The Messenger

Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady                                                                                                   January, 2004


Annual Meeting Called for January 18th


Each year on the third Sunday in January, our congregation holds its Annual Meeting.  The purposes of the meeting are to elect representatives to the vestry, to review finances of the parish for the past year and to examine the budget of the current year, to hear brief reports from parish leaders and the clergy, and to discuss other issues which affect the congregation.



Marilyn Causey asks a question at the Annual Meeting


Nominating Committee Appointed


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: Grant Jaquith, Liz Casale, Jesse Dipley, Louise Peak e, and Jed Dare.  They are securing the nominations for the seven 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, 2 – two-year terms

1 ‑ Warden – two-year term.





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.



Fr. James attempts to answer a question at the Annual Meeting


Christmas Card Project

Deacon Pat

The St. Stephen's Christmas card production line chugged into motion of December 14th. Elves of all ages fell to work: "pickers" picked cards and stuffed envelopes, and "stickers" put stamps on the envelopes. Within an hour, over 1300 greeting cards were ready for delivery to inmates at the Schenectady County Correctional Facility. "The weather outside was frightful," but Allison DeKanel and Deacon Pat  found a warm welcome inside as we made our way through all 17 housing units to hand out cards to each inmate.


Deep gratitude is due to the many people who contributed cards and stamps, and to all who sorted, stuffed and stamped to provide inmates with a way to be in touch with their loved ones in this holy season. "God bless us, every one!"


(P.S. Cards for next Christmas may be brought to church at any time and left in the Deacon's mailbox.)


The Naomi Vanda Memorial

June Russell

Directress of the Altar Guild


The beautiful fair linen and credence table linen were used for the first time at the Christmas Eve Services December 24th 2003 . The Altar Guild expresses deep appreciation to all who made there gifts possible. More than $1,400.00 in memorial contributions resulted in the exquisite and fine Irish linen made in Portugal .


What a wonderful tribute to our "Lady of the Altar Guild" Naomi, in her great devotion to God and his Church, devoted her time and artistry in the endeavor, enhancing the beauty of the Services with flowers, new linens, vestments and countless items from the flower fund which made these gifts and flowers each Sunday possible.


We celebrate the life of Naomi Vanda!


Adult Education: The Reformation


The Reformation dramatically changed the course of Christian history and western civilization. The issues they faced then still confront us today. Bring the Reformation. alive and introduce the key reformers and major turning points with this lively video series.


The six programs are based on dramatic footage edited into dynamic half hours with introductions and transitions added from the very places where the momentous events originally took place.  Discussion after each video will explore how each reformer has affected our Episcopal Church today.


Jan. 11 – An Overview


Jan. 18 - John Wycliffe.  Called the "Morningstar" of the Reformation, this courageous forerunner paved the way for monumental changes‑‑the Bible in English.


Jan. 25 - John Hus. Carrying forth John Wycliffe's ground breaking work, his passionate calls for reform brought him before the Council of Constance where he was betrayed by false accusations and was burned at the stake.


Feb. 1 - Martin Luther. Seeking the quiet solitude of the monastery, this guilt‑burdened monk discovered justification by faith and the freedom of the Gospel.


Feb. 8 - Ulrich Zwingii and John Calvin.  Leading the Reformation in Switzerland , these two scholars had to interpret the newly recovered dimensions of the Gospel in the midst of change, chaos and opposition.


Feb. 15 - The Anabaptists. Called "the Radicals," they were opposed by just about everyone: Catholics, Protestants, and political leaders, but their legacy endures to this day.


Feb. 22 - William Tyndale. A hunted fugitive, this humble, young scholar translated and circulated the bible in English.


Feb. 29 – The Anglican Reformation.


All classes are on Sunday mornings, 9-10, in the parish hall.

Inquirers’ classes


Inquirers’ classes are intended to give prospective members an overview of how Episcopalians fit into the complex of protestant and catholic churches.  Discussion topics include the world-wide Anglican Church,  the National Episcopal Church, our own Diocese of Albany, our own parish of St. Stephen’s and the relationship among all four.  Discussion are candid and open.


This course is required of all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church, but is open to all members of the Parish Family.  Confirmation will take place in late spring.


All classes take place in the rector’s study from   January 25th through February 15th on Sunday afternoons from noon to 1:00pm.


St. Stephen's Book Group


The St. Stephen's Book Group will hold its next meeting on Sunday, January 25, at 7:30 p.m. This month's book is "Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women" by Geraldine Brooks. A native of Australia , Brooks has been a prizewinning foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Publisher's Weekly says this book is "Powerful and enlightening...Brooks presents vignettes of Muslim women...and carefully distinguishes misogyny and oppressive cultural traditions from what she considers the true teachings of the Koran." All are welcome to attend the meeting.  



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.



From the Rector


Dear Friends in Christ,


In one sense, the church's new year begins in September with the Parish Faire. In another sense it begins in Advent.  In yet another sense it begins in January with new vestry wardens and members, and a renewed commitment to the tasks at hand.


God knows, the church is not a static body, but an always growing, changing, challenging gathering of gifts and needs and expectations.  Keeping up with it all is a weekly, daily, hourly affair.  Sometimes we do.  Sometimes we don't.  Most of the time, we are doing the best we can. 


As new members come into our congregation, we need to help them become a part of our parish life.  For a long time I have observed a barrier between old-timers and newcomers.  Much of that barrier is simply knowledge of the church.  The church must never become a secret society.  Those of us in the congregation must explain our structure and language to newcomers so that they can enter into our parish life with as much ease and sense of belonging as possible.


When I first join an organization it always seems to me that everyone else knows how “things are done” but me.  Sometimes it takes many months (or years!) to become acquainted with how an institution is organized and the language used to describe it.  To help this process the vestry, parish council and I have developed a detailed handbook to describe the way things are done at Saint Stephen’s.  We hope that this facilitates more members becoming involved in the congregation.


The point is this: if you are quietly sitting out there in a pew or pondering in your home why no one has contacted you to do what you do best in the life of the church, it could be for a number of reasons.  One is that we are getting our act together yet again and it hasn't quite made it on the road.  Another is  the unspoken belief that the initiative for your involvement in the church rests in the church's collective hands rather than in your own.


 Given the overwhelming nature of the ministry and mission of St. Stephen's , your energy, intelligence, imagination and love are sorely needed but sometimes missed. Whether in Christian education, music, social witness, worship, youth, fellowship, your voice and experience and commitment will be welcomed with open arms ‑ we just need to know where you want to jump in!  Therefore, don't be shy.  Look over the areas of our ministries, and then pick up the phone and call the office.  Your life and the life of this parish might be, in this new year, transformed!

Fr. James


ERD Responds to Flooding

Kabby Lowe

Episcopal Relief and Development is assisting people left homeless in  north  and northwestern areas of the Dominican Republic . In November, severe flooding damaged thousands of homes as well as farmland and crops. Heavy  rains burst river banks in the El Cibao region. The most affected  areas are  in the provinces of Santiago , Duarte , Monte Cristi, and Valverde.  "About 2,000 houses belonging to poor people were flooded, of which  some 450  were completely destroyed," said the Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguin, Bishop  of  the Dominican Republic .


On behalf of the Episcopal Church, Episcopal Relief and Development has advanced emergency funds to the Diocese of the Dominican Republic for temporary shelter, mattresses, sheets, mosquito nettings, and emergency food. The funds will provide critical assistance to affected families.


ERD continues to pray for people affected by the floods. ERD remains in contact with the Diocese and stands ready to respond to their needs.


Thanks to everyone who contributed to the World Hunger Day and also used the ERD gifts catalogue for Christmas presents.


An Interfaith Dialogue on Genetic Engineering, Agriculture, and the Patenting of Life with Canadian Farmer Percy Schmeiser

"If you can patent a plant, what about birds, bees and animals - and ultimately humans? Where does it stop?" asks Percy Schmeiser.

The Regional Farm and Food Project invites you to a special interfaith dialogue to examine genetic engineering from within a moral and theological framework. This discussion will be held from 12-2 PM on Monday, January 26th at the First Lutheran Church of Albany, 181 Western Avenue , between Quail and North Lake .  (Please use the 646 State St. entrance and the adjacent parking lot which is accessible via Cortland Place .  Call 518/271-0744 if you have questions.)

Percy Schmeiser, a life-long farmer from
Bruno , Saskatchewan , Canada and former member of the provincial legislature, will lead off with a brief presentation and serve as a resource person for the discussion.  Mr. Schmeiser has spent the last five years involved in a battle with Monsanto after its Roundup Ready canola contaminated his fields. He has become a worldwide figure in the struggle against genetically engineered crops and global domination of our food supply by a handful of corporations. His case against Monsanto will be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on January 20, 2004 .

Leaders of various religious organizations have publicly stated their views on the topic of biotechnology and genetic engineering. Pope John Paul III has urged rigorous scientific and ethical controls to avoid possible “disaster for the health of man and the future of the Earth” from new agricultural technologies. The Pope has warned farmers to ``resist the temptations of productivity and profit that work to the detriment of the respect of nature.'' The Buddhist community has condemned genetic engineering of food, stating that it is not in accord with the teachings of Buddhism and is "unwarranted tampering with the natural patterns of our world at the most basic and dangerous level."

This discussion will open an interfaith dialogue about issues affecting food, hunger, and agriculture.  It will be facilitated to encourage a respectful open dialogue.  Relevant issues for the dialogue include the ethics of the rapid advances of genetic engineering, the patenting of life, labeling of foods, and equity for farmers in the food system.  Together the assembled group will reflect on how people of faith might exercise spiritual leadership on important questions and concerns.

Background briefing materials will be available in advance if you RSVP by Jan. 19.  Please provide your mailing address (and email if available). Refreshments will be served; please bring a bag lunch.

Percy Schmeiser will also be speaking at a public event, "A Modern Day David and Goliath Story: An Evening with Percy Schmeiser."  This program will take place at
7 pm , Monday, January 26th, also at the First Lutheran Church of Albany. We hope you will be able to attend one or both of these events.

The Regional Farm & Food Project is a 12-county membership organization which fosters sustainable agriculture and connects farmers and consumers in a viable, interdependent local food system through education and organizing. RFFP was founded in 1996. Contact RFFP at 518/271-0744 or or see 

Don’t Forget to Buy Your Super-bowl Subs:  Sunday, February 1st

Emery  and Andy  making subs as a fundraiser for Workcamp in the summer


Household Blessing for Epiphany


A custom from Eastern Europe that is presently being recovered in North America is the practice of blessing homes during the days after the 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.


"A great big THANK YOU to the wonderful people of St. Stephen's for all the love and care given to me following hip surgery.  I have been truly overwhelmed.  Especially I want to thank Pat Jones, Mary and Gene Whitney, Kathy and Tom Miller, Bill and Hoagy Walker, Marilyn Causey, Millie Gittinger, Pauline Holmes, and George Woodzel.  What a great family.  Only at St. Stephen's !"


Bob Malmros




2004 March & Program










Sponsored by The Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition of the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission




Many people have the idea that the only time they should call their priest or deacon is when someone is critically ill or when there is a death in the family, and some don't even do that.  Here are ten occasions when you should have no hesitation in picking up the phone to call James or Pat:



1.  Before going to the hospital. It makes no difference whether you are going to the hospital for major surgery or for a routine checkup - call before you go.


2.  When alcohol or drugs become a problem for you or for someone you love. The alcoholic or drug dependent person is not a hopeless sinner - he or she is a person with a disease who needs treatment.  There are no easy answers to chemical dependency, but the clergy can help you to understand these problems or to assist families and individuals in locating help.


3.  Before you engage a lawyer. This does not mean before you get an attorney for any purpose, but before engaging one when a husband and wife are considering separation.  If you take the Christian view of marriage seriously, you will wish to talk through your situation with clergy or other pastoral counselor before matters proceed to the point of seeking legal counsel.


4.  When a baby is born. When a new member of our family is born, James or Pat would like to call while the mother is still in the hospital.  This is a good opportunity to rejoice with the family and to ask God's blessing upon the child.


5.  When you would like to talk or pray about a difficult decision. The big decisions in life are so important that they should be "talked out and prayed through".  Your work, perhaps getting married, a change in jobs - are all included.


6.  When you know someone in need of spiritual help. It is part of our Christian responsibility to be alert to the needs of others.  If you know of someone who needs help, do not hesitate to call.  Together, we may be able to find a way to minister to those in need.


7.  When there is a death in the family. No matter what the hour of day or night the clergy should be called at once.  Their task is to bring you to strong consolation offered by our Christian faith and to counsel with you concerning arrangements for the funeral.


8.  When you are spiritually depressed. Remember, help is available!  The finest Christians have all gone through their dark night of the soul.  Don't try to fight it through alone.  If God seems far off and religion has lost its reality, you are not the first person to feel that way.  Don't struggle with spiritual depression by yourself.


9.  Before anyone enters the armed forces or leaves for college.  Not only will the clergy want to know their address away from home, but would like to opportunity to make a personal visit to assure them of the concern of their home parish while they are away.


10. When you want to share a thanksgiving. When a parishioner wants to share a thanksgiving for all God's gracious gifts, the clergy will be delighted to share this with you.


Parish office - 346-6241

Fr.  James - 370-3573

Deacon Pat - 372-5836



Souper Bowl Sunday Set for February 1st


The SICM Food Program and Sacred Heart/St. Columba Church’s food pantry are once again participating in the national Souper Bowl Sunday appeal. Congregations, businesses and individuals may call Pat Obrecht or Mary Rainey at 346-4445 to get cans for collecting money for the hungry on Feb. 1st after services, at home parties or at taverns and restaurants where the big football game is aired.


SICM Welcomes Newest Member Congregation


Lynnwood Reformed Church, a long-time SICM supporter, has become the newest addition to this ecumenical partnership. SICM now has 58 member congregations from 15 different denominations.

Schenectady Food Providers to Host Benefit at Proctor’s


Mark your calendars for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 16 for a movie and reception to benefit Schenectady County Food Providers. The event will mark the 30th anniversary of the SICM Food Program, the oldest of the 11-member Food Providers group. The featured movie is “The Grapes of Wrath.” More details will be announced soon.

Tax Preparation Volunteers Needed


The Build Your Money Capital Region Coalition is recruiting volunteers to prepare tax returns for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. The coalition is planning several tax assistance days for preparing returns at no charge for low-income individuals. One of these days is being scheduled for the Hamilton Hill branch of SEFCU. To volunteer, contact Debbie LaPierre at 427-5410.


Coalition for Public Safety Urges Use of COPS Grant


The Coalition for Public Safety, for which SICM and member congregations are providing leadership, has called on the City Council to accept a federal grant to hire six new police officers. Hiring those officers is one priority on the coalition’s agenda to enhance police presence and effectiveness in the city. For more information, contact Rev. Phil Grigsby at SICM at 374-2683.

Procurement Volunteer needed

at St. Stephen’s

One volunteer position that is greatly needed is a person who will make sure that provisions are kept in stock at the church.  This would entail being given a BJ’s membership and a church credit card. 

Items that need to be purchased at least bi-weekly are paper cups, paper towels, and toilet paper.  Other items would be replaced as needed: light bulbs, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, batteries and  ice melt.

This position would require good organizational skills to be able to keep a current inventory.

Anyone who would like this volunteer position can call the parish office (346-6241) weekdays between 9am and 1pm . 

  Up-date Concerning the Diocese of Albany and Beyond

The American Anglican Council (AAC) ended months of speculation about its post-General Convention intentions on Dec. 17 with the announcement of a new network whose objective will be internal reform rather than separation from the Episcopal Church. The Network of Anglican

Com­munion Dioceses and Parishes said it will pursue "the work of healing schism and estrangement within the Body of Christ ..." An organizational meeting is scheduled for Jan. 19-20 in Plano , Texas .  Both of the Bishops from Albany plan to attend.

The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the new network, said that the network was still "a work in progress. At this point it is like the baby in utero, it is very much there, genetically shaped, but you cannot yet describe many of its features."

As of Dec 19, standing committees and bishops from six dioceses had acted to approve formation of the network in principle and to appoint representatives to the organizational convocation. The six are: Central F1orida , F1orida, Fort Worth , Pittsburgh , San Joaquin and South Carolina .

The draft charter is the composite work of 13 diocesan bishops, among whom is the Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog , Bishop of Albany.

The network came to fruition follow­ing a meeting among Bishops Herzog, Duncan, Iker and Howe and the Arch­bishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, on Oct. 17. The four American bishops, along with leaders of the MC, discussed with Archbishop Williams the creation of a network which would work firmly within the existing canonical structures of the Episcopal Church.       '

Nine American and eight Canadian bishops gathered in Toronto on Oct. 27 before the start of the meeting of the Canadian House of Bishops to formu­late further plans. On Nov. 20 Bishops Duncan, Iker, Salmon and Stanton pre­sented the

plan to a delegation of pri­mates led by the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, at a pri­vate meeting at Heathrow Airport in London . The network met with their approval and 16 primates subsequently endorsed the proposal.

The name of the new organization is the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.  It will be formally unveiled at the Plano meeting and will detail how the arrangement will work. 

Anniversaries to Keep in Mind

January Birthdays


1          Susan Shephard                               

2          Jacob Price                                   

7          Barbara Dobbins Stratton                     

7          Robert Bailey                                

7          Audrey DeBritz                               

7          Emma Koch                                    

8          Laura Manor                                   

8          Luke DeBritz                                 

9          David Taylor                                 

12        Laura Pratico                                

13        Susan Goldthwaite                                     

14        Emery Chapman                                           

14        Lillian Peterson                                       

17        Pearl Burton                                            

17        Daniel Lundquist                                       

17        Diane Widenor                                

18        Mary Pasko                                             

22        Megan Dominguez                                        

23        Deborah Trawick                                        

26        K.Scott Kilbourn                             

27        Carolyn Morin                                 

27        John W. Rigley                               

30        Brooke Rennick                               


January Wedding Anniversaries


6          Michael Bishop & Pauline Holmes                                                                                19        Irwin & Beverly Blanchard                                                           25      John & Susan Goldthwaite                                                          31            Bill & Jeanette Ackner                              

31        Bruce & Jane Tatge                                                                     31     Harvey & Mary Alexander       


  Schedules to Remember


LEM and Care Givers Schedules


Week of

Care Team

January 04

C. Downs

January 11

M. Bishop, P. Holmes

January 18

G. & R. Woodzell

January 25

A. & K. Lowe


Counter Schedule

January 04

Gittinger, Molino, Grady

January 11

Versocki, Belardo, Voelker

January 18

Causey, Crates, Spang

January 25

Northrop, Peake, Small


Ushers’ Schedule

January 04

Mertz, Kilbourn

January 11

Trant, Trant

January 18

Sombor, Kelly

January 25

Walther, Jones


8: 00 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson

January 04

G. Woodzell

G. Woodcock

P. Nevius

January 11

D. Trawick

L. Stevens


January 18

DC Crates

K. Miller

N. Hoffmann

January 25


B. Mazurek

P. Holmes


10: 15 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson

January 04

C. Jones

G. Jaquith

V. Hoshko

January 11

D. Carroll

P. Holmes

N. Hoffmann

January 18

P. Holmes


M. Bishop

January 25

N. Hoffmann

S. Grady

G. Woodzell


Altar Guild Schedule

January 10 - 16

Liz Casale, Kabby Lowe, Liz Varno

January 17 - 23

Josephine Jones, Carolyn Morin, June Russell, Gill Woodcock, Dennis Wisnom

January 24 - 30

Liz Casale, Kabby Lowe, Liz Varno



Acolyte  Schedule







January 04

Paul Pratico

Anne Sombor

Alik Versocki

Devon Dare

January 11

Chris Morin

Laura Pratico

Chelsea  Trant

Shannon Trant

January 18

Andy Marshall

Tyleigh Versocki

Alli DeBritz

Britta Kilbourn

January 25

Paul Pratico

Tom Casale

Zachary Price

Will Koch


We need of people to donate altar flowers for Sundays throughout the year. 


Flower Calendar for 2004

I would like to provide the flowers on Sunday, ___________


In memory of ________________________ or as a thankoffering for






Check enclosed in the amount of _________($35.00 minimum)


You must enclose your payment to secure your desired date. Send this coupon and your check to the Church Office or place in the offering plate.

saint stephen's

episcopal church


progressive, catholic, reformed


St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

1935 The Plaza

Schenectady , New York   12309



Church Staff


 The Rev. Dr. James R. Brooks-McDonald, Rector

 The Rev. Patricia L. Jones, Deacon

 The Rev. John H. Peatling, Rector Emeritus

 Dr. Timothy Olsen, Director of Music

 Ms Katherine Miller, Office Manager





 Warden:                      Grant Jaquith

 Warden:                      Barbara Strangfeld

 Clerk:                          David Caruso

 Treasurer:                   Denise Crates

 Chancellor:                  Rosemarie Jaquith


 Class of 2003              Liz Casale

                                    Jesse Dipley

                                    Louise Peak e

                                    Jed Dare


 Class of 2004              Dave Malcolm


 Class of 2005              Steve Ras

                                    Sondra Grady

                                    Shari MacIvor



 THE CHURCH OFFICE, located at 1229 Baker      Avenue , is open every weekday from 9:00 am to

1:00 pm .



 TELEPHONE/FAX: The office telephone number is   518/346-6241 and the office fax number is 518/346- 6242. Please leave a message if no one answers and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Our email address is The rector’s email is Our website address is


The Messenger is published 10 times a year, September through June.