Saint Stephen, Deacon And Martyr
The patron saint of
our parish is St. Stephen whose life we will celebrate on Sunday,
December 26th at a festive Eucharist at 10:15am.
Stephen was called one of
the "seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of
wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He
was chosen by the apostles to relieve them of the administrative
burden of "serving tables and caring for the widows." This became what the Church traditionally considers to be the work and
ministry of a deacon.
involved more than simply "serving tables" for the Acts of
the Apostles speaks of his preaching and performing many miracles.
These activities led him into conflict with some of the Jews,
who accused him of blasphemy, and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
His powerful sermon before the Council is recorded in the
seventh chapter of Acts. His
denunciation of the Sanhedrin so enraged its members that, without a
trial, they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.
Saul, later called Paul,
stood by, consenting to Stephen's death, but Stephen's example of
steadfast faith in Jesus, and of intercession for his persecutors, was
to find fruit in the mission and witness of Paul after his conversion. The Christian community in Jerusalem, taking fright at the
hostility of the Judean authorities, was scattered; so that for the
first time the Gospel of Christ began to spread beyond Jerusalem.
Come celebrate our patron saint on Sunday!
Advent begins on
Sunday, November 28th. It
is a time to prepare for Christ's birth as well as for His second
coming to judge the world. It is a time of watching and waiting and great expectation.
Purple, the color of thoughtfulness and penitence, is the color
of the season. The Greek
letters, Alpha (the first of the alphabet) and Omega (the last letter)
combine to make the symbol for this season of the year signifying that
God is Eternal ‑‑ the beginning and the end.
Come and worship during Advent in joyful anticipation of the
birth of our Lord.
A tradition at Saint
Stephen’s is the "Gathering Straws" to soften the waiting
manger bed in your household crèche.
It is just helpful in reminding children about the season of
Advent. For every good
deed a straw is placed in the manger as a graphic sign of growth and
preparation for the Christ Child we await. On Christmas Eve, the little manger, now soft with straw, is
brought in procession to the waiting stable where the figure of the
Child is placed during the night.
Small bags of straw can be found on a table in the Parish Hall
in our Nursery
Beginning on Nov. 14th
Margaret Trawick became our paid child care worker from 9 am to 11:30
am every Sunday morning. A
schedule is being prepared so that a parent will help Margaret on a
rotating basis each Sunday. Also,
the vestry has decided to move the nursery to the small classroom on
the lower level. This
will happen as soon as the tower room is ready for the 5th
and 6th graders.
5:00 p.m. Family
10:45 p.m. Christmas
11:00 p.m. Festive Candlelight Eucharist
10:00 a.m. Eucharist
FEAST OF ST.
STEPHEN. Tuesday, December 26th
10:00 a.m. Eucharist
AFTER CHRISTMAS, December 26th
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist
7:00 p.m. Evening Prayer
THE HOLY NAME
OF OUR LORD. New Year's Day
10:00 a.m. Eucharist
AFTER CHRISTMAS, January 2nd
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist
7:00 p.m. Eucharist
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist
Child Care Christma
The nursery will be open
at the 5:00 p.m. service. Toddlers
are invited to share the church service experience with their
families, but it can be a long time for some to be still.
And Greening Of The Church
Help prepare the church
for Christmas. On Sunday morning, December 19th, after the 10:15
Eucharist we will meet in the church to hang the greens, and generally
prepare the church for our celebration of Christ's birth.
You Interested In Becoming A Member Of St. Stephen's?
CLASSES are a basic four week course which is held in an informal
atmosphere and taught by the rector.
For those who are new to the Episcopal Church, or looking for a
new spiritual home, this course will provide an introduction to the
Church – the world-wide Anglican Communion, the national Episcopal
Church, the Diocese of Albany and our own congregation of St. Stephen.
Or, if you
were confirmed earlier in life, and wish to renew your commitment at
an adult level, consider this course as a part of your continuing
The course is required for all who wish to be confirmed or
received into the church.
are held on Sundays at noon in the rector’s office beginning January
I write this message, the last of the dressing has been eaten; the
rest of the turkey will have to be frozen since another turkey
sandwich is out of the question.
The busiest shopping day of the year has ushered in another
shopping season. Christmas carols are heard in the stores, on the radio, and
in just about every other commercial on television. And yet, it is four weeks before Christmas.
The rush has not begun. We
are between holidays. Very
soon Christmas break will be here, and then we will be doing that last
minute shopping, addressing cards, wrapping presents, and rehearsing.
But, for the time being, we are resting, waiting.
people have always been a waiting people, waiting and watching. Often we wait, not knowing exactly what to expect, hoping for
something to happen, hoping for someone to come: a letter in the mail,
a visitor, our number in the lottery.
people are a waiting people. But
waiting is difficult: in the surgical waiting room ‑ awaiting a
word; in a long line at the bank, in an airport.
Have you ever noticed the variety in the manner of people's
waiting? Some are the
staunch kinds who wait with a sure and certain hope. Others sit on the
edge of their seats in anxious fear.
You can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she waits.
waiting is hard. We often
become impatient and thereby miss the mighty movement and redemptive
voice of God. Sometimes our impatient waiting causes us to miss out on
the joy of that for which we are waiting.
season of Advent, which we began December 3rd, evokes the
emotions of anticipation in Christians.
It captures the ancient yearning for the Messiah that was so
much a part of the history of the Hebrew nation.
Advent comes in the part of the year when the days grow shorter
and shorter, when we feel surrounded by darkness, and when our need to
look forward and to hope becomes especially intense.
It is an in‑ between season of waiting and of watchful
preparation. But there is
a great danger in waiting for the Lord's Coming with impatience and
anxious fear. This Advent season could be nothing more than a busy,
expensive holiday in which we burn up our emotions and become tired of
Christmas weeks before it comes.
Take some time away from that busy schedule, slow
down. Let's take some
time this Advent to make ourselves ready, to allow Christ to act upon
us; to feel His penetrating power deep within us, enabling us to be
ignited from within, creating the warmth that will give the glow of
Jesus in us, a glow that will allow others to see that Christ has come
and that He is coming again.
Report: An Overview
By Robert Dodd
the summer of 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire chose an
openly gay priest, Canon V.Gene Robinson to be its bishop. Both this
decision and its subsequent confirmation by ECUSA’s General
Convention in Minneapolis were consistent with the Church’s canons,
but they and Convention’s decision to acknowledge (though not
endorse) same sex relationships drew a firestorm from traditionally
minded Anglicans. Fifteen provinces, largely in Africa and South
America, declared themselves to be either out of communion or in
impaired communion with ECUSA. In this country, disaffected parishes
and dioceses, supported by such groups as the American Anglican
Council (AAC) and the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD),
formed the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes
(hereafter “the Network”), ostensibly to provide space for
traditional Episcopalians within ECUSA.
effort to preserve the strife-ridden Anglican Communion, the
Archbishop of Canterbury appointed Robin Eames, Archbishop of Ireland,
to form a 15-member commission to consider the controversy and make
recommendations for its resolution. Its 93-page Windsor Report,
published last month, is the subject of this article and the essay
that follows it.
of the Eames Commission’s report is its mid-section (pages 41 to
60), which states its recommendations to Canterbury and the primates.
These include steps toward reconciliation to be taken immediately and
measures that will, it is hoped, prevent such inter-communal warfare
from breaking out in the future.
Report appeals to both ECUSA and its accusers to apologize for harm
done to others. It asks ECUSA to suspend the ordination of gay clerics
and both ECUSA and the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster to forebear
from blessing same sex unions. On the other hand, it urges those
American bishops who have stood against Convention’s decisions to
reconsider their position, lest they make “a profoundly dismissive
statement about their adherence to the polity of their own church.”
(Sec. 155). They also ask those foreign bishops who have crossed
province boundaries uninvited to counsel or evangelize to cease doing
so, in the interest of “the old norm of the Church that all the
Christians in one place should be united in their prayer, worship and
the celebration of the sacraments.” (Sec. 154).
Report’s recommendations for strengthening the Anglican Communion
against further strife include:
1. Giving the Archbishop of Canterbury the authority, which he
now lacks, to “articulate the mind of the Communion” in disputes
(Sec. 109). (As Sec. 110 of the Report states, the Commission believes
that Canterbury already has the power to invite – or not invite –
whomever he chooses to attend Primates Meetings and Lambeth
2. Establishing a “Council of Advice” to assist the
Archbishop in making hard decisions.
3. Creating a Communion-wide Anglican Covenant, based on
principles accepted by all provinces, and with moral if not legal
force. (A long process of development and approval is anticipated...)
4. Recognizing that elections to the episcopate have global
significance and should be so viewed. (Here, the Commission calls
for a “change of outlook” rather than new procedures.)
5. Inviting those who participated in the elevation of Canon
Robinson and/or sanctification of same sex unions to express regret
therefor or “consider
whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions
in the Anglican Communion.” (Sec. 134) (Elsewhere, the Report
counsels Canterbury to be cautious in involving Bp. Robinson in
6. Providing alternative episcopal oversight as a last resort
where parishes are irretrievably at odds with their bishop. The
Commission endorses the approach suggested by ECUSA’s House of
Bishops, which requires the consent of the “host” bishop.
Presiding Bishop Griswold and Archbishop Rowan Williams have urged
that the Windsor Report be considered carefully and as a whole and
not, in Griswold’s words, “read selectively to buttress any
particular perspectives.” The Report will be discussed at all levels
of the Communion between now and next June, when the 100 bishops,
clergy, and lay persons who make up the Anglican Consultative Council
officially receive it. That stage is significant for two reasons:
First, the Council alone among the four Instruments of Unity has
legislative power. Second, it alone includes lay representatives.
scope of the Windsor Report, it is not surprising that early responses
to it have varied widely. All conservative groups – the AAC, IRD,
Network and African primates – deplore the absence of sanctions
against ECUSA and regret the Commission’s endorsement of DEPO. The
African primates also object to the Report’s criticism of their
intervention in foreign provinces.
Network and its supporters do in response to the Windsor Report is,
arguably, more important than what they say. Despite the Report’s
appeal for restraint and its rejection of parallel jurisdictions,”
Uganda remains involved in a struggle over property rights for three
parishes in the Diocese of Los Angeles.
And the Diocese of Pittsburgh recently joined that of Fort
Worth in amending its constitution to give it precedence over ECUSA on
issues of theology. The Diocese of San Joaquin has had a first reading
of a similar amendment.
responses from moderate to progressive Episcopalians have been few,
but some show very clearly that the pain caused by the present
controversy has two sides. London’s Lesbian and Gay Christian
Movement was particularly stung by the Report’s proposal that
Canterbury exclude Bp. Robinson from Communion functions – “an
isolation that many homosexuals feel all their lives.”
Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem (PA), has also expressed sorrow that in
its zeal to protect the Communion against attacks from the right, the
Commission ignored the justice issues that led ECUSA to its position
on homosexuality and the decades of study and reflection that it rests
on. “Only one set of consciences is honored,” he observes.
also points to a crucial flaw in the Commission’s recommendations:
An effort to give one primate – the state-appointed Archbishop of
Canterbury – power of decision. Here and elsewhere, the Eames
Commission, on which just one (retired) American bishop sat, betrays
rather complete ignorance of the importance of the last three letters
Christmas Cards 2004
time for the Great Christmas Card Project once again! Every year, St.
Stephen’s provides cards and postage for the women(and in
good years, the men as well) in the Schenectady County Correctional
Facility, so that they can
send cards to their loved ones. If you have extra cards, bring them to
church at any time. On December 19th, following the 10:15 service, we
will assemble an ad hoc team to sort, stamp and package the cards for
delivery to the jail. Donations of postage stamps are appreciated too,
the earlier the better, so that we purchase only what is needed. These
cards are so much appreciated; I wish that all who contribute could go
with me to receive the thanks in person.
Gabrielle, I baptize you …” On October 9, 2004, Sarah Gabrielle
Gonhue was baptized at the Albany Damien Center, where Terri, her
volunteer cook. Terri and Sarah have been living at Hope House, a
residence for women and children, since shortly before Sarah’s birth
will soon be moving into an apartment in Albany, and I am trying to
help them acquire some basic home furnishings. They have no furniture
except a crib, no dishes, cookware, lamps, linens, etc. If you
are able to help, please call me at home (372-5836) or speak to
is not meant to compete with the Christmas gifts we give to needy
families. But if you have furniture or furnishings that are no longer
needed but still serviceable, this is an opportunity to clear out some
“stuff” and give much-needed help to a mother and child at the
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?"
Jesus Movie Project: Savior on the Silver Screen
beginnings of cinema over a century ago, filmmakers and filmgoers have
been fascinated with movies about the life and times of Jesus.
From D.W. Griffith to Martin Scorsese, directors have tried to
capture “the greatest story ever told” on film.
Response from moviegoers, critics, and Christians has ranged
from praise and adoration to ridicule and charges of blasphemy.
on January 14th some members of our congregation will begin
a two-year project of watching and discussing a wide variety of movies
about Jesus. We will be
using a computer projector for large screen viewing and a enhanced
sound system. We may even have pop corn and soda! We will be doing this every other month for 2005 and 2006.
The suggested schedule is:
14, 2005 - The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
11, 2005 -
King of Kings (1961)
13, 2005 -
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
16, 2005 - The Passion of
the Christ (Widescreen Edition) (2004)
11, 2005 - The Last
Temptation of Christ - Criterion Collection (1988)
13, 2006 - Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
2006 - The Jesus Film (1979)
2006 - Jesus of Montreal (1990)
15, 2006 - Jesus (2000)
Please see the rector
for comments or additional suggestions.
of Middle East Investments
members of the congregation of St. Stephen have been approached by
Jewish friends and colleagues concerning resent actions of the
Episcopal Church regarding its Middle East investments.
church's plan to study corporate actions involving Israel and the
Palestinian Territories was reviewed by the The Executive Council,
meeting in Boise, Idaho, October 31 - November 4.
The Council is the elected body which oversees the business of
the national Episcopal Church between conventions and meets three or
four times a year.
plan calls for a year-long collaborative study of companies that
contribute to the infrastructure of Israel's occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip and of companies that have connections to
organizations responsible for violence against Israel, announced
Bishop Catherine S. Roskam, suffragan of New York and chair of the
council's International Concerns Committee. "No action will be
taken without conversation with our Jewish partners at home and
abroad," Roskam told the council.
a church, we support the State of Israel," explained the Rev.
Canon Brian Grieves, director of peace and justice ministries for the
Episcopal Church. "Our goal is not to end the state of Israel.
Our goal is to create a Palestinian state."
question being asked is this—is our church profiting in some way
financially at the expense of suffering of the Palestinian people or
innocent Israeli citizens?" added Grieves.
year-long study was proposed by, and will be conducted by the Social
Responsibility in Investments Committee. It will involve the Episcopal
Church in the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East and the
Anglican Peace and Justice Network, along with ecumenical and
interfaith partners involving the American Jewish community and
will also monitor what other church bodies are doing. The Presbyterian
Church (USA) took action in July to divest holdings with Israel.
Roskam noted that the Episcopal Church has no such plans.
explained that the church's approach is engagement with companies
whose actions are morally questionable. In doing so, the church is
consistent with its own policy statements on the Middle East and
participation in the wider Anglican Communion.
Power of Myth” on Sunday Mornings
On December 5th the Adult
Education series will begin to view and discuss the place of
“myths” in our life. The
Power of Myth is a sort of campfire dialogue between Campbell and
writer/journalist Bill Moyers, covering the stories and symbols of
civilisation. Filmed for a television series at George Lucas'
Skywalker ranch, the series caught the American public's imagination.
Campbell was essentially a storyteller,
spending his days uncovering and telling old stories that he felt had
the power to soak up the alienation of technological society. Though
he was a respected academic mythologist, Campbell also played a key
role in the creation of a definitive modern tale, Star Wars. Director
George Lucas said that Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces
(1949) was the catalyst in dreaming up the film, and that the
inspiration for Yoda, the ancient and wise one, was Campbell himself.
Campbell's big question was: `How can
myth be powerful for a person living today?' Are our lives really
comparable to the amazing characters that appear in these old stories?
He believed that mythical characters act as archetypes of human
possibility; they are confronted with problems, and their ensuing
action gives us an idea about how life might be handled. To identify
ourselves with, for instance, the young warrior Arjuna in the
Bhagavad-Gita, is not an inflation of our ego, but is an acceptance
that this figure has something to teach us. In mythology we could
never really feel alone, for within it were guides for the human
spirit belonging to everyone, providing a map for every cycle of life
or experience we may go through. He called mythology `the song of the
universe', put into tune by a thousand different cultures and peoples.
With myth, all experience can be empowering; without it, life can seem
just a meaningless series of ups and downs.
Join us for what is bound to be lively
discussions beginning Dec. 5th at 9:00 am in the parish
November and December activities at SICM
include a variety of food projects and some interesting speakers and
Assemblyman Paul Tonko secured a NYS Assembly Member Item of
$15,000.00 for the SICM Food Program; earlier this fall, Senator
Farley secured $30,000.00 for the same cause. The demand for food has been very high in recent months;
these much-needed moneys will be used for the purchase of food to
offset the projected food deficit.
November is also the month for the Concerned for the Hungry
Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive, which culminates with the assembly and
distribution of Thanksgiving baskets to a projected 10,000 individuals
this Thanksgiving week. The
baskets are designed to contain donated food items that can be used
beyond the Thanksgiving meal.
At the November SICM meeting, the Rev.
Diane Fletcher gave a presentation on her experiences through a CRTC
(Capital Region Theologial Center) course.
The CRTC course was designed to improve the community outreach
skills of clergy and laity in urban ministry settings.
Persons from all faith traditions are welcome at all CRTC
events; CRTC offers continuing education for clergy as well as
training for lay ministers. Call
462-2470 for more information about this program.
Also at the November Assembly meeting,
the assembly broke into small groups for discussion of the
"Spirituality of Fund-raising", an appropriate topic for the
stewardship "season" at many parishes.
The model for "Spirituality of Fund-raising" is the
writings of Henri J.M. Nouwen on this subject.
Fund-raising is looked at both as a means of participation, and
as an outreach goal to involve others in the vision and mission of a
parish or a cause. More of Nouwen's ideas can be explored at henrinouwen.org. In
December, the SICM Assembly celebrates the Christmas season with a
potluck supper and storytelling event.
Then on into a new year of programs and activities!
Episcopal Relief and Development News
ERD Continues to Help Haitian Flood
Victims After Recent Unrest
Episcopal Relief and Development is
monitoring the violence and political instability in Port-au-Prince
and other areas of Haiti. At least 55 people have been killed since
September 30. The fragile conditions in the country are slowing the
delivery of food aid to the northwestern city of Gonaives where
Tropical Storm Jeanne killed more than 3,000 people and left some
300,000 others homeless last month.
According to Burton Joseph, ERD's partner
on the ground, representatives from the Diocesan office in Haiti are
scheduled to visit Gonaives on Saturday, October 23. "We will
distribute emergency supplies and funds following the Eucharist
service on Sunday morning," said Joseph, Program Officer for the
Diocese. "We will make follow up visits of more rice shipments
and other goods. This
will be very helpful as we intend to provide assistance on a
mid-to-long term basis to allow at least our church members in
Gonaives to begin again," he said.
Episcopal Relief and Development provided
emergency assistance to the Diocese after the flooding in September.
"Thank you for your continued partnership and support of our
efforts to bring much needed relief aid to the victims of the latest
floods in the north," said Joseph.
ERD will continue working with the
Diocese following unrest throughout Haiti earlier this year and
devastating floods near the Dominican Republic border in May.
To donate to Episcopal Relief and
Development, visit www.er-d.org
or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to:
Episcopal Relief and Development, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ
Church School News
(grades 1-4), regular classes
Putz project, short choir rehearsal
Putz finish and practice, choir
to sing “Jesus Loves Me”
PM Family service,
children’s choir to
– report at 4:30 for rehearsal.
10:15 Feast of
St. Stephen – special
Sunday after Christmas –
On November 21, Bible Sunday,
the 5th and 6th graders received new
We still need a teacher for alternate
weeks for the PreK-K
class, which meets during the 10:15 service.
The Christmas Putz is growing!
On the last three Sundays of November, Stacy DeBritz led
children, youth and adults in creating figures for several scenes
depicting the Christmas story. In
December the scenes will be put together upstairs, with a scriptural
presentation to the congregation on December 19. Don’t miss it!
remember: items to
collect and bring to class by Dec 12th:
small logs, branches or rocks
fabrics and embellishments
small pieces of wood for the stable and crib
evergreens, holly and moss.
(Moss should be
covered and moist in your basement to last until Christmas.
Evergreens and holly may be collected in December.)
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
New York 12309
Dr. James R. Brooks-McDonald, Rector
Patricia L. Jones, Deacon
John H. Peatling, Rector Emeritus
Timothy Olsen, Director of Music
Katherine Miller, Office Manager
located at 1229 Baker Avenue, is open every weekday from 9:00 am to
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 email@example.com.
The rector’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our website address is http://www.albany.net/~ststeph/
The Messenger is published 10
times a year, September through June.
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.
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.
Our December gathering will be on Friday,
December 3. After a
covered-dish supper Deacon
Pat will lead us in a Christmas program, so bring your best caroling
As usual, we’ll gather at six, and plan to eat
at six-thirty. Please
bring food to share and bring your own dishes and utensils
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
of the Greens, 12/18:
of the Church, 12/24 @ 9:30:
Eve, set up for 5:00pm:
Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock
Eve, set up for 11:00pm:
up for Christmas Day, 10:00pm:
to Keep in Mind
Carl Hatlee, II
December Wedding Anniversaries
Dennis & Joan Moss
Robert Olberg &
Gerald & Linda Perregaux
Tom & Eunice Chouffi
Grant & Rosemarie Jaquith
CHALICE BEARERS AND LECTOR
J. & C. Trant,
J. Jones, R.
D. Molino, S. Grady
LEM and Care Givers
L. Perregaux, M. Causey, C. Mertz
P. Homes & M. Bishop
G. & R. Woodzell
S. & C. Trant
Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock
Casale, Jones, Lowe
Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki
Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock