The Messenger

St. Stephen's Church, Schenectady
Summer, 2004

Guest Preachers for the Summer

 
 
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.
Ron Gerber
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!
June Picnic
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
Dear Friends,
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.

Church Camp
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.


The Elephant In the Middle Of the Room

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.
The Bible
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.

Christology
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.


Conservative Group Amplifies Voice of
Protestant Orthodoxy

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. "


Anniversaries to Keep in Mind

Summer Birthdays
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
Summer Flowers
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

Masthead:
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
Vestry
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.