The Messenger

April 2008

Dear Friends:

Recently you have heard much about ‘stewardship’. Stewardship is not just about pledging money to the church. Stewardship is a way of life. When mission (God’s work) and ministry (our works) get more and more in synch, we get a life wherein not 10%, not 50%, but 100% of our time, talent, and resources at the service of God’s mission. We begin to live consciously and intentionally in the really real world.

The real world is home. In the course of our life’s journey, before we discover where home is, most of us live in and between two worlds. One is the real world in which God is making us whole. The other is a counterfeit world ruled by our economy rather than God’s. During life’s journey, we wrestle with which world to choose as our real world.

What we have been conditioned to consider the real world, however, is a world of strange gods and delusion. That is the world in which we have been conditioned to invest so much of our time, energy, talent, and resources.

The depth of our stewardship depends upon which world we choose to live in. If we choose the world of delusion, our stewardship will be limited to what is left over after our time, talent, energy and resources have been sacrificed to strange gods. If we choose the world where God wants to make us whole, then our whole selves - 100% of our time, talent, energy and resources - will be devoted to our partnership with God in mission and ministry.

The difference between being in one world or the other may be likened to the difference between “believing that” and “believing in.” Picture someone pushing a wheelbarrow across a tightrope, high. above. If you “believe that,” you watch from below and perhaps bet ten dollars (some small percentage) that the person will make it across. If you “believe in,” you put yourself in the wheelbarrow. Stewardship is the spiritual discipline which determines whether “I believe” means “I believe in” or “I believe that.”

As you take part in the two congregational conversations planned for this month, please be aware of these distinctions

Have a blessed Easter season.


April In The Church

Thank you......Thank you

• . . To all cooks who cooked and baked our suppers before our Lenten studies and Congregational Conversation.
• . To the Seder meal team who prepared for us a wonderful and meaningful meal
• . . To the Alter Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Easter Day beautiful with flower arrangements.
• . .To Tim Olsen, the adult and children’s choirs, and all instrumentalists. To the lectors, chalice bearers and acolytes who made our worship possible.
• . . To all those who helped in the toddler and nursery rooms.
• . .To the ushers and to the offering counters.
• . .To our Administrative Assistant, Kathy, who worked so hard to prepare bulletins, and make other arrangements.
• To Than, our Sexton who made the church shine.
• . To the church women and students who made our palm crosses.

.And the list goes on and on.

April In The Church

Sunday Morning Adult Education in April

In the month of April we will explore the roots of Western philosophies and religions by using expert commentary from scholars, theologians and historians, on-location footage and authentic re- reations. This includes three episodes covering the teachings of Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, Sartre and more. The first segment in the collection examines ancient Greek and Roman philosophy as well as the foundations of modern Christianity thought. The second segment explores the effect of scientific and mathematical discoveries on philosophy and religion in the Age of Enlightenment, covering the Rationalist movement, the British Empiricists and more. The final segment examines the Industrial Revolution’s impact on western philosophy, covering theories of evolution, Existentialism, the Pragmatists, linguistics and more. The classes will take place in the parish hall at 9am.



The next AGAPE meeting will be

Friday April 11th at 6PM.

We plan to have a speaker from Schenectady County Office for the Aging on the subject of Long Term Care Insurance.

Where? The Parish Room
Who? Anyone and Everyone!
Sorry - no child care, but children are, as always, very welcome.

Please Bring
- Pot luck dish
- Own Plate
- Own Utensils

Call Pauline Holmes


The St. Clare chapter of the Daughters of the King

meets the third Saturday each month at 9:00 AM for about two hours.
We invite you to join us for prayer, study and service,
but ask that you please speak to one of us first, as our meeting locations change from time to time.

Members are Barbara Adams, Angel Anthony, Eunice Chouffi, Marilyn Humphrey, Kabby Lowe, Julie McDonald, Margaret Rivenburg, Debbie Trawick, Mary Whitney and Richey Woodzell.

Capital Region Theological Center - Program Announcements

“Going Beyond Church Walls:” Becoming Agents of Peace & Justice

Saturday April 5. 9am-3pm at First Congregational Church, 405 Quail St. Albany.

Participants will develop a plan to strengthen their congregation’s capacity for public ministry.

 Disaster Awareness Preparedness Workshop

 Saturday, April 19. 9am-4pm at First Lutheran Church, Albany.

The course will assist churches, leaders and communities with planning for crisis situations — flood, fire, pandemic, or a community catastrophe. All courses are open to clergy & laity of all denominations. Registration information available at

Sunday School and Vacation Bible School
By Laura Davis

Celebrating Easter Season and Pentecost in Sunday School

In mid April we will begin our last Sunday school unit of the program year. The preschoolers and kindergarteners will be singing their way through April and May. The 1st3 graders will be learning about the saints of the church. The 4th6th graders will be focusing on history of the church. The youth group continues to have great discussions around topics that link our tradition with stories and situations we are experiencing today.

I thank Stacy DeBritz. Stacy led the children in 1st6t grades through the creation the Stations of the Cross during middle of March. The stations were displayed during Holy Week and a copy of all of the stations will be given to the Sunday school children (1st..6th grade) next year before Holy Week. As of Palm Sunday, the children have collected almost 200 dollars (mostly change) in their ERD Hope Chests. Thank you to all of the families that participated. A special thank you to George and  Richey Woodzell, Dave and Andrei Crates and Suzanne Davis who stayed after church on Palm Spring to count all of those wonderful coins.

Thank you to Allison deKanel who always makes the Children’s Stations of the Cross so special.

Thank you to Tracy Ormsbee and Melinda Renken who organized the Flowering of the Cross. What a special way for the children to participate in the celebration of Easter.

Thank you to the Christian and Melinda Renken who coordinated the Easter Egg Hunt for the children on Easter Sunday. Allison deKanel’s “Alleluia” eggs were also greatly appreciated.


If you haven’t had a chance to come to Sunday school regularly, you are always welcomed. Sunday school meets from 9:00 to 10:00 downstairs in the community room for 1st6t grades. The preschoolers and kindergarteners meet just after the Gospel during the 10:15 service. And the 7th- 12th graders meet in the chapel after the 10:15 service until 12:30.

Please contact me if you have any concerns or questions.  Laura Davis

Welcome Aboard the Ark: Vacation Bible School

As we draw up our plans for the Ark, children and adults are needed to fill it, once the Ark is built. We will be ready for the rains July 7th and will be back on dry land on Julyl2th. While we are on the Ark, we’ll be learning how special we are to be part of God’s family.

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a joint effort with St. Stephen’s and Union Presbyterian churches. VBS is for kids 4 — 10 years of age. It is a special week not only for the kids, but also for the volunteers. It is held Monday (7/7) through Friday (7/12) from 9:15-noon at Union Presbyterian Church. We will be having a potluck dinner and worship service on Friday evening (7/12) at 6:00pm at St. Stephen’s Church.

If you are interested in helping out with VBS, please see me. We are looking for a team of adults to lead the children in crafts. and another team to lead the games each day. There are many other opportunities available for teenagers and adults. Next month look for registration forms for the children.

Laura Davis

Church World Service Kits to help those in poverty or in need following natural disasters During April the Daughters of the King will be assembling baby kits and emergency clean-up buckets for Church World Service (see the March Messenger). During the week of April 20 we will pack the kits and deliver them to Union Presbyterian Church for pickup. We invite you to join us by checking out the display in the parish hall extension, taking a card and purchasing the item(s) listed before April 20. Thank you!    Richey Woodzell

CROP Walk forms are here!

The annual Schenectady CROP Walk for the Hungry will be held on Sunday, May 4th, beginning at St. Helen’s School on Upper Union Street, looping through Central Park and back. Registration is at 12:30 PM, with the walk/run starting at 1:30.

CROP is the arm of Church World Service which offers relief to the hungry. Funds raised by CROP walks all over the U.S. help to provide food internationally in areas of poverty and after natural and human-made disasters. In addition, 25% of the money raised stays in the local area to support food pantries, the Senior Meals programs, and agencies that provide meals for those in need.

Please sign up to walk — individually, as a family, or with friends! We walk one day each year because others, here and overseas, walk every day for water, food, shelter, or survival as refugees. The walk itself is a living symbol and witness for those who walk every day.

The CROP walk is 5 kilometers, or about 3.1 miles, which should take about an hour — or much less, if you choose to run the route. There will also be a “Golden Mile” for those who would like a shorter path. Take a registration/sponsorship form to sign up sponsors who pledge money to CROP, and bring your form with you to the walk. We will provide St. Stephen’s CROP Walk T- hirts for all participants.

For those of you unable to walk with us, please sponsor one of our walkers. Check the sign-up list near the sponsorship forms.

If you have questions, please talk to Richey Woodzell


Episcopal Relief and Development International Women’s Day

Episcopal Relief and Development Women’s Day 2008 was on Saturday, March 8. As women and their children make up the vast majority of the world’s one billion people living in poverty, Episcopal Relief and Development is especially committed to working to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 3: To promote gender equality and empower women by promoting health, fighting disease and creating economic opportunities. Episcopal Relief and Development’s programs directly benefit women and their families.

To help make the world a better place for women and their children please make a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development, online at , or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116- 058.

Episcopal Relief and Development is an agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States. We rebuild after disasters and empower people by offering lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HI V/AIDS and malaria.

All Parish Conversation, Lighthouse & Garden Tools

You are invited to an All Parish Conversation
Sunday, April 13, at 11:45, in Parish Hall, following the 10:15 service
Refreshments and child care will be provided.

Among other things, we will talk about our bylaws and how they could, or should, affect our spending decisions in the future.

We want to include you. If you are new, or just want to learn more about the workings of our church, please come to share, or observe. We plan a friendly, and thoughtful discussion, and your ideas may make the difference. Or, you may want to merely learn about St. Stephens, and churches, and you are welcome to just listen.

“In the presence of our loving God, and in a spirit of family connection,” please come to this time of exploring ways to fulfill our mission, “. . .to glorify God by reaching out to others, universally, with hands that serve, hearts and minds that welcome, and voices that carry the good news of God’s redeeming love to all”

We hope to see you there.


We have a Lighthouse in Schenectady
Part 2 of the Bethesda House article

The Lighthouse is a part of Bethesda House. The Lighthouse is Schenectady’s “HousingFirst” solution to chronic homelessness. Many years ago HUD (Housing and Urban Development) figured out that folks who have been homeless for a long time don’t really have the luxury to care about when their next appointment is or what forms they need to fill out to apply for assistance as they are more concerned about simply surviving day to day. HUD realized people who are chronically homeless need a home: Housing-First. This program provides permanent supported housing so that basic human needs can be met: shelter, food, clothing and safety. At their own pace they can reconnect and learn to live again without the worries of “street life”, where they will sleep?, where they will find food?, Who is going to try and hurt them?

The Lighthouse is a 10 bed permanent housing facility. It is always full and has been very successful. Tom Morley told us many stories while we were at Bethesda House in February. Residents of Lighthouse have stopped abusing drugs and alcohol without being forced to go through a rehab program. Most of the residents have reconnected with their families. Tom has seen that once people have those basic needs met they can begin to take care of themselves and become contributing members of the community again.

The Lighthouse is hope that we will end homelessness. The hope is that in the near future Schenectady’s Lighthouse will have a partner, “Liberty House”, which will offer more rooms for those in our community who need it. Thank you to Tom Morley who spent time with us when we brought over the hygiene kits.    Laura Davis

Garden Tools Can Have a Second Home

The volunteers who work on the church flower gardens must bring all tools, even wheelbaroows, from home! Our goal is to change this situation and create a collection of gardening implements that can be stored in one of the church sheds. If you have tools in good shape that you no longer use, please consider this project. We could use: a wheelbarrow, forks, rakes, claws, clippers, snips, bulb planters, and sturdy screw drivers for digging up Bishops’s Weed.

For further information, please contact Marilyn Causey.Watch the church bulletin and the Messenger for the date of the May garden work day!   Marilyn Causey

The Q&ACorner
By Barbara Wisnom

The Q&A Corner is 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.


My sister’s husband is undergoing chemo & it’s a really tough time for the whole family.
How do I go about having the congregation pray for all of them?

Signed, Believer in the Power of Prayer


 Dear Believer, First let me say that your family is fortunate to have you in their lives. You sound like a wonderfully caring and compassionate person.

You have identified one of the benefits of being a member of a church community. That is, having the community support you through their collective prayers. At St. Stephen’s, there are at least three ways you can ask for prayers, for yourself, and for others.

One is by using the Prayer List at the back of the church on the Usher’s Table. It’s usually a yellow piece of paper on a clipboard. You can write the person’s whole name or just their fist name on this list. This list is available at both services every Sunday. Throughout the week, at daily Morning Prayer Fr. James, Deacon Pat and others pray for the people listed. There is no limit to the number of names you write down, nor is there any limit on the number of weeks you can ask for prayers.

Another way is to contact a member of the Daughters of the King. The Daughters are a group of women whose mission is the extension of Christ’s kingdom through prayer, service and evangelism. They pray daily for the concerns of people at St. Stephen’s. The names of who they pray for are known only to them (and God). To ask the Daughters of the King to pray for your concerns, contact Debbie Trawick.

A third way prayers may be requested is through what is called the Prayer Chain. This is a group of people from St. Stephen’s who, as a part of their daily discipline of prayer, include the petitions of our congregation. This is also a quiet and confidential way to ask for prayers. To ask for prayers through the Prayer Chain, simply call Kathy Miller at the church office: 346- 6241

Of course, in addition to these three “formal” ways, there are many others. Simply talking to your fellow parishioners and asking them to pray for your concern is always an option. You can speak privately to Father James and/or Deacon Pat at any time to ask for prayers. The bottom line is that you can choose one or all of the options. The most important thing is that the focus is prayer — I don’t think God is too particular about the process!        Barbara Wisnom

The Picture board

I’m working on it! It’s not always obvious which photographs from the old board need to be taken down and put to rest in the files. It is obvious that we need to get some new photographs up there. Children grow up surprisingly quickly, so if you’re a young family with kids, we need a new picture at least every couple of years. For us old folks, it doesn’t make as much difference: I look kind of like I did ten years ago. But if you were three ten years ago, then you look quite different.

Please look at the board (it’s roughly alphabetical). If you would like a replacement photo, I will be glad to give it a try. It’s often convenient to do so right after church. I’ll usually be available in the front of the nave after the service ends (I’m the tall bearded guy with the camera). If you would prefer to supply your own photograph, that would be fine also. Here are a couple of pictures I’ve taken in the past couple of weeks” Michael Dixon and Kathy Crannell in the first one, and Karen Holcombe with her kids in the second. Now that you know who they are, you can greet them by name!     Chris Jones


The Welcoming Church - Really?

While attending a funeral in England a couple of weeks ago, we saw the following sign in the narthex of Christ Church, Burbage: As you may know one of the concerns we have, as in any church, is that we project a feeling of welcome.

“The whole of the Sittings in this Church are Free and Un-appropriated For Ever.
To avoid confusion and to enable constant Attendants at the Services to occupy the same Sittings every Sunday the following simple Rules are recommended, and all Persons attending this Church are earnestly requested to observe them.
Strangers and Visitors to occupy the Seats having a Card with the word Visitors attached to them. The regular attendants at Church to occupy the Seats marked with their names - which Seats will be reserved for them, as long as their attendance is regular and punctual.
August 26, 1861. (Signed -) Churchwardens”

By Mike Bishop & Pauline Holmes

By Barbara Wisnom

Buildings and Grounds
The asbestos inspection of Reid House is complete. The report shows that we do not have a significant problem with asbestos.

Communications Task Force
• Parishioners are being provided with various ways to keep us up to date on current address, phone & email information (see tear off at end of this issue of the Messenger). As always, please let Kathy Miller, Church Secretary, know of any changes (346-6241;
• Chris Jones is working on updating the Picture Board
• Work on the Ministry Booklet continues, and publication is still anticipated for spring.

Architectural Task Force
Representatives of the architectural firm have had one meeting with members of the Architectural Task Force. They took many pictures of the property. Members of the firm will meet again in April.
We are on target with our time line. We ask your continued prayers for this project.

Bylaws Task Force
The first step is to collect pertinent background information (national and diocesan canons, bylaws from other churches, resources from the national church) to ensure that we have current and accurate information. The next step is to review our current bylaws against the resource information. The expectation is that the Task Force will have a report for the Vestry by the June meeting. We expect the report will include sections of the bylaws that do not need change, those that do need change or updates, new sections, and sections which may need to be deleted.
As we progress through this process, we will keep the congregation apprised of what we find. If you have questions, please contact Rocky Bonsal or Barbara Wisnom.

New Business
Sid Woodcock presented an overview of issues we need to be aware of given the current situation in the financial world. For example, we need to continue to be conscientious about reviewing revenue & expenses. We need to seriously consider any expenses that have not been budgeted for.

Fr. James reported that we received a thank you letter Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) for our recent contribution of $90. Parishioners are encouraged to visit the ERD website at  We reviewed correspondence from George Woodzell asking the Vestry to consider increasing our outreach gift to Union College Campus Ministry. The Vestry agreed to take this under consideration and discuss this at our next meeting. If you have questions about the value of the Campus Ministry Program, we encourage you to talk with George, who is on their Board.

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

“See” you next month!


Wedding Anniversaries

Jack & Olive Carter Luczka    4/5
Gillian & Sidney Woodcock    4/5
Steven Koch & Susan Townsend    4/6
Budd & Carole Merrill-Mazurek   4/29
Josephina & Peter Nevius    4/29


4/1   Dennis Wisnom
4/3   June Russell
4/3   Todd Templeton
4/4   Alik Versocki
4/5   Jack Feyrer
4/9   Gerald Perregaux
4/10   Lucy Clark
4/10   Gordon Jaquith
4/11   Victoria Brooks-McDonald
4/12   Bailey Mertz
4/12   Steven Ras
4/15   Kathy Miller
4/16   Dave Crates
4/16   Donald Reid
4/17   James Soule’
4/20   Elizabeth Varno
4/21   Abigail Cohen
4/21   Rebecca Emaelaf
4/21   Saphirah Mykoo
4/22   Dennis Holcombe

4/23   Cindy Marshall
4/25   Veronica Cohen
4/28   Denis Manor

Please add or correct Birthdays and Anniversaries Contact the office at 346-6241.

The Calendar can be reached from the home page of the St. Stephen's web site

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

The Vestry

Sr. Warden, Ryan Davis,  Jr. Warden,Rocky Bonsai,
Austin Spang, Sid Woodcock, Glenn Kaler
Melinda Renkin, Tracy Ormsbee, Barbara Wisnom,
Susan Feyrer, Amy Soule, Peter Nelson,

Serving without Vote:
Treasurer: Denise Crates
Chancellor: Rosemarie Jaquith

The Church Office
Our office is located at 1229 Baker Avenue. It is open on weekdays, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm.
The office telephone number is (5 18) 346-6241
The office fax number is (5 18) 346-6242
If we are unable to answer your call, please leave a message. We will call you back as soon as possible.

Our email is:   
The rector’s email is:
Our website is

The Messenger is published September - June. Please submit articles to Larry Levine