The Messenger
February, 2002


From the Rector

Dear Friends,

         This year Easter almost is as early as it can be!  Therefore, Ash Wednesday is also very early - February 13th!  The weeks before Lent are a good time to decide what your Lenten discipline will be this year.  As I was growing up in church the emphasis was on giving up something for Lent.  One problem with this is that we often get so caught up in trying to keep our Lenten denial, that we loose track of the true reason we are doing it.  Another problem is that we can perform the denial for the praise of others, and thus rob ourselves of that which we seek: true intimacy with God.

        There is another way to observe a holy lent.  Instead of giving up, we can take on such activities as weekday Eucharists or participation in a Lenten study group.  This year we have increased Lenten opportunities by adding a Sunday evening study series.  Increasing the amount of time spent in reading the Bible and other religious books, in meditation and prayer, and in doing extra work to help the poor and needy - are all worthwhile forms of Lenten discipline.  Taking on additional activities during Lent is an excellent way to prepare for Christ's resurrection, because these are the very activities which were such an important part of Jesus' ministry.  How many times in the Gospels can you remember Jesus urging his disciples to give up something? But think of the times Jesus urges his followers to feed the hungry and tend to the needy.

        Up to a point Ash Wednesday is supposed to make us uncomfortable as we contemplate our sinful condition.  However, this stark, penitential day, the first of the 40 days of Lent does not have to be the beginning of a time of negativity, when we dwell on denial.  I am urging you today to consider taking on a spiritual activity, rather than giving up something.  The difference between giving up and taking on is that taking on an activity is a creative act; giving up something is not.  But don't think that taking on something for Lent is easier or requires less pain than giving up something.

Taking on an activity is every bit as much a discipline as self-denial, but is more like the mother's joy at birth which overshadows the pains that precede it.

        So Lent is not only a time for us to remember the shortness and frailty of human life, a time reflecting on our tendency to sin; it is also a time of spiritual refreshment and new commitment to Christ.  We shall not be unduly depressed, for we are children of God, in Christ.  Lent is a time when all we are called to do is to be who we are created to be.  We need only be human, a simple matter of being in relationship with God and other human beings.

 

Opportunities for Spiritual Growth in Lent

 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.

Mtr. Lorrie will lead the Thursday study series on  "What is 'Call' in Chirstian Life?".  (See article below.)

Thursday Mornings:  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 am.  It involves the Laying on of Hands and anointing with Holy Oil of Unction.  After the service we 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. Throughout Lent we will be using Rite I.

 Sunday Evenings:  This year we will add a study series on Sunday evenings at 5:30 in the parish hall.  Fr. James will lead a bible study based on Handel's Messiah.  We will examine those passages which most pertain to the Lenten season:

 Feb. 17 Behold the Lamb of God
Feb. 24 He Trusted in God
March 3 Who is the King of Glory?
March 10 Glory to God in the Highest
March 17 I know that my Redeemer Liveth
March 24 Why Do the Nations Rage?

 Everyone is invited to the evening Eucharist after class.

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.  Please call the parish office if you wish to experience this tradition.

 Lent affords us a good opportunity to explore areas of our liturgical tradition that not widely used in our church.

 

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Don't miss the traditional Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 12th! at St. Stephen's marking the last time for festivities before Lent begins, on Wednesday!  

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.

 

BRING YOUR PALMS FROM 2000 PALM SUNDAY TO BE BURNED FOR ASH WEDNESDAY.

 

 Ash Wednesday Services

Ash Wednesday is February 13th  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 parish clergy.  A short brochure describing this sacrament can be found on the Welcome Table in the parish hall.

 

 Thank-you...

 ....to ICHTHUS who made over 100 sub sandwiches for their fundraiser on January 26

 ....to all who submitted reports for the Annual Meeting

 ...to our sexton, Dave, who keeps digging us out of the snow when we have it.

 ...to Pauline Northrop who plowed through so many numbers in preparing our Parochial Report for the national church

 ....to the Adult Choir who not only make beautiful music for us, but also made us proud in representing us at the choir festival at the Cathedral

 Parish Leadership Conference in March
 March 2nd, 2002,  8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of All Saints

The Diocesan Parish Leadership Conferences are open to Priests, Deacons, Vestry members, Wardens, Evangelism Leaders, Church School Leaders, the Heads of Ushers and Greeters, Parish Administrators, the Clerk of the Vestry, the Treasurer, and the three newest members of each parish.  The theme is “empowering people to transform parishes.”  Nine different workshops are available, from “Duties and Responsibilities of Church Wardens and Vestry” to “Conflict Management” to “Intercessory Prayer.”  Call the church office or visit the Diocesan website  http://www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org   to register.

Upcoming Youth Retreats at Beaver Cross

 Don't forget to register for Winter SonShine 2002. This is 3 days of fun at the beautiful snow-covered (?) Beaver Cross Camp near Cooperstown. There are two separate SonShine events -one for Middle School and one for High School. The dates for these are Feb 17-20 and Feb 21-22 respectively. Call the church office for registration information or call Beaver Cross at 607-547-9489 or  beavercrosS@stny.rr  .com, .

 Speaking of Beaver Cross. ..

The fine folks of Beaver Cross have just released their summer schedule for 2002. They have made some upgrades to the accommodations, expanded the "Challenge Course" and installed a new portable Climbing Wall! We will have registration forms available by early February. Here are the dates:

Beaver Cross Summer 2002 (use fall 2002 grade)  

Beaver Bound: Grades 1-2 June 26-28

 Community Camp 1 Grades 3-5 June 3O-July 6

Community Camp 2 Grades 3-5  July 7-13

 Community Camp 3 Grades 6-8 July 14-20

 Community Camp 4 Grades 6-8  July 21-27

 Community Camp 5 Grades 6-8  July 28-Aug 3

 Community Camp 6 Grades 9-12 Aug. 4-10

 Community Camp 7 Grades 9-12 Aug. 11-17

 

Communion Classes

 Several of our families of young children have asked me about communion classes for their little ones.  We generally practice ‘infant communion’ in our parish.  But by the time children are finishing first grade, they are old enough to understand what it means to participate in the Lord’s supper.  That is the time for some focused instruction for the children and their parents.  We will be offering communion classes for children and their parents, along with some activities to complete at home.  There will be two consecutive classes, 1 1/2 hours each, sometime during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of March. We will make bread and grape juice and learn about how our Lord welcomes his people to his feast. These classes are open to anyone, even if you have been receiving communion for years.  Please let Mtr. Lorrie know that you are interested, and we will figure out the best times for the classes.

 

Lenten Study Series
What is "Call" for the Christian?


   
 “  . . . let each of you lead the life to which God called you.” [1 Cor 7:17] We are to called to become fully the people God created us to be, living our lives in response to God’s call to us as Jesus lived out his life faithful to God’s call for him.  Hearing one’s call also means discovering one’s truest self.      But how can we hear God’s call to us?  Sometimes it seems our ears are filled with a cacophony of other voices  the expectations of others, the seductive promises of social ambition, and the voice of our own ego.

    In this Lenten study series we will learn about discernment, the way of hearing and following God’s call to us. Participants will commit to some reading and reflection time outside of class. If there are enough people who want to participate, classes will be offered at two different times:  Thursday evenings 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (after Evening Prayer at 6:00 p.m. and our traditional soup supper), and Saturday mornings 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  The first classes will be Thursday, Feb. 14th and Saturday, Feb. 16th, respectively.  Please speak to Mtr. Lorrie or call the church office if you would like to participate.

Get ready for more fun at the next :"Friday Night Off"

Some of you may recall that St Stephen’s held a “Friday Night Off” program last fall, just as Advent started.   We had a great turnout, and a lot of fun.  And no one had to cook!

 For those of you who may have missed the first one, read on: this will catch you up. “Friday Night Off” is an intergenerational fellowship and activity program that allows members of St Stephen’s to get together without the pressure of preparing meals for their families at the end of a long week. 

 At our last Friday Night Off, over 30 people showed up for active games, making Advent wreaths and sharing lasagna.  It was a really good time! 

 Our next Friday Night Off will be Friday, February 15, at 6:00 p.m.  Our Lenten Friday Night Off will feature two different meatless soups.   We’ll make sure that one will appeal to children!  Our theme is “Game Night”.  So bring your favorite board games, and we’ll bring ours…. from Twister to backgammon  and  everything in between.

 A sign up sheet will be on the shop counter.  Please sign up so we can plan for enough food.  As last time, price per person will be very reasonable.  If you need a ride, please call Karen Malcolm at 370-8779.   If you have any questions, call Karen with those, too. 

 Whether you are cooking for one or seven, it’s better to share a meal with us that you don’t have to make!  Please mark your calendar for Friday, February 15.  It won’t be as much fun without you!

 

 Christmas Cards Delivered to Jail

    On December 16th, Deacon Pat, Allison deKanel, and Gloria Kavanah visisted over 200 detainees and inmates at the Schenecetady County Correctional Facility, distributing  Christmas Cards to all who wanted them. We were welcomed enthusiastically and with much appreciation by all: calls of “Merry Christmas,” “Thank you and God bless you!” followed us from floor to floor. One man with a large family in Chicago wished he had more than the five cards we offered, but ha cheerfully said, “ Oh well, oatmeal better than no meal!” Because we had to leave before we were finished (lockdown is at 2:45 and no outsiders are allowed), Carole Merrill-Mazurek completed the job on Monday afternoon, distributing the cards to nearly 100 individuals.

 This Christmas Card project has grown a lot since the years we delivered cards to perhaps 15-20 women; This year we gave out 1750 cards, already stamped with a total of $595 worth of postage to approximately 350 grateful recipients. It was a privilege to represent the people of St. Stephen’s, who contributed so generously by donating unused cards, sorting, stamping and bundling the cards, and by providing postage. This year we received additional cards from Janet Hutchison, owner of “The Open Door Bookstore.” Thank you to all of you who contributed, on behalf of the men and women at the jail and their families and friends.

 (Donation of unused greeting cards for the jail--Christmas, birthday, etc. - are welcome at any time. Please place them in the deacon’s mailbox in the Nave extension.

 

 Stewardship and the Engineer
By Murray Roseberry

     Many of you know me as spiritual person and the spokesman for Stewardship. However, there is a darker side.  I am also an analytical, hard nosed, take no prisoners, engineer.  How can this be?  One side of me deals in Godly matters, the other strictly in science.  How do I reconcile these "opposite" internal views?  During the next few months, I will try to explain how I not only deal with this dichotomy but also how I find God in dealing with this duality.  This brings me to the question for this month.  How do I reconcile the idea of a church budget which is fixed in January with a pledge program which in not completed until May.  The engineer says this cannot be so "I need to know how much I can spend so that I can accurately budget for the year."  And the Steward in me says "All things come from God and He will provide for the Church's needs."

     Well as we all know by now, the 2002 Church budget exceeds last year's income by $10,759.  This certainly got the analytical side's attention.  The analytical side may have been able to handle a difference of $3000 or $4000 that would have been in the normal variability.  But this is too much unknown revenue and the Stewardship side must realize that is this totally unacceptable.  However, the Stewardship side was not to be so easily deterred.  The Stewardship side look at it another way.  $10,759 divided by 52 weeks divided by 140 giving units yielded $1.48 increased pledge per giving unit per week.  Totally within reason for the upcoming pledge campaign.  Furthermore, we all agreed (even you analytical types) that we needed to do what we are doing to bring God to more people.  Now is not the time to doubt our purpose or resolution.

    During the coming Spring season, each of us should have frank and open disscussions with God about our Stewardship and make the best choice based on God's needs and our individual needs.   We should not base our pledges only to provide what is needed but on the results of our discussions with God about where we should be based on our Stewardship of God's Bounty.  Remember the decision made is between you and God, and is the right decision if made with faith and prayer.

  

 

New Vestry Members

 At the Annual Meeting on January 20, the following were elected to the vestry:

 David Malcolm
Gaye Mertz
Barbara Strangfeld.

Grant Jaquith was elected Junior Warden and Murry Roseberry became the Senior Warden.

 

 Thanks . . .

Belle Beck wishes to thank everyone for their cards and good wishes for her birthday.

 

 

Altar Flowers in February

 

            3           
In memory of Edna Phillips given by Howard and Margaret Phillips
In memory of Emilie and William Voelker and Anna and Arthur Lindstrom given by Robert and Shirley Voelker

            10           
In honor of the loved ones of Robert Malmros;  In memory of Naomi Vanda given by Vicki Hoshko

 February Birthdays

1  Bill Walker
3 Nick Brooks-McDonald;   Megan Price
5 Mildred Barber;  Charles Ackner
6 Don Nelson;   Alexxis Gibbs
8  Pat Jones;   Drew Prescott
9 Petrina Marx
10  Dave Goyette
11 Mark Pohl
12 Don Regula
13 Samuel Koch  
14  Nan Blaufuss; Taylor Trawick; Carolyn Manor; Christoper Ehler; Marilyn Causey
15 Hugh Campbell
18 Jane Tatge
19 Honey Morris; Chris Nelson; Mary Alexander
20 Dennis Moss
21 Gregg Varno; Shari MacIvor
22 Karen Malcolm
23 Mitchell Rigley
24 Pauline Northrop; Benjamin Pierson
25 Dawn McCarthy
26 Christy Buell
28 Elizabeth Pratico

         

February Wedding Anniversaries

            7            Allison and Paul deKanel

            10            Christine and Keith Nelson

            24            Karen and David Malcolm

 

Did You Know?
Odds and ends....


At the 2000 General Convention, the Delegates voted to "commend states and communities establishing 'safe drop off zones' for abandoned babies."
 
Also at GC2000, they voted to urge the "Church at every level to work to end state-sponsored gambling and gaming."
 
At GC 1991, the Delegates voted to "renew commitment to address violence in every sector of society especially domestic violence and hate-based violence."
 
´The topic for Agape´ on February 8th is a talk by Al and Kabby Lowe and Bruce and Jane Tatge on their  respective trips to China.
 
On April 12th, Morris Padula of the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the NYS Office of the Attorney General will be the evening's speaker at Agape´.
 
Kudos to Debbie Trawick and all who helped on the Annual Meeting brunch. The food was delicious and she even  warmed the plates. Thanks, Debbie.
 
Belle Beck sends thanks to all who sent cards, visited, or said prayers for her on the occasion of her birthday!
 
The Over-the-Hill gang continues to cut a swath through the junk stored in the various nooks and crannies of the church buildings. They recently attacked the basement in the office, found a few surprises and cleared out most of the rest. The place is almost organized!
 
St. Stephen's supplied almost two-weeks worth of meals for the DeBritz family after Luke's arrival.  Thanks to all who sent in a meal!
 
There is still time to reserve a Sunday for flowers. Gaye Mertz has left a schedule on the Church Shop counter.
 
Please pick up your pledge envelops. They are on the table with the mailboxes in the parish hall extenions.
 
ER&D
Over $11 million has been contributed to Episcopal Relief and Development in 2001.This is the largest amount we have ever received in contributions. Great thank yous go to all the generous people who have made this possible. $4.3 million has been designated for the September 11 disaster.
 
Emergency Grant
We have all seen the scenes of devastation surrounding the eruption of the  volcano in the Congo. Episcopal Relief and Development has responded by sending an Emergency Grant of $25,000 to the Diocese of Bukava of the  Anglican Church of the Congo. This money will be used to provide emergency  services, food and cooking implements to residents fleeing to the area around Mount Nyirangongo.
 
Please remember to visit the web site of Episcopal Relief with the latest news:  www.er-d.org      or  (800) 334-7676