The Messenger
Saint Stephen’s, Schenectady.
 March 2006


Keeping Lent at Home

The following suggestions are meant to jog your own family creativity, for children benefit especially from active participation and tangible expression of what may otherwise become too abstract or boring as a long Lent draws itself out.

To give an outward sign to our Lenten efforts, we can make and hang something over the hearth or, for that matter, the kitchen sink, which will encourage us and make us mindful of our resolutions.

A banner or poster with that three-fold theme of prayer, fasting, and alms giving is a fine place to begin. Illustrate their symbols next to them and draw out a discussion at dinner time about how the family might interpret these disciplines during the next six weeks.

Lent means spring, another theme for this season, can be lettered on a length of shelf paper and illustrated with everyone’s signs of springtime. Guests and visitors and the children’s friends can be invited to add to the illustrations as they come to visit.

A mask or a drawing of a face with two halves, one side cheerful and one gloomy, can illustrate Christ’s suggestions to us that Lent not be a dismal affair but actually something that contains its own rewards, shining out of a happy face. “When you fast, do not look glum as the hypocrites do...When you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. In that way no one can see that you are fasting but your Father who is hidden; and your Father who seems what is hidden will repay you.” (Ash Wednesday’s Gospel).

A simple cross made of two twigs can be planted in a desert pot with cactus. Add the inscription: “If any person loves me, let him/her take up his cross and follow me.” Or make an arrangement of bark and twigs and dry weeds, and as Lent progresses, make some changes by adding spring greens, pussy willows and new life to the dry collection.

A flower garden chart is a help for small children. With each day that passes, or with each good deed or experience, they can add a flower and watch Lent bloom.

An alms box or a tin to collect your money for the poor can be set on the mantel or prepared as a table centerpiece. Decorate with the inscription: “The Fasts of the Rich are the Feast of the Poor.” Omitted desserts, cheaper cuts of meat, meals at home rather than eaten out, movies not seen, miles not driven, unessentials not bought all add pennies to the mite box.


Charlotte Dancing

If you never saw Charlotte dancing, you have missed a beautiful sight. Charlotte is three years old, and her Sunday best shoes are sparkly, red “Glinda the Good” shoes. Dancing shoes. Her family usually sat toward the back of the church, and after the procession had passed, Charlotte pretty much had the center aisle to herself. So she danced. Sooner or later the music of our worship would reach her soul, and she would begin to move. Twirling gracefully, arms outstretched, sometimes hopping or jumping, but obviously with serious intent, Charlotte worshiped with her whole body. Charlotte’s family has moved to Virginia now. We at St. Stephen’s will miss them all. But I, for one, will always remember Charlotte dancing.

Deacon Pat
Worship Committee News

The Worship Committee is preparing an Instructed Eucharist, to be used on a Sunday during Lent. It has been some time since we last held such a service, and we have never done so while using the Book of Common Prayer Rite One service. We hope that it will answer some questions for newcomers, as to why we do what we do in worship; perhaps it will raise other questions that can be addressed later. Please speak to a member of the Worship Committee if you have questions, or suggestions for improving our worship. Deacon Pat Jones, Chair for the committee: Allison and Paul DeKanel, Norman Hoffmann, Scott Kilbourn, Stephen Sombor, Charles and Margaret Trawick.


From the Rector

Dear Friends,

Though the cold winds blow here and there, we have had a relatively mild winter this year. We have, with our very own eyes, seen crocuses asserting themselves already. Very soon it will be time to pack up our winter wools and retrieve things bright and cotton and cool to hang defiantly in our closet until the thermometer takes notice and begins to rise with some regularity.
Despite the lack of snow, winter's harshness has taken its toll within the hearts and spirits of many members at St. Stephen's Church. Depression became more than a passing mood and deepened into a daily struggle for some to rise in the morning. For some of our congregation sadness lingered longer than it was warranted. For some the irritable escalated to irreconcilable anger. I remember a winter in Chicago when city workers stood on top of their snowplows and went berserk and began crashing into parked cars. Winter does this to people sometimes.

I mention this for a couple reasons. First to assure any of you who have kept to yourself during this winter that you may not be as alone as you assumed. Second to remind all of us that for some people the only hope they have is the coming of spring daffodils.
During this month, no matter the weather, we will be reminding each other that, though we are eternally grateful for the coming of springtime, we are saved not from within ourselves or the earth, but we are saved from without by God who refuses to let anything separate us from the love which is for us forever. So spend days listening again, in classes, in the liturgy, through music and with this congregation. Listen again for a hope that does not depend on the weather or on our moods or on anything else less that the dependable, steadfast, unshakable love of God made known to us on the cross.


Lenten Study: Living the Questions

People know that at its core, Christianity has something good to offer the human race. At the same time, many have a sense that they are alone in being a "thinking" Christian and that "salvaging" Christianity is a hopeless task. What is needed is a safe environment where people have permission to ask the questions they've always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.

This Lenten Study includes DVD presentation followed by small group study exploring beyond the traditions and rote theologies in which so many people and local churches seem to be stuck. The purpose of the study is to help participants discover the relevance of Christianity in the 21st Century and what a meaningful faith can look like in today's world.

We will meet on Sunday evenings at 5pm in the parish hall for our study and a simple soup and bread supper, from March 5th to April 9th.

In the Footsteps of Jesus

Explore the sites spoken of in the Scriptures, the places where Christ is said to have been born, performed miracles, endured his trials and returned to Heaven. But the destinations that draw millions of pilgrims are not necessarily what they are believed to be.

In The Footsteps Of Jesus reveals how some of Christianity's most sacred sites--including the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre - were identified by one celebrated, dedicated and controversial figure: Empress Helena of Rome, the mother of Constantine. Six classes trace the life of Christ and the Empress's journey, which began in 4 AD. With a large retinue of soldiers, monks and scholars, and drawing on biblical texts and inspiration, Helena located everything she set out to find, including the True Cross, ordering impressive structures built to commemorate each of her discoveries.

Classes will be held on Sunday mornings from March 5th through April 9th in the parish hall.


Lent, the annual celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ, is an intense period of Christian teaching and training. In earlier centuries, the season provided the background for the preparation of the catechumen (new converts) for baptism on Easter morning.
The catechumens were later joined in their studies by professional Christians seeking continued study and spiritual renewal. By the third century, Lent also was a time when Christians who had lapsed in the faith could prepare for reuniting with the body of Christ on Maundy Thursday (Great Thursday). Their journey began on Ash Wednesday when ashes gathered from the burnt palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday were placed on the confessor’s forehead as a sign of repentance and total dependence on God. Thus, Lent has become a time for all Christians - new converts, committed followers, and renewed believers, to reflect on their baptism in the light of Christ’s baptism and temptation.
Lent is a time for spiritual preparation; a time for discipline; a time to ‘repent’ or ‘turn around’ as the Greek words “metania” implies. The spirit of Lent is to take on anew all that it means to belong to Christ.

Lent is a way of growing into Easter.

Stations of the Cross

A 'Station' is any place in the church where, during a solemn procession, there is pause for a prayer. At St. Stephen's these include the creche at Christmas, the entrance to the church on Palm Sunday and the baptismal font on the day of Pentecost (when there are no actual baptisms!) During Lent there is a practice in which fourteen 'stations' are visited in turn, with a pause for a reading, a versicle and response, a prayer, and a time for meditation. In this case, the 'stations' are fourteen pictures depicting incidents in the narrative of Christ's passion, from Pilate's house to the entombment. These pictures will be placed around the church on Fridays and booklets which lead the participant through each station can be found on the table in the back of the church. The church and chapel will be open each Friday from 9 am to 9 pm.

On Palm Sunday, we enter the most significant eight days in the Church’s calendar. It is of the greatest importance that we participate in the experiences described in the church calendar, because living through them, walking the way Christ walked, we uncover the core of Christian Belief and living.

We invite all members and friends of St. Stephen’s to be present at these services. If you are infirm, please call the office to arrange for communion to be brought to you at home by one of the clergy.

Art Scene

Mary Frances Hatfield will be exhibiting her paintings in the Member's Gallery of the Saratoga Council for the Arts during the month of June.

Chris Jones will have photographs hanging in the community room of the Niskayuna branch of the County Library for the month of March.

Lenten Program for Children Revised

Instead of meeting every Sunday evening in Lent, we are offering a program on one Sunday evening for the children. It is scheduled for Palm Sunday (4/9) from 5:00-7:00. We will be learning about the Old Testament readings presented at the Easter Vigil and begin the journey Christ endured to save all of us. The journey will continue on Good Friday (4/14) at 2:00. If you have any questions, please ask Laura Davis or Richey Woodzell.

Home Communion

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.


Sunday School Plans for Lent

During Lent our Sunday school curriculum will focus on Baptism. This leads us to the Easter Vigil where several people of different ages will become members of our church family through Christ. We will explore the importance of this sacrament and how the Holy Spirit touches each one of us when we are baptized. Our classes continue to meet at 9:00-10:00 downstairs in the community room for 1st-6th grades and at Reid House next door to the church for 7th-12th grades. The preschoolers and kindergarteners meet in the parish hall just after the children’s sermon during the 10:15 service.

We are planning a field trip to a food pantry on a Saturday in late March. We will have more information about this in one-two weeks. This will tie into our outreach projects for Lent. We will be cutting coupons during coffee hour to use to buy food for the SICM food pantry. Our hope is to fill 3 baskets full of nourishing food purchased with coupons. Please save the coupon fliers you get in your Sunday newspaper. We’ll have a box in the back of the church for the fliers.

We will also be learning about the country of Zimbabwe. Some of our kids learned about Zimbabwe at Vacation Bible School last August. We will revisit this country with the help of Mary Frances Hatfield and Linah Rusere. Together we are going to figure out a way to help this country that is suffering so.

Lastly our Lenten program for children originally scheduled for Sunday evenings has been revised. We are going to have a program on one Sunday evening. It will be held on April 9th, Palm Sunday evening from 5:00-7:00. We will have a sign up sheet for this evening program in the parish hall. We are also planning a children’s program on Good Friday (4/14) at 2:00.

Along with giving up something for Lent, we can add some things: reaching out to those that need our help and setting aside time to learn more about our faith.

Save Your Coupon Fliers

Please bring the coupon fliers you find in your Sunday newspaper to church. We will have a box for them in the back of the church. The children will be using these coupons as part of an outreach project for Lent.

The St. Stephen’s Website

Check out St. Stephen's website now and then

See the latest photographs. Look on the calendar page for what's happening. Read the lessons for the week. Back issues of The Messenger. And MORE! ...and please let me know what needs to be changed.

Chris Jones

About The St. Stephen’s Website

When's the last time you moved into a new town? It was nearly forty years ago for us. In those days, one found a church in the yellow pages, or just by driving around, or just be word of mouth. For us on that day forty years ago, we found ourselves at St. Stephen's on the Plaza, and Father Moss was holding forth. But these days, people are likely to search the internet for a church, so it's important for us to have that window to the world. Our aim is to have a website that gives a reasonably accurate picture of who we are. Some of the pages don't change very often, but every month the new Messenger gets posted, sometimes before the U.S. mail delivers the paper copies. Every month a new "Calendar Page" gets posted, with lots of help and input from lots of people. Actually, we depend of the people of St. Stephens to keep the calendar accurate and up-to-date. (If you see something that needs to be corrected, please e-mail me right away!) The "Prayers and Lessons" pages get updated once a week; you can go there and start thinking about the passages before you hear about them in the sermon. The "Prayer Chain" is also posted there.


Recently, Stacey suggested a monthly calendar that could be posted on people's refrigerators. It was available for February, and we'll try it again in March. It's in "PDF" format. If you click on the underlined link, it will download into your computer. You can use the free readily available "Adobe Reader" to look at it and print it out. You can use "Google" to find it, or you can go to . Let me know if you find this feature useful. Remember: it's YOUR website. It's there to provide information and to be visible to the world outside St. Stephen's Church. Please feel free to tell me what needs to be changed, added, corrected, or deleted.

Chris Jones

2006 Easter Flowers

I would like to have Easter Flowers
In memory of __________________________
In honor of ____________________________
I have enclosed my contribution of __________
Must be received in the office by April 10th.

March Wedding Anniversaries

John & Susan Liberis 3/6
Dennis & Karen Holcombe 3/28

March Birthdays

John Casale 3/1
Ethan Brooks-McDonald 3/4
Barbara Wisnom 34
Elizabeth MacFarland 3/5
Paul Practico 3/6
Jacob Steele 3/6
Thomas Casale 3/7
Diane Kilbourn 3/10
Logan Olberg 3/10
Jim Wolff 3/10
Kelly Nolan 3/10
Norma Piscitelli 3/11
Adam Gibbs 3/11
Shirley Voelker 3/13
Ted Conwell 3/14
Roseann Caruso 3/15
Bubb Mazurek 3/16
Stefan Borst-Censullo 3/17
Grace Murph-Nolan 3/18
William Beck 3/19
Emily Blaufuss 3/21
Susan Townsend 3/22
Joanne Frank 3/22
Martie Spang 3/23
Dorothy Gibbs 3/23
Julianna Fowler 3/25
Alexa Wolff 3/25
Linda Emaelaf 3/27
Paul Practico 3/27
Scott Bristol 3/27
Julian Canavan 3/28
Tracy Ormsbee 3/29
Helen Reid 3/30
Ralph May 3/30

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


Episcopal Relief and Development

ERD’s response to Hurricane Katrina:

• ERD responded immediately to Hurricane Katrina. During the first critical days and weeks, we provided critical aid such as food, water, shelter and medicines to nine dioceses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama spending approximately $700,000 in the first phase.

• ERD dispatched an assessment team to the Gulf Coast to help affected diocesan partners set up the first phases of a disaster response program, including establishing an Office of Disaster Response based in Baton Rouge.

• Episcopal Relief and Development has partnered with the Episcopal Dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi on a comprehensive, three to five year recovery program targeting people who are distressed, impoverished and marginalized.

• In the first year of the recovery program, ERD has committed more than $4.7 million focusing on livelihood recovery, case management, psychosocial care, affordable housing, as well as health and small business renewal in partnership with community services, credit unions, hospitals, schools and other grassroots institutions in Louisiana and Mississippi.

• ERD is in the process of hiring a Director for Domestic Disaster Response to assist dioceses throughout the Episcopal Church in designing a disaster preparedness plan in addition to overseeing the implementation Hurricane Katrina recovery program.

• ERD's Board of Directors just approved an additional $2.25 million to expand our affordable housing program in New Orleans at its February meeting. With this new housing initiative, ERD has committed more than $7 million in response to Hurricane Katrina.

• For more information about our recovery programs, visit the Hurricane Response Center at 

Who Are These Guys?

Photo identification quiz: the above picture shows:

(a) a group of male models waiting to be photographed in their Speedo swimsuits;
(b) the six tenors, relaxing after a performance at Proctor’s;
(c) a reunion of all of the actors who have played James Bond;
(d) Norm Abrams, Mr. Goodwrench, the Roto-Rooter man, and their assistants; or
(e) the St. Stephen’s Over the Hill Gang.

Hah! Fooled you! It’s the Over the Hill Gang!

The Over the Hill Gang meets every Tuesday afternoon to do whatever work is needed to keep the church and grounds in good working order. We do minor electrical and plumbing work, we paint, we do carpentry, we clean gutters, we move topsoil and clear brush – in fact, we do almost anything that permits a group of people to gab and joke while they work. And after we finish solving problems at church, we adjourn to Bruegger’s, where, over hot chocolate and coffee, we solve the problems of the world.


A benefit fund raiser "KEEP THE HEAT ON" will feature the movie “Millions,” suitable for all ages. It will be shown at Proctor's Theatre on Sunday, March 12th at 3 PM. The funds raised will benefit the Community Crisis Network Emergency Fund to help with heating emergencies for people in Schenectady County. This event is sponsored by SICM with in-kind support from Proctor's, MVP, ParcelPostPlus and The Daily Gazette. Tickets are $10 and are available from Eunice Chouffi or Richey Woodzell as well as at SICM (call 374-2683). The tickets are 100% tax deductible.

There will be a Lenten Series at Niskayuna Reformed Church on Wednesdays, March 8, 15, 22, and 29, preceded by a potluck supper. The Rev. Phillip Grigsby will present a seminar on Henri Nouwen for Today, beginning at 7 PM. Call the church for information at 785-5575.

The Damien Center, a drop-in center for those affected by HIV/AIDS, is looking for volunteers to provide hospitality, coordinate activities, or to cook and host meals. They're offering a 2-part volunteer training session, the first to be held at the Center on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 7:00 - 8:30 PM, 19 North College Street, across from Holy Cross Church. Call Vjuana Anderson at 374-0848 for information.

Food Shuttle Drivers sought to take individuals from various parts of the city to lower-cost grocery stores. The vehicle is a 9-passenger van, which is parked at the SICM office. SICM seeks volunteer drivers with a clean license who can commit to a morning or afternoon on a regular basis. To help out or apply, call the Rev. Phil Grigsby at SICM, 374-2683.

Excepts from Church Bulletins

Some light-hearted messages found in church bulletins…thanks to Sid (and his brother). Enjoy.

The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday " I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours"

Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist Hall. Come and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

The cost for attending the Prayer and Fasting Conference includes meals.

The Low Esteem Support Group will meet next Thursday at 7pm. Please use the back door.

The sermon this morning: "Jesus walks on water". The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus"

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands.

The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members, and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: "Break Forth Into Joy."

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

March, 2006

Editor's note:  The printed version of the Messenger had
the calendar in a different format.

Morning Prayer:  9:00 am  (Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri) chapel.
Holy Communion on Thursdays at 10:00 am

Call the church office for further information: 346-6241 (church office)
.... or send us an e-mail.  (church e-mail address)
.... or e-mail the webmaster.  (web-site organizer)
... or come by up close and personal and see what we're up to!

The First Sunday in Lent
SUN 5 8:00am Holy Communion  
    9:00am Education Hour.  Sunday School.    Nursery
Adult Education:  In the footsteps of Jesus
    10:15am Holy communion with music.  
    11:30 am Coffee hour
    Noon The Heart of Christianity   (Fr. James)  
    2:00pm EFM Bible Study   (Fr. James)  
    5:00pm Soup Supper/Lenten Study Group  
    7:00pm Holy communion  

Mon 6 7:30 pm Parish Council.  
Tue 7 1:00 pm
Over-the-hill-gang.  (George Woodzell)
Kerygma: Gospel of John  (Deacon Pat)
Wed 8 7:15 pm
Bell Choir  (Marilyn Dare)
Knitting Group.  Reid House.  (Deacon Pat)
Kerygma Bible study course:  Shalom  (Fr. James)
Th 9 10:00 am
10:45 am
6:30 pm
7:30 pm
Holy Communion, Healing
Bible study

Adult Choir Rehearsal.  (Tim Olsen)

Seminar: Engaging the Powers
Fri 10 6:00pm Youth Lock-in  
Sat 11 9:00am Daughters of the King (Mary's house)  

The Second Sunday in Lent
SUN 12 8:00am Holy Communion  
    9:00am Education Hour.  Sunday School.    Nursery
Adult Education:  In the footsteps of Jesus
    10:15am Holy communion with music.  
    Noon The Heart of Christianity  Rector's Office.  
    2:00pm EFM Bible Study.  (Fr. James)  
    5:00pm Soup Supper/Lenten Study Group  
    7:00pm Evening Prayer  

Mon 13 7:30 pm Vestry.   Open to all.  (Wardens David Carroll, Sue Feyrer)  
Tue 14 1:00 pm
7:30 pm
Over-the-hill-gang.  (George Woodzell)
Kerygma Course: John  (Deacon Pat)
Wed 15 7:15 pm
7:30 pm
Bell Choir Rehearsal  (Marilyn Dare)
Kerygma Bible study Course: Shalom  (Fr. James)
Th 16 10:00 am
10:45 am
6:30 pm
7:30 pm
Holy Communion, Healing
Bible study

Adult Choir Rehearsal.  (Tim Olsen)

Seminar: Engaging the Powers
Fri 17 7:30 pm Movie: The Jesus Film (1979)  
Sat 18 11:00am Knitting Group.  Reid house.  All welcome!  (Debbie Trawick)  

The Third Sunday in Lent
SUN 19 8:00am Holy Communion  
    9:00am Education Hour.  Sunday School.    Nursery
Adult Education:  In the footsteps of Jesus
    10:15am Holy communion with music.  
    11:30am Coffee hour  
    Noon The Heart of Christianity  Rector's Office  
    2:00 pm EFM course.  (Fr. James)  
    5:00pm Soup Supper/Lenten Study Group  
    7:00pm Holy communion  

Mon 20      
Tue 21 1:00 pm
7:30 pm
Over-the-hill-gang.  (George Woodzell)
Kerygma Course: John  (Deacon Pat)
Wed 22 7:15 pm
7:30 pm
7:30 pm
Bell Choir Rehearsal.  (Marilyn Dare)
Kerygma Bible study Course: Shalom.  (Fr. James)
Knitting Group.  Reid House.  (Deacon Pat)
Th 23 6:30 pm

Choir rehearsal.  (Tim Olsen)
Seminar: Engaging the Powers
Fri 24      
Sat 25      

The Fourth Sunday in Lent
SUN 26 8:00am Holy Communion  
    9:00am Education Hour.  Sunday School.    Nursery
Adult Education:  In the footsteps of Jesus 
    10:15am Holy communion with music.  
    11:30am Coffee hour  
    Noon The Heart of Christianity.  Rector's Office  
    2:00 pm EFM course.  (Fr. James)  
    5:00pm Soup Supper/Lenten Study Group  
    7:00pm Evening Prayer  
Mon 27 7:30 pm Worship Committee.  Open to all.  (Deacon Pat)  
Tue 28 1:00 pm
Over-the-hill-gang.  (George Woodzell)
Kerygma Bible Study: Gospel of John  (Deacon Pat)
Wed 29 7:15 pm Bells  (Marilyn Dare)  
Th 30 6:30 pm
7:30 pm

Choir Rehearsal  (Tim Olsen)
Seminar: Engaging the Powers
Fri 31      



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:                      Dave Carroll

 Warden:                      Susan Feyrer

 Clerk:                          Melinda Renken

 Treasurer:                   Denise Crates

 Chancellor:                  Rosemarie Jaquith


 Class of 2006              Marilyn Dare

                                    Budd Mazurek

                                    Keith Nelson


 Class of 2007              Dave Caruso

                                    Paul deKanel

                                    Stacy DeBritz


Class of 2008               Ryan Davis

                                    Austin Spang

                                    Sid Woodcock            



 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.