The Messenger

Saint Stephen's Schenectady
Halloween Issue 
October 2010

in this issue

A. From Father James

B. School Days

C. More News

D. More Activities and Dates

Shield Dear Friends,

     When I first came to St. Stephen's I preached a sermon on proportional giving just before the Every Member Canvass.  After the Eucharist, an elderly lady said to me at the coffee hour, "You know, that's the first sermon I ever heard about money that didn't make me mad." I thanked her, but the import of her words didn't hit me until I was driving home one day later in the week: here was a faithful Christian who had been in church every Sunday for more than 80 years. She must have heard hundreds of sermons about money in various par­ishes from lots of priests-and they had all made her mad.

     What makes people mad when clergy talk about money?

     I think people get mad when we talk about giving as an obligation, as something that we should do, and something we should feel guilty about if we're not giving as much as the leadership wants us to. I think it makes people mad when we use the language of guilt and obligation when we talk about money and the Church.

     It makes us mad, because at some level we know that the Christian life is not about obligation. Despite how Church leaders try to turn Christianity into a series of command­ments and rules, somehow we know that it's not God's intention that we do what we're supposed to do because we should. God wants us to want to do the right.

     We are always motivated by desire, which is another way of saying that people do what they want to do. Christian conversion is coming to understand that what we really want for ourselves and for those we love are the same good things that God wants for us. The point of Christian life is the healing of the will - getting to the point where we want what God wants, where the arrow of our desire is aimed right at God's heart of love.

    So here's how I hope we will talk about money this fall. I'll start with the assumption that we want to be generous, not because someone says we're supposed to be generous. We want to be generous because we love God, and we love the Church, and we want St. Stephen's to thrive for generations to come. Talking this way about money, I think, will not make us mad; rather, it will help us unleash our desire to imitate God's generosity, and I hope we will come to see how we can be as generous as we've always wanted to be.





AA. From the Rector 

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, October 31st at the 8 & 10:15 Eucharists. 


              Blessing of the Animals

On Oct. 9th at 9am our congregation and any animals (on leashes or in cages!) will gather in front of the church.. 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."

Foyer Groups

Sign up forms for "Foyers - Fall '10 are available at the back of the church.  There is still time for you to sign up to participate in the fourteenth 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.

Confirmation or Reception?

               When a new person comes to Saint Stephen's and decides to become a member, s/he usually attends a series of four inquirers' classes.  The purpose of these classes is to talk about what the Episcopal Church in general and Saint Stephen's congregation in particular is like and how it compares to other churches. 

After attending the classes the person has a choice to join the church, or to remain an active supporter.  If the person had been confirmed in another non-Episcopal church, s/he would be 'received' by a Bishop with a laying-on of hands and a prayer.  If the person has never been confirmed in any church, then s/he would be 'confirmed' by a Bishop with a laying-on of hands and a slightly different prayer.  Either way, the person now is considered a member in the Episcopal Church and of Saint Stephen's congregation.  If s/he wishes to change membership to another Episcopal church, a letter will be sent from Saint Stephen's to the other church and the person now would be considered a member of that church.  No confirmation or reception is necessary. 


Becoming A Member of St. Stephen's

On Sunday, October 17th 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.  I 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.  They are required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church, but are open to all members of the Parish Family.  We will meet on Sunday mornings between Noon and 1:00 p.m. from October 17th through November 7th .  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.

Adult Education: From Christ to Constantine: 
The Trial and Testimony of the Early Church

The first three centuries were decisive for Christianity.  There were times when the very existence of the church itself was threatened as opponents tried to wipe it out.  This course will explore the formation of the early church from Christ to Constantine.  The video tapes which will start each session were filmed in original locations and use dramatic  re-creations to tell the story.
Classes take place in the rector's study on Thursday evenings at 7:30pm.  A sign-up sheet can be found on the Welcome Table at the back of the church.



  If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short-term basis, please call the parish office if you would like to have communion brought to you.  346-6241


Personal News from Fr. James

Dear Friends,

I want to thank all congregants who have made Lisa Westman feel so welcomed in our church family.  After having dated over the past six months, on September 13th I asked Lisa to marry me.  When I announced this to the congregation the following Sunday, I forgot to add that she did, indeed, say, "Yes."

Lisa has taught elementary school for the pasWeddingt twenty years in the East Greenbush school district.   She currently teaches third grade in Nasau, NY where she grew up and now lives with her parents.  Last year she was awarded "Teacher of the Year" by the school district.

Lisa is a member of First Reformed Church in Albany where she has sung in the choir for many years.  This summer she has been attending the 10:15am Eucharist at St. Stephen's and has recently joined our choir.  She is also learning about the Episcopal Church and will be taking the Anglican Ethos course this month.

We hope to be married at St. Stephen's on February 20th.  Since this is Lisa's first wedding, we hope to make it a very special affair.  Afterwards, we will be living in Moss House, the rectory.

Lisa and I look forward to making a new life together at St. Stephen's. 

Once again, thank you for your warm reception of Lisa into our congregation.


 Fr.  James

 B. School Days

                                         Sunday School Volunteers

Please consider helping with Children's Chapel.    We need two adult or high school student-leaders for each unit. Come and join us on Sunday mornings at 9:00am for learning and fun.  Substitutes are needed for each group.

Please call the office if you have any questions.



  Sunday school 2010

You are always welcomed in Sunday school.

Sunday school times and places:

Babies through 3 have Nursery in the Chapel.

Preschool through 4th graders meet in the Reid House from 10:15 until the Offertory.

Fourth, fifth and sixth gradersmeet from 9:00-10:00am. This group meets in the tower.

7th - 12th graders meet from 9:00-10:00am. This group meets in the Church Office.


Sunday School Link to our Website page on:


C. More  News
  Jump Back to B. School Days
  Jump Ahead to D. Activities & Dates 


     Pet Food For Blessing of the Animals

When you bring your own pet to the blessing of the animals next month, think of animals without homes by donating a bag, can of food or other supplies to the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society. The Sunday school children and youth group will be collecting items to take over to the shelter.

Tracy Ormsbee


Keeping Up-to-date

During the first weeks of October, we'll be updating the records we use to assemble the parish directory, mail the Messenger, and send out notices. It's all about being connected to one another. Please watch for me after Sunday services. I'll have the current directory, which you can check and correct. I'll also have my camera, so if you're not happy with the picture we have of you, or if we have no picture of you, we can fix that very quickly.

The information we would like to have includes names, address, phone numbers (land line and cell), e-mail addresses (up to three), and children's names and birthdays (minor children living at home). Thanks for your help. Let us know if any of that information needs to be corrected.

Chris Jones

Update on the New Parish Hall

The new Parish Hall has been delayed but it is still coming.  On August 3, bids to build the new parish hall were opened.  Unfortunately the bids were approximately 25% over our budget.  Since that time the architects have been discussing the problem with the contractors and modifying the design.  The changes will not modify the size, design or its usefulness to St. Stephen's.  To reduce expenses, the parish hall itself will be on a concrete slab rather than over several crawl spaces.  The heating system will be forced hot air rather than hot water.  These and other changes have been reviewed and approved by the Building Committee. 

The result is that we are about two months  delayed.  The revised design is currently out for bid.  We will open the new bids October 4.  The Vestry has to then approve the contract and we need to close with the bank.  We are planning for the contractor to start work the first part of November.

Austin Spang


Wardens Corner

 We are planning to have meetings with the congregation to discuss the progress St Stephen's has made on goals developed early this year to enhance the spiritual environment of our church family.  We will specifically address "First Friends Nursery School, Christian Education Director and the revitalization of our Sunday School.  We also will be discussing and asking for feedback that will allow us to intensify our "Outreach" to the poor, homeless and disenfranchised.

The meetings will be held after each service on a yet to be determined Sunday in late October.  The date will be published in a timely manner to allow maximum participation.
In addition, the nominating committee will be looking for new vestry members to fill positions for 2011, please consider the possibility of serving on the vestry, if you are interested please call Tracy.

Peace & Love
Carole Merrill-Mazurek
Tracy Ormsbee

Vestry meetings are open to all members of the congregation.  Vestry meetings are held the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30pm.  The Vestry does not meet in July or August
Feel free to contact any member of Vestry at any time if you have questions about what goes on at Vestry meetings, or if you have something you would like to bring before the Vestry for discussion.



 D D. More Activities and Dates

Our calendar is on line.  Click here:
 Link to the Saint Stephen's October Calendar 
 Jump ahead to Anniversaries and Birthdays

The Shop At St. Stephen's

We are  open at our new "location", now  at the back of the church.  Stop by and say hello, we have some items for Halloween also Thanksgiving cards. And Advent and Christmas items  on the way!!!! 

  Marilyn and Lily


The Interfaith Library Group

The Interfaith Library Group of the Capital Region will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 19 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at St. George's Episcopal Church, 912 Rt. 146, Clifton Park, NY 12065, about ½ mile west of Northway Exit 9. The program will be on noteworthy books (two books of poetry by Roger Housden-Ten poems to Change Your Life and Ten Poems to Last a Lifetime, and From the Holy Mountain: a journey among Christians of the Middle East by Wm. Dalrymple.  All are welcome. Those who plan to attend or who would like further information are asked to call Jane Tatge (Glenville).


Ladies Luncheon at St. Stephen's

All ladies are invited to St. Stephen's Ladies Luncheon on Saturday, October 16th from 11am - 1pm at the Turf Tavern in Scotia.  We will eat, talk, listen to our featured speaker Stacy DeBritz and have lots of fun!  Tickets are $8 each and are available from Cheryl Syta after the 10:15 service.

Thanks so much!


SICM Dinner

Coming on November 7, 2010 is going to be another Food For The Pantry dinner.  This year it will be conveniently nearby at St. Helen's Church on Union Street.  It will be a served chicken dinner and there will also be a silent auction. 

Tickets are $25.
Please see Eunice or Marti to get your tickets.

The SICM pantry has a great need for Stage I baby food.  Now that the pantry is open four days a week the need is greater for food and volunteers.  

The Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) is an ecumenical partnership, founded in 1957, of 58 congregations (15 denominations) for ministries of social service and social justice.  Individual programs operate at differing locations and times. 
SICM Food Program:

Emergency Food Pantry, 839 Albany Street, Schenectady, 346-4035;

The Food Pantry provides emergency food to people of Schenectady County who are in need.  In 2009, more than 40,300 people received emergency provisions to feed them for 3 days; a total of 362,997 meals were provided.  Over 130 volunteers were involved in the program, donating over 15,000 hours.  The SICM Food Program needs volunteers to:

   -  greet guests/file cards
   -  intake/interview guests
   -  pack groceries/repack bulk items
   -  work the produce counter
   -  distribute food at service window
   -  help load/unload food items at pantry
   -  sort food
   -  organize a food drive at your organization
   -  input computer data
   -  plant/weed/harvest at community gardens
   -  lobby/advocate special events

The pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday each week, from 9:00 until noon, and also on the last Thursday of the month for Mass Distribution.  Occasionally help is needed on other days, as well.  Consider working during your school vacations or if you have mornings free.  Volunteer once a month, once a week, or whatever fits your schedule.


At times in our lives, everything seems to make sense to us, and the joy of these moments takes our breath away. It is a moment of redemption so profound we almost weep and are left with a feeling of purification. There are times when we are in the midst of life - moments of confrontation with birth or death, or moments of beauty when nature or love is fully revealed, or moments of terrible loneliness - times when a holy and awesome awareness comes upon us. It may come as deep inner stillness or as a rush of overflowing emotion. It may seem to come from beyond us, without any provocation, or from within us, evoked by music or by a sleeping child. If we open our hearts at such moments, creation reveals itself to us in all its unity and fullness.  And when we return from such a moment of awareness, our hearts long to find some way to capture it in words forever, so that we can remain faithful to its higher truth. When we search for a name to give the truth we feel at these moments, we call it God, and when we capture that understanding in timeless poetry, we call it prayer.

Peter Nelson



Living our faith to bring help to those in need.

Prayer is one of the most important ways you can support Episcopal Relief & Development and in turn, the people we serve.
Prayer for people in need is an essential part of Christian faith. It brings us into communion with God, where our hearts can be tuned to the needs of others - especially those who are suffering.

If you're led to pray for Episcopal Relief & Development and those we serve, simply review our country pages to learn about our efforts in specific places. You can also remember in prayer the following groups of people and the struggles they face:
· Children whose health and survival are uncertain
· People who are hungry or facing starvation
· Those living in war zones or places where disasters have struck
· People suffering from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other preventable diseases
· Women who face discrimination, abuse and lack of maternal health care
· The worldwide Church, especially those dioceses and churches in places of great need
· Episcopal Relief & Development's partners who struggle to help people and communities with limited resources and in challenging circumstances
· Episcopal Relief & Development's staff and partner agency staff who travel frequently to remote places
· For all who are concerned about people in need and vulnerable children, that we would be generous with our treasure

To support Episcopal Relief & Development's work, please visit or call 1.800.334.7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.


                        Thank you

Galina Bayer is very grateful to everyone who prayed for Mark during his recent hospitalization. He is now recovered and at home.


Wedding Anniversaries and Birthdays


Natalie Claus................10/1
Kabby Lowe................10/3
Eugene Whitney............10/5
Susan Liberis................10/7
Erik Chambers..............10/8
Grant Jaquith................10/8
Jacob Denofio...............10/9
Herbert Gretz...............10/11
Sara Palko...................10/11
Janet Schlansker...........10/11
Don Molino.................10/12
Joe Palko....................10/13
Diana Belardo  .............10/14
Cameron Pierce............10/14
Susan Feyrer................10/15
Polly Mathews.............10/15
Rosemarie Jaquith..........10/16
George Chambers..........10/17
Norma Flora................10/19
Katherine Casale..........10/20
Suzanne Wolff.............10/20
Danté Anthony.............10/21
Tom Miller.................10/21
Spencer Scardino..........10/21
Karen Holcombe..........10/22
Michael DeBritz..........10/24
Allie Edison................10/25
Sabrina Chambers..........10/26
Colton Jaquith  .............10/26
Peter Nelson................10/27
Eunice Chouffi.............10/28
Matthew Canavan..........10/30
Samuel Holcombe..........10/30
Vera Crates..................10/31
Christopher Morin..........10/31
Emily Riordan   .............10/31Anniversary
Robert & Bonita Bailey          10/9
Bob & Angela Strong            10/14
Herbert & Shirley Gretz         10/19

Quick Links...

Calendar on Website


St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
1935 The Plaza
Schenectady, New York   12309

 Church Staff 
The Rev. Dr. James R. McDonald, Rector
The Rev. Patricia L. Jones, Deacon
Dr. Timothy Olsen, Director of Music

The Vestry
Sr Warden, Carole Merrill-Mazurek
Jr Warden, Tracy Ormsbee
Class of 2010:
Sid Woodcock
Susan Feyrer
Peter Nelson
Class of 2011:
Austin Spang
Tracy Schierenbeck
Linda Emaelaf
Class of 2012:
Deborah O'Connor
 Millie Gittinger
Matt Canavan

Serving without Vote:
Treasurer: Denise Crates
 Chancellor: Rosemarie Jaquith
The Church Office
Our office is located at 1229 Baker Avenue.
The telephone number is (518) 346-6241
The office fax number is (518) 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,