The Messenger

St. Stephen's Church
September, 2004

Parish Faire and Homecoming Picnic

James Brooks-McDonald

Once again we will have the Parish Faire and Picnic to begin the year.  The Faire will take place on September 12th  at 9:00 a.m. following the early service and again during the coffee hour following the 10:15 a.m. Eucharist.  There will be a table set up for each activity of the parish and a chance to sign up for each.  There will be refreshments at 9 a.m., and at 11:30 a.m.   This year there will also be an opportunity to purchase Palestinian crafts.

Proceeds will be used to help the crafts people in refugee resettlement camps directly.


All ages sign up for church activities at the Faire


We are a parish family, and as such, each one of us of every age has a responsibility to share in the life of the family.  The possibilities and the diversity are numerous as are the possibilities of avoidance under pressure of time and other commitments.  I urge all members of the parish to set apart some time, however small, to participate in the life of St. Stephen's beyond our worship on Sunday morning.  The Parish Faire is intended to allow all members and visitors of the church to share in small group activities of the congregation.

As we begin a new program year, I want to encourage the congregation to think about the way we spend our time.  And I want to make a few simple suggestions which can help to structure our schedule in the months ahead.

1.  Make worship a weekly priority.

2.      Commit yourself to regular study through numerous church school classes or Bible studies.

3.      Look for opportunities where you can become personally involved in serving others.


Learning about new activities in the congregation


And then on September 19 the Parish Picnic will be held.  Our chefs will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers and we ask families to bring a dish to share and your picnic clothes.  Sign ups for the picnic can be found on the shop counter.

“…For The Bible Tells Me So…”


The Bible is more than a source of personal comfort and guidance; it is one of the foundations of the community of believers who are called Christians. Every time the Bible is read or heard, interpretation takes place. Because the authority of Scripture is an issue of such concern in the life of many churches today, including the Episcopal Church, we need to deepen our understanding of the Bible and its place in our life. Is it the Word of God? What does that mean? Who wrote it? Why? How shall we understand it? How shall we apply its message to our lives? Who is to decide the answers to these questions?


St. Stephen’s will offer the Kerygma Bible Study course “Interpretation” this fall. The course will run for 13 sessions, 1˝ hours each, on Tuesday evenings from Sept. 14 through Dec. 14.


Everyone is welcome; no previous experience in Bible study is necessary. We will learn about the criteria that are important in interpreting Scripture, such as historical context, literary analysis and other topics, how to apply them and how others interpret them. Bring an open mind and a willingness to listen and share. If you have never tried a Bible study course, this is the one to start with. If you have already done some Bible study, this course will enrich your understanding of what you have already studied. Students’ workbooks are already on order; sign-up sheet is in the parish hall. See Deacon Pat for further information.


 AIDS Walk


On Sunday, September 26th several members of Saint Stephen's will have an opportunity to take a step toward addressing AIDS in our community.  Beginning at 2 pm in Albany’s Washington Park hundreds of people will gather and walk 10 kilometers to raise money for support of the Capital Region AIDS organizations that provide needed services for AIDS prevention and care.  Our congregation’s team of walkers will support the Schenectady Damien Center.  These funds are needed because there has been a 6.5% increase in the number of AIDS cases diagnosed in the Capital Region in the last year and a 563% increase in the last decade.  Please call the parish office (346-6241) if you would like to walk or sponsor a walker.




Thank you for enabling us to provide once again many children with backpacks filled with essential supplies for their return to school this fall.

 Blessing Of The Animals And St. Francis Of Assisi

A blessing for the hounds  

On October 4th we celebrate the life and work of St. Francis.  He is probably better known for preaching to birds than for the poverty he embraced in his passion to be like Christ.  Yet, Francis' love of God's creation has given his statue a place in many church and home gardens.  

No mere nature lover, Francis saw in nature's paradoxes and mysteries a revelation of the presence of God.  He marveled at the simplicity and obedience of the birds, fishes, rabbits, doves, the falcon who wakened him for Matins, the famous wolf of Gubbio who gave his pledge of peace to Francis and kept it.

Because of St. Francis' connection to God's creation, and especially to animals, a tradition arose in England whereby the parish priest would bless the villagers' animals on St. Francis' Day.  Since Oct. 4 falls on a Monday this year, the parish council thought that the preceding Saturday would be a good time for St. Stephen's to continue an annual tradition.

Here's  how it will work:   

On October 2nd the congregation and any animals (on leashes!) will gather next to the church behind the parish hall. WE WILL REMAIN OUTSIDE DURING THE ENTIRE SERVICE.  The rector will begin a brief worship service and then will bless each animal saying:  "O God, who has made all things for yourself, bless, we pray you, this animal; that it may be a source of love and joy to those with with whom it dwells."

It's quite a sight!






  Quiet toys, coloring books, etc. are quite in order for the younger set, especially during the sermon or while people are receiving Communion.  Kids fade in and out during worship (so do adults!). That's O.K.  It's amazing how much children pick up and use from worship, even when it doesn't seem that way.



 From the Rector  

Dear Friends,


It’s good to be back! 


This summer was one of the most unforgettable experiences I have ever had.  Many of you have commented to me about my mini travelogue for our trip to Spain which Chris Jones published on our web site.  It can be seen at:  .

I had intended to write similar reports for my trip to Israel, but the travel load was so heavy, I didn’t have time to write it.  Many of you will be hearing about that trip as I incorporate my experiences in bible study classes and in other presentations.

Many of you have complimented the excellent preachers who filled the pulpit while I was gone.  I am grateful to them and especially to those who kept the church running smoothly all summer long: Pat Jones, Alison de Kanel, Paul de Kanel and Kathy Miller.

Though my sabbatical was filled with travel, I come back to the congregation well-rested and ready to begin the program year. I look forward to greeting you all soon.



The Bible in Depth


A new year-long Bible study will be taught this year by the rector.  It is a comprehensive exploration of the whole Bible and its meanings for life today.   Each theme traces related stories and events through both Testaments.  An exciting course of study for adults ready to reflect deeply on the Scriptures, faith and life. 

Themes will include:

Introduction the Bible Whole.  

Theme 1:  God Saves a People;

Theme 2:  People Find God is Faithful;

Theme 3:  People Reflect about God;

Theme 4:  People Live in God's World;

Theme 5:  God's People Have Leaders;

Theme 6:  God's People Have Rulers but One Sovereign;

Theme 7:  God Demands a Righteous People;

Theme 8:  God's People Learn Wisdom;

Theme 9:  God's People Worship;

Theme 10:  God's People Have Hope.

Conclusion:  Last Things.

The class will meet on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 at Reid House.

Adult Education on Sunday Mornings:  The Heart of Christianity


What is the "heart" of Christianity? What is most central to Christian­ity and to being Christian?

 The question arises in each new period of Christian history. It is especially important in our time. A new way of seeing Christianity and what it means to be Christian is emerging in the church in North America. Because this vision of Christianity is quite different from the dominant way of seeing Christianity over the past few hundred years, our time is also a time of conflict.

 In fact, Christians in North America today are deeply divided about the heart of Christianity. Millions of Christians are embracing an emerging way of seeing Christianity's heart. Millions of other Christians continue to embrace an earlier vision of Christianity, often insistently defending it as "tra­ditional" Christianity and as the only legitimate way of being Chris­tian.

 These classes are based on the most recent book by the biblical scholar, Marcus Borg and will cover such topics as:



Missing: Josephina Nevius lost her picnic basket at the Parish Picnic in June. If you have any clues as to its whereabouts, please let her know.

Altar Flowers in September: We need donors for the remaining Sundays in September.

Call the office if you will take a Sunday.

 Anniversaries to Keep in Mind


September  Birthdays


         Stephen Woodzell           09/01
Timothy Olsen                09/04
Clark Davis                    09/04
Martha Nicholson           09/10
Sidney Woodcock          09/11
Greg Phillips                   09/11
Allison DeBritz               09/12
Linda Perregaux              09/14
Bob Strong                     09/14
Olive Carter Luczka       09/15
       Philip Manor                   09/16
 Michaela Corbari            09/18
Alice Buell                      09/19
Richard Morin                09/21
Lily Holcombe                09/21
Norman Gittinger            09/23
Devon Dare                    09/25
Maxwell Bailey               09/26
Mary Michelson              09/27
Joseph DeBritz               09/27
Benjamin Blaufuss           09/28
Anita McCalley              09/28
Elizabeth Marshall           09/29


September  Wedding Anniversaries


Oto & Josephine Jones 09/04
Hugh & Joan Campbell,Jr.        09/12                              
Paul & Elizabeth Pratico           09/22
Ryan & Laura Davis                 09/24
Donald & Helen Reid               09/26
Denis & Carolyn Manor           09/28
Jim & Suzanne Wolff                09/28


Schedules to Remember


LEM and Care Givers Schedules


Week of

Care Team

Sept. 5

G. & R. Woodzell

Sept. 12

S. & C. Trant

Sept. 19

A. & K. Lowe

Sept. 26

Pauline Holmes & Michael Bishop



8: 00 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson


Sept. 5


O. Luczka

B. Stratton

P. Nevius


Sept. 12


D. Trawick

S. Woodcock

G. Woodcock


Sept. 19


B. Frank

S. Ras

B. Stratton


Sept. 26


G. Woodzell

K. Miller

P. Holmes




10: 15 am Chalice Bearer and Lector Schedules




1st Lesson

2nd Lesson

Sept. 5

M. Causey

L. Practico

D. Caruso

Sept. 12

DD Crates

DC Crates

G. Jaquith

Sept. 19

A. DeKanel

O. Jones

B. Strangfeld

Sept. 26

J. Versocki

L. Varno

N. Hoffmann




Ushers’ Schedule


Sept. 5


Mertz, Kilbourn


Sept. 12


Trant, Trant


Sept. 19


Sombor, Kelly


Sept. 26




Altar Guild Schedule

Sept. 4-10

Charline Hoffmann, Pauline Northrop, Jean Versocki

Sept. 11-17

Carolyn Morin, June Russell, Gill Woodcock

Sept. 18-24

Liz Casale, Josephine Jones, Kabby Lowe,

Sept. 25-Oct. 1

Charline Hoffmann, Pauline Northrop, Jean Versocki




Counter Schedule

Sept. 5

Gittinger, Molino, Grady

Sept. 12

Versocki, Belardo, Voelker

Sept. 19

Causey, Crates, Spang

Sept. 26

Northrop. Peake, Small


“The Book” Holder


Sept. 5


M. Causey


Sept. 12


P. Northrop


Sept. 19


M. Spang


Sept. 26


S. Goldthwaite



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.