The Messenger

Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady                                                                November 2004

Jazz Sunday

Although a spirituality that includes jazz music may not be for everyone, it has become a tradition at St. Stephen’s.  Experts say the interest by churches in jazz brings the music genre full circle, because jazz has its roots in spirituals and other elements of the black church.

The Episcopal liturgy is well suited for different expressions of music because the Book of Common Prayer preserves the evolution of early forms of worship and prayer in a way that is open to creating new traditions. Jazz Eucharists have emerged as a synthesis of traditions, a blending of an age-old liturgy with the unique musical language we call jazz. With a freshness that is open to God's Spirit, this musical tradition sounds the hopes, dreams, joys, frustrations and pain that expresses human experience, while exploring a musical vocabulary that transcends the limits of the written or spoken word.

Twice a year at the 10:15 Eucharist this congregation is pleased to welcome the Union College Jazz Ensemble to lead us in “making a joyful noise to the Lord”.  They will be here on November 17th.  Led by Dr. Tim Olsen, music director at St. Stephen’s, the group will  accompany our parish choir and will lead our congregation in a variety of Spirituals and other songs. 

Founder's Day: November 16th

 In 1927 Fr. Bambach, rector of St. George's Church, Schenectady, called a meeting to consider beginning a chapel. Over the next year a house to house canvas of the Upper-Union area was made by Union College students. By October 22, 1928 there were 120 interested families and an empty store on 1734 Union Street near Palmer Avenue was rented and prepared for the first service held on November 18,1928. That first service marks our beginning.


On November 21th we will remember that beginning with Morning Prayer from the 1928 prayer book, singing Canticles that were sung at the Dedication Service November 20, 1949. Also on Founder's Day, we will honor all those who have been members for forty years or longer.

 Episcopal World Hunger Sunday – November 14, 2004

St. Stephens will focus on hunger in the USA and all over the world on November 14.  The numbers of people who struggle to put food on the table is staggering.  For 842 million people in the world today, hunger is a daily battle.  Your Sunday offering in the envelopes provided, will be used you alleviate the   suffering of children and their families who are hungry both locally and worldwide.  Some of your offering will be used here in Schenectady.  Please be as generous as you can.


From the Rector


Dear Friends,


When a church is blessed with wonderful resources, as Saint Stephen’s is, teaching good stewardship is a challenge. Many people are not aware that our day-to-day parish programs depend on pledges and the need for giving is often not self-evident to parishioners. As a consequence, those of us at Saint Stephen’s must consciously and deliberately learn stewardship, and we are perhaps challenged more than others to intro­duce our people to the theology of what it is to be a good steward of God's creation.

In my 15 years as rector of Saint Stephen’s, this challenge has forced us to discern the differ­ence between four concepts of giving: charity, philanthropy, fund-raising, and stewardship.

Charity is profoundly experienced by those of us at Saint Stephen’s during the recent hurricanes in the southeast. It is a response to a crisis or an immediate need. It sees the victims and their needs and responds with gift-giving. The heroic efforts of  Episcopal Relief and Development speak volumes about this form of giving.

Philanthropy, on the other hand, is like an investment. It is the act of giving money for a specific reason with the intention of improving the welfare of a community or an organization over the long term. The recipient is obliged to show results. It has some of the characteristics of an investment, as if it were a loan from a bank officer. Reports are required on how the money was spent, including periodic progress reports so additional grants might be made.

Fund-raising asks us to give to a project such as a building or a capital investment, but rarely to an annual budget. The average parish is some­times tempted to teach fund-raising rather than stewardship. It is a necessary procedure for developing hospitals, schools, and the arts. But if it becomes the norm for raising the annual parish budget, it profoundly diminishes the theology of the old liturgical words at the offertory, "All things come of thee O Lord and of thine own have we given thee."

Stewardship in our culture is a radically different way of thinking about giving. Charity, philanthropy, and fund-raising all treat the individual as the owner of the money. Stewardship on the other hand treats God as the owner, and the giver as one who simply returns a portion of what God has given. The Church in its theology offers each of us an opportunity to give out of gratitude. Stewardship is giving with no strings attached. It is related to creation and my place in it. The church says to its people: "God is giving you a chance to give God a gift because you delight in God's very existence and the blessings in your life. " The need to give is not a result of the church's need for money. It is rather our need to give. And we call it stewardship!




What are all those baskets?

 There are several baskets in the back of the parish hall, which overflow from time to time with food, books, toiletries, household items and even clothes!  We provide these baskets as a way to help parishioners share items with those who can’t always afford to buy them. During the 10:15 service, two acolytes bring a basket up to the altar as part of our offering.

 Suggestions for donations are listed with the baskets.

 Food – goes to the emergency food pantry run by SICM, the Schenectady City Inner Ministry, of which we are members.  Wanted: non-perishable items, baby food, calendars and large paper grocery bags.

 Children’s books – go also to SICM’s food pantry, so that children of clients may choose a book to have as their own.

 Toiletries and baby items – go to Safe House, a temporary residence for teens and young adults who have no other home.

 Household items – go to the Home Furnishings Program, which provides basic household items to those referred to them by local agencies or clergy.  Wanted:  clean items in good condition – sheets and towels, blankets, pots and pans, utensils, dishes.  If you wish to donate large items, (e.g. beds, mattresses, chairs, dressers) call HFP at 346-2444 to arrange for pickup.

 Clothing – We prefer that you don’t bring clothing to the church, but leave it on the porch of Carole and Budd Mazureks’ house, where it will be taken to the Carver Community Center or the YWCA.  Or you may donate it to the Bethesda House on Liberty Street, the Salvation Army or the City Mission.

 As a reminder, all of these organizations also welcome monetary donations.  Thank you for continuing to contribute to this ministry. 


Church School Calendar for Education Hour:  Sundays, 9-10 AM   Nov-Dec


Through November and December, Stacy DeBritz will be working with all students and all interested adults in creating St. Stephen’s own Putz, a Moravian term for a nativity scene, which is described in another Messenger article.  We hope to set it up in the back of the church, and to have the children use it as part of our Christmas celebration.  Please sign up in the parish hall if you are interested in helping in this project in any way.


Nov. 7 – Stacy will present plans for the Putz, meeting first with the younger children downstairs (9-9:20), and later with the middle and high school students in Reid House (9:30-9:50).  For the rest of the hour there will be regular classes.


Nov. 14 – Making the Putz (grades 1-6).  We ask that teachers and parents be on hand to help the children with making the figures in the Christmas story.


Nov. 21 – Grades 1-4:  choir rehearsal with Tim Olsen, followed by regular classes,  grades 5-6:  regular class, grades 7-12:  making the Putz.


Nov. 28 – First Sunday of Advent (Thanksgiving weekend).  For the entire hour, Stacy (and other volunteers!) will work again with all classes on the Putz.


Dec. 5 – Grades 1-4:  choir rehearsal with Tim, followed by regular classes, grades 5-12:  regular classes.  During the 10:15 service, the PreK–K  class will work on the Putz.


Dec. 12 – Finishing the Putz.


Dec. 19 – Grades 1-4:  choir rehearsal with Tim, followed by regular classes; rehearsal for presentation of the Putz. 


Dec. 26 – St. Stephen’s Day.  No classes.

 The Putz


The Christmas custom of building miniature scenes to portray the nativity is observed by people in many lands.  In Pennsylvania Dutch communities, which have been influenced by people of Moravian faith, the building of the Putz, as they call their Christmas scene, is a very special tradition.  Among the fondest childhood memories of these people is the yearly anticipation of the Christmas Putz.  Often an entire room is set off for the display and the thrill of the first glimpse–familiar little carved figures, the glow of many beeswax candles and the smell of greens–filled childish hearts with an amazement never to be forgotten.


The rocks, roots and stumps, the little carved figures and animals, are all very precious possessions of the creators of Putz and are quite often handed down from one generation to another.  Each year in the early autumn, families go to the woods to collect large quantities of moss, which is carefully kept moistened and green until Christmas, when it is used to cover the ground of the Putz.


During the weeks which follow Christmas, the custom of Putzing is still observed.  Friends and strangers alike are welcomed in various homes in the town to see the Putz.  For the stranger, this delightfully hospitable custom is a pleasant introduction into the colorful ways of the Pennsylvania Dutch.


From Traditionally Pennsylvania Dutch

by Edward C. Smith and Virginia van Horn Thompson Hastings House Publishers


The youth of St. Stephen’s and any willing adults will work collectively to build a Putz.  Carved figures will be replaced by handmade figures and moss may be represented by fabrics.


The Christmas story will be told by the children as they present their Putz to the congregation during the last week of Advent (time to be announced).


Each artisan is to give of him- or herself by collecting, creating and placing the parts of the Putz.  Families may begin developing this philosophy by deciding what, in their own home, could become a part of this special Christmas story.  Traditionally, families created a smaller Putz underneath their own Christmas tree.  You may want to try the same. 


Items to collect and bring to class by Nov. 14th:


°  small logs, branches or rocks

°  fabrics and embellishments

°  straw

°  small pieces of wood for the stable and crib

°  small boxes, plastic bottles, spools or forms to be used as armatures for the figures

°  miniature items that Putz town people might bring as gifts to the Christ child

°  evergreens, holly and moss.  (Moss can be collected now and kept covered and moist in your basement to last until Christmas. 

    Evergreens and holly may be collected in December.)

                                                                                    Stacy DeBritz




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.


 St. Stephen’s Church Quiet Day


The Daughters of the King will host a Quiet Day for church members and other interested people on Saturday, November 20.  We will gather 9:30-10:00 for refreshments, followed by Morning Prayer, and end with Holy Communion at 1:30 or 2:00 PM.  Once in the morning and again after lunch we will have readings, followed by a silent period which you may spend as the Holy Spirit moves you. 


Anyone who would like to spend a few hours in silence, in preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas – please come!  Wear comfortable clothes; bring a pillow or blanket to make yourself comfortable wherever; bring paper and pencil.  A hot lunch and child care will be provided.  There will be a freewill offering for a local organization.


Please sign up at the Shop if you are interested.  If you have questions, speak to Richey Woodzell or any other member of the Daughters of the King.


Albany Via Media



Getting the Word Out on The Windsor Report


a forum to which ALL members of

the Diocese are invited


November 6 from 10 AM to noon


St. George’s, Schenectady


coffee & dessert will be provided


 The Woman Behind Thanksgiving Day


Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale, for 40 years the editor of "Godey's Lady's Book," the mother of all magazines for women, was responsible for our observance of Thanksgiving Day.


In 1846 Mrs. Hale, a widow with five children, began her campaign to have Thanksgiving Day established as a national holiday.  Some individual states listened to her and acted, but the Federal Government ignored her pleas for 17 years.


In 1863 Abraham Lincoln heeded Mrs. Hale, and the result was the first Thanksgiving proclamation by a president since George Washington.

(Mrs. Hale not only edited a magazine, not only raised children as a single parent, not only was responsible for Thanksgiving's being recognized as a national holiday, she also wrote the poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb!")



Agapé is back! On Friday, November 12, we'll meet for a covered-dish supper and a program. Carolina Lucchini, a teacher from Salta, Argentina, will show a video on her country, tell us a bit about Argentina, and answer questions.

Carolina teaches Spanish at Howe Magnet School, and, with Linda Emaelaf, teaches the first and second grade Sunday school class at St. Stephen's.

We'll gather at six, and plan to eat at six-thirty; bring food to share, and bring your own dishes and utensils.

 Greeters Needed !


We are in need of 2 more volunteers for a Greeters group to become a reality.


Are you a people person? Is your time limited to participate in church activities?  This is a stewardship that takes 15 minutes of your time once a month and no meetings!


Greeters have only one purpose - Hospitality!

St. Benedict was big on hospitality......treat each visitor as Christ himself, because Christ does dwell within each one.


Can you help? If so please call Louise Peake at 3740480.

Thank you,


 Undies Sunday

Thank you! thank you! Would you believe--176 pairs of underpants, 60+ pairs  of socks, plus T-shirts and bras, and more coming in! There will be a lot of very thankful women at the Schenectady County Correctional Facility in the months ahead. Your generous response to their need is an acknowledgement of our common humanity and desire for dignity.  "Lord, when did we see you naked, or sick, or in prison and cared for you?"

 Founders' Day

On November 21st we will remember the women and men who helped to establish  Saint Stephen's and grow it into the parish that is has become. Our worship  that day will follow the usage of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, and the  custom of the early days of St. Stephen's: Holy Communion at the early  (8:00) service and Morning Prayer at the later (10:15) service. It will be interesting to see what has changed, and what has remained the same, in our worship over the past 76 years. The traditions of the church are always changing and being renewed according to the gifts and needs of each time and place. Please be present with us on November 21st to bear witness to the ongoing work of God in this place.

Deacon Pat

for the Worship Committee


 Interfaith Thanksgiving Service


This traditional service (since 1955!) will be held at Grace Lutheran Church, 1930 Hillside Avenue beginning at 6pm, Sunday, November 21st.

Refreshments and the opportunity for conversation will follow. Unique in that it brings together diverse faith groups each year, there will once again be participation from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Unitarian faith communities. There will be music inclusive of all traditions as part of the service. Anyone interested in singing in the interfaith choir may come to Grace at '5 :00 to rehearse with the organist and choir director at Grace, the Rev. Shawn E. Bracebridge. This year's guest preacher will be the Rev. Steve Smith from Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church. We expect to welcome Schenectady mayor, Brian Stratton, as a participant in the service as well as representatives from a number of local faith communities.

The Church recognizes the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday as a holy day for our land, life, and heritage.  It finds its roots in observances begun by colonists in Massachusetts and Virginia, a tradition later taken up and extended to the whole of the New American nation by action of the Continental Congress.

Our celebration of Thanksgiving stems from our many blessings of God's good creation.  As Children of God we are to live our lives in a spirit of thanksgiving.  We are to be faithful stewards of the earth as God's creation, given to us as a sacred trust.





 November 25th


Thursday morning at 10 am



St. Stephen's Church




A Collect for Thanksgiving


Almighty and gracious Father, we give thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them.

Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


 The Giving Tree

 Reminder, please look for the Giving Tree after Thanksgiving.  This year there will be envelopes for 7 families.  Help spread the joy of Christmas.

 Speaking to Power After the Election

 You’re invited to hear the Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr., the senior pastor of Riverside Church, NYC, speaking at the First United Methodist Church of Schenectady.  The presentation will be on Sunday, December 5th at 3:00 pm.  The lecture is free and all are welcome.  For more information, please call FUMC at 374-4403 or Carolyn Micklas at 374-7742.  A reception will follow.

 Anniversaries to Keep in Mind


November Birthdays


Nicholas Stewart                                  11/2
Zachary Price                                       11/6
Eric Kilbourn                                        11/8
Alton Reedy                                         11/9
Rebecca Dominguez                             11/12
Olivia Jaquith                                        11/13
Meghan Bauer                                      11/14
Emily Marshall                                      11/17
James Pierce                                        11/18
Jesse Dipley                                         11/19
Deborah O’Connor                              11/19
Jonathan Rizzo                                      11/19
Charles Vedder                                    11/20
Shane Phillips                                       11/23
Isabella Dewhurst                                 11/25
Carmella Vedder                                  11/25
Margaret Elizabeth Lundquist                11/28
Liz Stevens                                           11/30
Carole Merrill-Mazurek                        11/30
Travis Reedy                                        11/30


November Wedding Anniversaries


F. William & Florence Walker              11/3
Gregg & Elizabeth Varno                      11/3
Norman & Charline Hoffmann               11/4
Steven Ras                                           11/7
Alfred & Katharine Lowe                     11/24
Ralph & Doreen May                           11/25
Eugene & Mary Whitney                      11/28
Scott & Noreen Jurgensen                    11/28

Altar Flowers for Christmas 2004


Fill out this coupon with                            In memory of ___________________________

your check to the church                                    or

office or place in the                                 As a thanksgiving offering ________________

collection by Dec. 20th                             

                                                                        The gift of _________________________


                                                                        Donation:___________ Box #_________

   Flower Calendar for Christmas 2005


I would like to provide flowers on Sunday ___________________________


In memory of ___________________________



As a thanksgiving offering ___________________________


Name: _________________________


Check enclosed in the amount of _________ ($35.00 minimum)





November 7

November 14

November 21

November 28



Chris Morin

Tom Casale

Tyleigh Versocki



Megan Price

Carrie Trant

Laura Practico



Emily Mertz

Devon Dare

Alik Versocki



Bailey Mertz

Libby Marshall

Britta Kilbourn



8:00 Service


D. Carroll

N. Hoffmann

D. Trawick

B. Frank

1st Lesson

C. Jones

P. Nevius

G. Woodcock

S. Ras

2nd Lesson

S. Woodcock

D. Stevens

P. Holmes

L. Stevens

10:15 Service


P. Homes

C. M-M

B. Frank

G. Jaquith

1st Lesson

B. Wisnom

B. Strangfeld

C. Trant

M. Causey

2nd Lesson

M. Bishop

B. Mazurek

B. Adams

M. Dare


Mertz, Kilbourn

Trant, Trant

Sombor, Kelly

Walther, Jones



D. May,

 R. May,

 B. Strangfeld

M. Gittinger,

 D. Molino, S. Grady

J. Versocki,

D. Belardo,

B. Voelker

M. Causey, D. Crates, A. Spang



Christine Nelson

Marilyn Causey

Charline & Norman Hoffmann

Linda Perrregaux








In loving memory of Carol Ras, given by Steve Ras, Amy John, Andrew Ras & Susan Ciotoli



LEM and Care Givers

P. Homes & M. Bishop

A. & K. Lowe

M. Alexander &

J. Russell

S & G Woodcock



11/6: Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki

11/13: Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock

11/20: Casale, Jones, Lowe

11/27: Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki



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.