November, 2014

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Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church invites you to walk the labyrinth by candlelight and music and pray for peace in our hearts and peace in the world on Saturday evening, November 1st from 6:30 to 8:00. The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool that is thousands of years old, walked by millions of people across time and traditions. The walk will be preceded by a brief introduction to the labyrinth.



All Saints.jpg

All Saint's Day is one of the seven principal feasts of the church.  This day is a celebration of Christ in His whole mystical body.  We are reminded that the saints still support us by their witness and example and surround us with their love and prayers.  All Saint's Day is the one day set aside each year when our faithful departed are remembered.  If you would like to have a particular person remembered by name, it is not too late. Please call the parish office as soon as you recieve this newsletter.  We will remember them on Sunday, November 2nd at both Eucharists.  Weather permitting, we will have a procession around the church at the 10:15 Eucharist. 


November 27th

Thursday morning at 10 am

The Church recognizes the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday as a holy day for our land, life, and heritage.  It finds its roots in observances begun by colonists in Massachusetts and Virginia, a tradition later taken up and extended to the whole of the New American nation by action of the Continental Congress.

Our celebration of Thanksgiving stems from our many blessings of God's good creation.  As Children of God we are to live our lives in a spirit of thanksgiving.  We are to be faithful stewards of the earth as God's creation, given to us as a sacred trust.


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.


Dear Friends,

     There's something about money that really gets to people.  Why does the church talk so frequently about money?
     The answer, I believe, is because Jesus frequently talked about money. Sixteen of his 38 parables were about money or possessions; one tenth of all gospel verses are about money or possessions.  There are 500 verses in Scripture that deal with prayer, and a few less that deal with faith, yet more than 1,000 verDSC_0662 blessing 300px.jpgses deal with money and material goods.  Therefore, it is no wonder that the church, when it is faithful to the gospel, follows in that tradition and talks about money.

     I believe that Jesus was right when he said: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

     Most of you have received a summary of next year's budget.  The annual budget is not great mystery.  We spend much of our money each year on staff, on people who work with people.  This is not 'overhead'.  You cannot run a church with an office, a computer and a copy machine.  As our church grows, one of the most crucial things we can do is to provide people in education, music, pastoral care, administration, and worship leadership, to build, nurture and lead the church of Jesus Christ.

     In addition, we spend money on space, the maintenance and upkeep of buildings to house the activities of the church.  We spend a relatively small amount on the tools of ministry:  scissors and paste, choir robes, and Church School material.  And we give some of our money away to ministries near and far so that we may join with others in support of such things as a Jail Ministry, the Schenectady Inner City Ministry, and the outreach of our denomination in every part of the world through the Diocesan Quota.

     That's why the church talks about money.  That is why your church is asking you to increase your pledge of time, talent and treasure.  Thank you for your prayerful consideration.



November 5 - Roman Rule in Galilee and Judea  - This class examines how Judaism and Roman rule, Pax Romana or "Roman peace," shaped Jesus' life. Jesus was an ordinary Jewish resident of this time, but new archaeological findings show that he was probably not the humble village peasant often portrayed. Nazareth, where he was born and raised, was a suburb of the major city Sepphoris. As a Jew, Jesus was influenced by the diversity and the tensions characteristic of Judaism at that time.

November 12 - John the Baptist & Jesus of Nazareth  - Jesus was most likely arrested and executed by Roman authorities whose principal concern was to keep the peace. The Romans had little tolerance for those it judged disruptive of the Pax Romana, punishing them in many ways, including crucifixion. The death of Jesus was a Roman act; there was little if any notice taken by Jewish people. Jesus was another victim of the Pax Romana. It is a stark ending, and it leaves some important questions. Jesus was born before 4 b.c.e. and died around 30 c.e. ("of the common era," the equivalent of a.d.). The timeline is short, but the historical scale is large.

November 19 - Paul & his ministry in the Aegean Basin  - This class explores the period after the crucifixion of Jesus and traces the beginnings of the Jesus Movement, in those early years before it was called Christianity. It began as a sect within Judaism. Along the way, the early Christians began to branch out and to spread their message to non-Jews or gentiles (meaning "nations"). Around 50 c.e., the Apostle Paul travelled away from the traditional centers of the Jesus Movement and began to found new churches in Greek cities. His letters to these fledgling congregations mark the first writings of the New Testament.

November 26 - The Gospels  - This class follows the story of the first attempts to write the life of Jesus-the Gospels. They were products of social and religious reconstruction in the period after the war, ranging from roughly 70 to after 100 c.e. The program looks at how these stories were passed down before they were written and how the writing of each Gospel reflects the experiences and circumstances of early Christians. They do not all tell the same story of Jesus because each one is responding to a different audience and circumstances.

Classes are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:00 in the Conference room.  If you would like to attend these classes please email Fr. James


EvSJRlogo 2 400px.jpger feel like Jesus has been kidnapped by the Christian Right and discarded by the Secular Left?

These classes seeks to expose participants to observations and ideas about Jesus that have been long held by theologians and lay-people alike. Many of the ideas have simply failed to “trickle down” into our churches or small-group conversations.

November 2 - Jesus’ Ministry of Compassion: Jesus never shied away from working against primal human responses in his teachings. Jesus urges his listeners to be like God—to be "kind to the Jesus icon.jpgungrateful and the wicked." He calls his listeners to imitate God's penchant for doling out unmerited mercies, for being generously, irritatingly compassionate …

November 9 - Who Killed Jesus? All four gospels give accounts of Pilate offering to free a prisoner on the occasion of Passover, what people who study this kind of thing have called
“the Passover amnesty.” But the best judgment of scholars and historians is that this so-called amnesty was a fiction. Pilate offers the people a clear choice: Barabbas or Jesus, a violent revolutionary or a non-violent revolutionary.

November 16Atonement: “Christ died for our sins.” How exactly did we get from Jesus
declaring the presence of the Kingdom of God to the necessity of killing him in order to satiate an offended God?

November 23Resurrection: Like the birth narratives, each gospel tells a different version of the events for Easter. T here are really five distinct accounts of Easter, none of which were written by a contemporary of Jesus, much less by an eyewitness.

November 30 - Why Jesus Is Worth Saving: The primary motivation behind the idea of “Saving Jesus” has been to shine a light on some of the ways Jesus has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and manipulated to further the prejudices and priorities of very frail and imperfect human beings.

Classes are held on Sunday mornings from 9 to 10 in the Conference room.  Don’t worry if you have missed previous classes, each class stands on its own.

TUESDAY MORNING SEMINAR: Philosophy and Religion in the West

November 4 - Platonist Philosophy and Scriptural Religion

November 11 - The New Testament—Life in Christ

November 18 - Rabbinic Judaism—Israel and the Torah

November 25  - Church Fathers—The Logos Made Flesh

Classes are held on Tuesday mornings from 10:30 to noon in the Conference room.  It is not too late to begin attending the seminar.  If you would like to attend these classes please email Fr. James so that he can send you supporting materials.

And, for the young people...


Sunday Friends meets at 9:00am – our size varies from quite small to big enough to need extra chairs, but we always enjoy each other. I am blessed to have Ms. Priscilla (Priscilla Sprague) as my co-teacher this year.
Each week we have a main theme tied to a Bible story or passage from the Old or New Testaments. After discussing the theme and what it means for us in contemporary life, we read the Bible passage and discuss the plot and characters in it, and how they relate to the theme. An art project or life-application game follows. A light snack concludes our time together. Each week we have a closing ritual—we go around the table naming each other and stating what blessings or gifts they bring to the classroom. The students seem to enjoy thLabyrinthis and are quite creative.

Godly Play meets after Fr. James’ children’s time at the 10:15 service in the classroom immediately adjacent to the nursery. We light the Christ Candle to remember that whenever we are gathered together in His name, God is with us and the children arrange themselves on the floor to listen to a Bible story told in the oral tradition with simple props. After we have explored some “I wonder” questions about the story we often play an active game or sing a song with hand motions. Then we work on an art project, enjoy a light snack and when it’s time to go back into the church for communion, after all the art materials and the work trays have been put away, we stand or sit to say a prayer.

During November we will start rehearsals for our Christmas Pageant (4:00pm, December 24), and celebrate All Saints Day.

If parents or members of the congregation have questions or are simply curious, I am always available after the 10:15 service, either in the classroom or in Begley Hall. Email works very well. Phoning me on my home phone (393-5047) also works!

Thank you for the gift of your children I love working with them!

Happy Thanksgiving.. Miranda Rand, Christian Education Director


The projected calendar, for November, 2014. Changes sometimes happen. For up-to-date information, watch the Sunday bulletin, announcements in church on Sunday mornings, the website calendar, and the "Weekly Letter". If you're not on our e-mail list, we would like to include you! Send it to Rose Walker (secretary, and Chris jones (, for the communication commettiee).

Note. The blue underlined items are listings for which further information is provided on the website calendar.

November, 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

29 October
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Handbell Choir
30 October
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

7:30 Choir
31 October
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion Class
6:30 Labyrinth
Daylight Savings ENDS
2 All Souls Day
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kid's class
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Parish Council
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Seminar
8:30 Osteo
9:00 Morning Prayer
7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Handbell Choir
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
7:30 Choir

8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kid's class
Stewardship Ingathering
4:00 SICM
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Vestry
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Seminar
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

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

7:30 Choir

8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kid's class

8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
6:30 Girl Scouts
7:30 Communication Committee
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Seminar

8:30 Osteo
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 DOK
7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Handbell Choir
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

7:30 Choir

8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kid's class
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Worship Committee
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Seminar
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
27 Thanksgiving
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
30 Advent 1
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kid's class



Guess what?   I actually went to a vestry meeting. After about thirty years at the college attending countless commiDSC_5052 vestry Oct 2014 400px.jpgttee meetings, and vowing that I would never do that after retirement, I have to swallow my words. Actually, the meeting went quite well. First, it was over in a crisp 70 minutes. Issues were raised, discussion was brief and to the point, and votes were taken. The vestry takes care of our business affairs, down to things like getting light bulbs replaced (when they’re thirty feet high above the altar, not so easy), ordering railings for the hallways, checking up on budgets, getting ready for the every-member-canvass, or waxing the floors. All that, and they even managed to open the meeting with prayer. None of my college committees ever did that!

Visitors are welcome. I sat on that bench in the back of the room, took a few notes so I could write this article, and took a couple of pictures to use sometime on the web site. They meet on the second Monday  of every month except in the summer. Drop by sometime when you get bored with Monday night football and find out how your church is run! It will hardly hurt at all. Chris Jones


These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services. Supposedly. Even if they didn't, they very well could have, so pay attention to those bulletin announcements!

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Please place your donation in the envelope a long with the deceased person you want remembered.

Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.


As mentioned in St. Stephen’s annual report, new books for St. Stephen’s library are cataloged “in the cloud” on a website called   Access to this site is through a computer in the library, or through you own computer at home.  On the first page of the site, you’ll need DSC_0149 library 250px.jpgto sign in.  Our user name is ststlib and our password is plaza1935  On the next screen, click on Your Books at the top of the page.  A list of our  book titles, plus the authors, subjects, and Dewey number, will be displayed.  Please note that it’s important for you to sign out when you are finished. Just click on sign out on the upper right-hand side of the screen. 

     For those who would prefer a printed list of the new books added to our library, there is a notebook with the same list of new books on a table by the window in the library. All of the old books on the shelves will be in the old card catalog for now. 

     If you would like an additional introduction to site, please send me an email at or call me at 393-9505 or catch me in church. I would like to hear about your experience.

Thank you,
Jo Adams
Librarian, St. Stephen’s Library


Some beautifully illustrated books for the Children’s Section:

Four by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Adam and Eve

Adam & Eve's First Sunset: God's New Day 
2003, Adam-Biblical figure-Juvenile literature, Eve-Biblical figure-Biblical figure, Sun-Folklore, Picture book, jP222 S

God said amen.jpg

God Said Amen 
2000, Peace - Fiction - Juvenile Literature, Pride & Vanity - Fiction - Juvenile Literature, Sharing - Fiction - Juvenile Literature, jPFic S


Noah's Wife: The Story of Naamah
Noah's wife (Biblical figure)-Juvenile fiction, Noah's ark - Fiction, Plants - Fiction, Bible Stories - O.T. - History of Biblical events - Fiction, Picture Book
jPFic S


In God's Name
2004, God - Juvenile Literature, Religion - Juvenile Literature, Picture book, jP291.2 S


Water Come Down (Day You Were Baptized) by Walter Wangerin, Jr., 1999, Baptism, Baptism-juvenile literature, Picture book, jP265.1 W

For the Reference Section:


The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Stanley - Editor Sadie, 1980, Music encyclopedias, Music history, Music biography, REF 780.3 New.
Twenty volumes of everything you want to know about music.

For the Adult books section:


Martin Bayne on Turning the Stream of Compassion Within by Martin K. Bayne
assisted living, biography
262.4 Bay
A well-written pamphlet-size booklet provides a thoughtful analysis of the difficulties faced by patients who must enter assisted living at an earlier age than most.


A Compass Rose by Viktor E. & Robert M. Nelson & Norman Vincent Peale & Rabbi Andre Unger Frankl
biography, Victor Frankl, Robert M. Nelson, Norman Vincent Peale, Andre Ungar
920 Com
Small collective biographies of men of faith who found their direction in life


Mosaics: or the Harmony of Collect, Epistle and Gospel for the Sundays of the Christian Year byWilliam Croswell Doane
Church year
263 Doa
Written by Albany’s first Episcopal Bishop.


Lay Shepherding, a Guide for Visiting the Sick, the Aged, the Troubled and the Bereaved by Rudolph E. Grantham
Church work with the sick, laity
253 Gra


Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics by Margaret Farley
Sexual ethics, Ethics - Christianity
241 Far


Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Church history
270 Mac

Troubled Believers

Theology for a Troubled Believer: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Diogenes Allen
Theology - Christian
230 All


Illuminata Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage by Marianne Williamson
Prayer, Prayers, Rites & Ceremonies
291.43 Wil


Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul: 101 Stories of Courage, Hope and Laughter (Chicken Soup for the Soul) by Jack Canfield
Self-esteem, Children's writing, Children - Conduct of life
158 Chi

moral life.jpg

The Christian Moral Life: Practices of Piety by Timothy F. Sedgwick
Ethics - Christian
241.043 Sed

St. Stephen’s Ham & Cheese Strata.

This dish was served at Fr. James’s 25th Anniversary Brunch, which was held on September 28, 2014 at St. Stephen’s Church.

16 Slices white bread, cut off crusts and cube
1 lb cubed ham
1 lb sharp cheddar, grated
1 lb swiss cheese, grated
6 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups crushed corn flakes (3c crushed makes 1 1/4c).

Grease 9”x13” pan. Spread half of the bread cubes evenly in pan. Add the ham and both cheeses then cover with the remaining bread cubes. Mix eggs, milk, onion salt and dry mustard. Pour evenly over bread cubes and refrigerate overnight. Combine the crushed corn flakes and butter for a topping, sprinkle over strata then bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Serves 10 to 12

RECIPES?cookbook cover

Do you know that St. Stephen’s Church has publushed three cookbooks?

Here’a the cover of the first one, printed about 1970. Notice that the church had no parish hall when this sketch was made. Ask Jane and Bruce Tatge about his cookbook. If you look hard enough, you can find all the recipes from that cookbook on our website!


There was a similar strata recipe in the 1970 cookbook. No ham in this one.








Nothing more certain than death and taxes…  I just paid my Niskayuna school tax, which has gone up by about ten times in the years we’ve been here, so I’m aware of the latter.  But old guys like me are also aware of the former. In order to make things easier for those who follow us, and to ensure that things are done according to your wishes, we have a “combined form” which you can download and fill in. You’ll find it on the “Forms” page of the website. A bit of effort now will help others in a hectic time of sadness.  Please download it, fill it in, and return a copy to the church and keep one copy for yourself or your children.
Chris Jones, website organizer

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

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,

Lisa Zebrowski, Nursery Manager,

The Vestry
Sr. Warden, Carole Merrill-Mazurek
Jr. Warden, Erin Cohen
Clerk, Susan Feyrer
Treasurer, Denise Crates

Class of 2014:
Joe Palko
Stan Jakubowski

Class of 2015:
Jack Feyrer
Bill Frank
Jim Syta

Class of 2016:
Brian Riordon
Travis Reedy 
Richey Woodzell

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:
Our website is
Facebook Page:
The Messenger is published September - June. 
Please submit articles to our secretary at by the 25th of the Month before.

Architecht's Photos