Website Edition

May 2011


Dear Friends,

This month I write about the vacancy of Administrative Assistant in our parish office.  It has been over two years since this position has been filled; the first year by volunteers and this past year by me.  I know that it is not the best use of my time as rector, but without a person in this position, the tasks have fallen to me.  As a result the vestry made this a high priority for 2011.

For the past four months Linda Emaelaf, as chair of the Personnel Committee, the vestry and I have been seeking to fill this position.  We have had two people interested, but each at the end decided not to take it.  We are asking much in such a position.

We seek a person who has experience and skills in computer literacy, phone procedures, the ability to be self-directed and one who must have skills in meeting and working with people.  The position calls for a person to work closely with the me, maintaining confidentiality with many finance, personnel and church matters.

This is a part-time position of 9 hours a week: 9:00 am to noon Monday, Wednesday & Friday.  The salary is $10 an hour.  The position is eligible for all benefits as stated in the Personnel Policy Guidelines of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, available from the parish office.

I am writing to you this month to ask you to help us fill such a position.  It would be ideal for someone who is retired and wants a challenge and some extra money each month.  We would prefer that the person not be a member of St. Stephen's.  A detailed list of tasks that are required by the position can be obtained from the parish office. 

The vestry knows how important it is to have a person in the office for regular office hours and filling this position continues to be a very high priority.  We ask your help in this matter.


                                                            Fr. James  + 

Adult Education  

Exploring the Anglican Ethos:  This course is intended to introduce prospective members of our parish to the ethos of Anglicanism.  It is also a good 'refresher course' in our beliefs for any member of the parish.  The study will explore our particular ethos: Anglican traits rooted deeply in the past (200 A.D.) of Britain's relatively pragmatic and moderate peoples.  It explores why we Episcopalians do what we do and how our church has been shaped and is being shaped.  It is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church on June 19th, but is open to all members of the Parish Family.  The class will begin next Sunday on May 1st  and end on May 22nd.  All classes will meet in the parish office from noon to 1pm and will be led by the rector.


Sunday Adult Education - Evangelicals in America is an intimate look at who the Evangelicals are, what they believe and what difference their faith makes in their lives. It also shows how they seek to protect their children from the corrupting influences of society, how they are trying to change the world and what their future may be like. Each class begins with a video by hosted by Randall Balmer, a contributor to our Lenten series this year.  Following each video will be a discussion led by the rector.  This six-week course meets in the Rector's study (office building) from 9am to 10am beginning on May 15th will conclude on June 19th.


                                                                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.


   Sunday School 2011 
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)  



@ St. Stephen's Ms. Miranda
* Parents of elementary age children have asked what I like to be called...I prefer to go by Ms. Miranda - going forward I will headline this page that way.


High School Class: (meets in the Chapel from 9-10am on Sunday mornings)
May 1: Tashi Patel - a young Buddhist man will share something of his faith tradition with our students. Tashi's gift shop Little Tibet, is located on the corner of Madison and Lark in Albany.  
May 15: Some teenagers from the interfaith storytelling circle, Children at the Well will tell stories from the Hindu and Muslim faith traditions. 

Elementary Class: (children leave the sanctuary after the children's message. Meet in Spang House for 30-40 minutes, return to participate in the Eucharist with their parents)
Theme: The Post-resurrection Jesus
May 1: Brian Riordon: Jesus is Alive
May 8: Allison de Canel: The Road to Emmaus
May 15: Miranda Rand: Ascension
May 22: (teacher tbd): Pentecost

All Sunday School classes end on May 22

Coming Soon: VBS: "Shake it Up Café" July 25-29, jointly with Union Presbyterian. Registration forms will be mailed May 1.We need lots of help. Call me or look for the sign-up sheet on the information table in the church. All VBS activities are at Union Presbyterian.

Please Note: During the months of May and June there will be no answering machine at my home number - our house is undergoing a major facelift. Please call my cell (229-5105) or use email to contact me.

               The Great Gift of Parenthood

So, here I am, about to start my third full month of work as your Education Director...  

I am beginning to put names and faces together and to learn how things work. I can find my way from the office to the Spang House and back, and I've become adept at matching keys to doors!

I've taught Sunday School a couple of times and enjoyed watching the children react to different presentation techniques. I've participated in a couple of adult classes, and I've had one-on-one meetings with education leaders and parents. 

As I listened in these meetings to the energy and enthusiasm expressed for our future together at St. Stephen's, and to the pride and concern parents' clearly feel for their children, I was reminded of Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen's perception of parenthood...
Children are their parents' guests. They come into the space that has been created for them, stay for a while - fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five - and leave again to create their own space. Although parents speak about "our son" and "our daughter," their children are not their property. In many ways children are strangers. Parents have to come to know them, discover their strengths and their weaknesses, and guide them to maturity, allowing them to make their own decisions.

At St. Stephen's, it seems to me, children are treated as if they are the personal guest of every member of the congregation, and that's cause for celebration. I am pleased to be amongst you, and I am glad to witness this phenomenon.

In peace and love,
Miranda Rand   

Interesting, Challenging Times in Upper-Level Sunday School

Thanks to the good efforts of Miranda Rand, our outstanding Christian Education Director, the upper-level Sunday school class has had several opportunities to see and hear how other religions practice their faiths, to consider the differences and the similarities between Christianity and other religions, and to examine our own personal beliefs.

On April 3,  Zipporah Harris, Hebrew/Judaics teacher at Congregation Temple Gates of Heaven, talked about the history and meaning of Passover and the Jewish Seder meal. Being an accomplished teacher, Zipporah not only told us about the events leading up to the Passover, she brought the Exodus account to life, using frogs, grasshoppers, bloody water, and boils (don't worry - they were all simulated).

And on May 1, Tashi Palden, a former Tibetan Buddhist monk, told us about life as a monk and about some of the basic beliefs and practices of Buddhism. He described the arduous training monks undergo: imagine having four hours of free time (which you use for such mundane tasks as washing your robe and blanket) every fifteen days and spending every other waking hour studying, meditating, and participating in classes!

Tashi told us that the core principles of Buddhism are love and compassion - sound familiar? Practicing Buddhist progress through three levels, beginning with self-examination and the pursuit of a simple life, then to a life dedicated to placing the well-being of others ahead of your own, and finally achieving a oneness with all of creation.

He closed our session on a thought-provoking note, pointing out just how similar are the ways of life taught by Christianity and Buddhism.


  New Parish Hall Update
The old parish hall is now history.  It does seem strange to see how small the church is without the Parish Hall.  The area for the foundation has been dug out and most of the footing have been poured.  The sidewalk supers have had fun watching this activity.  For those of you who missed the fun, Chris has posted lots of pictures.  The next step will be to put in the sewer and water pipes that will be under the basement floor and to pour the basement walls. 

Now that the basement has been excavated down to the bottom footings, Allegrone has found and it is obvious that the water table in the area is quite high.  Crushed stone has been brought in ahead of schedule in order to allow the workers to more efficiently work on the foundation.  The contracted design made  provision for waterproofing the  foundation.  This will prevent water coming in horizontally, but not a rising water table from under the slab.  A network of pipes and addition stone is being designed to carry this water to drainage pipes.  
Questions?  Contact Austin Spang at or by phone, 518-573-9522. 


                             The Warden's Corner

It is exciting to see the progress of our new Parish Hall and we all look forward to it's completion the end of November.  To that end, please remember to search for any "trash" which might become someone's "treasure" to donate for the Lawn Sale coming up May 7th.  This will help raise funds along with the Capital Campaign for the furnishing of our new building. 
Our thanks to Austin for all his work as liaison with the Allegrone and mitigating problems as they arise. 

On another subject, when you are doing your weekly grocery shopping, please remember the SICM Food Pantry and pick up one or two extra items to bring to the basket at church on Sunday. 

Millie Gittinger

Vestry  Meeting May 9th 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

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

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.


   Saint Stephen's Shop
Spring is Sprung, the Grass is Risen------The shop has many items for Spring and Mom's Day.  Garden Stones, Angel Mobiles and Garden Crosses.  Book Marks and Cards for Mom too.  Don't forget to look at the Encore section, the treasures change almost weekly.  Thanks for your support and happy Spring,

Lily and Marilyn


                           BOOK CLUB NEWS
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 at 1198 Lowell Road.

Please join us!

Any questions contact Vicki Hoshk, 372-0261



Once again, there is a need for underwear for the women inmates at the Schenectady County Jail. The following items would be greatly appreciated:

men's white tee shirts (no designs)--sizes L and XL 
cotton panties (any color)--sizes 5-8 
bras (no underwire, no silk or silk-like, any color)--sizes 34-42 
men's or women's white cotton socks 

We will collect these items until Sunday, May 15th. Socks and tee shirts are in especially short supply, but all contributions will be gratefully accepted.

Deacon Pat

   Workcamp Shares Drive
   Stock Market Recovery?

 Well, Ben Bernanke and Tim Geitner aren't saying so, but you have to wonder: the stock market begins to show signs of strength just when the coveted St. Stephen's Workcamp Shares go on sale - coincidence or cause and aWorkCrewffect?

Some may wonder whether or not Warren Buffet will buy up all of the shares, leaving none for anyone else; to avoid that concern and the possible disappointment, contact anyone in the youth group or see George Woodzell about buying your shares when they go on sale May 15.

Remember: all of the money you pay for workcamp shares goes directly to pay the cost of the youth group's trip this summer to the workcamp in Peterstown, West Virginia.



The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
is holding its 19th annual
Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive
on Saturday, May 14.

Leave non-perishable food items
at your mail box that morning!

Food collected in Schenectady County
will benefit pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in the county.

            Schenectady Inner City Mission SICM 
SICM Logo      THANK YOU to all who participated in the April 9 Day of Service. 

       Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM)

          Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Saturday, June 25, from 10:00-2:00
 SICM Food Pantry Parking Lot, 839 Albany Street
For all residents of the city of Schenectady

Materials that will be accepted include compact fluorescent lights, toxic cleaners, paints, paint thinners & strippers, lawn & garden chemicals, pesticides, and small propane tanks.  Items not accepted include electronics, TV's, computers & accessories, empty aerosol & paint cans, large propane tanks, explosives, and ammunition.

A prescription drug collection may be included in this event.  In addition to the collection day, a public program or information table can be arranged, featuring alternative nontoxic products as well as more information about household hazardous products.   For more information please call 258-4846.

Richey Woodzell 


               SICM Food Pantry and Summer Lunch 

The Food Pantry continues to have a growing number of people needing help, please
continue your generosity of food and/or money.  Remember the Pantry can buy food
from the Regional Food Bank for $ .16 per pound! 

Summer Lunch at Jerry Burrell Park will be coming after the close of school, we will
have a sign up sheet in June.  We are praying for somewhat cooler and less humid
weather than last year!

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, Amy, Marti 

                  Food Pickup Volunteers Needed            
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

 Richey Woodzell,


ERD Logo


         Living Our Faith for a Better World. 
Working in partnership with the worldwide Church, ecumenical agencies and local organizations, Episcopal Relief & Development saves lives and strengthens communities around the world.
Our programs work toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015.
Our programs focus on the following areas:

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.


Thus Says the Lord: Listening to the Prophets, Old Testament Part II

Beth Tanner
Assistant Professor of Old Testament, New Brunswick Theological Seminary
 Choose one day, July 21 to 30th, Both Christian and Jewish traditions revered the work of the Prophets. Old Testament prophetic messages were contextual and time-specific, yet God's words are also timeless. Our work is to interpret the words of the prophets anew for our context without changing the divine intention.
 $250. Reg. deadline: July 18, 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.



Jennifer Kirby               5/2
Margaret Rivenburg      5/4
Bruce Tatge                  5/4
Omer Burton                5/5
Belachew Emaelaf       5/5HappyBirthday
Ted Schlansker            5/5
Marilyn Dare               5/9
Scott Soulé                 5/11
Ayodele Jones            5/12
Charline Hoffmann    5/15
Amy Soulé                 5/15
Tyleigh Versocki       5/19
Liz Levine                  5/20
Steven Koch               5/21
Cheryl Syta                5/24
Phyllis Chapman        5/26
Allison de Kanel        5/26
Emmy Grubb              5/26
Marilyn Humphrey     5/26
William Schlansker    5/26
Will Koch                   5/30
Dawn Kaler                5/31
Julie McDonald          5/31
Susie Olsen                5/31
Dave & Denise Crates               5/23
George & Richey Woodzell      5/28
Robert & Phyllis Chapman       5/30



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
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:
Our website is
The Messenger is published September - June.
Please submit articles to Larry Levine