The Messenger

Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady                                                                                                  February, 2004

Make 2004 Lent Meaningful

Lent is one of the oldest observances in the annual Christian calendar. Like all Christian celebrations, Lent has changed over the years, but its purpose has remained the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial and acts of compassion, in preparation for the celebration of Easter.  Here are some suggestions for making your Lenten observance meaningful and enriching.

Put Lent on your daily activity calendar. This year the Lent season starts on Feb. 25 (Ash Wednesday) and ends with Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 10.

Set a concrete goal to spend approximately 10 minutes everyday to reflect, pray, and make decisions to move in new directions. Instead of saying, "I'm going to spend time reflecting daily," say "At 6:00am , Monday through Saturday, I will sit down at my desk for 10 minutes to read and reflect"

Use a daily Lenten devotional. To help make this Lenten season especially meaningful for you, St. Stephen’s will have available: Forward Day By Day, and a new booklet from the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund called, Countdown to the Cross. Both are available in the parish hall.

Join others in Lent. Participate in the Lenten activities at St. Stephen’s, Friday Stations of the Cross, Sunday evening Lenten ‘soup and study’ time. Lead daily evening Lenten devotions with your family. Share your learnings during Lent with friends.

Focus on taking action. Engage in acts of mercy and charity. Make a gift in compassion for hungry people living in poverty by using a Hope Chest to collect weekly offerings.

Through your giving, you can be the hands, feet, and' heart of Christ for a hungry world. Your giving helps Episcopal Relief and Development to find long-term solutions to people who are hungry, while caring for the immediate problem of hunger.


Our Lenten Offering for the Needy

The Lenten season is one of the most holy times in the church year

Lent is a time for creating a space in your life that Christ can come and fill. Lent can become a time when material things are put again in their proper place. It can become a time of self-examination and a time to identify with God's priorities for the world.                                    

You may have chosen to "give up" something for Lent as Christians throughout centuries have done. You may also want to "give" something at this time.

Lent is a time to engage in acts of generosity, charity and mercy, especially toward people who are poor and hungry. In ministering to them, we minister to Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:40). 

   Desperately poor families in our world struggle to survive. Nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night. Everyday some 29,000 children die of hunger or hunger-related diseases.

   In the developing world, only 50 percent of children have access to clean drinking water. The others have only dirty, unsafe water to drink - killing millions of children annually.

Make your Lent count. Please give generously to the Episcopal Relief and Development Hope Chest to help saves lives around the world.



Keeping Everyone Safe at St. Stephen’s

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church strictly forbids sexual misconduct of any kind by staff and church members. Sexual misconduct can include sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse.  Suspicions of sexual misconduct of any kind will be reported to the rector and wardens immediately and will be fully investigated.  It is the policy of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church to provide its staff members and congregation with a safe and healthy place to worship and to ensure that church functions are planned and implemented utilizing strategies designed to prevent any inappropriate activities from occurring.


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,

“I would have joined this church years ago, if only I had known about it.”

This was a statement made to me recently by a new member.  “If only I had known.....”  There are many people living all around us who need the caring and nurture of this wonderful congregation.  Our neighborhoods and workplaces are filled with confused, lost, yet seeking people.  Many of them have been “turned off” by religion because they have had unfortunate experiences with a kind of Christianity that is limited and  shallow.  The solid Christian nurture given at Saint Stephen’s is what many people are seeking.   Try to share this with them. 

Episcopalians have our own way.  We don’t knock on doors the way the Mormons do.  We don’t preach on the street corners as some Fundamentalists do.  Episcopalians live out the joy of Christ in their daily life and then when someone asks us why we live the way we do, we use that opportunity to share our faith and our church.  But we need to create that opportunity. 

But how do you know what to say about Saint Stephen’s?  You could tell them that our tradition provides a way to faith that embraces mind and spirit, that affirms the goodness of the material world, that speaks to the value of work and worth and community.  Tell them that at Saint Stephen’s questions can be raised, concerns can be voiced, the contradictions found in scripture can be confronted and engaged as we read the story of faith in which we find our stories lifted up.  You could also tell them that Saint Stephen’s is a community that embraces newcomers.  We possess a spiritual tradition that nurtures our members and a liturgy that engages us.  We respect individual freedom and the right use of rational thought.  We are like a broad sidewalk, not a narrow sectarian path.  See, you probably already know enough about our congregation to talk about it. 

As you talk to others about Saint Stephen’s, please remember that it is not just to build up the size of our parish.  We talk to others because we, ourselves, know God and love God and give thanks for the Good News God has shared with us in Jesus Christ.  We have accepted Jesus and we know the joy of that relationship.  We share that joy because we want to bring it to as many people as possible for the Kingdom’s sake and for their sake. 



Transept Trivia for Lent

1.  There are only two fast days in our Church Calendar.  What are they?

2.  Why do we call Sundays following Ash Wednesday Sundays in Lent rather than Sundays of Lent?

3.  In addition to replacing the Gloria in excelsis with the Kyrie during Lent, there is a word noticeably absent from hymns and the liturgy during Lent.  What is it?

4.  Satan presents Our Lord with three temptations in the wilderness.  What are they?

5.  What did the word Lent originally mean?

6.  The Prayer Book forbids the celebration of the Eucharist on what days?

7.  How many churches in our diocese are named for the "red‑letter" saint whose feast day falls in March?

(Answers can be found on page eight.)



By Suzanne Wolff

The lower classes (Pre-K through Grade 6) continue to use the Hands-On Bible curriculum, which we began using in September.  Teachers, parents and children all participate in learning through stories, games and at-home activities.  The 5th and 6th grade class has discussed growing up and parents and other authorities, and will begin studying scripture passages relating to the Holy Spirit.  The younger grades have studied the birth of Jesus and his early life, ministry and miracles.  They will continue in February with other gospel stories and lessons.

Intergenerational events are planned several times during the year, usually near feast days or during school breaks.  On those Sundays, all children up through grade 4 and their parents are urged to meet downstairs together between 9 and 10 AM .  There will be no PreK-K class that Sunday.  Our next intergenerational will be on February 15th.  The topics that Sunday will be the story of Abraham and Lot and the Beatitudes.

There are two teachers for each class of our four classes.  We ask parents to sign up to be on call to help out one week per quarter, so that we have back-up when one of the teachers is absent.  For parents of children up through grade 4, please remember to sign your child in and out of class.



Teachers and students on a Sunday Morning


Pre-K – Kindergarten Class

For the early part of 2004, the Pre-School/Kindergarten group is in the "Jesus Grows Up" chapter of our curriculum, which includes lessons from Luke and Matthew.  We've learned that Jesus and his family did what was right, and our activities and stories have helped us learn that doing right is important.  We've had fun hearing the story of how Jesus wandered off and got lost and how Mary his mother worried about him.  We’ve practiced how to care for a child using dolls and how to care for a pet using stuffed animals – and talked about how important it is. 

This young group (ages 3-6) is very quick to pick up on themes and to relate them to their own lives - and we often discuss how they carry out the lessons/themes in their everyday life!

This class now meets in the parish hall for about half an hour during the 10:15 service, leaving church after the children’s sermon and returning for communion. We welcome Nan Blaufuss, who has recently joined Suzanne as co-teacher.


February Fun Day / April VBS?

If anyone is interested in participating in a one-day event for children during the February break, or in a Bible school program during the break after Easter, please sign up during church school or call Barbara Adams or Richey Woodzell. 


Backseat Preaching

Allison de Kanel

As a choir member, I have a wonderful view every Sunday morning of the children as they come forward for the children’s sermon. I thank God for the wonderful young life that fills our church, and settle back in my pew to listen and watch the children’s faces. (With all due respect to our preachers, on occasion the children’s sermon is so good, I think we should stop while we’re ahead and skip the adult sermon.) I used to wonder what it would be like to be sitting on the chancel steps, facing the kids and telling them about the love of God. So last summer I asked Fr. James if I could occasionally give the children’s sermon (what was I thinking?). He agreed! And he had an even better idea...

This year the children’s sermon is rotating among Fr. James, Emily Marshall, and me. For me, it is always a memorable experience. On Monday morning at work, while my coworkers are telling about their ski trips, or the clever things their children said, I speak of the clever things OUR children said – and that heart-stopping moment when I had to figure out how to respond. I’m sure it’s much more exciting than a ski trip!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like? Would you like to try it? Tell Fr. James if you are interested in occasionally – or even just once – giving the children’s sermon. I guarantee it will be an exhilarating experience. I’ll be sitting behind you, in the choir pews, watching the children’s faces.



High School Students Give Children’s Sermom



For Spiritual Growth In Lent

Thursday Mornings:  For many, the Season of Lent is a period of healing ‑ ‑ spiritually, emotionally, relationally and physically.  The Sacrament of Healing is offered as a part of the

Eucharist at 10:00 am .  It involves the Laying on of Hands and anointing with Holy Oil of Unction.  After the service we gather in the rector’s study for a Bible Study based on a video that weaves together the Bible's fascinating historical, culture, religious, and geographical context, and reveals keen insights into the Scripture's significance for modern believers.  Lively discussions after the video each week help to make this a very popular course.

Sunday Eucharists in Lent: The Prayerbook gives many liturgical observances that are especially appropriate for Lent.  Beginning on the first Sunday of  Lent we will be using Rite I.

Sunday Evenings:  This year our Lenten soup suppers and study will look at five spiritual tools on on each Sunday evening at 5:00pm in the parish hall. Everyone is invited to the evening Eucharist after class.

Fridays in Lent - Stations of the Cross:  'Station' is any place in the church where, during a solemn procession, there is pause for a prayer.   During Lent there is a practice in which fourteen 'stations' are visited in turn, with a pause for a reading, a versicle and response, a prayer, and a time for meditation.  In this case, the 'stations' are fourteen pictures depicting incidents in the narrative of Christ's passion, from Pilate's house to the entombment.  These pictures will be placed around the church on Fridays and booklets which lead the participant through each station can be found on the table in the back of the church.  Please call the parish office if you wish to experience this tradition.

Lent affords us a good opportunity to explore areas of our liturgical tradition that not widely used in our church.

Book Group News


The Book Group at St. Stephen's will meet on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. The book to read is The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Ten copies have been ordered at The Open Door; you may purchase one (at a 15%  discount) by telling the bookseller that you are a member of this book group. (Schenectady County Public Library also has several copies.)

At the January meeting there was a fine discussion of Geraldine Brooks' Nine Parts of Desire, a journalist's report on the lives of present-day Muslim women. Brooks has also written an excellent novel about the plague in England , Year of Wonders.

Worship During Lent

Ash Wednesday, February 25th, marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Services on that day will be held at 7 a.m. , noon and 7:30 p.m. The

Imposition of Ashes, as a sign of our repentance and our mortality, will be available at all three services.

During the Sundays of Lent our Eucharistic worship will follow Rite One in the Book of Common Prayer. This rite uses more traditional language, and a more solemn mood prevails. The

"Glory to God" is replaced by either "Lord, have mercy" or the Trisagion, "Holy God, holy and mighty, holy immortal one, have mercy upon us." In addition to the 8:00 and 10:15 a.m. services, Holy Eucharist is celebrated at 7:00 p.m. on the first and third Sundays of each month, and Evening Prayer is read on the second and fourth Sundays.



Ash Wednesday is February 25th  with the Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist as follows:

7:00 a.m.

12:00 noon

7:30 p.m.

Services will be held at various times so that each Christian can observe the beginning of this penitential period which leads us into our celebration on Easter Day.  Barring illness, every Christian certainly will be in church on Ash Wednesday to begin his/her disciplined preparation for a meaningful celebration of Easter.



St. Stephen’s Welcomes Friendship Baptist Church

Perhaps it was Martin Luther King, Jr. who pointed out that Sunday mornings are the most racially segregated time of the week.  St. Stephen’s and Friendship Baptist will try to do something about that on February 29th at the 10:15 am Eucharist.  There will be special music, and a special reception after the service.  Pastor Van Stuart will be the preacher.


Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Don't miss the traditional Pancake Supper at St. Stephen's marking the last time for festivities before Lent begins, on Tuesday, February 24th!

Menu includes pancakes, sausages and a beverage.  The price includes all you can eat!

Bring your family, your friends and your appetite!  Volunteers are needed to help cook, serve and clean up.

Bring your palms from 2003 Palm Sunday to be burned for Ash Wednesday.



Jed Dare, Charles Trawick, Norman Hoffmann and Paul de Kanel make pancakes


Altar Flowers in February


1          in memory of their loved ones

            given by Susan and John Feyrer

8          In loving memory of Naomi Vanda

            given by Stewart Vanda

            In loving memory of Naomi Vanda

            given by Vicki Hoshko

15        in memory of the birth and life of Charles           Taylor ” Trawick given by Charles and             Debbie Trawick

22        As a thank offering for the adoption of

            Anna Anfisa Taylor and Michael Victor             Taylor given by David and Suzanne       Taylor

29        available

Anniversaries to Keep in Mind

February Birthday

1          F. William Walker                                      

2          Suzanne Davis                                

3          Nicolaus Brooks-McDonald                               

3          Megan Price                                  

4          Ryan Davis                                   

5          Mildred Barber                                

6          Alexxis Gibbs                                

8          Patricia Jones                              

8          Drew Prescott                                  

8          Chelsea Trant                                

9          Petrina Marx                                 

10        David Goyette                                

10        Grace Strong                                 

12        Donald Regula                                 

13        Samuel Koch                                  

14        Nan Blaufuss                                 

14        Carolyn Manor                                

14        Marilyn Causey                               

15        Hugh Campbell,Jr.                             

18        Jane Tatge                                   

19        Christine Nelson                             

19        Mary Alexander                               

20        Dennis Moss                                  

21        Gregg Varno                                   

21        Shari MacIvor                                

23        Mitchell Rigley                              

24        Pauline Northrop                             

25        Dawn McCarthy                                

28        Elizabeth Pratico                             

February Wedding Anniversaries

6          Megan & Hector Dominguez                              

7          Allison &  Paul de Kanel                                

10        Christine  & J. Keith Nelson                               

Counter Schedule

February 1

D. May, R. May, Strangfeld

February 8

Gittinger, Molino, Grady

February 15

Versocki, Belardo, Voelker

February 22

Causey, Crates, Spang

February 29

Northrop, Peake, Small


Ushers’ Schedule

February 1

Mertz, Kilbourn

February 8

Trant, Trant

February 15

Sombor, Kelly

February 22

Walther, Jones

February 29

Mertz, Kilbourn


  8: 00 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson

February 1

G. Woodzell

G. Woodcock

P. Nevius

February 8

D. Trawick

L. Stevens


February 15

DC Crates

K. Miller

N. Hoffmann

February 22


B. Mazurek

P. Holmes

February 29


B. Mazurek

P. Holmes




1.  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (BCP p. 17).

2.  All Sundays are celebrations of the Resurrection and cannot be penitential days.  They are not part of the "40 Days of Lent".

3.  Alleluia

4.  To make stones into bread; to throw Himself from the pinnacle of the temple and be saved by angels; and to rule over the kingdoms of this world.

5.  Spring; the verb 'lengthen' also comes from the same root, since in Spring, the days lengthen once again.

6.  Good Friday and Holy Saturday (BCP pp. 275, 282, 283).

7.  None; there are no churches named after ' Saint Joseph ' in the Diocese of Albany.


10: 15 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson

February 1

C. Jones

G. Jaquith

V. Hoshko

February 8

D. Carroll

P. Holmes

N. Hoffmann

February 15

P. Holmes


M. Bishop

February 22

N. Hoffmann

S. Grady

G. Woodzell

February 29

N. Hoffmann

S. Grady

G. Woodzell


Acolyte  Schedule







February 1

Chris Morin


Ethan Brooks-McDonald


Shannon Trant

Britta Kilbourn

February 8

John Casale

Tyleigh Versocki

Alli DeBritz

Devon Dare

February 15

John Casale

Anne Sombor

Zachary Price

Emily Mertz

February 22

Andy Marshall

Tom Casale

Libby Marshall

Ayodele Jones

February 25

Ash Wednesday

Chris Morin

Megan Price



February 29

John Casale

Anne Sombor

Emily Mertz

Devon Dare


                   Altar Guild Schedule

 January 31 - February 6

Charline Hoffmann, Pauline Northrop, Jean Versocki

February 7 –

February 13

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

February 14  -

February 20

Liz Casale, Kabby Lowe, Liz Varno

February 21 –

February 24

Charline Hoffmann, Pauline Northrop, Jean Versocki

February 25

Ash Wednesday

7am - Josephine Jones, Carolyn Morin, June Russell, Gill Woodcock, Dennis Wisnom

Noon - Liz Casale, Kabby Lowe, Liz Varno

7:30 pm - Charline Hoffmann, Pauline Northrop, Jean Versocki

February 26

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

February 28 – March 5

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

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:                      Shari MacIvor

 Clerk:                          David Caruso

 Treasurer:                   Denise Crates

 Chancellor:                  Rosemarie Jaquith

 Class of 2004              Dave Carroll

                                    Liz Casale

                                    Denise Crates

 Class of 2005              Steve Ras

                                    Sondra Grady

                                    Vicki Hoshko

Class of 2006               Marilyn Dare

                                    Budd Mazurek

                                    Keith Nelson               

 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.