The Messenger

Stephen’s, Schenectady
May 2006


From The Rector


Dear Friends,


I sat in the chapel having finished Morning Prayer and I was struck once again by how beautiful our Episcopal liturgy was written.  Today I recited:


            Christ has been raised from the dead,

            The first fruits of those who have fallen



I will recite those words every day for the next fifty days and I will never tire of their poetry and truth.  I will recite the same prayers that I have recited for months and years. 


Earlier this week a friend who is Baptist asked me curiously, “Don’t you ever want to have variety in your worship?”  For a moment I felt like a ecclesiastical conservative, a creature of dull habit and unimaginative routine.


But this morning I emerge from the chapel with the words of thanksgiving still ringing in my ears:


            We bless you for our creation,

Preservation and all the blessings of this



The lectionary and canticles change day by day.  The prayers change by the day and week and season.  Yes, they are all written down, in a book of common prayer, but my spirit prays them anew each day.


It is not as if I am unacquainted with other ways of worship.  For several years I worshipped with the Quakers in silence.  I went to a Lutheran kindergarten and lived in Lutheran housing in seminary.  I have worshipped with Presbyterians, Baptists, and Congregationalists.  I have attended some very original, creative liturgy (if you can even call it ‘liturgy’).  And yet, I always come back to the words of our prayer book.


There are two ways to live, wide or deep.  Sooner or later we have to decide whether and where we want to land.  We have to choose the people and the place we call home.  We have to choose how we want to pray.


“It takes time”, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote, “to really see a flower.”  It took me several weeks to move from Rite I in Lent to Rite II in Easter.  It took me several years to learn the new liturgies in the 1979 prayer book.  I am still trying to understand the great mystery of our “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” in our Eucharist.  Others may need much more variation in their worship.  But today I felt God touch my heart with the familiar words of Psalm 18.  That’s all the variety I need.








Easter was Beautiful and Grace-Filled


What a joyous Easter Feast it was.  Again this year we had a full church at both the 8:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Eucharists.


 Our Easter attendance was over 400 people!  Easter flower offering was generous and the flowers were as beautiful as most could remember.   How wonderful to have everyone having a share in the Festival.


Then "Low Sunday" that Sunday after Easter Day wasn't low at all.  There was an above average congregation at both services.  Keep it up!  Let's use the remaining days of the Easter season to rejoice with one another as we say:





May Wedding Anniversaries*


Norma & Vincent Piscitelli           5/3

Carl & June Hatlee                      5/10

Robert & Barbara Strangfeld       5/20

Dave & Denise Crates                 5/23

George & Richey Woodzell         5/28

Robert & Phyllis Chapman           5/30


May Birthdays*


Margaret Trawick                        5/4

Bruce Tatge                                 5/4

Paul Jesep                                   5/4

Ted Schlansker                            5/5

Omer Burton                               5/5

Belachew Emaelaf                       5/5

Isabella Varno                             5/5

Rocky Bonsal                              5/7

Robert Strangfeld                        5/8

Marilyn Dare                               5/9

Jamie Masse                                5/9

Robyn Stewart                            5/10

Scott Soule                                  5/11

Ayodele Jones                             5/12

Jack Lampman                            5/12

Norman Hoffmann                       5/15

Charline Hoffmann                       5/15

Amy Soule                                  5/15

Tyleigh Versocki                          5/19

Elizabeth Casale                          5/20

Steven Koch                               5/21

Gene Koreman                            5/23

Allison deKanel                           5/26

William Schlansker                      5/26

Phyllis Chapman                          5/26

William, Jr. Smith                         5/29

David Carroll                               5/29

William Koch                              5/30

Shannon Trant                             5/30

Julie McDonald                           5/31

Dawn Kaler                                 5/31

Susan Olsen                                5/31


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


Thank You, Thank You…


...To all cooks who cooked and baked our suppers before the Sunday Lenten studies.


...To all those who set up, cooked and cleaned up for the Seder Supper and who prepared the special Passover foods.


...To the Altar Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Easter Day beautiful with flower arrangements.


...To Tim Olsen and the Choir members; to Marilyn Dare and all the bell ringers who helped to make Palm Sunday beautiful, and Easter Day joyous.


...To the lectors, chalice bearers and acolytes who made our worship possible.


...To all those who helped in the toddler and nursery rooms.


...To the ushers and to the offering counters.


...To Kathy Miller, our administrative assistant who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements.


...To Than, our sexton, who made the church shine again.


...To the Church women who made our palm crosses.


...and the list goes on and on!





Sunday May 14th from 9:00 to 10:00am the Youth Group will be serving breakfast.  Mothers are free!  Proceeds benefit Work Camp.




Adult Education:

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.

The classes will be held on May 14 and 21 in the parish hall from 9 – 10am.



Ahoy, Mates


This summer we will be visiting the four states in America during Vacation Bible School.  Bring your life vests because we are traveling by boat.  The ship is leaving on August 7th and returning on August 11th.  Don’t worry parents; the kids will be coming home when each day’s trip is completed.


Included in the Messenger, this month is a registration form for Bible School.  If you would like your children to participate, you can give the filled out form to Laura Davis (she promises to wear her nametag). St. Stephen’s is working together with Union Presbyterian and Westminster Presbyterian Churches to put together this special week for the children.


Here are the specifics:

~Vacation Bible School is the week of August 7-11.

~There are two sessions (someone from St. Stephen’s will be present at both sessions).  At Union Presbyterian Church, the program is 9:30-12:30 and at Westminster Presbyterian Church, the program is 6:00-8:00.


~On Saturday, August 12th, we will meet at St. Stephen’s Church to worship and celebrate the week.


There are many ways to help out with Bible school this year:


~The creative design team needs help over the summer.  Their job is to create a “boat”, make signs for each center, develop a “ship’s log” for each child and to add nautical decorations so that the kids really feel like they are going on a boat ride.

~The morning program provides lunch for the kids.  We need volunteers to make lunch.  This is a big project, best done with a partner.  The Lunch Coordinator will let you know what to bring.


~Bakers are needed for the “Snacks and Games Galley” and for dessert after lunch.


~A nurse is needed to be present during the evening program.


~We can never have enough travel guides.  The guides take groups of children from station to station during the morning and evening programs.  The travel guides can be ages from middle school and up.  It’s great way to be involved with Bible school.  There will be an adult and an older child with each group of 4-8 children.


~Lastly we need a coordinator of the “opening activities.”  This requires planning activities for when the children arrive.  The activities are described in the curriculum.  This project should be done ahead of time.  If you cannot be there during the program, another volunteer can set the activities up at the “dock” each day. 


As with anything that is worthwhile, we can’t have Vacation Bible School without your help.  There will be a sign up sheet at the Shop if you are interested in helping.  If you have any questions, please ask Laura Davis.



Joan Nicole Prince Home
Schenectady Community Home, Inc.

This newly constructed home in Scotia will open shortly and aims to provide
an end of life alternative for those with the fewest options. It will provide a safe, comfortable, caring residence for terminally ill hospice patients, in need of a home  during their final days.

For more information, or to volunteer or donate please contact the Executive Director,
Cheryl MacNeil on (518) 378-4596 or at




Work Camp Resident

House-Warming Gifts


            The children of St. Stephen’s are organizing house-warming gifts to be presented to the residents in West Virginia where the Youth Group will be going for work camp in July.  These gifts will include notepaper made by the children, tie-dyed pillowcases, and two mugs with a tea or coffee sample.


            The children are asking for donations in order to make these gifts complete:


-         New or gently used coffee mugs

-         Coffee samples or individually wrapped teas bags

-         Plain colored gift bags

-         Plain white pillow cases

-         Tissue paper for wrapping the mug


The children will be working on this May through June so the gifts are ready for work camp in July.  In June, we will be scheduling a “Craft and Pizza Friday” in the evening to work on the pillowcases and notepaper.  This will coincide with a lock in for grades 4-6.  If you have any questions, please ask any of the Sunday school teachers.  Thanks.


Episcopal Relief and Development


The Bishop Tharp Business and Technology Institute (BTI) was officially inaugurated at a ceremony on Sunday, April 2, 2006 in Les Cayes, Haiti. The school first opened in September 2005 and provides university-level courses
such as business management, computer technology, statistics and English.



ERD recognizes Africa Malaria Day 2006.
Each year in Africa, 300 million people contract malaria and one in 20 children under the age of five die from the disease.  This year, ERD will expand its malaria program in Africa to work in 10 countries and provide education and training, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and access to effective drug therapy to over 300,000 people. The program will expand to 16 countries over the next three years.


ERD is also providing emergency assistance to
people displaced by ongoing violence and unrest in the Darfur region of Sudan. The conflict, which began in 2003, has intensified as armed rebels called Janjaweed continue to destroy villages. In recent months, militias have driven more than 55,000 people from their homes in South
Darfur. An estimated 400,000 people have died from violence, disease and hunger. Two million have been left homeless. 


We are the Church


Our last unit of the Sunday school year will be about church.  The preschoolers and kindergarteners will be learning about what we do at church.  The 1st-3rd graders will be learning about how our church came to be from the New Testament.  And the 4th-6th graders will be focusing on the life of Paul the Apostle.


We are also planning an outreach project for the residents of the homes in West Virginia where the youth group is going for work camp.  The children will be making a special craft for residents.  This will be the younger children’s way of being there during work camp. (Please see “house-warming gift” article)


The preschoolers and kindergarteners are learning “This Little Light of Mine”. And the 1st –3rd graders are learning an Easter song that they may share during the Easter Season.

The teachers continue to be thankful for the large groups of children we have gotten to know over the year during Sunday school.  We will be offering Sunday school through June 11th.  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.

Laura Davis



Project Vacation


Warmer weather makes me think about the summer vacation we've been planning. How about you? Where are you going this summer? Or, maybe you're going to stay put and plan something special right here in Schenectady.  Anyway, we thought it would be interesting to share your adventures with the rest of us.


Here's how it will work. Send a note telling us about your vacation. Write to us at your vacation if possible, but if that isn't convenient, then write it after you get back home. Tell us who, where, what, and when.  If you include news of an adventure or two, that would be good.  A picture or two would be great.  When you attend church on your vacation, how about including the bulletin for the day, and tell us something about the services.  If your kids want to do that writing, that would be super!


If you can e-mail the note, send it to me at (Chris Jones, I'm in the directory)

and I will see that it gets on the "Vacation Project" page of our website. I will also be posting it on a bulletin board at church, so that it will be easy for the remnant left in Schenectady to know where you are.  I would prefer e-mail, because then I don't have to re-type it to get it on the web site. But snail mail would be OK too. If you want to use snail mail, send it to


Project Vacation

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

1229 Baker Avenue

Schenectady, NY 12309


I'll plan to pick up whatever comes in from Kathy every week or so. Just remember that I'll be on vacation for several weeks, so don't be surprised if it doesn't get on the web site right away.


I can hardly wait to get to my island off the coast of Maine, but you'll have to wait until August before I tell you about MY vacation!

Chris Jones




Plant Sale/Exchange/Benefit: Sunday, May 14

It will work something like this.

Bring in a few plants. They can be perennials that you have divided and put into pots. You might have started some seedlings, and have a
few too many.  Or, maybe you bought some plants for your garden, but you bought a few too many.  Or maybe you bought a couple of extra ones just for our plant sale.

We'll set out two or three tables in the nave extension. Put your plants on those tables. Bring them anytime between 7:30 A.M. before going to the eight o'clock service and 11:30 A.M., when the 10:15 service ends. Be sure to label them with the name of the plant and your own name, so that the buyer will know who to contact to ask
questions: shade or sun; how big will this get; is it hardy; and so forth. Maybe you won't know the answers, but at least it's a starting point. Maybe we can encourage some knowledgeable people like Judy and Gillian to hang around and consult.

After church, after you greet the rector, don't just leave. Turn back into the nave extension where all the plants are. Pick out some to take home with you. There will be no prices posted, so you'll have to decide the price yourself. Just remember that this is all a benefit for the youth summer work camp, so be generous. Put you money in the "money jar" and go home pleased with yourself:  you've given something away, you've made a nice contribution to the summer work camp, and you've gotten a few new plants for your garden.

Almost completely painless!

Chris Jones





Thank You

To all at St. Stephen’s,

I deeply appreciate all the help and prayers that have been given to Jesse and myself.  He is doing well and seems to be at peace there.  God bless all.

Betty Dipley




To St. Stephen’s,


The Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) Food Pantry gratefully acknowledges your donation of food collected at your Easter food drive.  It was OVER 13 Boxes WOW!!!  Your continued support helps us respond to the needs of the family’s in our community.

                        Gail Van Valkenburgh

SICM Food Program Director










                                                      MAY SCHEDULE



May 7

May 14

May 21

May 28

J. Casale
C. Morin
T. Versocki
L. Practico
A. DeBritz
S. Trant
E. Mertz
M. Price
J. DeBritz
D. Dare
A. Jones
L. Marshall
R. Carroll
Z. Price
D. Dare
J. DeBritz

8:00 Service


V. Hoshko

B. Frank

G. Woodzell

M. Causey

1st Lesson

A. Walraven

C. M-M

R. Woodzell

T. Miller

2nd Lesson

C. Jones

P. Nevius

G. Woodzell

V. Hoshko

10:15 Service


A. deKanel

C. Jones

D. Carroll

G. Jaquith

1st Lesson

R. Caruso

S. Grady

C. Canavan

O. Jones

2nd Lesson

B. Wisnom

T. Ormsbee

D. Wisnom

B. Strangfeld


C. Mertz & A. Lowe

N. Hoffmann & J. Jones

R. Davis & S. Somber

S. Kilbourn & D. Caruso



S. Grady, D. Crates, A. Spang

P. Northrop, L. Peake

D. May, R. May, B. Strangfeld

M. Causey, M. Gittinger, D. Molino



C. & N. Hoffmann

R. Jaquith

K. Miller

P. Northrop


In memory of Stewart Vanda, given by the Mertz Family

In memory of Gwen Robbins, given by the Montorio & Taylor Families

In memory of Marion Beck, given by William W. Bech

In honor of the graduation of Rebecca Emaelaf, given by the Emaelaf Family

LEM and Care Givers

C. Mertz & A. & K. Lowe

M. Alexander & J. Russell

S. & G. Woodcock

L. Perregaux & M. Causey



5/6-5/12: Casale, Jones, Lowe

5/13-5/19:  Hoffmann, Northrop, Versocki

5/20-5/26:  Morin, Russell, Wisnom, Woodcock

5/27-6/2: 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:                      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.