The Messenger

Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady           November 2005

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Jazz Sunday: November 6th

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 6th.  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.  


Dave Kaczynski to Speak on Justice Sunday


There are compelling concerns about unfairness and wastefulness in New York's death penalty. The Court of Appeals gave New Yorkers an unprecedented opportunity to look at our state's 10-year death penalty experiment and decide whether we really want it back.

In New York, many innocent people have been sentenced to life for murders they did not commit. Bobby McLaughlin, an innocent man convicted of murder in New York and sentenced to life in prison, put it most powerfully when he said: "If there was a death penalty in New York [when I was convicted], I would now be ashes in an urn in my parents' living room."


David Kaczynski will speak at the Adult Class and preach at the 10:15 am Eucharist on Sunday, November 20th.   He is the Executive Director of "New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty" (NYADP) is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals committed to the abolition of capital punishment. NY ADP advocates for public policy change through education, grassroots organiziIig, and lobbying. While they are an abolition,ist organization, they believe that working towards a moratorium on executions brings us closer to our ultimate goal. NY ADP works with family members of inmates, students, attorneys, and family members. of murder victims.


David Kaczynski is the brother of the "Unabomber", Ted Kaczynski. David travels throughout the country sharing his story and has appeared on numerous national radio and television programs.


 From the Rector


Dear Friends,


This year the first Sunday of Advent is Thanksgiving weekend.  This is a time when we remember that God has set out to look for us, rather than we looking for God.  We are hiding: God is seeking   a reversal of the game we are accustomed to play.  This is the season when we are particularly aware that God goes the Second Mile, and comes to meet us and all the human race at the point which is beyond what is reasonable to demand from God.  And therefore, we seek to extend our lives in a reflected generosity.


One of the best examples of this generosity, or 'grace', is a short story made into a major film called "Babette's Feast" (we have it in our parish library).  The story concerns a French woman named Babette who is exiled to the Jutland coast and taken in by two spinster sisters, daughters of the deceased founder of an extreme Protestant sect.  The two women are well into middle age, having spent most of their lives taking care of their late father's flock.

Babette can cook.  She prepares the dried cod and ale bread soup which is the sisters' standard fare, and gradually introduces occasional luxuries.  With Babette in charge, the household bills are "miraculously reduced." After twelve years with the sisters, Babette unexpectedly wins 10,000 francs in the Paris lottery.  The sisters fear that they will loose Babette, but instead she asks a favor: Would the sisters let her cook a French dinner for the centennial anniversary of their father's birth?

The sisters agree grudgingly, for they are dour, ascetic, religious women unaccustomed to luxury.  Babette prepares a feast fit for royalty: real turtle soup from a huge imported turtle, quails and caviar, and a different wine for every course. A General who is visiting his aged aunt, attends the feast.  The other church members attend out of "Christian charity", having vowed not to taste or speak of what they eat or drink.


They try their best, but soon they are smacking their lips and asking for more wine.  Their eyes sparkle, and they become quite festive.  The bickering ceases, and the small flock overcomes its petty divisions in the midst of the feast.  Feuds which have lasted a lifetime are settled.  Old grudges are given up.  The General confesses his long repressed love to one of the sisters, and he speaks these lines which depicts the feast of Christmas which we are beginning to celebrate:


"We have all of us been told that grace is to be found in the universe.  But in our human foolishness and short sightedness we imagine divine grace to be finite.  For this reason we tremble... We tremble before making our choice in life, and after having made it again tremble in fear of having chosen wrong.  But the moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we see and realize that grace is infinite.  Grace, my friends, demands nothing from us but that we shall await it with confidence and acknowledge it in gratitude.  Grace, brothers, makes no conditions and singles out none of us in particular; grace takes us all to its bosom and proclaims general amnesty...For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss have kissed one another!"


We have much for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving, mostly for God’s grace that has been shown to us.



Fr. James+

Home Furnishings Program of Schenectady


For 37 years the Home Furnishings Program has been supplying household furnishings in good useable condition to individuals and families in need.  The recipients, residing in Schenectady County, are referred by a pastor or community agency. Hundreds of families are helped every year. The need is great and is growing.  


Except for one half-time employee, the program depends entirely on volunteers.  The volunteers drive and staff the truck that is used for the pick up and delivery of larger furniture items.  Churches and civic organizations are asked to accept responsibility for scheduled pick-ups and deliveries.


How can you help?


Thank you for keeping the Home Furnishings Program in mind when you replace or discard   home furnishings that are still in excellent condition. 



Voting is the privilege of U.S. citizens and the duty of Christians living in a democracy.  Tuesday, Nov.  8th all day.


 Sunday School Update

 Since Sunday school began in mid-September, we may have been short on teachers, but by no means, have we been short on kids!!  It is wonderful to see so many kids every week.  Now, we have Stacy DeBritz teaching the 1st through 3rd graders with Linda Emaelaf and Cheryl Syta teaching preK and kindergarteners with me.


In the next several weeks, we will be moving our focus during Sunday school from the Old Testament stories to the story of Jesus’ birth.  Each age group will be looking at Advent in different ways.  The intermediate group (4-6 grades) will be discussing the visions of the prophets and the coming of the Messiah.  The primary group (1-3 grades) will begin the unit by focusing on Elizabeth, Zechariah and John, the Baptist.  And the preK-kindergarten group will be learning about Jesus’ family.


Once Advent begins all of the kids will be starting to reassemble the Putz.  For those who are new this year, the Putz is miniature scenes built by children using natural and man made items found around the house.  Its intention is to portray the nativity.  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.  We hope to make it our special Christmas tradition as well.  This year, we will be adding new scenes to the Putz.


Please begin to collect moss from the woods or your yard for the Putz.  You can keep it moist in your basement or garage.  The moss makes excellent landscaping.  It is important to collect the moss now, before we begin to get regular hard freezes. 


The start of our Sunday school year has been terrific.  We are watching the kids become friends and learn the stories of the Old Testament together.  We look forward to Advent and Christmas seasons.


Lastly, thank you to everyone who contributed to the School Kits for the children displaced by Hurricane Katrina.  We brought 50 bags, from St. Stephen’s, to Union College.  Union College sent over 500 School Kits to these children in Texas.


                                                Laura Davis




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.



Advent Quiet Time for All


The St. Clare Chapter of the Daughters of the King will hold an Advent Quiet Morning from 9 AM to noon on Saturday, December 3, beginning in the parish hall with refreshments.   All are invited.  Free childcare will be provided downstairs.  We will have a freewill offering for Episcopal Relief and Development.


Come spend a few hours, apart from the busy life of the holiday season, to nurture your relationship with God, and to reflect on God’s presence and sustenance in the midst of natural disasters which have been occurring all over the globe.  We hope it will prove to be a blessing in your preparations during Advent.  Please sign up at the shop, so we have an idea of how many will attend and if they would like childcare.  If you have questions, speak to Debbie or Margaret Trawick, 384-0335.


New Hymnal Supplement


Have you noticed something new in your pew? The new tall book that joins the Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal 1982 is Lift Every Voice II (or LEVAS II for short). It was published by Church Publishing, Inc. in 1993, as a  supplement to Hymnal 1982.


Our music director, Dr. Tim Olsen, has considerable expertise and a deep interest in African-American music. He has introduced Jazz Sunday into our worship experience, and the anthems that our choir offers come from a wider

variety of musical backgrounds than we have previously known. Tim has recommended that we add this hymnal to our music resources, and the Worship Committee concurs.


To quote from the Introduction to LEVAS II: "Faithful to the Episcopal Church's new appreciation of multiculturalism, The Hymnal 1982, for which LEVAS II will serve as a supplement, is a far more inclusive and representative resource than its predecessor. African, Caribbean, Native American, Hispanic, African-American and other sources have been used, to remind worshippers of the rich diversity of all the people of God.  We echo the wish of Bishop Burgess that 'this music will serve the whole church well if it will come to understand something more of the mission of all people in today's world.'"


In the weeks and months ahead, we will begin to acquaint ourselves with some of the music provided in this hymnal. Some will already be familiar; some will not. Please take some time to look through it, hum or whistle a few bars (preferably not during worship). The Worship Committee will welcome your questions, comments, and above all your participation as we explore this new resource to enrich our worship.

                                                                                                             Deacon Pat for the

Worship Committee


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 13th we will remember that service 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.


The Deacon’s Bench


The other day I received a call from a member of Lynnwood Reformed Church, asking if their Women's Group could contribute in some way to St. Stephen's jail ministry. I was very happy to accept their offer. I explained about the Christmas Card Project, and the need for greeting cards for inmates throughout the year. They will collect cards and postage stamps and bring them to our church office, to be delivered to the jail.


I was especially glad to receive that call, because I have been thinking of ways to share this ministry more fully with other members of St. Stephen's.

Apparently, I wasn't thinking big enough! I would be glad to talk to anyone who is interested in visiting with me in the jail, on either a regular or occasional basis. In addition, there are several opportunities for participation in the jail ministry, none of which require one to go to jail:


  1. Purchasing underwear: T shirts, sox, bras, underpants. I shop at Kmart , WalMart, or Dollar Stores. Economy is my major concern. The money comes from the "Jail Ministry" item in the parish budget. Clothing is stored upstairs in the Parish Office. About once a month, for an hour or so.

  2.  Preparing clothing for delivery to jail: I make a list each week of what has been requested. Items are placed in a paper bag for each individual, with a completed form listing contents and inmate's name. I deliver to the jail. Mon. or Tues. each week, for not more than an hour.

  3. Sorting greeting cards: several times a year I take assorted cards (birthday, thanks, get well, etc) to all female inmates. Making up packets of cards is similar to the Christmas Card Project that takes place in December, only on a smaller scale. I would be glad for help in keeping the cards in order and making up the packets for delivery.  Approximately two hours, four or five times a year.

  4. Christmas cards, too, need to be sorted and organized as they come in during the year, counted in November and brought to church for the Christmas Card Project in December. Once every few months, for an hour or two.

  5. Paper grocery-size bags, or slightly smaller, are needed to deliver clothing to inmates. I have enough lunch-bag size, but need larger brown bags. I use about six per week and would appreciate having a supply on hand.


Please let me know if you are interested.

                                                                                     Deacon Pat


Daughters of the King: Becoming a Woman of prayer


The Daughters of the King are Episcopal women who take a vow of prayer and service, for the spiritual growth of their parishes and the spread of the gospel among women and girls.  The St. Clare Chapter at St. Stephen¹s meets 9:00 - 10:30 AM on the third Saturday of each month.  On November 19 we will begin a study of Becoming a Woman of Prayer by Cynthia Heald.  A sample copy of the book will be on the shop counter.  If you would like to attend our meeting(s), please talk to Debbie Trawick, 384-0335, or Richey Woodzell, 372-9398.



  November 24th

Thursday morning at 10 am

 St. Stephen's Church




Social Justice

 It is not too soon to begin thinking of our Christmas "Giving Tree" at St. Stephen's. We will be focusing our efforts this year on the children of women inmates at the Schenectady County Correctional Facility. We will ask the mother to suggest a gift that she would like to give to each child, within a reasonable price range.  Parishioners will buy these gifts, then we will add smaller gifts for the children, choosing whatever we would like to give. The mothers can write cards to accompany their "special" gifts, and we will attach them carefully before delivery.

  We hope that this arrangement will help to overcome the separation within the families that is especially hard to endure at holiday times. Deacon

Pat will do the advance work at the jail.  Our families at St. Stephen's will be able to decide what they would like to give; even small children enjoy shopping for others.  And, of course, we will need help to deliver the gifts shortly before Christmas.

 If you have questions or suggestions, please call Carole Merrill-Mazurek (346-8959) or Deacon Pat (372-5836.)

The Myron Street Farm

 OK, there really is no such thing as a "farm" on Myron Street but there are the peaches, quince, cherries, elderberrys, and raspberries which I grow and use to make the jam and jelly you see now and then for sale at the shop on Sunday mornings.  And there are other farms where I get blueberries, pears, and strawberries. I get a big kick out of watching the miracle those plants do all the time: turning rain, sunshine, and dirt into such amazingly delicious fruits. In all of this advanced technological revolution we live in, nobody has figured out how to make a juicy ripe peach using dirt, water, and sunlight!

 Every one of the dollars you pay for that jam goes to support the Youth Work Week. However, there's no budget for buying the jars and lids, and unless you bring them back, I have to go out and but them.  So...


 And in the meantime, enjoy your toast and jam.  Try a sandwich of cream cheese and quince jelly.  Heavenly!

 Chris Jones, Chief Farmer at the Myron Street Farm.

Anniversaries to Keep in Mind


November Birthdays

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

November Wedding Anniversaries

Gregg & Elizabeth Varno                      11/3
Norman & Charline Hoffmann                 11/4
F. William & Florence Walker                 11/5
Alfred & Katharine Lowe                     11/24
Ralph & Doreen May                           11/25
Eugene & Mary Whitney                      11/28

If the congregation is not celebrating your birthday or wedding anniversary correctly, it may be that your information in our database is missing or incorrect.  Please let the parish office (346-6241) know of any changes or additions and please consider updating a 'Personal Information Form' available from the parish office.  Thank you.  Kathy Miller, Office Manager.

 Altar Flower Deal!

 Consider taking part in donating flowers for the Altar.  There are many reasons for donating flowers for Sunday morning.  One is in remembrance of someone.  Another is in thanksgiving for someone or a group of people.  If you would like you can find someone else who would like to donate flowers on the same Sunday, you may split the cost ($35). Both names will be recognized.   There are coupons at in this month’s Messenger for Christmas flowers and for flowers next year.  We need to fill the calendar for 2006 or we will be using dusty plastic flowers in gross shades of pink.


Christmas Flowers

I would like to donate flowers for the Christmas Season:



In honor of:________________


In memory of:______________


Deadline for Christmas flowers is December 14th



2006 Altar Flower Calendar

I would like to have the altar flowers given in my name

On (date)_______________________

In honor of______________________


In memory of____________________

I’ve enclosed a check for $35.

Please mail to the Parish Office, 1229 Baker Ave.  Schenectady, NY  12309

 Or place this coupon and your check in the collection plate.





November 6

November 13

November 20

November 27



Tom Casale

Laura Pratico

Katie Casale



Carrie Trant

Chelsea Trant

Will Koch



Rebecca Carroll

Matt Canavan

Devon Dare



Joey DeBritz

Julian Canavan

Emily Mertz



8:00 Service


T. Miller

C. Jones

C. M-M

V. Hoshko

1st Lesson

K. Miller

P. Nevius

G. Woodzell

B. Stratton

2nd Lesson

A. Walraven

S. Ras

V. Hoshko

G. Woodcock

10:15 Service


C. Jones

V. Hoshko

DC Crates

G. Jaquith

1st Lesson

M. Gittinger

O. Jones

M. Causey

L. Varno

2nd Lesson

R. Caruso

C. Trant

P. Holmes

D. Carroll


Mertz, Lowe

Hoffmann, Jones

Davis, Sombor

Kilbourn, Caruso



J. Versocki,

D. Belardo,

B. Voelker

M. Causey, D. Crates, A. Spang

P. Northrop, L. Peake, K. Small

D. May,

 R. May,

 B. Strangfeld



Christine Nelson

Pauline Northop

Linda Perregaux

Marti Spang








In loving memory of Dawn Schlansker, given by Ted Schlansker



LEM and Care Givers

L. Perregaux

R & G Woodzell

C. Mertz,

 A & K Lowe

S C Trant



11/5: Casale, Jones, Lowe

11/12: Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki

11/19: Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock

11/26: 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.