Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Don't miss the traditional Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 17th at St. Andrei and SausageStephen's marking the last time for festivities before Lent begins, on Wednesday!

Menu includes pancakes, sausages and a beverage.  The price includes all you can eat!

Bring your family, your friends and your appetite!  Volunteers are needed to help cook, serve and clean up.

Bring your palms
from 2014 Palm Sunday
to be burned
for Ash Wednesday

Father James

Dear Friends,

The weeks before Lent are a good time to decide what your Lenten discipline will be this year.  As I was growing up in church the emphasis was on giving up something for Lent.  One problem with this is that we often get so caught up in trying to keep our Lenten denial, that we lose track of the true reason we are doing it.  Another problem is that we can perform the denial for the praise of others, and thus rob ourselves of that which we seek: true intimacy with God.

There is another way to observe a holy Lent.  Instead of giving up, we can take on such activities as weekday Fr. JamesEucharists or participation in a Lenten study group.  At Saint Stephen's we offer many Lenten opportunities, including a Sunday evening study series and simple supper.  Increasing the amount of time spent in reading the Bible and other religious books, in meditation and prayer, and in doing extra work to help the poor and needy - are all worthwhile forms of Lenten discipline.  There is still time to join Father James’ Bible study on Wednesday evenings, to join the Theology Seminar on Tuesday mornings, or even to start coming to the Adult education hour on Sunday mornings.

Taking on additional activities during Lent is an excellent way to prepare for Christ's resurrection, because these are the very activities which were such an important part of Jesus' ministry.  How many times in the Gospels can you remember Jesus urging his disciples to give up something?  But think of the times Jesus urges his followers to feed the hungry and tend to the needy.

Up to a point Ash Wednesday is supposed to make us uncomfortable as we contemplate our sinful condition.  However, this stark, penitential day, the first of the 40 days of Lent does not have to be the beginning of a time of negativity, when we dwell on denial.  I am urging you today to consider taking on a spiritual activity, rather than giving up something.  The difference between giving up and taking on is that taking on an activity is a creative act; giving up something is not.  But don't think that taking on something for Lent is easier or requires less pain than giving up something.  Taking on an activity is every bit as much a discipline as self-denial, but is more like the mother's joy at birth which overshadows the pains that precede it.

So Lent is not only a time for us to remember the shortness and frailty of human life, a time reflecting on our tendency to sin; it is also a time of spiritual refreshment and new commitment to Christ.  We shall not be unduly depressed, for we are children of God, in Christ.  Lent is a time when all we are called to do is to be who we are created to be.  We need only be human, a simple matter of being in relationship with God and other human beings.

Wishing you a holy Lent,

Ash Wednesday Services

Ash Wednesday is February 18th  with the Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist as follows:

7:00 A.M.
12:30 P.M.
7:30 P.M.

Services will be held at various times so that each Christian can observe the beginning of this penitential period which leads us into our celebration on Easter Day. Barring illness, every Christian certainly will be in church on Ash Wednesday to begin his/her disciplined preparation for a meaningful celebration of Easter.


Lent, the annual celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ, is an intense period of Christian teaching and training. In earlier centuries, the season provided the background for the preparation of the catechumens (new converts) for baptism on crossEaster morning.

The catechumens were later joined in their studies by professional Christians seeking continued study and spiritual renewal. By the third century, Lent also was a time when Christians who had lapsed in the faith could prepare for reuniting with the body of Christ on Maundy Thursday (Great Thursday). Their journey began on Ash Wednesday when ashes gathered from the burnt palms of the previous year's Palm Sunday were placed on the confessor's forehead as a sign of repentance and total dependence on God. Thus, Lent has become a time for all Christians - new converts, committed followers, and renewed believers, to reflect on their baptism in the light of Christ's baptism and temptation.

Lent is a time for spiritual preparation; a time for discipline; a time to 'repent' or 'turn around' as the Greek words "metanoia" implies. The spirit of Lent is to take on anew all that it means to belong to Christ.

Lent is a way of growing into Easter.

Christian Education

We currently have two groups:

Sunday Friends for Grades 4-6 which meets at 9:00am on Sunday mornings. This group uses a curriculum with social justice, bible-based themes. We read a scripture passage and discuss it, and then reflect on ways the circumstances in the bible story fit events that are current to the students’ everyday experiences.

Godly Play for children pre-school through Grade 3 uses a Montessori-style classroom experience in which the children learn core bible stories told in the oral tradition with simple props in a calm and structured environment. The curriculum was written by Jerome Berryman, an Episcopal priest and children’s hospital chaplain who found telling stories in this way calmed anxious children undergoing prolonged therapy for chronic illnesses. This class meets during the 10:15 service. The children come out of church after the children’s message and return in time to participate in the sacrament with their families. 

The possibility of a third group:

When the academic year starts again in September, I would very much like to start a third group. Depending on age and enrollment, the Sunday Friends group would change to be a class for Grades 5-7, the Godly Play group could stop at Grade 2, and a separate class would be established for children in Grades 3 and 4. Many of the younger children have been in the Godly Play classroom since I started using the curriculum four years ago. While the props are featureless and interchangeable, and there is no limit to the good stories that can be found to adapt to fit the format, there is a significant maturation curve that separates children aged pre-K through Grade 2 from those in Grades 3 and 4.

This is not a problem unique to St. Stephen’s.  At the Schenectady area monthly educator’s support group that I organize, our discussions often curve around the same problem – often we are faced with holding a class for very few students in order to present them with more challenging material and thus lose the good-discussion edge generated by a larger critical mass, or keep a larger class and invest time and energy finding separate, activities for older students whose attendance is sometimes inconsistent.   

I am open to suggestions and welcome input – I am almost always available for conversation during the coffee hour that follows the 10:15 service and I check email often. Let me know your thoughts!

Miranda Rand
Christian Education Director
393-5047 (home) (email)

Adult Education

Celtic Spirituality: Sunday Evening Lenten Series

This Lenten Series examines the spiritual aspects of Celtic lore.  We will trace the roots of Celtic Christianity through the lives of the men and women who kindled its fire in the British Isles during the Dark Ages.  soupWe will also explore the length and breadth of the ancient land to uncover the source of today's renewed interest in Celtic spiritual traditions---meditation, prayer, and music rooted in the ministries of the Celtic saints.  We will hear Herbert O’Driscoll, one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on Celtic literature and spirituality, who will offer deeply personal views of how he came to the Celtic vision.  We will explore ancient sacred places, the crucifixion, monasticism and the Book of Kells. Finally, Fr. James will make a presentation on five thinkers who were shaped by Celtic spirituality.  We will meet in the Conference Room at 5 pm for the video and presentations and then retire to Begley Hall for a light soup and bread supper which will be prepared by the participants.  This series begins on February 22nd and will continue for five Sunday evenings.

"Living the Questions" on Sunday Mornings

People know that at its core, Christianity has something good to offer the human race. At the same time, many have a sense that they are alone in being a "thinking" Christian and that "salvaging" Christianity is a hopeless task. What is needed is a safe environment where people have permission to ask the questions they've always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.

These classes include DVD presentation followed by small group study exploring beyond the traditions and rote theologies in which so many people and local churches seem to be stuck. The purpose of the study is to help participants discover both the relevance of Christianity in the 21st Century and what a meaningful faith can look like in today's world.

We meet on Sunday mornings at 9am in the Conference Room.

Discovering the Bible:  New Testament Overview

Wednesday evenings

February 4 - 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.

February 11 - 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 Jamesdisruptive 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.

February 25 - 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.

March 4 - 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

Opportunities for Spiritual Growth in Lent

Lent is one of the oldest observances in the annual Christian calendar. Like all Christian celebrations, Lent has changed over the years, but its purpose has remained the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial and acts of compassion, in preparation for the celebration of Easter.  Here are some suggestions for making your Lenten observance meaningful and enriching.

Thursday Mornings:  For many, the Season of Lent is a period of healing ‑ ‑ spiritually, emotionally, relationally and physically.  The Sacrament of Healing is offered as a part of the Eucharist at 10:00 am.  It involves the Laying on of Hands and anointing with Holy Oil of Unction.  After the service we gather in the rector’s study for a Bible Study based on video travels to the holy lands.

Sunday Eucharists in Lent:  Throughout Lent we will be using Rite I.

Sunday Evenings:  This year we will add a study series on Sunday evenings at 5:00 in the parish hall.  Fr. James will lead a study on Celtic Spirituality. 

Fridays in Lent - Stations of the Cross:  'Station' is any place in the church where, during a solemn procession, there is pause for a prayer.   During Lent there is a practice in which fourteen 'stations' are visited in turn, with a pause for a reading, a versicle and response, a prayer, and a time for meditation.  In this case, the 'stations' are fourteen pictures depicting incidents in the narrative of Christ's passion, from Pilate's house to the entombment.  These pictures will be placed around the church on Fridays and booklets which lead the participant through each station can be found on the table in the back of the church.  Please call the parish office if you wish to experience this tradition.

Confession:  Making a confession in preparation for Easter is a long-standing tradition for many in the Church.  This is an individual confession to a priest.  The service of Reconciliation of a Penitent in the Book of Common Prayer provides an excellent form for personal self‑ examination, confession and reception of God's forgiveness.  If anyone is interested in participating in this rite as we move toward Easter, please feel free to contact the rector.  A short brochure describing this sacrament can be found on the Welcome Table in the Nave Extension.

At Home throughout Lent:  Set a concrete goal to spend approximately 10 minutes everyday to reflect, pray, and make decisions to move in new directions. Instead of saying, "I'm going to spend time reflecting daily," say "At 6:00am, Monday through Saturday, I will sit down at my desk for 10 minutes to read and reflect".

Use a daily Lenten devotional. To help make this Lenten season especially meaningful for you, St. Stephen's will have available: Forward Day By Day, and a new booklet from the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund called, Countdown to the Cross. Both are available in the Nave Extension.

Lead daily evening Lenten devotions with your family. Share your learnings during Lent with friends.

Focus on taking action. Engage in acts of mercy and charity. Make a gift in compassion for hungry people living in poverty by using a Hope Chest to collect weekly offerings.

Who writes the Messenger?

The short answer is, Fr. James does. At least he writes most of it. But YOU could be writing the Messenger! How about taking on one of the following.

Interviews: Getting to know you... Would someone be willing to undertake an interview project? Maybe one interview per month for a year?

Making a pitch: You participate in one or more of the many things that go on here, be it choir, the altar guild, ushering, ECW, the shop, the Over-The-Hill Gang, vestry, SICM, and so forth. Wouldn't it be good to have more people participating along with you? So here's you chance. Write about what it is you do, how it helps the church or Schenectady, why you enjoy doing it, and why others should join you. Write it so that some new people will be interested, beacuse new people will stick if they get into something where they can meet and work with others and make a contribution.

Book Reviews: Read a good book lately? One that other members might enjoy reading? Write a review and we'll print it.

Vestry: Exactly what do the vestry do? How about a monthly or bi-monthly piece about goings-on in the vestry? Any member of the vestry could do this, or someone not on the vestry who is willing to attend meertings. I would guess that vestry minutes is not the way to go, but we could do that too.

Something new... ?

This is your Messenger. Own it!

The Messenger deadline is the 25th of each month. Rose ( and I ( each work on it. She does the printed copies, and I do the e-mail and website versions. Submit articles to either or both of us. Chris Jones

ERD - Episcopal Relief and DevelERD Africaopment

Episcopal Relief & Development works with more than 3million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through multi-sector programs that utilize local resources and expertise. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners to help communities rebuild after disasters and develop longterm strategies to create a thriving future. In 2014-15, the organization joins Episcopalians and friends in celebrating 75 Years of Healing a Hurting World.

We support programs in the following areas:

• Alleviating Hunger and Improving Food Supply
• Creating Economic Opportunities and Strengthening Communities
• Promoting Health and Fighting Disease
• Responding to Disasters and Rebuilding Communities

Episcopal Relief & Development uses the Millennium Development Goals as a framework to guide our efforts and help us measure our impact. All of our programs work to achieve one or more of the eight MDG goals:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education for children
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Create a global partnership for development

More information about ERD:

Four Navy Chaplainsf chaplains

February 3

With Nazi submarines sinking ships faster than the Allied forces could replace them, the troop ship SS Dorchester steamed out of New York harbor with 902 men headed for Greenland.  Among those leaving anxious families behind were four chaplains, Methodist preacher George Fox, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Catholic priest John Washington, and Reformed Church minister Clark Poling.  The Rev. Poling was a pastor of 1st Reformed Church in Schenectady before he joined the navy.

On the night of February 3, 1943, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was torpedoed off Greenland. Some 150 miles from their destination, submarine U-456 caught the Dorchester in its cross hairs.  Within moments of the torpedo's impact, stunned men were pouring out from their bunks as the ship began listing.  With power cut off, the escort vessels, unaware of the unfolding tragedy, pushed on in the darkness.  On board, chaos reigned as panicky men came up from the hold without life jackets and leapt into overcrowded lifeboats.

As the four chaplains arrived on the steeply sloping deck they began guiding the men to their boat stations.  They opened a storage locker, distributed life jackets, and coaxed the men over the side.  When Petty Officer John Mahoney turned back to retrieve his gloves, Rabbi Goode responded, "Never mind. I have two pairs."  Only later did Mahoney realize that the Rabbi was not conveniently carrying an extra pair; he was giving up his own.

In the icy, oil-smeared water, Pvt. William Bednar heard the chaplains preaching courage and found the strength to swim out from under the ship until he reached a life raft.  Still on board, Grady Clark watched in awe as the chaplains handed out the last life jacket and then, with ultimate selflessness, gave away their own.  As Clark slipped into the waters he looked back at an unforgettable sight:  the four chaplains standing--their arms linked--praying, in Latin, Hebrew, and English.  Other men, now serene, joined them in a huddle as the Dorchester slid beneath the sea.  "It was the finest thing I have ever seen or hope to see this side of heaven," said John Ladd, another of the 230 survivors.  ("Social Psychology, 5th ed.," David G. Myers, McGraw Hill, 1996)

Although gstampood men were lost that night, more than 200 were saved, thanks in many ways to the four chaplains.

Each year the American Legion commemorate their sacrifice with Four  Chaplain's Sunday. In this spirit, the legion's message is "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."St Valentine

There is a Chapel commemorating the life and death of The Rev. Poling in the 1st Reformed Church.

St. Valentine

Saint Valentine (Latin: Valentinius) is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and associated since the High Middle Ages with a tradition of courtly love.
Nothing is reliably known of the martyr than his name and that he was buried at a cemetery on the Via Flaminia close to the Milvian bridge to the north of Rome on that day. Because so little is known of him, his name was removed in 1969 from the General Roman Calendar, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars. The Episcopal Church does not commemorate him.  Saint Valentine's Church in Rome, built in 1960 for the needs of the Olympic Village, continues as a modern, well-visited parish church.




The February Calendar

This is a DRAFT copy of the calendar. Be sure to get the latest news bylistening to the announcements Sunday morning, by reading the Weekly Letter, and buy coming back to the calendar page on the website, where updates are likely.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1Epiphany 4
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care 
9:00 Education: Adultsand Kids 
10:15 Communion & Kid's class
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Parish Council
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Religion and Philosophy

7:00 ECW  
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

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

7:30 Choir 

8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
Epiphany 5
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care 
9:00 Education: Adultsand Kids
10:15 Communion & Kid's class
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Vestry
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Religion and Philosophy

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

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

7:30 Choir 

8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning 
9:00 Morning Prayer
Season of Lent begins
15 Last in Epiphany
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 Religion and Philosophy 

Ash Wednesday
7:30 Communion
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 DOK

7:30 Communion*

* Ashes offered
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00Communion & Healing

7:30 Choir 

8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
22Lent 1
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care 
9:00 Education: Adultsand Kids
10:15 Communion & Kid's class

5:00 Celtic Spirituality 
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Worship Committee 
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Religion and Philosophy 

7:00 WCW
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

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

7:30 Choir 

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

To-day's RecipeCook Book

Here's a recipe from the first St. Stephen's Cookbook, published about 1970. Bruce and Jane Tatge helped to organize this cookbook. Ask Bruce about how the pages were tied together. This recipe is atttibuted to Dawn Kaler and Christine Davis. Dawn is still a member and can usually be found helping out with the rummage sales. The Kalers lived for a while in a house right next to the rectory (it's not there any more). Chris and Pat Jones lived there for a couple of years when they first came to town in 1967. The cover sketch for this cookbook shows the church before the (old) parish hall was added. A few copies of this cookbook are still around. Bruce and Jane have one, and I think Suzanne Taylor has most of one.

Quiche Lorraine

9” unbaked Die shell
½ lb. sliced bacon
1½ cups grated natural Swiss cheese (6 oz.)
dash of nutmeg, cayenne & pepper
3 eggs
1½ cups light cream
¾ tsp. salt

Prepare pie shell. Refrigerate until ready to use. Preheat oven to 375°. Fry bacon until crisp; drain. Crumble bacon into bits and sprinkle over bottom of pie shell. Then sprinkle with Swiss cheese. In medium bowl, with rotary beater, beat eggs with cream, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and pepper until well combined but not frothy. Pour into pie shell. Bake 35 to 45 min. or until top is golden and the center seems firm when gently shaken. Let cool on wire rack for 10 min. before serving. Makes 6 servings or 12 hors d’oeuvre servings. Christine Davis and Dawn Kaler

Note: The entire 1970 cookbook is available on-line. Just log on to your favorite web page (, put the cursor on "Information", then click on "Members", and you'll see it there as a download.

Note: This vestry listing is not correct, because we elected some new people in our annual meeting. Hopefully, I'll get it right next time.

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,
Laura Bynon and Chris Quinn, Nursery School
Joe and Donna White, Custodians

The Vestry
Sr. Warden, Erin Cohen
Jr. Warden, Brian Riordon
Clerk, Tracy Ormsbee
Treasurer, Denise Crates

Class of 2014:
Joe Palko
Stan Jakubowski

Class of 2015:
Jack Feyrer
Bill Frank
Jim Syta

Class of 2016:

Travis Reedy 

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.