June, 2013

Spring is Finally Here
and it Seems
Summer is Coming Early!










Thank you for all the feedback
on the Messengers since starting
the new format in September 2012.
I have received many suggestions
that I would like to incorporate in the Fall
when the Messenger resumes in September.
Please send any other requests or
suggestions to me by the end of July to ssec.cathleen@gmail.com.
I would like to continue to make our Newsletter the best it can be!
See you again in September!

Greetings from Father James

Dear Friends,

In April the Times Union newspaper reported on a recent Gallup poll that the Capital Region ranked near the bottom of a national survey of respondents who consider themselves very religious.

The poll found that 31 percent of Americans say they are nonreligious, meaning that religion is not an important part of their lives and that they seldom or never attend religious services.

The Gallup poll also says the remaining 29 percent are moderately religious. For those people, religion is either important in their lives but they do not attend services regularly or religion is not important but they attend services.

Last fall, a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported that one-fifth of American adults say they have no religion in particular. That group, dubbed the "nones," has increased by nearly 5 percent in the past five years and doubled in the last two decades. One-third of adults under 30 are religiously unaffiliated.

So, what is our congregation doing to bring new people into our congregation? Well, the newly founded Communications Committee came up with the idea of sending out a letter and brochure to all those who have purchased a home in Schenectady County during the past week, inviting them to our church activities. Twenty to thirty letters have been sent each week for the past two months.

Also, our web page continues to be very popular and our Facebook page has reached over 300 people during some weeks. Often the internet is the first place people who are looking for a church home will go. Last fall a group of members canvassed the church’s immediate neighborhood with leaflets inviting them to an open house and more recently some of the women from the church distributed flyers, inviting St. Stephen's neighbors to our picnic June 9th.

If the Gallup polling is correct, we have a daunting task in bringing new people into our congregation – but it must be our highest priority!

Thank you for your help and have a wonderful summer.


Youth Education at St. Stephen's

Godly Play – Post Easter Season
(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.

This past month we celebrated Cinco de Mayo (see pictures), and Pentecost. There is no Godly Play session the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. We conclude our season with the story of Mary and Martha entertaining Jesus (June 2); emphasizing their very individual responses to domestic responsibility vs. the need to entertain guests. This is a story of sibling rivalry and hospitality.

June 9 tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan -- a hospitality story with a twist. Following worship on June 9, we will celebrate with the annual Parish Picnic – there are flyers on the table at the back of the church – please take some to put up in your neighborhood and invite your friends and family – and anyone you know who might enjoy St. Stephen’s famed hospitality.

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

While the yoga session with GE attorney Karol Augspurger did not come about as planned, George found plenty of conversational topics to keep his group thinking.

A big THANK YOU to George for his outstanding leadership and deep appreciation of teenagers, and to his co-leader Peter Nelson, whose response, (Building Faith with Fun), to my domain name contest for our soon-to-be education-ministry website, was one of two submitted. The jury is still out on the winner.

Contact Information:
Miranda Rand
George Woodzell
Peter Nelson

Youth Education Updates

Exciting Developments in our Education Ministry

1) Following my attendance at a church educators’ conference this spring, I was inspired to design and build a website specifically for the education ministry at St. Stephen’s. The website will be up and running by mid-July and will consist of news about our various programs, links to You Tube and curriculum site Bible-story videos, and a short blog that will be posted to approx. once every two to three weeks. The site will be fully linked to the church website and the church Facebook page.
2) When our season restarts in September we will have a separate class for Grades 4-5-6, with a more sophisticated curriculum and a roster of teachers who will each take the class in three week segments to provide a sense of continuity. The class start-time is scheduled prior to the 10:15 service of worship. We will be advertising for students on the meeting board website Meet-Up.com. Please share the names of any child you know in this age category with me. I am glad to make the direct contact if you can provide the lead.
3) I applied for a $400.00 Schenectady Rotary grant for community non-profits, seeking funding toward the purchase of a video camera so that we could enhance the education ministry with home video projects. I will know by mid-June if my application was accepted.


Welcome to Babylon – Daniel’s Courage in Captivity
When: July 15-19, 2013
Where: Union Presbyterian Church, 1068 Park Ave, Schenectady
What Time: 9:15am -12 noon
What Ages: 4yrs through 10
Come, learn the story of Old Testament hero Daniel, and have fun.
Games, stories, snacks, crafts…and much, much, more!
Co-sponsored by: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Union Presbyterian Church,
and First Reformed Church.
Registration forms are at the back of the church, please take one.

Local Oppportunities: CRTC

CRTC: ecumenical theological education, support for clergy, training for ministry, and resourcing services for congregations.

Do you know about CRTC scholarships? In partnership with your church board or denomination, we could pay up to half the cost of your next CRTC course! Contact us to apply today!

Faith Seeking Understanding: Introduction to Theology, Rev. Dr. Gregg Mast, Saturdays July 13 and 20, 9am - 3:30pm; Sundays July 14 and 21, 1- 5pm. An introduction for those who want to learn more about the central theological tenets of the Christian Church. A Lay Theological Education Program 20-hour core course, open to all. $275 ($225 to audit); Reg. deadline June 27.

Canoeing Through Creation, Rev. Kent Busman, 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 9 through 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, Camp Fowler in Speculator, NY. Enjoy the beauty of the earth and reflect upon your place in nature. Discover how to live as better stewards of God's good Creation. $350 (Sorry, no discounts.); Reg. deadline: Aug. 23.

Faith Shaping the Western World: Introduction to Church History, Rev. Dr. James McDonald, 20 hours beginning 9/18 (6 Wednesday evenings and 2 Saturdays), St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Schenectady. Survey the history of Western Christianity from the age of the apostles to the present day. A Lay Theological Education Program core course; open to all. $275, or $225 to audit; Reg. deadline: September 2

SAVE THE DATE: Fall Celebration with Sr. Anne Bryan Smollin! October 7, 6:00-9:00 pm, Glen Sanders Mansion.

Joy in Worship: Feeding Preacher, Congregation and God , Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas, Saturday, October 19, 9am - 3pm, location TBA. Celebration is a natural and important part of the gospel. It feeds the people of God, giving them life and hope. Discover the distinct perspective and celebrative joy the African American Church brings to the task of preaching. $60 by September 20; $75 thereafter. Reg. deadline: October 3.

It's All About the Stories: How to Effectively Advocate for Others, Rev. Daniel B. Hahn, Wednesdays, October 23, 30, November 6, 13, 6:30 - 9pm, location TBA. Outrage over the plight of people living in poverty is an important theme throughout the Bible. How can we advocate more effectively? Discover tools for shaping and sharing the stories of those who need a voice. $135 by September 25; $150 thereafter. Reg. deadline: October 7.

Boundary Awareness: Do You Know Your Limits? Rev. Dr. David Olsen, Thursday, November 7, 9am - 3pm, location TBA. Explore the power and authority inherent in the minister’s role, techniques for handling difficult situations, as well as the overall setting of healthy boundaries in relationships. $90. Reg. deadline: October 31.

Register by phone at 518-462-2470. Watch our website and our Facebook page for information on these and many other courses available in 2013. Scholarships and group discounts available for most classes.

Ministry UpdatesECW

ECW Update

The final session of the ECW-Season two, kicked off at
6:00 on Tuesday, May 28th with a chair yoga session.
Everyone breathed and stretched and had a good time.
Afterwards, we all shared in the food that was brought
for the potluck dinner.

As this will be my last meeting as the organizer of the
ECW, I want to thank everyone for their hard work
and contributions to the group.

The ECW has supported many great organizations this year and many people have benefited from our efforts. Next year's ECW will be led by Carole Merrill-Mazurek and Tracy Ormsbee so the group will have another great year with new ideas. Have a great summer and I will see everyone next season.

Best, Claudia


SICM Assembly. The May SICM Assembly will focus on health and wellness in the community. We will be meeting on Wednesday May 8 at First Unitarian Society on Wendell Avenue. There will be light refreshments at 6:45 and the meeting will begin at 7:00pm. Our guest speaker that evening will be Jim Connelly, CEO of Ellis Hospital, to bring his fresh vision on health care on a community and collaborative basis.


Yes, it’s almost time for summer Lunch! Once again we will be at Jerry Burrell Park the first week in July. We are looking for your help from about 11:30 to 1:00 for any of the four days. There will not be lunch provided on July 4. There will be a signup sheet on the table in the back of the church. WILL YOU HELP US?

Amy, Eunice and Marti

St. Stephen's Summer Parish Picnic

Sunday June 9th, immediately following the 10:15 service in the parish hall. The theme this year is "Bring a Friend." This is an easy was to invite someone to see how wonderful our church is. Guests may attend only the picnic, or come to the 10:15 service as well, no pressure.

Members of St. Stephen's: please take one or more of the flyers located in the back of the church, and let it serve as your invitation to give to friends, coworkers, neighbors, or family. Parishioner’s please bring a side dish or a dessert, guests just bring themselves. St. Stephen's will provide the rest, including an art auction!

Call Cheryl with questions

Sharing our Gardens: DominickDominick

Dominick was a young person who grew up a member of
St. Stephen’s. Quite a few years ago, I potted a young
peach tree and brought it into church one Sunday.

Dom was probably about 8 or 10 years old, and he took
it home and planted it. It didn’t do well that winter;
I think he loved it to death.
So we started over the next spring with another peach
sapling. This time it did well. He reported some years
later that the peaches were a bit small, but had excellent

The last time I saw Dom, he was our substitute organist one Sunday. I understand that he is graduating from college this spring. In the picture, a young Dom is showing an early interest in the organ with our former organist, Tim Olsen. The picture dates to about 1995.

But back to sharing our gardens. This year, someone took home a peach tree sapling at the plant exchange; also a blackberry plant, some currants, rhubarb, and a few other items. If someone would like to have raspberry plants (“Latham” variety, bear in July), thornless blackberries (one plant available), or a peach tree (“Finger Lakes Superhardy”, several very small beginning trees), please talk to me and we’ll arrange a time for us to dig them up.
Also, I have a sour cherry tree (Montmorency) which is about three feet tall which I must dig up soon. Too bad to just throw it away! Chris Jones

Birthdays and Anniversaries


June 1 Bill Frank
  2 Bob Voelker
  4 David Caruso
  5 Ellen Ormsbee
  7 Barbars Adams
  14 Stephen Gray
  14 Laura huggett
  18 Josephine jones
  19 San Jakubowski
  20 Matthew Syta
  22 Donald humphrey
  25 Erin Cohen
  25 Ann Walraven
  27 Salvatore Belardo


June 12 Sal & Diana Belardo
Chris & Pat Jones
  15 Scott & Diane Kilbourn
Emile & Ann & Walraven
  17 Jason & Erin Cohen
  19 William & Janet Schlansker
  20 Clark & Millie Gittin
  22 Belachew & Linda Emaelaf
Jack & Susan Feyrer
Austin & Marti Spang
  26 Jim & Tracy Ormsbee

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, Scott Kilbourn
Jr. Warden, Carole Merrill-Mazurek

Class of 2013: Erin Cohen, Brian Riordon, Peter Nelson
Treasurer: Denise Crates

Class of 2014: Joe Palko, Stan Jakubowski

Class of 2015: Jack Feyrer, Bill Frank, Jim Syta

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.
The Rector's email is: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com Our website is www.saintstephenschenectady.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Stephens-Episcopal-Church-Schenectady-NY/239025559532317#!/pages/St-Stephens-Episcopal-Church-Schenectady-NY/239025559532317?fref=ts
The Messenger is published September - June. Please submit articles to Cathleen Knauf -