Dedember, 2013


CHRISTMAS SERVICES

CHRISTMAS EVE
4:00 p.m. Family Eucharist
10:45 p.m. Christmas Carols
11:00 p.m. Festive Candlelight Eucharist
***
CHILD CARE CHRISTMAS EVE
the Nursery Room will be open at the 4:00 p.m. service. Toddlers are invited to share the church service experience with their families, but it can be a long time for some to be still.
***
CHRISTMAS DAY
10:00 a.m. Eucharist
***
FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN
Thursday, December 26th
10:00 a.m. Eucharist
***
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
December 29th
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist
***
THE HOLY NAME OF OUR LORD
New Year's Day
10:00 a.m. Eucharist
***
Epiphany Sunday
January 5th
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
10:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist


In This Issue

Christmas Services
Letter from Father James
Preparing for Advent & Christmas
Youth Education
Adult Education
Music Corner
Deacon’s Bench
Book Review-Zealot
Getting to Know You
News & Upcoming Events
Ministry Updates
Calendar
Anniversaries
Vestry Information


Dear Friends in Christ

As I write to you Thanksgiving has not yet arrived, so I will save any Christmas greetings for next month. Meanwhile I would like to share with you a couple of things on my mind and on my agenda.

First, I would like to say, ‘thank you’ to our new handbell choir. After seven years it has re-started with
members of all ages, some are experienced, others are brand new. They have been meeting every
Wednesday evening and last month began leading the congregation in the Irish Blessing at the end of the
10:15am Eucharist. This month they will expand their playing, especially for the 4pm Christmas Eve
Eucharist. What a great addition to our worship!

Second, let me tell you about how I’ve been spending my time when I am not working directly as St. Stephen’s. As many of you know I was elected vice-president of the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM). It is an ecumenical partnership, of 54 congregations (15 denominations) in which St. Stephen’s has been involved for over 40 years. SICM addresses current issues such as food insecurity, affordable housing initiatives, health and fitness, various economic development initiatives and collaborations such as the Committee for Social Justice, Community Crisis Network and Schenectady County Embraces Diversity. Our congregation is doing a fundraiser for SICM with holiday cards more of which the congregation will be hearing during December.

Finally, on a different but related topic I want to thank you for your gifts to the Rector's Discretionary Fund. I do not know each individual contribution, so I want to express my appreciation in a public way. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity. In addition to these gifts you all make, I also add those honorariums that I receive from services of burial, marriage, baptism. Deacon Pat and I divide your gifts in half, since she also sees great financial needs with her work with the women in the county jail. Together, we have been able to assist individuals and families in need. We have been able to fund several scholarships, provide a safety net in several cases of emergency, provide extra gifts to specific projects of SICM, etc. I try to make most gifts personal ones. From time to time, however, this fund has also been a way to provide needed supplies for St. Stephen's outreach to the
community.

It says: "discretionary." I hope that I am faithful with the gifts which I make and in the spirit with which each of you have given. They are more needed than ever in this holiday season.

Thank you.

James+



Greetings from Father James!

Preparing for Advent & Christmas

SAINT STEPHEN, DEACON AND MARTYR The patron saint of our parish is St. Stephen whose life we will celebrate on Thursday, December 26th with Eucharist. Stephen was called one of the "seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was chosen by the apostles to relieve them of the administrative burden of "serving tables and caring for the widows." This became what the Church traditionally considers to be the work and ministry of a deacon.

Stephen's activities involved more than simply "serving tables" for the Acts of the Apostles speaks of his preaching and performing many miracles. These activities led him into conflict with some of the Jews, who accused him of blasphemy, and brought him before the Sanhedrin. His powerful sermon before the Council is recorded in the seventh chapter of Acts. His denunciation of the Sanhedrin so enraged its members that, without a trial, they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.

Saul, later called Paul, stood by, consenting to Stephen's death, but Stephen's example of steadfast faith in Jesus, and of intercession for his persecutors, was to find fruit in the mission and witness of Paul after his conversion. The Christian community in Jerusalem, taking fright at the hostility of the Judean authorities, was scattered; so that for the first time the Gospel of Christ began to spread beyond Jerusalem.

Come celebrate our patron saint on Thursday!


Advent

Advent will begin on Sunday, Dec 1st. It is a time to prepare for Christ's birth as well as for His second coming to judge the world. It is a time of watching and waiting and great expectation. Purple, the color of thoughtfulness and penitence, is the color of the season. The Greek letters, Alpha (the first of the alphabet) and Omega (the last letter) combine to make the symbol for this season of the year signifying that God is Eternal -- the beginning and the end.
Come and worship during Advent in joyful anticipation of the birth of our Lord.

SAINT NICOLAUS

(Dec. 6)

O you who love festivals,
Come gather and sing the praises
of the fair beauty of bishops,
The glory of the fathers,
The fountain of wonders and great protector of the faithful.
Let us all say: Rejoice, O guardian of the people of Myra,
Their head and honored counselor,
The pillar of the church which cannot be shaken.
Rejoice, O light full of brightness
That makes the ends of the world shine with wonders.
Rejoice, O divine delight of the afflicted,
The fervent advocate of those who suffer from injustice.
And now, O all-blessed Nicolaus,
Never cease praying to Christ our God
For those who honor the festival of your memory
With faith and with love.

....Orthodox liturgy

A BLESSING for the HOME CHRISTMAS TREE

O Lord Jesus Christ, who by your death on the wood of the tree redeemed the world from sin and darkness, grant, we beseech you, the abundant grace of your Incarnation that we may so live by its light as to be worthy living branches of yourself, and in your strength bear the fruit of good works to eternal life. Be with us here, Lord Jesus, as we meet in love around this tree in grateful memory of your birth in Bethlehem. May we, showing forth your love, be guided by angel song, and may our way to you be lighted by signs from heaven.
AMEN.


FAMILY CHRISTMAS TREE

On Christmas Eve it is the tradition of this parish for each new family or individual to place their offering of an ornament on the parish hall tree at one of the worship services. The tree remains up through Epiphany (Twelfth Night). Ornaments are kept and used over and over again each year so that each Christmas all members are represented on the tree. Come to the Church on Christmas and bring your offering for the tree.

CLEANING AND GREENING OF THE CHURCH

Help prepare the church for Christmas. On Saturday morning, December 22nd, beginning after the
10:15 Eucharist. We will meet in the Church to clean the church, trim candles, hang the greens, and generally prepare the church for our celebration of Christ's birth.

THE ADVENT WREATH

Pre-Christian peoples who lived far north and who suffered the archetypal loss of life and light with the disappearance of the sun had a way of wooing back life and hope.

'Primitives' do not separate the natural phenomena from their religious or mystical yearning, so nature and mystery remained combined. As the days grew shorter and colder and the sun threatened to abandon the earth, these ancient people suffered the sort of guilt and separation anxiety which we also know.

Their solution was to bring all ordinary action and daily routine to a halt. They gave in to the nature of winter, came away from their carts and fields and put away their tools. They removed the wheels from their carts and wagons, festooned them with greens and lights and brought them indoors to hang in their halls.

They brought the wheels indoors as a sign of a different time, a time to stop and turn inward. They engaged the feelings of cold and fear and loss. Slowly....slowly....they wooed the sun- god back. And light followed darkness. Morning came earlier. The festivals announced the return of hope after primal darkness.

AND SO.....

Christians have developed a tradition of the Advent wreath to help us take time out from our busy Christmas preparations and to open our hearts to Jesus. The circular form of the wreath, like God's love, is never-ending. The greenery that covers it reminds us of everlasting life and hope because evergreen trees are green even in the midst of winter. The candles are symbols of the light God brings us. Three of them are purple, the royal color for the new King. The fourth candle is pink and is lit on the Third Sunday of Advent when we celebrate with special joy. Some people light a white candle, the Christ candle, in the center of the wreath on Christmas day. A "Simple Family-Advent Service" for each Sunday in Advent is available at the parish shop.


.
Miranda Rand, Education Director

Christmas Programming for Godly Play and Sunday Friends’ Groups

December 1 – NO classes
December 8 – Advent story and crafts, Christmas program rehearsals in each classroom at their regularly scheduled class times
December 15 – Rehearsal in classrooms at regularly scheduled times and dress rehearsal after 10:15am Eucharist
December 22 – Christmas presentation by both classes during the 10:15 Eucharist, students should be in their classrooms by 9:55 for costuming and final instructions and be ready to process with the choir at 10:15
December 22 – Following 10:15 Eucharist, optional participation in Greening the Church
December 24 – Christmas Eve 4:00pm Eucharist, students will process with the choir and place figures in the crèche, students should be at church by 3:55 for instructions. A basket of figures will be on the table at the back of the church, a parent will be by the crèche to assist.
December 29 – NO classes
January 5 –Epiphany Celebration – Ms. Meg Dominguez, Program Director at MiSci, will present a program on the night sky from the Magi’s perspective to each class at their scheduled time.

Pot luck luncheon following the 10:15 Eucharist, and a visit by the Magi

Many thanks to Richie Woodzell for teaching the Sunday Friends class for three weeks in November – the students enjoyed a fresh perspective on their faith, and a different voice.
Allison de Kanel will teach for three weeks toward the end of January.
Deep appreciation to Father James for his amazing children’s messages that so skillfully tie in with the Godly Play story each week, and to the parents for their support of, and dedication to, the education ministry at St. Stephen’s.
A blessed Advent, Christmas and Epiphany to every member of the congregation, it is a joyful experience being on staff in this parish.
For information on Youth programming during the month of December please talk to George Woodzell. George balances his class program with uncanny skill, finding stimulating discussion material each week, seeking out mission opportunities in the local community, and planning field trips to places near and far. George communicates via weekly emails to the students.

Youth Education at St. Stephen’s

Fall/Winter 2013

Contact Information:
Miranda Rand:
George Woodzell
Peter Nelson


Communion Classes

The prayer book stresses that baptism is the beginning of full membership in the Church. Since all baptized Christians are welcome at the altar, discretion is left to parents as to when they want their child to begin receiving communion. Criteria for Confirmation involve the moment when a person is both old enough and prepared enough to know the implications of making a voluntary, public and personal acceptance of the vows made earlier at Baptism on his/her behalf.

In the past we have offered classes for parents and children who are planning to prepare for reception to the Holy Communion, and those who have already begun receiving but who want further preparation. We have met on two consecutive Wednesdays after school. Since the first class includes making bread and grape juice, we need parental help.

If you are interested in such classes for your children, please call the parish office at 342-6241.


Adult Education

Sunday Morning Adult Education

9:00am – 10:00am in Conference Room

Genesis: A Living Conversation with Bill Moyers

Moyers gathers the voices of numerous thinkers and writers: novelists Mary Gordon and John Barth; theologians Elaine Pagels and Phyllis Trible; biblical critics Robert Alter (whose own translation of Genesis are published by Norton) and Walter Breuggeman; and cultural critics like Karen Armstrong and Carol Gilligan, among others, into a fascinating, often tendentious, conversation about the living character of stories that address everything from the creation of the world and the temptations of the first couple to the internecine struggles of Jacob's family and the slavery of Joseph.

Dec. 1 - In God's Image: What does it mean to be made "in God's image"? And what do the two creation accounts in Genesis suggest about the roles of the sexes? Participants: Theologians Walter Brueggemann, John S. Kselrnan, Burton L. Visotzky, and Renita J. Weems; educator Roberta Hestenes; visual artist Hugh O'Donnell; and scholar Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg.
Dec. 8 - Temptation: Where does evil come from? And what's wrong with desiring a fruit that looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and confers wisdom-other than the fact that God forbids it? Participants: Biochemist Leon R. Kass; writer Stephen Mitchell; theologians Elaine H. Pagels, Jean-Pierre M. Ruiz, Marianne Meye Thompson, and Robin Darling Young; and psychotherapist Naomi H. Rosenblatt.
Dec. 15 - The First Murder: The tale of brother killing brother features jealousy, revenge, forgiveness, justice, and mercy in the complex relationships among victim, perpetrator, and judge. Participants: Novelists John Barth, Rebecca Goldstein, Mary Gordon, Charles Johnson, Oscar Hijuelos, and Faye Kellerman and theologian Burton L. Visotzky.
Dec. 22 – Apocalypse: Profoundly disappointed in his creation, God destroys it and starts over with Noah and his family. What does the story reveal about the character of God-and of the survivors? Participants: Theologians Karen Armstrong, Alexander A. Di Lelia, Samuel D. Proctor, and Burton L. Visotzky; journalist Byron E. Calame; psychologist Carol Gilligan; and poet Btu Greenberg.


Between Athens and Jerusalem

Based on “The Great Ideas of Philosophy” By Professor Daniel N. Robinson Tuesday Mornings 10:30 – Noon
December 3rd Nietzsche at the Twilight
A student of the classics, Nietzsche came to regard the human condition as fatally tied to needs and motives that
operate at the most powerful levels of existence.

December 10th The Liberal Tradition— J. S. Mill When can the state or the majority legitimately exercise power over the actions of individuals? The modern liberal answer is set forth in the work of Mill, an almost unchallenged authority for more than a century.

December 17th Darwin and Nature’s Purposes From social Darwinism to sociobiology, the evolutionary science
of the late 18th and 19th centuries dominates social thought and political initiatives.



You Are With Us in Darkness and in Light

-Mr. Bob Acosta

As this installment of the Messenger is being assembled, the weather is as cold as any day in January could be. Such a change in the seasons reminds us of the rapid progression of the Liturgical year. While it seems not long ago that the choir returned from summer break, the Advent season is already upon us.

"You are with us, O God, in darkness and in light". This is the antiphonal response which the choir will sing during the entrance procession during the Sundays of Advent in place of the Processional hymn. The choir's response reminds us of God's presence in both dark times and in those characterized by light. This sung response is set in "Plainsong" or chant which is a very older form of song in the church, emphasizing a simpler format for this season of anticipation.
During Advent, the organ voluntaries will once again present the Scheubler Chorales of Johann Sebastian Bach. These organ works are particular reminders of the advent season.


The Deacon’s Bench – December 2013

It has been awhile since I last wrote “from the Deacon’s bench,” and things have piled up here on the bench.
And with the advent of the new liturgical year facing us on Dec. 1st, I want to be able to make a fresh start.
First, and most important, I want to thank all of you who have sent cards, notes, prayers and memorial gifts at
the time of my brother’s death. I was deeply touched by your loving support. Howard was always there, my
whole life long, sort of like a guardian angel. (I suspect he won’t give up that role for a while!) It was good to
see the respect and affection of his friends and neighbors, and especially his church “family,” and I will miss our
regular Sunday night phone conversations. But I suspect he is busy as ever clearing up genealogical mysteries of
the Smith family.

Closer to home, I want to thank all who contributed so generously to the “Boots and Blankets” collection at St.
Stephen’s. I delivered all the items the other day, and was asked to extend her deep gratitude by the
grandmother. I think we actually filled every request for every child as well as the grandmother. She
immediately identified her new “church coat” from among the ones that were donated.
And once again we had a most successful “Undies Sunday.” To be specific, we received a total of

49 t-shirts
81 panties
34 pairs of socks

and money to fill in the gaps. I am no longer surprised by the generosity of our church family--you have
demonstrated it again and again. But I am truly blessed to be able to serve among you, and thankful to be a part
of St. Stephen’s Church.

So on December 1st, the First Sunday in Advent, we will begin another year of ministry together. I ask God’s
blessing on each one of us, that we may continue to grow in His love and service.

Deacon Pat


Book Review –

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
by Reza Aslan & Published by Random House


Just when it seemed that the Quest for the Historical Jesus had finally ended once and for all with the Jesus Seminar, we have a new book. In Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan follows this long tradition.
Ever since the end of the 18th century, there has been a great deal of effort on thinking about the historical Jesus: who Jesus was, his personality, his consciousness. This was an attempt to find who the real Jesus was behind all of the accretions and additions of the early church. Biblical theologians tended to think of the early church as adding their own cultural understandings to the real portrait of the historical Jesus. For example, they added the resurrection and Jesus' predictions of his resurrection and worship of Jesus as God. That is all the early church; that is added later. What the historical Jesus scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries wanted to get to was the earliest strata of the New Testament where all you have is the historical Jesus and not the Christ of Faith as he is called, the resurrected Lord, this exalted Lord of God's right hand. All that is not really the historical Jesus; it is the teaching of the church.
Even today there is a tension between the tradition of the Christian theological faith and the historical critics which began in the 18th century . It is a kind of competing set of authorities: the authority of the Christian tradition, which is the Christ of Faith, which says the Christ of Faith and the Jesus of history are the same; and the authority of the German scholars, the history professors, the theology professors who hold that we need to be critical of the authority of the early church. We need to find who the historical Jesus really was on the basis of sound historical method. It is really competing authorities, the authority of the academy and the authority of the church.

What ended up happening in fact is that according to the critics, so many of these historical Jesuses turned out to be reflections of the needs of scholars who were searching for him. This search for the historical Jesus was a religiously motivated quest by theology professors who wanted a religiously powerful Jesus that wasn't in thrall to or wasn't indebted to the early church. In order to get their religiously meaningful Jesus, they often ended up finding a Jesus who looked a lot like them. As one critic puts it, it was like they looked down this well of nineteen centuries of dogma and at the bottom of the well they saw their own reflection. Or as Albert Schweitzer said, they had a "Jesus of their own making." And yet, the Quest goes on.

In his notes section, Aslan remarks that he is heavily indebted to John Meier's multivolume A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Like Meier, Aslan analyzes historical information from first-century Palestine in order to situate Jesus within the turbulent social and political context of his time, appreciating the man for who he really was: one of many itinerant peasant preachers and teachers who sought to reinvigorate the Judaism of his day with eschatological and spiritual fervor. There is nothing new here, and yet Aslan’s book has been both criticized and acclaimed as something new and outside the traditional interpretations of the Christian churches. Aslan's thesis is not as startling, original or "entirely new" as the book's publicity claims. Nor is it as outlandish as described by his detractors.

What Aslan gives us is an extremely readable ‘quest’ for Jesus, written at a popular level. Yes, his statements could surprise readers who are not familiar with the 250 year ‘quests’ that have gone before. However each of Aslan’s statements about Jesus have been with us for over two centuries. Jesus:

was born in Nazareth and grew up a poor laborer.
never intended to found a church, much less a new religion
was one of the many itinerant peasant preachers and teachers who sought to reinvigorate the Judaism of his day with eschatological and spiritual fervor.
opposed not only the Roman oppressors, but also their representatives in Palestine: "the Temple priests, the wealthy Jewish aristocracy, the Herodian elite."
was zealous for the political future of Israel as the kingdom of God on earth
provoked the Temple authorities to arrest him by his violent cleansing of the Temple.
was crucified by the Romans as a rebel, a zealot and a pretender to the Judean throne.

For readers who believe that the Bible is the true word of God and its meaning must be taken literally, Aslan's book will be rejected. Aslan makes his case that Jesus of Nazareth is not the same as Jesus Christ. The Gospels are not eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life. i.e. were written two to three generations after Jesus' life and therefore by people who never knew Jesus, including Paul of Tarsus. In fact, Aslan holds that it was Paul, who reshaped Christianity's essence, obscuring the very real man who was Jesus of Nazareth. Paul's concept of a divine, cosmic Christ was at odds both with the Jerusalem church of James, brother of Jesus, and with the Gospel of John.

I think that Aslan's book has been greeted with unwarranted controversy. In his quest for the historical Jesus, Aslan uncovers what has been hidden from view: the man Jesus, who "is every bit as compelling, charismatic, and praiseworthy as Jesus the Christ." Well-researched, Asia’s book compares the non-biblical historical records with the New Testament accounts, and develops a convincing, coherent, and easy-to-understand story of how the early Christian church reshaped Christianity's essence, obscuring the very real man who was Jesus of Nazareth.

There are limits to Aslan’s book. True, the 250 years for the search for the historical Jesus has a lot to say to us, even today; however, if you need a religiously powerful Jesus, a Jesus that is going to transform your life, you are going to have to deal with the tradition of the church because the historical Jesus aside from the tradition of the church is very thinned rule and is not going to be the religiously meaningful Jesus who we worship on Sunday mornings.

I recommend Zealot as an entertaining, well researched quest for the history Jesus which might challenge (and even change) your thinking. But if you want a spiritually up-lifting book that might change your life, this is not the one.

James McDonald



Headlines: “Youth Group Feeds St. Stephen’s Parish”

Mien Gott! Mon Dieu! Deus Meus! #@!!%$#!
Restauranteurs the world over react to the news of an impossible-to-beat competitor
- another Youth Group dinner!

We can now confirm wide-spread rumors that on Saturday, December 28, the Youth Group will host a dinner to thank the St. Stephen's parish for its generous support of our workcamp trips. There will be delicious food, a slide show, and tales of obstacles overcome and good deeds done. Please join us at 6:00PM, Saturday, December 28, for another thrilling Youth Group dinner.


Getting to Know You

- Robyn Stewart

(This was sent in September but just able to be placed in Messenger)

Hello from Scotland! I think many of you remember me, Robyn Stewart. I and my son, Nicholas, were members of St. Stephens for nearly 20 years. As some of you may know, I moved to Scotland over 3 years ago to attend the University of Stirling for my BA Honours in Film and Media.

I'm proud to report that I did indeed attain my BA degree on June 26 of this year with a grade of 2:1.
So what am I doing now? Well, I've been accepted at UWS (University of the West of Scotland) in Ayr to attain my MA in Creative Media Practices. So finally I'll be over-educated! I've moved from my flat in Stirling where I lived for 3 years and into a lovely flat in Ayr (on the coast of the Irish Sea). I am enjoying living in Scotland and in getting to know my new home in Ayr. I don't own a car but travel by train, bus and bicycle. I've taken some lovely photos here in Scotland and truly believe that Scotland is the home of my heart.

My son Nicholas is attending Fulton-Montgomery Community College, looking to transferring next year to
SUNY IT in Cobleskill for a degree in Network Security/ Computer Science. I think of everyone at St. Stephens most fondly, and I always have and always will consider St. Stephens as my church home, with a really remarkable church family.

Slainte!
Robyn Leith Stewart


News and Upcoming Events

Communion Class

The prayerbook stresses that baptism is the beginning of full membership in the Church. Since all baptized Christians are welcome at the altar, discretion is left to parents as to when they want their child to begin receiving communion.
Classes for parents and children who are planning to prepare for reception to the Holy Communion, and those who have already begun receiving but who want further preparation, will meet on two Thursdays: December 5th in Begley Hall from 4:45pm to 6:15pm and December 12thin the church from 4:45pm to 5:30pm.

Parents are needed to help on December 5th. Please email Fr. James at james.ross.mcd@gmail.com if you wish to attend and with the number of children. Those parents wishing their children to take communion for the first time
could plan to do so on Christmas Eve at the 4 pm Eucharist.


EVERY MEMBER CANVASS

The Every Member Canvass for pledges in 2014 is quickly drawing to a close. If you have not returned your pledge cards to the parish office, please send them into the church office. The gratitude of the parish is extended to those who have worked so diligently on the canvas, especially to Bill Frank who served as Chairperson.


Special Diet Communion Wafers

St. Stephen’s now has a supply of Communion wafers that are gluten-wheat-yeast-dairy-egg-soy-nut and corn-free. If you would like to receive one at Communion, please speak to Deacon Pat ahead of time (preferably) or at the communion rail. We will try to have at least one on the paten at all times.


Gifts Ideas

If you are looking for something for the person who has everything, stop at the Shop to see our beautiful and unusual Ikons. An outstanding art form and the price is reasonable. If you don't find one on display that is right for you, we have a catalog for you to look at and maybe the right one will be in there and we can order it for you. Thanks!

SHOP AT THE CHURCH SHOP FOR ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS


ST. STEPHEN’S BOOK CLUB

ST. STEPHEN’S BOOK CLUB, now in its third year, meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm in the Youth Lounge. At our October meeting, paring down a list of 30 books recommended the month before, we made the following schedule for the 2013-14 year. Come join us for a lively book discussion! December 10: Tell about a Christmas book (or other book) that you would recommend as a gift.

January 14: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabelle Wilkerson
February 11: Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
March 11: Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by Jeanette Walls. This will also be a game night!


SHOP NEWS

The Shop at St. Stephen's has many interesting items for sale. Cards from the Metropolitan Museum, Christmas decorations, Holiday jewelry, candles, Kids nativity sets, and our Encore [gently used merchandise] is filled to overflowing with treasures. The Episcocats and Episcopups Calendars are stocked and ready for sale. And we have 2 Hummels for sale, in mint condition and perfectly priced. Stop by and say hello and we wish you all a Blessed, Holy and Happy Holiday season.

Lily, Claudia, Louise and Marilyn


Ministry Updates

SICM NEWS

SICM does much more than the Emergency Food Pantry and Summer Lunch, though we do really appreciate your support of both programs. At a recent assembly we heard from the folks who lead the survey of Schenectady residents about healthcare issues. If you are curious about the results there is a summary on the table by our sign. Each month we try to bring to church whatever special information we have been able to pick up at the assembly.
Amy, Eunice and Marti


ALTAR GUILD

Reminder: Polishing Silver will take place on Dec 7th @ 9:30am. Please remember your loved ones by sending your flower & greens contribution early. Thank you!


Christmas Gifts for SICM

Stop by the table in the nave extension to make a donation to the Schenectady Inner City Ministry, and select a lovely handmade card ($5 minimum donation per card), which you may send to friends or loved ones as a gift to SICM made in their honor.


ECW 2014 NEWS

Winter is almost upon us but please look forward to ECW luncheon at The Turf Tavern on Sunday, May 4th.
Details to follow in the new year!



THE DAUGHTERS OF THE KING

The Daughters of the King is an order for women who have taken a vow of prayer, service and evangelism. In the St. Clare Chapter of the DOK at St. Stephen’s, we meet monthly to share our concerns, to learn from the Bible and from our heritage, and to pray for our community, the parish and each other.

At our November meeting Kabby Lowe told us about Clare of Assisi (1194-1253), founder of the Order of Saint Clare, and one of the first followers of Francis of Assisi. When she was 18, inspired by Francis’s preaching, she snuck out of her home one Palm Sunday to follow him, dedicating her life to Christ, and taking refuge in a convent. Joined by her younger sister and eventually her mother, Clare soon moved to San Damiano, where she founded a religious order for women and wrote their rule of life. Known as the “Poor Clares,” they lived simply and austerely, wearing no shoes, sleeping on the ground, abstaining from meat and keeping silence. They dedicated themselves to manual labor and prayer. Clare imitated Francis’s way of life, and encouraged and aided him until his death in 1226. In 1958 Pope Pius XII named her the patron saint of television because when she was too ill to attend Mass, she was reportedly able to see it on the wall of her room.

At our December meeting, Marilyn Humphrey will present a meditation for Advent or Christmas, and we will have a follow-up on Clare and Francis of Assisi.

If you would like to join us, we gladly welcome you! We meet in the parish library on the third Wednesday of each month from 10:30 to noon. The next meeting is December 18. If you have questions speak to a member of the DOK: Eunice Chouffi, Marilyn Humphrey, Kabby Lowe, Louise Peake or Richey Woodzell.

“Prayer is so simple. It is like quietly opening a door and slipping into the very presence of God. There in the stillness we can listen to God’s voice. What we have to say matters not… Just to be there, in God’s presence, is prayer.”
Adapted from the National Handbook of the DOK


COFFEE HOUR

After each Sunday service, we hope you will stay to share in the coffee hour. Coffee hour is an important part of the social life of St. Stephen’s, and has even been called the “eighth sacrament” of the Episcopal Church. After the 8:00 service it’s in the nave extension; after the 10:15 service you’ll find it in the parish hall.

For this event to take place, we need volunteers each week. Please sign up on the sheet in the nave extension. It is an excellent opportunity for two persons or families to work together. If you haven’t hosted a coffee hour before, there are detailed instructions in the kitchen on what to do and where to find things. The church stocks supplies and some food items so that you don’t have to purchase everything or spend hours baking. If you have questions, please call or email me at 372-9398 or erwoodzell@verizon.net. I can email you a copy of the instructions.

Thank you! Richey Woodzell


The Calendar: December 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 Advent 1
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Sunday School
9:00Adullt Class
10:15Communion
2
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
3
9:00 Morning Prayer

10:00 Between Athens & Jerusalem
4
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Handbell Choir

5
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

4:45 Communion Class

7:30 Choir
6
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
7
9:00 Morning Prayer

8 Advent 2
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Sunday School
9:00Adullt Class
10:15Communion
9
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer


7:30 Vestry
10
9:00 Morning Prayer

10:00 Between Athens & Jerusalem

7:00 Book Club
11
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Handbell Choir
12
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

4:45 Communion Class

7:30 Choir
13
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
14
9:00 Morning Prayer
15 Advent 3
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Sunday School
9:00Adullt Class
10:15 Communion
11:30 Greening of the Church
16
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Parish Council

17
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Between Athens & Jerusalem
18
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer




19
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing





7:30 Choir
20
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

21
9:00 Morning Prayer

22 Advent 4
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Sunday School
9:00Adullt Class
10:15 Communion
23
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer




24
9:00 Morning Prayer


4:00 Christmas Eve Service

10:45 Christmas Eve Service
25 Christmas Day

10:00 Communion
26 St. Stephen
9:00 Morning Prayer

10:00 Communion & Healing
27
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
28
9:00 Morning Prayer
29 Christmas 1
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion

10:15 Communion

30
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Wporship Committee
31
9:00 Morning Prayer




Birthdays and Anniversaries

Birthdays
12/5 Louise Peake
12/07 Millie Gittinger
12/08 Vicki Hoshko
12/09 Jim Ormsbee
12/14 Evan Fronk
12/20 Shirley Gretz
12/21 Jim Syta
12/25 Robert Olberg
12/27 Ronald Michaelson
12/31 Denise Crates
  Lois Hoover
Weddings
12/10 Robert Olberg & Andrea Worthington
12/22 Gerald & Linda Perregau


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 http://www.saintstephenschenectady.org/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady
The Messenger is published September - June. Please submit articles to Cathleen Knauf