St. Stephen's Church, Schenectady Summer, 2004
While Fr. James is on sabbatical this summer, Saint Stephen's congregation will have the privilege of having outstanding preachers.
|Fr. James considers the Rev. Dr. Sam Portaro his
mentor and friend. Sam is the Episcopal Chaplain
to the University of Chicago. He is the author of
several books, including Brightest and Best,
Daysprings, Conflict and a Christian Life and
Crossing the Jordan. He also was the co-author
of a history of college chaplaincy in this country.
Sam Portaro, "Looking back over more than a half century
of living and nearly three decades of ministry, I am most
gratefulfor the laughter."
|The Rev. Ron Gerber is the assisting priest at St.
Andrew's in Albany and has preached at St.
Stephen's before. Fr. James worked with Fr.
Gerber in beginning the Damien Centers. He will
be the celebrant of the Eucharist for June.
Other preachers will be the Rev. Dr. Ned Dougherty, past headmaster of Doane Stuart school, and the Rev. David Preisinger, a Lutheran pastor.
Calling All Talent!
We know iVs summertime, but le's get together for a talent show and pot-luck on Friday, June 25th. We'll put out a sign-up sheet for acts by mid-June, and get a program together. Kids of all ages are welcome! If the date is a problem, we can move it. Call Laura Davis or Richey Woodzell.
Vacation Bible School Is Planned For August 30-September 3
The hours of Bible School will be from 8:30- 11 :30 AM all for children in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5. The curriculum, based on Noah's Ark, will include Bible stories, music, worship, crafts, games and a snack, featuring a different animal from the ark each day. Perhaps we can work in a trip to a farm one day as well! We're lining up volunteers now, for preparation 2-3 weeks prior to Bible school and during the week to work with the children. Someone willing to take the lead for this special week would be appreciated. Please contact Richey Woodzell or Laura Davis if you think your kids can come and / or you are interested in helping out in any of the areas.
Church School Schedule for the End of the Year: PreK through Grade 5
On May 30, the Feast of Pentecost, we will hold an intergenerational session downstairs from 9 to 10. Parents and other adults, please come celebrate with our children the coming of the Holy Spirit! The children will sing in church during the 10:15 service. The following week, June 6, is "Bring a friend to Sunday School" Sunday. Have a sleepover the night before and bring your guest to St. Stephen's!
June 13th is the last day of classes for this school year. A special treat is planned! PreK-K: During the 10:15 service through June 13, young children and their parents are invited to a class in the parish hall beginning at the time of the semlon, for about half an hour.
Four or Five More Teachers Are Needed For Next Year
Richey Woodzell and Barbara Adams are planning preK -seventh grade Sunday school for next year. If you are interested in helping out, please speak with Richey or Barbara. The rewards of working with the children of St Stephen's absolutely outweigh the time commitment. Consider signing up for a three- month block of time. Teachers work in teams so each teacher is the "leader" of a class of 4-9 children every other week.
A Good Habit
When you do your weekly shopping, why not get in the habit of picking up 1 or 2 extra items and bring them to the SICM food basket at church on Sunday? It's easy to do, can cost very little -and will make you feel good! Even a $.50 box of macaroni and cheese could give a family a meal they might not otherwise enjoy. Think about it!
The annual June Parish picnic will be held after the 10: 15 service on June 13 at the church. We will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, rolls and condiments, chips and lemonade. Please bring a salad, fruit or dessert'to share. Bring your sneakers and Frisbee! Does someone have a volleyball and net?
From the Rector
On June 1 st I will begin a sabbatical that will last through the end of August. In the May Messenger I explained what a sabbatical is and why it is important. This month I would like to describe the arrangements the vestry, parish council, and I have made to ensure that congregational life will flow smoothly this summer.
First, the clergy who will be here this summer are excellent. Elsewhere in this Messenger is a little background on the preachers. I leave knowing the liturgical ministry of St. Stephen's is in splendid hands. It is important to remember that our clergy will only be here on Sunday mornings. They are not hired as "interim" priests, but as "supply" priests. Please respect this limit of their ministry here.
Saint Stephen's will continue to reach out to parishioners who are sick, experiencing loss, or who are alone and those in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and at home. Our care teams have more than doubled. Two team members will be on-call each week to check hospital admissions, inform the parish office of admissions, and visit people in the hospital. They will be available to visit anyone who, for any reason, would like a visitor from the church. The names of the on-call team members would be published in the Sunday bulletin each week during the summer. For sacramental emergencies, the other Episcopal priests in the area have agreed to be available. Deacon Jones will be available except during July 23rd through August 11th.
The parish office will be open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. Messages left on the answering machine will be monitored daily by Kathy. If you have a need, someone will get back to you within twenty-four hours or less.
I will be in Spain June 13 -July 11 studying a time (800 CE -1200 CE) when Muslims, Jews and Christian worked together to create one of the most advanced cultures in Europe. Then I will travel to Israel to take a course from St. George's College (Anglican) called The Palestine Of Jesus which focuses on key elements of the Gospel narrative of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the sacred landscape where the story unfolded. I will not be traveling by myself, but with professors who know where it is safe to go.
I look forward to sharing all of this with you in the fall. My first day back will be September 5th. Shalom James +
by Stephen Woodzell Avoid the crowds and buy your workcamp shares early! Workcamp shares go on sale Sunday, May 30, and savvy investors are lining up already! Be the first in your group to own some of these prized shares -and help send St. Stephen's youth group to workcamp. (This year our workcamp will be in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from July 11 to July 17.) Remember, once these shares are gone... we'll just print more.
Registrations are being accepted for Church Camp at Beaver-Cross to be held this summer. Beaver-Cross Episcopal Conference Center is located on Route 80 near Springfield Center, New York, slightly more than a mile south of the junction for Routes 20 and 80. Overlooking picturesque Otsego Lake, its 37 acres provide an ideal setting for an experiment in Christian living. Beaver-Cross offers swimming, organized sports, arts and crafts, music drama and nature study. A typical day begins with Morning Prayer, followed by breakfast, a program led by diocesan clergy, crafts and games, lunch, swimming and free time. the evening includes dinner, recreation and compline.
More information and registration forms can be found on the welcome table in the parish hall erxtension. Financial aid is also available.
From the Social Justice/Service Committee Carole Merrill-Mazurek
n addition to the Christmas and Easter ingatherings for needy families, we occasionally deal with individual needs for support. Recently, Laura lost five members of her family to a fire in New York. The committee was able to give her Money for bus fare and meals so she could be there for the funeral. She is very grateful to St. Stephen's for its generosity.
For Sale at the Shop A special CD HARC By Anna Hernandez & Ruth Cunningham This CD is a selection of chants of various religious traditions.
CROP Raises Nearly $31,000 on Walk Day
700+ people turned out on a day threatening rain to raise money for hunger relief and development assistance locally and overseas. Nearly $31,000 was turned in on walk day, an all-time record for the Schenectady event. Money continues to come in as walkers collect from their sponsors. Please bring money to the downtown KeyBank on lower State Street, a couple of doors up from Proctor's Theater.
SICM Spends Day Envisioning Future
SICM delegates discussed how to respond to changes in the community and in our congregations during a recent planning retreat. Common themes included addressing and exploring diversity within SICM and the wider community, expanding communication and sharing of information between SICM and member congregations, and boosting SICM's endowment and outreach to individual donors. Guest presenters included City Council Member Barbara Strangfeld and the Rev. Dr. Dennis Meyer from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Continued discussions on these themes will become part of the agenda for upcoming SICM Assemblies.
SICM Elects New Officers
SICM recently elected officers for 2004-05. They are: Frank Thomas of St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church, president; Helga Schroeder of Immanuel Lutheran Church, vice president; Vicky Stoodley of Alplaus United Methodist Church, secretary; Rev. Bill Clasen, treasurer; and Jim Bedard of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, assistant treasurer. The Assembly thanked retiring President Crys Hamelink and Secretary Mary Cahill.
Souper Bowl Sunday a Big Success
The annual Souper Bowl was the most successful ever this past winter, with more than $10,000 collected for the SICM Food Program and Sacred Heart/St. Columba's Food Pantry. St. Stephen's donated $60.00. Thanks to all who participated.
SICM Seeks Gardeners to Maintain Plots for Pantry
The SICM Food Program seeks more volunteers to help those already enlisted to tend to two plots in a garden on Hetcheltown Road in Glenville. The produce harvested from the site will be distributed among individuals and families requesting grocery assistance at the pantry. Contact Mary Rainey at 346-4445.
C.O.C.O.A. House to Benefit from Golf Tournament; Sponsors Invited
The C.O.C.O.A. House afterschool program has been designated the beneficiary of the annual Sunmark Federal Credit Union golf tournament. The tournament is scheduled for Friday, July 23 at VanPatten Golf Course in Clifton Park. Tickets for the daylong event are $125, and include lunch, gifts and dinner. A variety of sponsorships are also available, ranging from $150 to $1,250. Sign- up fomls are available at the SICM office. For more infomlation, contact Bill Jenkins at Sunmark (382-2597 ext. 149).
COCOA House to Offer July Programs
C.O.C.O.A. House will be offering a range of programs in July to children in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood. Activities will include cooking classes, tending to a garden at the nearby King Magnet School, "silly science" projects and hikes. To volunteer, call Director Rachel Graham at 377- 4977.
Food Program Issues SOS Appeal
SICM's Food Program is issuing an SOS appeal for funding to support the growing demand for emergency food assistance. In 2003 the Food Program met a 7 percent increase in demand over the year before, and at the same time donations fell from the post office food drives and government funding was cut. To ensure that individuals and families continue to have their needs met, the Food Program requests financial contributions, which can purchase much more food from the Regional Food Bank than supporters can purchase at retail prices at area grocery stores. For more infomlation, call Pat, Mary or Gail at 346-4445.
St. Stephen's to Serve Lunches Help Needed!
As part of the SICM Summer Lunch program for children in Schenectady, St. Stephen1s will be serving bag lunches at Jerry Burrell Park on Hamilton Street, June 28 -July 2. We need at least 4 volunteers each day to set up, serve and clean up, and to have fun with the kids in the park. The time commitment is about 1 1/2 -2 hours. We will post the exact hours in mid-June. Please sign up in the parish hall, or call Richey Woodzell.
Home Furnishings Program (HFP) We need moving crews!
The Home Furnishings Program is an independent organization begun by Church Women United and funded by churches and individuals in the area. It donates basic household furnishings in good repair to people in Schenectady on the basis of referrals from churches and social agencies. It accomplishes this partly with volunteer crews from area churches who drive the HFP truck for scheduled pickups and deliveries.
St. Stephen's turn to man the van this year is coming soon, so please set aside an evening now to help. The dates are July 20 and 22 and August 10 and 12. Anyone aged 16 or older, who can help to carry furniture, is more than welcome. If you would like to help but can It do it on a Tuesday or Thursday, let me know, and we!}l arrange a different day. When you sign up, find a friend or two to be part of your crew! Look for a sign-up sheet in the parish hall.
If you would like to help the HFP in another way, you may donate items, either by placing them in the basket in the parish hall, or by calling the program administrator at 346-2444. Or you may make a monetary contribution. Richey Woodzell
This is a short paper that I wrote for our Princeton study group. I thought I would share it with our congregation.
By James Brooks-McDonald
The issue of homosexuality has tom my diocese apart, but at a recent clergy retreat designed to discuss the matter from many different perspectives, everyone seemed to agree that in all our discussion no one addressed the proverbial 'elephant in the middle of the room'. The elephant that no one wants to touch is that our church is divided into two very different faiths; different Christianities. The differences are about how the "whole" of Christianity is viewed, including two different ways of seeing and living out our faith; of reading and interpreting scripture leading to very different christologies; and of how Christianity deals with religious pluralism. In this paper I will attempt to describe the differences between the two groups.
Labels for the two groups leave much to be desired; they are inaccurate and laden with both positive and negative connotations. Some conservative Christians have preferred to be called "orthodox" seeming to say that more liberal Christians are incorrect in their beliefs. For lack of a better choice, I will use the terms traditional and progressive to distinguish the two groups.
For traditional Christians, the Bible is seen as the revealed will of God, as "God's truth," and thus as absolute and unchangeable. This group interprets the Bible literally and factually. They affiffi1 that the really important events in the Bible happened more or less as they are described.
For traditional Christians, "the miraculous" is central to the truth of Christianity and they believe in the literalism of the spectacular. For example, Jonah was really swallowed by a whale, Jesus really was born of a virgin, he really did change water into wine, calm the stOffi1, and feed 5,000 people with very little food.
Traditional Christians also affiffi1 the absolute character of biblical teachings, both doctrinal and ethical. Many examples can be found in the official documents of the "Network:
"We are called because of this to found our communion in Christ on common obedience to God's word which requires of us not pluriformity of truth and practice, but that we be of one mind and follow the pattern of holiness marked out for us by our Lord and his Apostles We commit ourselves to the clear explication of Scripture's full and perspicuous meaning as apprehended within the common witness of the Church, in our preaching, writing, and witness. "
Thus the Bible as the revealed will of God is the ultimate authority for both faith and morals. It tells us what God wants us to believe and how God wants us to live.
Progressive Christianity, on the other hand, does not emphasize a literal and factual interpretation of Scripture. Rather it sees Scripture as historical and metaphorical. The Bible is the historical product of two ancient communities, ancient Israel and the early Christian movement. The Bible was not written to us or for us, but for the ancient communities that produced it. A historical approach emphasizes the illuminating power of interpreting these ancient documents in their ancient historical contexts. Moreover, Progressive Christians primarily see the Bible as more than literal; more than factual. Though they understand the Bible in its historic setting, they are not very much concerned with the historical factuality of the Bible's stories, but much more with their meanings. They ask, "Whether it happened this way or not, what is this story saying? What meanings does it have for us?" Progressive Christians understand the Bible metaphorically.
Because Traditional and Progressive Christians interpret the Bible so differently, they are often at odds with one another. Three important differences for our time are the subordination of women (and forbidding them to have authority over men i.e. ordination), declaring homosexual behavior to be sinful, and proclaiming Jesus as the only way to salvation.
Both Traditional and Progressive Christians affinn the centrality of Jesus in our lives. However their emphasis is very different when you examine their Christologies. Traditional Christians emphasize Jesus' identity: that he was the Son of God, the "light of the world," the "bread of life," the promised messiah who will come again, and especially that he knew and taught this about himself. They especially emphasize the saving significance of his death and see it as the purpose of his life: he died for our sins. They emphasize the miraculous, especially the virgin birth and physical bodily resurrection. Their emphasis that Jesus is the only way of salvation, and that Christianity is therefore the only true religion, leads to a very different way of dealing with religious pluralism.
Progressive Christians do not accept everything that is said in the gospels about Jesus as the literal and factual truth. Marcus Borg has made a distinction between the "pre-Easter Jesus" and the "post-Easter Jesus" that is helpful in understanding the two very different theologies of Conservative and Progressive Christians. The pre-Easter Jesus is Jesus before his death: a Galilean Jew born around the year 4 BCE and executed by the Romans around the year 30 CEo The pre-Easter Jesus is dead and gone; he's nowhere anymore. This statement does not deny Easter in any way, but simply recognizes that the physical Jesus, the flesh-and-blood Jesus, is a figure of the past. The post-Easter Jesus is what Jesus became after his death. More explicitly, the post-Easter Jesus is the Jesus of Christian experience and tradition. Jesus continued to be experienced by his followers after his death as a divine reality of the present, and such experiences continue to happen today; some Christians, but not all, have such experiences. The post-Easter Jesus is thus an experiential reality. The post- Easter Jesus is encountered in the developing traditions of the early Christian movement -in the gospels and the New Testament as a whole, as well as in the creeds.
Progressive Christians would make the distinction between the pre- and post-Easter Jesus, but for Traditional Christians, this is considered heresy. For them the post-Easter Jesus is the pre-Easter Jesus. Nicky Gumbel quotes C. S. Lewis to make the point:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg or else he would be the Devil of Hell. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.
Lewis's comment depends upon the claim that the Christological language of the gospels originates with Jesus himself. Progressive Christians understand that the gospels are the product of a developing tradition. They were written for their own communities over a 70-year period and reflect their communities' experience of the post- Easter Jesus. Thus, they are a mixture of historical memory and metaphorical narrative. In this way of thinking, Jesus' miracles are not read literally, but are seen to lead to a greater truth. The story about turning water into wine is not understood to mean that Jesus made 150 gallons of wine, but that the miracle is a metaphor for the kingdom of God: a wedding banquet at which the wine never runs out.
Progressive Christians do not believe that Jesus said he was the only way to salvation, but that for John's community, for them, Jesus was the only way. William Sloane Coffin has said that for us as Christians, God is defined by Jesus, but not confined to Jesus. Krister Stendahl has said that we, as Christians, can sing our love songs to Jesus with wild abandon without needing to demean other religions. We do not need to diminish our devotion to Jesus or our affirmation of him as the decisive revelation of God in order to recognize the validity of the other enduring religions.
Traditional and Progressive Christianity are very, very different from one another. From what I see in my own Episcopal denomination, and in others such as the Presbyterians and Lutherans, this distinction is the foundation for their arguments over homosexuality and many other issues. This distinction is the Elephant that no one wishes to address because it will name what no one wants to admit: that our divisions are very deep and irresolvable; two very different ways of experiencing our faith. And though I have described the extremes of the two Christianities, most members of a church usually will identify more with one than the other.
If this is so, the real question is: Can we live together given our differences? And this is also a part of the 'elephant' because the answer is that Progressive Christians can easily answer in the affirmative. The very values of inclusiveness and pluralism would necessitate acceptance of the Traditional Christian expression. However, the way Traditional Christians interpret the Bible and thus develop their Christology and moral values on such issues as homosexuality and religious diversity, necessitates that there can be no room for Progressive Christians within their framework. This can be seen in the Anglican Communion in which Traditional Christians in the southern cone of South America and Africa and a "Network" of Traditional Christians with the Episcopal Church (including my own bishops) have 'excommunicated' Gene Robinson and all the bishops who took part in his consecration.
My argument is that the divisions between Traditional and Progressive Christianity are so very deep that they are irresolvable; two very different ways of experiencing our faith among the mainline American denominations. But God works 'good' out of disasters. St. John's wonderful vision in Revelation shows us a different future when there will be no more churches in God's kingdom. "I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb." (Rev. 21 :22) Today we build churches in competition with one another and with very different theologies, but we are headed for, not just a 'down-sizing' but for a 'phaseout'. Thus Traditional and Progressive Christianity can be understood, not as the end of our faith, but just a means to God's purpose. And when God's purpose finally comes about, according to St. John, there will be no need for churches.
The following article is used with permission.
by Laurie Goodstein and David D. Kirkpa1rick
As Presbyterians prepare to gather for their General Assembly in Richmond, Va., next month, a band of determined conservatives is advancing a plan to split the church along liberal and orthodox lines. Another divorce proposal shook the United Methodist convention in Pittsburgh earlier this month, while conservative Episcopalians have already broken away to form a dissident network of their own.
In each denomination, the flashpoint is homosexuality, but there is another common denominator as well. In each case, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a small organization based in Washington, has helped incubate traditionalist insurrections against the liberal politics of the denomination's leaders.
With financing from a handful of conservative donors, including the Scaife family foundations, the Bradley and Olin Foundations and Howard and Roberta Ahmanson's Fieldstead and Company, the 23-year-old Institute is now playing a pivotal role in the biggest battle over the future of American Protestantism since churches split over slavery at the time of the Civil War.
The institute has brought together previously disconnected conservative groups within each denomination to share resources and tactics, including forcing heresy trials of gay clergy, winning seats on judicial committees and encouraging congregations to withhold money from their own denomination's headquarters.
When the Episcopal Church elected an openly gay bishop last summer, the institute organized and housed a conservative secessionist group called the American Anglican Council, which still occupies an office down the hall. When a conservative Methodist minister floated a breakup proposal at a private breakfast earlier this month, an institute staff member transcribed the speech and posted it on the institute's Web site, where it instantly became a rallying cry for disaffected Methodists.
At the Presbyterian Church's assembly last year, the institute helped block a policy statement that said whether parents were single or gay made no difference to the moral status of a family, and in the process it won the appointment of one of its staff members to a committee to rewrite the policy for this year's meeting.
Although the institute has an annual budget of just less than $1 million and a staff of fewer than a dozen, liberals and conservatives alike say it is having an outsized effect on the dynamics of American politics by counteracting the liberal influence of the mainline Protestant churches. Together, the Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal churches have 12.5 million members, and for decades they and other mainline denominations have provided theological backbone and foot soldiers for liberal causes like abortion rights, racial and economic equality, the nuclear freeze, environmentalism and anti-war movements.
For their part, the institute and its allies say they are saving the denominations from themselves by agitating for a return to Biblical orthodoxy. They argue that the churches' liberalism has contributed to their steep decline over the last 30 years even as more conservative evangelical churches have grown.
More liberal Protestants argue that the institute's financial backers are interfering with the theological disputes mainly for broader, secular political reasons. "The mainline denominations are a strategic piece on the chess board that the right wing is trying to dominate," said Alfred F. Ross, president and founder of the Institute for Democracy Studies, a liberal New York-based think tank which produced a research report in 2000 on the Institute's influence in the Presbyterian Church.
"It will give them access to three important pieces," said Mr. Ross, a lawyer and former official with the Planned Parenthood Federation. "One is the Sunday pulpit. Two is millions of dollars of capacity internally, with control of church newsletters and pension funds. And three is foreign missions," the agencies that dispense missionaries, and with them their brand of Christianity, around the world.
Rev. Robert Edgar, a former Democratic congressman who is general secretary of the National Council of Churches, an ecumenical alliance that is dominated by the mainline churches and a principal target of the institute's criticism, argued that it spoke for only about a third of mainline churchgoers. "They have caused so many internal issues that some progressive leaders are afraid to take the courageous positions they would have taken a few decades ago because a third of their parishioners would cut their legs off."
But in an interview last week, Roberta Ahmanson, a member of the institute's board and the wife Howard Ahmanson, a banking heir from California, contended that the institute's orthodoxy resonated far more widely. In addition, she argued that the liberal churches were often operating off of endowments left by previous generations who were unlikely to share their modern views.
"The Christian community isn't just who is alive," Mrs. Ahmanson said. "Christians believe that we are in communion with the living and the dead. We pray each week for the living and the dead, and most of the previous generations are in disagreement with a lot of this stuff." She continued: "If you take the weight of Christianity for 2,000 years, all that weight is on the orthodox side."
Mrs. Knippers and Mrs. Ahmanson both noted that the impetus for the founding of the institute came from a labor union activist, not right-wing financiers. Mrs. Knippers said the initial idea came from David Jessup, a staunchly anti- communist union activist and Methodist who objected to church aid to Vietnam and Nicaragua under their leftist regimes.
The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Roman Catholic priest and former Lutheran minister, wrote its founding statement and other neoconservatives joined an advisory board. (In addition to Father Neuhaus, the institute's board of directors currently includes Mary Ellen Bork, wife of Judge Robert H. Bork, Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard and Fox News, and Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute.) Ms. Knippers, who spoke during two interviews in the last three months, said that during the 1980's the institute's initial budget of about $300,000 came entirely from a few conservative foundations, including the Scaife family foundations, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation as well as from the Ahmansons' philanthropic arm Fieldstead & Company.
Bill Schambra, director of the Bradley Center at the Hudson Institute and a former director of the Bradley Foundation, one of the biggest conservative donors, said the foundations supported the institute as part of a broader effort to build a conservative infrastructure after decades of liberal ascendancy had shut out the right. "The I.R.D. is a kind of parallel universe that upholds the conservative standpoint in the world of religion," Mr. Schambra said. "It is no different in that sense from what the National Association of Scholars is for University Professors or the Federalist Society is for lawyers," he said, referring to two other groups backed by the same foundations.
James Pierson, executive director of the Olin Foundation, said; his foundation saw the institute as a Protestant counterpart to the conservative magazine Commentary for Jews or the Father Neuhaus's journal First Things for Catholics. "If no one commented on and criticized the churches' political activities, it would appear that this was an unobjectionable religious position that was being brought to bear instead of a controversial position," he said, adding that "the sexuality issues and the liturgical issues in the churches have never been of great interest to us."
But Mrs. Ahmanson, who is Presbyterian, said she and her husband, who is Episcopalian, were motivated mainly by theological concerns. "My husband and I are what we call classical Christians," Mrs. Ahmanson said, explaining their view that Christians should stick to the fifth century St. Vincent of Lerins's orthodox standard of "what has been held everywhere in every time by everyone." She added, "It is only in the last hundred years or so that there has been an elite, if you will, who have argued with that."
After the fall of communism, Mrs. Knippers said, the institute's focus on policing the churches' support for leftists abroad faded away. "We talked about whether the I.R.D. should just fold up," she said.
Instead the institute turned more of its attention to social issues closer to home. "In the seminaries, what replaced the liberation theology of the 80's was a radical feminist theology," Mrs. Knippers said, noting that in 1993 the Presbyterian Church organized a conference encouraging women to "re-imagine" God in a new way. "And if feminism was the theology du jour on many campuses in the 90's, now it is homosexuality that is the issue."
Feminism and homosexuality are also subjects that make for much more effective fund-raising appeals than foreign policy, marketers say. And in recent years the institute has broadened its direct- mail fund-raising to cover roughly 60 percent of its annual budget, Mrs. Knippers said.
By 1989, fundamentalists had recently taken over the Southern Baptist Convention. And in the liberal mainline churches, the conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee and the Methodist group Good News were already growing. "We have had for a number of years a good number of renewal groups," Parker Williamson, chief of the Lay Committee said. "But the I.R.D. and Diane Knippers have been a wonderful help."
Now, as Presbyterians prepare for their General Assembly, Alan Wisdom, the institute's Presbyterian director, said that representatives of the institute will be there in force, calling attention to any liberal positions coming out of the church, distributing position papers to delegates and lobbying them in a conservative direction.
Mr. Wisdom said the institute does not support the idea of Presbyterian breakup, and almost no one expects a split at this year's General Assembly. But some conservatives are already drawing up a plan they call "Gracious Separation" to divide the church's assets. "If we don't see significant changes in the next two General Assemblies, I suspect we are going to see some manifestation of separation," Mr. Williamson of the Lay Committee said. "I hope and pray it would be gracious. "
Robert Manor 6/1 Bill Frank 6/1 Robert Voelker 6/2 Margaret Walther 6/3 David Caruso 6/4 June Hatlee 6/5 Ellen Onnsbee 6/5 Barbara Adams 6/7 Charlotte Borst 6/7 Edith Lundquist 6/8 Timothy McKeone 6/9 JP Murphy-Nolan 6/11 Charles Mertz 6/13 Stephen Gray 6/14 Bonita Bailey 6/14 Madeline Olberg 6/14 Josephine Jones 6/18 Karen Smith 6/18 Alfred Lowe 6/20 Earl Slanker 6/20 Britta Kilbourn 6/22 Joseph Tonneau 6/22 Chris Murphy 6/23 Salvatore Belardo 6/27 Helen Oyer 6/29 Charles Trawick 6/30 Carey Tittemore 6/30 Laura Davis 6/30
Florence Walker 7/1 Shannon Trant 7/2 Carrie Trant 7/2 J. Keith Nelson 7/3 Vaughan Woodzell 7/5 Kimberly Chapman 7/6 Richard Downs 7/8 Joan Moss 7/9 Dawn Tonneau 7/9 Marian Sevinsky 7/9 Mary Davis 7/9 Doreen May 7/10 Judith Versocki 7/10 Gillian Woodcock 7/12 James Brooks-McDonald 7/13 Andrea Worthington 7/15 William Smith 7/15 Michael Bishop 7/16 Austin Spang 7/16 Gaye Mertz 7/16 Jean Versocki 7/17 Julie Steele 7/19 Chris Jones 7/21 Oto Jones 7/25 George Woodzell 7/25 Garret Pierce 7/26 Ryan Huneau 7/28 Connor Wolff 7/29 Logan Phillips 7/29 Molly Onnsbee 7/31 Cyndy Reedy 8/5 Peter Sombor 8/5 Pauline Holmes 8/6 Robert Chapman 8/6 Suzanne Taylor 8/7 Sydney Bailey 8/7 Lynn Ann Kelly 8/7 Robert Petito 8/12 Julia Smith 8/14 John Goldthwaite 8/15 Daniel Emaelaf 8/16 Timothy Widenor 8/16 Mildred Santer 8/18 Elizabeth Dipley 8/19 Angela Strong 8/19 Stacy DeBritz 8/20 Emily Mertz 8/20 Janine Phillips 8/22 David Dare 8/22 Daniel Koch 8/24 Richey Woodzell 8/26 Clark Whitney 8/28 Glenn Kaler 8/29 Mary Whitney 8/30
Summer Wedding Anniversaries
Stephen Sombor & Lucy Clark 6/1 Greg & Janine Phillips 6/3 James & Viki Brooks-McDonald 6/9 Salvatore & Diana Belardo 6/12 Christopher & Pat Jones 6/12 Earl & Jean Slanker 6/13 K. Scott & Diane Kilbourn 6/15 Stephen & Kimberly Chapman 6/19 William & Janet Schlansker 6/19 Michael & Stacy DeBritz 6/20 Norman & Mildred Gittinger 6/20 Glenn & Dawn Kaler 6/20 Belachew & Linda Emaelaf 6/22 Austin & Martha Spang 6/22 Kurt & Beth McKeone 6/22 Jim & Tracy Onnsbee 6/26 Roy & Barbara Stratton 6/27
Robert & Anita McCalley 7/4 Scott & Amy Soule' 7/5 Richard & Cherie Downs 7/8 Robert & Shirley Voelker 7/10 Charles & Gaye Mertz 7/16 Julie & William Steele 7/18 Richard & Carolyn Morin 7/19 Brian & Julie Bailey 7/21 James & Marilyn Dare 7/28
Dawn & Ben Tonneau 8/1 Timothy & Susan Olsen 8/2 Chris Murphy & Kelly Nolan 8/3 Owen & Jean Greenspan 8/5 Alton & Cynthia Reedy 8/6 William & Karen Smith 8/9 Eber & Mary Davis 8/9 Charles & Carmella Vedder 8/13 Dick & Polly Mathews 8/18 Ron & Mary Michelson 8/25 Charles & Deborah Trawick 8/25 Bill & Joanne Frank 8/26 David & Suzanne Taylor 8/28 Tom & Kathy Miller 8/31
June 6: Available June 13: In memory of Mary Buckley, given by Sal & Diana Belardo June 20: Available June 27: In honor of the fifth wedding anniversary of Barbara & Roy Stratton July 4: Available July 11: In memory of Naomi Vanda, given by Stewart Vanda July 25: In memory of John & Joyce Nelson, given by Christine & Keith Nelson August 1: In memory of Joanne J. Molino, given by Donald F. Molino August 8: In memory of Justin Northrop, given by Pauline Northrop August 15: Available August 22: Available August 29: In memory of Henry & Frances Baumis, given by the Taylor & Montorio families
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church 1935 The Plaza Schenectady, New York 12309
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 Maclvor 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 ststeRh@alban~.net . The rector's email is jbrooksm@n~caR.rr.com . Our website address is www.alban~.net/~ststeph The Messenger is published 10 times a year, September through June.