The Messenger

Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady December 2005

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Saint Stephen:  Deacon and Martyr

The patron saint of our parish is St. Stephen whose life we will celebrate on Monday, December 26th in the Chapel of the Resurrection with Eucharist.

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.

Stephen's activities 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 the Monday after Christmas


David Olsen to Teach and Preach

David C. Olsen, is the Executive Director of the Samaritan Counseling Centers. Dr. Olsen is also adjunct professor of Family Therapy at the State University College at Oneonta, New York where he teaches couple and family therapy, sex therapy, and cognitive therapy. He is a certified pastoral counselor (Fellow, American Association for Pastoral Counselors), and is a certified marriage and family therapist (Clinical member and Approved Supervisor American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy), a Certified Social Worker, and diplomat in the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches, USA.

He has presented at the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy for the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. He has provided training for US military Chaplains in Family Therapy, and has served faculty for the Menninger Clinic.

Many have found his workbook, The Couple's Survival Workbook, to be a very useful tool to use with a person or couple struggling in a marriage relationship. The strength of the workbook is found in that it doesn't seek to change the other spouse, but rather focuses on the one who seeks help in the first place. How can the concerned spouse be a better husband or wife in the midst of the difficulties? What are the ‘tipping factors’ in a marriage? David will present a talk on "The Tipping Points In Marriage" at the 9am adult class on Dec. 4th in the parish hall, and will be the preacher at the 10:15 am Eucharist.

Christmas Services


5:00 p.m. Family Eucharist
10:45 p.m. Christmas Carols
11:00 p.m. Festive Candlelight Eucharist



10:15 a.m. Eucharist


Monday, December 26th
10:00 a.m. Eucharist


January 1st
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist


January 8th
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist

From the Rector

As I write this message 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.


God's 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.

God's 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 kind 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.

But 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.

The season of Advent, which we began November 27th, 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.


Fr. James+

Youth Group Friday Night Lock-Ins

If you are in 7th-12th grade, you are invited to join in the fellowship and fun every second Friday of the month. In December we will play Laser Tag. In January and February, we plan for bowling and a movie marathon. The lock-in starts at 6:00 p.m. with dinner and ends at 9:00 a.m. after breakfast.

Future dates for the lock-ins are:

December 9 – Laser Tag

January 13 – Bowling

February 10 – Movie Marathon

March 10 – To Be Decided

April ??? -- the 14th is Good Friday and the 21st is the end of spring break

May 12 – something special for 12th graders?

Friends are welcome to attend. Parents/Guardians must sign permission slips for each participant. At least two adult chaperones are always present and one is awake at all times! With boys and girls attending the lock-ins, we plan to have male and female chaperones at each lock-in.

If you want more information or to volunteer as a chaperone, talk to George Woodzell ( 372-9398) or Dave Crates ( 373-9732).

The Children of St. Stephen’s Prepare for Christmas

One of the best ways to really know something is to make it and be part of it. Bringing 13 of the Christmas scenes together through "the Putz" has not only been fun and creative, but a learning experience as well.

In the next few weeks, we will be unpacking the pieces of "the Putz" we made last year and putting them together with the new people, animals and buildings we are making this year. Most of our work is planned for the Sunday school hour (9:00-10:00).

"The Putz" will be presented to the congregation on December 18th at the 10:15 service. There are several ways for kids to participate. Reading parts of the Christmas story and singing are very important to the presentation. If your kids are interested, please see Allison DeKanel. If an extra rehearsal is needed, we will be sure to let everyone know.

Please remember to collect moss for "the Putz". We will be collecting the moss on December 11th.

Episcopal Relief and Development

This year has seen tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes of enormous magnitude. Your generosity has been overwhelming, yet there is still much to be done. Episcopal Relief and Development is asking each parish to select a goal to provide a gift for a specific project. We at St. Stephen's have the chance to raise enough during the Advent Season to rebuild a house for a tsunami victim, prevent the spread of malaria by supplying mosquito bed nets and training for 50 families or educating and feeding 30 HIV children in Africa for a year! Get a box for HOPE from the resource table and let's see how big a gift our parish can make.

Cleaning and Greening of the Church

Help prepare the church for Christmas. On Sunday morning, December 18th, beginning after you get your coffee, we will meet in the Church to hang the greens, and generally prepare the church for our celebration of Christ's birth.


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 began on Sunday, Nov. 27th. 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

CHILD CARE CHRISTMAS EVE - the Community Room 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.

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

INQUIRE'S CLASSES are a basic five 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 are held on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. in the rector’s office beginning January 7th.

Adult Education on Sunday Mornings:

The Unknown Jesus

For 2000 years the popular image of Jesus Christ has been set in stone. Now questions long debated in scholarly circles are coming to the forefront. Armed with ancient sources like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the papyrus books at Nag Hammadi and long overlooked writings from the early church, modern scholars are making an impact with new theories on the most important figure of the Western World. From scholars to students, millions have studied the life of Jesus Christ according to the four Gospels. But these writings, penned decades after he died, tell of a Jesus of faith. What is really known about the history of Jesus? This course will explore the Unknown Jesus on Dec. 11 and 18 at 9am in the parish hall.

Anniversaries to Keep in Mind

December Birthdays

Peter Nevius 12/1
Rebecca Carroll 12/1
Louise Peake 12/5
Kurt McKeone 12/5
David Kaczka 12/6
Mildred Gittinger 12/7
Vicki Hoshko 12/8
Tyffani Adams 12/9
Jim Ormsbee 12/9
John Liberis 12/12
Claudia Ashelman 12/12
Nathan Phillips 12/13
Robin Kaczka 12/15
Robert McCalley 12/17
Jed Dare 12/18
Shirley Gretz 12/20
Taylor Pierce 12/20
Jean Greenspan 12/21
Stephen Sombor 12/23
Robert Olberg 12/25
Stephen Chapman 12/27
Ronald Michelson 12/27
Isabelle Jaquith 12/27
Anne Sombor 12/28
Elizabeth Canavan 12/28
Carl Hatlee, II 12/29
Denise Crates 12/31

December Wedding Anniversaries

Dennis & Joan Moss 12/2
Robert Olberg &  Andrea Worthington 12/10
Scott & Trina Moss 12/15
Daniel & Edith Lundquist 12/18
Gerald & Linda Perregaux 12/22
Tom & Eunice Chouffi 12/23
Grant & Rosemarie Jaquith 12/30

The Twelve Days of Christmas

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not allowed to practice their faith openly. During that era someone wrote 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' as a kind of secret catechism that could be sung in public without the risk of persecution. The song has two levels of interpretation: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the church. Each element in the carol is a code word for a religious reality.

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.

The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds are the four Gospels.

The five gold rings recall the Torah (Law), the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.

The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing? These are the nine fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5).

The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

Eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.

Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the 12 points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.



Early (Family) Service

Crucifer: Tom Casale
Server: Shannon Trant
Torch: Matt Canavan
Torch: Chelsea Trant

Late Service

Crucifer: Carrie Trant
Server: Megan Price
Torch: Emily Mertz
Torch: Bailey Mertz


Altar Guild

Hanging of the Greens, 12/17 @ 9:30: All Teams
Decoration of the Church, 12/23 @ 9:30
: All Teams
Christmas Eve Service set up at 5:00:
Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki
Christmas Eve Service set up for 11:00 pm:
Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock
Set up for Christmas Day, 10:00pm
Casale, Jones, Lowe
Christmas Day clean up after 10:00 am:
Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock


SERVICE @ 10:00am

Volunteers are needed for Chalice and Lectors

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.



December 4

December 11

December 18




Chris Morin Tyleigh Versocki Laura Practico Anne Sombor


Alik Versocki Will Koch Chelsea Trant Britta Kilbourn


Devon Dare Libby Marshall Rebecca Carroll Devon Dare


Emily Mertz Zachary Price Joey DeBritz Libby Marshall

8:00 Service


T. Miller P. Holmes B. Frank 12/24, 5:00: G. Jaquith & D. Carroll

1st Lesson

C. Jones M. Bishop M. Causey 12/24, 5:00: L. Varno

2nd Lesson

P. Nevius B. Stratton A. Walraven 12/24, 5:00: C. Canavan
10:15 Service


G. Woodzell A. DeKanel O. Luczka 12/24, 11:00: C. Jones & A. De Kanel

1st Lesson

G. Jaquith D. Reed D. Manor 12/24, 11:00: G. Woodzell

2nd Lesson

T. Conwell DC Crates Y. Masse 12/24, 11:00: M. Gittinger


Mertz, Lowe Hoffmann, Jones Davis, Sombor Kilbourn, Caruso


M. Gittinger, D. Molino, S. Grady J. Versocki,. D. Belardo, B. Voelker M. Causey, D. Crates, A. Spang P. Northrop, L. Peake, K. Small


Dawn Tonneau Gillian Woodcock Diana Belardo Marilyn Causey


Available Available Available Available

LEM and Care Givers

P. Holmes & M. Bishop M. Alexander & J. Russell G. & S. Woodcock L. Perregaux & M. Causey


12/3: Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki 12/10: Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock 12/17: Casale, Jones, Lowe 12/24: Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki


St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

1935 The Plaza

Schenectady, New York 12309

Church Staff

The Rev. Dr. James R. Brooks-McDonald, Rector
The Rev. Patricia L. Jones, Deacon
The Rev. John H. Peatling, Rector Emeritus
Dr. Timothy Olsen, Director of Music
Ms Katherine Miller, Office Manager


Warden: 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.