The Messenger

January, 2003


Rector's Letter

Dear Friends,

 One of the great leaders of the Episcopal Church in the last generation, Bishop Stephen Bayne, had some sage words on the month we are now entering: "January, I have long felt, is a month without which life would be greatly improved. Annual reports, final days of reckoning with postponed business, new budgets, clearing out of files...to say nothing of Christmas bills and the like...it is a miserable, harassed, snivelling, crass, overbearing, worldly wretch of a month."

 That may be a little harsh, but I think Bishop Bayne has the right idea. Still, at least around the parish, I see some redeeming signs of life in the depths of this winter.

 For one thing, the bitter cold and many feet of snow seems to bring out the best in people.  Maybe because it's harder to get out, and harder to get together, it seems better when we do.  For all the busy ness of this month, and all the winter chill, I find the being with people on Sunday, and other times, especially rich.

 I am heartened, too, in preparing the Annual Report for the Annual Parish Meeting. I am amazed by the amount of energy and activity going on in this place, and by the remarkable generosity of spirit and time with which people give of themselves.

 But maybe I value January most of all because it seems like a new beginning, and that's something I can always use. I start into this new year resolved to be doing all that I can to build us into a genuinely supportive family of Christians finding ways for us to be together, challenging us to connect ourselves more deeply to Christ and to each other, exploring together how best to minister to the world in Christ's name.

 January permits such resolutions. I guess I'll be glad when the month is over, but I hope that the good things the people, the community, the dreams of the year will carry us on as we make the snowy trek toward spring.

                                                   Peace,  James+

 

Nominating committee

 In an attempt to be as inclusive as possible in nominating parishioners for elective offices, the vestry has appointed the outgoing members of the vestry as a nominating committee: Murray Roseberry, Charles Trawick and Sal Belardo.  They are securing the nominations for the four positions vacant for next year.  In addition, nominations will continue to be made from the floor of the Annual Meeting of the parish.

The elected offices are:

 3   three year terms for 2003 Vestry

 1   Warden   two year term

Requirements for Vestry Membership

 Basically there are only three requirements for vestry membership:

 (1)  be a confirmed member of the parish church

 This can be accomplished through confirmation or reception by a bishop at St. Stephen's or through a transfer from another Episcopal Church.

 (2) have been  regular in attendance of Sunday Eucharists 

 (3) have been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God

 This includes giving of Time Talent and Treasure

What is the "Vestry"?

 The vestry is a group of eleven lay representatives from the parish who are charged with the temporal affairs of the congregation.  They meet monthly with the rector presiding.  The vestry spends considerable time on income and expenses and on writing the annual budget. They set the salary scales and are responsible for raising the money to meet expenses.  The vestry also has the important job of finding a new rector whenever a vacancy occurs.  Three representatives are elected at the annual parish meeting for a term of three years.  In addition, a Warden (vestry officer) is elected for a term of two years. 

 

  The Epiphany of Our Lord

 The name "Epiphany" is derived from a Greek word meaning "manifestation" or "appearing." It is also called "The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles."  This phrase is a reference to the story of the Wise Men from the East.  

A Christian observance on January 6 is found as early as the end of the second century in Egypt.  The feast combined commemorations of the visit of the Magi, led by the star of Bethlehem; the Baptism of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan; and Jesus' first recorded miracle, the changing of water into wine at the marriage of Cana of Galilee    all thought of as manifestations of the incarnate Lord.

The Epiphany is still the primary Feast of the Incarnation in Eastern Churches, and the three fold emphasis is still prominent.  In the West, however, including the Episcopal Church, the story of the Wise Men has tended to overshadow the other two events.  Modern lectionary reform, reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, has recovered the primitive trilogy, by setting the event of the Baptism as the theme of the First Sunday after January 6th.

 Our celebration of Epiphany at St. Stephen's will take place on Sunday, January 5th at 8:00 am, 10:15 a.m. and 7 pm with Eucharist and renewal of our Baptismal vows.

 

Household Blessing for Epiphany

 A custom from Eastern Europe that is presently being recovered in North America is the practice of blessing homes on Epiphany.  Members of the household go from room to room expressing thanks to God for each room  and asking God to bless the room and its intended use. 

Some small symbol of the blessing may be carried to leave in each room: a candle, a cross, "gifts" of the Magi. 

 The procession ends outside the front door where the door's lintel is marked in chalk with the year and the initials C,M,B   each separated by a cross   recalling the traditional names of the Magi: Casper, Melchior and Balthasar.  The members of the household are then invited to add their own initials.  Also at this time it is appropriate to pledge volunteer time or other gifts for Bethesda House or some local homeless shelter as signs of our thankfulness to God.  The ritual ends with a celebration of the Eucharist.

Talk to the rector if you would like to have your home blessed.

 

THANK YOU......           THANK YOU.....     THANK YOU.....

 

....to Lucy Clark, Karen Malcolm, Allison de Kanel and all our actors who allowed the Christmas pageant to happen.....and to the parents who helped it all come together

 ....to Tim Olsen who accompanied the Christmas pageant and the congregation carol sing

 ....to the Alter Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Christmas beautiful

 ....to all who took time on a busy Saturday-before-Christmas to help 'green' the church

 ...To Tim Olsen, the Choir members and all the instrumentalists who helped to make Advent and Christmas beautiful

 ...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 Office Manager, Kathy Miller, who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements

 

HOLY COMMUNION: 

If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short term basis, please call the parish office. Communion will brought to the home.

 

To all our St. Stephen’s friends:

Thank you all for your good wishes and such a great farewell luncheon in lat October. We arrived safely in Florida November 17 and are getting settled in our home here. We’re also getting involved with St. Mary’s Church in Palmetto (just across the river). I’m singing in the choir--no handbell activity so far--and playing the piano for Logos. Jim may usher as well as Bible study. We miss all of you and send our greetings and whishes for a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

                        Sandy and Jim Borrowman

 

Nine New Members Are Confirmed/Received at Cathedral  

On December 7th  hundreds of people gathered in Albany at All Saints’ Cathedral for a Capital District- wide Confirmation and Eucharist.  Some were ‘received’, others were ‘confirmed’ and many more wondered what the distinction is between the two. 

 When a new person comes to Saint Stephen’s and decides to become a member, s/he usually attends a series of four inquirers’ classes.  The purpose of these classes is to talk about what the Episcopal Church in general and Saint Stephen’s congregation in particular is like and how it compares to other churches.  If the person decides to further consider membership s/he will attend ‘Discovery’ classes for eight weeks in which the beliefs of the Episcopal Church are discussed. 

 At this point the person has a choice to join the church, or to remain an active supporter.  If the person had been confirmed in another non-Episcopal church, s/he would be ‘received’ by the Bishop with a laying-on of hands and a prayer.  If the person has never been confirmed in any church, then s/he would be ‘confirmed’ by the Bishop with a laying-on of hands and a slightly different prayer.  Either way, the person now is considered a member in the Episcopal Church and of Saint Stephen’s congregation.  If s/he wishes to change membership to another Episcopal church, a letter of tranfer will be sent from Saint Stephen’s to the other church and the person then would be considered a member of that church.  No confirmation or reception is necessary. 

 A list of those who have become members of  Saint Stephen’s during 2002 will be listed in the Annual Report on January 19th.

 

Death Notice

St. Stephen’s notes with regret the death of David Moss on December 11th. We send our concolences to his family.

 

Altar Flowers in January

 5

12       

19        In loving memory of Dawn Schlansker

26        In loving memory of Emilie and William Voelker and Anna & Arthur Lindstrom, given by Robert and ShirleyVoelker

            In thanksgiving for the 50th wedding anniversary of Jane & Bruce Tatge, given by their family.

As you can see, there are holes in the Flower Calendar. Please call the office if you have a date you would like to use.

 

January Birthdays

 

1          Carol Molino

2          Jacob Price

7          Barbara Dobbins Stratton

            Robert Bailey

            Audrey DeBritz

            Emma Koch

8          Laura Manor

9          David Taylor

12        Laura Pratico

13        Susan Goldthwaite

14        Emery Chapman

            Lillian Peterson

17        Pearl Burton

            Daniel Lundquist

            Diane Martin-Widenor

18        Mary Pasko

22        Megan Norris Dominguez

23        Debbie Trawick

26        Scot Kilbourn

27        Carolyn Morin

            John W. Rigley

 

January Anniversaries

6          Michael Bishop & Pauline Holmes

25        John & Susan Goldthwaite

31        Jeanette Ackner

            Bruce & Jane Tatge

            Mary Alexander          

 

 

Wedding Anniversaries

 

6          Michael Bishop & Pauline Holmes