emaefaf   P. Halliday L. Varno D. Manor
Crucifer 10:15 Petito M. Trawick Pratico Stewart J. Rizzo
Server 10:15 Pratico J. Rizzo Chapman Petito M. Trawick
Torch 10:15 Casale   Manor Morin Sombor
Torch 10:15 Roseberry   A. Rizzo Pierce T. Trawick
Ushers A   B C D
Nursery Phillips   Dare Varno Bernard
Counters B   C D E
Flower Dist B        
Care Team D&M Causey   R&D May G&S Woodcock Bishop/Holmes
Altar Guild Teams
A Hoffman,Northrup
B Peak, Morin, Reid, Russell
C Dipley, Lowe, Tomlinson

Flower Distribution

A Lowe
B Woodzell, Ackner
C R&D May
D Tatge

Ushers

A Borrowman, Nevius
B Kilbourne, Ehler
C C. Hatlee, J. Hatlee
D Lowe, Voelker
E Dare, Stewart
F Causey, Jones

Counters

A M. Spang, D. May, R. May
B Ackner.Gittinger,Molino
C D. Belardo,Vanda, Voelker
D A.Spang, Borrowman,Crates
E Cornell,Peake,Small
Subs Bishop, Holmes

Thank you, thank you, thank you. . .

. . .Austin Spang and Jed Dare for helping to solve our winter water
problems.
. . .Vicki Hoshko, Kim Chapman, and Janine Phillips for teaching Sunday
School.
. . .Sheila Boyce and George Woodzell for heloping the middle school youth
groups put on such a fine coffee hour
. . .Hoagy Walker, Julie McDonald, and Marti Spang for their great help I
the parish office
. . .Murray Roseberry, Al Lowe, and Norman Hoffmann for their efforts on our
Stewardship Campaign this year
. . .all who donated for the beautiful new liquid candles
. . .Deacon Pat Jones for all the different hats she wears around the
parish: jail ministry, liturgy, outreach in the community, teaching, to name
a few
. . .Sandy Borowman and Pauline Holmes for leading an excellent seminar for
the Care Team members
. . .ICHTHUS for the great Super Bowl subs.