The Messenger


Saint Stephen’s Schenectady

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 10th 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 and the Architectural Task Force will be available.

And then on September 17th the Parish Picnic will be held. Our chefs will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers and we ask families to bring a dish to share and 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 and the diversity 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.

Foyer Groups

Sid and Gillian Woodcock hosted a combined foyer at their home in June for all of the members of all last year’s foyer groups. Many 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. 10th.

From the Rector

Dear Friends:

This fall, our parish will be pilot testing a new confirmation program for youth. Called CnC: Confirm not Conform, this program takes an innovative approach to helping young people build their own spiritual lives.

The initial problem with most confirmation programs is that, from the moment a youth signs up, the assumption that they will be confirmed is in place. It’s a done deal. No student would want to spend so much time in study and not reach the goal. But how can you confirm your faith without opening your heart and mind to ask what it is you really believe? The process is meant to be about exploration, not memorization.

CnC is focused on helping young people ask the tough questions and search out the answers. Through innovative classroom work, field trips, mentor relationships and the challenge to do a whole lot more than just learn a few facts, CnC lets kids take real responsibility for understanding their faith and its power. When they do – when they see the church and faith as something that truly belongs to them, rather than something they’re forced to accept – it builds a bond that lasts.

At the end of the class, as a sign of their ability to take charge of their own spiritual life, each youth chooses whether or not to be confirmed. All participants, whatever their decision, are honored in a special service dedicated to their work, exploration and discoveries. In parishes that have used CnC, kids refer to the service as one of the most meaningful experiences they’ve had in church. The Right Reverend Bill Swing, the now-retired Bishop of California (where CnC began) has called it the best confirmation program he’s ever seen.

I am excited that we are able to pilot test this innovative program in advance of its national launch.

Peace,  James


Wanted: Sunday school teachers

A great opportunity awaits you at 9:00, Sunday mornings. If you feel called to teach the youth at St. Stephen’s, please tell Richey or sign up at the Parish Faire. You can commit to any part of the year. And if 9:00 is too early, consider helping out with our preschoolers and kindergarteners during the sermon at the 10:15 service or with St. Stephen’s young adults after the 10:15 service. Teaching is a truly rewarding experience.

Classes will begin on September 17th. For Pre-K though Grade 6, we use the Episcopal Children’s Curriculum. ECC follows the church seasons and draws on the Bible, the prayerbook, church liturgy and tradition. It is easy to use and allows you to use your imagination to modify a lesson, as you would like.

The middle and high school class draws material from a variety of sources; our goal is to encourage spiritual development through lively discussion, consideration of the writings of past and present authors, and examination of other faith traditions.

If you would be interested in substituting, or being on call for special activities (such as field trips, crafts, music, drama, storytelling, family nights, talent show, outreach projects, etc.), just let Richey know.

We look forward to the new Sunday school year and hope that you are a part of it.

Sunday School Starts September 17th

As we look to coming Sunday school year at St. Stephen’s, we can’t help but be a little excited about it. We use the Episcopal Children’s Curriculum (ECC). As we begin we will be experiencing Noah’s Ark with the youngest class. The 1st-3rd graders will begin with many Old Testament stories about Joshua, David and Ruth (to mention a few). The 4th-6th graders will start the year learning about the Prophets of the Old Testament. Please refer to the article on teachers for a description of the middle and high school classes.

Classes will begin on September 17th. At 9AM the 1st-6th graders will meet downstairs in the community room, dividing into two classes after opening activities and signing in. For children in PreK-K, parents may bring them to the parish hall just after the children’s sermon during the 10:15 service. We plan to hold the class(es) for the 7th-12th graders after the 10:15 service, at 11:30 AM at Reid House, which is on Garner Avenue next to the church.

Please sign your kids up for Sunday school at the Parish Faire

on Sunday, September 10th!

We hope the children will help out with school supplies for Elmer Avenue Elementary School in Schenectady, by bringing in a needed item by the 17th. (See the Outreach committee’s article and list.)

Come, join in another year of learning and fun as we serve, create, worship and play together!

Richey Woodzell and Laura Davis


This fall we will be starting a committee to evaluate the format and content of The Messenger. We will meet once a quarter (or more if needed) through the next program year. Sign up at the Parish Fare if you’re interested.

Read for fun and tell us what you think!

Have you read any good books lately? Looking for a good mystery, a biography, some poetry? Would you be willing to read a book, then share your response in the Messenger? Please bring your suggestions for titles or authors to the Parish Faire. St. Stephen's will purchase the books, lend them out for review and then add then to the parish library. Let's see...Thomas Friedman, Mary Oliver, Naguib Mafouz, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Jimmy Carter...

A Special thank you…

Eunice Chouffi thanks all of you for your kindness and condolences upon the death of her husband. It is most gratifying to have a church family to offer love and support.

Vacation Bible School – THANK YOU

Bible school was held the first full week of August this year and was a wonderful success. Thank you to all who helped to make the week so special. Our attendance was not a large as last year. But we had 9 children from St. Stephen’s participate. We had a Worship service at St. Stephen’s on Saturday to celebrate the week. There were over 20 people at the service, representing 5 different Christian religions.

We are already looking forward to next summer!!

Sunday Morning Adult Education: Via Media

In the Church of tension in relation to the prophetic actions of The General Convention and the newly consecrated gay Bishop, Gene Robinson, has created a buzz within the Church, as well as in the larger community.

In response to the attention, we are offering a series of eight Christian education courses called Via Media. The program is focused on continuing the conversation, and it's open to anyone who has ever been curious or interested in the Episcopal/Anglican tradition. Our objective is to create an open and inclusive environment that appeals to people wondering about The Episcopal Church, as well as our existing congregation members. We encourage people to bring their ideas and questions, and we'll provide the informational resources and a place to exchange your thoughts and voice your opinions.

Over a period of eight weeks, we invite those seeking a deeper spiritual community to enter both the journey and the conversation.

Using a combination of learning styles that includes video, written materials, small group discussion, and large group forum, participants encounter the basic principles of Christianity through the Anglican approach of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. All people are encouraged to ask questions, and to learn how to answer their own questions of faith.

We will meet on Sunday mornings at 9am in the parish hall for our study beginning on September 17th.

Education for Mininstry – Still Time to Enroll

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. 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 continuing at St. Stephen’s this fall and there is still room for students to begin the program. We will meet on Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon. 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 that 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.

Wedding Anniversaries*

Oto & Josephine Jones 9/4

Gerry & Stacy Lampman 9/14

Ryan & Sarah Hunneau 9/18

Paul & Liz Practico 9/22

Ryan & Laura Davis 9/24

Don & Helen Reid 9/26

Denis & Carolyn Manor 9/28

Jim & Suzanne Wolff 9/28

Christian & Melinda Renken 9/28


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

Juliette Syta 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

Lily Holocombe 9/21

Clark Gittinger 9/23

Devon Dare 9/25

Joey DeBritz 9/27

Mary Michelson 9/27

Ben Blaufuss 9/28

Antia McCalley 9/28

Libby Marshall 9/29

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

This Month – In the Community

Home Furnishings

The Home Furnishings Program exists to provide household furnishings still in excellent useable condition to families and individuals in need in Schenectady County. Many of the donations we receive are not appropriate for distribution to our clients, so we hold a sale of those items each year, to help pay the expenses of running the program.

This year the Home Furnishings Program will hold a MAMMOTH White Elephant Sale at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd on Route 50, Friday 9/22 1-7 PM and Saturday 9/23 9 AM - 2 PM. Many household furnishings will be available.

Fall Bargain Sale at Union Presbyterian Church

The bargain sale is scheduled for Saturday, October 7, 2006, from 9:00-1:00 with the "bag sale" from 1:00-2:00. Proceeds from the sale go directly to mission work. If you have any question about this terrific sale call Union Pres. at 374-4464.

School Supply Drive for Elmer Avenue Elementary School begins Sunday August 27th!

To help less fortunate kids get ready to begin the school year, St. Stephen’s has agreed to supply the school with the following items:

- Three-holed, lined paper (wide ruled)
- Colored folders with and without pockets
- Pencils
- Erasable ink pens
- Markers
- Glue sticks
- Crayons
- Erasers
- Kleenex boxes

The school asked that we place the supplies in labeled boxes rather than backpacks this year. We will have the boxes in the church next Sunday (8/27) until Sunday September 17 but please get your items in as early as possible.


The Outreach Committee and the children at St. Stephens

A special thanks to all of those from St. Stephen’s who helped with the summer lunch program.


If you or someone you know is unable to attend church, please call the parish office if you would like to have communion brought to you.


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.