The Messenger
April, 2002


St. Stephen's presents
A Festival of Music

Sunday, April 28 at 3:00 p.m.Sunday, April 28 at 3:00 p.m. featuring the Adult, Children's, and Bell Choirs, directed by Tim Olsen and Marilyn Dare. The program will include some of our favorite hymns and anthems, plus "Three Prayers", a new work written by Tim Olsen for this concert. Admission free; a freewill offering will be collected for a local non-profit organization. A reception will follow.

 

 

Church Voices in the Public Square

 Church Voices in the Public Square will be held April 5/6 in New Hartford, NY (about 11/2 hours from Schenectady).  Integrating faith with an active concern for public policy is the focus of this gathering offered by four upstate New York Episcopal dioceses.  The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, Bishop of Massachusetts, the keynote speaker, will be sharing his thoughts on 'Public Policy: What is the Church's Role?'.  Saturday workshop offerings will be lead by experts in their fields and will offer "How To" and "Issue" sessions. Workshops on the death penalty, farm workers, poverty/welfare reform, a living wage, this fragile earth, and doing public policy for beginners.  A room at the Ramada (where the gathering takes place) is  $71.

The cost of the gathering is $50.  Scholarship is available from the clergy. There is still time to register, but time is running out!  Please call the parish office as soon as possible.

 

Rector's Letter

Dear Friends,

 I thought I would share with you several things that are on my mind now that Easter day is past.

 The vestry has been busy with several projects.  One is the organization of a Church Inventory Taskforce, charged with doing something this church has never completed:  a comprehensive inventory of what the church owns.  Both an original cost and a replacement cost will be determined for most items. A digital picture will be taken of each item and will be cross-referenced in our parish data base.  As you can see, this is a daunting project and I want to thank Norman Hoffmann for agreeing to lead a fine group of parish leaders in the task.

 I have heard several reports on the cottage meetings that were held throughout the month of March.  Many wonderful conversations about what it means to be a good Christian steward of what God has given us were held in private homes throughout our parish area.  Now the time is coming to decide how those conversations relate to filling out your pledge card.  With increasing costs in the church, I am concerned with our bottom-line, but I am more concerned that everybody pledge something.  If you have never pledged to the church, please prayerfully consider doing so this year.

 Finally, I have been thinking about the quality of our fellowship time together.  Several years ago we held a large auction in the parish hall, the proceeds of which went to outreach.  The taskforce in charge of this event disliked the eight foot rectangular tables we own, and so they borrowed eight round tables from a neighboring church.  What a difference they made! Recently I asked the vestry to replace our present tables with round ones. Since our current budget is stretched already, the vestry enlisted Louise Peake to form a group to raise the money for new tables and chairs.  They decided on a Media Sale - used books, videos, DVDs vinyl records, tapes, etc.  Also there will be a silent auction and a bake sale.  I support this idea very much and I have already put together a one box full already.  I have promised my wife, Viki, that I will come up with at least two more boxes from our home library.  Remember April 27/28 to pickup some good bargains! 

Have a blessed Easter season.

 

 

CROP WALK FOR THE HUNGRY

 Set aside Sunday, May 5th, for the annual CROP WALK in Schenectady.  This event, which raises money to fight hunger locally and worldwide, begins and ends at St. Luke's School off of Albany Street.  The WALK begins at 1:30 after a 15-minute ceremony.

 In 2001 over 1,200 walkers from area churches and other groups participated, making it the largest CROP WALK in New York State.  We raised more than $60,000 which was transmitted to CROP, the Community Hunger Appeal arm of Church World Service.  From this amount, about $13,500 was returned for local hunger fighting efforts by area food pantries and the Nutrition Program for the Elderly.  The other 75% was used for worldwide hunger programs.

 We need: walkers or runners sponsors for walkers or runners registrars for the day of the walk greeters to welcome returning walkers or runners

 Please join us!!  In a few weeks CROP WALK forms and sign up sheets will be available.

 

   

"SAY IT WITH A BOOK"

 You are invited to express yourself by donating a new book to the Church Libraries. Each donated book will display a label with the donor's name and personal message.

This is the perfect opportunity to....

? celebrate your child or grandchild's birthday

? show appreciation for a job well done

? say thank you to a church school teacher or other parish leader

? share an interest

? remember a loved one

? celebrate a holiday

? make sure a favorite book is in the library

 All friends members of Saint Stephen's congregation are welcome to become involved in this venture.  It's a great way to help our library grow.

 The next time you have something to say....

 "SAY IT WITH A BOOK"

 General information contact the parish office.

THANK YOU!

 

 

Godly Boundaries

By Tom Miller

 At my place of employment, we periodically have to endure mandatory sensitivity training on such topics as ethics, sexual harassment, and diversity in the workplace.  Since I consider myself to be already sensitive, I am offended by the implication that I need further sensitization, and I do my best to play the role of the unwilling conscript during the hour or two that each session takes.  Needless to say, I was less than enthusiastic when I learned some months ago that I might be requested to spend a few hours of my weekend time learning about “Godly Boundaries”, and I derisively characterized the course as “Thou shalt not fondle thy neighbor’s children.”

 

The invitation to attend the training arrived in my mailbox last week.  Under ordinary circumstances, I might have thrown it away, saying “I’m a volunteer ! Whadda they gonna do, fire me?” Recent events, though, have given me a different outlook.  We have all seen newspaper articles headlined “Priests afraid to wear collars in public.”  While most of the attention has centered on the Roman Catholic Church and the failure of its leadership to respond appropriately to sexual misconduct, the public reaction affects all denominations.  If there is a difference between a Roman collar and an Anglican collar, I haven’t noticed it, and I suspect most of our fellow Americans haven’t either. 

 

When our country was attacked recently, we looked for something we could do, to demonstrate our unity and honor our heroes.  Even if it was only a symbolic gesture, displaying flags by the millions sent a clear message that we really do care about our country.    Now the Church is under attack, and its heroes are being forgotten.  Those who regard all organized religion as irrelevant at best, and pernicious at worst, have new evidence that seems to support their case.  Those of us who work with youth can’t say out of one side of our mouths, “Somebody should do something”, and out of the other, “Leave me alone, I don’t abuse children.”  We need to demonstrate to the doubters that we sincerely care about the welfare and  safety of the young people entrusted to us.

 

Diocesan Convention 2002

 Our Diocesan Convention will be held June 7-9 at the Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, New York.  The highlight of this meeting will be the Confirmation and Reception of new members into our church.  In addition to the business side of our Diocese (electing officials, voting on budgets and resolutions, etc.) there will be a youth rally and special youth events, worship, a variety of workshops and exhibitors, and child care.  The music for the gathering will be provided by a local group of Episcopal priests who call themselves the Clerical Errors.

        The delegates from Saint Stephen's Church are Norman Hoffmann, Suzanne Coonradt , and Denise Crates.  Fr. James, Mtr. Lorrie and Deacon Pat are also delegates.

        Most Episcopalians know more about their local communities than about the larger structures.  Many have no involvement beyond the local boundaries. However, since we are Episcopalians we bear a share of the responsibility for the support of the diocesan and national structures.  This means that to be an Episcopalian is to be something more than a member of a local group of Christians, and it demands a greater awareness of larger responsibilities.

 

Disciple - The Bible as a Narrative, not a news  bite

 Imagine trying to tell the history of the United States by reciting a one-minute episode once each week: today we’ll hear about the Boston Tea Party; next week we’ll hear about Pearl Harbor. Trying to understand the Bible from the brief readings we hear each week I church is just as difficult -- more so, in fact, because the Bible covers more than two thousand years of history, rather than our country’s three hundred.

 Disciple Bible Study addresses the problem head on: read essentially the entire Bible, so that you can see the sweep  of history, understand the connections between people and events, know the context within which familiar stories took place, hear Christ’s message delivered and then spread, and, ultimately, strengthen and deepen your won faith.

 Beginning with Genesis and working straight through to Revelation, each week Disciple students read a substantial portion of the Bible, examine it for themes and major ideas, and answer questions that help to understand the reading in terms of their own lives. This is not a minimum effort course: you are setting out to read most of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, so expect to spend four or five hours each week reading, and two and a half hours in class. But remember -- no pain, no gain! Each week you will find the class punctuated with “Aha!” moments,  as people discover connections and gain understanding tht can occur only when you are able to place individual events within a larger setting, setting made clear by reading the Bible as a narrative, rather than hearing it in news bites.

 

Godly Boundaries at St. Stephen’s

 Godly Boundaries is a workshop is about appropriate sexual boundaries for our ministries as teachers and leaders in the church.  Understanding and taking responsibility for these issues is of absolute importance for our community.  The consequences for taking the 'ostrich' approach can be devastating, as we have seen in the recent revelations of clergy sexual misconduct in Boston and other  places.

 Our diocese has worked to put this workshop together using some video presentations developed by an ecumenical group working nationally on the issues of sexual misconduct.  The workshop will be offered in our parish on April 6, 8:30 am to 1:30 pm.  We will serve refreshments during the workshop, but we will not be serving lunch.

 It is our responsibility as a parish to make sure that all those who work with youth have participated in this workshop and have signed the "Covenant for Sexual Responsibility" as requested by our diocesan leadership.  Any one who wants to volunteer as a teacher, youth leader, or chaperone during the next program year of 2002-03 must have completed this training.

 Please call the church office as soon as possible to let us know you will be coming, or, if you cannot, please call or email Mtr. Lorrie so that we can work out arrangements for you to attend the training at another location.  

We are blessed to have leaders in our diocese who are working to make sure that our churches tell the truth and act on the truth with regard to this issue. Everyone  must be safe in our church.

 

 

Spring Celebration Breakfast
Mother's Day, May 12

 Our young people are beginning to count the weeks until July 14th, the day that we will leave for Reach Work Camp.  This year we will be hauling our tools and work boots, our selves, our souls and bodies, up to Niagara Falls.  So what does this have to do with Mother's Day, you ask?  The youth are working to raise their portion of the expenses for the travel, food, and accommodations for the week.  Someone had a brilliant idea: “we can raise money for Work Camp and make a wonderful celebration breakfast for all the Mothers (and everyone else)! They have become quite skilled at cooking breakfast at their Lock-Ins: serving up sumptuous feasts of french toast, sausage, fruit salad, and other good things.

 So, here’s the deal.  Spring Celebration Breakfast will be served at 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Sunday, May 12.  $5.00 per adult, $3.00 for a child 5 yrs - 11 yrs, and under 5 children are free. Tickets will be sold for the event beginning April 21st.  

Mark it on your calendars now.  Remember, this means you won't have to stand in line at a crowded restaurant for brunch! 

 

Acolyte Exams April 7th 5:00 pm - 6:30pm

Acolyte Qualifying Exams will be taken on Sunday evening, April 7th.   Acolytes who pass the exam will be qualified to serve in this ministry at St. Stephen's. Our acolytes have been studying their new Manual for Acolytes so that they can serve and support the prayer and worship of the whole community.  We will also be measuring the acolytes (they keep growing!) and making sure that each acolyte has  properly fitted vestments.

 

 

Jesus, the New Way
Sunday Adult Education Hour for April

One of the reviewers of this video series commented that it "was like seeing someone you have loved for years with new eyes." There is so much given here that will deepen and enrich our understanding of and relationship with Jesus. 

 This six-week series is presented by Dr. Tom Wright, a leading New Testament scholar at Oxford University.  His ground-breaking work helps us to understand the historical and cultural realities of Jesus' day. "The New Way" is about how Jesus was the fulfillment of the deepest hopes and prayers of Israel, but in a new way that they did not expect.

 Please join us for the class sessions as follows.  If you miss a session and would like to borrow the tapes, please talk to Mtr. Lorrie.

    Program 1:Getting the Kingdom Started-March 17

    Program 2: Announcing the Kingdom-March 24

    Program 3: Longing for a King-April 7

    Program 4: Why Did Jesus Die?-April 14

    Program 5: Who Was Jesus?-April 21

    Program 6: The New Claim-April 28

 

 

Parish Profile
by Louise Peake

 Fr. James’ newspaper advertisement  inviting visitors to St. Stephen’s Church and our web site, which Chris Jones ably maintains, brought two new members to our church. David Caruso and Roseanne Calacone were looking for a church to fill their needs. They read the advertisement in The Gazette and checked out our web site. Dave and Roseanne were impressed and decided to attend services for the final test. Both were pleased with our worship, sense of community, and our traditions.

 

Dave and Roseanne completed an Inquirers Class and were confirmed. They plan to marry in September.

 

Dave is a designer at GE. Roseanne ia an administrative assistant in an office that provides complementary therapies.

 

When time allows, Dave and Roseanne enjoy camping, canoeing, and hiking. They are participating in a Foyer group.

 

They usually attend the 10:15 service. With the aid of our name tags, find them and say “hello!”

 

 

Photo Directory

 We have all been waiting for word of the St. Stephen's photo church directory. It is my task to inform you that there has been not only some gross miscommunications but also some materials that were never forwarded in order for us to do our part of the assembling of the book. After several attempts and finally a not so pleasant phone call, I have the missing materials and am able to begin the framing of the directory. I have been told the process will take approximately an additional 9 weeks.  I am sorry for any inconvenience that this delay may have caused you or your family.

Liz Varno

 

The March General Assembly meeting of the Schenectady Inner City  Ministry emphasized four areas:

 

1) The SICM Food Program Annual Report again stressed the increasing food needs in the County since September 11.  Especially needed are non-canned food items.

 2)  There is increased concern over violence in the city of Schenectady, particularly in light of the death of 16-year-old Leonder Goodwin, familiar to those at COCOA House tutoring program.  ARISE (A Regional Initiative Supporting Empowerment) combined efforts with SICM, the NAACP, and the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association to sponsor the Gathering for a Livable City after Goodwin's death.  Future gatherings for planning and strategy are being assessed. 

 3)  Capital District Community Gardens will be getting more involved in the Schenectady area, at four sites in the City of Schenectady this growing season.  For more information, call 274-8685.

 4)  CROP Walk plans for 2002 are under way.  Janine Phillips and Cindy Reedy will again be recruiting walkers and sponsors for the May 5 Walk.  Circle that date on your calendar!

 

 

Stewardship
by Trish Savage
Stewardship Committee

 Many of you have been reviewing your checkbook recently as you fill out you income tax forms. Your checkbook is probably the most detailed and thorough written record of who you are. If someone else read it, that person would know all about you, what you value, what you think is important, what you hope and fear, what you believe in, what you want and were you “put your money where your mouth is.”

 

The second most detailed, written account of who you are is your personal calendar. The record (or memory) of how you spent your time identifies you through your commitments.

           

Your decisions last year to contribute or withhold your resources--whether it be time, talent, or money--are acts of power. I hope you take a while to consider each significant decision; for it was an act of identity. How you spend your money, where you exert your energy and when you give your time determines the image of yourself that you project both to the world and to yourself. Your commitment to spend your resources can be very spiritual. As Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

The time, talent, and money you give and how much and why and to whom and for what purpose reveals your true nature at the very core of your being. Getting, spending, and giving away your valuable and limited resources reveals your deepest commitments. It is a powerful, significant, and identifying act, which can be very spiritual.

 

You probably wonder about how much money and how many hours you should enter on your annual pledge card. It is important that you make commitments that fit your schedule and budget. The church knows that emergencies, disasters, and losses can occur; so, don’t let fears about fulfilling your pledge keep you from down  a number. I suggest that you give the amount that makes you feel good.

 

“Feel good about giving away my time and money?” You are probably questioning that right now. If so, maybe you have never taken the time after filling out your pledge card to think seriously about what you just did and to enjoy the good feeling. Or, maybe you have never made a financial gift that was really right for you, and you knew it.

 

Remember, the more you commit to St. Stephen’s, the more meaning you will extract from your involvement in our church. And, I promise you, you will feel good about your support and membership in our precious church.

 

 

St.Stephen's Spring Fund Raiser

   Through your generosity and support, a sale is planned to raise funds for the purchase of round tables and chairs for the church hall. We believe that a round table is more condusive to conversation and helps create fellowship. Participants at the meal site will also benefit from the    comfortable seating.

    A sale is planned for SATURDAY, APRIL 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.    and SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 9-10:00 a.m. and 11:30-1:00 p.m..    Donations are requested for the following: baked goods, candies, jams,    crafts, second time around wearable costume jewelry, books, videos, c d's, tapes and phono records and a silent auction. We also require people power to make this a success.

    Please fill out the ballot and drop in collection plate.

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

                           SPRING FUND RAISER

   NAME                                                 PHONE

 

   I would like to donate:____________________________

   I would like to help:____________________________

  If you have questions please call Louise Peake at 374-0480

Items can be left at the rear of the church hall next to the piano.

We ask God's blessing on this project.

                                                          Thank You

 

 

Thank you......Thank you

 ...To all cooks  who cooked and baked our suppers before the various Lenten studies.

...To the Alter Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Easter Day beautiful with flower arrangements.

 ...To Tim Olsen, the adult and children's choirs, and all instrumentalists

...To the lectors, chalice bearers and acolytes who made our worship possible.

 ...To all those who helped in the toddler and nursery rooms.

 ...To the ushers and to the offering counters.

 ...To our administrative assistant, Kathy, who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements.

 ...To Dave, our sexton who made the church shine.

 ...To the church women who made our palm crosses.

 ...and the list goes on and on.

 

 

A Bit of Theater

 

Rocky Bonsal will play a leading role in “A Perfect Ganesh,” a play by Terrance McNally about two  American women who travel to India, where they face a very different culture and their own inner demons. The play opens on April 12 at 8pm at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in the Joseph L. Bruno Theater. There are performances on April 13, April, 18, 19, 20, April 25, 26, 27 and a matinee at 2pm on April 21. If you are interested in going with a St. Stephen’s group to the matinee on the 21st, sign up on the church shop. Tickets are $15.

 

 

April Altar Flowers

 

7          In memory of William McMahon given by Howard and Margaret Phillips

14        In memory of the loved ones of Gillian and Sidney Woodcock

21        In memory of Francis N. Reid given by William B. Reid

28        In memory of Naomi Vanda given by Stewart Vanda

 April Birthdays

 1          Stasia Lyons

2          Janet Faubion

3          June Russell

5          Kira Dietz

7          Nathan Kaczka

9          Gerald Perregaux

10        Lucy Clark,Gordon Jaquith, Brendon McCarthy

11        Hiola Henry, Viki Brooks-McDonald, Tanner MacIvor

12        Steve Ras, Bailey Mertz

14        Noreen Jurgensen

15        Kathy Miller

16        Don Reid, Dave Crates

18        Kent Molino

19        Jean Slanker

20        Dot Rigley, Liz Varno

21        Dave Stevens, Rebecca Emaelaf, Karen Malcolm, Cory McKeone

22        Dennis Holcombe

23        Cindy Marshall

28        Kathleen Small, Denis Manor

 

April Wedding Anniversaries

 

5          John and Olive Carter Luczka

            Sid and Gill Woodcock

6          Steven  Townsend  and Steven  Koch

20        Omer and Pearl Burton

29        John and Mildred Barber

            Peter and Josephina Nevius

            Budd and Carole Merrill Mazurek