The Messenger

Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady                                                                                                  March, 2004

Spiritual Tools in Lent

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.”  (BCP 265)

This year our Lenten study will examine five different methods or tools for spiritual  growth.  The series will be held on Sunday evenings from 5pm to 7pm and will include a simple soup supper.

Fr. Wampler will be leading the Lenten Study on Prayer

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray...'  This ‘ School of Prayer ’ will tackle such questions as: Is there really Someone out there who hears me?  How can I "pray without ceasing"?  What do I do when I am distracted, or when I cannot seem to pray for more that five or ten minutes?  How do I pray in a busy life? What is prayer without words?  This ‘school’


will be held on Feb. 28th and given by the Rev. Delos Wampler, former director of Barry House and an active retreat leader in the Diocese of Albany. 


Ana Hernandez and Sr. Helena Marie  rehearsing  for a concert

“Sound as Prayer” will be the topic for March 7th led by Ana Hernandez, composer/arranger of sacred music from Peekskill , NY .  “Our voices reveal things about us before we realize them ourselves,” Hernandez suggests, “like emotions or mood…..and knowing yourself can put you on the fast track to a healthy inner life.”  She adds, “If you can hum, you can come.”

The Enneagram is a very old typology that describes nine different character types that help participants learn about themselves.  Sr. Pat from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany will present an overview of the nine types and explain how the Enneagram is concerned with  change, or making a turn around, with what the Christian tradition has called conversion or repentance.  It confronts participants with their own compulsions and laws under which they live – usually without being aware of it – and it aims to invite participants to go beyond them, to take steps into the domain of freedom.  This workshop will take place on March 14th.

Journaling can be a helpful spiritual tool. A journal is used to record one's response to life in general or to particular issues or events. We will explore such methods as journaling in response to scripture, daily reading,  dreams, events, etc. To parallel Ana's invitation,  "If you can hum, you can come", "If you can write* you're all right!" (* or draw, use a word processor  or tape recorder) This session is scheduled for March 21st, and will be led by Deacon Pat Jones .

On March 28th Fr. James will explain what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can do to help deepen a spiritual life and then he will take all participants through a shortened version of this topology, called the Keirsey.  It assumes that there are four pairs of functions that are expressed differently in each person.  In each set everyone prefers one of the two possibilities and this results in sixteen possible combination or types.  This result can help participants discover the meaning of regular patterns in their behavior.  This workshop will end the Lenten series on March 28th. 

Heifer Project International

“In 1944, Heifer Project International sent Faith, Hope and Charity and 15 other heifers by ship to struggling families in Puerto Rico .  That voyage marked the start of a new life for those families and for others like them around the world.  Since then, Heifer Project has helped more than 4 million families in need. Today HPI provides more than 20 types for food and income-producing animals and intensive training in animal management, environmentally sound farming and community development in 118 countries.”    

How often do you get a chance to change the world?

An Ark for Today’s World

Recall the story of Noah’s ark and God’s rainbow, with God’s covenant and promise of a new beginning, renewing the blessing given at creation.  During the month of March, we will be using the HPI “Fill the Ark ” program.  This is a four-week global education and fundraising project that families and individuals can use at home.  On February 29 we will distribute to each household a calendar with daily facts about how animals are used in other parts of the world, as well as a small ark in which to save donations. 

On Palm Sunday, April 4, we will present all our contributions during the 10:15 service.  The money will be sent to HPI as a way that we can share God’s love.

“ As it was for Noah, so for today:  the ark is about hope, about a new beginning.  For HPI families, farm animals can provide:

• nutritious food for children through milk, eggs or meat

• income for housing, health care, school fees and other needs

• motivation to plant trees and grasses and make other environmental improvements

• a catalyst for community development.”      

HPI works in partnership with many agencies, including Episcopal Relief and Development.


  Peacemaking Opportunities

The recently-completed Bible study course "Shalom" provided opportunities to discuss peacemaking in the local church. One of the concerns expressed by the class was  the distance we feel from other churches in our diocese as a result of divisive issues confronting the diocese. We decided that, to affirm what we hold in common with our brothers and sisters in other parishes, we would encourage attendance at a mid-week Eucharist at a neighboring church. This would be a particularly good Lenten discipline, and we invite anyone in the parish to participate. Take a friend, and make new friends! Here is a partial schedule of services (all are on Wednesdays):

            7:00 am             St. George's , Schdy                  10:00 am           Trinity, Lansingburgh

            9:30 am             St. George's , Clifton Pk.           11:00 am           St. Andrew's, Scotia

            9:30 am             Calvary , Burnt Hills                   12:10 pm           Christ Church , Schdy

            10:00 am          St. Paul 's, Schdy                       7:00 pm             St. George's , Clifton Pk.


CROP Walk Recruiters Workshop

Set for March 9


The Schenectady CROP Walk committee has put together an informative program for recruiters on Tuesday, March 9 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. aSICM logot Emmanuel-Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace. The workshop will include details about the new walk site, St. Helen’s Church on Upper Union Street in Niskayuna; a brief talk about the needs of locally resettled refugees, which is this year’s walk theme; and information about online pledges. A light supper will be served. For those unable to attend, another workshop will be offered at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11 at Shenendehowa United Methodist Church , on Route 146 in Clifton Park . The walk is scheduled for Sunday, May 2. Contact Marianne at 374-2683 or for more information.

Neighborhood Stations of the Cross

Set for April 9

Local churches and organizations once again are sponsoring the traditional Stations of the Cross through the Hamilton Hill neighborhood on Good Friday, April 9. The program, which features prayer and song with stops at neighborhood churches and other sites, begins at noon at Christ Church Episcopal, 970 State St . The walk concludes at the City Mission, with rides available back to the church. For more information call SICM at 374-2683 or Christ Church Episcopal at 374-3064.


City Provides Weed and Seed Start-up Funds

The Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association and SICM successfully secured a grant of $100,000 for the Weed and Seed project from the city through the Community Development Block Grant program. Weed and Seed is a federal Justice Department initiative that is a strategy to “weed” out criminal elements and “seed” new initiatives. For information, contact Chauncey Williams at the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association or Assistant Police Chief Mark Chaires.

Support Coalition for Public Safety

The Coalition for Public Safety seeks groups and individuals to sign on to its goals of increasing public safety in the community. The Coalition has called for increased police presence in the city, improved city-county cooperation in public safety and continuation of the city’s police commissioner position. Call the SICM office at 374-2683 for support forms.

Schenectady Food Providers to

Host Benefit at Proctor’s

Mark your calendars for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 16 for a showing of the movie “Grapes of Wrath” and a reception to benefit Schenectady County Food Providers, a coalition of food pantries and soup kitchens. The event will mark the 30th anniversary of the SICM Food Program, the oldest of the 11-member coalition. Tickets for the film are $5; for both the film and a reception afterwards, $25. Contact Ruth or Marianne at 374-2683 or for more information.

Spiritually Sound-Physically Fit

Manual Available

SICM has produced a how-to manual for Spiritually Sound-Physically Fit, a congregation-based exercise and nutrition program piloted by two member congregations last year. The free guide explains the program, offers ideas for replicating the program, and includes participant information that may be copied and distributed. For more information, contact Marianne at 374-2683 or

Food Pantry Seeks Suggestions for Raising Support

by Cindy Reedy

The focus of the February SICM General Assembly meeting was the Food Program.  As food assistance needs continue to escalate in Schenectady County , SICM saw a 7% increase in the numbers of people served in 2003.  With the welfare caseload at its lowest level ever, and no New York State Welfare Grant increase since 1990, the emergency food distribution is stretched very thin.  The "new" clientele is the working poor:  those in part-time and low income jobs who can't afford their most basic needs.


The SICM Food Program provides at least 50% of emergency groceries in Schenectady County .  Because of the Food Program's participation in the Regional Food Bank, a donation of cash made to the Food Program enables the purchase of, for example, a case of cereal for the price you would pay for an individual box at the grocery store.  For this reason, cash donations are most appreciated.


SICM continues to take action to address a projected deficit for the Food Program in the coming year.  New York State senators and assemblymen are being approached for one-time grants, and food drive events are being planned.  Meanwhile, any donations to SICM that are designated for the Food Program go directly in their entirety to the Program.

Rachel Graham named Woman of Achievement

SICM is proud to announce that Rachel Graham, director of COCOA House, has been named one of six Women of Achievement by the YWCA this year. She will be honored at a dinner at the Glen Sanders on Tuesday, March 23. Tickets are $75 (it's a fundraiser for the YWCA). We encourage anyone who would like to, to attend this event to recognize her achievement. If you can't attend, please consider buying a ticket for a student or college tutor in the program so that some of those actively involved in COCOA House can be there to support Rachel.

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.



3rd & 4th grade Sunday school class:  “Hands on Bible” Beyond a Doubt

By Laura Davis

Before the 3rd & 4th grade class begins Sunday school, the kids and teachers go to the bookshelf.  We each get a Good News Bible and are on our way.  Every week we learn from the Bible, and about the Bible.  The “point” of each week’s lesson focuses on what we can learn from God and Jesus and to develop a trust that God and Jesus will show us the right way to go when we listen.  We have figured out “green light” and “red light” reactions to anger and difficult situations, and how the miracles of Jesus can touch our lives.  The kids take turns reading from the Bible, and sometimes the teachers even get a chance to read.  Games and discussions relating to the Bible lessons are an important part of the time we have together.  Each week we try to relate the stories in the Bible to what kids are going through everyday.  The hope is that the lessons will help the kids approach and deal with social challenges positively, knowing that Jesus is with them every step of the way.  We finish Sunday school by putting our Bibles away.  The children and teachers gather together, hold hands, and complete the hour by saying the Lord’s Prayer.


On the Move

By Allison de Kanel

The 5th and 6th grade Sunday School class started the year in the Chapel, but has recently moved to the Peatling Room. We’ve discussed what sort of furnishings the room will need, and we all agree a pew is essential! We’re also planning on some beanbag chairs and floor cushions

Our curriculum is designed to spark discussions about issues that affect young people in their daily life – cliques, fads, peer pressure – and to explore the Christian response to these situations. We usually open the class with “popcorn” prayer (tossing a ball to the next person) and we close with the Lord’s Prayer. We’ve even practiced meditating on a Gospel lesson. But the class is not just talk! You may have recently seen us celebrating Future Day – the students proceeded from the Peatling Room to the Tower Room – in blindfolds.

In Advent the class took a Saturday outing. We saw The Cat in the Hat, had some pizza, and then rang bells for the Salvation Army at a local store. We hope to schedule a similar movie and service outing in Lent.

If you’d like to know more, ask teachers Peter Nelson or Allison de Kanel, or – even better – ask one of the kids. Or stop by and check us out. We welcome visitors.

Lenten Plans for Children and Families

 By Richey Woodzell

During the month of March, we will be using the Heifer International “Fill the Ark ” project, which is described in another article.  Also during Lent, each class (up through grade 6) will be working on a memorization project.  We encourage parents to help their children with this.  This will begin on February 29th, and conclude on Easter Sunday.

For Good Friday, April 9th, we will hold a children’s activity, probably during the afternoon.  We are still planning, but hope to have a service and story.

Calendar for Grades 1-6:

2/29     1 Lent  9-10     regular classes

       - assigning of memorizations

       - distribution of Heifer Project materials

3/7       2 Lent  9-10     “Sound as Worship” – see article on Lenten study

       - classes will join adults in parish hall

3/14     3 Lent  9-9:30  choir with Tim Olsen

        9:30-10  regular classes

3/21     4 Lent  9-10    regular classes

3/28     5 Lent    9-9:30  choir with Tim Olsen

            9:30-10  regular classes

4/4      Palm Sunday  9-10 regular classes

           ingathering of Heifer Project donations

The PreK-K class will continue to meet during the 10:15 service.  However, all children are welcome at the joint class on March 7 and during the choir time with Tim Olsen Younger children who come then may join grades 1 & 2 for the rest of the hour.  The children’s choir will be singing during the 10:15 service on Easter Sunday.  Looking Ahead

During the April school break (April 12-16), we will have a Church School Fun Day.  Watch for date, time and other details.  If you would like to participate in any way, call Richey Woodzell or Barbara Adams.

From the Rector

Dear Friends in Christ,

The forty weekdays of Lent represent the period which Jesus spent in the wilderness during his temptation.  According to Matthew, he fasted for forty days.  The symbolism of Lent, aside from Holy Week, centers on sin, temptation, and repentance.

Some people today still make Lent a time of fasting from some particular food, or of giving up something else physically, with the understanding that this is a form of penitence.  As I have said before, fasting can be very helpful to some people.

However, I think a 'spiritual fast' can also be helpful, during which we give up negative thoughts and feelings, letting Lent be a time quietly and firmly to release all that is unlike Christ.

Let me suggest that in addition to other Lenten disciplines this season, we ask ourselves, and try to respond to some questions:

Lent is a season when we not only 'give up' something, but also 'take up' something.  Lent is not only a time for us to remember the shortness and frailty of human life, a time reflecting on our tendency to sin;  it is also a time of spiritual refreshment, a time of repentance and new commitment to Christ.  A time when we remind ourselves that we are children of God, in Christ.  Lent is a time when all we are called to do is to be who we are created to be; it's as simple and as difficult as that.

I will end with words from a nine-year-old girl as recorded by Harvard psychologist, Robert Coles.  She says:

"When you're put here, it's for a reason.  The Lord wants you to do something.  If you don't know what, then you've got to try hard to find out what.  It may take time.  You may make mistakes.  But if you pray, He'll lead you to your direction. He won't hand you a piece of paper with a map on it, no sir. He'll whisper something, and at first you may not even hear, but if you have trust in Him and you keep turning to Him, it will be all right."

Have a very blessed and holy Lent.



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.



Ask The occasional feature

Dear Rector,

Often you remind the congregation that the Episcopal Church welcomes all baptized Christians to receive Holy Communion.  I was wondering why we even put that barrier up.  Why not give Communion to anyone who comes up to the altar rail?  Why must we insist upon being baptized first?  We keep saying that we want the Episcopal Church to grow, so why put obstacles in the way?  Besides, you wouldn’t refuse nourishment to someone who came to you for food, would you?        


Dear Inclusive,

I agree with you that being "welcoming" means removing any barrier.  But I also think that we sometimes confuse barriers with boundaries (the same confusion has gotten us into lots of trouble with sexual misconduct).  Barriers are artificial, non‑essential structures put in place to keep people out (picture police barriers around a site).  Boundaries are lines that create identity.  If you have no boundaries, you have no don't know who you are, where you stop and where the world or someone else begins.

We need boundaries.  When you know who you are and what you stand for, you can be who you are.  That centeredness also enables others to know who they are and to be who they are.  Eliminating boundaries because we mistakenly think they are barriers creates confusion, loss of identify and ultimately disintegration.

On another level, I am not sure that we would attract more people if we made access least there is no evidence to support this.  In fact, organizations that place high demands on their members, have high expectations for them attract more people and get more commitment from their members than those with low demands and expectations.  Which makes sense.  We value highly that which costs us most and we devalue things that are cheap.  My experience is that churches are no different.  If we expect more of people, they will give more. If being a Christian is really nothing and requires nothing of us, it obviously is worth nothing to us, so why should it be worth anything to others?

I believe Christianity is costly.  The promise is great, but the cost is great too.  My experience as a parish priest is that when a congregation raises their expectations, people respond.   When the Episcopal Church starts to be clear about what being a Christian demands of us then we will have adults seeking baptism.



Anniversaries to Keep in Mind

March Birthday

John V. Casale                            3/1

Ethan Brooks-McDonald             3/4

Barbara Wisnom                         3/4

Elizabeth MacFarland                  3/5

Paul Pratico                                 3/6

Thomas Casale                            3/7

Joan Campbell                             3/7

Diane Bengtson Kilbourn             3/1

Logan Olberg                              3/1

Jim Wolff                                     3/1

Kelly Nolan                                 3/1

Norma Piscitelli                           3/11

Shirley Voelker                            3/13

Roseann Caruso                          3/15

Budd Mazurek                            3/16

Grace Murphy-Nolan                  3/18

William Beck                               3/19

Emily Blaufuss                             3/21

Susan Townsend                         3/22

Joanne Frank                               3/22

Martha Spang                              3/23

Dorothy Gibbs                             3/23

Julianna Fowler                            3/25

Alexa Wolff                                 3/25

Beth McKeone                            3/26

Linda Emaelaf                              3/27

Paul Pratico                                 3/27

Helen Reid                                  3/3

Ralph May                                  3/3

Daniel Correa                              3/31

March Wedding Anniversaries

John & Susan Liberis                   3/6

Karen & Dennis Holcombe          3/28


Schedules to Remember

(These are correct this month)

LEM and Care Givers Schedules

Week of

Care Team

March 07

A. & K. Lowe

March 14

G. & S. Woodcock

March 21

G. & R. Woodzell

March 28

A. & K. Lowe


8: 00 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson

March 07

T. Miller

K. Miller

P. Nevius

March 14

G. Woodzell

D. Stevens

R. Woodzell

March 21

D. Trawick

G. Woodzell

S. Woodcock

March 28

DD. Crates

D. Stevens

DC. Crates


10: 15 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson

March 07

M. Dare

L. Pratico

D. Caruso

March 14

DC. Crates

L. Varno

M. Gittinger

March 21

O. Luczka

C. Trant

B. Voelker

March 28

G. Jaquith

D. Manor

R. Caruso

  Ushers’ Schedule

March 07

Mertz, Kilbourn

March 14

Trant, Trant

March 21

Sombor, Kelly

March 28

Walther, Jones


Altar Guild Schedule

Feb. 28 - March 5

Josephine Jones, Carolyn Morin, June Russell, Gill Woodcock

March 6 - 12

Liz Casale, Kabby Lowe, Liz Varno

Counter Schedule

March 07

D. May, R. May, Strangfeld Ackner, Belardo, Voelker

March 14

Gittinger, Molino, Grady

March 21

Versocki, Belardo, Voelker

March 28

Causey, Crates, Spang

March 13

9:30 am

All Polish Brass

March 13 - 19

Charline Hoffmann, Pauline Northrop, Jean Versocki

March 20 – 26

Josephine Jones, Carolyn Morin, June Russell, Gill Woodcock

March 27 – April 2

Liz Casale, Kabby Lowe, Liz Varno


  Acolyte  Schedule






March 07

Paul Pratico


Ethan Brooks-McDonald


Katie Casale Shannon Trant

Britta Kilbourn

March 14

Andy Marshall

Tyleigh Versocki

Will Koch

Shannon Trant

March 21

Chris Morin

Laura Pratico


Carrie Trant

Alli DeBritz

March 28

John Casale

Tom Casale

Chelsea Trant

Zachary Price


March Flowers

There are no altar flowers in Lent.

         Easter Altar Flowers

In memory of ________________


As a thank offering_____________


Name: _______________


Am’t. ______


Please send to the church office (1229 Baker Ave. ) or place in collection plate. Deadline in April 6.

saint stephen's

episcopal church


progressive, catholic, reformed

 Holy Communion, Sunday 8 am , 10:15 am and 7 pm

Education Hour for all Ages 9 am


1935 The Plaza




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.