The Messenger

News and Views from St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Schenectady, NY

March, 2008



Dear Friends:


 Later this month we will begin Holy Week.  This is when we move back and forth from the sacred rites here in the church to the family traditions at home, and then back again to the richness of the church.  Let me suggest a few simple gestures for church and home which can bring the sacred mysteries closer to us.


 Our Procession with Palms begins the Week.  We begin with a parade.  But leading the parade, we notice that the cross is covered with red.  Even from the beginning we are prepared for that Gospel story just given.  We all participate in it: just as we waved our palm branches in greeting Jesus, so we yell, 'Crucify him!'.  We are aware of our human weakness that shouts praise and joy one moment and judgment and condemnation the next.  When you leave the church, be sure to take extra palm branches for your house and leave one over the door or behind a cross or over the fire place or over your bed.


 Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week are traditional days for 'spring house cleaning'.  If you haven't done it already, do a special cleaning, spiffing everything up for the celebration of new life on Easter.  Also, these are good days to bake and cook ahead for the Easter feast.

 On Wednesday, begin to plan the Easter dinner.  After the Eucharist at noon, I will have simple 'Blessings Over Food' for the special Easter dinner.  Come by and pick up a copy for everyone who will be there on Easter Day.  Then come to our Seder in the parish hall that evening in which we will share a ritual meal commemorating the flight of the Jews out of bondage out of Egypt, foreshadowing the Last Supper for Jesus and his disciples.  This is always an enjoyable time for families.


 On Maundy Thursday, at the end of the church service, the altar is stripped, the red tabernacle light is extinguished, and the place is left hollow and empty.  You are invited to stay as long as you wish in the church, but let me suggest that when you go home, talk as little as possible, keeping as much of the holy silence as you are able, as a family.  If you have crosses on your walls, this would be a good time to cover them with cheese cloth or something similar.


 On Good Friday, things are quiet: both at church and at home.  Come at noon to the Stations of the Cross, a very moving pilgrimage through the crucifixion.  St. Stephen's will be open all afternoon for silent prayer and meditation.  At home it would be appropriate to quiet all radios, TVs and stereos.  It is a day to turn inward and to keep in mind the way of Christ's passion.  Our projects and actions could involve our children, and include their creative participation.  A simple rugged cross can be made this day by fashioning two sticks together and putting or hanging it in a prominent place.


 Good Friday is also a traditional day of cleaning out the fireplace, and laying kindling for the new fire of Easter night.  The idea is to take home the fire from the Easter candle on Saturday night and to use this candle to light the new fire in your fireplace.  At church there will be no Eucharist.  In the evening we will share in prayers and anthems.


 All the daylight hours on Holy Saturday are filled with the last preparations for Easter.  Easter clothes are cleaned and pressed.  Last minute groceries are purchased for the Easter dinner.  And then we come to the decorating of eggs. The egg is a symbol of new life and the breaking through from imprisonment to freedom.  It is a good idea not to finish decorating your eggs over the week, and to leave Saturday as the day to finish them.  Some eggs can be dyed, but I suggest that each family member paint one egg, with symbols of the resurrection and new life, the butterfly, flowers for a new springtime, chicks and rabbits as signs of fertility and new life.  And then reserve one egg, painted gold, on which the word ALLELUIA is written.  This is the best egg to find in the hunt on Eater morning.  Saturday is also the day to make an Easter egg tree.


 In the evening at church we will have candles for everyone to hold during the service, but let me suggest that each family bring a their own fat candle, placed inside a can which the church will provide, so that you can carry home this new Easter fire which has been blessed in the worship service.  It is sometimes a real trick to get the lit candle all the way home, but the adventure is worth it.  When you come home after the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening, light a candle in each our your rooms from the Easter flame.  Light the kindling and nurse it into a good fire.  Later, wish each other a warm and happy Easter, and turn in for the night.


 During the next week we move from raw tragedy to reconciling triumph; from dying with Christ, we will be raised with him at the end of the week. Consider these suggestions for home and church.  We won't have an opportunity like this for at least another year.








Palm Sunday March 16, 2008 8:00 am & 10:15 am Procession with Palms & Eucharist
Holy Monday March 17, 2008 12:30 pm Eucharist
Holy Tuesday March 18, 2008 12:30 pm Eucharist
Holy Wednesday March 19, 2008 12:30 pm Eucharist
Maundy Thursday March 20, 2008 6 pm Seder Meal
    10:00 am  Eucharist & Healing
    7:30 pm Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar
    9:00 pm Prayer Vigil through the night
Good Friday March 21, 2008 12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
    2:00 pm Stations of the Cross, for children
    7:30 pm Lessons & Prayers
Easter Vigil March 22, 2008 7:30 pm Lighting of the first fire
 Nine lessons and musical responses
 Baptisms      Eucharist
Easter Day March 23, 2008 8:00 am Choral Eucharist
    10:15 am Choral Eucharist
    7:00 pm Eucharist






Christianity & Judaism

This course centers around interviews that Bill Moyers conducted with Huston Smith about his experiences with the world’s great religions.  Smith is a Methodist but practices yoga, prays five times daily as Muslims do, has endured the rigors of a Zen monastery, and has joined his daughter and her Jewish husband at a Seder.  His book, The World’s Religions has been a bestseller since 1959 and has been translated into 14 languages.  Smith is a pilgrim who has experienced the religions that he studies.  In this series he shares with us how all “wisdom traditions” share fundamental truths.  The course will be on March 2nd and 9th at 10 am in the parish hall.




 Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity have their roots in the first century of the Common Era and are intrinsically tied to the development of world history. From the public ministry of Jesus to the legendary battles of the Crusades, examine the interwoven histories of these two distinct branches of Christianity. Through the centuries, the practices, customs and traditions of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians have diverged radically. Only recently have these two branches of Christianity made overtures to heal the rift between them that has lasted into the 20th century. Today, there are over one billion people throughout the world who follow the teachings of Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christianity. The course will be on March 16th and 30th at 10 am in the parish hall.




You are invited to express yourself by donating a new book to the Church Libraries. 

Each donated book will display a label with the donor’s name and personal message.


This is the perfect opportunity to....

> celebrate your child or grandchild’s birthday
> show appreciation for a job well done
> say thank you to a church school teacher or

    other parish leader
> share an interest
> remember a loved one
> celebrate a holiday
> make sure a favorite book is in the library.


All friends, members of Saint Stephen’s congregation are welcome to become involved in this venture.  It’s a great way to help our library grow.



The next time you have something to say....




What is a Retreat, Anyway?

I have just returned from a lovely, quite retreat at the Convent of St. Helena. For over 30 years I have been visiting this Episcopal convent, which is located 100 miles south of Schenectady, near Newburgh, for rest and refreshment. Usually a retreat is led by one of the sisters, and lasts from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. When the retreat is silent, there is no talking from Friday evening after Compline until Sunday breakfast, but if you need to talk to someone you do it privately so as not to disturb others. Silence is an “acquired taste,” and takes a little getting used to at first, but with experience it becomes very comfortable.


 Services in the chapel are held four times a day: Matins (Morning Prayer) followed by Holy Eucharist, Diurnum (Noonday Prayers), Vespers (late afternoon) and Compline (7:30 P.M.). Attendance is entirely optional; mostly I attend, but sometimes a nap is more beneficial. There is a good library, and walking trails on the grounds, and a pleasant neighborhood across the road. The food is excellent (we had cheesecake for dessert on Sunday, to celebrate my birthday!).
Sometimes a retreat has a particular theme: writing haiku or icons, the church seasons. Sometimes it is for particular people: fathers and sons, those who have been divorced, etc. Sisters are always available for conversation or counsel, and they are all friendly and welcoming: there is not a holier-than-thou attitude in the place.
If anyone wants more information or is interested in making a retreat, please call me. I need very little persuasion to visit St. Helena’s: for me it is a “thin place” where heaven seems closer, a haven from the noise and demands of daily life.


                        Deacon Pat





The following books are available

  on our Library shelves for one-month loan!


AMISH GRACE relates the story of how forgiveness

transcended tragedy. On October 2, 2006, Charles Carl Roberts IV entered an Amish school house near Nickel Mines, PA and shot ten girls, five of whom died before he took his own life. The Fetzer Institute provided research funds for Amish Grace as part of The Campaign for Love and Forgiveness. Authors Donald B. Fraybill, Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher have all written extensively on Amish society. They researched hundreds of media stories and editorials and conducted many interviews comparing the Amish practice of forgiveness with the attitudes of other Christians.

       The book is divided into three sections: the story of the school shootings, the spirituality and practice of forgiveness in Amish life, and a look at the meaning of forgiveness in American society today. The Amish believe that if they don’t forgive, they won’t be forgiven, and this forms the core of their faith. The Amish have a 300-year tradition that proclaims the necessity of loving one’s enemies. The community forgave the killer’s widow, her parents, and the killer’s parents. This wonderful book reminds us that revenge and hatred are never ends in themselves, and that the true miracle is found in loving our enemies.



and challenging book on the ways and wisdom of the Monks of New Skete, an Orthodox Catholic monastery in nearby Cambridge, NY. The book is a clever narration by “The Seeker”, a composite figure representing the monks themselves. Honest and well-written, it is not difficult to read. It debunks many of the stereotypes of monastic life (they eat well, and earn their bread by breeding and training German Shepherd dogs!). The book is warm and loving and sometimes humorous, and will challenge all who read it. It is the kind of book that can be read again and again as we strive to improve our spiritual lives. Former Presiding Bishop  Frank Griswold noted that “The straightforward observations and insights of the monks of New Skete are like rain upon parched soil”.


Jane Tatge




 On Palm Sunday, March 16th, we enter the most significant eight days in the Church’s calendar.  It is of the greatest importance that we participate in the experiences described in the church calendar, because living through them, walking the way Christ walked, we uncover the core of Christian Belief and living.


We invite all members and friends of St. Stephen’s to be present at these services.  If you are infirm, please call the office to arrange for communion to be brought to you at home by one of the clergy.




On Maundy Thursday, March 20th, at the 7:30 p.m. Eucharist we would like to have volunteers from the congregation for foot washing by the clergy.  If you would like to be one of these representatives of the congregation, please sign up at the parish shop.




There is a sign‑up sheet on the shop counter for the Maundy Thursday Vigil.  It is suggested that two or more persons sign up for each one hour segment.



On Good Friday, March 21st, we remember in a unique way the witness that Jesus gave to us on the cross.  Through his obedience and through his suffering ‑‑ through the fateful steps he took each day of Holy Week ‑‑ he showed the world just how much God loves us.  Jesus' entire life was a witness to that love and the cross continues to be a sign of that reality.


In the midst of religious tensions, historic animosities and political unrest, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East stands witness to the people of our Lord's homeland, proclaiming and serving the same message that Jesus brought to that land almost 2,000 years ago.


On Good Friday we stand with the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem as it witnesses to the love of God in a strife‑filled part of the world through our prayers and financial support. Please be generous in your support of the continuing ministry of our sisters and brothers in the Middle East.


 The Church will be in darkness.  Into that darkness will be brought the new light of Easter and carried through the nave to the altar where the Paschal Candle will be placed in its stand to burn through the fifty days of Easter until the Ascension of our Lord.


We will rehearse our history as a people of God, from creation through the Red Sea with God's promises for his people culminating in the story of the Resurrection.


Easter is the festival of Baptism and we shall celebrate that sacrament as well as have the opportunity to renew our own baptismal vows.


And then the shout be raised:




and so begins the first Eucharist of Easter, 2008.  The service begins at 7:30 p.m. 




The Picture Board which normally stands in the nave extension is now being brought up to date.  If you have not been included on that board and would like to be included, please let me know.  If you would like me to take a new photograph of you or your family, I would be glad to do that.  Bringing these boards up to date will probably take a week or two, so please be patient. I’ll plan to be available for photographs after services in the front of the church.    Chris Jones 



Ad Campaign Pays Off for Youth Group

Boosted by ads from the well-known firm of Boese & Casale, the St. Stephen’s youth group set several new records for their highly anticipated Super Bowl sub project: not only did they make more subs than ever before – 168 – but they produced them in record time, and took in more money than ever before  - over $700.


Here’s a view of our highly-trained, super-efficient sandwich assembly crew in action:


The money we raised will help greatly to finance the youth group’s trip to this summer’s Workcamp, in Oceana, West Virginia.


So, “thank you” to everyone who helped support this project, and thanks, too, for the other ways in which you all support the youth group.




Thank you from the Children

We finished our hygiene kit drive the beginning of February.  Thank you to all who contributed.  We collected 41 hygiene kits for Bethesda House.  A special thank you to Marilyn Causey who donated boxes of Eucerine lotion for the kits.  That made a terrific addition.  We appreciate your support especially during these uncertain economic times.

Laura Davis




The Pancake Supper

Thank you to everyone who volunteered and assisted with the Pancake Supper.  Many hands make light work. 

And especially thanks for those who came and shared our fellowship and good eats.

Debbie Trawick





Sunday School Observes Lent


In addition to following the Episcopal Children’s Curriculum, the kids are observing Lent in two ways:


v     First, the children preschool through sixth grade have taken home a Hope Chest Box.  The money we raise by putting change into the Hope Chest will go to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD).  This organization provides help to those who need it in the United States and though out the world.  We are learning about the Millennium Development Goals as well.  Please bring the Hope Chests back to church on Palm Sunday, 3/16.  If you need a box or have any questions, please see me.


v     Second, the 1st-6th graders are learning the 10 Commandments and that these are basic rules God gave to his people.  Preschoolers and kindergarteners are saying the Lord’s Prayer each week in Sunday school.  We hope that they will become familiar with this important prayer.


Soon we will set our sites on Holy Week.  Along with Sunday school, we have two programs scheduled.  On Palm Sunday evening, we will have a program focusing on Jesus during the first part of Holy Week.  Dinner will be provided for the children.  All are welcomed.  It will be very helpful to sign up at the Shop so that we know how much food to prepare.  On Good Friday, we will go through the Stations of the Cross for children.



Here is our schedule for March for the Sunday school children:

Sunday, 3/2/08             A special class for preschoolers and kindergarteners  9:00-10:00. 

                                                There will be no Sunday school during the 10:15 service.

Sunday, 3/16: Palm Sunday:      The Gathering of EDR Hope Chests during the 10:15 service.

Children’s program in the Parish Hall from 5:00-7:00pm.

Friday, 3/21, Good Friday:       Stations of the Cross for Children will meet in the Parish Hall. 

The program will run from 2:00pm to 3:00 pm.

Sunday, 3/23, Easter Sunday: Easter egg hunt!! We will meet in the Parish Hall Extension at 9:30am



St. Stephen’s Church School Times

     1st through 6th grades meet at 9:00 every Sunday downstairs in the community room.

     Preschool & kindergarten: 10:15 downstairs after the children’s sermon, during the 10:15 service

     The Youth Group, 7th through 12th grades, meet after the 10:15 service in the Chapel.


Note: The Adult Education Program is Sunday at 9:00 in the Parish Hall.  All are welcome.




If have any questions or concerns please contact me.     Laura Davis



Field Trip to Bethesda House


            On Saturday, February 9th, seven of us (plus little Alyssa) gathered the hygiene kits that we collected and took them to Bethesda House.  Tom Morley was waiting there for us.  After unloading the kits, Tom took us on a tour.  He kindly described how things work at Bethesda House and answered all of our questions.  Below is a summary of what we learned.

            Bethesda House is an interfaith ministry.  Guests are not preached to nor are they ever turned away for having different beliefs.  175-225 guests visit daily.  There are 230-240 guests that come each month who are visiting Bethesda House for the first time.  Over 150 who visit each month are homeless.

            It is opened Monday-Friday from 10:00am-4:00pm.  Between 10 and 1:00 is when appointments with caseworkers or counselors are made.  The hospitality center is open from 1:00 to 4:00.  This gives the guests a place to socialize and relax inside.  At 3:00 each day there is a community meal.  On Thursdays, there is a health care clinic from 10:00-2:00 for individuals without insurance.  Time with the doctor and nurse and medications are free for people that use the clinic.

Bethesda House has an emergency food pantry.  This pantry gives food to those who have exhausted their visits at the SICM and Salvation Army food pantries.  There are about 80 visits to the food pantry every month.  Guests can take a shower, do their laundry, and use the telephone for in coming and out going calls.  They can have a mailbox and a locker for their things.


Volunteers are always welcomed.  If you are considering volunteering, it’s best to give Tom a call (374-7873 Ext. 104). Bethesda House accepts non-perishable, easy opening, easily microwaved food.  They accept household donations that are not electrical.  They are always in need of diapers and formula, not to mention hygiene products.  Coats and seasonal clothes are given to the guests.  In fact, Deacon Pat brought many of the coats donated last year to Bethesda House.  They also accept backpacks and tote bags so that the guests are able to carry their things in something. 

Bethesda House treats individuals with respect, no matter their situation.  We all see the need out there and Bethesda House is effecting change by meeting some of those needs everyday.  Next month look for an article about the Lighthouse.






Episcopal Relief and Development, (ERD)  Responds


Episcopal Relief and Development provides emergency assistance after disasters around the world; rebuilding communities, and helping children and families climb out of poverty.

Established in 1940 by the Episcopal Church in the United States, by the “Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief,” the mission of the Episcopal Relief and Development was to assist refugees fleeing Europe during World War II.  For more than sixty years, Episcopal Relief and Development has served the needs of the poor and oppressed at home and in over 100 countries abroad. Episcopal Relief and Development is an independent, non-profit organization and contributions are tax deductible.


ERD: Severe Winter Weather in Afghanistan

 Episcopal Relief and Development is providing emergency assistance to internally displaced families living in camps in the Baghlan province of Afghanistan, where heavy snows and frigid temperatures are the worst the region has seen in 30 years.  As many as 750 people may have died as result of the extreme weather.  They have no source of income to purchase warm clothing, blankets, food or fuel, and a large number are women, children, and the elderly.


ERD is partnering with Hungarian Interchurch Aid to distribute relief packages containing coal and blankets, along with insulation materials such as straw and foil.  Food items including oil, tea, sugar, salt, rice and beans are also provided.  Four-hundred of the most vulnerable families (over 3,200 individuals) living in four camps will receive relief packages. 


ERD:  Floods in Southern Africa

 Episcopal Relief and Development is providing emergency assistance to communities in Malawi and Zambia affected by devastating flooding in the region. Torrential rains in southern Africa have over-flown the Zambezi River, washing away entire villages and thousands of acres of crops.  At least 50 people have died as a result of the floods. Tens of thousands have sought shelter or been relocated. Episcopal Relief and Development’s partners in Zambia, Zambian Anglican Council (ZAC) and in Malawi, the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi, have been providing food, sheltering material, medicine, and fuel.


To Donate to ERD

You may make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development’s “Emergency Relief Fund” at, or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129.  Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development “Emergency Relief Fund,” PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA  22116-7058. 


SEDER SUPPER Wednesday March 19th


Do you recall the ten plagues of Egypt?  Did you know Seder means order; order of ascent to renewed spirit?  Everyone is invited to our joyful family dinner of good food, wine, and learning, at a


Seder Supper Service on 3/19, at 6 pm

enjoy the fellowship with each other, and God, and learn more about events which took place more than three thousand years ago! Our Seder is a traditional, family-style, choreographed, and fun dinner.


Tickets are presale Feb. 24 to March 9.  Due to the fact some of the food is catered, tickets will be $7 each, or $22 per family. Tickets are being sold by the Daughters of the King. Please plan ahead to attend 3/19. This is a great event for the entire family.


                              Debbie Trawick

Q&A Corner


The Q&A Corner will be a monthly feature of The Messenger. You may send your questions to the messenger  and we will do our best to find answers for you.


Question:  I’ve been wondering what is the “Rector’s Discretionary Fund” and how is it used?

      Submitted by, “Curious in the 4th pew.”


Answer:  What a great question, Curious.  My guess is you’re not the only one who has been thinking about this.  Discretionary Funds have been in use within the Episcopal Church for decades if not centuries.  Discretionary funds showed up somewhere around 1814 and provided for a special offering for the poor to be administered by a member of the clergy as the “Almoner”, the person charged with giving alms to the poor.


Today at St. Stephen’s, the usage is the same as it was back in 1814, and who says things are always changing.  Here’s how it worked then and now:


The money in the fund is solely from donations, and not “budgeted” money.  Once given to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund, equal shares are given to Fr. James and Deacon Pat to use “at their discretion.”  Here are the details:


The money may be donated in two ways.

1. The first offering of the “loose plate” each month, is targeted for the Fund. This is any cash not in an envelope or otherwise labeled.

2. Members of the congregation give money to the Discretionary Fund, typically in the form of a check.  The check is made out to St. Stephen’s, and either the memo field of the check indicates the Rector’s Discretionary Fund, or a note may accompany the check, stating that the donation is for the Fund.


            If the St. Stephen’s envelope system is used, a yellow envelope is provided for the Discretionary Fund, and is found at the beginning of each month’s envelope supply.  These envelopes are marked specifically for the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.

The weekly Counters, those dedicated volunteers who count and record the weekly offering, record that a donation has been made to the Fund.  Each Parishioner who receives a St. Stephen’s statement sees a “credit” for such a donation. 


Next, our wonderful Treasurer, Denise Crates, notes these donations in her records.  Once the donations are recorded, Denise distributes half of the funds to Fr. James and the other half to Deacon Pat.


The funds are then used by Fr. James & Deacon Pat throughout the month for the needs of people who contact them.  Very often, Fr. James or Deacon Pat is approached by people with a variety of needs.  All too often, these people are outside of the “system”, or on the periphery, such as the “working poor”.  So Fr. James and Deacon Pat use their good judgment to help meet the needs of these people.


            Other examples of needs met with Discretionary Funds:

Our Church has an agreement with a local gas station to provide emergency gas.  We also have agreements with local markets to provide emergency food.  Sometimes the monies are used to help with the gap between a pay check and an important bill that is due, such as a gas and electric bill.  A person might need a bus ticket to visit a sick relative or a dying parent.  In between our famous “Undies Sunday,” Deacon Pat has used Discretionary Funds for women in the Schenectady County Jail for underwear.  She also helps with personal items such as deodorant, and shampoo, and in fact, much of the time she uses Discretionary Funds for her Jail Ministry.

For centuries, a member of the Clergy, as a representative of Christ, has been the “go-to” person for someone in need.  At St. Stephen’s that tradition is alive and well.  The Discretionary Fund’s ability to thrive depends, as always, on the generosity of our wonderful people of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.


Fr. James and Deacon Pat want you to know how very grateful they are for the donations they receive for their Discretionary Funds.  And of course, even though they would not directly ask, they would always be grateful for more.




Who are the Daughters of the King?


We are members of an order for women in the Episcopal Church, begun in 1885.  Our mission is the extension of Christ’s kingdom through prayer, service and evangelism.


“Prayer is so simple.

It is like quietly opening a door

and slipping into the very presence of God.

There in the stillness

we can listen to His voice or even petition.

What we have to say matters not…

Just to be there…

in His presence…

is Prayer.”


National Handbook of the Order of the Daughters of the King


                                                Richey Woodzell



“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”  


Opportunities for Service

During the Easter Season

The St. Clare Chapter of the Daughters of the King will be packing baby kits and emergency clean-up buckets during April.  In areas of extreme poverty or following a natural disaster, baby kits help young mothers care for their newborn babies. The clean-up buckets enable people to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up after a flood, hurricane, tornado, or other disaster here in the United States.  We invite all parishioners to join in this effort, another aspect of working toward the Millennium Development Goals.


Late in March we will post a list of the items for the kits and the supplies for the buckets.  We invite you to take an index card of an item to contribute toward helping those in need, or to donate money to purchase the items.  The deadline for turning items in is April 20. 


Another opportunity through Church World Service is the annual CROP Walk for the Hungry, held the first Sunday afternoon in May.  Sponsorship forms for walkers will be available in April.  Together we raise awareness and funds for international relief and development, and contribute to local food programs as well.



Church World Service Crop Hunger Walk



Founded in 1946, Church World Service is the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations in the United States. Working in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries, CWS works worldwide to meet human needs and foster self-reliance for all whose way is hard.


Within the United States, Church World Service assists communities in responding to disasters, resettles refugees, promotes fair national and international policies, provides educational resources, and offers opportunities to join a people-to-people network of local and global caring through participation in CROP Hunger Walks, the Tools & Blankets Program and the CWS Kits Program.                                                                      


Richey Woodzell






New Members

We welcomed three new members and a new Warden:  Susan Feyrer, Peter Nelson and Amy Soule.  Rocky Bonsal was welcomed as the new Junior Warden


Buildings and Grounds

The asbestos inspection of Reid House was complete. We are awaiting the final report.  When we receive the report, we’ll provide you with a summary.


Communications Task Force

The Task Force reported they have set their 2008 goals.  One of the most critical is to ensure that we have accurate and current contact information for everyone in the congregation.  Soon, you’ll be seeing us create opportunities to make that happen.  If we don’t have your current phone number and/or email address, communication can’t happen.  As always, please let Kathy Miller, Church Secretary, know of any changes (346-6241.

·                    Work on the Ministry Booklet continues, and publication is still anticipated for spring.


Architectural Task Force

We have engaged the services of an architectural firm that will be doing a feasibility study and providing us with conceptual drawings.  The firm is John G. Waite & Associates.  It is expected that the Vestry will have this information sometime in June.  During the summer, we will be reviewing it.  It is our goal to roll everything out to the congregation in the fall.


While all of this may seem like it is taking a long time, in the world of building projects, we’re right on schedule.   We ask your continued prayers for this project.



·                    Fr. James reported that we received a thank you letter for SICM, acknowledging our support for them in 2007.

·                    The Vestry approved a motion to give the Good Friday offering this year to the Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

·                    Vestry Committee assignments were distributed.  There are a number of committees and Task Forces, many of which you see reported about here.  A new one was named at the February meeting.  Its charge is to review our current bylaws and make recommendations for updating them where appropriate.  Members are Rocky Bonsal, Barbara Wisnom & Paul DeKanel.  If you think this is something you are being called to do, please contact Barbara. We will have news next month to keep you updated on our progress.

·                    Also, next month in the Messenger we will include a list of people serving on each of the  Committees of the Vestry.


That’s it for the January meeting.  Please give us feedback and let us know if this is useful information ~ or not.  Too much?  Not enough?  Suggestions for improvement?


Barbara Wisnom

“See” you next month!


The next Vestry Meeting is March 10th at 7:30 in Parish Hall





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You may return this form in 2 ways.  You may bring this form to church.  The Ushers will have a box for them at the Usher’s Table near where the bulletin is handed out.  You may also mail this form to the Church Office.  The office address is Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1229 Baker Avenue, Schenectady NY 12309-5711.






               Wedding Anniversaries

Susan & John Liberis                03/06      
Karen & Dennis Holcombe       03/28

Birthdays    *


John V. Casale                         03/01

Katherine Hoshko                    03/01

Ethan Brooks-McDonald          03/04

Barbara Wisnom                      03/04

Elizabeth MacFarland               03/05

Paul Pratico                              03/06

Thomas Casale                         03/07

Diane Bengtson Kilbourn          03/10

Kelly Nolan                              03/10

Logan Olberg                           03/10

Addison Schierenbeck              03/10

Jim Wolff                                  03/10

Adam Gibbs                             03/11

Norma Piscitelli                        03/11

Shirley Voelker                         03/13

Ted Conwell                             03/14

Roseann Caruso                       03/15

Budd Mazurek                         03/16

Grace Murphy-Nolan               03/18

Emily Blaufuss                          03/21

Brooks Brennan                       03/22

Joanne Frank                            03/22

Susan Townsend                      03/22

Dorothy Gibbs                          03/23

Martie Spang                            03/23

Alexa Wolff                              03/25

Madison Dominguez                 03/26

Bob Hagen                               03/26

Scott Bristol                             03/27

Linda Emaelaf                           03/27

Paul Pratico                              03/27

Diane Reed                              03/27

Julian Canavan                         03/28

Tracy Ormsbee                        03/29

Ralph May                               03/30

Helen Reid                               03/30

Daniel Correa                           03/31


* Please add or correct Birthdays and Anniversaries

Contact the office at 346-6241