The Messenger

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
 May 2012

 This is getting exciting!



The Kitchen in March!


                                           In April the Cabinets are in!




Cathy Knauf's lead caption, "What a Difference a Month Makes", for last month's Messenger was perfect to go with Chris Jones' photos of the new parish hall! Now that we are in the last month of construction my caption would be "What a Difference a Week Makes". We will be moving into our new building next month and this will make for a very busy summer.

I would like to ask two things of the congregation. First, if you haven't made a contribution to the capital campaign, this would be a wonderful time to do so. Our building is first-rate, but what a shame it would be to have second-rate furnishings in it. We still need about $75,000 to meet our financial goal for this project. Gifts of any size are appreciated; some are able to give only a small amount, but every gift will help us to achieve our goal. Of course some are in a position to give more The largest gifts are rooms that can be named for a family, a family member or a loved one. These are still available. A permanent bronze bas relief plaque will be affixed to the door of each room named. For smaller gifts a permanent donor recognition display will honor those giving $500 and above.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I hope you will prayerfully consider a gift of any size. All donations will be used to create a space for worshipping and learning which will take place in these rooms for many, many years to come.
Second, throughout the summer we will need help in getting our new building ready for the fall. This will entail everything from unloading the storage pods, to putting dishes and cups away in the kitchen cabinets and putting books on the shelves in the library. Please consider volunteering on Saturdays, especially in June.
The vestry and parish council are planning to have several open houses for the community and for our members this fall. All of these activities will culminate in Bishop Love consecrating our new building on Sunday, October 21st.
My, what exciting times lay ahead!

The Feast of Pentecost


The Feast of Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Festival in the Liturgical year. But it is not the end of anything, but the beginning of that new life in Christ. In our prayerbook Pentecost is properly designated as the fiftieth day of Easter -- the celebration begins with the day of Resurrection and ends with the gift of the spirit to the Church. That giving of the Spirit is to be understood as a resurrection appearance.

The import of Pentecost as the final Resurrection appearance is that through the gift of the Spirit, Christ's presence is forever insured for the community of the faithful. This we indeed celebrate!

We will celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, May 27th. This feast is as important as Christmas or Easter and St. Stephen's is hoping to have everyone present for the celebration. There will be a renewal of our Baptismal vows, especially appropriate on this day, and special music. The Gospel will be read in a variety of languages. Red is the color associated with the Holy Spirit, so wear something red to church!


Upcoming Events


The Parish Directory

We're planning to get out a new edition of the parish directory soon. It will have color pictures. If you would like a new individual or family photo taken, I will be glad to do it. If you already have a favorite picture, I would be glad to put it into the new directory. If any of the information which we have is incorrect, please let me or Cathy know, so we can get it right.

Chris Jones   

- - - - - - - -

Vacation 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

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You are invited to express yourself by donating money for a new book in our new library.  Each donated book will display a label with the donor's name and personal message.

This is the perfect opportunity to.... 

  • Celebrate your child or grandchilds birthday
  • Show appreciation for a job well done
  • Say thank you to a church school teacher or other Parish Leader
  • Share an interest
  • Remember a loved one
  • Celebrate a holiday
  • Make sure a favorite book is in the library

All friends and members of Saint Stephen's congregation are welcome to become involved in this venture.  It's a great way to help our new library grow.


Father James, Rector

                   The next time you have something to say....

                                SAY IT WITH A BOOK.

Thank you!
Fr. James
Contact Information:
     Office Phone: 346-6241
     Cell Phone: 522-3906

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Seminar of Theological Reflection



.....and JERUSALEM


Based on "the Great Ideas
of Philosophy"

By Professor Daniel N. Robinson



A Seminar of Theological Reflection on the
Great Ideas of the Western World

Tuesday Mornings 10:30-Noon
Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church
1229 Baker Avenue  Schenectady, NY   346-6241
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Bob Acosta -
Piano Lessons on Life


Piano lessons were looked forward to every week when I was taking them at the Troy Conservatory of Music.  The reason for this anticipation could be attributed to my teacher Emile Catricala.  He made piano lessons fun and interesting.  I felt that what he had to offer would allow me to play on a level which was both skillful and fun.  At the time I was twelve years old, and although I enjoyed playing the piano, my technique did not have the flow and ease as my teacher had.

My teacher could be described as a short, jolly fellow who always seemed in a positive mood. The lesson routine included vignettes about various life lessons and experiences.  Although my mother thought this was not a good use the money expended for the lessons, I found these diversions interesting and useful.

Although I did not graduate from the Conservatory, due to the fact when I was seventeen and thought no one could tell me anything which I already did not know or care to know, I remember to this day the lessons learned and how it changed the course of my life. 

Bob Acosta

Music Director, Bob Acosta

These lessons without question layed the technical keyboard foundation which has served me well throughout the years and continue to serve me today. Who would have thought at the time; certainly not myself when I was seventeen.  Although the Troy Conservatory of Music has since disbanded, I am currently sharing a joint research project documenting its past in the city of Troy.

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Youth Education


   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
(This group leaves with their teachers after the Rector's children's message, and return to participate in the sacrament with their families.)
Having completed the Lenten series "Faces of Easter" with the resurrection narrative on April 15, we now move to a series of stories about Jesus and his disciples, which will include two stories about the Eucharistic sacrament: The Good Shepherd and World Communion on April 22, and Circle of the Holy Eucharist on May 13.

The Good Shepherd story demonstrates Jesus as the Good Shepherd carefully shepherding his sheep, ensuring their safety, on a circular wooden platform designed to resemble a sheep pen. As the story progresses, the Good Shepherd is replaced by the officiant (the priest) and the circle of sheep are exchanged for people of all sizes gathered round the communion table on which rests the cup and plate. This story is told with three-dimensional wooden figures.

The Circle of Holy Eucharist is told in a one-dimensional format, using 4 x 6 colored cards laid out on a green felt circle and labeled to reflect the eight sections of the Liturgy of the Word, and the six sections of the Liturgy of Holy Communion.

The schedule for the other Sundays in May is as follows:

  • May 6: The Synagogue and the Upper Room 
  • May 20: The Parable of the Great Banquet
  • May 27: The Mystery of Pentecost 

Ann Rigley is the storyteller for the last two Sundays in May, I will be on vacation.

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

Under the remarkable care of George Woodzell, with some help from Peter Nelson, this group has been exploring what it looks like to write their own worship service. The idea of a teen worship time, separate and entirely different in word and sequence from the service outlined in The Book of Common Prayer, has taken form over the course of the past few months, following a visit to the youth worship service at the Unitarian church on Wendell Avenue.
Our students have wrestled with such deep topics as what is spirituality, what constitutes a person's soul, and what ideals would they like to see expressed in their statement of purpose. By the time the Sunday School season wraps up on June 10, the expectation is that this statement will be completed and an outline for their worship format will have been agreed to.

Contact Information:

Miranda Rand
George Woodzell
Peter Nelson

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 Adult Education


Sunday Morning Adult Education:  "Living the Questions"

Facilitated by Fr. James, these ongoing classes will continue a year-long conversation about how we live out our faith in the world. What does it mean to be in relationship with God and our neighbors?  We will have a conversation about these questions and more, supplemented by video clips of leading theologians and spiritual thinkers discussing their thoughts on being faithful Christians in a 21st  century society. 

May 6 - Evil, Suffering & a God of Love
May 13 - Restoring Relationships
May 27 - Social Justice: Realizing God's Vision
Class sessions are held in Fr. James' office on Sunday mornings at 9am.
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.

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Tributes, Thank You's and Recognition


SICM Day of Service

Thanks to all who helped out for the Day of Service. We joined with more than 100 other folks and worked at a dozen sites around the city. People cleaned, planted, sorted and repaired on a beautiful morning. ~ Marti

Thank you to the ECW for their contributions of supplies for the ministry of Mi Refugio, 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. 
It's not too late to help!  We will continue collecting items through May.  A mission team from Malone is traveling to Guatemala in June, and will take with them any contributions.  Please pick up a needs list at the back of the Church and put your items in the basket provided, avoiding the heavier or liquid items. 

Monetary donations are always welcome also; make out a check to St. Stephen's Church, with Mi Refugio in the memo, and put it in the offering plate or mail it to the church office.

The St. Clare Chapter of the Daughters of the King has made a contribution to Mi Refugio in memory of Jeanette Ackner.


Thank You, Thank You...

...To the Altar Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Easter Day beautiful with flower arrangements.

...To Bob Acosta and the Choir members who helped to make Palm Sunday beautiful, and Easter Day joyous.

...To the lectors, chalice bearers and acolytes who made our worship possible.

...To all those who helped in the nursery.

...To the ushers and to the offering counters.

...To Cathy Knauf, our office manager, who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements.

...To Joe, our sexton, who made the church shine.

...To the Church women who made our palm crosses.

....To all those who helped to install lights on the church walkways: Austin Spang, George Woodzell, Stan Jakubowski, David Fronk, Jason Cohen, Sid Woodcock, Paul de Kanel and Jerry Perregaux; and to the entire Cohen family who provided lunch.

....To all members who make the Schenectady Inner City Ministry service day a success.

....To St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Women for the service they have given to our community.

...and the list goes on and on!


Hello Ladies!

We had such a nice time at the Ladies Luncheon.
Thanks to everyone who came,
and who ate adventurously, yummy Cajun food!


Congratulations to Sam Boese!



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A Book Review by Deacon Pat

  Carlson, David, Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-filled World.
  Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2011.
"If revenge and retaliation are the best responses that our nation could muster after 9/11, then Jesus did not have to come, live among us, and preach a radical understanding of 'neighbor' that includes the enemy."

Although he is not a monk, David Carlson has deep respect for the wisdom to be found in monasteries. Over a period of 9 months in 2007, he visited 8 monasteries across the U.S., from Abiquiu, New Mexico, to New Skete, near Cambridge, N.Y. He was searching for an answer to the question, "How shall we live?" At each place, he talked with men and women who shared his concern for the spiritual welfare of the U.S. as we attempted to make sense of the attacks of 9/11 and then, with typical Yankee briskness, to "move on" from the terror unleashed in that event. Each of these rich conversations added to his understanding, leading him to view 9/11 and its aftermath through the lens of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I found this to be a deeply moving and hope-inspiring book. There are no easy answers here, no "pie-in-the-sky" oversimplification, and certainly no demonizing of Islam. But there is hope that each person can, in some small way, work toward the goal of reconciliation and peace, rather than succumbing to an "us versus them" mentality that divides and diminishes us all.


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.


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


           June book: "The Great Emergence"
        by Phillis Tickle




The May Assembly will be
Wednesday May 2nd at 7:00pm.
The meeting will be held at
Mt Olivet - 850 Strong Street


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

Summer Lunch will be coming in just 2 months.  
We'll be at Jerry Burrell Park again this year.
The exact date of our week is not set yet,
so please watch the Sunday Bulletins
and look for a sign up sheet on the back table.

~ Amy, Eunice and Marti 

Episcopal Church Womens Group

All ladies are invited to attend the ECW Group meeting.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 7:00pm, location TBA. 
Come and have some fun with us!
We're collecting toiletry items for "hygiene  kits" for
Bethesda House homeless shelter in Schenectady. 
Please bring items such as shampoo, soap, razor, toothbrush or toothpaste and we'll put the kits together at our meeting. 
We have a lot of fun, visiting, working and munching on goodies too!  Bring a friend along if you like.


The Ladies Luncheon and ECW need coordinators starting in September.  I am ready to pass the baton on to the next runner!  It's exciting the possibilities our church has for the future.  Please consider taking on these tasks, the work could and should be divided up among several women.  Please prayerfully consider these jobs for the Fall, and let me know who would like to take over.  I will make the announcement so everyone will know what the plan is.  I will be happy to sit down with you and share my notes, tips and timetables for organizing and planning these events.  The Ladies Luncheon for the Fall should start the planning in August.  


St. Stephen's Shop News

Easter at The Shop

Spring has Sprung!
Stop at the shop and see our Garden Stones, Mobiles, Plaques,
Crosses, Cards and Bird Feeders.
HumphryM                         All of them are anxious to be in YOUR garden.
                     Mother's Day is May 13th, we have many interesing    items, Book Marks, Cards, Note Pads, Tote Bags,
Flashlights, and Tins of Mints,
all perfect for the special ladies in your life. 

                      Thanks for your suppport,
                                                                                   ~Lily, Louise, Claudia and Marilyn


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Important Dates for St. Stephen's!


Happy Birthday Wishes and Blessings Go out to:

05/02 - Jennifer KirbyBirthday
05/04 - Miranda Rand
     Bruce Tatge
     Margaret Rivenburg
05/05 - Belachew Emaelaf
           Theodore Schlansker          
 05/12 - Ayodele Jones
05/15 - Charline Hoffmann
05/19 - Tyleigh Versocki
05/20 - Paul Jesep
05/21 - Steven Koch
05/24 - Cheryl Syta
05/25 - Claudia Jakubowski
05/26 - Phyllis Chapman
           Allison de Kanel
           Emmy Grub
           Marilyn Humphrey
           William Schlansker
05/30 - William Koch
05/31 - Julie McDonald
Happy Wedding Anniversaries to: 
05/23 - Dave & Denise Crates
05/23 - Brian & Katryn Riordon
05/28 - George & Richey Woodzell
05/30 - Robert & Phyllis Chapman

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Calendar of Events


30y 2012














Bible Study
Versockis' House
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








Crop Walk
12:30pm Registration


Book Club Meeting
Feyrers' House
 Bible Study
7:30pm Versockis' House








Vestry Meeting
7:30 pm 


 DOK Meeting
10:00am Bible Study 730pm Versockis' House









Parish Council Meeting 7:30pm ECW Meeting
  Bible Study 7:30pm Versockis' House









Worship Committee Meeting 7:30pm Bible Study 7:30pm Versockis' House

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

Please complete and return the "Help Us to Welcome You!" form that we are using to update our records at the Parish Office. If you know that date of your Baptism or Confirmation, please also write them in. Just click on the link below. 

Thank you,


Help Us to Welcome You!

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

Class of 2013:
Erin Cohen

Brian Riordon
 Treasurer: Denise Crates

Class of 2014
Carole Merrill Mazurek
Joe Palko
Stan Jakubowski
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:

Our website is
The Messenger is published September - June.
Please submit articles to Cathleen Knauf at