The Messenger

February, 2003

 Rector’s Letter


Dear Friends,

  As a part of our baptismal vows we are asked:

 "Will you strive for justice and peace
among all people, and respect
the dignity of every human being?"

our response:

"I will, with God's help."  (BCP 305)

I am forming a new chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and I am inviting members of St. Stephen’s congregation to join.

EPF’s mission is to aid and encourage all Episcopalians to strive for justice and peace among all people and to bear nonviolent witness to Christ's call to peace. As a community we are dedicated to discovering and practicing the biblical concept of peace.

 This Shalom/Salaam includes a commitment to renounce, so far as possible, participation in war and other forms of violence. The EPF recognizes that there can be no peace without a commitment to justice, and no justice without reconciliation. Thus, the EPF endeavors to develop within the Church a community of Christians pledged to peace, justice, reconciliation, and non-violence.

 EPF members are encouraged to meet together with other members in their area and form a chapter for mutual support. The Albany chapter will gather for prayer and study about issues of peace and justice. 

 More information on EPF and a membership application can be found on their web site: 

 Please call the parish office (346-6241) if you already are a member or would like to join the Albany , NY Chapter of the EPF. 





 Thursday Morning Bible Study

  Faith Lessons is a video series filmed on location in Israel which seeks to bring scripture to life.  The topics and suggested scripture readings for February are:

 Feb. 6  Who is God?  1Kings 16:29 – 19:21 and Joshua 24:14-18       

Feb. 13 Wages of Sin   2Chrionicles 29-32, Isaiah 36-37, and 2Kings 17:1-20

 Feb. 20  God With Us  Genesis 15, Exodus 20:1-21, Exodus 25: 30 and 1 Corinthians 6:19

 Feb. 27  The Lord is My Shepherd Psalm 23 and John 10:1-18


Episcopal Relief and development


Episcopal Relief and Development is responding to the bombing of Ahli Arab
Hospital and St. Philip's Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Jerusalem and
the Middle East . The hospital compound was hit by a missile on January 24.
The missile came through the roof and left a meter-wide hole in the floor.
The damage has paralyzed the hospital's in-house Mobile Clinic Program. The
program serves families in three surrounding villages that are under siege.  

"We hold a clinic and as the word spreads patients show up knowing we will
give them care," says Nancy Dinsmore, Development Officer for the Diocese of
Jerusalem and the Middle East . "Our clinics have about 200 to 225 [patients]
who register for care and the majority are children," states Dinsmore.

Episcopal Relief and Development is helping those most in need by providing
$25,000 in emergency assistance for food, clothing, and medicine and support
of the Mobile Clinic Program.

Please let the people of your diocese know of this important response to the
continuing violence in the Holy Land .


 Discovery Classes

 Discovery Classes are a series of eight classes which are held in an
informal atmosphere and taught by the rector.  For those who are new to
the Episcopal Church, or looking for a new spiritual home, this course
will provide an introduction to the beliefs of the Church. 

Or, if you were confirmed earlier in life, and wish to renew your
commitment at an adult level, consider this course as a part of your
continuing Christian education.  The course is required for all who wish
to be confirmed or received into the church. 

These classes will be held on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m.   New members
will be welcomed on April, 6th.

February 9  -    Introductions;  The Drama of Fait

February 16     Who is Jesus?

February 23     Who is the Holy Spirit?

March 2                       How should I read the Bible?

March 9                       How do I pray?

March 16         The Book of Common Prayer

March 23         What about the church?

April 6              What are Sacraments?



How to talk to others about St. Stephen’s

1.  Take the positive approach.  We are proud and happy to be members of St. Stephen's.  We don't need to be a bit apologetic about trying to bring un-churched people into our fold, and into a closer relationship with God.


2.  Be an inquirer...don't be bashful.  Talk to every likely prospect.  Examples:

 *       people you meet in business

*       newcomers to the neighborhood

*       your children's playmates and their parents

*       people you meet at a party or at a store

 Ask: "Do you have a church you attend?"

This is important phraseology.  Most people will admit to a church, but many do not attend.

 3.  Plan an approach towards prospects. 

 *       Try to understand the home in which the person lives.  Do you know any interests they have which provide a natural opener in conversation...or to use if conversation bogs down?  With which of our parishioners would they be most congenial?

  *       Make it clear near the first that you are an Episcopalian and ask the question given above.  Generally, people will start talking about religion right then.

  *       If interest is shown, don't just say: "We hope you come sometime."  But rather, say: "Good, can we pick up your family next Sunday at 9:45 ?  We'll help you get acquainted and assist you in following the service."

  4. How do you know what to say about St. Stephen's?

 * Don't be worried about their asking you a theological question you can't answer.  Be glad they show interest. If you cannot answer correctly, don't 'beat around the bush'...tell them you are glad they asked the question and that you will find the answer for them. (This gives you a 'natural' for a second contact.)

 *  You probably already know enough about St. Stephen's to talk about it:

 *   Our church's historic and beautiful worship services

 *   Our 'universality,'  appealing to all kinds of people in all walks of life.

 *   Our respect for individual freedom and the right to use rational thought.

 *   We are not dogmatic and we do not take a fundamentalist approach to Scripture.

 *   Our democratic organization, with clergy and laity sharing in an equal and co-operative            way of being the church.



 In the Annual Meeting held on January 19th Fr. James announced that the three year objectives developed by the congregation in 1999 have been met and he suggested that it is time again to develop a new strategic plan for the church.  To begin this process the congregation will be invited to examine the parish’s historical context. 

 A long timeline has been placed on tables in the parish hall.  The vestry is asking all members of the congregation to recall some of the significant events and trends that have shaped St. Stephen’s and our community and write them on the timeline in the appropriate space.  Members also are asked to describe struggles and forces that still affect the present situation, so that together we can begin to define future trends and directions that are unfolding.  The timeline is not intended to recall exactly what happened.  Rather it will reflect the way history is remembered, and therefore the ways that the parish’s history continues to influence the present. 

 The timeline will be available for recording memories and for reading what others have written through the month of February.



Habitat for Humanity

 Following the 8AM service and during coffee hour after the 10:15 service on Sunday, February 9, a ten-minute videotape featuring Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity, Intl. will be shown in the parish hall. Trish Savage will then give a short presentation describing this year's plans for the local Albany Street "builds" and Scotia "rehab." A handout will list ways in which our church can participate - with and without a hammer in hand.


 Altar Flowers in February

 2   In loving memory of                                          Naomi Vanda

          given by Stewart Vanda

     9    In loving memory of                                                 Edna Phillips

          given by Howard &                                       Margaret Phillips

   16   Available

23    Available

 February Birthdays

 1       Bill Walker

   3    Nick Brooks-McDonald,  Megan Price

   5    Mildred Barber,  Charles Ackner

   6    Alexxis Gibbs

   8    Pat Jones, Drew Prescott

   9    Petrina Marx

10    Dave Goyette

12    Don Regula

13    Samuel Koch

14    Nan Blaufuss, Taylor Trawick,  Marilyn Causey,  Carolyn Manor

15    Hugh Campbell

18    Jane Tatge

19    Christine Nelson, Mary Alexander

20    Dennis Moss

21    Shari MacIvor, Gregg Varno,

 22    Kate Malcolm

26  Scot Kilbourn

27  Carolyn Morin,  John W. Rigley


February Anniversaries

  1   Trish and Russ Savage

   6     Megan and Hector Dominguez

   7     Allison and Paul deKanel

10     Christine and Keith Nelson          

 24    Karen and David Malcolm

 Altar Flowers

There are still many dates available for altar flowers:

            Feb. 16

            Feb. 23

            Mar. 2

            May 18

            May 25

            June 1

            June 8

            June 29

 These are the dates in the first half of the year.


If the cost is an object, find someone who will share your date. The cost will then be $17.50 each! Such a deal!!

Call the parish office to reserve your date--or, better still, send a check to the office.


Events at Union

Feb. 3; Scott Fried 7:30 , Old Chapel

Come hear the story of this Jewish gay man who is HIV positive.

 Feb. 22  Thruway Concert 2:00 Nott Memorial

A cappella music all afternoon.  

Feb. 26; Panel on Derogatory Words 7:00 in the Student Center Auditorium

Hear some of the history and impact of this language form.


Viki Brooks-McDonald

Campus Protestant Minister




 The food pantry needs small jars of jam or jelly and mayonnaise. They always need baby food. Place your contribution in the basket near the mailboxes in the Parish Hall Extension.

 Home Furnishings needs bed linens, towels, and washcloths and pots and pans.


Congratulations Tim!

Tim Olsen, our organist and choir director, has been granted tenure at Union College . He is now Associate Professor of Music.



Contributions Solicitation

 Now is the time to offer your talent to The Messenger. Right now, it is pretty much all from Fr. James and runs out of things to say before the space is filled.

 So, anyone want to offer a book review?  a report on a new family?  have a new idea for a column or story? Please let us know. We’re dying for something new.



 In the front page picture on the January cover, David Carroll was misidentified as David Caruso. My apologies.


 Lectors Wanted

 If you would like to be a reader on Sundays of either the 1st Lesson and Psalm or the 2nd Lesson, please speak to Fr. James or call the Office.