Thanksgiving Issue 
November 2010

 Dear Friends,

  The other day a woman came to me asking for assistance in helping her leave her husband who has been abusive for many years.  She has two young children and needs a security deposit on an apartment before she can leave home.  Usually I would turn to my 'discretionary fund' to help, but just days before I had helped another young mother with her winter fuel bill.  Both needs were quite legitimJamesate, but I did not have money to help the abused mother.  Also this past year I have used the fund for scholarship assistance, temporary housing, gasoline for a person who was stranded, and many meals at Friendly's.  

The needs of the poor and marginalized in Schenectady have always been high.  This year I have seen that need rise much higher.  Some  have reached the limit of their lifetime welfare payments, others were the first to be laid-off from work in a worsening economy.  The Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) has confirmed that what I am experiencing is happening all over the city.  The churches have a small but very important role to play in helping those who need the help.

In the past St. Stephen's has been one of the larger contributors to SICM, however, during the past two years our parish budget has limited our ability to give to a number of helping agencies in our area. 

The members of the vestry and the parish council have renewed their commitment to leading St. Stephen's in helping those who need help.  In the coming months, you will be told about opportunities for hands-on volunteer help and suggestions for your donations to needs, especially in the inner-city of Schenectady.

Our congregation has always been generous with our time, talent and money to outreach groups in our area.  Let us all renew that commitment in these difficult times.

Fr. James+

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

This traditional service (since 1955!) will be held this year at Proctor's in the GE Theater beginning at 7pm, Sunday, November 21st.

Refreshments and the opportunity for conversation will follow. Unique in that it brings together diverse faith groups each year, there will once again be participation from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Unitarian faith communities. This year's guest preacher will be the Rev. Paterson from First United Methodist Church.

The Church recognizes the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday as a holy day for our land, life, and heritage.  It finds its roots in observances begun by colonists in Massachusetts and Virginia, a tradition later taken up and extended to the whole of the New American nation by action of the Continental Congress.

Our celebration of Thanksgiving stems from our many blessings of God's good creation.  As Children of God we are to live our lives in a spirit of thanksgiving.  We are to be faithful stewards of the earth as God's creation, given to us as a sacred trust.


 November 25th

Thursday morning at 10 am

St. Stephen's Church


The Woman Behind Thanksgiving Day

Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, for 40 years the editor of "Godey's Lady's Book," the mother of all magazinesfor women, was responsible for our observance of Thanksgiving Day.

In 1846 Mrs. Hale, a widow with five children, began her campaign to have Thanksgiving Day established as a national holiday.  Some individual states listened to her and acted, but the Federal Government ignored her pleas for 17 years.

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln heeded Mrs. Hale, and the result was the first Thanksgiving proclamation by a president since George Washington.
(Mrs. Hale not only edited a magazine, not only raised children as a single parent, not only was responsible for Thanksgiving's being recognized as a national holiday, she also wrote the poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb!")


    Almighty and gracious Father, we give thanks for the fruits of the earth in
    their season and for the labors of those who harvest them.

    Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision
    of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your
    Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and
    the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Altar Flower Deal

Consider taking part in donating flowers for the Altar.  There are many reasons for donating flowers for Sunday morning.  One is in remembrance of someone.  Another is in thanksgiving for someone or a group of people.  If you would like you can find someone else who would like to donate flowers on the same Sunday, you may split the cost ($35). Both names will be recognized.   There are coupons at in this month's Messenger for Christmas flowers and for flowers next year.  We need to fill the calendar for 2011 or we will be using dusty plastic flowers in gross shades of pink.

                            Christmas Flowers
I would like to donate flowers for the Christmas Season:

In honor of:________________
In memory of:______________
Deadline for Christmas flowers is December 14th

                   2011 Altar Flower Calendar
I would like to have the altar flowers given in my name
On (date)_______________________
In honor of______________________
In memory of____________________
I've enclosed a check for $35.

Please mail to the Parish Office, 1229 Baker Ave.  Schenectady, NY  12309
Or place this coupon and your check in the collection plate.

Sunday school 2010

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:


Gates of Heaven Babysitting

by George Woodzell

For the past several years, St. Stephen's youth group has provided child care to the folks at Congregation Gates of Heaven for their High Holy Days celebrations. Here's the letter we received from the congregation:

      "We are very grateful to your wonderful youth group for providing
      babysitting services for our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
      We heard from parents that the babysitters were just terrific. They
      were mature, they asked good questions, they followed directions
      perfectly, and the children really enjoyed being with them.

      We feel that your youth provided the most positive High Holy Day
      babysitting that we have had in many years.

      Please pass on our thanks and high praise to the teens and the adult
      helpers. They deserve it!"


These sessions are a perfect illustration of the good that comes from doing good: We help our friends at Gates of Heaven, and we earn money for work camp and other youth group activities. But, when we escort the children into the sanctuary for part of the Rosh Hashanah service, we also have the rare opportunity to hear someone blow the shofar (ram's horn), and after the service we have the opportunity to spend time with Rabbi Matt Cutler, to see the Torah scrolls and learn something of the traditions of the Jewish faith.

Here's a picture of Ellen Ormsbee, Maddie Cleworth, and one of their little friends:


New Members Always Welcome in Choir

     The Choir is always looking for new members. If you can read music and have some experience singing in four parts, please contact Tim Olsen, Director of Music, for more information. The Choir rehearses Thursdays from 7:30-9:00 p.m. and sings at the 10:15 a.m. service from September through early June.

     If you can't make a long-term commitment, we're also looking for people who would just like to sing at our special 10:45 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Tim Olsen can be reached at


Tim Olsen


                                                 Wardens Corner

The Wardens, Carole Merrill-Mazurek and Tracy Ormsbee, held a State of St. Stephen's meeting after each of the services Sunday, Oct. 31. It was a chance to bring the congregation up to date on actions that have been taken since the annual meeting and meetings with consultant Jim Garrett earlier in the year.

        Tracy Ormsbee

For St. Stephen's Leadership          

(See the article above.)   Some of these jobs may be being done already.Please think about where you might help the congregation. 

1. Tending to the congregation, pastoral care
______Follow up with food, gifts
______Following up visits.
______Visiting new families.
______Following up with new families, putting them in touch with mentor families.
______Calling families who have missed church 3 times in a row to be sure all is well.
______Recognizing accomplishments, milestones, significant moments in parishioners
______Recognizing accomplishments, milestones, significant moments in parishioners
          lives publicly on Sunday.
______Attend planned congregational events.
______Sending birthday, anniversary postcards

2. Tending to the organization, leadership
______Maintaining communication with the parish - 3-5 ways each week
______E-mail - Answering or passing on to appropriate person
______Telephone calls
______Facebook, social media
______Web site
______Nursery School

3. Tending to the buildings and grounds
______New building

4. Tending to finances, growing the budget
______Dealing with budget shortfalls

Vestry Meeting Summary

October 11, 2010

Building and Grounds: 

  • Austin announced that Allegrone had the low bid, 2,135,400, for the building of the new parish hall.  He has sent Allegrone's contract to Jack Feyrer to forward to our attorney, Tom Hayner, to review. The Vestry voted to authorize the wardens to sign a contract with Allegrone, not to exceed $2,135, 000, pending approval by our attorney
  • Grounds:  The Vestry voted to hire T & P Lawn and Landscaping to handle our lawn care and snow removal, pending a favorable recommendation from First Presbyterian. 

Endowment Committee:

  • New Building Business Plan:  We need Diocesan approval when applying for a mortgage on any church property.  The Diocesan Architectural Committee needs to give its approval.  They have received our architectural plans and our business plan. 

Nursery School Taskforce: 

  • The Vestry voted to purchase First Friends Nursery School for $12,000. 

Capital Campaign Taskforce: 

  • The co-chairs of the Capital Campaign Taskforce are Tracy Ormsbee and Carole Merrill-Mazurek.

Finance Committee:

  • Every Member Canvass:  The Finance Committee has agreed to oversee thChildThanksyoue Every Member Canvass.  Our goal is to have the letter sent out by Nov. 9, and all pledges in by November 17. 

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.

Update on the New Parish Hall

Progress is being made but slower than I'd like.  The new bids from the three contractors were opened Oct 3.  The bid from Allegrone Construction from Pittsfield, MA which made cuchthe lowest bid of $2.13M has been accepted by the Vestry.  Allegrone Construction is a family owned business with a reputation for doing quality work as demonstrated on their web site, 

We've found that in order have a mortgage on the Church property, we need to get approval from the Bishop and the Standing Committee.  We've submitted the required information and are hoping for approval at the Committee's next meeting, Nov 1. 

To be ready for demolition as soon as we get approval, we have had the old building surveyed for asbestos.  By the time you read this Messenger, we will have hired an asbestos abatement contractor.

Austin Spang

SICM Dinner Nov. 7th

There are still tickets available for the Harvest for the Pantry Dinner on November 7 at St. Helen's Church, Union Street
from 4 - 7.  Before or after you eat the chicken dinner don't forget to look at the items offered in the Silent Auction., Christmas is coming soon.


The need at the pantry continues to grow.  Thank you to all who bring donations to church for our basket.  If you would prefer a check made out to SICM, marked food pantry goes a long way, helping purchases from the Regional Food Bank.

Marti Spang

                 The Shop at Saint Stephen's

Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas---a busy time for all.  Take out the stress of these holidays and stop at the shop, we will have lots of gifts, cards, and calandars.New Advent wreaths, advent candles and craft kits for the kids to make their own Advent wreaths.. Also many  lovely ornaments in keeping with the seasons ahead.  And dont forget to look at our Encore center where "everything old is  new again.", You  never know what treasures are hiding  there!! Come shop with us, and remember The Shop's profits go to fund scholarships to the youth of our parish to use for work camp. 

Thanks so much, 

Lily and Marilyn

An Opportunity to Feed the Hungry - Turkey Pallooza!

On November 13 we have an opportunity to work with Union College students in a program to feed the hungry in Schenectady: Union students are participating in Campus Kitchens, a national program that gathers unused dining service food, prepares hot meals, and takes the food to community organizations that feed the hungry. On weekends Union students gather the food at College Park (the old Ramada Inn), prepare the meal, and then take it to Schenectady City Mission where they serve the 150 or so guests who go there each Saturday. On November 13, the students plan to serve a special Thanksgiving dinner, a Turkey Pallooza, but they need the help of local churches since many of the students will not be available.If you can help with cooking, transporting, or serving the food, or if you would like to contribute food or money, please contact George Woodzell.

Dining With a Truly International FlairOn December 1, the Campus Protestant Ministry, which St. Stephen's has supported for many years, will hold their annual Thanksgiving Potluck supper for Union College's international students. During the period between Thanksgiving and New Years Union is closed, leaving many of  Union's international students with few options for meals  and companionship; these pot luck suppers provide those students with an opportunity to enjoy a home-cooked meal, and meet and chat with members of the community.
If you'd like to share a meal and talk with some very bright, interesting young people from literally every corner of the earth, come join us! The college dining service will provide turkey, but the rest of the meal is up to us, so bring a side dish, salad, or dessert, and enjoy an evening of good food and even better fellowship.Contact George Woodzell if you'd like to join us.

ERD Logo


Albany Via Media is pleased to announce that on Saturday, November 13, Dr. Robert W. Radtke, president of Episcopal Relief and Development will be giving a presentation entitled: "Working to Heal a Hurting World: An update on Episcopal Relief and Development." The presentation begins at 2PM. A reception with refreshments follows. Following the reception, there will be a brief business meeting. All are welcome and encouraged to join us. The event will be held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 10 North Main Avenue, Albany, NY 12203. For more information visit the Albany Via Media website at
                                                        Dennis Wisnom, Albany Via Media.






o 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.


New newsletter from
The Order of the Daughters of the King

In October the Order of the Daughters of the King emailed their FIRST online newsletter.  You may sign up for future newsletters by clicking the following link, and once you are on the DOK Website, using the green bar on the right of the web screens where it says "Sign Up for Our Newsletter".  Link to the
What's New page and Sign Up.

The Order of the Daughters of the KingĀ® (DOK) is a spiritual sisterhood of women dedicated to a life of Prayer, Service and Evangelism. We have made a commitment to Jesus as our Savior, and we follow Him as Lord of our lives. "We are an Order for women who are communicants of the Episcopal Church, churches in communion with it, or churches in the Historic Episcopate. Today our membership includes women in the Anglican, Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA) and Roman Catholic churches."

Contact information is:
101 Weatherstone Dr. Suite 870
Woodstock, GA 30188
Phone: 770-517-8552
Fax: 770-517-8066
General Email:

Letter to Everyone

Dear Friends of John and Susan Goldthwaite,Goldthwaites

My parents have thought of you often since their move to Minnesota. On various occasions we have sat down together at the computer to compose an individual letter to you but for one reason or another we never seemed to complete the task. Therefore I am sending this "group" letter with their input.

First of all, my parents wish to thank you for your cards and letters. They were delighted to hear from you. Mom enjoyed hearing the news  from ladies in her golf and bowling leagues and Dad enjoyed hearing about the ongoing projects and activities at St. Stephen's. Dad says he looks forward to seeing all the changes when he makes a trip back east sometime in the future. Mom and Dad have now lived here in Minnesota for four months but I know they still think about "home" often! Your cards and letters have helped them feel connected to Schenectady which was home to them for over 60 years.

Without going any further, let me give you Mom and Dad's new address. It is as follows:
Susan  and John Goldthwaite
5610 Norwich Parkway, Suite 328
Oak Park Heights, Minnesota 55082
Phone: 651-275-5258

Mom and Dad are living in a lovely senior living community nestled in the St. Croix Valley, approximately 20 minutes from where Rob and I live. Their 2-bedroom apartment is located in the assisted living section of the community which is known as Boutwell's Landing. Boutwell's Landing offers a continuum of care starting with independent living (tow houses, row houses, and apartments) and going all the way to full-time skilled nursing in the care center. Because of Mom's needs in particular, the assisted living arrangement seems to be quite appropriate. Mom and Dad have both been diagnosed with Alzheimer's - Dad in the early stages and Mom in the middle stages.
The past few months have been very busy as you might imagine. Our house back in Schenectady was put up for sale in the spring. We were very fortunate in being able to sell it so easily; closing in late July. In late May, we picked up everything in the house (and I do mean "everything") and headed west. Mom, Dad, Jingles (cat) and I flew to Minnesota; Rob drove Dad's car; and Jack and his son drove the UHaul truck. Mom and Dad lived with Rob and me for a couple of weeks before moving into Boutwell's Landing in mid-June. Dad recently decided to give up driving; a difficult decision to make but the right one we feel. We are grateful that he made this decision willingly.

My parents hope you're doing well, Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

With best wishes,
Susan Goldthwaite Thompson  

Schenectady Free Health Clinic
Providing Care to Uninsured Residents of Schenectady

The Schenectady Free Health Clinic is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.  "We do not bill patients for medical care or medications.  The clinic operates with donations of grants, supplies, or services.  If you are interested in making a financial contribution of if you are a health care professional and would like to volunteer please contact us at 344-7067."

If you or someone you know has any medical supplies or (unexpired and unopened) medications please contact the clinic about the possibility of donating the supplies.
Supplies needed include office supplies, filing cabinets, computers, new fax/copy machine, tables or chains, and medical supplies.

The current American Health Care system is in the process of a complete overhaul.  Keep yourself updated about your status and what role the clinic may play in the new system. 
Three news links:

Reid: Health Care Reform
Government Health Care Reform Site
The New York Times: Health Care Reform

The Clinic is open for service two days a week:

Monday: 1-5

Thursday: 1-5

The Schenectady Health Clinic is ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS!
If you are a new patient please call ahead of time and make an appointment: 344-7067.  The clinic is located at 600 Franklin Street, Schenectady.


Nicholas Stewart.....................11/4
Zachary Price.........................11/6
Eric Kilbourn...........................11/8
Wayne Reedy.........................11/9
Rebecca Dominguez................11/12
Olivia Jaquith.........................11/13
Meghan Bauer........................11/14
William Olsen.........................11/14
James Pierce..........................11/18
Jesse Dipley...........................11/19
Deborah O'Connor...................11/19
Isabella Dewhurst...................11/25
Mark Bayer............................11/30
Liz Stevens............................11/30
Carole Merrill-Mazurek.............11/30
Travis Reedy..........................11/30
Gregg & Liz Varno...................11/3
Bill & Hoagy Walker.................11/5
George & Bonnie Chambers....11/13
Jim & Cheryl Syta...................11/23
Al & Kabby Lowe.....................11/24
Ralph & Doreen May................11/25
Eugene & Mary Whitney..........11/28
Scott & Noreen Jurgensen.......11/28

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, 393-4137
Peter Nelson, 377-7015

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