The Messenger

November, 2001

Click on items below, or just scroll down!

Rector's Letter Union College Event
All Saint's Day The Deacon's Bench
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Jazz returns to St. Stephen's Church
On Waging Reconciliation: House of Bishops Founder's Day: Nov. 18
Education Porgrams Kerygma Bible Study
SICM News NY State Chaplain's Meeting
Thanks-you! The November Schedule of who's doing what...
Votive candles Parish Profile
Garner Avenue House Painting Party Birthdays, Flowers, Anniversaries, ...

Back to Messenger Home Page

Rector's Letter

Dear Friends,

The other day a woman came to me asking for assistance in helping her leave

her husband who has been abusive for many years.  She has two young children

and needs a security deposit on an apartment before she can leave home.

Usually I would turn to my 'discretionary fund' to help, but just days

before I had helped another young mother with her winter fuel bill.  Both

needs were quite legitimate, but I did not have money to help the abused

mother.  Also this past year I have used the fund for scholarship

assistance, temporary housing, gasoline for a person who was stranded, and

many meals at Friendly's.


The needs of the poor and marginalized in Schenectady have always been high.

This year I have seen that need rise much higher.  Some  have reached the

limit of their lifetime welfare payments, others were the first to be

laid-off from work in a worsening economy.  The Schenectady Inner City

Ministry (SICM) has confirmed that what I am experiencing is happening all

over the city.  The churches have a small but very important role to play in

helping those who need the help.


St. Stephen's is one of the larger contributors to SICM and our congregation

has taken the lead in other organizations and programs to help those in

need.  An important way our church helps is by contributing to the "Rector's

Discretionary Fund".  Actually, any money in that fund is equally divided

and distributed to Deacon Pat, Mtr. Lorrie and me.  All three of us use it

carefully and fully.


So the next time you come across those little yellow envelopes marked

"Rector's Discretionary Fund" please be generous.  Or you can write a check

putting "Clergy Discretionary Fund" in the memo.  You can be assured that it

will go to those who truly need it.

All Saint's Day

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 Sunday, November 4th at the 8 & 10:15 Eucharists.  The later service

will include a celebration of baptism!



This traditional service (since 1955!) will be held at the Korean Methodist

Church on Balltown Road beginning at 4pm, Sunday, November 18th.


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 22nd

Thursday morning at 10 am

here at

St. Stephen's Church

Message From: The House of Bishops

On Waging Reconciliation

We, your bishops, have come together in the shadow of the shattering events

of September 11. We in the United States now join that company of nations

in which ideology disguised as true religion wreaks havoc and sudden death.

Through this suffering, we have come into a new solidarity with those in

other parts of the world for whom the evil forces of terrorism are a

continuing fear and reality.

We grieve with those who have lost companions and loved ones, and pray for

those who have so tragically died. We pray for the President of the United

States, his advisors, and for the members of Congress that they may be given

wisdom and prudence for their deliberations and measured patience in their

actions. We pray for our military chaplains, and for those serving in the

Armed Forces along with their families in these anxious and uncertain days.

We also pray "for our enemies, and those who wish us harm; and for all whom

we have injured or offended." (BCP, page 391)

At the same time we give thanks for the rescue workers and volunteers, and

all those persons whose courageous efforts demonstrated a generosity and

selflessness that bears witness to the spirit of our nation at its best. We

give thanks too for all those who are reaching out to our Muslim brothers

and sisters and others who are rendered vulnerable in this time of fear and


We come together also in the shadow of the cross: that unequivocal sign that

suffering and death are never the end but the way along which we pass into a

future in which all things will be healed and reconciled. Through Christ

"God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things whether on earth or in

heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross." (Col. 1:20) This

radical act of peace-making is nothing less than the right ordering of all

things according to God's passionate desire for justness, for the full

flourishing of humankind and all creation.

This peace has already been achieved in Christ, but it has yet to be

realized in our relationships with one another and the world around us. As

members of a global community and the worldwide Anglican Communion, we are

called to bear one another's burdens across the divides of culture,

religion, and differing views of the world. The affluence of nations such

as our own stands in stark contrast to other parts of the world wracked by

the crushing poverty which causes the death of 6,000 children in the course

of a morning.

We are called to self-examination and repentance: the willingness to change

direction, to open our hearts and give room to God's compassion as it seeks

to bind up, to heal, and to make all things new and whole. God's project, in

which we participate by virtue of our baptism, is the ongoing work of

reordering and transforming the patterns of our common life so they may

reveal God's justness - not as an abstraction but in bread for the hungry

and clothing for the naked. The mission of the Church is to participate in

God's work in the world. We claim that mission.

"I have set before you life and death...choose life so that you and your

descendants may live," declares Moses to the children to Israel. We choose

life and immediately set ourselves to the task of developing clear steps

that we will take personally and as a community of faith, to give substance

to our resolve and embodiment to our hope. We do so not alone but trusting

in your own faithfulness and your desire to be instruments of peace.

Let us therefore wage reconciliation. Let us offer our gifts for the

carrying out of God's ongoing work of reconciliation, healing and making all

things new. To this we pledge ourselves and call our church.

We go forth sober in the knowledge of the magnitude of the task to which we

have all been called, yet confident and grounded in hope. "And hope does not

disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through

the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." (Romans 5:5)

"May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the

power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)


House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church

September 26, 2001

Education Programs (Lorrie Lyons)


Confirmation mentoring class


Our Confirmation Mentoring Program is underway.  Each of our young people in grades 10 through 12 have been matched with a confirmation mentor.  They will meet regularly, once a week or so, to study together scripture, basic Christian doctrine, and the life of Christian spiritual disciplines.  The mentors and confirmands will meet at a mutually convenient time and place, which for many of them will be during the education hour on Sunday morning.  Because there are nine pairs of confirmands and mentors, meeting spaces will be at a premium.  So if you see a couple of people with their yellow notebooks in a corner of the church, or in the chapel or library area, please give them a wide berth and allow them some privacy for their conversation.   


The mentors and confirmands will also meet regularly as a large group for a presentation and discussion led by Mtr. Lorrie.  These classes will meet on Sundays from 5:00 pm – 6:45 pm, on the following dates.

Class 1.  October 14

What is virtue?  Is it really necessary?

Class 2. December 9

What is Christian spirituality? Can I be ‘spiritual’ without being ‘religious’?

Class 3. January 13

Does God have a purpose for me, and can I know what it is?

Class 4. February 17

What about my love life?  Is there any good news about dating and romance?

Class 5. April 7

How can I life a life for God in the world?


In addition, we will be meeting as a large group with Bishop Bena after the 10:15 am Eucharist on Sunday October 28th.  The bishop is looking forward to talking with our young people and their mentors.


 Adult Education Hour

October 21st  Intergenerational presentation downstairs in the church school classrooms, on Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.  Operation Christmas Child collects and distributes Christmas gift boxes for children in war-torn areas of the world. If you can remember, bring a shoebox and some Christmas wrapping paper.

October 28th  Bishop Bena will speak about his vision of our diocese – the challenges and tasks before us and the signs of hope.  There will time for questions and discussion.

November 4th  All Saint’s Sunday.  We will continue with our series Wrestling with Angels, with a presentation and discussion on prayer, “Why aren’t my prayers answered?” by Richard Foster.

November 11th  “What can I do to help?”  The upcoming holidays can be difficult times for those of us who are grieving the loss of loved ones.  Pauline Holmes will present information that can help us understand and support one another in bereavement.

November 18th  We will continue with our series Wrestling with Angels, with a presentation and discussion on

November 25th  Wrestling with Angels,


 Halloween party for the children

The youth of St. Stephen’s will host a Halloween party for the children, on October 28th (Sunday afternoon) 4:00 pm  -  6:00 pm.  We will have games and creepy snacks and explore a mysterious spooky house.  Wear your costume if you can.

Christmas Pageant Preparations

Yes, it is time already to begin thinking about our Christmas Pageant.  We will mount a revival of last year’s amazing play, A Christmas Gift, with an all new cast (actors from our church school, 12th grade and younger).  As is our custom, the pageant will be performed on the last Sunday of Advent, which this year is December 23rd.  We will hold readings for parts on two Sundays, November 18th and December 2nd, in the church after the 10:15 Eucharist.  We had such fun last year!  If you love pretending and costumes and sets and all, please let Mtr. Lorrie know and you can come play with us.

How are we going to celebrate Christmas this year?

What is really most meaningful? Who's going to do what? Are we willing to spend less on ourselves and help the needy? Ask questions like these. At a family meeting write down your decisions. Then post them.

At Christmas time so many peoples' brains seem to get disconnected. For whatever reason -- habit, family pressure, guilt about being a bad Dad, whatever -- people put themselves through incredible stress and end up in big debt. 

Instead of assuming that everything will be just the same this year and that everybody will be happy about it, talk to those who will be involved. Instead of gritting your teeth when you see Christmas decorations going up before Halloween, sit down with your family, contact your relatives and friends -- those you normally celebrate with -- and talk. Talk about what each of you really wants at Christmas, talk about expectations, talk about who is going to do what. Maybe the person -- usually Mom -- who is assumed to do most of the work, wants more help.  Maybe there's something else that folks really want to do but are afraid to rock the boat. Their humble idea may become a great new family tradition. Write down your ideas and post your plan in a central place. 

Mark your calendar for your own "Let's Talk About Christmas!" Day.  Beat the rush after Thanksgiving. Talk early.

Contact Alternatives for Simple Living at for a "Let's Talk About Christmas!" Worksheet, part of Alternatives' Christmas Campaign Kit.


Thank you for the camping trip

We want to thank David and Denise Crates will all our hearts, and Charles and Debbie Trawick as well, for taking some young people from St. Stephen’s on an overnight camping/canoe trip on Indian Lake.  They returned home on October 14th, having had a great time and more of an adventure than anyone had planned to have!  High winds made their trip home a challenge, but David and Denise got them home safe and sound. We’re thankful that such wonderful people belong to St. Stephen’s.


The October SICM Assembly meeting was held at the Altamont Reformed Church in Altamont.  Several new grants were announced for the hunger programs, the Damien Center, and a large grant for rehabilitation of the COCOA House, the after-school tutoring program in Schenectady.

Much of the regular agenda was suspended for discussion of recent world events.  A work-group discussion was held to focus on what church congregations can do to promote harmonious interactions with those of other faiths, especially Islam, in our community.  It was felt that more education is needed regarding the practices and beliefs of Muslims, particularly since the cities of Schenectady and Utica have the fastest-growing Afghani populations in New York State.

SICM is considering providing a monthly listing of programs, speakers, inter-faith services, and inter-faith forums in the community.

Projects that congregations may want to consider in the future include "adopting" or sponsoring a needy Afghani or Pakistani family in the area, educational programs aimed at church youth, visiting a local Mosque or Islamic center, or initiating a two-way dialogue between Christian church leaders and those at local Islamic centers or places of worship.

The November meeting will return to issues of welfare reform as it impacts food and employment needs in Schenectady, and police and social justice issues in Schenectady.

To the people of Saint Stephen’s,

How can I ever thank you for the most comforting, inspiring funeral service I have ever attended! We are so fortunate to have Father James and all his staff, who give so much of themselves, their time, and such thoughtfulness to all.

Saint Stephen’s cngregation is the most caring, friendly and sincere of ny I have met in all my 76 years of life.

The hymns and the bell choir added just the right touch.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Dot Rigley

Union College Event

Please take note of the panel discussion on the 6th of November.  This event is being jointly sponsored by the Capital Region Theological Center and Campus Protestant Ministry at Union College.  It will involve well known scholars Farid Esack and Walter Wink.

The Deacon's Bench

I read the following story in the newsletter of St. Peter’s Church, Pittsburg, KS:


A true story by Josh and Karen Zarandona

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing.  Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff.  In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope, and started up the face of that rock.  Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens.  Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her.  Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there.

Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry.  She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it.  When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found.  She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff.  She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.”  She thought, “Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is.  Please help me.”

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom.  At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff.  One of them shouted out, “Hey, you guys!  Anybody lose a contact lens?”  Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it?  An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it.  Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist.  When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, “Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this thing.  I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy.  But if this is what You want me to do, I’ll carry it for you.”

I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, “God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy.  But, if you want me to carry it, I will.”


                                                            Deacon Pat

Jazz Returns to St. Stephen's

Twice a year at the 10:15 Eucharist this congregation is pleased to welcome

the Union College Jazz Ensemble to lead us in "making a joyful noise to the

Lord".  They will be here on November 11th.  Led by Dr. Tim Olsen, music

director for St. Stephen's, the group will play a Ray Charles arrangement of

"America" and a variety of Spirituals and other songs.  This would be a good

Sunday to invite a friend to come to church with you.

Founder's Day:  November 18th


  In 1927 Fr. Bambach, rector of St. George's Church, Schenectady, called a

meeting to consider beginning a chapel.  Over the next year a house to house

canvas of the Upper-Union area was made Union College students.  By October

22, 1928 there were 120 interested families and an empty store on 1734 Union

Street near Palmer Avenue was rented and prepared for the first service held

on November 18, 1928.  That first service marks our beginning.  On November

18, 2001 we will remember that beginning with a Eucharist from the 1928

prayerbook, singing hymns that were sung at the Dedication Service November

20, 1949.  Also on Founder's Day we will honor all those who have been

members for forty years or longer.

Kerygma Bible Study

The fall Kerygma Bible Study is well under way, with a class of over 20 enthusiastic members present every Tuesday evening.  The course is “Exodus,” and we will be accompanying the Israelites as they journey through the wilderness, on the way to the Promised Land.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Moses and the Israelites will be accompanying us as we find our way through the sometimes harsh and frightening landscape of our lives, both public and private.  We share our own experiences and understandings in small groups as well as large, we laugh a lot (and disagree on occasion) as we learn from our texts and from each other.  We are sharing a great journey.

                                                            Deacon Pat

New York State Chaplain'sMeeting

I have just returned from the annual retreat of the New York State Association of Protestant Chaplains.  The chaplains are mostly prison chaplains, with a few who work for the Office of Mental Health or the Division for Youth.  These are some of the most dedicated, spiritually grounded men and women I have ever met, and I look forward each year to their annual retreat at the Conference Center of the Diocese of Central New York near Cazenovia.  The speaker this year, Rudy Gonzalez, is a Southern Baptist minister who talked about the great changes in American society and the churches that we can expect in the “Postmodern Age” that we have entered.  He predicts that there soon will be no racial majority in the US, rather a collection of minorities, so that no one group will establish the “norm.”  The churches may become unrecognizable as they adapt to the new needs and expectations and technologies that spring up.  There will be greater understanding between faith groups—and, one would hope, less sense of competition and divisiveness between denominations of the Christian faith.  He used the image of the storm to depict the times ahead: in Scripture, God uses storms to get our attention, to strengthen our trust, to show power—(and, I would add, to make a way where there was no way, as at the Red Sea when the east wind blew the water aside in the Exodus event).  He describes chaplains as “riders of the storm,” who interpret and guide the people through difficult times.  We all came away with a lot to think about—and I, at least, gained an awareness that not all Southern Baptists are “hardshell” and narrow in their understanding!  And now I want to read Michel Foucault and Jacques Derida, to learn more about the Postmodern Age.  Stay tuned!

                                                            Deacon Pat

The November Schedule of who's doing what...

Nov. 4

Nov. 11

Nov. 18

Nov. 25

All Saints' Sun.

Altar Guild*





Chalice 8 am

P. Holmes

M. Causey

C. Jones

G. Woodzell

Lector 8 am

P. Nevius

B. Stratton

S. Ras

L. Stevens

Chalice 10:15

O. Luczka

C. Jones

G. Woodzell

M. Causey

Lector 10:15

D. Manor

K. Chapman

G. Whitney

L. Pratico

Crucifer 10:15

J. Casale

N. Stewart

T. Trawick

P. Pratico

Server 10:15

E. Chapman

C. Roseberry

J. Rizzo

C. Whitney

Torch 10:15

T. Versocki

P. Sombor

L. Pratico

L. Pratico

Torch 10:15

S. Lyons

A. Marshall

K. Gibbs

C. Morin







Care Team

C&D Trawick


G&R Woodzell

A&K Lowe






*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


A Hoffman, Northrop

A M.Spang, D.May, R. May

B Peake, Morin, Reid, Russell

B Ackner, Gittinger, Molino

C Dipley, Lowe, Tomlinson

C D.Belardo,Voelker

D A.Spang, Borrowman, Crates

E. Peake, Small, Northrop

Sustitutes: Holmes, Bishop

Votive candles

From the earliest time in Christian history, candles have been used to

symbolize the faith that Christians have in From the earliest time in

Christian history, candles have been used to symbolize the faith that

Christians have in Christ, the light of the world and the promise of the

future.  Votive candles are used in churches and home to express living

faith.  "Votive" literally means "given by a vow or promise".  Votive

candles are a renewal of our baptismal promise of  ill you seeking and

serving Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as yourself, striving for

justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every

human being.


Many churches have votive candles placed before an icon where the faithful

can light a candle and pledge their love for the Lord and their commitment

to participate in his saving mission on earth.  A new "peace votive" can now

be found in the tower entrance of the church.  The congregation is invited

to light a candle any time of day, vowing to live our lives faithful to the

Gospel and thus dispel the darkness of the age.

Parish Profile

by Louise Peake

Jean Versocki and her daughter Judy have really found a home at St. Stephen’s. They attend the 10:15 service and Kerygma classes. Jean’s grandchildren, Tyleigh and Alik, attend Sunday school, and Tyleigh is a torch bearer.

A year ago, Jean purchased a home on Sumner Avenue and Judy, an accomplished gardener,  went to work on the “virgin garden” and established a lovely flower garden.

Jean works for the City School District, and Judy works at Schenectady City Hall for the Water Department. Their interests and hobbies are wide and various. Judy is musically talented; she play the guitar and some keyboard. She has a lovely voice and has been soloist at weddings. (Tim Olsen, take note!) Jean likes to quilt, embroider, and do crafts. She made costumes for last year’s Christmas Pageant. Jean has recently joined the Altar Guild.

Jean felt a “strong sense of family” when she first visited St. Stephen’s. Now that we know them a little better, we’ll be finding outlets for the talents of both these clever women.

Garner Avenue House Painting Party

Thanks to all those who painted and all those who provided lunch for the painters:

Liz Casale

Louise Peake

George Woodzell

Ted Schlansker

John Goldthwaite

Millie Gittinger

Bill Beck

Austin Spang

Cindy Marshall

Andy Marshall

Emily Marshall

Allison deKanel

Rick Morin

Mtr. Lorrie

Jim Lyons

Stasia Lyons

Jed Dare

Marilyn Causey

Martha Nicholson

Vicki Hoshko

So many hands made the job go by quickly! If you haven’t seen the results, do stop by the Garner Avenue House on a Sunday morning. It’s lookin’ gooood!

Birthdays, Flowers, Anniversaries, ...

November Altar Flowers

            1            All Saints’s Day

            4            All Saints’ Day Sunday

            11            In loving memory of William Peake, given by Louise Peake

            18            In loving memory of Agnes F. Toomey given by Liz Varno

            22            Thanksgiving Day;  In loving memory of Porter Dobbins, Jr.

            25            In loving memory of Dawn Schlansker given by Ted Schlansker

November Birthdays

            2            Nick Stewart

            6            Zachary Price

            7            Jim Lyons

            8            Eric Kilbourn, Alexis McCrea

            9            Alton Reedy

            13            Olivia Jaquith

            17            Emily Marshall. Andrew Marshall

            18            James Pierce, Allison Pierce

            19            Jesse Dipley, Debbie O’Connor, Jon Rizzo

            20            Tim Molino

            23            Shane Phillips, Mary Frances Barlow

            25            Isabella Dewhurst, Charlie Vedder, Carmella Vedder

            28            Molly Lundquist, Jackie Tomlinson,

            30            Liz Stevens, Carole Merrill-Mazurek, Travis Reedy

November Wedding Anniversaries

            3            Hoagy and Bill Walker

                        Liz and Gregg Varno

            4            Charline and Norman Hoffmann

            7            Carol and Steve Ras

            18            Mary Frances and George Barlow

            24            Kabby and Al Lowe

            25            Doreen and Ralph May

                        Kathy and Mark Pohl

            28            Mary and Gene Whitney

Return to Messenger Home Page