The Messenger

Saint Stephen's Schenectady
Halloween Issue 
October 2011

in this issue

A. From Father James

B. School Days

C. More News

D. More Activities and Dates


Shield Dear Friends,

Last spring Saint Stephen's conducted a fairly successful capital campaign for our new building  and I thank all those who have contributed or pledged generously. However, this month we will conduct our annual pledge drive that allows our day-to-day parish programs to continue. These are two very different concepts of giving and I want to put them in perspective; showing how they fit into four concepts of giving: charity, philanthropy, fund-raising, and stewardship.

Charity is profoundly experienced by those of us at Saint Stephen's, during the recent hurricanes and flooding in our area. It is a response to a crisis or an immediate need. It sees the victims and their needs and responds with gift-giving. The heroic efforts of Episcopal Relief and Development  and the Red Cross speak volumes about this form of giving.

Philanthropy, on the other hand, is like an investment. It is the act of giving money for a specific reason with the intention of improving the welfare of a community or an organization over the long term. The recipient is obliged to show results.

Fund-raising asks us to give to a project such as a building or a capital investment, but rarely to an annual budget. The average parish is sometimes tempted to teach fund-raising rather than stewardship. It is a necessary procedure for developing hospitals, schools, the arts, and for us, our new building.

Stewardship in our culture is a radically different way of thinking about giving. Charity, philanthropy, and fund-raising all treat the individual as the owner of the money. Stewardship on the other hand treats God as the owner, and the giver as one who simply returns a portion of what God has given. The Church in its theology offers each of us an opportunity to give out of gratitude. Stewardship is giving with no strings attached. The church says to its people: "God is giving you a chance to give God a gift because you delight in God's very existence and the blessings in your life." The need to give is not a result of the church's need for money. It is rather our need to give. Nevertheless; make no mistake about it, Saint Stephen's does need money for operations and programs.

Please ponder and pray about these distinctions when you receive your 2012 pledge card along with the 2012 budget.  With faith and dedication, we can enable this budget to underwrite great things for God.  And when pledge Sunday comes, let's all be ready to pledge to fulfill the ministry of Christ among us, which is what our budget represents.



AA. From the Rector 


Saint Stephen's Church: Who We Are 


St. Stephen's is a diverse faith community with a variety of people at various stages in their faith journey. As such, all attempts to summarize a common set of beliefs will consistently fall far short. There are however some common beliefs that we do cling to as Christians and as Episcopalians.  

Holy Eucharist is at the heart and soul of our spirituality and our community life. At St. Stephen's we strive to live a life of common worship centered around grateful thanksgiving to God in the weekly celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

St. Stephen's has an open altar. All who are baptized and desire to receive the Body and Blood of Christ are invited to  do so. All who are hungry and thirsty for God are welcome at Christ's table.

The characteristics of Episcopal spirituality have been outlined in the writings of John Westerhoff and are summarized and freely adapted here:

Liturgical/Scriptural:  Episcopalian spirituality is rooted in communal prayer and worship as laid out in The Book of Common Prayer. We, as Episcopalians, essentially believe what we pray. Thus, our way of praying tends to have structure and is shaped by the reading and prayerful  meditation of the Scriptures.

Sacramental:  We are centered on the two primary sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, along with other sacraments of confirmation, holy matrimony, reconciliation, unction, and ordination.

Incarnational: We emphasize the Incarnation, God's entry into human life and history in the Person of Jesus. Accordingly, we have a spirituality that affirms the goodness of life and the created world and believes that the extraordinary is to be found in the ordinary. Our living into the reality of the Incarnation is expressed in many ways, such as liturgy, music, the arts and service to others.

Ambiguous: We are not "black and white" thinkers. Rather we affirm the ambiguity of our common human experience and the value of learning to tolerate and embrace many aspects of human life and the spiritual journey we are traveling together.

Open-minded: We are people of a questioning faith. We search for wisdom in many places and encourage people to listen to each other and to bring their honest questions (and even their doubts) to their spiritual life.

Intuitive: We are at home in the world of image, symbol, ritual, and the arts. Very few Episcopalians write systematic theologies. Instead we express our belief in various ways. In addition to being theologians and believers, we are also poets, artists, musicians, writers and storytellers.

Aesthetic: We believe that beauty is the doorway to truth, goodness and, ultimately, God. We convey this belief in various creative ways both for the good of our faith family and for the larger community.

Inclusive: We believe that all people are created in the image of God and strive to recognize that imprint in all who walk beside us. As a result, we welcome everyone who comes to us, and receive all visitors "as Christ." (The Rule of St. Benedict)

Moderate: We avoid extremes, believing that a godly life is one that is disciplined, balanced and temperate.

Naturalistic: We have a reverence for nature and its rhythms. St. Stephen's is an animal-friendly congregation and we are thankful for all the companions, both human and animal, who accompany us on our spiritual journey. Episcopalians believe in working to protect the natural world and its creatures.

Political: We believe that Christian life has political implications and that civic responsibility is both a legitimate and important place for Christian apostolic living to be expressed.

Our spiritual life is about listening to the voice of God-through prayer, Scripture, liturgy, music, poetry, arts, as well as the depths of our own experience, and in listening to one another in community, through the lives of the saints and to the voice and experiences of the wider church.

The "Disciple" Bible Study

Disciple Bible Study offers a complete and structured approach to Bible study that uses video presentations, discussion, individual study, group fellowship and prayer to develop deeper spirituality in participants. The Disciple Bible Study series can be a life changing and enriching experience.

This is a 34-week study that focuses on the entire Bible and how God is in relationship with God's people. It will take place on Thursday mornings from 10:45 - noon in the rector's office.

 On the Light Side 

A  Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter.  They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.

Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules.  So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day. 

The husband checked into the hotel.  There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife.  However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral.  He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack.

The widow decided to check her e-mail expecting messages from relatives and friends.  After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted.

The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read: 

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: October 16, 2005

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in.

I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow.  Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P. S.  Sure is freaking hot down here!!!!


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.  346-6241

 Fr.  James
 Deacon Pat

 B. School Days

 MirandaChristianEd @ St. Stephen's from Ms. Miranda
Train a child in the way he should go.
When he is old, he will not turn away from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NIRV)

After a thorough search of old records, new registrations, and the Saint Stephen's membership directory, I have determined that we are able to maintain two lively, albeit broad-stroke, Sunday school classes. 

  • Students currently enrolled in Grades 7 through 12, meet in the chapel at 9:00 with George Woodzell. This group will occasionally entertain guest speakers, or go out of the building for service projects.  No formal curriculum for this group - they prefer discussing current affairs, watching a movie, or debating the deep theological (and never-ending) topic - why should we believe in God.


  • Students Pre-K through 6th Grade will meet in the Tower Room during the 10:15 mass-departing after the Children's Message and returning in time to participate in the Eucharist with their parents. The curriculum we have chosen this year, Godly Play, is a series of core bible stories told in the oral tradition, modeled on the Montessori Method, and designed by an Episcopal priest.  Father James is modeling the story each week in his time with the children.
    • o    Stories for October:
      • 10/02   How the Church Tells Time (Rotation of Church Seasons)
      • 10/09  Creation
      • 10/16   The Flood and the Ark
      • 10/16   The Great Family (God with the People of God)
      • 10/23   The Exodus (Passover of God's People)
      • 10/30   The Ten Best Ways (Ten Commandments)

I am still mindful that there are middle-school students in our congregation needing an age-specific time of their own. A monthly Sunday afternoon session of fun, fellowship, food, and bible-study will start in November. The success (or failure) of such a program rests on a critical mass of kids who can make the commitment to attend on a regular basis. I will be in touch with the parents of boys and girls in this age-group to see how we can make this work.


Many blessings; much peace and love...
Miranda Rand, Christian Education Director


Thank you!

Miranda Rand

Sunday School Link to our Website page on Sunday School:

                 Thanks to Peter Nelson for the construction pictures in this month's Messenger!

 C. More  News
  Jump Back to B. School Days
  Jump Ahead to D. Activities & Dates 
THE CHAPEL PRAYER   (From the 1929 Chapel Directory)
All who are interested in the work are asked to say this daily.

Almighty and Everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth, mercifully hear our prayers, and grant to our chapel all things that are needed for its spiritual and material welfare; strengthen and confirm the faithful; visit and relieve the sick; comfort the sorrowing; turn and soften the wicked; arouse the careless; recover the fallen; restore the penitent; remove all hindrances to the advancement of Thy truth; make all to be of one mind and heart; and put it into the hearts of Thy people to offer generously: themselves and their gifts, for the building up and the support of Thy work in this place and in all the world; to the honor and glory of Thy great Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Please join us this church year in our Foyer program. This is a great opportunity to meet old and new friends from St. Stephen's in an informal setting for a meal and social time.

We meet once a month in small groups of 6-8 people and everyone is welcome to join, whether you are single or a couple. Generally this is an adult forum but that doesn't mean children are not welcome if baby sitting is a problem.

I try to vary the groups each month so that you meet as many different people as possible. Everybody takes a turn at hosting a group. The hostess provides the main course with the rest of the group bringing other dishes. It doesn't have to be a gourmet meal, it could be a pizza party or something from the local Chinese take-away. The important thing is that we enjoy fellowship and who doesn't like to eat?!

We do hope you will join us. There will be sign-up sheets on the Welcome table at the back of the church or email me at

If I can answer any questions you may have about Foyer please call me at 785-3874 or email me at the above address.

One last thing. If you could sign up as soon as possible I would really appreciate it. Having been away I'm late getting this started and if at all possible I would like to get things underway by the end of October. A tall order I know!

Gillian Woodcock

 TAKE SOME ALTAR FLOWERS to a parishioner, a friend, a neighbor or a relative:
  to anyone whose day would be brightened by your visit and some flowers.  Instead of assigning pastoral care teams to make visits each week, there is now a sign-up sheet for any of you to share in this ministry.  This is a wonderful way to extend the community of St. Stephen's to our homebound and others.  Please sign up for a Sunday and include the name of the person you are visiting.  You can make the visit during the week; if it is one of our homebound or ill members, call first.  Flowers will be available after the 10:15 service.  Questions?  Ask Richey Woodzell, 372-9398.  Thank you!

Shop News-----
Halloween  is coming and the ghosts, pumpkins and goblins are at the shop ready for your home decorating.  The Encore section is full of unusual treasures and they are all reduced by 50%, great bargains!!!    

Stop by and see us, Lily, Louise and Marilyn








"Exodus: Gateway to the Bible" will be the next Kerygma Bible Study offered at St. Stephen's. This study will enable us to see the covenant relationship between God and the people of Israel, which continues throughout the whole Bible (and indeed to the present time). 
Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings, from 7:30-9:00, beginning October 19th, at the home of Jean and Judy Versocki, 1351 Sumner Avenue. (3 blocks from St. Stephen's) This is an excellent opportunity to gain understanding of the Bible at the same time that we develop deeper fellowship with one another.

There are no prerequisites for this study; all you need is a Bible, preferably a study Bible with footnotes and references, and an open and inquiring mind. Student resource books will be available at cost. 
Please sign up on the list at the back of the church, or by calling Deacon Pat Jones (372-5836).



This will be the Harvest for the Pantry Dinner.  It will be held at 1st Reformed Church in Scotia.  You'll have a chance to bid on a wonderful variety of items from Theme Baskets to jewelry, pottery, and many others, as well as a delicious dinner.  Tickets will be available at church after October 5.

Have you aver wondered what SICM is all about?  There is a great deal more than the Emergency Food Pantry, and Summer Lunch, that we are always talking about.  Delegates From the member churches meet 8 times a year, often with a guest speaker to give us information about areas of concern around the county.  If you are interested, the next Assembly will be Wednesday October5 at 7:00pm and we will meet at 1st Reformed Church in Schenectady.  If you would like to join us please contact one of us.

Amy, Eunice and Marti



Vestry Meetings are open to all members of the congregation.  Vestry meetings are held the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30pm.  Please note 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 Junior Warden is Linda Emaelaf

Our mission is to glorify God by reaching out to others, universally, with hands that serve, hearts and minds that welcome, and voices that carry the good news of God's redeeming love to all.  We embrace diversity by celebrating the worth, dignity, and gifts of every person as a child of God. We seek to expand our Christian community and share God's love more widely.

Sundays  Morning Prayer at 7:30 am
Holy Communion at 8:00am and 10:15am
Nursery care, Sunday, 10:00am to 11:30am

Monday-Saturday  Morning prayer, 9:00 am

Thursday:   Holy Communion & Healing: 10:00am

How to get to St. Stephen's Church 
MESSAGE for the church?


Our secretary, Cathleen Knauf, will
be checking the e-mail frequently.
To send her a message,
click here 


The Apostle Paul taught that we must "be transformed by the renewing of our minds."  We are encouraged to be intentional about finding ways to grow in our faith, our understanding, and our desire to know Christ better.  CRTC can help by offering a wide variety of courses to aid in your ministries and spiritual growth!  Connect with others as you explore your faith. 
 "Spirit, Grace & Power: Acts of the Apostles", w/ Rev. Dr. Richard Carlson,  Siena College, Thurs. & Fri., Oct. 20 & 21, 9am-3pm,  This popular professor is back to help us rediscover the grace and power of the Spirit at work in the early church as well as our own!    $155 by Sept 22; $175 thereafter.  Reg. deadline: October 5, 2011.
"Opening the Doors: Welcoming the Differently-Abled", w/ Rev. Catherine Patterson, NYS OPWDD, Thurs., Oct.27, 9am-3pm,  Designed to help faith leaders reach out to individuals and families of individuals with developmental disabilities who wish to belong to a faith community.  $75 by Sept 29; $85 thereafter.  Reg. deadline: October 13, 2011.
Boundary Awareness, w/ Rev. Dr. Davis Olsen , Thurs., Nov. 3, 9am-3pm,  Explore fundamental role relationship tensions and why boundaries do or do not hold.  For all congregational leaders and those who minister to children, teens, adults, or any specialized ministry.  $90.  Reg. deadline: October 18, 2011.
God in the Details: A Faith & Science Dialogue, w/ Rev. Dr. Wesley Wildman, Sat., Nov. 5, 9am-3pm,  The more we learn from science, the more we begin to grasp the fullness of God's glory!  Explore cosmology & creation, and evolution and human nature.  $75 by Oct 7; $85 thereafter.  Reg. deadline: October 20, 2011.
Go Ye: The Nuts & Bolts of Planning a Mission Trip- A Resource Sharing Event, w/a Panel of Area Presenters, Sat., Nov. 19, 9am-12:30pm, Ever wondered how to put together a mission trip- and do it well?  Hear about planning, fundraising, finding volunteers, & more!  $45 by Oct 21; $40 thereafter.  Reg. deadline: Nov. 3, 2011.
Register online at or by phone at 518-462-2470. Watch our website for information on these and many other courses available in 2011.  Scholarships and group discounts available for most classes; please contact us for an application.


October, 2011

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church















9:00 Morning Prayer

10:00 Blessing of Animals 

7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
Sunday School
9:00 Adult Class
10:15 Communion
Nursery Care  

9:00 Morning Prayer 

9:00 Morning Prayer 

9:00 Morning Prayer 

9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer 

7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
Sunday School
9:00 Adult Class
10:15 Communion
Nursery Care

9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Vestry   

9:00 Morning Prayer

7:00 Book Group 

9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer

9:30 Daughters of the King 

7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
Sunday School
9:00 Adult Class
10:15 Communion
Nursery Care 

9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30Parish Council 

9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer


9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
Sunday School
9:00 Adult Class
10:15 Communion
Nursery Care 

9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Worship Committee 

9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Episcopal Church Women 

9:00 Morning Prayer  

9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

9:00 Morning Prayer  

9:00 Morning Prayer

30  7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
Sunday School
9:00 Adult Class
10:15 Communion
Nursery Care
11:45 Ladies Luncheon 

31  9:00 Morning Prayer








October Wedding Anniversaries
Robert & Bonita Bailey.................10/9
Bob & Angela Strong....................10/14
Herbert & Shirley Gretz................10/19
Christopher & Jennifer Kirb.........10/20


October Birthdays
Kabby Lowe....................................10/3
Eugene Whitney.............................10/5
Natalie Claus..................................10/6
Erik Chambers................................10/8
Herbert Gretz.................................10/11
Sara Palko......................................10/11
Janet Schlansker...........................10/11
Don Molino....................................10/12
Joe Palko.......................................10/13
Diana Belardo................................10/14
Susan Feyrer.................................10/15
George Chambers........................10/17
Katherine Casale..........................10/20
Suzanne Wolff...............................10/20 bday 
Danté Anthony.............................10/21
Karen Holcombe..........................10/22
Allie Strong.................................10/25
Sabrina Chambers......................10/26
Peter Nelson...............................10/27
Eunice Chouffi............................10/28
Matthew Canavan.....................10/30
Samuel Holcombe.....................10/30
Josefina Nevius.........................10/30
Vera Crates................................10/31
Christopher Morin.....................10/31






Quick links....
Calendar on 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

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