The Messenger 
May, 2002


 Tutorial Program

 

St. Stephen's will become a site for the Latimer Education and School Day Tutorial program of Carver Community Center.  The main focus of the program is to provide remedial and enrichment services to students in grades 1-8 in the City of Schenectady who are one to two years behind in reading and/or math and to provide tutoring service to students in grades 1- 12 from the Schenectady City School District who have been suspended from school because of difficulties adapting to the rules and regulations of the Schenectady School District.  The Tutorial Program will only take those students who are not  iolent and most students are suspended for relatively minor infringements such  as drawing a picture of a gun or talking in a disrespectful way to teachers.

 The School Day Tutorial Program is operated under the auspices of the Schenectady City School District. Carver currently has three sites: Carver, Steinmetz Homes and Yates Village. St. Stephen's has been asked to become the fourth site, which will be located in the Garner House.  The program is designed to accommodate a maximum of 12 students at each site for two sessions per site. Students are assigned to the program through the Superintendent's Office for a two-hour period each day while on suspension. Each site has two certified teachers.  Volunteers to help the teachers are needed. No experience in teaching is required, but only a love of children. Please call the parish office if you are willing to help. 

 

 

WORKCAMP

 

On July, 21st Ichthus, St. Stephen's high school youth group, travels to Niagara  alls  for a week-long work camp.  Bringing together high-schoolers from all over  he country, these camps combine work, play, and a religious framework into an  nforgettable experience, for the young people and the adults who come with  hem.

 What happens at workcamp?

 Starting each day at six in the morning, we work on a variety of projects to help  poor and elderly people have better homes in which to live.  The work might  include replacing a roof, building, a new room, replacing floors or stairs,  epainting. or building a wheel-chair ramp.  The work is hard, challenging, and  very rewarding.

 In the late afternoon everyone returns to the school which houses the camp, to  hower, socialize, and relax until supper.  In the evening, we take part in  rograms  hat explore the spiritual side of our lives, focusing on the connection between  he work we do for others at workcamp and the work God does in and through us.   e close each day with a meeting, of our church group, to talk about our e xperiences  that day and to see what lessons we can draw from them.

 What can you do to help?  We need to raise approximately $5000 for this summer's camp; you can help by doing the following  

1)  Keep those pennies rolling in!

 2)  Keep those bottles and cans rolling in!

 3)  Buy shares in a workcamper - invest $25 - $100 in a camper and you will receive a postcard from them during the workweek.  Then join Ichthus next fall for a dinner and picture presentation of the trip.

 

 Thank you......Thank you

 .....To all cooks  who cooked and baked our suppers before the Thursday and Sunday Lenten studies.  
.....To all those who set up, cooked and cleaned up for the Seder Supper and especially thanks to Debbie Trawick who prepared the special Passover foods. 

.....To the Altar 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 and the Choir members; to Marilyn Dare and all the bell ringers who helped to make Palm Sunday beautiful, and Easter Day joyous.

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

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

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

 .....and the list goes on and on!

  

THE FEAST OF PENTECOST

 

The Feast of Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Festival in the Liturgical year.  But it is not the end of anything, but the beginning of that new life in Christ.  In our prayerbook Pentecost is properly designated as the fiftieth day of Easter -- the celebration begins with the day of Resurrection and ends with the gift of the spirit to the Church.  That giving of the Spirit is to be understood as a resurrection appearance.

 The import of Pentecost as the final Resurrection appearance is that through the gift of the Spirit, Christ's presence is forever insured for the community of the faithful.  This we indeed celebrate!

 We will celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, May 19th.  This feast is as important as Christmas or Easter and St. Stephen's is hoping to have everyone present for the celebration.  There will be a renewal of our Baptismal vows, especially appropriate on this day, and special music.  Red is the color associated with the Holy Spirit, so wear something red to church!

 

Diocesan Convention

 

The diocese is the most important unit of the Episcopal Church.  It is based on geography, generally, but also on Church population, so that dioceses may have borders contingent with state boundaries, or there may be a number of dioceses in a state because of population growth. Diocese are made up of parishes, which receive financial aid.  It is in these local congregations that most Episcopalians  have their Church involvement.

 It is likely, therefore, that most Episcopalians will know more about their local communities than about the larger structures.  Many will 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.

 Once a year each diocese holds a convention to approve a budget, to elect officers, and to conduct other business that pertains to diocesan life. This year from Friday, June 7 until Sunday afternoon, June 9th, the key leadership of the Diocese of Albany will assemble at Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, NY to set the agenda for the future. This year we will hear the report of the Futures' Committee on the proposed Spiritual Life Center. This has the capacity to secure the future for our parishes, our missionary outposts through the equipping of lay leaders, clergy and young people. This Convention will be the site of dozens of Workshops and presentations, designed to be practical and take-home for the benefit of the local church. Chaplains will be on duty throughout for counsel, prayer, and reconciliation.

We will hear from major presenters Canon Kevin Martin of the Diocese of Texas and Canon Keith Brown of the Diocese of San Joaquin. These are two of the most recognized leaders in the Episcopal Church today. The Convention Delegates for St. Stephen's are:  James Brooks-McDonald, Lorrie Lyons,  Pat Jones, John Peatling, Norman Hoffmann, Suzanne Coonradt and Denise Crates.

 

Rector’s Letter

 

Dear Friends, 

I have always been impressed by how generous this congregation has been over the years.  About ten years ago someone suggested that big wicker baskets would look much nicer than cardboard boxes which we used to collect food and home furnishings.  However, money was very tight in those days and so I simply asked one Sunday morning if anyone would like to donate a big basket to the church.  By the end of the service we had four donations!  

When we needed floor tiles for the front of the church, you all made it happen.  I could go on and on.  This month we wanted to raise money for new tables and chairs in the parish hall.  Well, you did it, thanks to a few very generous donations, a memorial gift, and many, many books. I ordered the furniture as soon as I heard that the money was raised.  A couple of the long tables and metal chairs will be used in the new classroom at the Garner House where tutoring will take place.  The other tables will be put to good use.

 And now Norman Hoffmann, chairperson of the Finance Committee, tells me that we have 89 pledges which comprise 2/3s of our pledge budget for the coming year.  You all are wonderful!  If you have not yet sent in your pledge card, please do.  We would like to wrap up this pledge campaign as soon as possible.

 Thanks again for your kindness.  We can do important things as we work together.

 

Card of Thanks

 

We would like to thank the St. Stephen’s family for all of your love and for your many caing gestures at the time of Katelyn’s birth. The altar rose announcing her arrival is a beautiful custom, and we are so grateful for that. To tell you that the meals were an enormous help is indeed an understatement. the food was wonderful, but the accompanying visits from such dear and caring people were nourishment for the spirit. Angels are among us at St. Stephen’s.

Many thanks,

Beth and Kurt McKeone

 

U.S. church leaders urge Israelis, Palestinians to take 'bold steps' for peace

 

by James Wetekam

(NCC) A delegation of 13 U.S. church leaders just back from the Middle East is calling for bold steps to be taken by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in order to end violence in the region and to achieve peace with justice.

The delegation was assembled by the National Council of Churches (NCC) and its general secretary, the Rev. Robert W. Edgar. The leaders traveled in the region April 16-27 at the invitation of the Middle East Council of Churches. In a statement released April 30, the church leaders focused on steps they see as necessary for attainment of a just and lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among others, they "urge the Government of Israel to cooperate fully with the United Nations investigation of events that took place in Jenin" and express "grave concern" at the standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and "objection to the withholding of food, water and medical supplies to those inside the church."

Four delegation members--Edgar; James Winkler, general secretary, United Methodist Board of Church and Society; the Rev. Jim Wetekam, media director for Churches for Middle East Peace; and Bishop Arthur Walmsley of the Episcopal Church--accompanied humanitarian aid to Jenin April 25. The others went with aid to Bethlehem April 26.

Unequivocal condemnation of violence

Of the violence currently taking place in the region, the delegation said in part, "We condemn equally and unequivocally both the suicide bombings and Palestinian violence against Israeli society and the violence of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. All are counterproductive to achieving peace with justice....Both societies are caught in a cycle of violence and revenge." The delegation expressed sympathy for all "Israelis and Palestinians who have lost family members and friends to the senseless violence over the past months." It also spoke of its particular concern for the plight and future of Arab Christians in the Middle East, noting that the Arab Christian population has "declined precipitously in recent decades." The delegation identified eight specific components for a just resolution to the conflict. Included were "the establishment of an international peacekeeping force, agreed upon by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to oversee the Israeli withdrawal  from the West Bank and Gaza and maintain order until a peace agreement can be fully implemented."

 

Refugee Resettlement

 Saint Stephen's has been approached to see if there is any interest in helping in the resettlement of a refugee family. Please consider this opportunity prayerfully to serve our fellow persuns. On Sunday May 19th, John Detwyler of Refugee Resettlement will attend our 10:15 service and afterwards meet in the yellow room downstairs with as many people as are interested in this ministry. He will tell us what this entails and answer what we expect are our many questions.

 Pauline Holmes

Chair - Service Committee

 

South Africa Mission

 

On May 31st I will be traveling to South Africa for a two week medical mission. This mission is sponsored by my employer - The Community Hospice and St. Peter's Health Care Services.      As you may be aware, the AIDS crisis in Africa is beyond our imaginations. Thousand of people are dying each day and just as many children are orphaned  The work for the hospice teams is overwhelming.

There is never enough time, money, medications or supplies to adequately care for those afflicted at the end of their lives.

     For several years Community Hospice has been working with several hospices in Africa. This work has included visits to Africa by Community Hospice staff as well as visits from the Africa hospice teams to the United States. This relationship has not only been an exchange of philosophies and information but also one of financial support and provision of needed supplies (vitamins and medical equipment).

     I am thrilled to have been asked to make this journey. I will be traveling with a team of Registered Nurses and one Social Worker. The focus of this trip is to provide the Africa hospice workers with a time of refreshment and retreat. We will receive a two day orientation  and then staff the hospice so nurses, social workers and aides can have a day of support. This retreat will be  provided by our Social Worker, Lynn Curtis.

     This journey will take us to South Coast Hospice in Port Shepstone, South Africa. While at the South Coast Hospice we will be making nurse visits to rural patients as well as working in several of their clinics.  

     Our second week will be spent with Bishop Ken Dowling at Topalogo Hospice. We hope to provide the staff with a retreat time. There we will be providing nursing care to patients at a clinic in a squatter's camp and assisting in the building of the new hospice clinic. I will see how good I am a brick building! We may also have an opportunity to spend a day at one of Mother Theresa's orphanages.

       I covet all of your prayers for this mission. Please pray for a safe journey as well as good health. Also pray that our team will be effective in our mission. An acquaintance upon hearing about this trip asked me what difference I thought I could make in this short time. I replied that if I can be a comfort to only one person suffering at the end of their life than my trip will be a success. I look forward to sharing my story with you when I return in June - Diane Martin-Widenor

 Summer Church Camp

 We can't wait for our Summer Church Camp at St. Stephen's.  The dates have been set -- July 29th through August 2nd.  The camp will be in the mornings, though the exact times are yet to be determined. People are already working on the planning and publicity -- there is much to be done!  Debbie Trawick has agreed to serve as the director for the Summer Church Camp this year, and Robin Kaczka will be co-ordinating the publicity.  If you can help support this great neighborhood outreach project, please contact Debbie or call the church office. 

 

AND, Kathy, Jen Peters from St. George's just called with this:

 

A reunion for Beaver Cross Campers!  At St. George's, Clifton Park, Saturday May 11, 4:30 pm. A celebration for former campers and staff and anyone else interested in Beaver Cross.  If you have a young person who can't make up his/her mind about going to Beaver Cross this summer, this would be a great way for them to hear how great it is, and to introduce them to some of the wonderful people who staff our summer youth camp.

 

FOOD CHOICES

Discerning our Stewardship

by Susan Townsend

 Thought for food.no, that’s not a”typo.” I believe the Holy Spirit is calling me, and calling us, the community of St. Stephen’s to give some thought to food; how our choices are connected to our roles as stewards; of our bodies, our families, our communities and our earth.

 Do I know how my choices about food each day impact the health of all of God’s creation?  I began considering that question after reading ”Churches, synagogues embrace fair trade coffee,” in the 10 March Schenectady Gazette. I learned that First United Methodist Church in Schenectady was one of many religious communities around the world reflecting their concerns for social justice issues, in part, through their purchase and serving of fair trade coffee. That choice puts money more directly into the hands of individual farmers as a living wage rather than becoming profit for coffee companies.  

My questioning became active again during a group discussion in the Saturday morning Lenten class led by Mother Lorrie exploring the process of spiritual discernment.  How do we listen to who God calls us to be, as a community, the body of Christ?  Chris Jones shared that he had been working through better understanding the steps of discernment using a simple, personal example of discerning what to have for dinner (!).  After some initially lighthearted discussion, we began to explore that even those choices may call us to listen to God. I remembered the fair trade coffee story, Liz Varno mentioned the book, “Fast Food Nation-The Dark Side of the All American Meal.”  As the discussion continued that morning, we all felt called to further explore these issues and their implications for the St. Stephenís community in the context of the discernment process. 

If the call of the Holy Spirit to listen, and perhaps to act, wasn’t  evident enough that Saturday, it has become clear to me that this is an area I need to attend to,since that discussion:

I learned that my husband, Steve, had put “Fast Food Nation” on reserve the previous week at the library after reading Upton Sinclairís “The Jungle.”  

On 18 April, PBS Frontline aired “Modern Meat” reviewing the meat packing industry, it’s production practices and itís safety.

“Think globally, eat locally” appeared in the Times Union on 22 April  (Earth Day) exploring the goals of organic farming and sustainable agriculture.  Rapunzel Pure Organics in Valatie combines ecology and fair trade.

National Geographicís May 2002 magazine leads with the articles “Challenges for HumanityÖFood,” and “Food How Safe?  How Altered?”

And lest you think the choices are clear, Steve has begun to read a book that challenges some of the pronouncements of the environmental community, “The skeptical environmentalist:  Measuring the Real State of the World,” written by Bjorn Lomborg, a former member of Greenpeace and an Associate Professor of Statistics in Political Science at University of Aarhus, Denmark.

 Enjoying a spectacular spring day, filled with sunshine, flowering gardens and children playing joyfully in bare feet, it is easy to thank God for his wonderful creation.  Prayerful discernment of our stewardship responsibilities is a living response of thankfulness for that creation.  I hope you will join us.

 From Mtr. Lorrie:

If you are interested in pursuing the topic of food and our responsibilities as Christians, please plan to attend our Exploration Meeting in the parish hall. We are interested in forming a discernment group  to explore these issues. Our goals are to respond to the gospel in our own lives, and also to share what we have learned with  everyone in our parish. If our are interested but cannot attend “What’s for Supper” on Sunday, June 16th at 5:00-6:30pm, please let us know that, too. Call the church office or speak to Mtr. Lorrie or Susan Townsend. 

Thanks…

 I want to thank you on behalf of the Elmer Avenue families whom St. Stephen’s Church has so generously provided for at Christmas and Easter this year. 

I know the parents and children were very appreciative that you were able to help them in this way. Some of them have really been struggling and this was such a relief. 

I want to thank you personally as well. 

Sincerely yours,
Karen Callen
School Social Worker

Flowers

 

5         In honor of the loved ones of Jane and Bruce Tatge
  
         1n memory of the loved ones of Eunice Chouffi

12        In memory of Gwen Robbins  given by David and Suzanne Taylor and Leonard and Carolyn Montorio
           
In memory of Philip Ferrara, Sr. & Jr. given by Barbara Adams

19        In memory of Thomas Marks  given by Mildred Marks

26        In honor of the loved ones of Betty and Jesse Dipley

Birthdays

 4        Margaret Trawick,   Bruce Tatge

5          Ted Schlansker,  Omer Burton,   Belachew Emaelaf,   Isabella Varno

6         Rocky Bonsal,  Emalie Varno

7          Ryan Fast

8          Robert Strangfeld

9          Marilyn Dare

10        Stewart Vanda,  Howard Phillips, Robyn Stewart

12        Linda Roseberry,  Dan MacIvor,  Ayodele Jones

14        Carol Ras

15        Charline Hoffmann,   Norman Hoffmann

17        Cherie Downs

18        Ben Hoshko

20        Liz Casale

21        Steve Koch

26        Allison deKanel,  Bill Schlansker, Phyllis Chapman

28        William Smith, Jr.

30        Will Koch, Andrew Riordan

31        Julie McDonald, Dawn Kaler,  Susie Olsen,  Mackenzie Wilcox

 

Anniversaries

 

3           Norma and Vincent Piscitelli

10        June and Carl Hatlee;  Diane and Tim Widenor

15        Gloria Kavanah and David Goyette

20        Barbara and Bob Strangfeld

23        Denise and Dave Crates

25        Robin and David Kaczka

26        Shari and Chris Youmans

28        Richey and George Woodzell

30        Phyllis and Bob Chapman