The Messenger

Web Edition

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
October 2012

Dedication of Parish Hall & Classrooms

October 21, 2012

August 31 1931 First Church Building on the corner of The Plaza & Baker Avenue!
  The burning of the Mortgage for the first Church Building
November 20 1949 Dedication of new St. Stephen's Church
September 8 1957 Dedication of the First Parish House & Rectory


Rector's Letter

Dear Friends,                    

During the month of October we will begin ‘developing’ the courtyard between the church and the parish hall.  This will include the laying of paving stones, preparation for plantings and, most important to me, the building of a labyrinth in the center of it all.

The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in cultures around the world in many different forms. The oldest known form is named for the number of circuits, or paths, on it. The Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth is found on pottery and etched into cave walls. In mythology, it is assigned to the Isle of Crete. The oldest known examples date back five thousand years.

The labyrinth entered Christian prayer life during the Middle Ages, when it was incorporated into cathedrals across Europe. The Medieval Eleven Circuit Labyrinth is replicated on the floor of Chartres Cathedral, where it was placed in 1201. Of the eighty Gothic cathedrals that were built during the Middle Ages, twenty-two of them had labyrinths. Sadly, the only one remaining in its original form is at Chartres Cathedral.

Today, people around the world use the labyrinth to quiet the mind, find balance, and encourage meditation, insight, and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural tool of well-being. Indeed, research conducted at the Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Medical Institute by Dr. Herbert Benson has found that focused walking meditations are highly efficient at reducing anxiety and eliciting what Dr. Benson calls the ‘relaxation response’. This effect has significant long-term health benefits, including lower blood pressure and breathing rates, reduced incidents of chronic pain, reduction of insomnia, improved fertility, and many other benefits. Regular meditative practice leads to greater powers of concentration and a sense of control and efficiency in one's life. Labyrinth walking is among the simplest forms of focused walking meditation, and the demonstrated health benefits have led hundreds of hospitals, health care facilities, and spas to install labyrinths in recent years.

The idea of a labyrinth at Saint Stephen’s began with our youth group in the early 1990s.  They cleared the old parish hall of all the furniture and laid out a labyrinth with masking tape.  Others were interested in what they were doing and began to do research.  Other congregants shared their experiences of walking labyrinths in other settings, both inside and outside.  Interest grew.

Thanks to several generous donations, the time seems right for our congregation to create its own labyrinth. This summer a taskforce was assembled, further research was done and contractors were solicited.  They decided to hire Faddegon’s Nursery for the landscaping and David Tolzmann, Chief Geometer & Labyrinth Builder, who has created over 4500 labyrinths worldwide for the actual labyrinth.

A Child’s Place is in the Church

Children are encouraged to attend the celebration of the Eucharist with the adults.  For those too young to remain for the worship service (under the age of five years old), child care is  provided from 10:00 a.m.  through 11:30 a.m.

Choir Rehearsal & Confetti

Mr. Bob Acosta

By the time you read this, the choir will have already rehearsed several times in the new Music Room.  Please note that we like the term Music Room rather than Choir Room because we would like to believe it to be a place for any musical activity at St. Stephens.

Speaking of choir rehearsal, here is what you might find if you dropped in to visit on a Thursday evening from 7:30 to 9:00.  The first activity centers around both exercising the voice, by practicing techniques to allow for breath control, and tone production. The hymns for Sunday are then gone over followed by the anthems for Sunday as well as following Sundays.

Even though the above described rehearsal process may seem regimented, it is to the point of this article to consider that music making is like taking a bag of confetti; opening the bag on a windy day and letting the confetti fly in the air going wherever the breeze takes it.  In other words, it is impossible to predict the effect your music making has on others. In a way, this makes the weekly rehearsal seem worthwhile and relevant.

By the way, your comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated.



Upcoming Events



Dedication of Parish Hall & Classrooms

On October 21st Bishop Herzog will visit Saint Stephen’s.

During the 10:15am Eucharist he will celebrate the
Dedication of our new parish hall & classrooms, Baptism and Confirmations.

The celebrations will continue for a catered brunch in the parish hall.
The architects and builders will be present.
There will be no charge for the brunch; however reservations must be made for the brunch by returning the response card that will be sent to you this week.
Please place it in the collection plate by or drop it off at the church office
by October 14th.

Come and help us celebrate!


Blessing of the Animals & St. Francis of Assisi

On October 4th we celebrate the life and work of St. Francis.  He is probably better known for preaching to birds than for the poverty he embraced in his passion to be like Christ.  Yet, Francis' love of God's creation has given his statue a place in many church and home gardens. No mere nature lover, Francis saw in nature's paradoxes and mysteries a revelation of the presence of God.  He marveled at the simplicity and obedience of the birds, fishes, rabbits, doves, the falcon who wakened him for Matins, the famous wolf of Gubbio who gave his pledge of peace to Francis and kept it.

Because of St. Francis' connection to God's creation, and especially to animals, a tradition arose in England whereby the parish priest would bless the villagers' animals on St. Francis' Day.  Since Oct. 4 falls on a Thursday this year, the parish council thought that the following Saturday would be a good time for St. Stephen's to continue the annual tradition.

Here's how it will work:

On October 6th the congregation and any animals (on leashes!) will gather on the front law of the church.

WE WILL REMAIN OUTSIDE DURING THE ENTIRE SERVICE.  The rector will begin a brief worship service and then will bless each animal saying:  "O God, who has made all things for yourself, bless, we pray you, this animal; that it may be a source of love and joy to those with whom it dwells." It’s quite a sight!


Youth Education at St. Stephen’s
Fall 2012


Godly Play
(Grades Pre-K-6) -
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.)
Our year has started well, with a series of Sundays devoted to the creation story found in the first chapter of Genesis (Genesis1:1-25).

Each week we have explored God’s gift of night and day, stars and sky, green growing things, land and water, birds and fish, and God’s direction to humankind to be good stewards of that which He created.

Each week, as we reflected on God’s gifts through reading story books, looking at art, and listening to scripture, we affirmed each gift stating: “It is amazing! …Fantastic! ...Remarkable! …Astounding! …Terrific! …and it is fabulous!”

For the month of October we will conclude our study of creation, learn about St. Francis (and enjoy a special visit from two freshly-blessed basset hounds), celebrate God’s covenant with Noah, and hear how God called Abraham to move his household many miles across the desert to become the founder of a new nation.

Many blessings,
Ms. Miranda, Christian Education Director

Youth Group
(Grades 7-12 @ 9:00am) -
George Woodzell & Peter Nelson

 George and Peter have a perfect teen meeting space, warm and inviting – furnished with comfy chairs, and set apart from the other classrooms. As usual, their conversations are wide-ranging and contemporary. After much discussion about the format and content, the group has developed their own service of worship which they will hold in their own space during the 10:15 traditional service on alternating Sundays. From now on, they will meet one week at 9:00am for group discussion or a service project, and one week at 10:15 for worship. Teen worship will meet at 10:15 on Sunday, October 14, and Sunday, October 28.

On Saturday, October 20, between 1:00 and 3:00pm, St. Stephen’s youth will join capital region youth and young adults at the 1st Reformed Church of Scotia to help pack 20,000 fortified soy and rice meals (each meal feeds six people) for distribution to malnourished children worldwide through


Child care for infants and pre-school children up to the age of 5 is available during the9:00am education hour and the 10:15am worship service under the capable management of Laura Fronk and Ellen Ormsbee.
All little ones are warmly welcomed and carefully nurtured.



Adult Education


Sunday Morning Adult Education: 


There is a strong emphasis in our Anglican tradition in which each believer is called to improve the future by searching for solutions to today’s problems.  This series of forums will present valuable information on today’s national issues.  The discussions will attempt to allow participants to form their own conclusions (very Anglican!)

Oct. 21 - Health Care - At the heart of people's concerns about health care are important questions about what we value as Americans and as Christians what we are and are not willing to do to improve health care. Although they are not mutually exclusive, the following approaches reflect different perspectives and priorities that people bring to this critical issue.

Discussion will involve several choices:
#1 - Connected Parts, Not Fragmented Pieces -    
The most effective way to improve health care in America is to take firm hold of it and make it run like a true, well-coordinated system. We need to take the existing, unwieldy collection of health care fragments and fashion them into a connected web of health care services, where information flows readily between the pieces and they work in concert. This is the best way to curb costs and provide health care in a timely way.
#2 - Connected Parts, Not Fragmented Pieces - The most effective way to improve health care in America is to take firm hold of it and make it run like a true, well-coordinated system. We need to take the existing, unwieldy collection of health care fragments and fashion them into a connected web of health care services, where information flows readily between the pieces and they work in concert. This is the best way to curb costs and provide health care in a timely way.
#3 - Care for All, Not Just for Some - We need to set new priorities in health care aimed at providing Americans the care they need when they need it. We need to seal up the cracks in the system so that people don't fall through. We need an unflagging commitment providing the medical treatment that each person needs. This is the best way to improve individual health and prevent illnesses that are more difficult and expensive to treat.
How does our faith inform these three approaches?

Oct. 28 - Social Security - In its present form, Social Security will not be able to serve future generations as it has served those of the past. The question is; what can we do?

Discussion will involve several choices:
#1 - Shore Up and Reaffirm Social Security -
Social Security benefits represent a promise made to Americans, symbolizing a shared commitment to one another that is a fun­damental value of our country. The promise should be kept by doing whatever it takes to keep these benefits as they are.
#2 - End Reliance on Social Security for Retirement - Government has been taking too much responsibility for the well-being of its older citizens, thus undermining the nation's traditional emphasis on self-reliance. We should move Social Security to a system of private retirement savings accounts, which would be controlled and managed by individuals.
#3 - Reinvent Retirement and Social Security - It is unrealistic to continue to support a plan that enables people to retire in their early to mid-60s when the average life span now ex­tends to the age of 78 and beyond. Americans are living longer, healthier, more active lives. Social Security should be adjusted to take that change into account.

How does our faith inform these three approaches?

Classes are held on Sunday mornings, 9:00am-10:00am in the Conference Room



Elie Wiesel's Great Figures of the Bible:
Thursday Morning Community of Friends

Great Figures of the Bible: Legends and Legacies of our Biblical Heroes with human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel DVD series. Throughout the series, Elie Wiesel will be our guide as we examine the complex and challenging characters from the Hebrew Bible from the first apple. 
Thursday Mornings - 10:30am – 12:00pm

  • October 4th  - Abraham and Isaac
  • October 11th - Job
  • October 25th  - David
  • October 30th  - Moses


Between Athens…….and Jerusalem

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

Tuesday Mornings 10:30-Noon

October 2        Philosophy—Did the Greeks Invent It?
The ancient Greeks were the first to objectify the products of their own thought and feeling and be willing to subject both to critical scrutiny. Why?

October 9        Pythagoras and the Divinity of Number
How can we comprehend the very integrity of the universe and our place within it, if not by way of the most abstract relations?

October 23      What Is There?
How many kinds of stuff make up the cosmos? Might everything, in fact, be reducible to one kind of thing?  What Is There?

October 30      The Greek Tragedians on Man’s Fate
The ancient philosophers were only part of the rich community of thought and wonder that surrounded the world's first great dramatists and their landmark depth psychologies



Keeping informed...



New Parish Directory!

We are planning to publish a new Parish Directory soon. Please check your information in the nave extension after service for the next two Sundays. If it’s OK, just initial it. If it’s not, please correct it. If your name is not on the list, and you consider yourself a member or potential member, we would be glad to receive your information and include you. This is not about official membership, it’s about people who are usually here on Sundays.

The new directory will include photographs. If you would like a new photo, please see Chris Jones right after service (or any time) at the front of the church after the service and he will take one. Alternatively, if you have a picture which you would like us to use, that would be fine. We can scan a print, or you can provide a digital photo. Note that these pictures are also used on the “mug-shot” board in the nave extension.

Information in the directory includes names and address, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and names and birthdays of kids.

In order to get it right, we have sent e-mail messages to everyone whose e-mail address we know, and asked them to confirm or correct the information which we use in the directory. Here is a list of those for whom we do not have an e-mail address. Please let us know if corrections need to be made. You can call the office at 346-6241, you can mail the corrections to the office at 1228 Baker Avenue, Schenectady, NY, or you can give the (in writing, please) corrections to Fr. James at church on any Sunday morning.

If you’re a member and you did NOT get an e-mail confirming your directory information, and you’re NOT on the following list, then we certainly want to know that, too!

Thank you!



CRTC provides ecumenical theological education, support for clergy, training for ministry, and resourcing services for congregations.
New Testament Part I: Acts, Epistles & Revelation, Dr. Peter Bedford, Ten Tuesdays beginning October 9, 7-9pm, Scotia United Methodist Church, A Lay Theological Education Program core course;open to all.  $275, $250 to Audit
Misused & Abused: Re-Claiming & Proclaiming Revelation, Rev. Dr. Richard Carlson, Oct. 18-19, 9am-4pm,Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Glenville,  Don't miss this opportunity to engage one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible, with one of CRTC's most dynamic instructors!$175; Hurry to register!
 We Are Not Our Own: John Calvin Speaks to us Today, Fr. Dennis Tamburello, Oct. 30, 9am-4pm, Siena College, Explore the life and spirituality of John Calvin -- perhaps a side you've never considered before.  Just in time for Reformation Day!  $90 Reg. deadline: Oct. 15.  Hurry to register!
Thinking Outside the Box: Becoming Communities of Vibrant Engagement,  Rev. Dr. Richard Chrisman, Nov. 3, 9am-4pm, Skidmore College, How well does your congregation really engage with your community?  Does the community know what you really stand for, or what goes on "inside your box"?  Are you sending the message you intend to convey?  Find new ways of reaching out!  $85 by Oct. 5; $95 thereafter. Reg. deadline: Oct. 18.
Joan Chittister: Equipping Ourselves for Social Change, Nov. 9, 7-8:30pm & Nov. 10, 9am-4pm, Niskayuna Reformed Church, A simulcast partnership with Trinity Wall Street; Come make the connection between contemplation and social action with this distinguished speaker!  Sr. Joan will be live from NYC, but CRTC saves you the high cost of  city lodging, food, travel, gas! You'll also  receive daily devotions from Joan ahead of time, and a curriculum for an Advent series to follow up after the conference!  Don't miss this one!  $90 by Oct. 24; $105 thereafter.  Discounts don't  apply, but scholarships are available.
Register online at or by phone at 518-462-2470. Watch our website for information on these and many other courses available in 2012.  Scholarships and group discounts available for most classes; please contact us for an application.



Now that we have our beautiful new space to share,
it is possible to start recycling our valuable-to-someone-else
items right here at church.
So far, we will have collection containers for old glasses, soda can tops,
used ink cartridges, and baby food jars (with jar lids).
These items will benefit our area.
As the needs change, the news will be shared.
Thanks for sharing with our community!

We will be collecting used cell phones
for the battered women's project.



Things going on



Episcopal Women’s Group

Season two of St. Stephen's ECW kicked off on September 25th in the Parish Hall. Twelve ladies joined us for our first meeting and brought food items for SICM. It was nice to visit and catch up with everyone. We discussed the vision of the ECW and how it is important to connect, not just a group, but also as individuals.

To get the ball rolling, everyone collaborated on an
"I am" poem which reflects who we are as individuals and in turn, who we are as a group. The final version will be printed for our next meeting. We also decided that a group photo, which will be published in each month's "Messanger" would help the congregation know who we are as a group and what we are doing every fourth Tuesday of each month.

After the "getting to know you" aspects of the meeting, we got down to work to develop a schedule for our activities for the next year. We will be hard at work having fun as well as providing assistance to those in our communities near and far.

Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday,
October 23, 2012 at 7:00.

The group decided that for the second year in a row, we will provide Halloween cookies and gently used coats to Bethesda House. So we are asking everyone who comes to the meeting to bring plain sugar cookies, frosting and sprinkles, etc. so that the cookies can be decorated. Also, a gently used winter coat to donate would be appreciated. If you want to attend but can not bring anything, please join us anyway. All are welcome.

If you have any questions, please contact me. Thanks, Claudia


Foyer’s Group

Gill and I would like to invite you to join the Foyers this year if you haven’t already. Foyers is a wonderful way to socialize with people in the congregation on a more intimate level (and meet the other half.)
My husband and I were new to
St. Stephen’s a few years ago and have made some wonderful friends
through Foyers.
It is a fun and casual way where we meet in small groups (usually 5-6 people) in each other’s homes.

If you are interested, please contact me at CALMG414@AOL.COM. Each person
(or couple) usually has dinner in their homes two times during October-May where everyone brings a dish to lighten the task, and then in June all members get together for a picnic.

Thank you!

Cindi Love


You’ve put up with all the construction,
now see the result!


Open House for the Neighborhood

Sunday, October 7th
11:30am – 1:30pm

Coffee and Refreshments
Tours of our new building (and old)




Sunday November 4

Harvest for the Pantry is coming again!
There will be a delicious chicken dinner,
a Silent Auction of fabulous items, and great company.

Come join us again, bid on the perfect Christmas gift for that hard to buy for friend
or relative, and enjoy Sunday dinner you don’t have to prepare or clean up!

We’ll be gathering at First Reformed Church of Scotia from 4:00 pm to 7:00pm.
Marti Spang will have tickets beginning
on October 4th.
Tickets are $30.00. $25.00 of that price is eligible for GE matching.

Come join in the fun.


St. Stephen’s Book Club back in session!

We look forward to a year of sharing 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 meet on the second Tuesday of the Month at 7:00pm in the Conference Room of the New Parish Hall.

October book: "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers



Knowing our Members



Getting to Know St. Stephen’s Members
Featuring – Scott Kilbourn (Vestry Junior Warden)

I am one of two children, having a sister 15 months younger.  We were raised in Upstate New York and central Massachusetts having moved twice in our school years due to my father’s employment.  During that period I remained active in Boy Scouts and eventually became an Eagle.  I have continued my involvement with Scouting having since been Assistant Cubmaster of my son’s Pack and currently being a committee member supporting his Troop as well as a merit badge counselor for reading, coin collecting and home repairs.

Following college, I lived in central New York, as well as the Midwest and Massachusetts.  Diane and I met while living in Massachusetts.  We were married at St. George’s in Schenectady as Diane was born and raised in the area.  Shortly after our marriage we returned to the area and settled in Scotia.  We have a daughter Britta, currently a junior in college, and a son Eric, currently in high school.

Over the years, my various employment positions found me surrounded by engineers such that I have often been mistaken for one.  As a result, andafter obtaining my MBA, I again returned to college, taking technicalcourses and earning an Associate Degree in math & science – providing mejust enough knowledge to be dangerous!  Since moving here, I have beenemployed by GE in contract management roles.

Diane and I have been attending St Stephen’s for around 20 years.  Duringthat time I have served as an usher as well as on the worship committee and previously on the Vestry.  I have also enjoyed being a pancake flipper for the Shrove Tuesday meal!



Birthdays - Wedding Anniversaries

Oct. 3

Katharine Lowe

Oct. 5

Eugene Whitney

Oct. 11

Herbert Gretz
Sara Palko
Janet Schlansker

Oct. 14

Diana Belardo

Oct. 15

Susan Feyrer

Oct. 21

Dante Anthony

Oct. 22

Karen Holcombe

Oct. 25

Allie Strong

Oct. 27

Peter Nelson

Oct. 28

Eunice Chouffi

Oct. 30

Samuel Holcombe
Josefina Nevius

Oct 31

Vera Crates
Christopher Morin
Emily Riordon


Oct. 9

Robert & Bonita Bailey

Oct. 14

Bob & Angela Strong

Oct. 19

Herbert & Shirley Gretz

Oct. 20

Christopher & Jennifer Kirby


St. Stephen's Episcopal Church



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 Director,
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:
Joe Palko
Carole Merrill-Mazurek
Stan Jakubowski

   The Church 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, 346-6241,