February 2012

hank you, Larry Levine!!
The Messenger: Under New Management

Larry Levine

Thank You Larry!

With this issue and future issues of The Messenger you will notice a new look and feel. This is because our Office Manager, Cathy Knauf has taken on the compilation and editing of the parish newsletter.

The congregation is very grateful to the excellent work that Larry Levine has done with the newsletter over the past several years. Larry brought new ideas and a wonderful sense of community to a struggling publication in 2006. Under his leadership the first full color editions of The Messenger were produced, as well as the first 'on-line' version that was sent to all members and friends.

Thank you so much, Larry, for your work so well done!


Note from the Editor:

I am very excited to be taking on this much important task and to hopefully live up to the work of

Knauf, Cathy

Cathy Knauf,
Admin. Assist.

Larry Levine and keep up the integrity of this publication.

You will notice some changes in this February edition with more to come in the following months. I would love to hear from you! Besides sending me your articles and information for the Messenger, I would love input and ideas for making this publication not only informational
but something to look forward to reading.

Please email me at: ssec.cathleen@gmail.com with your articles and any ideas or photos you might have. Please send pictures separately and in jpeg format if possible. Deadline for monthly submissions is the 25th of the month. If you need more time, please contact me by this date so we can make arrangements.

Thank you,

     ShieldDear Parisioners:

The weeks before Lent are a good time to decide what your Lenten discipline will be this year.  As I was growing up in church the emphasis was on giving up something for Lent.  One problem with this is that we often get so caught up in trying to keep our Lenten denial, that we loose track of the true reason we are doing it.  Another problem is that we can perform the denial for the praise of others, and thus rob ourselves of that which we seek: true intimacy with God.

            There is another way to observe a holy lent.  Instead of giving up, we can take on such activities as weekday Eucharist's or participation in a Lenten study group.  At Saint Stephen's we offer many Lenten opportunities, including a Sunday evening study series.  Increasing the amount of time spent in reading the Bible and other religious books, in meditation and prayer, and in doing extra work to help the poor and needy - are all worthwhile forms of Lenten discipline.  Taking on additional activities during Lent is an excellent way to prepare for Christ's resurrection, because these are the very activities which were such an important part of Jesus' ministry.  How many times in the Gospels can you remember Jesus urging his disciples to give up something?  But think of the times Jesus urges his followers to feed the hungry and tend to the needy.

            Up to a point Ash Wednesday is supposed to make us uncomfortable as we contemplate our sinful condition.  However, this stark, penitential day, the first of the 40 days of Lent does not have to be the beginning of a time of negativity, when we dwell on denial.  I am urging you today to consider taking on a spiritual activity, rather than giving up something.  The difference between giving up and taking on is that taking on an activity is a creative act; giving up something is not.  But don't think that taking on something for Lent is easier or requires less pain than giving up something.  Taking on an activity is every bit as much a discipline as self-denial, but is more like the mother's joy at birth which overshadows the pains that precede it.

            So Lent is not only a time for us to remember the shortness and frailty of human life, a time reflecting on our tendency to sin; it is also a time of spiritual refreshment and new commitment to Christ.  We shall not be unduly depressed, for we are children of God, in Christ.  Lent is a time when all we are called to do is to be who we are created to be.  We need only be human, a simple matter of being in relationship with God and other human beings.

Wishing you a holy Lent, James+

 Important Events!

Ash Wednesday Services

Ash Wednesday is February 22nd 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.

Lent/Ash Wed 

Lent, the annual celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ, is an intense period of Christian teaching and training. In earlier centuries, the season provided the background for the preparation of the catechumen(new converts) for baptism on Easter morning.

The catechumens were later joined in their studies by professional Christians seeking continued study and spiritual renewal. By the third century, Lent also was a time when Christians who had lapsed in the faith could prepare for reuniting with the body of Christ on Maundy Thursday (Great Thursday). Their journey began on Ash Wednesday when ashes gathered from the burnt palms of the previous year's Palm Sunday were placed on the confessor's forehead as a sign of repentance and total dependence on God. Thus, Lent has become a time for all Christians - new converts, committed followers, and renewed believers, to reflect on their baptism in the light of Christ's baptism and temptation.

Lent is a time for spiritual preparation; a time for discipline; a time to 'repent' or 'turn around' as the Greek words "metania" implies. The spirit of Lent is to take on anew all that it means to belong to Christ.

Lent is a way of growing into Easter.

Adult Education

"Living the Questions" on Sunday Morning

People know that at its core, Christianity has something good to offer the human race. At the same time, many have a sense that they are alone in being a "thinking" Christian and that "salvaging" Christianity is a hopeless task. What is needed is a safe environment where people have permission to ask the questions they've always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.

This Lenten Study includes DVD presentation followed by small group study exploring beyond the traditions and rote theologies in which so many people and local churches seem to be stuck. The purpose of the study is to help participants discover the relevance of Christianity in the 21st Century and what a meaningful faith can look like in today's world.

We meet on Sunday mornings at 9am
in the parish office for our study.


The "Disciple" Bible Study on Thursday Morning

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 focuses on the entire Bible and how God is in relationship with God's people.
Class sessions are held in Fr. James' office
on Thursday mornings, from 10:45am to noon.


For Spiritual Growth In Lent

The Mormons: a Lenten Study to Begin on February 26.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of America's fastest growing religions, and its influence circles the globe. Yet the birth of Mormonism and its history is one of America's great neglected narratives. 
 Lent Series
We will view an in-depth documentary about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, produced by PBS Frontline & American Experience. The presentation does not try to promote the faith, but it takes an unbiased path to explain the Mormon religion from a historical perspective. The aim will be to compare beliefs and practices of Mormonism with those of the Episcopal Church in an attempt to better understand our own beliefs.   The presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney offers particular timeliness to an exploration and discussion of the Mormon faith. 
We will meet on Sunday evenings at 5pm in the church for our study from Feb. 26th to March 25th.

Thursday Mornings: 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 Disciple curriculum.

Sunday Eucharists in Lent: The Prayerbook gives many liturgical observances that are especially appropriate for Lent. Watch for these.

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.

Lent affords us a good opportunity to explore areas of our liturgical tradition that not widely used in our church.

Youth Education

  Sunday School Winter - Spring 2012 

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)

Godly Play (Grades Pre-K-6 @ 10:15 in the Tower) 
Miranda Rand 

During the month of January, we looked at the Sacrament of Baptism with a special story and art response; then worked on learning some parables -- the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Parable of the Good Shepherd, and the Parable of the Great Pearl, and the Parable of the Sower. 

I am grateful to Brian Riordon and Allison De Kanel for being the designated story tellers on a couple of Sundays in January and early February.


Christian Education Director


The schedule of stories for February are as follows:

  • February 5: Parable of the Sower
  • February 11: Parable of the Leaven
  • February 18: Parable of the Mustard Seed
  • February 25: 1st Sunday of Lenten Series 
  • February 25: 1st Sunday of Lenten Series


Grades 7-12 @ 9:00am in the Chapel-
George Woodzell & Peter Nelson

George and Peter continue to lead their group in a series of work projects and religious exploration, which includes regular trips to Schoharie Valley, field trips to local non-Mainline Protestant churches, and rich discussions on national and international affairs as they pertain to religious morals and scruples.  

Tributes, Thank You's and Recognition

Belated Thanks:

A very hearty belated thanks to Louise Peake and Marilyn Humphrey for all their help in selling the chances for the NY Yankee Hassock raffle.  With their help, we were able to raise $300 for new kitchen equipment. Thank you so much Marilyn and Louise.

Also, thank you for the recognition in the January Messenger, but I would like to give credit to a very generous friend of mine from Rhode Island who actually made it and donated it.
Millie Gittinger


Mi Refugio, Inc. sends their thanks for our faithful partnership with the ministy
in Guatemala through your prayers and financial support.
As a token of their appreciation, they sent a
2012 Mi Refugio calendar which depicts come of the children and staff
at the San Pedro school campus.
The calendar will be posted in the parish office for anyone to see. 

The Schenectady Free Health Clinic sent a thank you for our support of them
during our St. Stephen's Holiday Outreach:

Dear Members,

On behalf of the uninsured residents of Schenectady County, I would like to thank the members of St. Stephen's Church for the Christmas Project donation of $740. It is with this type of support that we are able to privide healthcare and medications for our patients.

We are very grateful for this gift and for your support of the Schenectady Free Health Clinic.

Sincerely yours,
William P. Spolyar
Executive Director 

  Make 2012 Lent Meaningful

Lent is one of the oldest observances in the annual Christian calendar. Like all Christgiving handsian celebrations, Lent has changed over the years, but its purpose has remained the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial and acts of compassion, in preparation for the celebration of Easter.  Here are some suggestions for making your Lenten observance meaningful and enriching.

Put Lent on your daily activity calendar. This year the Lent season starts on Feb. 22 (Ash Wednesday) and ends with Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 7.

Set a concrete goal to spend approximately 10 minutes everyday to reflect, pray, and make decisions to move in new directions. Instead of saying, "I'm going to spend time reflecting daily," say "At 6:00am, Monday through Saturday, I will sit down at my desk for 10 minutes to read and reflect"

Use a daily Lenten devotional. To help make this Lenten season especially meaningful for you, St. Stephen's will have available: Forward Day By Day, and a new booklet from the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund called, Countdown to the Cross. Both are available in the parish hall.

Join others in Lent. Participate in the Lenten activities at St. Stephen's, Friday Stations of the Cross, Sunday evening Lenten 'soup and study' time. Lead daily evening Lenten devotions with your family. Share your learnings during Lent with friends.

Focus on taking action. Engage in acts of mercy and charity. Make a gift in compassion for hungry people living in poverty by using a Hope Chestto collect weekly offerings.

Through your giving, you can be the hands, feet, and heart of Christ for a hungry world. Your giving helps Episcopal Relief and Development to find long-term solutions to people who are hungry, while caring for the immediate problem of hunger.

  Ministry Updates

Bethesda House Dinner 
Some of the crew doing a Sunday dinner at Bethesda House. Lots of food, lots of fun! 

  St. Stephen's Book Club


February Book, Bossypants by Tina Fey

Over the past year we have shared good books, good laughs, good cries, and most of all, good times.  Even if you can't make a monthly commitment, please consider joining us when ever you are able to attend.  We will continue to meet at the Feyrers, 1198 Lowell Rd., Schenectady on the second Tuesday of the month from 7:00 - 9:00.

 February book:  Bossypants by Tina Fey

                                                ~Susan Feyrer    




We recently received some Food Pantry totals from 2011-43, 486 individuals served and this equaled 391,374 meals provided.  Your donations on Sunday morning help to serve a continuing group of folks in need (including some of Deacon Pat's girls).  There is a need for volunteers at the Pantry.  Do you have one hour a month, a few hours a week, or a regular day that you can volunteer? 

 Call Gail Van Valkenburgh at 346-4035.

Saturday, April 21 will be a SICM Day of Service. 

Those of you who helped on the Day Of Service last year will remember that we had a great group helping on a variety of projects around the community.  Help was provided at BNI, Bethesda House, Damien Center and the Food Pantry.  We painted, picked up outside, washed windows and filled Easter Baskets for children who come to the Pantry.  More details coming next month.

Amy, Eunice and Marti 


St. Stephen's Shop News

Please welcome Claudia Jakubowski to the "behind the shop counter gang". Claudia will have the shop open after the 8am service, {and of course Lily and Louise will be there after the 10:15.}  Stop by and say hello to Claudia and while there check out the cards, magnets and jewelry for St. Valentines Day. 

Thanks for your support, Marilyn

Important Dates for St. Stephen's!

Happy Birthday Wishes and Blessings Go out to:

02-01 - Nicolaus Brooks-McDonald Birthday
02-03 - Bonnie Chambers
02/04 - Patricia Jones
02/08 - Drew Prescott
02/10 - Grace Strong
           Claire Syta
02/12 - Donald Regula
02/13 - Samuel Koch
           Dawn Rizzo
02/14 - Marilyn Causey
02/18 - Ben MessBoese
           Jane Tatge
02/19 - Mary Alexander
02/24 - Pauline Northrop
02/25 - Joan Halstead
02/28 - Elizabeth Pratico

A very Happy Anniversary to:

Paul & Allison de Kanel - 02/07

I am working to find a template in Constant Contact that will allow me to add a calendar page.~Cathy

Morning Prayer - Monday thru Saturday @ 9:00am and Sunday @ 7:00am
Sunday Services - 8:00am & 10:15am
Sunday School - 9:00am
Sunday Adult Education - 9:00am
Kerygma Bible Study - Wednesdays @ 7:30pm
Inquire Class - Sundays @ 12:00pm
Vestry Meeting - February 13th @ 7:30pm
Book Club - February 14th @ 7:00pm
Daughters of the King Meeting - February 15th @ 10:00am
Parish Council Meeting - February 20th @ 7:30pm
Ash Wednesday Services-February 22nd @ 7:00am, 12:30pm & 7:30pm
Worship Committee Meeting - February 27th @ 7:30pm
Lenten Study - Sundays @ 5:00pm starting February 26th

St. Stephen's Website

For an up to date calendar, a look at the readings for Sunday, the prayer chain, wonderful photos and much more, please visit the St. Stephen's website: www.saintstephenschenectady.org

Chris Jones is our website master. Thanks to Chris for his efforts in keeping the website as accurate as possible.

Quick Links~

Website: www.saintstephenschenectady.org
Office email: ssec.cathleen@gmail.com

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

Miranda Rand, Christian Education Direcor

Robert Acosta, Director of Music
Cathleen Knauf, Administrative Assistant, ssec.cathleen@gmail.com

The Vestry
Sr. Warden, Linda Emaelaf
Jr. Warden, Scott Kilbourn

Class of 2012:
Michael Dixon
Jim Ormsbee

Peter Nelson, 377-7015

Class of 2013:
Erin Cohen

Brian Riordon
 Treasurer: Denise Crates

   The Parish Office:

Our office is located at 1229 Baker Avenue.
The telephone number is (518) 346-6241
If we are unable to answer your call, please leave a message.
We will call you back as soon as possible.
Our email is:  ssec.cathleen@gmail.com
The Rector's email is:  james.ross.mcd@gmail.com
Our website is www.saintstephenschenectady.org
The Messenger is published September - June.
Please submit articles to Cathleen Knauf at