The Messenger
November, 2003


Jazz Sunday

Although a spirituality that includes jazz music may not be for everyone, it has become a tradition at St. Stephen’s. Experts say the interest by churches in jazz brings the music genre full circle, because jazz has its roots in spirituals and other elements of the black church. "In jazz, there’s a very strong element of the sort of gospel church in the South," said Stanley Dance, author of "The World of Duke Ellington."

Ellington, who died in 1974, "was always a religious man" who read the Bible from cover to cover some seven times and felt jazz was another form of prayer, Dance says. Toward the end of his life, the pianist and composer wrote and performed in sacred concerts that featured hymns, orchestration, choirs and, of course, jazz. "One of his themes" Dance says of "the Duke" "was that every man prays to God in his own language, and his musical language was jazz" (Christian News, Dec. 11, 1995, p. 19). 

Over time Jazz Liturgies have developed into new and exciting expressions of Christian faith. The Episcopal liturgy is well suited for different expressions of music because the Book of Common Prayer preserves the evolution of early forms of worship and prayer in a way that is open to creating new traditions. Jazz Eucharists have emerged as a synthesis of traditions, a blending of an age-old liturgy with the unique musical language we call jazz. With a freshness that is open to God’s Spirit, this musical tradition sounds the hopes, dreams, joys, frustrations and pain that expresses human experience, while exploring a musical vocabulary that transcends the limits of the written or spoken word.

Twice a year at the 10: 15 Eucharist this congregation is pleased to welcome the Union College Jazz Ensemble to lead us in "making a joyful noise to the Lord". They will be here on November 9th. Led by Dr. Tim Olsen, music director at St. Stephen’s, the group will accompany our parish choir with a jazz rendition of Handel’s "Halleluiah Chorus", and they will lead our congregation in a variety of Spirituals and other songs.

 

Jail Ministry

by Deacon Pat

 

Thanks to all of you who have brought greeting cards for the women in the jail! They will certainly be appreciated.

It is a busy and frustrating time at the Schenectady County Correctional Facility—and as a regular visitor, I receive a share of the tension. The current upset is focused on the new telephone service, which is now being provided by AT&T. Suddenly, on October 9th, inmates were unable to place calls to their families. Everyone was getting the same message: "This call cannot be completed due to a problem with the receiving party’s phone." All calls from inmate phones, except for the Human Rights Commission, NAACP and Public Defender’s Office, are collect calls. But the new service provider also provides new restrictions: there can be no payments due on the phone bill, no 3-way patches, no service provided to non-AT&T subscribers.

So my "To Do" list these days contains such items as: "Please call my mother; she has been sick and I am worried about her." "Please call my landlord and ask him to store my things." "Please call my boyfriend and tell him my visiting hours have changed." "Please call my sister and tell her I will be in court tomorrow." I have been trying for a week to reach the administration offices at the jail, but I always get a busy signal.

Maybe they haven’t paid their telephone bill.

 

Home 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 if you would like to have communion brought to you.

 

Election

Voting, the privilege of U.S. citizens & the duty of Christians living in a democracy. Tuesday, Nov. 4 all day.

Discovery Classes

 

Discovery Classes are a series of eight classes held in an infonnal atmosphere and taught by the rector. For those who are new to the Episcopal Church, or looking for a new spiritual home, this course provides 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 recommended for all who wish to be confirmed or received into the church.

The topics covered include the following:

.Introductions; The Drama of Faith

.Who is Jesus?

.Who is the Holy Spirit?

.How should I read the Bible?

.How do I pray?

.The Book of Common Prayer

.What about the church?

.What are Sacraments?

These classes will take place in the rector’s study from November 2 -December 21 on Sunday afternoons, noon -1.

 

The History of Orthodox Christianity

 

There are between 180 to 215 million Orthodox Christians around the world. They are a majority in ten countries and territories and are over 10% of the population in fourteen other nations. This three-part series is intended as an introduction to the Orthodox Church-its life, teachings and traditions. The classes will be especially appreciated by those unfanliliar with this ancient Christian church. The course will use video footage filmed in Greece, Israel, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Italy, England, and the United States.

Nov. 16 -will explore the founding of the church and continues with the spread of Christianity to the "nations" by the Apostles. This is the period of persecutions and martyrdom and the subsequent legalization of the church during the birth of Byzantium.

Nov. 23 -covers the spread of the Gospel to the Slavic people, the development of the Monastic movement, the Great Schism between East and West, and the last hours of Constantinople.

Nov. 30 -will explore the captivity of orthodoxy under Islam (after the fall of Byzantium) and communism (in Eastern Europe). Massive immigration allowed Orthodoxy to flourish in the New World, but presented new challenges for the future. The leaders of World Orthodoxy provide an insight into the essence of their church today.

These classes will be held in the Parish Hall on Sunday mornings, from 9-10.

 

Bible Study Topics on Thursday

Mornings -10:45 am

 

Nov.6 "Innocent Blood" Assyria Defeats Israel

Please read: I Kings 9:15-17a,

Revelation 16:16,

II Kings17:7-21,

Jeremiah 7:31-33,32:30-35,

Ezekiel 16:15-25

Nov. 13 "Who Is God?" Elijah’s Call

Please read: I Kings 16:29 -19:21

Joshua 24:14-18

Nov. 20 "Wages of Sin" Hezekiah & Judah

Please read: II Chronicles 29 -32

II Kings17:1-20,

Nov. 27 "The Lord Is My Shepherd" Psalm 23

Please read: Psalm 23

John 10:1-18

 

Founder’s Day: November 16th

In 1927 Fr. Bambach, rector of St. George’s Church, Schenectady, called a meeting to consider beginning a chapel. Over the next year a house to house canvas of the Upper-Union area was made by Union College students. By October 22, 1928 there were 120 interested families and an empty store on 1734 Union Street near Palmer Avenue was rented and prepared for the first service held on November 18,1928. That first service marks our beginning.

On November 16th we will remember that beginning with a Eucharist from the 1928 prayer book, singing hymns that were sung at the Dedication Service November 20, 1949. Also on Founder’s Day, we will honor all those who have been members for forty years or longer.

 

All Saints’ Day

 

All Saint’s Day is one of the seven principal feasts of the church. This day is a celebration of Christ in His whole mystical body. Weare reminded that the saints still support us by their witness and example and surround us with their love and prayers. All Saint’s Day is the one day set aside each year when our faithful departed are remembered. If you would like to have a particular person remembered by name, it is not too late. Please call the parish office as soon as you receive this newsletter. We will remember them on Sunday, November 2nd at the 8 & 10:15 Eucharists.

 

Inter-faith Thanksgiving Service

This traditional service (since 1955!)wi11 be held at Dominican Retreat and Conference Center (1945 Union Street) at 4:30 pm, Sunday, November 23rd. Rabbi Bob Kasman will be the preacher.

The Church recognizes the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday as a holy day for our land, life, and heritage. It finds its roots in observances begun by colonists in Massachusetts and Virginia, a tradition later taken up and extended to the whole of the New American nation by action of the Continental Congress.

Our celebration of Thanksgiving stems from our many blessings of God’s good creation. As Children of God we are to live our lives in a spirit of thanksgiving. We are to be faithful stewards of the earth as God’s creation, given to us as a sacred trust.

Also, don’t forget the annual

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EPISCOP AL THANKSGIVING SERVICE

November 27th

Thursday morning at 10 am

here at St. Stephen’s Church

 

The Woman Behind Thanksgiving Day

 

Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, for 40 years the editor of "Godey’s Lady’s Book," the mother of all magazines for women, was responsible for our observance of Thanksgiving Day.

In 1846 Mrs. Hale, a widow with five children, began her campaign to have Thanksgiving Day established as a national holiday. Some individual states listened to her and acted, but the Federal Government ignored her pleas for 17 years. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln heeded Mrs. Hale, and the result was the first Thanksgiving proclamation by a president since George Washington. (Mrs. Hale not only edited a magazine, not only raised children as a single parent, not only was responsible for Thanksgiving’s being recognized as a national holiday, she also wrote the poem, "Mary Had a

 

SICM’s First Volunteer Day a Success

 

Volunteers turned out on a dreary Saturday to clean up Jerry Burrell and Vale parks, paint at Community Hospice and the YWCA, participate in the AIDS Walk, organize books at the C.O.C.O.A. House, assist adult home residents with a crafts project, write advocacy letters, plant flowers at a church and clean up after a church bargain sale.

Other volunteers cooked and set up for the concluding celebratory dinner, when participants shared their experiences of brightening up parts of their community. Volunteers came from First United Methodist, First Reformed of Schenectady, First Reformed of Scotia, Grace Lutheran, Immaculate Conception of Glenville, Mont Pleasant Reformed, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Redeemer Lutheran, St. Helen’s, St. Joseph’s of Scotia, St.Stephen’s Episcopal, Scotia United Methodist, Trinity Presbyterian, Union Presbyterian and Zion Lutheran. Visit SICM’s website at  www.timesunion.com/communities/sicm    and click on the Volunteer Day page to view photos of the various activities. SICM hopes to make this an  annual event and welcomes additions to the planning committee. Contact Marianne Comfort at 374-xxxx.

 

AIDS Walk Still Accepting Donations

 

Dismal weather on Saturday, Oct. 4 cut into participation at the AIDS Walk that was part of SICM’s Volunteer Day. Contributions to the walk, which supports HIV / AIDS services including the Schenectady Damien Center, are still welcome. Write checks out to CAP-CR and send to SICM, 930 Albany St., Schenectady, NY 12307.

 

Food Program Seeks Driver to Pick

Up Bread, Demand at Record Levels

 

The Food Program needs volunteers to pick up bread at Panera Bread Company in Mohawk Commons in Niskayuna. The l2rogt:am also seeks donations of food, l2aper bags, children’s books, 2004 calendars and funding to purchase specialized infant formula. Call Pat or Gail at 346-44445.

 

Congress Continues to Debate

Welfare Reform

 

The PRIDE Act recently passed by the Senate Finance Committee does not address many of the key issues raised by advocates for welfare recipients and other low-income Americans. They are calling for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (T ANF) legislation that focuses on reducing poverty, not caseloads; provides realistic child-care funding amounts to ensure children’s safety while parents work and removes the proposed super waiver provision that would allow states to divert money to help hungry families. Advocates also are calling for measures that allow individuals to pursue education and training opportunities while receiving assistance. Letters to Congress can make a difference. Contact Marianne Comfort at 374-xxxx

From the Rector

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

Many of you have voiced your concerns about what has been happening in the Episcopal Church over the past three months and I, too, share your concerns.

On September 19th we held a Parish Forum and Simple Soup Supper devoted solely to the topic of whether the Episcopal Church will remain united. Over seventy people attended! Many who were there said that it was informative and a good example of how Anglicanism can hold together diverse views on an issue. I thought the gathering was a healthy sign for this congregation.

The first part of the Forum was spent in reviewing the events of the past two months. Highlights include:

.Why the Diocese of New Hampshire chose to bring the election of the Rev. Gene Robinson to the General Convention

.Why the Bishops turned down the development of same-sex liturgies

.What the American Anglican Council is, what it did in Dallas and what it intends to do in the future

.How the conservatives plan to replace the Episcopal Church with their own Anglican province.

.Why the conservatives have stopped paying their assessments to the Episcopal Church

.What the Archbishops said at their meeting in Lambeth Palace.

So now the question is: What will happen to the Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Albany, and our parish? Of course, the answer is that no one knows, but I will attempt to make some predictions.

First, the Rev. Gene Robinson will be consecrated on Nov. 2nd, he has said so and the Presiding Bishop has said that he will attend. You should know that Robinson is under 24-hour protection by the FBI after receiving death threats from Christian fundamentalists. At FBI insistence, the security for Robinson’s consecration will be the greatest this Church has ever known.

 Second, after this date, Bishop Herzog will make his plans for the Diocese of Albany known. This will probably include the diocese joining a "Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes" which is emerging in North America, aligned with African and Asian Anglicans -a church within a church. The AAC would facilitate the process, providing structures for the new "replacement province," of which Albany will be a founding member. 

Other conservative bishops in a few dioceses will make similar plans. The Bishop of Pittsburgh has already begun!

More progressive groups of clergy and lay people in conservative dioceses will not sit back and allow their diocese to move in this direction without a fight. A former rector of this parish, now in the Diocese of Central Florida, the Rev. Joe Sitts, is already developing a ‘clergy listserv’ on the internet entitled, "Embattled Moderates in Ultra-Conservative Dioceses". As many as a third of the communicants in the Diocese of Albany, and likely more, have stated that they will not allow our Bishops to ‘realign’ this Diocese away from the national Episcopal Church. We will meet  on Oct. 29th to map a strategy for responding, in word and action, to Bishop Herzog.

Other groups have already taken action. Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, has sued Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr., his assistant bishop and the Pittsburgh Diocese’s board of trustees to prev ent them from transferring ownership of any church property. The suit allows members of an unincorporated association —in this case, the diocese —to assert the need for compliance with the association’s constitution and laws. The complaint was brought "to preserve and protect the unity and integrity of the property" of the national church, the Pittsburgh diocese and the parishes, missions and other institutions and organizations of those church bodies. It states that Duncan and the others, "in disregard of the ...constitution and canons that granted them authority over such property and assets ...have failed to discharge their obligations" because they "threatened improperly to transfer, and/or have transferred, property contrary to such interests." It charges them with breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. It seeks injunctions against any effort to change property ownership.

Similar actions could be taken in Albany. I am afraid that this is just the beginning of a long and arduous journey for the Diocese and for St. Stephen’s. However, my commitment remains: to keep this congregation as a part of the Episcopal Church, USA.

James+

Church School Thrives Despite

Lack of Space

 

What do you do when the majority of your space is being remodeled because of water damage? You use every other space you possibly can during Sunday mornings -the church, the chapel, the outdoors and the parish hall extension. Work is progressing on the downstairs classrooms, even if a litter slower than the Church School Coordinators would have liked. The kids would never know it, though. Reports from parents are that their school children are excited about coming to Church School, Sunday after Sunday. "That’s because we have wonderful teachers," said Barbara Adams, one of the Coordinators. 

 

2004 Interfaith Calendars

 

designed by The National Conference for
Community and Justice
On Sale at the Church Shop -$15 

One religious community each month is highlighted from Dec. 2003 -Jan. 2005. For each community there is a summary of its basic tenets and major writings, was well as pictures, photographs and graphics from that tradition.

Great as a gift or for home education!

 

Social Justice/Service Committee

by Carole Merrill-Mazurek

 

Outreach to women in the Schenectady County Correctional Facility is an important ministry of St. Stephen’s Church, support of the women who are incarcerated there is ongoing, but especially important during the Christmas Season. As part of our support, St. Stephen’s has delivered Christmas Cards with stamped envelopes to as many inmates as possible. Please support this effort by bringing unused card and being available the Sunday the cards are sorted, packaged and stamped. Please leave cards on the Usher’s table in the back of the church by December 7 and join us on December 14 after the 10: 15 service to package them.

The Christmas Tree Project will also take place again this year. Elmer Avenue School will give us the names of eight families who desperately need assistance from our Santas to brighten Christmas for their children. Unsealed envelopes will hang on our Christmas Tree (Jesse Tree) in the back of the church, the envelopes will contain a gift idea very specific to one individual, the outside of the letter has a mailing label telling the family; code, age, sex and type of gift (clothing or toy) A label is alsoincluded inside the envelop for attaching to the gift package. The Service Committee has a December 21 delivery date, we request that all gifts be delivered by parishioners by December 14. Thiswill give us time to sort, package and shop to complete requested gift items. The generosity of our parish is amazing, every gift card was taken last year and the selection of gifts by our Santas was exceptional. If you have any questions or need clarification, please do not hesitate to call me.

Prayers of the People

by Deacon Pat

 

One of the important parts of our common worship is the Prayers of the People, the time when we bring before God our concerns and thanksgivings for those who are near and dear and those who are far off. It is one way for us to share one another’s burdens. We do this through the formal prayers at each service, through the Prayer Chain and by writing names on the Prayer Request sheet in the church. But it is hard for us to pray with our minds as well as our hearts, when the list being read is so long, and we don’t know who those names represent. (God knows, of course, better than any of us.) So we will try ordering our prayers in common worship a little differently. The Prayer Request sheets will be brought forward at the offertory, with the alms and oblations, the gifts of bread, wine and money that we present to God to be blessed and transformed for our benefit. The Prayer Sheet will then be put in the chapel, where daily Morning Prayer is said, and those prayers will be included in the daily prayer of St. Stephen’s.

Anyone is welcome to attend Morning Prayer, Monday through Friday, at 9:00 a.m. in the chapel. (Enter through the choir room door.) The prayers will also be included on the website, 
 www.albany.net/~ststep  , with the formal Prayers of the People, for the convenience of those who pray at the computer.    

Confirmation Mentoring Class

 

Our Confirmation Mentoring Program is under way. Most of our young people in lOth and 11 th grades have been matched with a confirmation mentor. They will meet regularly, once a month, to study together scripture, .basic Christian doctrine, and the life of Christian spiritual disciplines. The mentors and confirmands will meet at a mutually convenient, time and place to match their very busy schedules.In addition the mentors and confirmands do at least fifteen hours of volunteer service for Saint Stephen’s, do at least fifteen hours of volunteer service for the community, visit two community helping agencies, and visit three worship services that are different than the Episcopal service. Hopefully, Confirmation will be held sometime in May.

 

Altar Flowers in November

 

2 available

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

16 In loving memory of Mary Buckley and Richard Belardo given by Sal and Diana Belardo

23 In loving memory of Dorothy and Leigh Lydecker and Alfred and Jennie Lowe given by Al and Kabby Lowe

 

Youth Group Says Thanks

 

The youth group will be hosting a dinner on November 16, to thank the parish for supporting out workcamp trip this year.

 

Seven Things You Can Do to Help End Hunger

from Episcopal Relief and Development

1. Start today. There is much that one person -you - can do to end hunger and poverty. We feed a hungry world one person at a time. Ending hunger starts with you on by touching one person at a time.

2. Support local church programs to feed the hungry.

3. Know the facts. In order for there to be "no hunger" you must personally "know" hunger. You can go to www. er-d. org to learn more about the world’s hungry.

4. Make your voice heard! Spread the vision for helping the hungry. Educate others about hunger. And, contact lawmakers and urge more assistance for those who are hungry.

5. Donate money to help end hunger. Make a gift online today at www.er-d.org and click "make a gift," or mail your contribution via the enclosed reply envelope to ERD at P.O. Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101, or call 1.800.334. 7626, ext. 5129. Your donation will help to eliminate the worst aspects of hunger and malnutrition.

6. Pray for a world without hunger. Every time you open your refrigerator, remember the hungry by saying this prayer: Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all your mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

7. For Christmas this year, order your gifts from the ERD Gifts for Life Catalog. When you purchase a gift, you’ll also help feed hungry people in some of the most desperate places in the world. To request your gifts catalog, go to www.er-d.org .

Anniversaries to Keep in Mind

 

November Birthdays

Nicholas Stewart 11/02

Zachary Price 11/06

Eric Kilbourn 11/08

Wayne Reedy 11/09

Jaqueline Rennick 11/09

Rebecca Dominguez 11/12

Olivia Jaquith 11/13

Meghan Bauer 11/14

Emily Marshall 11/17

Andrew Marshall 11/17

James Pierce 11/18

Jesse Dipley 11/19

Deborah O’Conn 11/19

Jonathan Rizzo 11/19

Timothy Molino 11/20

Charlie Vedder 11/20

Shane Phillips 11/23

Isabella Dewhurst 11/25

Carmella Vedder 11/25

Liz Stevens 11/30

Carole Merrill-Mazurek 11/30

Travis Reedy 11/30

November Anniversaries

Bill Walker and Hoagy Walker 11/03

Gregg amd Elizabeth Varno 11/03

Norman and Charline Hoffmann 11/04

Al and Kabby Lowe 11/24

Ralph and Doreen May 11/25

Gene and Mary Whitney 11/28

Scott and Noreen Jurgen~en 11/28

 

Editor’s note: In the printed version, there were schedules for cargivers, chalice bearers, lectors, the altar guild, and counters.