The Messenger

News & Views: St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Schenectady, NY


Homecoming Picnic and Parish Faire

To start the program year we will be having the Homecoming Picnic and Parish Faire.  The Parish Picnic will be held on September 9th.  Our chefs will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers.  Drink will also be provided.  We ask families to bring a dish to share and to wear your picnic clothes.

The Parish Faire will take place on September 16th at 9:00 a.m. following the early service and again during the coffee hour following the 10:15 a.m. Eucharist.  Come and explore the church, maybe you’ll find an activity or ministry that interests you.  Parish leaders will be present throughout the church to answer any questions that you may have.  There will be refreshments at 9 a.m., and at 11:30 a.m. 

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Annual School Supply Drive in High Gear !

The Sunday School children and the Outreach Committee at Saint Stephen’s are busy launching the annual school supply drive.  This year items are being collected for kids less fortunate at Hamilton Elementary School in Schenectady.  The list includes:

Ø      three-holed lined paper (wide ruled)

Ø      colored folders with and without pockets

Ø      pencils and erasable ink pens

Ø      markers

Ø      glue sticks

Ø      crayons

Ø      erasers

Ø      kleenex boxes

Ø      paper plates & 8 oz. paper cups

 The school needs the supplies ASAP so we ask that you bring your donation in quickly. The supply drive begins September 2 and ends September 16th.  We thank you in advance for your support!

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From the Rector

Though many of us have been away on vacation, many parish leaders have been hard at work this summer.  During the summer I have examined the year just past, evaluating what was done and left undone, what was worth doing once and what ought to be done again.  You will hear about the exciting plans for the coming year in each month's issue of "The Messenger", so in this limited space let me simply thank the parish leaders who have worked so hard in dreaming about what Saint Stephen's could be in the years to come, and planning for what Saint Stephen's will be in the coming program year.

The beginning of September will mark the completion of eighteen years as your rector.  Three things stand out.  First, that this is a wonderful and extraordinary parish with a wealth of leadership and talent that bodes well for the future.  In one sense, the rector's task is simply to "get out of the way" to enable that leadership and talent to flourish in the Lord's service. 

The second is that as a community we have done a lot of growing together in the past eighteen years.  At least I have, and I have had to in order to keep up with the job. 

Finally, in the last three years I have had a strong sense of our building upon what has been done before during the past eighty years.  The coming program year is the result of Tom Moss's vision for this congregation, Joe Sitts' administration of the parish, Walt Harris' pastoral care of its members, and John Peatling's continuing contribution to our worship life.  The coming year will bring change, and that is good and a sign of life.  But there will always be those deep and abiding threads of continuity grounded in the Gospel.

As I have had time this summer to reflect upon these last eighteen years, and the last eighty years, I thank God that we are together in this community we call Saint Stephen's.

Education For Ministry

The Education for Ministry (EFM) Program is the theological education extension program of the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.  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.  A special emphasis is on doing theological reflection on daily life issues. Students meet weekly in seminars led by a trained mentor.  Tuition is $340 annually (scholarships are available).  The course takes place in the Community Room on Sunday afternoons between 2-4:30.  If you are interested, you might want to talk to current participants: Chris Jones, Susan Townsend, Diane Reed, Laura Davis, Dennis Wisnom, Jo Adams, Trudy North or Mary Frances Hatfield.

 Faith Lessons

Filmed on location in Israel, Faith Lessons is a unique video series that brings God's Word to life with astounding relevance.  Teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan weaves together the Bible's fascinating historical, culture, religious, and geographical context, and reveals keen insights into the Scripture's significance for modern believers.  Lively discussions after the video each week help to make this a very popular course.  The course will take place in rector’s study after the Thursday morning healing service beginning at 10:45 am.

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A History of God

For over 4,000 years, adherents of the world's monotheistic faiths have wrestled with the question of God. This extraordinary, feature-length film, based on Karen Armstrong's acclaimed book of the same name, traces that elusive and fascinating quest.

In A HISTORY OF GOD Karen Armstrong examines the familiar images of deity as presented in the Bible and Koran and traces the evolution and interrelation of the various Christian, Jewish, and Islamic interpretations of the divine figure. Through balanced analysis of historic and holy texts and extensive use of ancient art and artifacts, we'll follow the long road to today's understanding of God and what the journey--and the destination--have to tell us about humanity and its never-ending search for meaning and comfort.

From the time of Abraham to the present, this is a thought-provoking look at the God at the heart of the world's three great monotheistic religions.  The classes will take place on Sept.  23 & 30 at 9am in the Parish Hall.

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Agape – Time to Get Going Again!

For all of you who enjoy the fellowship of Agape, and for those of you who’ve never been but would like to sample this friendly group. There will be more information at the Parish Faire!

When? 6:00 PM on the second Friday of the month! –We’re generally out by 9 PM

September 14th

October 12th

November 9th

December 14th

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

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Thank You – From Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School was held the last full week of June this year at Union Presbyterian Church.  We truly soared to new heights.  Thank you to all who helped to make the week so special.  Our attendance was terrific with over 35 children. We had over 12 children participate and 12 volunteers from St. Stephen’s.  How WONDERFUL!  The children learned a Bible phrase in sign language each day.  They made great crafts and some new friends.  Throughout the week we had a penny drive.  The jars used received more than pennies.  204 dollars were raised and sent to Heifer International.  The Worship service at St. Stephen’s on Saturday was also well attended.  It was great to see the kids and their families come to celebrate the week.  We are already looking forward to next summer!!

Laura Davis

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A Call for Sunday School Teachers

Please consider teaching Sunday school this year.  You can volunteer for a schedule that works for you; no time spent with the children or youth is too little.  We have a fantastic team of teachers volunteering this year, but we always welcome anyone who is interested in helping out.  Thus far, Allison deKanel, Peter Nelson, Trudy North, Dave Crates, Melinda Renken, Dawn Tanneau, George Woodzell and Tracy Ormsbee have committed to teach in some capacity.  Richey Woodzell has said she would help with music and behind the scenes organization and Stacy DeBritz will help with special art projects during the year. Whether you like to tell stories, create or help with crafts and / or talk with the youth, a great opportunity awaits you on Sunday mornings.  Please call or email Laura Davis if you have any interest in working with the children of St. Stephen’s.  You can also sign up at the Parish Faire!!  Teaching is a truly rewarding experience.

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Sunday School Begins

Classes for preschoolers through 6th grade will begin on September 16th.  You might say to yourself, “that’s the same day as the Parish Faire?”  Well, it is! We are going to have an informal class on the 16th so that the kids and teachers can begin to get to know one another again. 

You always have a chance to register your children for Sunday school.  In the next weeks, registration forms will be available.  Please register your children for Sunday school.

The preschool / kindergarten group meets just after the children’s sermon during the 10:15am service in the community room.  1st-6th graders will meet at 9:00am in the community room.  The 7th-12th graders will begin Sunday school on the September 23rd after the 10:15 service at 11:30 at Reid House, which is on Garner Avenue next to the church.  We are hoping some of the youth will help us at the Parish Faire on the 16th!

The school supply drive for Hamilton Elementary School in Schenectady begins on September 2nd.  Please bring in a needed item by the 16th.  (See the Outreach committee’s article and list.)

Looking for to seeing you at the Homecoming picnic and the Parish Faire!!  Sunday school is just around the corner.

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Capital Region Theological Center

The Capital Region Theological Center offers courses for clergy and laity.  There are several fliers for these courses at the Shop in the Parish Hall.  Most of the courses are local and are on Saturdays.  I am particularly interested in two courses coming up this fall:

Women’s Leadership as Applied Spirituality on Saturday, October 13, 2007 from 9:00am-1:00pm  

Foundations of Faith:  Constructing a Children’s Ministry on Saturday, November 3, 2007 from 9:00am-4:00pm

There is a cost associated with these courses and the amount is stated on each flier.  If you are interested in going, please let me know.

Laura Davis

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Kerygma Bible Study

"Amos and Hosea: Boundaries, Tough Love, Amazing Grace'" will be the Kerygma adult Bible study course during the fall. This study will challenge us to become boundary-crossers, as the prophets were: boundaries between politics and religion, and between "us" and "them." And we will learn more about God's tough love and amazing grace. The course will be offered on Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00, for eight weeks beginning on Sept. 26th. Please sign up at the Parish Faire so that we can order your resource book. No previous Bible study experience is needed.

                                   Deacon Pat

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The Nursery – A COOP that needs volunteers

The Nursery has been pretty quiet over the last summer months.  As fall arrives, the Nursery will become more alive with little, lovable faces.  We are presently using a model where we schedule volunteers (parents or grandparents or anyone that likes being around the little ones) and high school students to staff the nursery on a rotating basis.   Many of our teenagers are experienced babysitters, and St. Stephen's would pay for their time with contributions toward their summer work camp.  When we know who will be participating, we will get a schedule together.  Volunteers would only need to be “on” once every 4-6 weeks.  The Nursery is open from 10:00-11:30 each Sunday.  This ministry is invaluable to the smallest of our congregation and visitors who haven’t yet mastered sitting still for over an hour.

Please sign up at the Parish Fair. The sign up will be located in the Nursery.  If you miss the Faire, please let Laura Davis know, or call the church office, 346-6241.  We need at least 6 families / volunteers to sign up to make the COOP work.

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Choir Season Starts with a Bang!

On Thursday, September 6th, the choir will get together for a potluck dinner at the Spang’s home from 5:45-8:30.  The first rehearsal of the season will also take place that night.  If you are interested in joining the choir, Thursday is a great time to start.  Please let Tim Olsen know if you are going to be able to go to the potluck dinner / rehearsal and he will give you the details.

The choir will sing during the 10:15 service on September 9th to begin the program year.  Please be at church at 9:45 to warm-up.  Regular rehearsals begin on Thursday, September 13th at church from 7:30-9:00pm.  If you have any questions about joining the choir, just ask Tim.

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The Bridge Builder


 By Will Allen Dromgoole
(From Father James’ sermon on 8/26/07) 

An old man, traveling a lone highway,
   came at the evening cold and gray,
   To a chasm deep and wide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim
  For the sullen stream held no fears for him.
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
  And built a bridge to span the tide."

 "Old man", cried a fellow pilgrim near
 "You're wasting your strength with building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day and
  You never again will pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm deep and wide
  Why build you a bridge at even-tide?"

Then the builder raised his old, gray head
  Good friend, on the path I have come, he said,
  "There followeth after me today,
   a youth whose feet will pass this way.
This stream which has been a nought to me
  To that fair haired child may a pitfall be.
He too must cross in the twilight dim,
  Good friend, I am building this bridge for  him."




Oto & Josephine Jones                9/4
Gerry & Stacy Lampman             9/14
Scott & Jennifer Bristol                9/17
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         
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
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).


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
 Dr. Timothy Olsen, Director of Music
 Ms Katherine Miller, Office Manager 


 Warden:                     Susan Feyrer
 Warden:                     Ryan Davis
 Clerk:                         Peter Nelson
 Treasurer:                  Denise Crates
 Chancellor:                Rosemarie Jaquith 

Class of 2007              Dave Caruso
                                    Paul deKanel
                                    Stacy DeBritz 

Class of 2008              Austin Spang
                                    Sid Woodcock
                                    Glenn Kaler 

Class of 2009              Melinda Renkin
                                    Tracy Ormsbee
                                    Barbara Wisnom                       

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.