The Messenger
November, 2000

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All Saint's Day is one of the seven principal feasts of the church.
This day is a celebration of Christ in His whole mystical body. We are
reminded that the saints still support us by their witness and example
and surround us with their love and prayers. All Saint's Day is the one
day set aside each year when our faithful departed are remembered. If
you would like to have a particular person remembered by name, it is not
too late. Please call the parish office as soon as you receive this
newsletter. We will remember them on Friday, November 1st at a joint
Episcopal Eucharist, 7:00 pm at St. Andrew's Church, Scotia and on
Sunday, November 5th at the 8 & 10:15 Eucharists. The later service
will include first communion for some of our young people and a baptism!


This traditional service will be held at St. Helen’s Roman Catholic Church at
4pm, Sunday, November 19th.

The Church recognizes the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday as a holy day
for our land, life, and heritage. It finds its roots in observances
begun by colonists in Massachusetts and Virginia, a tradition later
taken up and extended to the whole of the New American nation by action
of the Continental Congress.

Our celebration of Thanksgiving stems from our many blessings of God's
good creation. As Children of God we are to live our lives in a spirit
of thanksgiving. We are to be faithful stewards of the earth as God's
creation, given to us as a sacred trust.

Also, don't forget the annual
November 23rd  Thursday morning at 10 am  here at St. Stephen's Church

Book Review
Claudia Ashelman

Because of Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s candidacy for vice president of the
US, Americans are greatly aware of his faith, Judaism. Our library has a
splendid little volume by Lee Belford, An Introduction to Judaism, a
Primer on its History, Beliefs, Ceremonies, and Life Today. It is a
valuable and concise source of information.
Another excellent resource is the series of three lectures that Fr.
James presented during last year’s adult education classes. Copies are
available at the Church Office.
Both sources are worthwhile, although neither shows the richness and
the depth of spirituality found in the meaningful and complex part of
our heritage.

Agape Schedule 2000-2001

Please join us for the Agape´ programs on the second Friday of each
month. Happy half-hour is 6:30 pm, followed by a potluck supper at 7.
(As it is the maid’s night off please bring your own plate and

November 10 Deacon Lorrie Lyons
December 8 Deacon Pat Jones will give a talk on
Christmas Legends and Carols
January 12 Sandy and Jim Borrowman will give a program on Israel
February 9 Keith Nelson - What is Going on in the Front Office
May 11 TBA


Dear Friends,

I was struck by a survey a few years ago of corporate managers regarding
their own understanding of the reasons for their success in business.
You would think they would have reflected the old American credo about
how hard work and long hours have led to their success. But,
surprisingly, they didn't. Instead, they had the candor to confess that
much of their success could be explained only by what they called,
"sheer luck." They just happened to be at the right place at the right
time and knew the right people and made a lucky decision. Of course,
that doesn't explain it all, but there is a lot of truth in it.

Let me push this idea a bit further and relate it to a choice we make in
response to those fundamental questions which we all ask at one time or
another or in one form or another. It's a question that comes to us
when we realize the infinite variety of possible genetic combinations,
and ask ourselves: "Why was I born and not someone else? Why was I born
of my particular parents? Why was I born with this particular mixture
of genes, with a certain intelligence and talents and gifts and
disposition? Why was I born now and not in an earlier century? Why was
I born here and not in some other place?" Philosophers have struggled
with those questions over the centuries.

Now, some would choose to respond to these questions by calling it
"chance" or "fate" or "accident" or "the genetic lottery." But I make
another choice. For when I peal away all the proposed explanations and
probe the question to the core, I find that there is only one answer I
can finally affirm, and it is this: LIFE IS A GIFT!

Of course, you may choose to answer the question of life another way,
but there is something that compels me to answer it this way. Life is
essentially a gift. Each day of life is a gift of God's grace. Instead
of being an entitlement, something which I deserve, life ~ my life, your
life, the lives of our loved ones, and all that we have, is finally a
gift! And I choose to be grateful. And I believe that is what the
writers of the creation story in Genesis were trying to affirm, and what
the Psalms were celebrating in their poetry of praise and their songs of

And so, during this month in which Thanksgiving looms so large, let us
give thanks to God for the gift of life with our prayers of gratitude
and our anthems of praise. But let us express our gratitude not
primarily in words but in deeds, in helping to give the gift of life in
all its fullness to others.

Emergency Relief and Development

November 12 will be Celebration Day for the Episcopal Relief and
Development formerly known as the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief
which has celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. Here at St.
Stephen’s, we will have an ingathering for the Celebration. Envelopes
for your gifts to ER and D will be enclosed in your bulletins.

Come Build a House

Yes, Episcopal Relief and Development still needs volunteers to build
houses in Honduras. Or, if you would rather, you can send money toward
the materials to build a house for a family at the Faith, Hope, and Joy
villages in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The total cost for each house is
just $3,100. Just think: If every one of the 76 families listed in our
directory gave $40, we could send a whole house!.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to know that we had purchased a house for a
family that lost everything in the 1998 hurricane? Record numbers of
laborers and volunteers brought the built 100 houses in August 2000. It
is now expected that the next 100 houses will be completed in 2001 so
that in 2002, leaders will be able to concentrate on community
governance, the medical clinic, education, and economic development.

Volunteers express great joy and satisfaction in working side-by-side
with Honduran laborers and the family Hondurans select to be the next
new homeowner. Call Kat Webb at 800-334-7676, ext. 6105 to learn more
about volunteering in Honduras and elsewhere or e-mail her at .

Of course, there are many other projects all over the world including
the United States. Every penny is put to good use for relief or
development organized by the Episcopal Church or with other

Founders’ Day

On November 19th we will remember the beginnings of our congregation
with a Eucharist from the 1928 prayerbook, singing the hymns that were
sung at the Dedication Service, Nov. 20th, 1949. Also on that day we
will honor all those who have been members for forty years or more.

Jazz Sunday

Jazz music is not only an important expression of our American culture,
but an important part of our liturgical tradition. On November 12th at
the 10:15 Eucharist we will welcome members of the Union College Jazz
Ensemble to lead us in a worship service with jazz accommpiament.

Home Communion

If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or
short-term basis, please call the parish office if you would like to
have communion brought to you.


Voting is the privilege of U.S. citizens & the duty of Christians living
in a democracy. Tuesday, Nov. 7th ? all day.

November Schedules and Significant occurrences...

November Altar Flowers

 1 All Saints’Day
5 All Saints’Day
12 In memory of the loved ones of Robert and Virginia Malmros
In loving memory of William Peake given by Louise Peake
19 In loving memory of Leigh and Dorothy Lydecker and Jennie and Alfred
Lowe, Sr. given by Mr and Mrs. Alfred Lowe, Jr.
23 Thanksgiving Day
In loving memory of Porter Dobbins, Jr.
26 In loving memory of Dawn Schlansker given by Ted Schlansker

2 Nick Stewart
3 Lowell Boyce
6 Zachary Price
7 Heather Morgan, Jim Lyons
8 Eric Kilbourn, Jarrod Fowler
9 Alton Reedy
13 Olivia Jaquith
18 James Pierce, Allison Pierce
19 Jesse Dipley, Deborah O’Connor, Jonathan Rizzo
20 Charlie Vedder, Timothy Molino
23 Shane Phillips
25 Isabella Dewhurst
28 Elizabeth Lundquist, Jackie Tomlinson
30 Liz Stevens, Carole Merrill-Mazurek, Travis Reedy

3 Liz and Gregg Varno; Hoagy and Bill Walker
4 Charline and Norman Hoffmann
7 Carol and Steve Ras
23 Helene and Charles Daly
24 Kabby and Al Lowe
25 Doreen and Ralph May; Kathy and Mark Pohl
28 Mary and Gene Whitney

Middle School and High School

The Journey to Adulthood (9th, 10th, and 11th grades) and the Rite-13
(7th and 8th grades) groups are enjoying the Garner Avenue house for their meeting
space. They have some marvelous teachers as well. Unfortunately their
names were omitted from the list of teachers in the last edition of the Messenger. Mike
DeBritz, Susan Townsend, and Susan Swithenbank are teamed up to lead the
Journey to Adulthood group. Susan Swithenbank is young engineer who
moved to Schenectady this summer, and signed up right away to help with
our Church School! We’re glad to welcome her to our parish.

Elizabeth McFarland and George Woodsell are leading the Rite-13 group.
They make a good team, and they are enjoying their group of insightful and
questioning young people.

Both groups are invited to come to the Lock-In at The Cathedral of All
Saints, Nov 17-18. Last year they had a really good rock band set up in the nave of
the cathedral, and a lot of fun, with relatively little sleep.
Registration forms will be mailed to families of potential participants. If for some reason you don’t
receive a form and think you might like to attend, give me a call at the church office.

Seniors w/ Gloria Kavanah and David Goyette

The High-School Seniors are exploring how Christian faith shapes one’s
engagement with the world. They are going to be hosting a Damien center dinner on
Nov. 18, a regular Thanksgiving meal for the guests and friends of the center.

Special Events

The next Intergenerational Church school will be on Nov. 26. The
elementary classes (K-6) and adults will learn some stories and songs
about Christmas Saints.

We have a new Christmas pageant, The Christmas Gift, in the works thanks
to the talents of Alison De Kanel. Lucy Clark has given us some guidance
concerning sets and costumes. Rocky Bonsal will be our director, and
Emily Blaufuss has volunteered to help with the staging. We will be arranging tryouts
for parts (there are quite a few) as soon as possible. We will need all
the help we can get with costumes -- St. Nicholaus, St. Francis, a dinosaur, sheep, angels,
two aliens from outer space, an Elf ? this is a really different
pageant! We’ll also need help with building stage sets, musical interludes, and coaching young
actors. If you feel you can help in any way (and every little bit helps)
please let me know. It is going to be a wonderful pageant.

Adult Education

The Kerygma series on Luke and The Acts of the Apostles continues to
meet on Tuesday evenings with Deacon. Pat Jones. The combination of Pat and
Kerygma, as usual, has provided an interesting and enjoyable series of

Education for Ministry (EFM) continues this year, meeting on Tuesday
evenings in the Rector’s Study. Fr. Brooks-McDonald and Deacon. Lorrie
Lyons are co-mentoring this group. We’re learning a lot, and having a great time.

Sunday Mornings

Discovery Classes, with Fr. James Brooks-McDonald.

    Nov. 5 How do I pray?
    Nov. 12 How does God guide me?
    Nov. 19 What is grace?
    Nov. 26 What is the Christian life?
    Dec. 3 What about the church?
    Dec. 10 What are sacraments?
    Dec. 17 Where do I go from here?

Sunday morning education hour

Nov. 5
Judge Jeff Stockholm, Jubilee Justice

Our four week series on Justice began on Oct. 15, with Jim Murphy as our
guest preacher and teacher. Deacon Pat Jones followed up with a workshop on the
concept of justice that challenged us to think more clearly about how we
arrive at an understanding of what is "just." She also shared some of her experiences
as chaplain in the women’s prison. Susan Spang (daughter of Austin and
Marti Spang) came to present her own experience of "Restorative Justice." We were
encouraged to think about how restoration, rather than retribution,
leads to more wholeness for the victim, the perpetrator, and all of society. We conclude the
series on Nov. 5 with "Jubliee Justice," an exploration of the Biblical
meaning of justice. The Biblical concept will be compared and contrasted with those of the
ancient Greeks as well as other philosophical systems. We’ll think about
the impact that Biblical justice could have on our criminal justice system today.

Jeff Stockholm is a judge who works with the regulation of power
utilities (and a colleague of our own Gloria Kavanah!). He is also a student of theology and
a lay preacher in the Reformed Church.

Nov 12 and 19
Dr. John Dwyer, The Rocky Road to Reunion
: the history of Roman Catholic - Anglican Ecumenism from Vatican II to the present.

On September 5, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
published Dominus Jesus, a document that seemed to cast doubt on the validity of
Protestant Christianity and to assert Roman Catholic superiority over
all other churches. Have the nearly 40 years of ecumenical dialogue between the
Protestant and Anglican churches and the Roman Catholic church been a
waste of time? What could be the Vatican’s purpose of making such

Come and hear Dr. Dwyer’s provocative analysis of the historical,
cultural, and theological factors at work, and join in a discussion of what it means for
Christians to declare their faith in the "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church."

Dr. Dwyer is currently a professor at St. Bernard’s Institute in Albany,
a Roman Catholic graduate school for theology and ministry. He is the author of many
books and articles on theology and church history, including most
recently a re-publication of Church History: Twenty Centuries of Catholic Christianity by
Paulist Press.

Nov. 26
Christmas saints,
Intergenerational with Deacon  Lorrie Lyons.

Stories and songs about St. Nickolaus, St. Francis, Signora de Befana,
St. Wencislaus, the Three Magi, and others.

Dec. 3
Deacon Pat Jones, What is Ordination?

Dec 10 and Dec 17
The Rev. Natalie Van Kirk and Deacon Lorrie Lyonn

"Mary, The First Disciple."

The image of the Mother of our Lord is very different in the Protestant
and Catholic Churches. At one extreme, she appears only at Christmas time, safely
ensconced next to Joseph in the tradition of the nuclear family. At the
other extreme, she is co-Redemptrix, practically a fourth person of the Holy Trinity.
Which image is true? Or are there other ways to understand her meaning and presence for our lives?

Natalie Van Kirk is a minister of the United Methodist Church and lives
in Dallas, Texas. She is working on her doctoral degree at Perkins (SMU) in church
history and theology, and has been a teacher in her regional UM
Conference for over twelve years. She is also my sister!

Kindergarden through 6th grade

Last Sunday, Oct. 22, I had the opportunity to visit with the Church
School classes and see how they were doing. What a wonderful group of kids, and what
wonderful teachers! They enthusiastically shared with me what they’ve been learning.

The Kindergarden - 1st grade class is our largest class in the church
school, with more than fifteen gorgeous children! They’ve been learning about King
David, beginning with the story of his grandmother Ruth, and ending with
his son Solomon building the Temple. With Advent, they will begin by hearing the
angels’ announcement of Jesus’ birth, and hear how this miraculous baby
grew up to become our teacher and Lord.

The 2nd - 3rd grade teachers, Kim Chapman and Janine Philips, are
enjoying their astonishing group of reflective young theologians. They’ve been hearing the
stories and teachings of the prophets, and discovering how God speaks to
people through their words. In Advent they will begin to explore the teachings of the
Sermon on the Mount.

The Intermediate class (4th, 5th, and 6th grade) has been reading the
Psalms, discovering the ways these poems and hymns have been used in worship by both
Jews and Christians since ancient times. They’ve illustrated some, and
written some of their own. In Advent they will begin learning about the Reign of God
and what is required of those who would belong to God’s kingdom.

Middle School and High School

    Journey to Adulthood

    Cathedral lock-in Nov 17-18

    Enjoying Garner Ave house

    Some fix-up planned

Seniors w/ Gloria Kavanah and David Goyette

    Damien center dinner Nov. 18

    Interested in this and other ministry activities

Special Events

The Sunday after Thanksgiving will be Intergenerational:  the K-6 and
adults will learn about Christmas Saints. Also we will introduce to the Children the
brand new Christmas pageant.

Work on the church interior is almost completed. During the second week
in November the organ will be moved back and closer to the congregation.
Thanks to a generous memorial gift by Molly vanBlarcom, long-time
volunteer at the Meal Site, the organ console will be placed on a dolly
so that it can be moved for future events. The sale of individual
tiles as memorial gifts has been successful and during the second week
of the month a limestone floor will be installed in the area around the
altar. (tiles are still available as gifts for $25 a piece.) Throughout
the month a small amount of scaffolding will be used by the painters to
clean all timbers on the ceiling of the front of the church and to paint
both the ceiling and the walls. No painting will be done in the areas
where the congregation sits. Two flower stands are being made by Jed
Dare. Finally at the end of the month carpeting will be installed in
front of and around the altar rail. All of this work is
scheduled to be completed by Lorrie Lyon’s ordination on December 16th.

Longer range plans include a hanging cross over the altar, a new
larger credence table, and refinishing the piano which will be placed on the same level as the

Thanks to all who have given time, talent and treasure for this
project. Special thanks to Jim Borrowman who has worked with our
consultant, Donald Samick, for over a year.

Also, don’t forget the annual Episcopal Thanksgiving Service November 23rd Thursday morning at 10 am St. Stephen’s Church

Mark your calendar!
December 16th
10:00 am
(come early for a seat)
Deacon Lorrie's Ordination

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