The Messenger

Saint Stephen's Schenectady
Happy Easter Issue 
April 2011

in this issue

A. From Father James

B. School Days

C. More News

D. More Activities and Dates

Dear Parish Family,

You are certainly aware by now that we have launched our "Building on God's Blessings" campaign to raise capital funds in pursuit of rebuilding our parish hall and classrooms.

The prophets repeatedly spoke of rebuilding the walls as a sign of trust in God, a sign of the people's movement into God's future. Those ancient passages now speak to us in a very literal way: it is time to rebuild the walls that house our church community, so that St. Stephen's can serve our great-grandchildren and continue to say to all around that God will not cease to care for the city.

Let me first say that given a difficult economy one may ask the question why now? I believe the simple answer is because we have to. Conversations regarding our capital needs have been going on for five or more years. As soon as we discovered our toxic mold problem, we commenced conversations about the need to raise funds to pursue desperately needed repairs and updates. All of our attempts failed to solve the problem and soon the needs became  pressing and the vestry was convicted that now is the time to move forward.

Second, I want to thank all who have worked so hard on this project and all of you who can consider responding in some way with support of the campaign. We are grateful to one another and glad in God's presence as we consider a response to the campaign.

Third, I wanted to share a personal note of why Lisa and I feel called to respond and stretch to meet what we were asked to consider prayerfully to give to this campaign. Most importantly, I believe in what God is doing with us! I believe in what happens because of these sacred properties. I believe in the prayers that are said, the sacraments that are celebrated, the lessons learned, the fellowship enjoyed, the love that is shared within these walls. I believe in the programs, the education, the community outreach that is provided because of these spaces. I believe God makes use of them and us, and I am called to give to this with my time, talent, and in this case, my treasure.

Also, I am the rector of this congregation and I know and accept faithfully that I must lead by example. I am grateful to have a spouse who supports this call to leadership.

Finally, I have a personal connection with this space and with this ministry. My children were raised in this space, I was married in this space, and I am committed to supporting the generations who will follow me and, like me, find a connection with God because of who is here and how we celebrate and use our spaces.

Many of you have been contacted or will be contacted by members of the Cathedral community. You will be invited to prayerfully consider participating in this campaign to help in "building on God's blessings" I am grateful to you for your prayer and support in any possible way you may feel called and are able to respond.

God's Blessings

James + 

A. From the Rector 

           Praying for the Church 

      Prayer is a time when we bring our fears, our concerns, our needs, and our thankfulness to the One who gave us life and to the One who is with us through every step of that life. It costs nothing to pray and prayer can be offered anywhere, any time or any place. Prayer doesn't always mean bowed head, eyes closed, - hands together - it can be a thought, a quiet moment, a time of reflection when we are aware of the presence of God and our conversation with God.  

      During the next few months leading up to Commitment Sunday in June, the Prayer Team is offering many ways to be involved with our focus on prayer. In the next few weeks a prayer card will be given to all members. Place this card where you can see it every day - on the kitchen table, the bedroom nightstand, the bathroom mirror, hang it from the car rear view mirror or consider putting it on your desk at work for all to see - maybe they would like to pray with us, too.   
      It has been said that a church is only as strong as the individual prayer lives of its members. How true! Look at what we've come through to be standing at this point in our history. The individual prayer lives of our members are amazing - are they not? Let us find new opportunities and focus for prayer in the days ahead. We are the strong and faithful members of St. Stephen's  - the Lord's faithful people who, through prayer, are moving toward the future as we build to serve, create new memories, and above all else, grow for God with faith in our future.


Palm Sunday - April 17, 2011
8:00 am & 10:15 am Procession with Palms & Eucharist

Holy Monday - April 18, 2011
12:30 pm Eucharist

Holy Tuesday - April 19, 2011
12:30 pm Eucharist

Holy Wednesday - April 20, 2011
12:30 pm Eucharist
6 pm Seder Meal

Maundy Thursday - April 21, 2011
10:00 am Eucharist & Healing
7:30 pm Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar
9:00 pm Prayer Vigil through the night

Good Friday - April 22, 2011
12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
7:30 pm Lessons & Prayers

Easter Vigil - April 23, 2011

7:30 pm lighting of the first fire
            Nine lessons and responses

Easter Day - April 24, 2011

8:00 am Choral Eucharist
9:00 am Easter Egg Hunt
10:15 am Choral Eucharist
7:00 pm Eucharist

Palm Sunday - April 17th 

On Palm Sunday, we enter the most significant eight days in the Church's calendar.  It is of the greatest importance that we participate in the experiences described in the church calendar, because living through them, walking the way Christ walked, we uncover the core of Christian Belief and living.

We invite all members and friends of St. Stephen's to be present at these services.  If you are infirm, please call the office to arrange for communion to be brought to you at home by one of the clergy.

There is a sign-up sheet on the shop counter for the Maundy Thursday Vigil. It is suggested that two or more persons sign up for each one hour segment.
Foot Washing

On Maundy Thursday at the 7:30 p.m. Eucharist we would like to have volunteers from the congregation for foot washing by the clergy.  If you would like to be one of these representatives of the congregation, please sign up at the volunteer table in the parish hall.


 On Good Friday we remember in a unique way the witness that Jesus gave to us on the cross.  Through his obedience and through his suffering -- through the fateful steps he took each day of Holy Week -- he showed the world just how much God loves us.  Jesus' entire life was a witness to that love and the cross continues to be a sign of that reality.

In the midst of religious tensions, historic animosities and political unrest, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East stands witness to the people of our Lord's homeland, proclaiming and serving the same message that Jesus brought to that land almost 2,000 years ago.

On Good Friday we stand with the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem as it witnesses to the love of God in a strife-filled part of the world through our prayers and financial support. Please be generous in your support of the continuing ministry of our sisters and brothers in the Middle East. 




The Church will be in darkness.  Into that darkness will be brought the new light of Easter and carried through the Nave to the altar where the Paschal Candle will be placed  in its stand to burn through the fifty days of Easter till the Ascension of our Lord.

We will rehearse our history as a people of God from creation through the Red Sea out of bondage with God's promises for his people culminating in the story of the Resurrection.

Easter is the festival of Baptism and we shall celebrate that sacrament as well as have the opportunity to renew our own baptismal vows.

And then the shout be raised:

And so begins the first Eucharist of Easter, 2011.                                         

The service begins at 7:30 p.m. 


 Easter Day 
The Flowering of the Cross

All children of St. Stephen's are invited to participate in our annual Flowering of the Cross on Easter Sunday. Families are asked to provide a flower or two for the cross. There will be some flowers available at the church.

Children (parents are welcome, too) will follow the choir and clergy down the aisle during the processional hymn. The cross will be in front of the chancel steps, and volunteers will be ready to assist the children in placing the flowers on the cross. The "flowered" cross will remain in the church until just after the sermon. At that point, ushers will take the cross out to the front lawn as a symbol of our rejoicing.


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  
 Deacon Pat - 372-5836  

B. From the Education Director

Sunday School 2011 
Recent Update
Pre-school through 3rd Grade: approx: 10:30-11:00AM meets in the Reid House with Brian Riordon or Miranda Rand immediately after the children's sermon to just before the Eucharist

Youth-Grades 7-12:
9-10AM meets in the Chapel with George Woodzel

Grade 4-5 Students
may choose to help in the Pre-school group (please call Miranda Rand to discuss)

Grade 6 Students
may join George Woodzell's group in the chapel (please call George Woodzell to discuss)

Notes from the Brainstorming Session
held Thursday, March 17, 2011 

                                               by Miranda Rand

I am grate
MirandaPicful to those who took the time to come and share their ideas and experiences and thus  enrich my  knowledge of how and why the St. Stephen's Christian education ministry works so well. Here ar e some notes on what was discussed and what is tentatively planned for the future.

Elementary Age Class: Stories, songs and crafts work well. A consistent theme to coordinate all the components of the lesson is important.  The current time-frame, (approximately 30 minutes) works well with this age-group. Rotating parents as teachers and helpers keeps everyone fresh.

Middle School Class: Students can accept abstract themes if taught with age-appropriate media resources or discussion. Challenging board games are welcomed periodically as an alternative to a Bible-based curriculum. There is a need for instructors for this group.

High School Class: Service projects and short movies or video clips that act as discussion starters engage this age-group best. Food is always appreciated!

In the Immediate Future:
High school students will receive visits from teens of other faith traditions, watch short movies and discuss them, alternate classroom instruction with community service projects such as visits to the Regional Food Bank. An attempt will be made to involve the older middle school students in these activities. Younger ones may visit in the Elementary classroom for instruction or to assist. A Facebook page dedicated to St. Stephen's youth is in the process of being created.

Looking Further Ahead:
A mid-week, family-style program (2 to 2.5 hours in length), with food and activities would provide a respite for busy families and an opportunity for different age-groups to interact. This could start when the parish hall is rebuilt.

Acolyte Training:
The age limit could be shifted downward to attract responsible seven and eight-year old students. More acolytes are needed and the program is a great way for students to gain an understanding and appreciation for the rituals of the mass.



@ St. Stephen's  

Our Sunday school ministry has lots of good things happening in the weeks ahead...     (All activities are at Union Presbyterian)

Sunday, April 3: Lessons in Judaism
Zipporah Harris will visit both Sunday school classes. The 9:00AM high school class will discuss Passover-why it is a significant festival and how it is celebrated. The elementary class with participate in a miniature archaeological dig with sand and clay and learn a little bit about how Passover is celebrated.
Zipporah is a prayer and Judaics teacher currently working in Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewish religious schools in Schenectady County where her students range in age from pre-school through high school. Many people will remember Zipporah from when she participated in the Abraham book study at St. Stephen's.

Good Friday, April 22: Stations of the Cross for Children
Allison deKanel is planning a child-appropriate Stations of the Cross. Please contact Allison directly for more details, or watch for bulletin announcements.

Easter Sunday, April 24: Easter Egg Hunt
Special Easter eggs will be hidden on the grounds of St. Stephen's campus. We are grateful to George Woodzell's high school class for filling them for us. The egg hunt is for children pre-school through grade 5 and will be held immediately prior to the 10:15 service.

Looking Ahead...
Monday, July 25 to Friday, July 29: Shake it Up Café Vacation Bible School:
St. Stephen's and Union Presbyterian are linking up again for VBS. This year's theme is cooking up heaping helpings of God's word through Bible fun, creative crafts and sizzling food science, then sprinkled with sports, seasoned with snacks, and covered with God's love. It's all accompanied by great rockin' music! Flyers and registration forms will be available soon on the information table at the back of the church. If you love little kids and like to have fun, come join us. We have room for many, many volunteers! See Miranda Rand on any Sunday after the 10:15



The annual Lenten practices - giving up something you really covet (generally a food item) and committing to a deeper engagement with God through reading, journaling and prayer has been a part of my faith walk for as long as I can remember. A daily regimen of deeper reflection comes naturally to me-it's like breathing in and out, but giving stuff up is somehow seldom successful. Lent is a long season of spiritual housekeeping and all too often my intentions outlast my resolve!
This year I thought to do something different. Instead of fasting from food or television or trying to forego a less agreeable habit, I thought to give thanks to God for His gift of creation by making an intentional effort to decrease my carbon footprint. A carbon fast felt more natural to me, and seemed as if it would have a longer lasting impact than the few pounds I might lose by giving up an extra helping of dessert.

I am guided in my practice by suggestions from the 2011 Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast website, which posts a different idea each day to my email inbox. Activities range from the very simple: unplug electrical devices (such as phone chargers) which use electricity even when off, to the moderately challenging: reduce your driving speed, plan trips efficiently, walk, ride a bike, carpool or take public transportation when feasible. A few suggestions like buying local produce or getting involved in a community garden require a longer term commitment.

Anyone feeling called to join in helping to preserve God's earth for future generations can participate by entering the program title in their web browser and clicking on the sign up button when the link pops.

Let me know if you participate - I'd love to compare notes.

In peace and love:

Miranda Rand
Christian Education Director   

Thanks to Chris Jones for his great photographs of the folks at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.. 

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


New Parish Hall Update

Now that we are finally seeing work done on the new parish hall it is important to know that at the March  Meeting, the Vestry voted to make Austin Spang the liason between the congregation and the construction company.  It is very important to address any questions or concerns to Austin and he will do whatever is necessary: e-mail or by phone, 518-573-9522.  Austin has been working diligently with them through all the negotiations and has a great rapport with them.  We are very excited to see things finally starting after   many years of planning. 

We are also looking forward to the Capital Campaign co-chaired by Carole Merrill-Mazurek and Tracy Ormsbee.  This will be your opportunity to help fill the New Hall with the necessary furnishings and equipment.

Millie Gittinger, Sr. Warden


Vestry  Meeting April 11th at 7:30

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.

Submitted by Richey Woodzell  372-9398 

Please keep our homebound and ill members in your thoughts and prayers: 
Claudia Ashelman, Mary Davis, Isabella
Dewhurst, Jesse Dipley, Sondra Grady, Stephen 
Gray, Jack & Olive Luczka, Robert McCalley, 
Peter & Josefina Nevius and Marian Sevinsky.


The Book is back in operation.  Check the bulletin or St. Stephen's website for the schedule.  If you (or another parishioner) is in need of some short-term help with meals or transportation, please call the "keeper of The Book" for the week.  If you would like to be part of this ministry to provide a meal or a ride, call Richey Woodzell.

Pastoral Care teams
Please consider prayerfully becoming one of St. Stephen's visitors.  Each week a care team takes the altar flowers to the homebound, ill or other parishioners, reminding them and ourselves that we keep them in prayer, and that we are all part of our parish community.  If you feel called to this ministry, please talk with Father James or Richey Woodzell.



D D. More Activities and Dates

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


                               Lent and Easter at the Shop

-----Take a look, we have the Last Supper Plaques, Crown of Thorns and a nice selection of Easyer cards. The Bunnies, Easter Eggs and "Chocolate Magnets" have arrived.  Stop by, we  are waiting to say hello to you.  And we also send you Greetings for a Blessed Easter.

Lily and Marilyn



The last three books until summer are:

 For April 12 the book is Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
May 10th -My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
June14th-Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

All Meetings are on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7pm.
We meet at Susan Feyrer's house.

Please join us!

Any questions contact Vicki Hoshko

Join the Hunger Fighters!

The annual Schenectady CROP Walk for the Hungry will be held on Sunday, May 1st, beginning at Emmanuel Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace, looping through downtown Schenectady neighborhoods and back.   Registration begins at 12:30 PM, with the walk/run starting at 1:30 after a brief ceremony.  You may park in the MVP Garage.

CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) is the arm of Church World Service which offers relief to the hungry.  CROP walks all over the U.S. raise money each year to help CWS programs in the US and around the world, for disaster relief, self-help development and refugee resettlement, with a special focus on AIDS in Africa.   In addition, 25% of the money raised stays in the local area to support food pantries, the Catholic Charities Senior Meals, and the Community Crisis Network.

From the CWS website:  "Eradicating hunger and poverty is a cornerstone of Church World
     Service's mission, and the problem isn't just about getting people more food.  Church World
     Service is promoting food security with programs that provide inputs, protect land rights, support
     nutrition education and food diversification, and value indigenous knowledge."

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.  We walk in solidarity.

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.    You may also raise funds online at  Each walker will receive a local CROP 2011 T-shirt.

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

If you have questions, please talk to Richey Woodzell

            Schenectady Inner City Mission SICM 
 SICM Logo
There will be a special Meeting on April 6,2011 at 6:45 at Faith United Methodist Church, corner of Eastern Ave. and Brandywine Ave.  A panel discussion will be hosted, entitled,
"The Curb-Fee-pros and cons for Churches and Non-Profits." 
A member of the vestry for each church is urged to attend. 
Refreshments will be served, and the meeting begins at 7:00 pm. 
All are welcome. 


SICM DAY of SERVICE  Saturday April 9th   
Events for Volunteers at project Sites.
8:45- Kickoff continental breakfast at Emergency Food Pantry,

839 Albany Street
9:00 to 12:00 Volunteers at project sites
11:30 to 12:45 Drop in lunch
at First United Methodist Church at 603 State Street 

Please sign up for these projects on the table in the back of the church. The projects are all listed.  More information is also available from SICM's  Crys Hamelink at 374-2683 or if you have questions or want to sign up there.


Thank you.

Eunice Chouffi 

Food pickup volunteer?            
Community service opportunity!

Are you available on a Sunday afternoon at 2:00?  Each Sunday, when the Schenectady Greenmarket closes, the farmers donate their unsold produce and baked goods for the local food pantries and soup kitchens.  Beginning the first Sunday in May and going through October, when the Schenectady Greenmarket is outdoors in front of City Hall, the Greenmarket coordinator is looking for volunteers to load the leftover food in their car to transport to a food providing agency that afternoon, or to keep it until the following morning and deliver when the agency is open.  If you are interested in helping one Sunday (or more), contact Debbie Forester at  388-0051 or
ERD LogoPray for Those Devastated by the
          Japan Earthquake

Episcopal,Relief & Development is supporting,the Nippon Sei Ko Kei (NSKK; the,Anglican Communion in Japan) in its,initial response efforts.,The current death toll is over 4,300,,but at least 11,000 are feared dead,,with approximately 30,000 still,missing. Shelters are housing almost,a half million who lost homes or were,evacuated. Food and fuel are running,low in many areas, and severe,damage to infrastructure is,hampering relief efforts.,Episcopal Relief & Development has,been in contact with NSKK leadership,and an initial contribution has been,sent. The Church in Japan is dealing,with an extremely serious situation,that is constantly changing, and,communications are limited. We will,continue providing additional support,as the NSKK assesses its needs and,makes longer-term recovery plans.,Currently the NSKK is already engaged,in organizing relief and volunteer,support teams.,The Most Rev. Nathaniel M. Uematsu,,Primate of Japan and Bishop of,Hokkaido, said, "What we can do right, pray. Prayer has power. I hope,and request that you pray for Japanthe,people who are affected, for those who,have died and for their families. Pray,for the people involved with the rescue,efforts, and in particular pray for,Tohoku and Kita Kanto dioceses and,their priests and parishioners during,this time of Lent.","During this time, it's hard not to feel,helpless and want to do more," said,Brian Sellers-Petersen, Episcopal,Relief & Development's Director of,Church Engagement. "Right now, the,most helpful thing we can do is pray,for those devastated by this terrible,tragedy.",If you would like to support the,Church in Japan once a response has,been developed, please fi ll out the,coupon below and mail it with your,check or credit card information.,Visit for updates.,,
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.


"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.


Paul de Kane....................4/1
Dennis Wisnom................4/1
June Russell.....................4/3
Alik Versocki...................4/4
Jack Feyrer......................4/5
Mary Frances Hatfield....4/5
Marsha Kimmer..............4/5
Sarah Huneau..................4/6
Gerald Perregaux............4/9
Lucy Clark.....................4/10
Bailey Mertz..................4/12
Samanta Mykoo............4/12
Dave Crates...................4/16
Aralyn Riordan..............4/16
James Soulé...................4/17
Liz Varno.......................4/20
Harvey Alexander.........4/21
Abigail Cohen................4/21
Saphirah Mykoo...........4/21
Dennis Holcombe.........4/22
Cindy Marshall.............4/23
Galina Bayer.................4/24
Pamela Guthrie.............4/24
Veronica Cohen............4/25

Delaney Huneau...........4/27 


Jack & Olive Carter Luczka...........4/5
Sidney & Gillian Woodcock............4/5
Steven Koch & Susan Townsend....4/6
Omer & Pearl Burton....................4/20
Joe & Sara Palko...........................4/21
Budd & Carole Merrill-Mazurek..4/29
Peter & Josefina Nevius................4/29

Quick Links...
Link to Calendar on our 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, Millie Gittinger
Jr. Warden, Linda Emaelaf, 372-8834
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,