The Messenger

May, 2005

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The Feast of Pentecost

The Feast of Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Festival in the Liturgical year.  But it is not the end of anything, but the beginning of that new life in Christ.  In our prayerbook Pentecost is properly designated as the fiftieth day of Easter ‑‑ the celebration begins with the day of Resurrection and ends with the gift of the spirit to the Church.  That giving of the Spirit is to be understood as a resurrection appearance.

The import of Pentecost as the final Resurrection appearance is that through the gift of the Spirit, Christ's presence is forever insured for the community of the faithful.  This we indeed celebrate!

We will celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, May 15th.  This feast is as important as Christmas or Easter and St. Stephen's is hoping to have everyone present for the celebration.  There will be two baptisms and a renewal of our Baptismal vows, especially appropriate on this day, and special music.  Please wear something red to commemorated the coming of the Holy Spirit “in tongues of flame”, and listen carefully as the gospel is read in over a dozen different languages!

New Plans for Vacation Bible School

The parishioners of St. Stephen’s Church are invited to Vacation Bible School at Union Presbyterian Church during the week of August 15-19.  Our children are welcomed as well as adults who are interested in helping out during the week. There will be a day program with lunch included and an evening program.  Ginny Smanic, the leader of the Bible school at Union Presbyterian, has a curriculum planned and will be providing training sessions for interested teachers.  She also would welcome volunteers to help with  crafts and lunch.  If you are interested, please talk with Laura Davis or Richey Woodzell.  Ginny will be organizing volunteers in May and June.  This is a great opportunity to meet new people in our community.

Jazz Sunday

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 May 15th.  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.



Follow Up Garden Day

It was raining on April 30th.  Not an ideal day to spruce up the gardens at St. Stephen’s.  Hopefully May 7th will be sunny, perfect for a follow up garden day.  Please come around 9:30 Saturday morning (May 7th).  Bring your garden tools, your muscles or/and your supervisory skills, and even your kids.  We can all help to make St. Stephen’s beautiful!


From the Rector


Dear Friends,

As we approach May there are a few events that are on my mind.  First, I will be away May 13th through May 14th attending the annual meeting of the Province II Synod.  Province II is composed of the Dioceses of Western New York, Rochester, Central New York, Albany, New York, Long Island, Newark, New Jersey, Haiti, and the Virgin Islands.  Once a year each diocese sends clergy and lay delegates to a gathering in which we hear about the actions of the national church and of what each of our dioceses is doing.  This year we will focus on the General Convention which will be held in Columbus Ohio in June, 2006.  This is an important convention for several reasons: votes will be taken on whether liturgies should be developed for gay and lesbian Episcopalians who wish to be blessed by the Church, and a new Presiding Bishop will be elected by the House of Bishops.  I will share with you information on all of these and more in the next Messenger.  I do this in an attempt to keep our congregation informed and connected with the larger Episcopal Church structures.

Second, a group of clergy from the Diocese of Albany has been invited by the Presiding Bishop’s office to come to New York City and meet all day on May 16th at the national church headquarters.  Meetings have been scheduled for us to meet key leaders in the Episcopal Church so that we may help keep the Diocese of Albany informed and connected with the larger Episcopal Church structures.  We will focus on how to keep ‘being the Church’ in these turbulent times.

Third, as you will read in other parts of this newsletter, May 15th is Pentecost.  It will be a great festival this year with baptisms and the Union College Jazz Ensemble.  This would be a wonderful day for our members to invite their friends who might be looking for a church home to come and visit our church. 

 Last year the vestry decided to develop a five to ten year plan of what we need to repair and build on church property in order to meet the future needs of the congregation.  At the same time the parish council was talking about developing new goals and objectives for parish programming. 

The parish council has developed a parish survey, which you will be sent in a few weeks.  They are asking all congregant’s twelve years and older to complete a survey.  Please pray about the direction God wants our church to go and please send a completed survey to the parish office as soon as possible or bring it to the in-gathering on Trinity Sunday, May 22nd.  Changes are coming for Saint Stephen’s, like it or not. Wouldn’t you rather like the changes that will be made?  You can be a part of planning for that change!!






Mom Is Very Sick - Here's How To Help


A young wife struggling to bear cancer, with three pre school children, shares these practical suggestions for helping anyone who is seriously ill.

1.      COOK A DINNER for my family (and please bring the food in disposable containers or marked pots).

2.      BAKE HOMEMADE COOKIES or brownies (and bring them frozen so I can have the delight of sending off fresh goodies in a lunchbox the next morning. This will give me the fun of feeling like a mama).

3.      MAKE YOUR OFFER specific (say, "I want to come over Monday at three to bake cookies or clean your pantry shelf, or whatever."  If you say, "Call me anytime for anything," I won't know what you want to do, or when you are free, so I probably won't ask.)

4.      OFFER TO BABYSIT (even if my husband and I are home and alone, this gives us the freedom of a private adult life in a place my illness can cope) 

5.      HELP WITH HOLIDAYS, birthdays, and anniversaries (ask if there are any special gifts or cards or wrapping papers you could pick up for me.  How many times I have wanted to give my husband a special card or put up a holiday decoration, but have been unable).

6.      HELP MY CHILDREN attend birthday parties (perhaps by bringing pre-wrapped children's gifts to our home for future use; or you might offer transportation to a party) 

7.      CALL BEFORE you visit, but drop by for twenty minutes when you can (don't assume sickness requires rest at the expense of communications. Loneliness is the greatest interrupter of sleep

8.      ASK ME who you know that I might like to see, and bring them by (often I am too shy to approach a friend on my own.  My whole life consists of asking favors, and I may just be too tired to make special requests).

9.      TAKE SNAPSHOTS of my children over the months (this gives me a feeling that there are permanent records of the temporary happenings I may miss).

10.  OFFER TO RUN two meaningless errands a week for our family (the small stuff like hair ribbons, or cologne, or clean suits falls by the wayside otherwise). 

11.  ALLOW ME to feel sad (or please prepare for the worst.  One of the most difficult problems of serious illness is that everyone wants to encourage the patient.  But sometimes having a good cry with a friend who allows it will let the tension escape.  Sometimes the greater part of the cure is the release of fear).

12.  EVEN IF THE JOKE is terrible, tell it!  (Share your humor.  Read aloud.  Describe what is funny out there. It may not tickle by ribs today, but tomorrow I may relish it!  Speak to the part of me that is more alive than dead, for that is the real me). 

13.  TOUCH ME (the isolation of being an invalid makes the power of love sweeter). 

14.  OFFER TO WATCH TV with me some afternoon when an old movie is on. 

15.  SAY THE WORD "CANCER" around me (and talk about the real life you are living).  This helps me feel less like an untouchable and more like I am still involved with the world of normality. One of the hardest things for me as an invalid is the problem of conversation with my husband, I am left with only illness and TV to talk about with him, and this is hard).

16.  TELL ME HOW GREAT I look considering what I'm going through (I know I look sick, but I still need to feel honestly attractive).


18.  REMIND ME of the abundant life that awaits me and is promised to me.  Also recall that there is comfort to be had here and now, in the midst of my illness.  The Bible tells us that Christ is the healer, the comforter, the understanding sufferer.  He brings cure and respite, not illness; and he holds me in his hand.  Offer to be here with me forever.  The fact that you could care so much in the moment tells me how much he cares for me in all moments.


May Wedding Anniversaries*


Norma Piscitelli                           5/3

Carl & June Hatlee                      5/10

Tim & Diane Widenor                 5/10

Gloria Kavanah                           5/15

David Goyette                             5/15

Robert & Barbara Strangfeld       5/20

Dave & Denise Crates                 5/23

David & Robin Kaczka               5/25

George & Richey Woodzell         5/28

Robert & Phyllis Chapman           5/30


May Birthdays*


Edward Walther                          5/1

Margaret Trawick                        5/4

Bruce Tatge                                 5/4

Theodore Schlansker                   5/5

Omer Burton                               5/5

Belachew Emaelaf                       5/5

Isabella Varno                             5/5

Emalie Varno                               5/6

Rocky Bonsal                              5/7

Robert Strangfeld                        5/8

Marilyn Dare                               5/9

Stewart Vanda                            5/10

Robyn Stewart                            5/10

Scott Soule                                  5/11

Ayodele Jones                             5/12

Norman Hoffmann                       5/15

Charline Hoffmann                       5/15

Amy Soule                                  5/15

Cherie Downs                             5/17

Benjamin Hoshko                        5/18

Elizabeth Casale                          5/20

Steven Koch                               5/21

Allison deKanel                           5/26

William Schlansker                      5/26

Phyllis Chapman                          5/26

William, Jr. Smith                         5/29

David Carroll                               5/29

William Koch                              5/30

Andrew Riordan                          5/30

Julie McDonald                           5/31

Dawn Kaler                                 5/31

Susan Olsen                                5/31


* If your (or anyone in your family) birthdate or anniversary is missing or incorrect, please contact the office (346-6241).

Are You Interested In Becoming A Member Of St. Stephen's?

THE ANGLICAN ETHOS is a series of four classes that are 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 its history, beliefs, worship, and work in the world.

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 Christian education.  The course is required for all who wish to be confirmed or received into the church.

These classes will be held on Sunday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. beginning on May 1st.  New members will be welcomed on Sunday, May 22nd.




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.




May Agape


Our May Agape will be on May 13th. When Dennis Wisnom will make a presentation on the ordination of  Bishop Gene Robinson.  As usual we will meet at 6:00pm in the parish hall and start our pot-luck supper at 6:30 pm. Please bring a dish to share and also your own dishes and silverware. Looking forward to seeing you there.



Church School News



We are learning about what makes up the church, adding items to the church on the bulletin board in the parish hall each week.   Check it out!  We have also learned to sing “Jesus Loves Me” using sign language.  The class meets in the parish hall during the 10:15 service beginning at the time of the sermon, for about half an hour.  Young children (and their parents) are welcome!


Grades 1-4

We have been studying about the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and talking about some of the symbols and gifts of the Holy Spirit, and what they mean for us.  Our Pentecost display is in the downstairs hallway.  We are also learning a song about Jesus in Spanish.


On May 15, the Feast of Pentecost, there will be a scavenger hunt for grades 1-4.  The children will decorate banners using the items they find, and then join the procession during the 10:15 service.


Class Schedule

May 8     Mother’s Day brunch – no classes (grade

   1-4; PreK and K will have class)

May 15  Feast of Pentecost - regular classes

May 22   regular classes          

May 29   regular classes

June 5     regular classes

June 12   last day of classes (all ages), parish



Plant Exchange – May 15th


Can't resist getting out and mucking about in your garden these fine spring days?  How about those perennials that really should be divided because they're way too crowded? How about those trips to your favorite garden store to pick up a flat or two or your favorite plants? WELL, think about the ANNUAL ST. STEPHEN'S PLANT EXCHANGE & YOUTH WORK CAMP BENEFIT! That's right; you can donate some of your excess, pick up a few of somebody else's favorite plants, AND benefit the youth summer work camp all at the same time!


Here's how it's going to work: bring in some plants on Sunday May 15.  Make sure they're labeled. Hang around a while until you see somebody else's plant that you would like to try out in your garden. Pick it up and take it home, and while you're at it, make a cash donation to the summer youth camp. We won't put any prices on things, you put in what you think is fair and would help the summer youth project. AND it would be nice to hang around a little while, just in case anyone has any questions about your plants.


SO...  Remember the St. Stephen's plant exchange when you're doing your spring gardening and when you're in the garden store stocking up on tomato plants and peppers! A few extra for your friends, please!


Chris Jones.  Let's see; red currants, blue hill sage, French tarragon, rhubarb...


                                                Chris Jones


Workcamp 2005


Each summer the youth group at St. Stephen’s travels to some part of Appalachia to help fix up the homes of people who are unable to do the work themselves. Working with teenagers from all over the eastern United States, we install new roofs, tear down and replace rotting ceilings and walls, repair floors that are unsafe, enlarge doorways and build wheelchair ramps to provide some measure or freedom to folks who are disabled, scrape and paint houses, all under the guidance of experienced builders and contractors who donate their time and expertise to this ministry.


The focus of the workcamps is the work we do, but the activity and the benefits go far beyond that: morning and evening programs provide spiritual food for thought and discussion, free time in the late afternoon provide time to form new friendships and renew old ones, and group discussion time before bed gives everyone an opportunity to reflect on the events and lessons of the day, and to share concerns, joys, and hurts.


One of the kids who joined us last year wrote the following about workcamp: “I grew in my faith, which had been wavering from different events in my life. God certainly took great care of me and led me onto a new path. In the end, I didn’t completely discover ‘who I am,’ but I have a better idea of who I want to become.”


Workcamp is an unforgettable experience for everyone, teenagers as well as adults. If you’d like to be a part of this wonderful ministry, get in touch with George Woodzell (telephone: 372-9398; email: ).


We’re Coming to Your Home!

Yes, the St. Stephen's youth group is racing to your home. We're starting an exciting new service - the easiest, most convenient way for you to deal with those annoying piles of bottles and cans. Just call our courteous dispatcher (Zosia Borst at 374-8836) and before you can say "where did all of these #%$$%@& bottles and cans come from?" one of our highly trained used container collection specialists will arrive at your door and whisk away those troublesome piles. It's easy, it's free, it's fun!  Proceeds from this activity will help pay for our workcamp this summer. 




Episcopal Relief and Development

Extra! Extra!

Many thanks to The Reverend Elizabeth (Betsey) Monnot for sharing a special story with us this month. Betsey graduated from Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in 2002 and moved to the Diocese of Northern California to be the Assistant Rector at Grace Church, St. Helena.

In the fall of 1999 (my first year at CDSP) I learned about ERD and the work that it does.  I remember how excited I was to learn about all the work that ERD was doing, and I was delighted when my seminary classmates elected me to be our class ERD representative. For my three years at seminary I worked with the other class representatives to publicize the work of ERD in the CDSP community. Still, the most moving experience for me related to ERD was when I got out of the seminary community and went to Honduras for a week with other seminarians to help build the ERD village outside of San Pedro Sula.  I met a man named Anthony, who had recently moved to the ERD village, and from his story I realized just how life-giving our sweaty shoveling and wheelbarrows full of sand really were.

In meeting Anthony, the first thing that anyone would notice was that he had prosthetic arms. One arm ended below the elbow, the other above the elbow, and his prostheses ended in hooks on each arm, where his hands would ordinarily be. We sat next to each other during church on Sunday, and after the service he told me his story. He, his wife, and their four children used to live in a neighborhood that was full of drugs and crime--it was all that was available to them. One night, a man burst into their house waving a machete. He was high on drugs and was looking for money to buy more. The family didn't have any money to give him, and he went crazy, hacking at them with his machete before finally leaving. He hacked off both of Anthony's arms, one of his wife's arms, and he killed one of the children.

Moving his family to the ERD village meant much more to Anthony than just having a nicer meant a safe place for his family to live

as well as the opportunity for him to learn to work as a supervisor (since he was no longer able to do the manual labor he had done before).

ERF Helps Families After Tragedy in Red Lake, Minnesota

Episcopal Relief and Development is helping families affected by the tragedy on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota. A high school student killed nine people and took his own life.

 "Our native clergy have been very involved in their ministries of presence and counseling," said Karen Olsen, an assistant with the Diocese of
Minnesota's office. "We were told that seven Episcopal clergy were the only clergy present at the first community gathering on Wednesday morning at Red Lake Elementary School. The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Bishop of North Dakota, reported that there is an amazing sense of forgiveness for the young man who was driven to this extreme brink-grace in the midst of tragedy coinciding with our Holy Week path," said Olsen.

On behalf of Episcopalians, ERD is providing emergency assistance to a memorial fund established by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa to assist with affected families' immediate needs. The funds will help families with funeral expenses and counseling services.

ERD is most grateful for the continuing gifts of so many to this and to the  Relief efforts which continue in Indonesia - both after the most recent  earthquakes and the tsunami.

Thank you to members of St. Stephen's Church for all your generous gifts to ERD

Very many thanks to all of you for your very generous gifts to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD).  So many wonderful gifts made it possible to provide assistance to many people in a time of desperate need.

Episcopal Relief has been able to help victims of the Tsunami disaster and in addition is helping them to rebuild, since the most recent earthquake there.  ERD is helping with ecumenical partners to provide emergency aid to thousands of displaced persons there.

ERD is also helping families afflicted by the tragedy on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota with counseling and funeral expenses.

Your gifts really count. Thank you, thank you.

Kabby Lowe, ERD coordinator for Albany Diocese


Over the Hill Gang


Do you ever wonder who replaces those burned-out light bulbs in the church, or who sands and varnishes the big oak doors, who does the painting, or who installed the new lighting fixtures in the Sunday school classrooms? All of these jobs, and countless others are done by the Over The Hill Gang, a group of people who meet each Tuesday afternoon to repair and maintain the church buildings and grounds. Unlike the preening members of the choir, who strut and parade in front of the congregation each week, we work in quiet anonymity, using our modest skills to keep the church in good repair.


We in the Over The Hill Gang don’t sing much, and the only time we hit a high note is when a hammer malfunctions and hits a thumb, but our work has compensations: the satisfaction of a job well done (usually), wonderful camaraderie, lots of jokes, after-work executive sessions at Bruegger’s, and those nifty red sweatshirts.

If you enjoy working with your hands, come join us any Tuesday afternoon. It helps if you have a sense of humor, but that isn’t required.

                                                George Woodzell


Dave and Denise…our thoughts and prayers are with you.


Denise, Vera and Andrei



Dave and Andrei


Read more on the website.



Pizza Social Scheduled


Come one, come all to a pizza dinner at St. Stephens in the Parish Hall.  The dinner will take place on Friday June 10th at 5:30pm.  Proceeds to benefit workcamp.  In the beginning of June, Robin Kaczka and Laura Davis will be selling tickets at $.50 per person….hope to see you there!


                                                      MAY SCHEDULE



May 8

May 15

May 22

May 29

T. Versocki
L. Practico
T. Casale
C. Trant
K. Casale
S. Trant
C. Trant
W. Koch
L. Marshall
M. Price
E. Mertz
R. Carroll
B. Kilbourn
Z. Price
B. Mertz
A. Jones

8:00 Service


C. Jones

C. M-M

T. Miller

G. Woodzell

1st Lesson

S. Ras

B. Mazurek

S. Woodcock

M. Causey

2nd Lesson

D. Stevens

N. Hoffmann

K. Miller

B. Stratton

10:15 Service


G. Jaquith

O. Luczka

C. Jones

A. DeKanel

1st Lesson

M. Causey

B. Voelker

B. Frank

O. Jones

2nd Lesson

B. Adams

G. Woodzell

C. Trant

B. Strangfeld


J. & C. Trant,

D. Caruso

S. Sombor, L. Kelly

J. Jones, R. Davis

S. Sombor, L. Kelly



M. Gittinger, D. Molino, S. Grady

J. Versocki, D. Belardo, B. Voelker

M. Causey, D. Crates, A. Spang

P. Northop,

 L. Peacke,

 K. Small



L. Perregaux

M. Spang

D. Tonneau

J. Woodcock





In memory of Stephen Prescott, given by Drew & Karen Prescott

LEM and Care Givers

C. Mertz & A. & K. Lowe

S. & C. Trant

P. Holmes & M. Bishop

M. Alexander & J. Bishop



5/7-5/13: Casale, Jones, Lowe

5/15-5/20:  Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki

5/21-5/27:  Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock

4/23-4/29: Casale, Jones, Lowe



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:                    Shari MacIvor
 Warden:                      Dave Carroll
Treasurer:                   Denise Crates
 Chancellor:                  Rosemarie Jaquith 

 Class of 2005              Steve Ras
                                    Sondra Grady
                                    Vicki Hoshko 

Class of 2006               Marilyn Dare
                                    Budd Mazurek
                                    Keith Nelson 

Class of 2007               Dave Caruso
                                    Paul de Kanel
                                    Stacy DeBritz


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.