The Messenger

January, 2007

St. Stephen's Church, Schenectady, NY

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January 12th - Agape

Everyone is welcome to join us for a pot-luck supper on Friday January 12th 2007 at 6 pm. After supper Keith Nelson will "enlighten and entertain" us with a rerun of his presentation entitled "What is going on in the front office" which provides an insight in what it takes to get an airline flight from take-off to touch-down. Bring your own plate and cutlery and a dish to share. We look forward to seeing you all for some good fellowship.

As a "heads up" for February, plans are in place for another Agape on Friday 9th Ė please mark your calendars.

Christine Nelson

January 14th - Architectural Task Force II

During adult education hour (9:00 am in the Parish Hall) on January 14, 2007 the architectural task force will be making a presentation to update the congregation on our progress.

January 21st - Annual Parish Meeting

Sunday January 21, 2007 at 11:30am in the Parish Hall. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. Childcare will be provided.


From the Rector

Dear Friends:

We begin a new calendar year with the season of the Epiphany. It may seem a little strange but for the last couple years I have thinking of The Little Rascals during this season. You see, Spanky, Darla, Buckwheat and their friends remind me of an overlooked aspect of the Epiphany. They remind me that, like all the schemes and projects they plotted, it was no one project that made them Our Gang it was their life together. They remind me that the Epiphany was a group activity. There is no record in scripture of solitary revelation it's an impossibility. Whether conveyed by an angel, or burning bush, or talking ass, or shimmering figures on the mount of the Transfiguration, or infant and family huddled in a stable, the medium of the message is always a meeting.

The Gospel, and our life within it, is a group activity. Our desire to go it alone, our fear of opening ourselves to others, is always with us. But if we accept that no corner of our life is protected from temptation, perhaps the dark side of our spirituality is the impulse to solitude. The religious life, the faithful life, the Christian life is a life together. That's why, I think, there were three Magi, and why the creche contains at least three figures in Mary, Joseph and the Christ child. That's why Christianity is filled with people and why it's always a little noisy and crowded at St. Stephen's.

In this season of Epiphany when the truth of God is revealed, it is proper that we pay attention to the baby in the manger. But that's not the whole picture. There is an aged carpenter, a youthful mother, assorted shepherds, three racially mixed astrologers, and assorted barnyard life including those extra terrestrial angels. At their center is The baby. But it wasn't until the Epiphany when they all lifted their eyes from the smiling child, looked at one another and realizing the miracle of their all being together in one place, began the conversation we continue. Our Gang.



Coffee Hour


Lately we have not had many families or individuals sign up for Coffee Hour after the 10:15 service. As a simple, doable New Yearís resolution, please consider signing up. Coffee Hour is very important for many of the congregation. For those who see many of their friends only on Sunday, itís an important time to catch up. For new members of our church, this is a time to meet people and get to know what makes our church so special.

Coffee Hour isnít complicated. If youíve never done Coffee Hour before, sign up with someone who has. That takes the mystery out of it. What you bring is up to you; many people buy goodies or bake them ahead and freeze them. You can sign up at the Shop in the Parish Hall.

We all should thank Paul DeKanel for picking up the Coffee Hour slack. He makes sure there is something to offer when no one has signed up. Thank you Paul!!


Sunday School Update

Remembering a Jesse Tree Advent and shared Christmas Gifts

Advent and Christmas are such wonderfully busy seasons in the year. Sometimes I think I need to simplify or cut back on preparations. This year, at home, this definitely happened through necessity. Sunday school, however, was different. Stacy DeBritz guided us in making a true piece of art. Our Jesse Tree banner is beautiful. Thanks to Stacy we had it ready for Bishop Loveís visit and it has been in the front of the church for all to enjoy. What a gift to share!!

We were not yet finished with the banner when preparations started for our Christmas presentation. Allison DeKanel remarked that we have such talented and creative kids that we should allow them to make the Christmas pageant theirsÖand that, they did. Alli DeBritz and Tyleigh Versocki choreographed a performance just right for our children. They had fun and, yes, elephants were welcomed at the manager. Not only did we have animals and dancing gifts, some of the children played the keyboard (and Julian played the saxophone). We also had narrators that spoke loudly and clearly. Thank you to Alli and Tyleigh for taking time out of their busy schedules to create and direct. What a gift to share!!

Christmas presentation at the
Avenue Nursing Home

During Advent we also had a special Sunday school lesson with Deacon Pat. She brought in the Jesse Tree that was created by Chris Jonesí mom and dad. As she brought out each piece that went on the tree, the kids called out, "thatís Jacobís ladder" or "thatís Davidís harp." The Jonesí Jesse Tree was very special and beautiful and very different than the banner we created. Hopefully, the children know what the Jesse Tree is and how the birth of Jesus is a part of all of the Bible stories. We thank Deacon Pat. What a gift to share!!

Deacon Pat tells the Sunday school class
about her familyís Jesse tree

We look forward to the rest of the program year. In the next several weeks, the children will be focusing on the stories Jesus told to help us understand His teachings. Jesus definitely shared His gifts with EVERYONE!!

If you are new to St. Stephenís or if you havenít been to Sunday school in a while, itís never too late to join in the learning and the fun. The 1st-6th graders meet from 9:00-10:00 in the Community Room downstairs. The preschoolers, kindergarteners and helpers meet after the childrenís sermon during the 10:15 service in the Parish Hall. The 7th-12th graders meet after the 10:15 service at the Reed House. You are always welcome!!

There will be a meeting on Monday January 15th for all Sunday School Teachers at 7:30pm. Parents are welcome.


Wedding Anniversaries

Michael Bishop & Pauline Holmes 1/6

Irwin & Beverly Blanchard 1/19

John & Susan Goldthwaite 1/25

Dave & Liz Stevens 1/29

Bruce & Jane Tatge 1/31

Harvey & Mary Alexander 1/31


Jacob Price 1/2

Barbara Dobbins Stratton 1/7

Robert Bailey 1/7

Audrey DeBritz 1/7

Emma Koch 1/7

Laura Manor 1/8

Luke DeBritz 1/8

Chelsea Trant 1/8

David Taylor 1/9

Laura Practico 1/12

Lauren Steele 1/12

Susan Goldthwaite 1/13

Lillian Peterson 1/14

Daniel Lundquist 1/17

Pearl Burton 1/17

Andrei Crates 1/18

Megan Dominguez 1/22

Deborah Trawick 1/23

K. Scott Kilbourn 1/26

Carolyn Morin 1/27


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


Millennium Development Goals

Fr. James Preached on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the third Sunday in Advent. Many who heard it have requested additional information. The eight MDGs Ė which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 -- form a blueprint agreed to by all the world's countries and all the world's leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest. The eight goals are:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education. Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling.

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality. Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health care. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020.

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development. Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction- nationally and internationally. Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction. Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing states. Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term. In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries. In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies- especially information and communications technologies.

In Resolution Number 2003-D006, the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church endorsed and embraced the achievement of MDGs. Available at


St. Stephenís 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.

The Messenger is published 10 times a year, September through June.