March, 2001 Back to St. Stephen's home page back to Messenger home page
On the first Sunday in
February our congregation began a Sunday evening Eucharist with fourteen people
attending. Throughout the month
attendance averaged twelve.
The idea of an evening
Eucharist began as a result of planning for mission strategy the congregation
completed two years ago. There
were two main reasons for the need of such a service.
First, it was noted that attendance on Sunday morning drops by a much as
fifty percent during July and August. An
evening Eucharist would give our members who travel during the weekend an
opportunity to attend when they came back home on Sunday.
Second, it was noted that many of those in our surrounding neighborhoods
who might like to come to St. Stephen’s are working on Sunday morning.
An evening Eucharist would allow those who have never been able to attend
church in the morning, to become a part of the Sunday congregation.
The evening Eucharist is
different from the morning in several ways.
The congregation begins in
only dim light as it asks God to illumine the evening.
Then the candles are lit and the scripture lessons are read. Instead of
the organ to accompany singing, in the evening the piano is the primary
instrument, supplemented by flute and other instruments. Some of the music
comes from two songbooks published by the Episcopal Church.
They contain many Black spirituals and contemporary hymns from all over
the world. Some of the music of the
evening service comes from the Taize community in France.
The Sunday evening
Eucharist begins at 7:00 pm.
Many of you have seen our
advertisement in the Daily Gazette
and have asked me what the phrase “catholic and reformed” means.
The word “catholic” (small “c”)literally means “universal”.
It is also used to mean “orthodox” to recall the undivided church
before the divisions which separated the Eastern from the Western churches in
1054 AD. Thus it is a claim of an
unbroken continuity of faith and tradition from the age of the apostles
(including Roman Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox traditions) denoting
those who value continuity and unity. Traditionally,
the “catholic” part of my description of St. Stephen’s
Church refers to the claim in the Nicene Creed that we are a “one holy
catholic and apostolic church.”
The word “reformed”
literally means “improved by the removal of faults or abuses” and “changed
for the better”. In using that
term in the advertisement I mean to insert an element of dynamism in our
congregation, that though we value continuity, we are always looking at ways to
improve our practices and our thinking both in our congregation and in our
The word “reformed” is
also meant to set The Episcopal Church apart from other churches in the way we
view authority. The Roman Catholic
Church for most of its history has been refining the idea that when the Bishop
of Rome, the Pope, speaks ex cathedra (literally “from his chair or throne) on
matters of faith and morals he is infallible.
Classical Protestantism (i.e. Lutheranism and the churches that follow
the teachings of John Calvin) has taught that authority is found in Scripture,
alone. The Episcopal Church holds
that our authority is the association of Scripture, tradition, and reason.
Like the Protestants, we put great emphasis on the Bible, and like the
Roman Catholics, we emphasize the traditions of the church.
But what makes us different is our emphasis on the use of reason.
We believe that a sincere pursuit of truth, done collaboratively,
ultimately opens us to the mind of God and sometimes the mind of God
necessitates our re-thinking of traditional practices or of our interpretation
of Scripture. In keeping an equal
dialogue among Scripture, tradition and reason, we are continually
“reforming” ourselves and our society as we seek God’s will.
In using the term
“catholic and reformed” I am seeking to identify who we are as a
congregation. If you would like to
delve further into this, I invite you to attend the Discovery Classes beginning
on March 11th at 9:00 am in my office and continuing for the next eight weeks.
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.
Dick and I met as new
teachers at Scotia-Glenville High School in September
1958. We were married at St. Joseph’s Church in Scotia in 1961.,
Throughout our thirty-nine years of marriage, we lived in the area: Scotia,
Glenville, and then, Niskayuna. Our four children were fortunate to go to one
school system and make lifetime friends. We moved to Grand Boulevard in June,
1969. Father Tom Moss came to call on me amidst th packing boxers in the living
room. St. Stephen’s became my church home from that time on. Dick and the
children were Roman Catholic, yet would often attend St. Stephen’s with me. In
1973, I was diagnosed with a very nasty form of leukemia. Our lives turned
upside down, and St. Stephen’s became our rock. Every crisis brought
babysitters and meals into our home from the women of the Church, but most
importantly we were supported by the prayers that surrounded us. It was an
unbelievable outpouring of love and concern that Dick never forgot. He began
“visiting” St. Stephen’s more and more, always remarking on the
friendliness of the congregation. In 1993, Dick formally joined the church and
began a very active involvement. He, too, was a loving and giving member of our
Dick was part of several
committees. As a teacher for 32 years at one school, he met and influenced
thousands of students and had lifelong friends among the faculty. His
twenty-five years of coaching made him part of another community of men and boys
who loved playing by the rules, playing as a team, playing to win. The other
community was a mix of dear friends from Scotia-Glenville, college, and our
There isn’t a price tag
you can place on “community”--it is priceless. You can’t see it, but you
can sense its warmth when you open yourself to it. When we worship our Lord and
Savior, receive the body and blood of Christ at the communion rail, we join the
largest and best community of all, the one God calls us to.
Thank you to all who
brought food, stood in line for such a long time at the funeral home to give an
embrace or speak kind words, sent flowers, notes and cards, prepared the
reception, and then joined with Dick’s
family at the church to celebrate his life. He was blessed to know you, work
with you, and worship with you, experiencing the love and concern that you all
offer as the community of St. Stephen’s.
Lectors for the 7pm service. We’ve recruited several, but we need more.
Please call Marilyn Causey (372-2469) if you are interested.
Altar Guild: We will have a
meeting and polish brass on March 24 at 9:30 am. We will polish silver on April
7 at 9:30am. Please save these dates.
The Women’s Group will
meet on March 19th at Liz Varno’s, 1158 Phoenix Avenue.
There are no altar flowers
in Lent, but please see the coupon in this issue for Easter flowers!
Hoshko, John V. Casale
2 Michael Bernard
3 David Sherman
4 Ethan Brooks-McDonald
5 Elizabeth MacFarland
6 Paul Pratico, Elizabeth Sherman, Nicholas Bernard
7 Thomas Casale, Joan Campbell, George Ehler
10 Diane Bengston-Kilbourn, Kelly Nolan, Logan Olberg
11 Adam Gibbs
13 Shirley Voelker
15 Frank Webster
16 Anthony Mazurek
18 Grace Ann Murphy Nolan
19 William Beck
21 Emily Blaufuss
22 Susan Townsend, Molly Morgan
23 Marti Spang, Paul Kennedy
25 Julianna Fowler
26 Beth McKeone
27 Linda Emaelaf, Paul Pratico
28 Sandy Borrowman
29 Beth Newlands-Campbell
30 Helen Reid, Ralph May
31 Daniel Correa
6 Susan and John
22 Beth and Hugh Campbell
28 Melissa and George Ehler, Karen and Dennis Holcombe
If your birthday or
anniversary is missing, please call the office.
We will once again be
supporting our Giving Tree families at Easter by providing food hampers. Please
take a card from the cross in the Parish Hall after Sunday, March 11th, and
return the requested food items, sufficient for a family of 6 people. The items
must be returned before 10:15 service on Easter Day, April 15th.
Soon we will have the
corner pieces for the kneelers at the altar rail! As we contemplated
how best to deal with the awkward spaces
at the bend of the rail, I was struck again at the beauty and “specialness”
of our kneelers. In addition to being lovely pieces of art, they represent many,
many hours of loving labor by a group of truly dedicated people. In order to
preserve these cushions, we all need to be aware
that the kneelers do need our care. Parents, please do not allow your
children to stand on the kneelers. Needlepoint cannot be successfully dry
cleaned, so any stain may well be permanent. We appreciate
your help in conserving these fine pieces!
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.
Thursday Evenings: We begin
the evening with Evening Prayer in the church at 5:30.
After the service we gather in the Parish Hall for a light supper: hot
soup and beverages will be provided and can be supplemented with a sandwich from
home. Finally, at around 6:45 we
gather in the Library for our Lenten Study series.
For many, the Season of Lent is a period of healing - -spiritually,
emotionally, relationally and physically. The
Sacrament of Healing is offered as a part of the Eucharist at 10:00.
Persons wishing to receive this Sacrament are invited to stay at the
altar rail after receiving the wine. It
involves the Laying on of Hands and Anointing with Holy Oil of Unction.
After the service we will gather in the rector's study for a Bible Study
based on the following Sunday's scripture readings.
Sunday Eucharists in Lent:
The Prayerbook gives many liturgical observances that are especially appropriate
for Lent. Each Sunday in Lent will
begin with the "Penitential Order" (p.
319) which includes a confession of sin.
Fridays in Lent - Stations
of the Cross: 'Station' is any
place in the church where, during a solemn procession, there is pause for a
prayer. 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.
Lent affords us a good
opportunity to explore areas of our liturgical tradition that not widely used in
The Post Office food drive last December brought
in 30,00 pounds LESS food than the previous year.
The food is distributed among all the food providers in the county,
SICM included. This means that
their supplies for the pantry will not extend as far as planned.
One way we can help is to continue bringing food
in for the basket in the narthex. For
the month of March, please bring in Enfamil baby formula with iron.
GETTING RID OF A DRESSER? CLEANING OUT YOUR KITCHEN DRAWERS?
The Home Furnishings Program provides second-hand
furniture and household items in good condition for those in need in Schenectady
County. You may donate large items
such as beds and mattresses, dressers, tables and chairs, by calling Home
Furnishings, 346-2444, and arranging for pickup.
Bring smaller items to the basket in the narthex.
Especially needed are dishes, flatware, utensils, pots and pans,
linens and towels.
(for anyone interested in Old Testament times, or in the heritage of the
Jews) Sunday, March 25 at 10:30 AM. Congregation
Gates of Heaven, corner of Eastern Pkwy and Ashmore Ave, one block from upper
ANITA DIAMANT, Boston-based
lecturer and author of several books on contemporary Jewish life, will speak
about her best-selling novel, The Red Tent, its Development and Meaning.
Have you ever wondered what life was like back at the time of the book of Genesis? Anita Diamant presents a fascinating idea in her fictional Biblical narrative, The Red Tent. This is the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah, and sister of the twelve sons of Israel, whose life is only hinted at briefly in a violent episode in Genesis 34. Not only do we hear Dinah's version of this incident, buy we learn of the ancient world through her experience growing up in Jacob's family and later living in a foreign land. This is a captivating story of the daily life of women, with new insights into the early Israelite religion and traditions, desert travel, sibling rivalry, midwifery, birth, death, and the stories they passed on. From The Boston Globe came this review: "An intense, vivid novel . . . It is tempting to say that The Red Tent is what the Bible would be like if it had been written by women, but only Diamant could have given it such sweep and grace." Treat yourself to a couple evenings experiencing a new look at the Old Testament world by reading The Red Tent. Borrow my copy, or get it from the library.
And then go hear Anita Diamant speak. I plan to. Richey Woodzell
The Feb. 7th SICM meeting
was an overview and evaluation of SICM’s role in the community, its purpose
and resource needs with the goal of strengthening the group’s programs and
advocacy in the future. Upcoming events may include “theme” meetings that
highlight one or more of the elevven programs that SICM parents and site tours
or presentations by the various programs.
There was discussion of the
possible future availability of government grant money, particularly for
after-school programs, through Pres. Bush’s proposed faith-based initiative
There also may be a
county-wide church service next yer for member churches to re-covenant with SICM.
The service will coincide with SICM;s 35th anniversary.
There is a constant need
for volunteers for various community programs, especially food programs and
after-school programs. Call the SICM office (374-2683) if you would like to
Janine Phillips and Cindy
Reedy will attend the March 6 organizational meeting for CROP Walk recruiters.
The CROP Walk this year will be May 6--more information to follow!!
March 11, 2001 3:00 pm.
Emerson String Quartet, Haydn - Op.
77, No. 1 and Op. 74,
No. 3 "The Rider";Shostakovich - Nos. 13 and 14.
March 17, 8:00 pm Musicians
from Marlboro Borodin - Three Songs; Ravel -Chansons madecasses; Leon Kirchner -
Piano Trio No.1 (1954); Brahms -Piano Quartet in A, Op. 26. Memorial Chapel.
Campus Protestant Minister,
518-388-6618 campus number
518-370-3573 home number
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