May 2015


 

 

From the RectorJames

Dear Friends in Christ:

I sat in the chapel having finished Morning Prayer and I was struck once again by how beautiful our Episcopal liturgy is written.  Today I recited:

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

I will recite those words every day for the next fifty days and I will never tire of their poetry and truth.  I will recite the same prayers that I have recited for months and years. 

Earlier this week a friend who is Baptist asked me curiously, “Don’t you ever want to have variety in your worship?”  For a moment I felt like an ecclesiastical conservative, a creature of dull habit and unimaginative routine. But this morning I emerge from the chapel with the words of thanksgiving still ringing in my ears:

We bless you for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life.

The scripture readings and responses change day by day.  The prayers change by the day and week and season.  Yes, they are all written down, in a book of common prayer, but my spirit prays them anew each time.

It is not as if I am unacquainted with other ways of worship.  For several years I worshipped with the Quakers in silence.  I went to a Lutheran kindergarten and lived in Lutheran housing in seminary.  I have worshipped with Presbyterians, Baptists, and Congregationalists.  I have attended some very original, creative liturgy (if you can even call it ‘liturgy’).  And yet, I always come back to the words of our prayer book.

There are two ways to live, wide or deep.  Sooner or later we have to decide whether and where we want to land.  We have to choose the people and the place we call home.  We have to choose how we want to pray.

“It takes time”, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote, “to really see a flower.”  It took me several weeks to move from Rite I in Lent to Rite II in Easter.  It took me several years to learn the new liturgies in the 1979 prayerbook.  I am still trying to understand the great mystery of our “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” in our Eucharist.  Others may need much more variation in their worship.  But today I felt God touch my heart with the familiar words of Psalm 18.  That’s all the variety I need.

James+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Easter was Beautiful and Grace-filled

What a joyous Easter Feast it was.  Our Easter attendance was larger than we have had in recent years!  Easter flower offering was generous and the flowers were as beautiful as most could remember.   How wonder to have everyone having a share in the Festival.   Then "Low Sunday" that Sunday after Easter Day wasn't low at all.  Thanks to a baptism an above average congregation at both services.  Keep it up!  Let's use the remaining days of the Easter season to rejoice with one another as we say:

ALLELUIA, CHRIST IS RISEN. 
THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED,
ALLELUIA.

Cross flowered Bells
Vigil Cross

The Book

St. Stephen’s has an important “Book” other than the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. This Book contains names of parishioners who have volunteered to help other members of our church who are temporarily in need of meals and/or transportation. Examples of this need maybe following an operation, recovering from an illness, when a family is blessed with a new member, or when there is a serious family situation.

Before any help can be provided, the Clergy or church secretary (Rose, 346-6241) needs be called. The “Keeper of the Book” for that week will be contacted and will coordinate meals or transportation for the individual or family by calling on the volunteers in the Book. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP. Many of us have had times when knowing that dinner would be provided meant that energies could be used for more important tasks. For those who live alone, a ride to the doctor’s or to church could be a great help.

Currently, more volunteer drivers are needed to bring people to the 10:15 service. If you could do this on an occasional basis, please give that information to the church secretary. Many thanks.

As a relatively new member of St. Stephen’s with family far away, I was comforted to know that there are many members of St. Stephen’s willing to help when called, just the way family would do.


Butterfly Reunion

The Butterfly Reunion, sponsored by the Diocese's "Healing a Woman's Soul" Program,  is a one day retreat that will be held on Saturday May 9th for women who have been victimized by domestic violence.  St. Stephen's Church, sponsored by the ECW will be the venue for the event.  The day will consist of fellowship, spiritual guidance, group discussions and craft projects  to support and empower  domestic violence victims.  The ECW will provide breakfast and lunch for the particapants.  For further clarification or information, please contact Carole Merrill-Mazurek 518-346-8959


Christian EducationMiranda

The Sunday after Easter we celebrated the sacrament of baptism in our congregation, welcoming Kara Grace Kirby into our Christian community. Her big brother, Tommy, has just started to attend our Godly Play class. I look forward to the time when she is old enough to join the classroom and listen to the stories we tell about God.

That Sunday I used the Baptism story and held an abbreviated session with the children in my classroom, so that they might witness the Clasdsbaptism with their parents. Among those present, in addition to godparents and members of the congregation, were members of the Ecumenical Witnesses of Baptism program. Those who witnessed represented St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Parish in Niskayuna, the First Church in Albany (Reformed Church in America), and St. John’s Lutheran Church in Albany. 

As the coordinator of the EWB program it is my responsibility to provide witnesses from our membership list to be present at baptisms throughout the capital area. It is always a moment of special pride for me when we celebrate baptism at St. Stephen’s and I can call witnesses to share this blessing. “We welcome this child who is baptized today into the wider fellowship of Christ’s church.” (We read in the welcoming statement). “We come representing different communities of faith, and we also come in the name of the unity of the church…” In conclusion, that Sunday, we read to Kara and her family, “we join…in surrounding her and her family with our prayers in Christian love.”Cara

Welcome Kara Grace!

The rest of April and for most of May we will learn the great stories that Jesus told as he furthered his Father’s kingdom using examples drawn from his audiences’ everyday life.

There are no classes Memorial Day weekend (May 26), the last Sunday in May the Godly Play students will welcome Ms. Pam Walsh to share in exploring the labyrinth through the Pentecost story.

Last day of class is June 7, which will be followed by a parish picnic. Bring a dish to share. Hot dogs and hamburgers are provided.

Blessings in abundance, Miranda Rand
Christian Education Director


Adult Education

Sunday Morning Adult Education

Jesus: The New Way

For Christians, Jesus has been seen through centuries of doctrinal development and creedal formulations.  For Jews, Jesus has been seen through frightful history that understandably creates suspicion.  For the indifferent, the question is legitimately - who cares?  What different does Jesus make anyhow?  This course will approach all three responses from a different perspective, from the vantage point of what Jesus meant, indeed, how he understood himself, in his original context, in the setting of first century Judaism.

Classes are held on Sunday Mornings – 9am to 10am in the Conference Room

 

Tuesday Morning Seminar

Philosophy and Religion in the West

Philosophy and religion ask many of the same questions:

These are questions no thoughtful person can evade.  They are enduring and perennial. And they are possessed of a history whose twists and turns have left their mark on almost every person on earth.

April 28 Encountering the Biblical Other - Buber and Levinas
May 5    Process Philosophy - God in Time
May 12 Logical Empiricism and the Meaning of Religion
May 19 Reformed Epistemology and the Rationality of Belief

Classes meet on Tuesday mornings from 10:30 to noon in the Conference Room. 

 

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

New Testament Overview

May 6 - 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.

May 13 - John the Baptist & Jesus of Nazareth  - Jesus was most likely arrested and executed by Roman authorities who had little tolerance for those it judged disruptive of the Pax Romana, punishing them in many ways, including crucifixion. 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.

May 20 - 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.

May 27 - 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 james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.


Parish Profiles

....An ongoing series of short articles designed to help us know each other better, edited by Miranda Rand. This month’s profile features Priscilla Sprague.

Priscilla is an active member of St. Stephens, serving as an acolyte, a chalice bearer, a handbell ringer, a member of the Outreach Committee. A CROP Walk recruiter, a Sunday school teacher, and a member of the evening book club. Additionally, Priscilla is a mother and grandmother. Her daughter, Meg Norris, and her granddaughters, RebeccaPriscilla and Madison Norris also attend St. Stephens.

Where did you grow up? In my early years, I lived in Buffalo, N.Y., the future home of the NFL team, the Buffalo Bills. When I was in sixth grade my parents moved to Drexel Hills, a small suburban community just outside Philadelphia.

Do you have siblings?  I am the eldest of four – I have two brothers, Bob and Ben, and a sister, Georgia. They all have children of their own, so I have lots of nieces and nephews.

I believe you have moved around the country quite a bit, where else besides Schenectady, N.Y. have you lived?  I got married right out of college and lived for a while in the West Indies, then my husband got a job in Syracuse and I was back in New York State! After my divorce, I moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where I helped a friend manage a horse farm. Unfortunately, I found out that I was highly allergic to the horses, and had to move off the farm. After that I lived in three different places in Kentucky. When my mother got sick I moved to Arizona to help care for her. After she went to live a nursing home, I moved to a series of apartments in Arizona. I came back to NY State for a family reunion, and ended up staying to help my daughter, Meg.

What field did you work in? When I lived in Syracuse I found work in the then just-developing area of AIDS care and advocacy. It was a work I found immensely satisfying, and was really good at. I loved relating to the clients and helping them find resources for their care. Unfortunately, other states were not as advanced in their recognition of the need for support and care of AIDS patients and I was unable to find work in the same field when I moved to Kentucky after my divorce.

You recently moved again, this time to a place of your very own; how Madisondoes that feel? I find it exhilarating, scary, daunting, a fun challenge. I am making new friends, getting used to new routines. I also find it a little lonely. I miss the grandchildren and the routine of household chores, homework, and their friends dropping in to the apartment. I am learning to find my way in a different way, again!

You wear a lot of hats in the congregation, which one is your favorite? It is hard to choose… I love playing the bells, serving as an acolyte, teaching Sunday school, I like people and I enjoy working with them. I love the fact that when I work with the kids I have the opportunity to share my faith with them, and of course, I especially like it when my granddaughter, Madison, is able to be in class!


Thank you......Thank you

.....To all cooks  who cooked and baked our suppers before the Lenten studies.

.....To Erin Cohen all those who set up, cooked and cleaned up for the Seder Supper

.....To the Altar Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Easter Day beautiful with flower arrangements.

.....To Bob Acosta and the Choir members who helped to make Palm Sunday beautiful, and Easter Day joyous.

.....To the lectors, chalice bearers and acolytes who made our worship possible.

.....To all those who helped in the toddler and nursery rooms.

.....To the ushers and to the offering counters

.....To our Rose, our Office Manager, who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements.

.....To Joe and Donna, our sextons, who made the church shine again

.....To the Church women who made our palm crosses.

    ……and the list just goes on!


Mother’s Daycrocus

The modern American holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Anna’s mission was to honor her own mother by continuing work she had started and to set aside a day to honor mothers, "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world". Anna's mother, Ann Jarvis, was a peace activist who had cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.

Due to the campaign efforts of Anna Jarvis, several states officially recognized Mother's Day, the first in 1910 being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother's Day she soon became resentful of the commercialization and was angry that companies would profit from the holiday. By the early 1920's, Hallmark and other companies had started selling Mother's Day cards. Jarvis became so embittered by what she saw as misinterpretation and exploitation that she protested and even tried to rescind Mother's Day. The holiday that she had worked so hard for was supposed to be about sentiment, not about profit. Jarvis's intention for the holiday had been for people to appreciate and honor mothers by writing a personal letter, by hand, expressing love and gratitude, rather than buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits to try to stop the commercialization. She crashed a candymakers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923. Two years later she protested at a convention of the American War Mothers, which raised money by selling carnations, the flower associated with Mother’s Day, and was arrested for disturbing the peace.

Jarvis's holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world.


Speaking of Mother’s Day

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

 Why did God make mothers?

 How did God make mothers?

 What kind of little girl was your mom?

 Why did your mom marry your dad?

 If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?


Evening Candlelight Labyrinth
Labyrinth Walk

 

Walk the labyrinth by candlelight and music and pray for peace in our hearts and peace in the world on Saturday evening, May 2nd from 7:30 to 8:30. 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.

 


SICM News

It’s almost time for the CROP Walk, but there’s still time to sign up to be a walker and of course there’s time to sponsor one of St. Stephen’s walkers!  Remember part of the money raised will be supporting OUR food pantry!

Summer Lunch will be coming soon, no school’s not out next week but it will end soon. We will be handling the first week of Summer Lunch June 29 – July 3, at Jerry Burrell Park.  There will be a signup list shortly.

Amy, Eunice and Marti


The Feast of Pentecost

The Feast of Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Festival in the Liturgical year, but it is not the end of anything, but the beginning of that new life in Christ.  In our prayerbook Pentecost is properly designated as the fiftieth day of Easter - - the celebration begins with the day of Resurrection and ends with the gift of the spirit to the Church.  That giving of the Spirit is to be understood as a resurrection appearance.

The import of Pentecost as the final Resurrection appearance is that through the gift of the Spirit, Christ's presence is forever insured for the community of the faithful.  This we indeed celebrate!

We will celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, May 24th.  This feast is as important as Christmas or Easter and St. Stephen's is hoping to have everyone present for the celebration.  There will be a renewal of our Baptismal vows, especially appropriate on this day.  Please wear something red to commemorated the coming of the Holy Spirit “in tongues of flame”, and listen carefully as the gospel is read in over a dozen different languages!


May 2015

This is a proposed calendar for May. To get the latest information, watch the Sunday bulletin, or the website calendar, or call the church office. Things can change. For more details, see the website calendar.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
2
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Labyrinth
3 Easter 5
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kids' class
1:30 CROP Walk
4
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Parish Council
5
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Religion and Philosophy

6:00 Girl Scouts
6
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bible 101
7
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
8
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer


9
9:00 Morning Prayer

Butterfly Reunion
10 Easter 6
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kids' class
11
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer


7:30 Vestry
12
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Religion and Philosophy

6:00 Girl Scouts
7:00 Book Club
13
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bible 101
14
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
15
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
16
9:00 Morning Prayer
17 Easter7
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kids' class
18
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

6:30 Girl Scouts

19
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Religion and Philosophy

6:00 Girl Scouts
20
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 DOK


7:30 Bible 101
21
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
22
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
23
9:00 Morning Prayer
24 Pentecost
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kids' class
25
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
7:30 Worship Committee
26
9:00 Morning Prayer


6:00 Girl Scouts
27
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer


7:30 Bible 101

28
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
29
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
30
9:00 Morning Prayer
30 Trinity
7:30 Morning prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Nursery Care
9:00 Education Hour
10:15 Communion & Kids' class
           


Remember this? It hasn't been so long!

parish hall
parish hall

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 2015:
Jack Feyrer
Bill Frank
Jim Syta

Class of 2016:

Travis Reedy 

Class of 2017

Josanne Frank
Peter Nelson

Thanks, Richey, for lots of proofing and corrections!

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 our secretary at
StSteph1229@gmail.com by the 25th of the Month before.