The Messenger
December, 2000

Rector’s Letter

Dear Friends,

As I write this message, the last of the dressing has been eaten, the
rest of the turkey will have to be frozen since another turkey sandwich
is out of the question.  The busiest shopping day of the year has
ushered in another shopping season.  Christmas carols are heard in the
stores, on the radio, and in just about every other commercial on
television.  And yet, it is four weeks before Christmas.  The rush has
not begun.  We are between holidays.  Very soon Christmas break will be
here, and then we will be doing that last minute shopping, addressing
cards, wrapping presents, and rehearsing.  But, for the time being, we
are resting, waiting.

 God's people have always been a waiting people, waiting and watching.
Often we wait, not knowing exactly what to expect, hoping for something
to happen, hoping for someone to come: a letter in the mail, a visitor,
our number in the lottery.

 God's people are a waiting people.  But waiting is difficult: in the
surgical waiting room ? awaiting a word; in a long line at the bank, in
an airport.  Have you ever noticed the variety in the manner of people's
waiting?  Some are the staunch kind who wait with a sure and certain
hope. Other sit on the edge of their seats in anxious fear.  You can
tell a lot about a person by the way he or she waits.

 But waiting is hard.  We often become impatient and thereby miss the
mighty movement and redemptive voice of God. Sometimes our impatient
waiting causes us to miss out on the joy of that for which we are
waiting.

 The season of Advent, which we began December 3rd, evokes the emotions
of anticipation in Christians.  It captures the ancient yearning for the
Messiah that was so much a part of the history of the Hebrew nation.
Advent comes in the part of the year when the days grow shorter and
shorter, when we feel surrounded by darkness, and when our need to look
forward and to hope becomes especially intense.  It is an in? between
season of waiting and of watchful preparation.  But there is a great
danger in waiting for the Lord's Coming with impatience and anxious
fear.  This Advent season could be nothing more than a busy, expensive
holiday in which we burn up our emotions and become tired of Christmas
weeks before it comes.

 Take some time away from that busy schedule, slow down.  Let's take
some time this Advent to make ourselves ready, to allow Christ to act
upon us; to feel His penetrating power deep within us, enabling us to be
ignited from within, creating the warmth that will give the glow of
Jesus in us, a glow that will allow others to see that Christ has come
and that He is coming again.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  Christmas Services

Christmas Eve

5:00 p.m.  Family Eucharist
10:30 p.m.  Christmas Carols
11:00 p.m.  Festive Candlelight Eucharist

***

Christmas Day

10:00 a.m.  Eucharist

***

Feast of St. Stephen
Tuesday, December 26th

10:00 a.m. Eucharist

***

First Sunday After Christmas
December 31st

8:00 a.m.  Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist

***

The Holy Name of Our Lord
New Year's Day

10:00 a.m.  Eucharist

***

Epiphany Sunday

January 7th

8:00 a.m.  Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist


This Month's Cartoon

 


Advent

Advent begins on Sunday, Dec. 3rd.  It is a time to prepare for Christ's
birth as well as for His second coming to judge the world.  It is a time
of watching and waiting and great expectation.  Purple, the color of
thoughtfulness and penitence, is the color of the season.  The Greek
letters, Alpha (the first of the alphabet) and Omega (the last letter)
combine to make the symbol for this season of the year signifying that
God is Eternal ?? the beginning and the end.  Come and worship during
Advent in joyful anticipation of the birth of our Lord. 

CHILD CARE CHRISTMAS EVE 

The Community Room will be open at the 5:00
p.m. service.  Toddlers are invited to share the church service
experience with their families, but it can be a long time for some to be
still.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cleaning and greening of the church

Help prepare the church for Christmas. On Saturday morning, December
23rd, beginning at 11:00 a.m. we will meet in the Parish Hall to clean
the church, polishing brass, trimming candles, hanging of the greens,
and generally prepare the church for our celebration of Christ's birth.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saint stephen, deacon and martyr

 

The patron saint of our parish is St. Stephen whose life we will
celebrate on Tuesday, December 26th at a festive Eucharist. 

Stephen was called one of the "seven men of good repute, full of the
Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3).  He was chosen by the apostles to
relieve them of the administrative burden of "serving tables and caring
for the widows." This became what the Church traditionally considers to
be the work and ministry of a deacon. 

Stephen's activities involved more than simply "serving tables" for the
Acts of the Apostles speaks of his preaching and performing many
miracles.  These activities led him into conflict with some of the Jews,
who accused him of blasphemy, and brought him before the Sanhedrin.  His
powerful sermon before the Council is recorded in the seventh chapter of
Acts.  His denunciation of the Sanhedrin so enraged its members that,
without a trial, they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.

 

Saul, later called Paul, stood by, consenting to Stephen's death, but
Stephen's example of steadfast faith in Jesus, and of intercession for
his persecutors, was to find fruit in the mission and witness of Paul
after his conversion.  The Christian community in Jerusalem, taking
fright at the hostility of the Judean authorities, was scattered; so
that for the first time the Gospel of Christ began to spread beyond
Jerusalem. 

Come celebrate our patron saint on Saturday!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Advent

Advent begins on Sunday, Dec. 3rd.  It is a time to prepare for Christ's
birth as well as for His second coming to judge the world.  It is a time
of watching and waiting and great expectation.  Purple, the color of
thoughtfulness and penitence, is the color of the season.  The Greek
letters, Alpha (the first of the alphabet) and Omega (the last letter)
combine to make the symbol for this season of the year signifying that
God is Eternal ?? the beginning and the end.  Come and worship during
Advent in joyful anticipation of the birth of our Lord.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Gathering Straws 

A tradition at Saint Stephen’s is the "Gathering Straws" to soften the
waiting manger bed in your household creche.  It is just helpful in
reminding children about the season of Advent.  For every good deed a
straw is placed in the manger as a graphic sign of growth and
preparation for the Christ Child we await.  On Christmas Eve, the little
manger, now soft with straw, is brought in procession to the waiting
stable where the figure of the Child is placed during the night.

Small bags of straw can be found on a table in the Parish Hall Extension.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHILD CARE CHRISTMAS EVE.  The Community Room will be open at the 5:00
p.m. service.  Toddlers are invited to share the church service
experience with their families, but it can be a long time for some to be still.

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CLEANING AND GREENING OF THE CHURCH

Help prepare the church for Christmas. On Saturday morning, December
23rd, beginning at 11:00 a.m. we will meet in the Parish Hall to clean
the church, polishing brass, trimming candles, hanging of the greens,
and generally prepare the church for our celebration of Christ's birth. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BECOMING A MEMBER OF ST. STEPHEN'S?

 

INQUIRE'S CLASSES are a basic five week course which is held in an
informal atmosphere and taught by the rector.  For those who are new to
the Episcopal Church, or looking for a new spiritual home, this course
will provide an introduction to the Church ?? its history, beliefs,
worship, and work in the world. 

Or, if you were confirmed earlier in life, and wish to renew your
commitment at an adult level, consider this course as a part of your
continuing Christian education.    The course is required for all who
wish to be confirmed or received into the church. 

These classes are held on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. in the rector’s
office beginning January 7th. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Flowers

 

December 3     Marilyn Regulagiven by Donald Regula

                        Donald E. Atkinsongiven by Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Daly

December 10   The Loved Ones of  Leroy and Jacqueline Tomlinson

December 17   In loving memory of the Women  of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

 

Birthdays

December 1     Peter Nevius
                 5     Louise Peake
                       
Kurt McKeone
              
7        Mildred Gittinger
              
8        Vicki Hoshko
                       
Jarrod Fowler
              
9        Tyffani Adams
            
10        Leroy Tomlinson
            
11        James Borrowman
            
12        John Liberis
                       
David Bernard
                       
Claudia Ashelman
             14        Belle Beck   (She’ll be 103!!)
            
16        Suzanne Coonradt
             17        Robert McCalley
            
18        Jed Dare
            
19        Linda Parillo
            
20        Shirley Gretz
                       
Taylor Pierce
            
21        Jean Greenspan
            
23        Stephen Sombor
            
25        Robert Olberg
                       
Bud Blanchard
            
26        John Petito
            
27        Stephen Chapman
                       
Hugh Campbell, III
                       
Ron Michelson
                       
Isabelle Jaquith
            
28        Anne Sombor
                       
Gloria Kavanah
            
29        Carl Hatlee
                       
Tom Rigley
                       
Joanne Molino
            
30        Katherine Pohl
            
31        Denise Crates
                       
Virginia Malmros 

Anniversaries

               2        Dennis and Joan Moss
            
10        Robert Olber and Andrea Worthington
            
18        Daniel and Edith Lundquist
            
22        Gerald and Linda Perregaux
           
30        Grand and Rosemarie Jaquith

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Decorative Touches Mean a Lot

by Marilyn Causey

Last spring, we held a rummage sale to raise money to spruce up the church bathroom (off the Parish Hall). That project is complete and many thanks are due to the women and men who helped transform the bathrooms in the Parish Hall and in the tower from downright ugly to light and attractive! Those who worked on the main bathroom were Gregg Varno, Louise Peake, Liz Varno, and Marilyn Causey. The tower bathroom magicians were Liz Casale, Mary Whitney, Hoagy Walker, Marilyn Causey, and Gene Whitney.

Gillian Woodcock and Millie Gittinger selected fabric and created valances for the Parish Hall windows. Again, rummage sale money at work!

Very special thanks go to St. Stephen’s volunteer group of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and ingenious handymen: the Over-Hill-Gang’s Bill Beck, John Goldthwaite, Dick Causey, Ted Schlansker, Austin Spang, and George Woodzell. They tackled all requests for drilling into concrete, pulling down ceiling, replacing electrical fixtures, hanging new cabinets, putting up curtain rods, and, yes, even pulling up and resetting a toilet!

Still to Do

The lower level bathrooms were not included in the recent decorating projects. Anyone interested in adding some color and interest to these bathrooms please call Marilyn Causey or Liz Casale.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Giving Tree

Each year at Saint Stephens a local social worker identifies 6 or 7 families
for us to support at Christmas. Each family is contacted and a wish list is
completed for each family member and sent to the service committee.

The gift wishes are placed in envelopes and hung on the Jesse tree; we hope
to do this on December 3rd this year. Please take an envelope: they will be
unsealed, so you can see if the gift request meets your budget and is
acceptable to you. 

Purchase the gift and return it wrapped, with the label that is included in
the envelope, and place it under the tree by the 10:15 service on December
24th. This is a great service we give to families with real needs, and does
much to enrich our celebration of Christmas as well. 

If you would like the joyful task of delivering the gifts to one of the
families following the Christmas Eve 10:15 service, please contact Pauline
Holmes at 384-0904. You will never forget the experience.

The towels purchased with the stamps from Price Chopper will be part of our gifts to the families. The number of stamps and the subsequent number of towels were amazing. Thank you to all who contributed!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BECOMING A MEMBER OF ST. STEPHEN'S? 

INQUIRE'S CLASSES are a basic five week course which is held in an
informal atmosphere and taught by the rector.  For those who are new to
the Episcopal Church, or looking for a new spiritual home, this course
will provide an introduction to the Church ?? its history, beliefs,
worship, and work in the world. 

Or, if you were confirmed earlier in life, and wish to renew your
commitment at an adult level, consider this course as a part of your
continuing Christian education.    The course is required for all who
wish to be confirmed or received into the church. 

These classes are held on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. in the rector’s
office beginning January 7th. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Parish Profile

by Louise Peake

Mary Pasko attended St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in albany prior to her marriage to Mark Pasko. They will celebrate their second anniversary on December 12th. Mary is originally from Long Island and Mark is a native Schenectadian. Presently Mary is involved a job search process and Mark is an engineer with the NYS Department of Transportation.

Mark is a membe of St. Luke’s Church. He and Mary attend each other’s church services when possible. They attend Deacon Pat’s Kerygma class. As a member of that class, let me say that Mark is no slouch in bible study! His insights and interpretations enhance our study group.

Mary impressed me with her keen sense of community and her interest in social issues. She attends City Council Meetings and recently attended a Social Justice Meeting with Deacon Pat. Mary has become a lector and will read the First Lesson and lead the Psalm at Sunday services at St. Stephen’s.

There is a St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church sign on Upper Union St. welcoming visitors. Mary saw the sign last February and decided to pay us a visit and was impressed. Her comment to me was, “people worship and act like they want to be together.” What a wonderful observation! Welcome to our family at Stephen’s!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you to all those who contributed food for the Damien Center dinner

November 18.  Three high school students:  Rebecca Emaelaf, Margaret Trawick
and Stephen Woodzell, and their advisors, Gloria Kavanah and Dave Goyette,
put on a lavish Thanksgiving meal for 28 people.  There was plenty of food
for leftovers for the guests and the food room.

 

The Rite 13 class, under the supervision of George Woodzell and John Casale,
held a lock-in at the church November 17-18.  After enlarging their classroom
in the Garner Avenue house by demolishing a wall, they watched movies and
played games. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL!

 

    Come caroling on St. Stephen's Day, Tuesday, December 26!  Share your
Christmas with homebound members of our parish who are not able to attend
church with us. 

    We will meet at the church at 1:30 PM and return by 4:30, with
refreshments afterward for those who would like to stay.  We welcome all
ages, for as much time as your schedule allows.   No choral experience is
required, and carol booklets will be provided.  If we have enough volunteers,
we could even have two groups of carolers, allowing us to visit more people.

     Sign up at the shop by December 24, and join us to "Sing, Noel!"   

                    Richey Woodzell

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOVEMBER 2000 SICM HIGHLIGHTS

SICM Highlights are an easy way to alert your congregation to what is new at Schenectady Inner City Ministry. The Highlights is ready to insert in your church bulletin or newsletter. It includes urgent needs, current issues, concerns and notes from the latest SICM Assembly. If you have any questions, please call Marianne Comfort at 374-2683 or email us at

sicm@knick.net. Check out our website at http:www.timesunion.com/communities/sicm, which is updated regularly.

 

Assembly Calls for Keeping County Manager System

 

The SICM Assembly expressed support for the county to retain the services of an appointed and professionally trained manager and to appoint a SICM nominee to a bipartisan search

committee for a new manager to replace the retiring Robert McEvoy. SICM encourages all county residents to write to their legislators in support of the current manager system. A

sample letter is available on the SICM Web site at timesunion.com/communities/sicm.

 

Volunteers Needed for Winter Holiday Lunch 

Rachel Graham, SICM’s new Youth Initiative Coordinator, is coordinating the second annual Winter Holiday Lunch. Meals will be served at sites throughout the city from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 26-29. Volunteers are needed to hand out bag lunches. To help, call Rachel Graham at 374-2683. 

Rally to Support Independent Civilian Police Review Board

All are encouraged to attend a rally at City Hall at 5 p.m. Dec. 11 in support of establishing an independent civilian police review board. The Schenectady Committee for Social Justice,

for which SICM provides leadership, has been calling for this stronger review process of civilian complaints. For more information, call SICM at 374-2683.

All Welcome to Assembly Featuring Author Girzone

SICM’s Assembly meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 13 will feature best-selling author Father Joseph Girzone, creator of the "Joshua" books. The evening will begin with a potluck supper at 6 p.m. The event will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Rosa Road, Niskayuna. For more information, call SICM at 374-2683.

Damien Center Seeks GED Tutors

The Damien Center seeks volunteers to prepare guests to enroll in preparatory classes for the high school equivalency exams. For more information, or to volunteer, call Donna Stovall at

370-0929.

AmeriCorps Seeks Members for Schenectady Programs

The Tri-City Shalom AmeriCorps is accepting applications for an 11-month community service term. Full- and part-time positions are available in the areas of youth, jobs and housing opportunities. AmeriCorps members receive a stipend and an educational award (approximately $5,000) that can be applied toward college courses or Elderhostel programs. Short-term positions are also available for educational awards only. Applications are available at 930 Albany Street. For more information, call AmeriCorps Project Director Peter Fish at 432-0824.

"Wheels for Work" Program Receives Funding

Catholic Charities of Schenectady County, with partners Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority and JOBS etc., has been awarded a state grant to expand its program of providing cars

to low-income workers reliant on private transportation to get to jobs. The project will be soliciting donations of cars. For more information, call Catholic Charities at 372-5667.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To Change Or Not To Change

By Murray Roseberry

Chenoa asked me the other day if I would piece my ear and wear an earring.  My initial reaction was some changes were just not for me.  Some changes I embrace freely and others I resist.  Well the Stewardship Committee and Vestry have decided to change when we pledge our treasure to support Godís Work.  Some of us will embrace the change, some of us will feel uncomfortable about the change, and for most of us the change will not impact us either way.   The change to address the treasure side of Stewardship in April instead of November was made to allow better use of our time and talent during the busy holiday seasons. 

In order to help with the transition between the current method (November pledges) and (April pledges), a form has been developed to allow people to change their pledge at anytime.  This form also supports one of the underlying messages of good Stewardship, which is that Stewardship is a continuous process not just an annual fund drive.  These Pledge Change Forms will be available on the Mail Table or at the office.  These pledge changes will be considered to be in effect from the date the form is signed.  For this transition period November until April, people may choose to continue their pledge as before or they may choose to change their pledge using the new form.  After the April Stewardship Event, these Pledge Change Forms will still be used to support the continuous nature of good Stewardship.   Normal pledge cards will be distributed and church members will be requested to faithfully consider their pledges in conjunction with the April Stewardship event. 

So our two choices are simply to change or not to change; change our pledge or continue our pledge as is.  I hope that each of us has a frank and open discussion with God about our Stewardship and makes the best choice based on Godís needs and our needs.   Remember the decision made is between you and God, and is the right decision if made with faith and prayer.

Later, I thought some more about the earring and I concluded I would look like ìMr. Cleanî which would be cool.  However, it would hurt.   So based on my aversion to pain, I decided this change was not for me.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Women’s Group of St. Stephen’s will hold its “Holiday Gathering” on Monday, December 18th at 7:30pm at the home of Gaye Mertz, 1112 Ardsley Road. The piano is in tune for carol singing! All womenof the church are invited. Those who wish may bring cookies or a dessert, snacks, wine, or soda.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Youth Group

The youth group is having a dinner to thank the people of St. Stephen’s for supporting the workcamp trop last summer. The dinner will be Saturday, December 2, at 6:00pm and will include a slide presentation on the workcamp.

To start raising money for next year’s workcamp, the youth group will be making advent wreath candle holders. You can buy the candle holders at the church shop.

  ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Worship in December

Deacon Pat for the Worship Committee

The first Sunday in Advent, December 3rd, marks the beginning of a new year of worship at St. Stephen’s. For the four Sundays in Advent, we will use Eucharistic Prayer B, and music and lessons will emphasize St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, and the Coming of Jesus Christ to the world.

On Saturday, December 16th, Deacon Lorrie Lyons will be ordained to the priesthood at 10:00 am. In preparation for this event, the Adult Education Hour on December 3rd will be a presentation on “Ordination of a Deacon” by Deacon Pat.

On Wednesday, December 20th, there will be a “Blue Christmas” service at 5:30pm. The church recognizes the needs of those who are grieving a loss, whose burden is especially heavy at holiday times. The service includes special readings and prayers and the lighting of candles, and Holy Eucharist. Please extend an invitation to anyone you know who might be interested.

The Christmas Pageant, written by Allison deKanel and directed by Rocky Bonsal, will be presented at the 10:15am service.on December 24th. (Because the 24th is both the fourth Sunday in Advent and Christmas Eve, there will be only one service in the morning, and it will include both the pageant and Holy Eucharist.) Deacon Pat says: “Do not miss this event!”

Christmas Eve services will be held at 5pm and at 11pm, with carols and anthems starting at 10:30pm. On Christmas Day, the service will be held at 10am. On St. Stephen’s Day, December 26th, there will be a service at 10 am.


December Schedule:  who's doing what when....

  Dec. 3 Dec. 10 Dec. 16 Dec 17 Dec. 24 10:00 Dec. 24 5:00 Dec. 24 11:00 Dec.25 Dec. 31
Altar Guild* A B C A** A,B,C A,B,C A,B,C B C
Chalice 8 am G. Woodzell P. Holmes ORDINATION C. Jones M. Causey G. Jaquith G. Woodzell volunteers G. Woodzell
Lector 8 am D. Stevens M. Bishop   S. Woodcock M. Causey V. Hoshko S. Grady   O. Jones
Chalice 10:15 C. Jones N. Hoffmann   P. Holmes O, Luczka       M. Causey
Lector 10:15 G. Whitney M. Roseberry   C. Murphy M. Pasko       D. Manor
Crucifer 10:15 N. Stewart R. Manor J. Rizzo C. Roseberry M. Trawick E. Chapman C. Morin   P. Pratico
Server 10:15 C. Roseberry E. Chapman M. Trawick T. Trawick J. Rizzo P. Pratico N. Stewart   R. Manor
Torch 10:15 T. Pierce M. Trawick A. Rizzo K. Gibbs A. Gibbs C. Whitney N. BMcD   K. Gibbs
Torch 10:15 J. Casale T. Trawick S. Lyons C. Whitney T. Pierce A. Rizzo J. Casale   N. BMcD
Ushers E A   B C       D
Counters A B   C D       E
Care Team G&R Woodzell C&D Trawick   Bishop.Holmes A&K Lowe       G&R Woodzell
*Altar Guild: Your duty week begins the Saturday before the above date.        
**Altar Guild: Includes Sunday service at 7 pm in chapel (Eucharist)        
Acolytes: Please find a substitute if you cannot serve or call Deacon Pat.        
You need to arrive in the Choir Room at least 15 minutes before the service begins.        
Lectors: Read the First Lesson and lead the Psalm        
       
Altar Guild Teams Counters        
A  Hoffman, Northrop, Peake A  M.Spang, D.May, R. May        
B  Morin, Reid, Russell, Ras, Casale, B  Ackner, Gittinger, Molino        
    Varno, Woodcock C  D.Belardo,Vanda,Voelker        
C  Dipley, Lowe, Tomlinson D  A.Spang, Borrowman, Crates        
Ushers E.  Peake, Small, Northrop        
A J. Dare, P. Nevius  Substitutes: Holmes, Bishop        
B S. Kilbourn, M. Ehler        
C A. Lowe, L. Varno         
D G. Woodzel, G. Ehler        
E D. Causey, J. Jones