St Patrick's Day Issue 
 March 2011

in this issue

A. From Father James

B. School Days

C. More News

D. More Activities and Dates


Dear ChurShieldch Family,

As usual I have several things on my mind which I would like to share with you.   

First, Lisa and I want to thank you all for celebrating our wedding day with us, especially in the love you all have shown to us through your gifts and prayers.  We have been blessed by your gracious love, support and friendship over the past months and look forward to its presence in the years ahead.  We love you all very much.

Second, I am very pleased to be working with our new Christian Education Director, Miranda Rand. I shared work with Miranda in the Capital Region Theological Center over the past several years and I have always respected her gifts in education.  We have already begun work on continuing education programs for this year and planning new ones for next year.  Our goal is to have exciting educational programs ready to begin as soon as our new building is usable.  We are even dreaming about a mid-week children's program. I look forward to working with Miranda.

Finally, Ash Wednesday begins on March 9th and I am hoping to have a full range of Lenten opportunities during this interim time between buildings.  All activities will take place either in the church or the chapel and parking will be difficult, however I hope you will avail yourself of one or more of the offerings this spring.  I pray that this season of Lent may be a veritable springtime for our souls, so that our lives, renewed by the breath of the Spirit and warmed by the sunshine of God's love, may bear abundant fruit for our church members.


                                           Fr. James+

  Ash Wednesday Services

Ash Wednesday is March 9th with the Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist as follows:

                                                        7:00 a.m.
                                                        12:30 noon
                                                        7:30 p.m.

Services will be held at various times so that each Christian can observe the beginning of this penitential period which leads us into our celebration on Easter Day.  Barring illness, every Christian certainly will be in church on Ash Wednesday to begin his/her disciplined preparation for a meaningful celebration of Easter.

                     Thursday Mornings in Lent

For many, the Season of Lent is a period of healing - -spiritually, emotionally, relationally and physically.  The Sacrament of Healing is offered as a part of the Eucharist at 10:00.  Persons wishing to receive this Sacrament are invited to stay at the altar rail after receiving the wine.  It involves the Laying on of Hands and Anointing with Holy Oil of Unction.  After the service we will gather in the rector's study for a Bible Study from the Faith Lessons curriculum.

                 Fridays in Lent - Stations of the Cross

'Station' is any place in the church where, during a solemn procession, there is pause for a prayer.   During Lent there is a practice in which fourteen 'stations' are visited in turn, with a pause for a reading, a versicle and response, a prayer, and a time for meditation.  In this case, the 'stations' are fourteen pictures depicting incidents in the narrative of Christ's passion, from Pilate's house to the entombment.  These pictures will be placed around the church on Fridays and booklets which lead the participant through each station can be found on the table in the back of the church.  The church and chapel will be open each Friday from 4 pm to 9 pm.

Saturday, March 26th  
9 AM to 3 PM in the
Chapel of the Resurrection  

Based in the Christian contemplative heritage, Centering Prayer is a method of response to God's invitation to enter into loving intimacy and ever-deepening relationship. Through silence, contemplation of scripture, and focused prayer, the practice prepares us to be open, available, and present to God's action and presence in the innermost recesses of our being. It facilitates a process of interior transformation initiated by God and leading, as we consent, to divine union.

This Centering Prayer one day retreat will give participants an opportunity to deepen their own prayer practice. We will view a series of talks by Fr. Thomas Keating on the Spiritual Journey, the basic method of Centering Prayer will be reviewed, and we will engage in two sessions of prayer, making this retreat appropriate for both new and long time practitioners.

Please bring your lunch. There is no charge, but please register by March 12th with Fr. James (522-3906).

Sunday Evening Lenten Study: God in America

God in Americawill explore the historical role of religion in the public life of the United States.
We will examine the potent and complex interaction between religion and democracy, the origins of the American concept of religious liberty, and the controversial evolution of that ideal in the nation's courts and political arena. The series considers the role religious ideas and institutions have played in social reform movements from abolition to civil rights, examining the impact of religious faith on conflicts from the American Revolution to the Cold War, and how guarantees of religious freedom created a competitive American religious marketplace.

This Lenten study will interweave a video of documentary footage, historical dramatization, interviews with religious historians and our own stimulating discussions.  The study will begin on March 13th and will end on April 17th.  We will meet in the church from 7pm to 9pm.


Making a confession in preparation for Easter is a long-standing tradition for many in the Church.  This is an individual confession to a priest.  The service of Reconciliation of a Penitent in the Book of Common Prayer provides an excellent form for personal self- examination, confession and reception of God's forgiveness.  If anyone is interested in participating in this rite as we move toward Easter, please feel free to contact the rector (522-3906).  A short brochure describing this sacrament can be found on the Welcome Table in the back of the Church. 

                                                                HOME COMMUNION
 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 - 370-3573, Office: 346-6241

MirandaPic       Introducing Myself

Hello! My name is Miranda Rand and I'm your new Christian Education Director. I am excited to be beginning this new ministry with St. Stephen's and I look forward to getting to know everyone.

By baptism and confirmation I am Anglican-my father was a professional soldier in the British Army and my mother a professional musician who specialized in the Clarsach (Celtic harp) with voice accompaniment.  I grew up accustomed to the Anglican liturgy, and to moving around.  

I immigrated to the United States in my early twenties, met my husband at a Christian singles group shortly after I arrived, fell in love, got married and raised two sons.

We have lived in the City of Schenectady for more than 35 years.

By training and current affiliation I am a member of the Reformed Church in America-the Dutch arm of the 16th century Reform movement; I hold status in that denomination as an ordained Elder, and as a Commissioned Preaching Elder (paraprofessional laity).

My work experience includes many years as a dedicated volunteer working to build Christ's Kingdom with young children, as well as six and a half years as the paid education director of the Lynnwood Reformed Church on Carman Road in Guilderland-a congregation very similar in size and occupational mix to St. Stephen's, where I coordinated an all-ages ministry from pre-school to adult. My duties included selecting or creating age-appropriate curriculum, administering the budget for my department and working hands-on with children and youth.

The prophet Micah, in answer to the question: With what shall I come before the LORD? Stated,
He has told you O mortal what is good do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6a, 8). This is my personal credo and the image I try to mirror to those I work with.

I will be spending some time each week in the church office, and welcome you visiting with me there to share your hopes and dreams for the education ministry -my hours will likely flex from week to week, so please call ahead.

  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.

Round Table Discussion, Thursday, March 17 - 7:00-8:15PM
Resource Room (upstairs in the church office)
This is an open meeting for anyone interested in the education ministry at St. Stephen's - teachers, parents, grandparents, wannabe teachers, ex-teachers - we will listen, brainstorm, plot, and celebrate what makes Christian Education work in our parish, and lift up our hopes and dreams for the future.
RSVPs are helpful but not essential. Refreshments will be served.

New Parish Hall Update

Demolition will start March 14 and will take about 3 weeks.  To get ready for the demolition, the weeks of February 28 - March 4, and March 7 - 11 will be busy.  Our contractor, Allegrone Construction will set up a construction trailer in the parking lot.  They will then build a wall between the nave of the church and the old parish hall replacing the green curtains. They will also turn off the heat and electricity. During that same week, Cohoes Design Glass Associates will remove the stain glass windows.  They will conserve and  store the windows until they can be re-installed in the new building.

It should be noted that from February 28 on,  the only entrances in or out of the church will be the main door and the choir room door.  The parking lot will not be available.

As previously indicated, 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 or by phone, 518-573-9522.

Austin Spang

                    Vestry  Meeting February 14th 

See Parish Council Report and New Parish Hall Update.  Stay tuned for the report of the next Vestry meeting which will be March 14th.  

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.

 The vestry is a group of eleven lay representatives from the parish who are charged with the temporal affairs of the congregation.  They meet monthly with the rector presiding.  The vestry spends considerable time on income and expenses and on writing the annual budget.  They set the salary scales and are responsible for raising the money to meet expenses.  Three representatives are elected at the annual parish meeting for a term of three years.  In addition, a Warden (vestry officer) is elected for a term of two years. 

                       PARISH COUNCIL REPORT

Submitted by Pat Jones
The Parish Council held its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 21st. As usual, we addressed concerns in each of the program areas of parish life: Service, Worship, Education, Evangelism, Pastoral Care, and Fellowship.

Service: coming up on April 9th, SICM is planning a "Day of Service" at local churches. SICM is also asking for contributions of children's books, to be given to little children who come to the food pantry with their parents. Books may be placed in the SICM basket at the back of the church. Also coming up: CROP Walk on May 1st; more information later.

Worship (Deacon Pat): we discussed the Instructed Eucharist presented earlier this month. Comments or suggestions from worshipers are welcome.

Education (Miranda Rand): we welcomed Miranda Rand, our new Christian Education Director, and discussed future plans for the education program.

Evangelism/communication (Carole M-M, Tracy Ormsbee): we discussed the Capital Campaign which will start in the spring.

Pastoral Care (Richey Woodzell): various aspects of caring for one another in times of need, such as visiting, sending greeting cards, involving children in pastoral program, were addressed.

Fellowship: the Spring "Ladies; Luncheon", tentatively scheduled for March 27th, at the Turf Tavern in Scotia. Cheryl Syta is in charge of the luncheon.       

St. Patrick's Day is Here
Stop at the Shop and see our selection.  We have St. Patrick's Day cards, magnets, and shamrock crosses; fun things to celebrate the "Wearin' o' the green."

And the Encore Shop (for gently used and loved items) always has new and unusual treasures. 

Thanks so much for your support.

Lily and Marilyn



                               BABY CAPS GALORE!
A rainbow of baby caps were presented at the altar on February 13th. There were 156 little caps, some with tassels, some with pom poms, speckles and stripes.  Thanks to all who knitted or crocheted, and special thanks to Jean Versocki who mailed them off to Save the Children/Warm Up America. 

It looks like there will still be plenty of knitting weather ahead. What shall we make next?

Pat Jones 



THANK YOU for your  super super generosity on Super Bowl Sunday. 

On Saturday April 9 SICM will have a day of service from 9 - 12:30.  There will be a variety of opportunities to help at the Food Pantry, the SICM office, assembling Easter
baskets for the children who come to the pantry, and elsewhere in town.  Lunch will be served at noon.  More information will be on the table in the back of the church on
Sunday, March 6. 

Looking for a place to volunteer on a weekday morning?  The Food Pantry is looking
for  people to help out in all areas of the pantry, from stocking shelves to keeping the
records up to date.  If you are interested email and Jim will
be happy to show you the ropes.

Last but not least the pantry could use small jars of strawberry or grape jam this month,
in addition to the constant need for Enfamil with iron, stage 1 or 2 baby food and diapers.
We'd also like to start collecting items for the children's Easter baskets.
Thanks for all you do.

Amy, Eunice, Marti


   Sharing Books:
     The Book Club 
The Book Club will meet at 7pm on March 8th at Susan Feyrer's. 1198 Lowell Road.  the book is Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. It is the penquin classics vesion. If you have any questions, please contact:

Vicki Hoshko at 372-0261.






ERD LogoEpiscopal Relief & Development
Resonds to Food Crises
The global food crisis has a devastating impact on development progress in poor countries around the world. Forty million additional people became undernourished in 2008, and the vast majority of these undernourished were in developing countries.  Before the crisis, many poor families in developing countries were spending 60%-80% of their income on food procurement, and when food prices rose dramatically it not only became increasingly difficult for them to afford food but also progressively more challenging for them to afford other basic necessities, such as housing, education, clean water, transportation, and health care. Poor women and girls were also additionally impacted, not only because they represented 7 out of every 10 of the poor before the food crisis, but also because cultural practices often dictated that what little food was available was given first to male family members.

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with local partners in over 40 countries to help communities become less vulnerable to food price fluctuations, global shifts in the availability of staple foods and the consequences of climate change on agricultural production. We are also committed to continuing our support of other initiatives that are not traditionally understood as improving a community's food supply, yet instill sound agricultural practices and promote the overall health and vitality of communities such as:

· Promoting women's access to agricultural inputs, credit, and land ownership, and so increase
   agricultural production and ensure sustainable food access for entire families;
· Improving infrastructure, housing, and education to enable community access to food;
· Increasing community access to clean water, sanitation, and health care to preserve community
   health and therefore support peoples' abilities to work and reduce contamination of ground water
   and rivers;
· Supporting community health programs that address malnutrition and protect the advancements
   made in other health areas.  

Episcopal Relief & Development believes that only by supporting development efforts in all these areas will at-risk communities become less vulnerable to food crises in the future.

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


"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. 

"Faith, Power & Perspective: Women in the Old Testament", w/ Dr. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, Fri., Fri. April 8, 9am-4pm, at Union Presbyterian Church,.  Stories of faith that changed history.  A course for men and women together!  $85 by Mar. 4;  $95 thereafter. Reg deadline: Mar. 23, 2011 
"A Walk in the Woods: Backpacking Through Creation", w/

Rev. Kent Busman, Fri.-Mon., April 29-May 2, Join other pilgrims on this challenging journey through the Western Adirondack Wilderness.  $250.  Reg deadline: April 13, 2011  
"Adding Strength, Speed & Balance to Your Congregation", w/
C. Jeff Woods,  Clifton Park Center Baptist Church , Thurs. & Fri., May 12 & 13, 9am-4pm,  Explore components of healthy congregational identity and visioning with this national consultant from Alban.  $85 by April 26;  $95 thereafter. Reg. deadline: April 14, 2011

Register online at 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.


John Casale............................3/1       
Ethan Brooks-McDonald......3/ 4
Aidya Prasad.........................3/ 4
Barbara Wisnom...................3/ 4
Elizabeth MacFarland..........3/5
Paul Pratico...........................3/6
Thomas Casale.....................3/7
Diane Bengtson Kilbourn...3/10
Addison Schierenbeck........3/10
Jim Wolff.............................3/10
Adam Gibbs.........................3/11
Norma Piscitelli...................3/11
Kathryn Hoffmann..............3/12
Shirley Voelker...................3/13
Ted Conwell........................3/14
Roseann Caruso.................3/15
Budd Mazurek....................3/16
WeddedBlissGrace Murphy-Nolan.........3/18
Brooks Brennan..................3/22
Joanne Frank......................3/22
Susan Townsend.................3/22
Dorothy Gibbs  ..................3/23
Marti Spang.......................3/23
Alexa Wolff.......................3/25
Madison Dominguez.........3/26
Bob Hagen........................3/26
Scott Bristol......................3/27
Linda Emaelaf..................3/27
Diane Reed.......................3/27
Julian Canavan.................3/28
Tracy Ormsbee................3/29
Ralph May.......................3/30
Helen Reid.......................3/30

John & Susan Liberis...............3/6
Dennis & Karen Holcombe.....3/28

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

Class of 2012:
Scott Kilbourn
Jim Ormsbee
Peter Nelson

Class of 2013:
Erin Cohen
Brian Riordon
 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:
The Rector's email is:
Our website is
The Messenger is published September - June.
Please submit articles to Larry Levine, 377-9657,