The Messenger

October, 2006

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All Saint’s Day

All Saint's Day is one of the seven principal feasts of the church. This day is a celebration of Christ in His whole mystical body. We are reminded that the saints still support us by their witness and example and surround us with their love and prayers. All Saint's Day is the one day set aside each year when our faithful departed are remembered. If you would like to have a particular person remembered by name, it is not too late. Please call the parish office as soon as you receive this newsletter. We will remember them on Sunday, November 5 at the 8 & 10:15 Eucharists. The later service will include first communion for some of our young people and three baptisms!

Blessing of the Animals and St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, Oct. 4, 10:00 am

On October 4th we celebrate the life and work of St. Francis. He is probably better known for preaching to birds than for the poverty he embraced in his passion to be like Christ. Yet, Francis' love of God's creation has given his statue a place in many church and home gardens.

No mere nature lover, Francis saw in nature's paradoxes and mysteries a revelation of the presence of God. He marveled at the simplicity and obedience of the birds, fishes, rabbits, doves, the falcon who wakened him for Matins, the famous wolf of Gubbio who gave his pledge of peace to Francis and kept it.

Because of St. Francis' connection to God's creation, and especially to animals, a tradition arose in England whereby the parish priest would bless the villagers' animals on St. Francis' Day. Since Oct. 4 falls on a Wednesday this year, the parish council thought that the next Saturday would be a good time for St. Stephen's to continual our annual tradition. Here's how it will work:

On October 7th the congregation and any animals (on leashes!) will gather next to the church behind the parish hall. WE WILL REMAIN OUTSIDE DURING THE ENTIRE SERVICE. The rector will begin a brief worship service and then will bless each animal saying: "O God, who has made all things for yourself, bless, we pray you, this animal; that it may be a source of love and joy to those with whom it dwells."

It’s quite a sight!

From the Rector

Dear Friends:

Over the last month or so parish leaders have made many phone calls, asking you to think about doing this task or that task at St. Stephen's. We try to consider carefully the gifts we know you have and how those gifts might be used in our parish. I suppose you can say that when you are called on the phone, the church is checking with you to examine whether you have a calling to a particular ministry in some area of our life together. I believe that God calls everyone of us to some ministry, the trouble for us is to be open to what that calling might be.

One of the most compelling sermons I've ever heard was given by the senior pastor at an inner-city Gospel Church one cold January day. I arrived late with several friends; we were ushered up to the front as the music began. Though it was cold outside, the building's interior was filled with warmth and energy. I could feel it as the preacher invited us to stand and sing.

As he began to preach, a sense of anticipation filled the room. I had heard about this man and this community of faith led by him. "The message I want to share is familiar to us," he said. "Brothers and sisters, the theme for today's sermon has to do with selling out? Jesus says that if we are going to be his followers, we need to sell out and go with him?" "Amen...Amen....Amen" was heard throughout the room.

The preacher continued, "Let each of you lead the life which the Lord has assigned to you, and in which God has called you. Jesus has called us and wants everything from us. We know the struggles. Yes, Lord, you are our only hope."

As I looked around, I became increasingly convinced of this community's complete trust in Jesus, the one who saves. These people lived in very trying circumstances. Poverty, violence and broken promises marked their days. But this Sunday - that reminder that Jesus calls us to do his work - those words gave them food for their journey.

I hope this invitation to do God's work is also refreshing for us. So often it is just the opposite. Let me make a few points to remember the next time a parish leader is on the phone asking you to consider an activity of our congregation.

Nobody is called to do everything. God gives everyone gifts for building up the body of Christ and God expects all of us to be responsive to that call. Just because some are not responsive, doesn't mean a few of us are to do it all.

We, individually, are responsible to God for God's call in our lives. When something is presented to us, it is up to us to decide with God (through prayer) if we have the gift for the task, and if we will respond to God's call, or not. There should be no guilt trips, no coercing. A "No" is as holy as a "Yes" if considered prayerfully.

Our community at St. Stephen's needs the creative use of our members gifts if we are to follow our mission and to obtain our goals and objectives. To allow our gifts to go unused would be disastrous - and maybe even death. Bonhoeffer said that the community that exists with unemployed members, will die because of it.

The prayer for those of us seeking to follow the Lord, is this: Lord, help us to discern your will for us, and when we are asked, help us to 'sell out' for the church's sake. AMEN.



Sunday Morning Adult Ed: Via Media

St. Stephen’s will repeat the very successful Lenten series held in 2005, a new contemporary series of faith-based classes called Via Media. In recent years the Episcopal Church has been making headlines globally and locally. The increasing amount 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 in the parish hall at 9am on Sunday mornings throughout the month of October.

Becoming a Member of St. Stephens

On Sunday, October 8th the rector will begin a series of four Inquirers’ classes. Participants would not be making a commitment of any sort by attending the classes. They are intended to give you an overview of how Episcopalians fit into the complex of protestant and catholic churches. He will be talking about the National Episcopal Church, our own Diocese of Albany, our own parish of St. Stephen’s and the relationship among all three.

Fr. James takes the decision to join a church very seriously. Therefore it is incumbent upon him to let you know the truth: both what he thinks are wonderful things about our church, and also some not-so-wonderful things. There is always candid and open discussion.

The classes will be held in an informal atmosphere. It is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church, but is open to all members of the Parish Family. We will meet on Sunday mornings between Noon and 1:00 p.m. from October 8rd through October 29th. Participants will meet in the parish office, the aluminum sided house on Baker Avenue. There is limited parking in the office driveway.

Most people who attended the classes have enjoyed them, even if they did not decide to take the important step into formal membership into the congregation.

The St. Stephen's Church Calendar

October, 2006








8:00 Holy Communion
9:00 Sunday School
Adult Education
10:15 Holy communion
7:00 Evening Prayer

Parish council

3 4 5
10:00 Communion

7:30 Choir
7:30  Confirmation class




Blessing of the Animals
10:00 am

8:00 Holy Communion
10:15 Holy communion
2:00 EFM
Non: Inquirer's Class
7:00 Holy communion

7:30 Vestry


1:00 Over-the-hill Gang

11 12

10:00 Communion

7:30 Choir



6:00  Agape Meal

8:00 Holy Communion
9:00 Sunday School
Adult Education
10:15 Holy communion
11:45 Photo Group
Noon: Inquirer's Class
2:00 EFM
7:00 Evening Prayer



1:00 Over-the-hill Gang



4:45 Communion Class


10:00 Communion

7:30 Choir
20 21


8:00 Holy Communion
9:00 Sunday School
Adult Education
10:15 Holy communion
Confirmation Class

Noon: Inquirer's Class
2:00 EFM
7:00 Holy Communion

7:30 Worship Committee


1:00 Over-the-hill Gang



4:45  Communion Class


10:00 Communion

7:30 Choir
27 28
8:00 Holy communion
9:00 Sunday School
Adult Education
10:15 Holy communion
11:30 Coffee Hour
Noon: Inquirer's Class
2:00 EFM

7:00 Evening Prayer
30 31

1:00 Over-the-hill Gang




Communion Class

The prayerbook stresses that baptism is the beginning of full membership in the Church. Since all baptized Christians are welcome at the altar, discretion is left to parents as to when they want their child to begin receiving communion. Criteria for Confirmation involve the moment when a person is both old enough and prepared enough to know the implications of making a voluntary, public and personal acceptance of the vows made earlier at Baptism on his/her behalf.

Classes for parents and children who are planning to prepare for reception to the Holy Communion, and those who have already begun receiving but who want further preparation, will meet on two Wednesdays: October 18 in the parish hall from 4:45 pm to 6:15 pm and October 25 in the church from 4:45 pm to 5:30 pm. Parents are needed to help on October 18th.

Those parents wishing their children to take communion for the first time could plan to do so on All Saints Sunday, November 5th at the 10:15 am Eucharist.

Foyer Groups

Sign up forms for "Foyers - Fall '06 were available at the Parish Faire on September 11th. There is still time for you to sign up to participate in the tenth year of Foyers! The Foyer program at St. Stephen's emerged as part of our mission discernment and involves eight to ten people meeting monthly for dinner and conversation in each others homes. If you have any questions, please call the parish office.


Library – Please return books

Please return the following books to the Library – they are all long overdue! If you’ve passed the book along to someone else, please update the library card so we can account for it. The value of these books far exceeds our annual book budget, so your cooperation in returning them would be much appreciated. The Return Box is on the bottom shelf in the Library.

Author Title

Allen, C. All Things are Possible Through Prayer
Armstrong, J. Black-Eyed Susan
Brown, R. The Birth of the Messiah
Buber, M. I and Thou
Bunn, T. D. One Shenandoah Winter
Chambers, O. My Utmost for His Highest
Davies, P. The Mind of God
Diamant, A. The Red Tent
Girzone, J. Joshua
Girzone, J. The Shepherd
The Gospel According to Thomas
Greene, C. Each One Specially
Hay, L. Meditations to Heal Your Life
Peterson, W. The Art of Living
Phillips, J.B. Your God is Too Small
Prichard, R. History of the Episcopal Church
West, M. Lazarus


Agape – Let’s get it going again

Many of us have missed the fellowship of the Agape gatherings, so we have decided to restart these get-togethers this fall.

When? 6:00 PM on the second Friday of the month!

October 13th

November 10th

December 8th

Where? The Parish Room

Who? Anyone and Everyone!

(Sorry - no child care)

Please Bring - Pot luck dish

- Own Plate

- Own Utensils

We are not planning to have scheduled speakers for these events, since the main objective of the gatherings is fellowship, but this may change if we can co-opt appropriate presenters.

Questions? Call Pauline Holmes at 384-0904

The Foyers Cookbook: Family Favorites

Well, we haven’t decided to call it that, but some of us think it’s about time to put together a new version of the St. Stephen’s Cookbook. There are lots of people here at St. Stephen’s who weren’t here when the previous edition came out. Being Episcopalians, they probably cook and eat! So, think about Appetizers, Bread, Rolls, Cake, Cookies, Desserts, Main, Soups, Salads, Veggies, and Whatever. We’ll be collecting your family favorites for a while, until we think we have enough. The last cookbook had 185 tempting recipes.

And, you Foyers people, how about sending along two or three of the recipes from each meeting? Those are all about "family favorites" too, aren’t they?

We aren’t much of a committee yet, but you can send or deliver recipes to me (Chris Jones, ), Liz Varno ( ), or Barbara Adams ( ). And when you’re putting together those recipes, feel free to put in a little of the story behind them. If these really are family favorites, I’m sure there will be lots of family tales that would be fun to share.

Photographic Interest Group

Have you been taking any interesting pictures recently? We’re forming a "Photography Interest Group" at St. stephen’s Church. Debbie Trawick asked in during the picnic the other day whatkind of photography… black and white? Slides? Computers? Film? Digital? The answer is YES!

Here’s what I have in mind: A small group that meets about twice a year to discuss what experience we’ve had, what we’re doing, what we would like to do (maybe set some goals for ourselves), and what questions we’d like to ask. We’ll have both beginners and more experienced members, and we’ll have people who are beginners in some areas and experienced in other areas. Photography is such a wide and complex field, and is changing so rapidly, that there are really very few "experts" who understand it all.

In the future… who knows? Maybe we’ll do some bulletin boards at church. Maybe we’ll encourage exhibits elsewhere. Maybe we’ll decide to seek an "expert" now and then to come and help us out. Maybe we’ll get some photographs on to he web site.

First meeting: Sunday, October 15, at 11:45 am (after the 10:15 am service) in the basement Community Room. AND please bring a little "show and tell" to help get the discussion moving.

Chris Jones

Junior Acolytes

Some of our younger members have been appointed Junior Acolytes. Junior Acolytes have two duties:

To "Make a Joyful Noise" by ringing the churchbell (safely, with adult supervision) before the 10:15 service on Sunday morning, and

To be as joyfully quiet as possible once the churchbell has rung.

The Junior Acolytes have a small badge that they wear with their nametags. They receive the badge the first time they help ring the bell. Once they have the badge, they will earn small stickers for their nametag every time they help to ring the bell.

We look forward to having additional children become Junior Acolytes.

Sunday School Update

Sunday School classes have begun. Pre-K through Kindergarten meet during the 10:15 service during the sermon. Grades 1 through 6 meet at 9am. Older students meet during coffee hour.

Additional teachers are needed for the Pre-K through 3rd grade classes. If you can help, please speak to Richey Woodzell or Father James.

The Sunday School is planning to make processional banners for Bishop Love’s visit at the beginning of Advent. The banners will have an Advent theme, possibly using Jesse Tree or other symbols. Stacy DeBritz will be guiding this project. We will need assistance in sewing the elements of the banners together. If you can help, please speak to Stacy.

For Christmas this year, we will adapt the script that was used for the Putz presentation in the last two years. Our Sunday School students will use their theatrical, dance, and musical talents in a variety of ways to present the Putz stations. Adults who would like to help should contact Stacy DeBritz or Allison de Kanel.

Our "Episcopal Children’s Curriculum" has a three-year cycle. Over the course of the three years, students are introduced to the great stories of faith found in the Old and New Testaments, to seasonal themes at the great feasts, and to the worship of the Episcopal Church. Last year was "Shell Year", with a Baptismal theme. This year is "Chalice Year" and emphasizes the Eucharist. Next year will be "Cross Year".

The Intermediate Class (4th through 6th grade) has begun studying the prophets. The stories are as exciting as anything in Harry Potter: Elijah’s story includes sacred "cook-offs" and flaming chariots.

Wedding Anniversaries*

Jesse & Elizabeth Dipley 10/9
Robert & Bonita Bailey 10/9
Bob & Angela Strong 10/14
Herbert & Shirley Gretz 10/19


Katharine Lowe 10/3
Alex Rizzo 10/3
Barbara Strangfeld 10/4
Eugene Whitney 10/5
Susan Liberis 10/7
Grant Jaquith 10/8
Herbert Gretz 10/11
Janet Schlansker 10/11
Donald Molino 10/12
Diana Belardo 10/14
Cameron Pierce 10/14
Polly Mathews 10/15
Susan Feyrer 10/15
Rosemarie Jaquith 10/16
Norma Flora 10/19
Charlotte Kaczke 10/19
Katherine Casale 10/20
Suzanne Wolff 10/20
Thomas Miller 10/21
Dante Anthony 10/21
Karen Holcombe 10/22
Alice Petter 10/23
Michael DeBritz 10/24
Larene Jaquith 10/24
Peter Nelson 10/24
Allie Strong 10/25
Colton Jaquith 10/26
Eunice Chouffi 10/28
David Masses 10/29
Samuel Holocombe 10/30
Matthew Canavan 10/30
Vera Crates 10/31
Christopher Morin 10/31
Emily Riordan 10/31


The SICM Food Pantry is moving! SICM bought the former A&P mini-market at 839-853 Albany St. It is roughly 7,000 square ft., considerably more room, which will allow expansion of hours of operation and nutritional programs. Last year about 25,000 people went through the doors of the food pantry (this number includes repeat visitors). SICM will soon launch a fund-raising campaign to raise money for repairs to the building. Volunteers are needed for general repair work (must be at least 16 years or older). Contact SICM at 374-2683 for information or to volunteer.

Special Recognition was given for at least 20 years of service with SICM to Rev. Diana Fletcher.

The Summer Lunch Program was a great success! This free summer lunch program started about 10 years ago. This year up to 400 volunteers from 50 SICM member churches and other Schenectady are organizations served over 22,000 lunches. The program provides much more than food. The volunteers also shared their time, attention and care to the kids. They also brought coloring books, bubbles, face paint and sidewalk chalk. SICM staff and the kids are very grateful for all the help from the volunteers.

The First United Methodist Church celebrates it bicentennial year. They have announced two concerts that will take place: Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006, at 3:00 pm they will present a concert by the Toronto Childrens’ Chorus and Sunday April 15, 2007, at 3:00 pm Oliver Latry, the titular organist of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France, will perform a solo recital. For more details see call Director of Music Ministries, Dominick Giaquinto, at 374-4403.

Better Neighborhoods, Inc. – Emmett Street Improvements. Through a partnership with the Emmett Street Task Force, Better Neighborhoods, Inc. (BNI), has been awarded a rental rehabilitation grant from the NYS Division of Housing & Community Renewal. It will be used to rehabilitate 18 sub standard rental units on Emmett Street, and will require a $1000 investment by the owners of the units. BNI also received a $400,000 grant from the NYS Affordable Housing Corporation which will also focus on the Emmett Street corridor. These funds will be used to rehabilitate an additional 20 units of owner occupied housing. Candidates for these funds must be first time homebuyers with incomes below 60% of area median income.

The Stanford Golf Outing for SICM on August 11, 2006 was a great success. SIGM thanks their sponsors.

Episcopal Relief and Development News

In Mississippi, ERD is supporting Camp Coast Care, a long-term resource facility in Long Beach. 7,500 volunteers have helped 200 families clean their home of debris and salvage personal belongings. Distribution centers in New Orleans have served 36,000 people, providing food, cleaning supplies, and other essential goods. Case management services in Connecticut, Texas, Kentucky, and Minnesota have linked 1021 families displaced by the disaster to public and private services. To help people affected by these or other disasters, please make a donation to the Emergency Relief Fund at .

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.