The Messenger


St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
 April 2012

What a Difference a Month Makes!

         The New Parish Hall on March 4th!

                                             The New Parish Hall at the end of March!









ShieldDear Members:

     My favorite cartoon is of two Roman soldiers guarding Jesus' tomb on the first Easter morning. Each has a mug of tea in his hand, and the sun is just rising above the horizon. One is encouraging the other. "Cheer up, it's Sunday morning. As I see it, we have one more day of guarding the tomb. By Monday the whole thing will blow over."

     The world is still astonished that millions of Christians celebrate Easter with such excitement. Like those guards at the tomb they assume that "By Monday the whole thing will blow over." But it doesn't. You see the more we enjoy this life the more we enjoy Easter. Christians already have much to rejoice about in this life. God loves us, we are forgiven, we find a strange power of the Holy Spirit that freed us to love others. Why make so much of Easter?

     On that first Easter day the disciples saw the resurrection of the body of Jesus for the first time. And he showed himself to them in that form for forty days, so they could go out into all the world and proclaim that resurrection is not less but infinitely more than we can ever imagine. That is why we say "The Lord is risen" and Christians all over the world reply "The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia."


Entering Holy Week

Palm Sunday  

 On Palm Sunday, April 1st, 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.


On Maundy Thursday, April 6th, at the 7:30pm 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 parish shop.


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.


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 thplante 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, 2012. The service begins at 7:30 p.m.


Upcoming Events

Palm Sunday - April 1, 2012
8:00 am & 10:15 am Procession with Palms & Eucharist

Holy Monday - April 2, 2012
12:30 pm Eucharist

Holy Tuesday - April 3, 2012
12:30 pm Eucharist

Holy Wednesday - April 4, 2012
12:30 pm Eucharist

Maundy Thursday - April 5, 2012
10:00 am Eucharist & Healing
7:30 pm Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar
9:00 pm Prayer Vigil through the night

Good Friday - April 6, 2012
12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
7:30 pm Lessons & Prayers

Easter Vigil - April 7, 2012
7:30pm Lighting fo the first fire
                              Nine Lessons and musical responses

Easter Day - April 8, 2012
8:00am Choral Eucharist
10:15am Choral Eucharist

When you come to the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening, please bring small bells to ring at the appropriate point in the service, and bring a candle lantern if you want to carry the New Fire home with you that night.

 - - - - - - - -

"Embracing the Prophets in Contemporary Culture" 
is the title of the spring Bible study which will begin in late April and run for six weeks. Walter Brueggemann, an outstanding Old Testament scholar and teacher, is the video host presenter of this course, which will follow a video-and-conversation format. We will be drawing connections between Israel's spiritual, economic and sociological status and that of our own time and place. Workbooks are available for each participant. Sign-up sheets will be on the table at the rear of the church: join us on Wednesday evenings for this brief but stimulating course.
Contact Deacon Pat for more information.

   - - - - - - - -

ccVacation Bible School for  
4-10 year olds
July 9-13
Union Presbyterian Church 

Everyone knows what it's like to hear your mom tell stories from your childhood. Take your kids back to Hometown Nazareth, where they'll stand up for their faith among people who doubt that the carpenter's son is actually God's Son. Nazareth teaches kids to love God and his Word . . . like you do.
Kids will craft cool projects in the Marketplace, laugh as they play Bible-times games, visit with Jesus' mom, Mary, and eat foods just like the ones Jesus ate. Plus, they will meet lots of new friends!
Kids and adults will "time-travel" back to Jesus' hometown!
Here's what happens each day:
1. An Opening Celebration - an upbeat worship time with songs and activities! Next they join their Tribes (small groups) for interaction in a Hometown Huddle.
2. During Hometown Huddle, Tribes prepare to step back in time! Fun activities and talk-starters get everyone ready to visit Nazareth.
3. Visit Nazareth! Tribes will visit the town musician and learn songs, play Fun & Games where they'll laugh and play, visit Mary's House to hear what life was like for Jesus as a kid, and experience Mary's hospitality - snacks. Every Tribe will also get plenty of time to explore the Marketplace, where they can build a tzedakah (charity) box, try wool-felting, sample unexpected snacks, and more.
4. Finally, everyone comes together for a Closing Celebration.
For more information contact:
Miranda Rand
Rev. Ruth Kuo 

Ask the Rector!

With all the talk about doubling the size of the Episcopal Church by 2020, why is it becoming so difficult to be baptized? I remember the days when priests baptized anybody, on all days of the week. Now there are only a few Sunday mornings each year for baptism, and the parents must be members of St. Stephen's. It seems that the Episcopal Church is making it more and more inconvenient for parents to have their children baptized. Why not have baptisms on any Sunday morning? Furthermore, why does it have to be Sunday morning anyway? Finally, why must the parents be members of the congregation?
Dear Confused,


Father James, Rector

You are correct that the Church used to have many more days   for baptism, and even used to perform 'private' baptismal services for families that were not connected to the parish.
There are three major problems the Church has with the idea.

First, on page 312 of the Book of Common Prayer it states: "Holy Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, on the Day of Pentecost, on All Saint's Day ......and on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord. It is recommended that, as far as possible, Baptisms be reserved for these occasions or when a bishop is present." I try "as far as possible" to hold to these specific days appointed by the prayerbook, however, we have performed baptisms on other Sundays when necessary.

Second, on page 298 of the Book of Common Prayer it states: "Holy Baptism is appropriately administered within the Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast." This is so because baptism is a congregational experience; it is the reception of a person into the community of faith. It cannot be just a 'family' matter. The Church goes as far to say that in emergency situations a person can be baptized anywhere, anytime, by any baptized person - as long as "the Baptism (is) recognized at a public celebration of the Sacrament..." (BCP, p. 314) "Public" cannot be interpreted to mean a gathering of family members. In other words, the prayerbook does not allow for "private" baptism, though some Episcopal priests still will preside over such a baptism. I agree with the 'congregational' understanding of the Sacrament and have never presided over one outside the gathered congregation.

As you can see, the Church's understanding of Baptism is dynamic; we are constantly exploring the mystery of the Sacrament, and our practices change with our understanding. The Church does not believe that an unbaptized person is 'damned' (a loving God cannot work that way) and so the urgency of having an infant baptized is no longer necessary. That's been a relief to many parishioners.

Finally, I have urged the grown children of our parishioners to wait to have their children baptized until they find a community of faith in which they want that child to be raised. The congregation makes a promise to do all in their power to support the baptized in his/her life in Christ (BCP p. 303) I think this is best done in the present congregation of the parents, even if that is only a temporary parish home, for that will be where the child begins a new life in Christ and the continual help of the entire congregation will be needed in order to raise that child with integrity in faith.

I don't mean to sound so legalistic, but I hope you see the importance the Church places upon baptism. It's not that we want to make it difficult for parents, but that we want baptism to be a joyful commitment of the entire congregation.


Have a question for Father James?

Contact Information:
     Office Phone: 346-6241
     Cell Phone: 522-3906

A Word from Father James

Are You Interested In Becoming A Member of St. Stephen's?

THE ANGLICAN ETHOS is a series of four classes that are held in an informal atmosphere and taught by the rector. For those who are new to the Episcopal Church, or looking for a new spiritual home, this course will provide an introduction to the Church - - its history, beliefs, worship, and work in the world.

Or, if you were confirmed earlier in life, and wish to renew your commitment at an adult level, consider this course as a part of your continuing Christian education. The course is required for all who wish to be confirmed or received into the church.

These classes will be held on Sunday afternoons at noon beginning on April 22nd. New members will be welcomed on Sunday, May 27th.

Bob Acosta - Beginnings for a Church Musician

Consider for a moment that membership in a choir or assisting in other aspects of church music might determine the future course of your life. To help your consideration, we must first step back a few years in time to February 20, 1900 at 1:50 PM in South Troy for an example of this possibility becoming a reality.

            Hold on to your hats; it is a very windy late winter day in Troy. Pieces of roofing and other debris are being blown all over as the sad procession makes its way from 3 St. Paul's Place to Jackson Street. By his request, the 90 member choir would follow in the carriages behind the hearse. To the accompaniment of the tolling tower bell, at 2:00 PM, the pall bearers, men of the choir including Jim Morrisey, Lawrence Behan, and Tom Murnane took their positions. The procession formed with a young boy, who was an organ student of the professor, leading the procession to the altar.

            Reader, we are witnessing the funeral of the first organist and choirmaster of St. Joseph's Church. The large edifice was filled to capacity including the entire city school board in attendance to say farewell to their former educational commissioner. The natural daylight of the late winter afternoon lit the church interior highlighting the bed of white roses presented by the Knights of Columbus and the large cross of violet roses given by the choir. But wait - there is only

Bob Acosta

Music Director, Bob Acosta

respectful silence; no music since the organ is closed and the two organ pumpers have the day off. Another request our dear organist has made, was that this be a simple service, with no music.

            But to the point. Let us identify the young lad at the head of this procession. His name is Daniel Crough. He was later in life to become the organist and choirmaster at St. John the Evangelist Church on Union Street in Schenectady in the 1930's, and was also a friend and colleague of the late Dr. Elmer Tidmarsh of Union College.


Youth Education

  Lent & Easter 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
(This group leaves with their teachers after the Rector's children's message, and return to participate in the sacrament with their families.)
DuringLent we have beenworked on a continuing series of storiesabout Jesus life and ministry, rolling out a purple runner each week and placing plaquesed. on it, each one telling a different story. Each week the children choose different objects to place on the cloth around the plaque. Week 1 is pictured here, Jesus Birth and Growth. We have progressed through the stories of Jesus being lost in the temple when his family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, Jesus baptism, his desert experience, his healing ministry, and his Upper Room experience: Jesus Offers the Bread and Wine.
After Easter we will talk about Jesus' calling the 12 Disciples, discuss Jesus' role as the Good Shepherd, and look at the biblical significance of the Synagogue's architecture. 


Grades 7-12 @ 9:00am in the Chapel-
George Woodzell & Peter Nelson
During the early part of Lent, the Grade 7-12 group that meets with George Woodzell on Sunday mornings, started to work on designing their own worship service. Last fall they visited the Unitarian church on Wendell Avenue, and were impressed to discover that the Unitarian youth had their own, entirely separate, worship service. Our students talked about creating their own, and Father James gave his blessing.
Their discussion continues. Currently they are involved in writing a Statement of Faith-a declaration of their corporate spirituality. When it is completed, we will post it on this page.


Flowering of the Cross:

 There are no Sunday school classes on Easter Sunday,  
but children are invited to participate in the Flowering of the Cross immediately prior to the 10:15am service, flowers will be provided. Please call me if you would like more information about this (393-5047).

 Contact Information:

Miranda Rand
George Woodzell
Peter Nelson


News Release - St. George's School

St. George's Schoolcc
912 Rt. 146
Clifton Park, NY 12065
Educating Inquiring Minds and Discerning Hearts

New Release

St. George's School in Clifton Park held an Open House on Saturday, March 31, 2012 for parents of students entering Kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 in September. We offer full day Kindergarten. St. George's program offers a challenging academic program, a favorable student-teacher ratio that allows for a high degree of individualized attention, a Mandarin Chinese enrichment program, as well as use of I-Pad technology to enrich learning. The school is now accepting applications for admission for the 2012-2013 school year. Interested parents are invited to contact the school at 371-6351 or learn more online at

Tributes, Thank You's and Recognition

Girl Scout Sunday - March 11, 2012.

Girls Scout visit church

Girl Scouts visit St. Stephen's

Girl Scout Sunday was a big success! We had about 20 visitors in church that day. Girl Scouts participated in the service and helped collect food for the emergency food pantry at Bethesda House. Thank you to everyone who donated food and to all of the people who helped the girls in knowing what to do during the service. Our church community made the girls and their families feel welcomed and included. Thank you, St, Stephen's!!!


Thank you!

I appreciate so much the many cards, calls and flowers that I received
during my recovery from my heart attack and operation March 6th.
It is so special to be a part of such a loving church family.
Once again, I am so thankful to God for my complete recovery.

With thanks,

June Russell



Altar Bread - To Bake or not to Bake


Have you noticed anything different about the Communion bread at St. Stephen's lately? The children have--they have been both amused and curious about the "real" bread we have been using during Lent. The recipe we are using produces a less crumbly bread than our last attempt, so it is easier to handle and dip in the chalice. Most comments have been favorable, so we are considering continuing to use this bread. At present we have two bakers, but it would be desirable to have at least one or two more. The bread is easy to make; the following recipe takes about three hours to complete.

Diocese of Colorado

7/8 cup warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cup whole wheat flour (or more, using as much as the liquid requires)
3 tablespoons honey

Put water, honey and yeast into bowl, stirring until yeast dissolves. Let stand in a warm place 10 minutes to help the yeast act. Stir in oil and salt. Add unsifted flour. If flour does not completely dampen, add a tablespoon or more of water. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board, kneading dough for 5 minutes (adding WHITE flour if dough is too sticky.) Put dough into a bowl, cover and let rise until double in volume (1 to 2 hours--whole wheat flour rises more slowly than white.) Roll dough out with rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds of desired size (a 2 pound coffee can lid is a good cutter.) Place loaves on a non-stick cookie sheet (Teflon or Silverstone). Bake immediately, or for a lighter texture allow to rise for 10 to 12 minutes in warm place. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on rack. Loaves may then be sealed in plastic bags and frozen until needed. This recipe makes 7-8 loaves of about 5" diameter; Sarah doubles the recipe and makes about 14 loaves at a time.
Making the bread is a very satisfying process, and it is a special way to contribute to the life of our parish family. If you are interested in helping, please speak to Sarah Palko or Deacon Pat.

At the Heart of St. Stephen's - Meet our Members 

Priscilla Sprague - Parish Council/OutreachSprague  


My name is Priscilla Sprague. I have been in Schenectady/Niskayuna since the summer of 2010, living now with my younger daughter Megan Dominguez and her two daughters Rebecca Dominguez and Madison Dominguez Norris. I came here after nearly 10 years caring for my mother in Tucson, Arizona. I loved the desert and the church there, Grace St. Paul's. That is a progressive and growing church. I was present for the search process for a new rector. The priest who was their leader for 26 years retired and then later died. Along with the commotion of experiencing several interim priests, the Vestry welcomed the newly chosen rector the month after I settled here. I come to St. Stephen's having called 8 other Episcopal churches home. I mostly worked as a public health social worker for thirty years, mostly involved in working with persons affected by AIDS and with the elderly. My interest in social work came with many discussions in a group which read Kubler-Ross' book On Death and Dying.   I am pleased to be a new member of the Parish Council as the Outreach person, and look forward to working with the community of Schenectady. I am also in the Book Club and in the ECW group.

We are rich in our people. We have parishioners who are very knowledgeable in the medical field, in engineering, teaching, ministry, crocheting and knitting, the media, music, horticulture, traveling, finance, and architecture, and story-telling, and hearty laughing. And there are those of you whom I have yet to meet with other interesting abilities.
My ministry is to bring the needs of the community to you, to encourage parish participation, and to represent St. Stephen's to the community. I will endeavor to serve you faithfully, intelligently, and well. I look forward to your input at any time.

Please do not hesitate to contact me. I do not talk and drive so if I am driving please leave a message. I often am at both services and you can surely meet me there. I will see you soon, then!

In faith
Priscilla Sprague

Ministry Updates

St. Stephen's Book Club
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.

Please Note: The April Book Club will meet on April 17th instead of April 10th!book

April book:  "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier" by Thad Carhart 


May book:  "How to Be Black" by Baratunde Thurston





SICM Day of Service
April 21st

Lots of opportunities to serve
Such as: Food Pantry, DamienCenter, EdiblePlaygroundGarden Sites, Neighborhood outreach, advocacy letter-writing, hosting a lunch for the volunteers, and similar projects.

There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the back of the church. Please read over the places where you can go and sign up for your choice.
This is important; Janet Mathis needs an idea of how many people will be at each project site.



Join the Hunger Fighters!

Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty

Sunday, Sunday, May 6, 2012
Registration: 12:30 (begins)
Walk begins at 1:30 (after brief opening)
Any runners start before walkers

Emmanuel Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace, start and end
Route loops up State Street, then downtown to return
One rest stop approximately half way
5 K Walk - Optional "Golden Mile" available

Runners welcome but not an official race
Rain/Snow Date: None, collecting funds "upfront" is "rain insurance"

to bear witness/celebrate and to raise money for hunger-fighting efforts in Schenectady and around the world.
-25% of funds will go to local Food pantries, Community Crisis Network, and Senior Meals
-remainder will go to hunger-fighting relief, self-help development and refugee resettlement needs in the US and around the world.
-special Africa and AIDS Initiative
-at work whenever the next emergency/disaster happens

-walkers get Sponsor Records from recruiters or individually
-each participant seeks their own sponsors
-"Walk on the Web" option available for on line sponsors
-walkers turn in the top part or the whole Sponsor Record on Walk Day

JOIN US for this celebration, or sponsor another walker.

Walker Encouragement
Every walker will get a local CROP T shirt
$300+ Receive a special CROP bag
Recruiters receive a brightly colored local CROP shirt

Collecting Funds:
Turn in to recruiter; turn in the day of the event. After the event, funds should be turned in to your recruiter who can then take them to Key Bank, State& Erie branch. All checks should be made out "CWS/CROP". For gift matching program information, contact the SICM office.
Emmanuel Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace, 12307 374-4114
Or at the SICM Office, 930 Albany Street, 12307 374-2683


Amy, Eunice and Marti 

Episcopal Church Womens Group

Tuesday, April 24th at 7pm
at the home of Carole Merrill-Mazurek,
1085 Ardsley Rd in Schenectady.
Carole's phone number is 346-8959. 

We will be hearing more about and collecting items for the ministry of Mi Refugio, which is a non denominational, Christian ministry which shares the love of Jesus by providing free education (pre-school through high school), food, clothing and medical assistance to children.  Mi Refugio ministers to the needs of "at risk" children living in and around the Guatemala City garbage dump and in the villages surrounding San Pedro, Guatemala.
A missions team is traveling to Guatemala in June, and the ECW is collecting items the children and families of Mi Refugio need.  A specific list is coming soon, so stay tuned! 

St. Stephen's Shop News

Easter at The Shop

Stop at the Shop and see our wonderful
Crown of Thorns, Crosses and Last Supper Plaques. HumphryM
                           We also have Easter Cards, Easter Magnets,
                          and all kinds of Easter Eggs, Bunnies and Chicks.

                               Thanks for shopping with us and
                                  Easter Blessings to all of you!

~Claudia, Lily, Louise and Marilyn.

Important Dates for St. Stephen's!

Happy Birthday Wishes and Blessings Go out to:

04/03 - June RussellBirthday
04/04 - Alik Versocki
04/05 - Jack Feyrer
           Mary Francis Hatfield
           Marsha Kimmer
04/06 - Sarah Huneau
04/09 - Derald Perreguax
04/12 - Bailey Mertz
04/14 - Cynthia Love
04/16 - Dave Crates
           Aralyn Riordon
04/21 - Harvey Alexander
           Abigail Cohen   
           Rebecca Emaelaf
04/24 - Galina Bayer
04/25 - Veronica Cohen
04/27 - Delaney Huneau
           Christopher Kirby
04/29 - Adonis Antoine

Happy Wedding Anniversaries to: 
04/02 - Adonis & Darlene Antoine bd
04/05 - Sidney & Gillian Woodcock
04/06 - Steven Kock & Susan Townsend
04/21 - Joseph & Sara Palko
04/29 - Budd Mazurek & Carole Merrill-Mazurek
     Peter & Josafina Nevius


Calendar of Events















Palm Sunday 8:00am
10:15am Procession with Palms & Eucharist

Holy Monday 12:30pm Eucharist

Holy Tuesday 12:30pm Eucharist

Holy Wednesday 12:30pm Eucharist

Maundy Thursday 10:00am Eucharist & Healing 7:30pm Stripping of the Altar
9:00pm Prayer Vigil through the Night

Good Friday 12:00
noon Stations of the Cross
7:30pm Lessons & Prayers

Easter Vigil 7:30pm Lighting of
the First Fire
9 Lessons & Musical Responses








Easter Sunday
8:00am Choral Eucharist
10:15am Choral Eucharist
Flowering of the Cross

Parish Council Meeting 7:30pm









7:30 pm 

Book Club 
Meeting 7:00
@ Feyrers' house


SICM Day of Service









Worship Committee 
Meeting - 7:30pm 

ECW Meeting



Nothing Going on


Nothing Going on



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
Communion & Healing - Thursdays @ 10:00am

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

The Vestry
Sr. Warden, Linda Emaelaf
Jr. Warden, Scott Kilbourn
Class of 2012:
Michael Dixon
Jim Ormsbee
Peter Nelson

Erin Cohen
Brian Riordon
 Treasurer: Denise Crates

Class of 2014
Carole Merrill Mazurek
Joe Palko, 372-9898
Stan Jakubowski, 382-0285

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:
The Rector's email is:
Our website is
The Messenger is published September - June.
Please submit articles to Cathleen Knauf at