Valentine Issue 
 February 2011

in this issue

A. From Father James

B. School Days

C. More News

D. More Activities and Dates

Dear Church Family,

Usually when I write this February message my mind is turned toward thoughts of Lent, however this year Easter is as late as it can be (except for one day later) and Ash Wednesday is not until March 9th!  So I will use this opportunity to speak of personal matters.

I would like to thank this congregation for your response to my joy as I talk about my wedding later this month.  Lisa and I will be married at St. Stephen's on Sunday, February 20th at 3pm by one of her pastors from First Church in Albany.  Let me say that in the Episcopal Church there are no 'private' church services; anyone can attend any worship service, including weddings. We hope you will be able to attend.

Of course, we will have both Eucharists on the 20th but I think I will take the morning off that day.  I understand that both the Garner and Ramp entrances will still be open for that day and the parking lot will be usable. 

Lisa and I would have liked to invite everyone to the reception after the wedding service, but space would not allow that.  So we propose to have an all-congregation party in our new parish hall on Saturday, February 18, 2012 to celebrate the first anniversary of our marriage.

Again, thanks for sharing our joy at this important time in our lives.

                                           Peace,  Fr. James+

The Book 

St. Stephen's has an important "Book" other than the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.  This Book contains names of parishioners who have volunteered to help other members of our church who are temporarily in need of meals and/or transportation.  Examples of this need maybe following an operation, recovering from an illness, when a family is blessed with a new member, or when there is a serious family situation.

Before any help can be provided, the Clergy or the Chairperson of the Pastoral Care Committee, Richie Woodzell (372-9398) needs be called.  The "Keeper of the Book" for that week will be contacted and will coordinate meals or transportation for the individual or family by calling on the volunteers in the Book.  PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP.   Many of us have had times when knowing that dinner would be provided meant that energies could be used for more important tasks.  For those who live alone, a ride to the doctor's or to church could be a great help.

Currently, more volunteer drivers are needed to bring people to the 10:15 service.  If you could do this on an occasional basis, please give that information to the church secretary.  Many thanks.

As a relatively new member of St. Stephen's with family far away, I was comforted to know that there are many members of St. Stephen's willing to help when called, just the way family would do.

Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move practitioners toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within.  It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling - the ground of our being. Based in the Christian tradition and on teachings from the 14th-century text The Cloud of Unknowing, John of the Cross, Thomas Merton, and others, Centering Prayer is a powerful method that has sparked the modern renewal of contemplative Christianity.

Look for details in March for a workshop at  St. Stephen's that can lead to an intimate, graceful communion with God.



Farwell John

How fitting that while our congregation was celebrating the Eucharist on January 16th, John Santer passed on to another part of his spiritual journey.  On my first Sunday at Saint Stephen's on September 3, 1989 John, who was then 39 years old, and his mother, Daisy, were sitting toward the front of the pulpit side of the church.  When I got up to preach, I heard something from the congregation.  And then twice during my sermon I heard it again.  It sounded like he was clearing his throat, loudly!  I later learned that it was a non-voluntary action from John, but I took it as a kind of affirmation.

John was the happiest and most joyful member of this congregation.  I mention his age because even then, at 39 he was rather old for a person who lived with Down's Syndrome.  Those of us who knew him, knew that John's welfare was greatly due to the loving care which his mother gave to him.  What a delight to see the two of them each week sitting in 'their spot' in the congregation.

When I read about John's death on the following Sunday, I couldn't keep from looking down at my shoes.  Every week John would warmly greet everyone, pointing to his tie and exclaiming, "Look, new tie!" and then at his shoes and saying, "Look, new shoes!"  So now I say to John, "Look, my friend, new life!  You are rid of a body that kept you from soaring in this part of life, now, John, with a new life in Christ, fly!"

Sunday Morning Adult Education
Instruction to the Bible: Scriptures 101

 Scriptures 101 offers an introduction to the library of books which are the foundation of our faith, provides a refreshing orientation to the Book and opens a door of understanding to all other Bible study.  In four, one-hour sessions, participants will explore basic issues with contents including:  What Is the Bible?  How Did the Bible Come to Be?  What are the Old & New Testament About?  Classes will meet in the rector's study from 9am to 10am.

Altar Flowers

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, or to say thank you to  someone or a group of people.  If you would like, you may find someone who would like to donate flowers with you on the same Sunday, and you may split the cost ($40). Both names will be recognized.     ---------------------------------------------


                   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 $40.

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


 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.

 Fr.  James 
 Deacon Pat

Sunday school 2011 

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.

Youth Group News Flashes

Bears may sleep in the winter, but not the St. Stephen's Youth Group! In the next few weeks we have the following events coming up: 

1.  On Sunday, February 6 we'll be making our ever-popular Super Bowl Submarine sandwiches. Because our sandwiches are so delicious, this event always depresses the people at Subway, but since we only do this once a year, they don't seem to mind too much. YOU MUST ORDER BEFORE FEBRUARY  6 - call George Woodzell if you can't get an order form at church.

2.  On Monday, February 14, (Valentine's Day) we will provide child care for parents who would like to have an evening free to enjoy some quiet time together. Our child-care people are experienced, caring, and - best of all - they already know your children!

3.  On Friday, February 18, we'll have the second of our wildly successful movie nights. With our own nuclear blast surround sound system, gigantathon projection screen, and fresh popcorn, these are not to be missed. And, best of all, we don't have to leave our seats to discuss the movie after it ends.

Service projects:

Our group includes people with muscle, brains, and a desire to help. If you have problems with a recalcitrant personal computer, we have people who can help. If you need heavy things lifted or moved, call us. Cleaning up, fixing up, or sprucing up, we're ready to help. We don't have a fixed charge for what we do, pay us whatever you think the job deserves - whatever money we earn will help pay our way to Workcamp.

Nursery School

The nursery is open with a child care provider mid September until the beginning of June during the 10:15 service. Volunteering in the nursery is an important ministry. Sometimes the nursery has many little ones that need attention. High school aged youth and adults are always welcomed. If you are interested in helping in the nursery or if you are willing to substitute, please let us know. Having help always makes the nursery run smoothly which is so important for the littlest in our congregation.

Questions?  Call Amy Soulé  

New Parish Hall Update
Austin Spang  

As I write this article, the required asbestos abatement is about to begin.  It is being done the last week in January. .  During the time that they are working, a trailer will be connected to the back door of the parish hall.  Therefore the driveway and the back hall entrance will not be available. The asbestos on the heating pipe elbows is being removed first.  The heating system will remain functioning.  The next area will be the windows in the loft in back of the nave extension.  The abatement contractor will have to completely remove the windows.  He will cover the openings with plywood to keep in the heat and keep out the rain and snow.  Finally the tiles in the back hall and stair landing will be removed.  He will also have to remove the first layer of plywood leaving only the subfloor.  When this work is completed, we will be able to continue to use the old parish hall until March.

The contractor, Allegrone Construction, is planning to start March 1 weather permitting.  The first task will be to tear down the old parish hall.  The major part of the construction will take place from May through September.  They plan to complete the building by Christmas. Then we'll have the nice task of moving back in and getting the building functional.

During the construction I'll try to keep you up to date. If you have any questions or concerns during the construction, you can see me or contact me by e-mail at spang@nycap.rr.com or by phone, 518-573-9522.


Vestry  Meeting January 10th

Treasurer's report:  We had a surplus of slightly under $1000.00 at year's end. 


Building and Grounds: 

·         New Building Committee:  We signed the contract with Allegrone and they have applied for a  building permit from the city.  A contract has been signed for asbestos abatement and it should  begin by the last week in January.  Allegrone will also put up the wall at the end of the church at  that time.  The front door will be the only entrance to the church.

·         Reid House:  The Reid House cost overrun was $9,412.79.


Endowment Committee:   There will be a meeting of the Committee Tuesday, January 18, to set up the mechanics to pay the contractor of the new building.


Finance Committee:

·         Every Member Canvass:  We currently have 65 pledges for an amount of $127,000.  Nine of  them are new pledges.

·         Proposed Budget:  The updated proposed budget is $20,000 less than last year's budget.  Unmet expenses are:  Diocesan assessment, SICM, Damien Center, Outreach, and Union  College Chaplaincy.    At the Annual Meeting, January 16, we will present the unmet expenses as  a challenge and we will work on it as a congregation.

Personnel Committee:

 Nominations Committee:  Vestry slate: 

3 year terms:  Brian Riordon.  Erin Cohen, and Denise Crates;
2 year terms:  Scott Kilbourn and Peter Nelson;
1 year term: Richie Woodzell;
Jr. Warden:  Linda Emaelaf; 
Senior Warden:  Millie Gittinger.     

The slate for Diocesan delegates is  Allison deKanel and Peter Nelson.

Christian Education Director:  We have two candidates. 
Chancellor:  Rosemarie Jaquith will not continue as our chancellor.
Rector's job description:  It is completed.


Rector's report: 

Fr. James distributed the IRS regulations for Clergy.


Warden's Report:

Sr. Warden, Carole Carole Merrill Mazurek, called the Diocese to apprise them of the
decision to use the Endowment Funds for building Parish Hall.
  Carole thanked us for a productive year and bid us a fond adieu.


Old Business: 

Nursery School:  Laura Bynon and the committee recommended leaving tuition where it
is for the next year.  She will begin to offer an extended day/enrichment program once a
week.  This program will bring in additional income.   Gravel is needed to level off the
back steps.   Fundraisers will be held to fund a scholarship for needy students using St.
Stephen's website.


New Business: 

An orientation program for incoming Vestry members will be reinstated. 
Father James stated his respect for the time and energy that the two Wardens have put
into this past year.  He also thanked the outgoing Vestry members.


Annual Meeting was January 16th

On Jan. 16 the congregation met in the church for its annual meeting.  Highlights include:

A report on the New Building in which Austin Spang stated that we will start to see 
construction trucks at the end of March and it will take about 14 months to complete
the project.
   Father James stated that the Vestry has voted to change the name from Reid House  to "Spang" House

The position of Christian Education Director will be filled by the end of January and
Father James  and Linda (Emaelaf) will be recruiting for the Office Assistant.

Brian Riordan, Jim Ormsbee, Erin Cohen, Peter Nelson,  Scott Kilbourne, Richie Woodzell
Denise Crates were elected to the vestry and Linda Emaelaf and Millie Gittinger were
 elected as wardens.

A balanced budget of $ 178, 297 was presented

Copies of the report are available in the parish office.

Are you in a "downsizing" mode, or planning to do a "spring clean"? Consider recycling some of your unwanted or unused items by donating them to St. Stephen's spring "lawn" sale. We plan to use the lawn area in front of the church, probably in May when the weather will be warm and the ground dry underfoot.

In the meantime please be putting suitable items aside for our sale. If storage is a problem please contact Gillian Woodcock. We will have access to a limited amount of space in the basement of the church office. Although we will take most things, we would ask that you DO NOT DONATE CLOTHING.  Televisions, computers and electrical appliances must be in working order.  Donations should be in clean and useable condition otherwise we will have to pay for their disposal and that rather defeats the object of the exercise - to make money for the church. Proceeds from the sale will go to outfitting areas of our new parish hall.

Any suggestions you have on conducting a successful sale will be gratefully considered.
If you have any questions please contact me at 785-3874
email: swoodcoc@nycap.rr.com

Thank you.
Gillian Woodcock

                                           The Shop at St. Stephen's
The Shop At St. Stephen's------Beginning Bal. 1-1-2010------$507.36.----- Ending Balance  12-31-2010----$735.26    In the year of 2010 we gave one scholarship of $300.00 that was used for our youth's participation in the Work Camp Program. We expect to give $600.00 this year for 2 scholarships to Work camp.  We have had a great year with new and unusual merchandise and the Encore corner[for gently used items] has been a success also.  Thank you for all your interest in the Shop, your purchases and donations have made it possible for us to support the Work Camp program.  And a special Thank you to Lily Holcomb for her faithful service to the Shop, she is my willing helper after the 10:15am service.  Many thanks and Blessings and looking forward to the year of 2011 with all of you. 
                Lily and Marilyn

SICM Food Pantry

News just in from the Emergency Food Pantry.  In addition to the ongoing need for Enfamil with Iron, Stage 1 or 2 baby food, and diapers, there also is a great need for dry mixes-instant mashed potatoes, tuna helper and so on.

A reminder-the pantry buys food in bulk from the Regional Food Bank at 16 cents a pound.  Your donation would be a huggggge help.  A check marked FOOD in the memo line and mailed to SICM at 930 Albany Street, 12307 would go a long way.

Thank you.
Amy Button, Eunice Chouffi and Marti Spang


Thank You
From the Workers:
Special Work Camp
Church Service was Jan. 2nd

 On January 2nd we had the most original St Stephen's service, perhaps of all time.  The service was lead by young congregants who go to work camp each summer to help people in need of repairs to their homes.  Besides a service, many stories were shared by our young-adults, who are teens and older, about repairs for needy but very kindhearted "Neighbors" in Windsor, Maine. 

Thanks to all who contribute each year to this trip, and make it possible to purchase supplies and materials, as well as renting vans and supporting the campers.  They work hard, and learn life lessons that make them better Christians.  Please consider a donation to support the work camp efforts.  Also, you might consider going on their next trip, and pitching in!  If you have questions, please feel free to contact George Woodzell.

Look for the Super-bowl Subs Announcement.

Larry Levine


Books all the time: Whatcha Reading?

The newly formed St. Stephen's Book Club will be meeting to discuss City of Light by Lauren Belfer on Tuesday, February 9, at 7:00 at the Feyrer's home, 1198 Lowell Rd. In addition, we hope to select books for the next several months at this meeting.   Please bring  suggestions of books with you.




Superbowl Sunday Sub Sandwiches

George Woodzell and the Youth Group have partnered with the Group WorkCamp Foundation in an effort to restore living conditions for residents of Peterstown, West Virginia.  Our Superbowl tradition will continue with great made-to-order submarine sandwiches to support this cause.
George has asked me to extend his message, "Please consider buying a sub sandwich from our Work Camp teen group this coming Sunday, February 6th."  Subs are guaranteed to be delicious, and they are $6 each for advance orders, or $7 when ordered on that day.   The order form is below.
More than the travel and camping expenses, the Work Camp funds pay for the lumber and materials too,  to shore up roofs, repair pluming, and walks, and make houses safe to live in.  The particular people who are helped are the poor of Appalachia who don't have the means or ability to do any repairs.  Houses are falling down, or lack working plumbing.  Our children see, and do something about these harsh conditions.  We all learn we can make a difference.

It is great when people are willing to work to raise money for their cause; especially when it's for the needy, and especially when the workers are our teenagers of Saint Stephen's.  Please support them next Sunday by sending this form to George, or bringing it to church on Sunday. George is at gwwny@verizon.net.











             Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church              
                                                                   PAID  $.................
                  Super Bowl Sub Order Form                    ______________

                Advance orders $6.00 - Day of Sale $7.00 tastylogic




MAIN                  TOPPINGS                   SPREADS

 Ham                           Tomato                                Mayonaise

Turkey                         Lettuce                           Italian Dressing

Salami                         Onion                                     Mustard

Balogna                  Green Peppers                     Plain - none

Cheese                    Black Olives

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
                   Circle Your Choices of Ingredients
MAIN                  TOPPINGS                   SPREADS
 Ham                           Tomato                                Mayonaise

Turkey                         Lettuce                           Italian Dressing

Salami                         Onion                                    Mustard

Balogna                  Green Peppers                     Plain - none

Cheese                    Black Olives



      Circle Your Choices of Ingredients

Above, for additional Subs please use a copy and put the number at the left: 3, 4, 5...
If you have questions, please contact George Woodzell gwwny@verizon.net 

Episcopal Relief & Development Rebuild Our Church in Haiti  

One year ago Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake lasting approximately 35seconds. It was 35 seconds that reduced the country's capital to ruble, took the lives of roughly 250,000 people, injured hundreds of thousands more and left 1.5 million people homeless. That moment altered the lives of every Haitian as well as the life of our church in Haiti. The largest diocese in the Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Haiti lost many of its churches, schools and clinics, including their Cathedral, university, the school for the handicapped, and music school in the earthquake.

Through Episcopal Relief and Development, the Church was there in the days after the quake, and a year later, they continue their work responding to sanitation, housing and other development needs. The Diocese of Haiti has also built temporary open-air structures so children can return to school and so their people have a place to worship.

Episcopal Relief & Development has a longstanding partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti. The key component of this partnership both currently and prior to the earthquake has been the Haiti Development Initiative. Before the quake, Episcopal Relief & Development worked with the diocesan development office (Centre Diocesain de Developpement Integre et de Secours or CEDDISEC) to assist local communities in identifying needs and implementing small development projects. The initiative also included training 28 development agents to run programs in their communities and coordinate disaster response efforts.

Since the quake, Episcopal Relief & Development's work with the diocesan development office has shifted to meet the immense needs of those affected by this disaster. In the three months following the disaster, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Diocese of Haiti's work was primarily focused in eight parishes.

If you would like to learn more about The Episcopal Church's efforts to rebuild church structures and other diocesan institutions in Haiti, visit

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


            Sunday: BETHESDA HOUSE DINNER
 Mark your calendars now and plan to take part in providing a delicious Sunday dinner for the clients of Bethesda House on January 30th. Once again we will be joined by members of St. George's Church.  The dinner we served last year was enthusiastically received, and this year there are likely to be even more people present. We will need cooks and servers and helpers of all ages.

 Deacon Pat   


"Connecting with Calvin: Restoring Unity to the Church",
w/ Dr.Randall Zachman, Sat, Mar. 26, 9am-12pm, Siena College
This Calvin scholar shows us how historic issues from the Reformation inform our current situation.
Sponsored by Siena College, Franciscan Center for Catholic Studies, and Westminster Presbyterian (Albany). No course fee; Free-will offering for CRTC. Reg. deadline: Mar. 18.

"Sunday is Fun Day! Church School Rotation Model Workshop"
 w/ Rev. Dr. Miriam Lawrence Leupold,
April 2, 2011, 9am - 4pm, at First Presbyterian in Albany,
Come discover why Rotation Model works for all learning styles and may size churches.  
See it set up and take home
Lots of resources.  Bring a team to maximize the learning!
$65 by Mar. 3, $75 thereafter; Reg. deadline: Mar. 17, 2011.

Register online at www.capitalrtc.org or by phone at 518-462-2470. Watch our website for information on these and many ther courses available in 2010.  Scholarships and group discounts available for most classes; please contact us for an application.


 Charlotte Soulé......................2/1
William Walker.....................2/1
Nick Brooks-McDonald.......2/3
Megan Price.........................2/3
Bonnie Chambers.................2/4
Alexxis Gibbs.......................2/6
Samantha Humphrey............2/8
Patricia Jones.......................2/8
Drew Prescott......................2/8
Grace Strong......................2/10
Claire Syta.........................2/10
Don Regula........................2/12
Samuel Koch.....................2/13
Dawn Rizzo.......................2/13
Marilyn Causey.................2/14
Olivia Canavan..................2/15
Jaclyn Cox........................2/17
Ben Boese........................2/18
Jane Tatge........................2/18
Mary Alexander................2/19
Christine Nelson................2/19
Gregg Varno......................2/21
Pauline Northrop...............2/24
Joan Halstead....................2/25
Elizabeth Pratico...............2/28


Paul & Allison de Kanel..............2/7
Keith & Christine Nelson..........2/10

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, Millie Gittinger
Jr. Warden, Linda Emaelaf
Class of 2011:
Austin Spang
Tracy Schierenbeck
Richie Woodzell

Class of 2012:
Deborah O'Connor
Matt Canavan
Peter Nelson

Class of 2013:
Erin Cohen
Brian Riordon
 Scott Kilbourn

Serving without Vote:
Treasurer: Denise Crates

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:  office@saintstephenschenectady.org
The Rector's email is:  james.ross.mcd@gmail.com
Our website is www.saintstephenschenectady.org
The Messenger is published September - June.
Please submit articles to Larry Levine, 377-9657,