The Messenger

Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady                                                                September 2005



Sunday Morning Adult Education: How The Bible Came To Be


            The Old and New Testaments represent the memory banks of the  Jewish and Christian communities.  But are they reliable?  How carefully were the documents copied?  What about before things were written down?  Were writers telling us the truth? These are just a few of the questions which are explored in this four-part course which uses such aids as copies of ancient manuscripts and modern television techniques.  This class will meet in the parish hall at 9 on Sunday mornings.




The Book of Revelation:   

Visions for the Church in Crisis


The author of Kerygma:  The Bible in Depth brings deep insight to a very challenging book.  Studying Revelation in context clarifies its message to an early church facing severe crisis.  Its relevance for today is not in prophetic visions, but in its affirmation of victory and hope.  We will also explore various interpretations throughout history, especially ‘the rapture theory’.  This nine-week course will meet in the Rector’s study (office building) on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9 beginning September 21st



Kerygma Bible Study Begins

            It is time to get out those Bibles and workbooks and get back in the swing--or perhaps it is time to bring your Bible and sign up for a course this fall. We will be studying: "The Gospel of Mark: Jesus--Powerful, Courageous and Trusting." This is a 7-week course, and it will start in October (check the "Education at St. Stephen's" book for date and time.) This is a timely offering, since we will be reading/hearing Mark's gospel during the coming year, beginning in Advent.  Mark portrays Jesus as strong and confident, although his disciples often failed to understand him. This would be a very good first course for someone beginning to study the Bible, but also a foundational course for those who want to deepen their understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ. I will order workbooks for everyone who signs up at the Parish Faire. All you need are a study Bible and an open and inquiring mind. (Beginning in January we will study the Gospel of John, a decidedly different presentation of the Good News. Please contact Deacon Pat for further information (372-5836).




Deacon Pat reads the Gospel lesson for the day.


From the Rector


Dear Friends, 


As recently as ten years ago the printed word seemed to be an endangered species, about to be crushed between television and electronic information resources, from CD-ROMs and audio books to online hypertext.  Today, books have survived, while many would-be replacements have vanished.  The Association of American Publishers recently reported a 36% increase in book sales since 1997.  A book is published somewhere in the world every thirty seconds.  Eighty-one percent of Americans would like to write a book, and one million titles are published worldwide each year. (Edward Tenner, The Boston Globe)  So many books, so little time!


I remember a seminary professor whose study was lined with books.  When asked , “When are you going to read all those books?” his reply was, “When I retire.”  To the question “When are you going to retire?”  he answered, “I can’t afford to retire, I’ve spent all my money on books.”  Such is the dilemma of many.


When asked what I did this summer, I say, “I read, on the beach, in my hammock, and on those very hot and humid days, in my study.  Throughout the year I gather the books I plan to read over the summer.  I continue to read because reading keeps me in touch with the great company of men and women who across the ages have struggled with and reflected on the mystery of God.


Martin Marty (who is coming to Union College this fall) has said that a major turning point in our lives is when we realize we are never going to read everything we want to read before we die.  Consequently my reading has become much more selective. 


It was a good summer and I look forward to a wonderful program year in the parish.  Many exciting courses will be offered and guest preachers will speak.  But for now, summer is not quite over and I am finishing a good book!




Parish Faire and Homecoming Picnic


Once again we will be having the Parish Faire and Picnic to begin the year.  The Faire will take place on September 11th 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.  Also, the narrative results of the parish survey will be available.


And then on September 18 the Parish Picnic will be held.  Our chefs will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers. We ask families to bring a dish to share and to wear your picnic clothes.  Sign ups for the picnic can be found on the shop counter.


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 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 that can help to structure our schedule in the months ahead.


1.      Make worship a weekly priority.


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


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



September Wedding Anniversaries*


Oto & Josephine Jones                9/4

Paul & Liz Pratico                       9/22

Ryan & Laura Davis                    9/24

Don & Helen Reid                       9/26

Denis & Carolyn Manor              9/28

Jim & Suzanne Wolff                   9/28


September Birthdays*


Stephen Woodzell                       9/1

Joshua Florence                           9/2

Tim Olsen                                    9/4

Clark Davis                                 9/4

Martha Nicholson                        9/10

Sid Woodcock                            9/11

Allison DeBritz                            9/12

Linda Perregaux                          9/14

Bob Strong                                  9/14

Olive Carter Luczka                    9/15

Philip Manor                                9/16

Alice Buell                                   9/19

Rick Morin                                  9/21

Clark Gittinger                             9/23

Devon Dare                                 9/25

Joey DeBritz                                9/27

Mary Michelson                          9/27

Ben Blaufuss                                9/28

Anita McCalley                           9/28

Libby Marshall                            9/29


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

Children of St. Stephen’s on Easter Sunday


Becoming A Member of

St. Stephen’s


            Inquirers’ 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 ‑‑ 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 noon in the rector’s office beginning October 9th.


Children’s Christian Education:

Changing and Growing, like the Kids


Church School begins on September18!  We are excited about changing our curriculum and the special activities the children will be participating in this year.  Many of the teachers who have served for several years are returning, but we still need help for preschool, grades 1-3 and middle school.  Please consider teaching:  you don’t need to a religious scholar.  If you are considering helping out with Church School, GO FOR IT.  Working with the kids of St. Stephen’s is a very rewarding experience that has a positive impact on the kids and on you, too.


Preschool through Grade 6 will be using the Episcopal Children’s Curriculum, which follows the seasons of the church year using a 3-year cycle.  In the fall, Bible stories will be from the Old Testament; other units during the year will be the New Testament, Baptism and the Church.  In addition, there will be special projects and programs throughout the year.   We will begin with a special project that will conclude with All Saint’s Day in mind.  The children will be learning about Zimbabwe and participating in an outreach project to help those in Zimbabwe.


The Preschool and Kindergarten class will be studying the Creation this fall, and will meet during the 10:15 service immediately following the children’s sermon.  Parents are invited to stay with their children during the class.  The teacher is Laura Davis; she will need adult or a high school-aged person to help each week.


The Primary class consists of grades 1-3, and will be taught by Linda Emaelaf, alternating with two other teachers.  Their focus this fall will be the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as “The Law.”  They will meet at 9:00 downstairs in the nursery school rooms.


The Intermediate class, grades 4-6, will meet at 9:00 in the Tower Room, where this class moved last year.  Allison de Kanel and Peter Nelson will continue as teachers.  Focus of studies this fall will be Covenant.

Middle school and high school classes will meet at 9:00 in Reid House next door on Garner Avenue.   The focus for the high school class this year will be the Bible as history, as literature and as a place to hear God speak to us today.  The classes use various materials as starting points to learn our faith traditions and explore their own faith. Frequently meeting as one group, these classes also form the basis of our Youth Group.  George Woodzell, Susan Townsend and Dave Crates continue to lead our young adults.

Nursery care is available 9:00 – 11:30, provided by Margaret Trawick and parents on a rotating basis.  The nursery is located downstairs in the corner room at the end of the hall.  If you have young ones and want to help with Church School or attend Sunday School for adults, your kids will be happy and safe in the nursery from 9:00 to 10:00.


If you would like to help with church school, please see Richey Woodzell or sign up at the Parish Faire on September 11th.





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.



Greeting Visitors


            A recent study reported that the average church visitor makes up his/her mind about a return visit within the first ten minutes of stepping into a church building.  (Yes, long before the sermon begins!)  I am interested in forming a group of ‘Greeters’ who would be willing to stand behind the welcome table in the tower entrance and look for visitors to greet.  On the table would be informational brochures, blank nametags, and visitors’ cards.  Greeters would welcome the visitor perhaps offer to make a nametag.  Please call the parish office you would like to participate in this important ministry.


Campus Protestant Ministry at Union College Brings Martin Marty

As a part of its celebration of 25 years on Union College Campus several events are being planned.  On October 2nd congregations will celebrate with a special worship service.  Rick Spalding, the chaplain at Williams College will preach.  Dr. Diane McMullen, professor of music at Union, will play the organ.  Ms. Elizabeth McFarland will conduct a multi-congregational choir. 


On November 1st, the Rev. Dr. Martin Marty will be on the Union College campus. Dr. Marty is a contributor to 'The Christian Century' and 'Contexts', he is author of over 50 books and thousands of articles. His commentary on church and culture is as valuable today as it was 40 years ago. The program will include:


At 11:00 a.m., “Literate Faith for College Students: What’s In It for 'U’'' will take place at College Park Hall. This will be an exploration of the ways in which congregational membership and leadership is impacted by the life of the mind as cultivated in college ministries and courses.  The cost for this event will be $40.00 and will include a buffet lunch. A portion of your cost will be donated to the newly forming endowment fund for the Campus Protestant Ministry.  Registration is due October 18th.

At 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Chapel “When Beliefs Collide: Is There Hope for 'U'?” will take place.  This talk will involve themes from Marty’s book, 'When Religions Collide', where Marty will address our current religion/culture/political challenges. A donation of $10.00 will be requested from attendees from outside the Union Community.


Worship at St. Stephen’s


Thanks to every one of you who so carefully and thoughtfully filled out that long questionnaire! The Worship Committee is looking closely at those parts that pertain to our common worship, and we will begin responding immediately. Your questions and comments are extremely helpful to us as we plan worship that will give glory to God as it nourishes and teaches the hearts of the faithful worshipers.


We are starting to plan for a real celebration on All Saints’ Day, November first. This is the occasion for us to remember all the saints "who from their labors rest," as the old hymn has it: all those who are our elder brothers and sisters and mentors in the faith, the heroes of the church.


All Saints’ Day is one of the four traditional days for baptisms to take place (do you know the other three?), so we encourage any families who have children or adults who are ready for baptism to speak to Father James. All Saints Day falls on a Tuesday this year, and on that evening we will have a service of Holy Eucharist at 5:30 p.m followed by a catered meal at 6:15.  At 6:45 we will travel to Memorial Chapel at Union College to hear Martin Mary.


Mark your calendars now for this event! We will also observe All Saints’ Day on the Sunday prior the actual feast day (October 30th), so that those who cannot attend the latter midweek service will still be able to sing the great hymns; this is also a good time for baptisms to take place.

As a first step in responding to your questions about our worship services, we will soon place a card in the pews, "The Eucharist: A Primer," which will give a general description of our worship services, helpful (we hope) to newcomers and experienced Episcopalians as well. And we plan to answer some of the most-frequently-asked questions from time to time in the "Messenger." After the first of the year, we will present an “Instructed Eucharist,” a service during which explanations are given about some of the esoteric and possibly mystifying things we do, say and wear during our worship. Keep those questions and comments coming!


Deacon Pat for the Worship Committee


Support Damien Center through the AIDS Walk


Join Damien Center or sponsor them for the AIDS Walk to be held September 25 in Washington Park in Albany.  Half of the sponsorship money is given to the walker’s designated AIDS charity, and could help the Damien Center recoup its lost CDBG funding. Call Glenn or Vjuana at 374-0848 for details.


Dear St. Stephen's Friends,


I am so grateful for all the many prayers for our family and all the many cards of sympathy and condolence, they are a great comfort. The altar flowers were much appreciated both here and in Al's Sunnyview room. Thank you to St. Stephen’s for sending fruit to the nurses and PA’s in Critical Care at Ellis Hospital.  Al as you've seen in church is walking very well and is almost himself again except for his memory and enjoyment of reading. The children seem happy in Virginia but are sorely missed by all the family here. Louise's husband is inconsolable as am I.


Much love and thanks, Kabby Lowe

Episcopal Relief and Development

ERD continues to be involved in helping those affected around the world.  Most recently, ERD started creating a database of people who would like to volunteer in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.   ERD thanks you for your generosity and compassion for people living in this desperate situation. 


For more information on what ERD is doing to help the victims of Katrina and in other areas around the world, visit their website at:



“The Deacon’s Bench”


            I am writing this at a small cottage on the shore of the Machias River in Maine.  Chris and I are spending a week here in Machiasport, on a point of land that is surrounded by water on three sides.  The wide, shallow estuary attracts many sea and shore birds that we can’t identify, even with Peterson’s in hand!  (I hear a loon, right this minute.)  The fog moves in and out, storms come and go.  The sunrises and sunsets are incredible.

            I’ve been reading and knitting quite a bit, which is my idea of a good vacation.  Knowing this, my daughter, Elizabeth, gave me a copy of “The Knitting Way:  a Guide to Spiritual Self-Discovery.”  (E. has been encouraging me to use knitting as a metaphor for my spiritual journey, to use the knitting that I have done over the years to understand the colors and tensions and patterns that are aspects of my life.)  Reading this book is fun, and challenging, but I feel as if I need to be able to share it with someone.  So…is there anyone out there who would be interested in a Knitting Circle?  It might include instruction for novice knitters, exploring some of the ideas raised in the book or by participants, reading, sharing, etc.  Let me know if you are interested, and we can talk about how it might work out.

                                                            Deacon Pat



Foyer Groups


Sid and Gillian Woodcock hosted a combined foyer at their home in June for the members of all last year’s foyer groups. Many members of our separate groups brought great food and shared fellowship, friendship and all that foyer offers.

Why foyer? It’s the coming together of various Saint Stephen’s members who wouldn’t ordinarily meet socially.

If you don’t foyer, you are missing a great opportunity to meet your fellow members in informal home settings.  Sign-up for foyers at the Parish Faire on Sept. 11th.


Schenectady Inner City Ministry Meeting at Saint Stephen's


The September Assembly will be Wednesday, September 7th at our church.  Refreshments provided by the host congregation will be served at 6:45 pm.  Please sign up to bring baked goods and to make coffee for this event.


Thank You to Paul & Allison deKanel


          We thank you, Paul and Allison, for providing coffee and food during many of the coffee hours this summer.  “Coffee hour” is the time after the services where people can stay, talk, have some coffee and something to eat.  When there was no one signed up for coffee hour, Paul and Allison made sure there was something to eat over the summer.  This time we spend together is, for many of us, the only time we see friends from St. Stephen’s all week.  The coffee hour helps to keep us together.  Again, thank you.


Vacation Bible School


            “All aboard” called the conductor as she rang her bell.  It was time to get on the train for another day of Bible school, going to another place.  The children went to many countries during the week and learned a little about them too.  While they were “traveling” on the train, a storyteller told them great stories of Esther, Joseph and his brothers and, of course, Jesus.  The Bible story was told again during the Bible study portion of the day.  The kids (and adults) made crafts, played games and tasted food from the countries they were visiting.  The kids also sang songs, many of these songs my kids still sing while they playing around the house.


            We learned that the world is big and that there are many people it in trying to make it a better place.  We also learned that “it’s a small world”.  Many kids and adults found old friends during the week.  The first day, I heard two children two talking: “Hi, I didn’t know you went to my church,” said the first.  “I don’t.  I go to St. Stephen’s,” said the other.  And they went and sat together.  Many kids didn’t have a church home, but found a comfortable place that week by meeting new friends.  The adults also met new friends and were reunited with old ones.


            The combined effort between the churches made the burden not overly great on many of us.  Jinny Smanic, director of the Bible school, held our efforts together.  She seemed to be right there whenever she was needed.  We all thank her.


            Vacation Bible school was held August 15th through 19th from 9:30am-12:30pm at Union Presbyterian Church and then from 6:00-8:00pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The time of Bible school coincides with the end of the summer lunch program.  We plan to schedule Bible school for about the same week of August next year.  And the three churches are looking forward to working together again. 

For those from St. Stephen’s who volunteered this year, THANK YOU!!                                                                     Laura Davis


Children on the train on their way to their next adventure in another country.



                                                SEPTEMBER SCHEDULE



September 4

September 11

September 18

September 25


8:00 Service


T. Miller

G. Woodzell

B. Frank

C. Jones

1st Lesson

C. Jones

B. Stratton

A. Walraven

S. Ras

2nd Lesson

O. Luczka

P. Nevius

K. Miller

P. Holmes

10:15 Service


M. Causey

D. Carroll

C. M-M

M. Dare

1st Lesson

R. Stewart

D. Caruso

D. Wisnom

G. Jaquith

2nd Lesson

M. DeBritz

B. Strangfeld

B. Mazurek

L. Emaelaf


C. Mertz,         S. Kilbourn

J. & C. Trant,

D. Caruso

S. Sombor, L. Kelly

J. Jones, R. Davis



M. Causey, D. Crates, A. Spang

P. Northop,

 L. Peake,

 K. Small

D. May, R. May, B. Strangfeld

M. Gittinger, D. Molino, S. Grady



D. Belardo

M. Spang

K. Miller

M. & J. Dare




In memory of the loved ones of Austin & Marti Spang


LEM and Care Givers

M. Alexander & J. Russell

G. & S. Woodcock

L. Perregaux & M. Causey

R. & G. Woodzell



9/3-9/9: Casale, Jones, Lowe

9/10-9/16:  Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki

9/17-9/23:  Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock

9/24-9/30: Casale, Jones, Lowe






Every baptized person is called to ministry.  The Education for Ministry (EFM) program provides people with the education to carry out that ministry.   It is that vocation for which we pray at the end of the Eucharist: “And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.”


EFM is the theological education extension program of the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.  The seminar group is the nucleus of EFM.  A group consists of eight to ten students and a trained mentor meeting weekly for two to three hours over the course of a nine-month year.  A one year commitment is required.  Completion of the program takes four years, during which participants study the Old and New Testaments, church history, and twentieth century theology.  The purpose is to provide lay members of the church with a comprehensive foundation for understanding and experiencing Christian faith.


Students are given weekly lesson assignments to study with the help of resource guides.  Students are responsible for setting their own learning goals.  They spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. 


Education for Ministry banner


What can you expect from EFM?  Those enrolled in the program report that EFM has helped them to think theologically, increase their understanding of the Christian heritage, deepen their faith and provide them with a new confidence in their ministry.


An EFM group is forming at St. Stephen’s beginning this fall.  We will meet at a time and on a day that is most condusive for those who are interested.    More information and application forms are available from the rector.  Tuition is $340 annually. Scholarships are available. Applications and payment must be returned to the parish before we can determine if we have enough people for a group (six people is the minimum).  Other EFM groups in the Capital District may accept students at other times during the year.


Through study, prayer, and reflection, EFM groups move toward a new understanding of the fullness of God’s Kingdom.  This process can be illustrated by a two-rail fence.  One rail is the Christian tradition.  The other is the collective experience of the group’s members.  The rails are linked by fence posts which represent the seminar sessions where life and study meet.  The fence is grounded in the soil of regular worship which is vital to the life of the group.



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

 Clerk:                          Melissa Renken

 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.