February 2016

 

Contents for This Issue

 
Spiritual Growth in Lent Deacon Pat From the Library
Fr. James Ash Wednesday SICM News
Christian Education Have a Meaningful Lent Calendar
Pancake Supper Adult Education Masthead: St. Stephen's
  ECW - Episcopal Church Women  

Opportunities for Spiritual Growth in Lent

Wednesday 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. 

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

Sunday Evenings:  This year we will add a study series on Sunday evenings at 5:00 in the Conference Room and Begley Hall.  Fr. James will lead a study on history of the Israelites. 

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 parish clergy.  A short brochure describing this sacrament can be found on the Welcome Table in the Nave Extension.

Lent affords us a good opportunity to explore areas of our liturgical tradition that not widely used in our church.

Father James

Dear Friends,

This year Easter almost is as early as it can be!  Therefore, Ash Wednesday is also very early – February 10th!  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 Eucharists or participation in a Lenten study group.  This year we have increased Lenten opportunities by adding a Sunday evening study series.  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.  You could attend the introduction to the Bible on Wednesday evenings, or try the Philosophy/Theology seminar on Tuesday evenings, or even start coming to the Adult education hour onBlessing 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.

James+

Christian Education

In our Nursery, Lisa Zebrowski, the nursery manager, has started to share a very short bible story with the children under her care and age-appropriate work sheets that match the story their older siblings will be working with in the class that meets during church.

Children of the Holy Spirit (Grades K-5) work with a curriculum that for the most part follows the lectionary, generally the story they hear in class matches a scripture they have heard read in church just before they came out for instruction. They take turns reading or listening to the story in contemporary language and work on papers that reinforces the story for them with age-appropriate quizzes and the opportunity to write it from their own perspective. Because there is a wide disparity in learning levels and ages in this group, even when there are only a few children in class, an extra adult would be helpful. If you are a parent with a child in this class, I will be contacting you to ask for help – if everyone can take a turn, then it is unlikely that you will need to help more than once or twice before the school year is finished.

The Sunday Friends class (Grades 6-7-8) has chosen to work 2 weeks of every montSICMh on a service project – during the month of January they made signs for the Animal Protective Foundation asking visitors not to touch the animals so as to prevent the spread of disease -- these are very colorful and delightfully decorated, I will hand deliver them to the APF next week. During the month of February they will be collecting baby food jars for the SICM Food Pantry – this project is also endorsed by the ECW as part of their Lenten mission project. On Sunday, February 14, the students will make an announcement during the 10:15 service; on Sundays, February 21 and 28 the students will sponsor a collection site in the nave extension and ask congregants to contribute. They will bring up the collection with the offering on Sunday, February 28, during the 10:15 service. I am hopeful that we can arrange for the students to deliver their collection to the pantry in person and receive a tour of the facility, either during the school break or on a Sunday afternoon. These students will also help to assemble submarine sandwich orders on February 7.

Communication: I am available for conversation on Sunday mornings before and immediately after the 10:15 service.  I hold “office hours” from 9:30 until 10:15 most Sundays during the school year in the classroom adjacent to the nursery; and I am happy to make an appointment to meet a parent at the church or in their home at a mutually agreeable time, should there be concerns. I am also responsive to phone calls and emails – so don’t be shy – even if you have no children in class but are simply curious, ask! I am glad to explain what we do and how we do it.

Miranda Rand
Christian Education Director

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supperpancakes

Don't miss the traditional Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 9th at St. Stephen'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.

The price ($ 6.00 – Adult, $ 3.50 - Ages 5-12, $ 15.00
Family, age 4 and under – free) includes all you can eat!

  0ancakes  

Episcopal Church Women (ECW)

Fourteen women gathered on a Saturday morning in January for our first Clothing Swap, organized by Claudia Jakubowski, who provided breakfast and a couple of games for some fun and fellowship before the “serious” business of the swap took place.  Each of us had brought in at least three items to swap,Swap and everyone found at least one item to take home.  The leftover clothes and accessories were taken to Bethesda House for their clothing room.  We all had such a good time that we’d like to do it again.  Many thanks to Claudia!

The ECW are women of the church who gather for fellowship and to work together to do Christ’s ministry in the world.  We meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:00.     

During Lent we will be supporting the Sunday Friends class in collecting jars of baby food for the SICM emergency food pantry, as well as raising money for NetsforLife, a program partnership of Episcopal Relief and Development that works across sub-Saharan Africa to fight malaria with mosquito nets and education.

We plan also to put on the Seder supper during Holy Week, to provide breakfast and lunch for the Butterfly reunion organized by Healing a Woman’s Soul (April or May), to have our annual Ladies’ Luncheon at the Turf Inn on May 1, and to enjoy an evening of chair yoga followed by a potluck dinner for our final meeting in May.  We are also considering lap-quilting with Jean Versocki, hearing about care for the elderly from Vicki Hoshko, having a presentation on nutrition by a former Cornell Cooperative Extension employee, and making candy with Susan Feyrer.

We welcome all women of the church to join us.  Come and bring a friend!

Richey Woodzell and Liz Varno

Deacon Pat was recently asked to make an "Annual Report" to the Schenectady County jail. Here is her response to them. We thought you might like to read it.

DEACON’S ANNUAL REPORT

2016

SCHENECTADY COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

I began visiting the women in the Schenectady County Correctional Facility in March, 1983, when I was a newly-ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church. I have continued to do so, except for vacations and attending seminary, for almost 33 years. During most of that time I have had a companion, but some of the time I visited alone. I/we visit the women in their housing units, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, once a week. We provide Bibles, journals and religious literature during our visits. In addition, we send in packages as needed: underwear, socks, towels, sweatshirts and long johns. The last two items are urgently and continuously requested by the women, since their housing units are very cold, especially in the winter, and sweatshirts and long johns are not regularly provided by the facility.

(I have no way of counting how many packages I have sent in, or how many women were affected, recently. In the year 2010 I delivered 98 packages to the facility, according to the pile of pink duplicate slips in my file. And according to my bank statements, in a ten-month period of that same year I spent $3061.19 from my Deacon’s Discretionary Account. A reasonable estimate would be $3600 for 12 months, with approximately $3000 spent on jail packages and commissary contributions. This money is almost entirely contributed by St. Stephen’s Church.)

In addition to our weekly visits with the women in the facility, at Christmas we deliver Christmas cards to every inmate in the jail, with postage, so that they can keep in touch with their loved ones. This is a festive activity for the church members who prepare the cards, and for us as we deliver them, and they are gladly received.

I am grateful to Sheriff Dagostino for allowing me to continue to serve in this way. I believe that the opportunity to be heard and loved is valuable for the women; this is why I visit, and I receive much more than I give. These women are “my other church.”

Ash Wednesday Services

Ash Wednesday is February 10th with the Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist as follows:

7:00 a.m.
12:00 noon
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.

 

Bring your palms from 2015 Palm Sunday

to be burned for Ash Wednesday

 

Make 2016 Lent Meaningful

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.

  • Put Lent on your daily activity calendar. This year the Lent season starts on Feb. 10 (Ash Wednesday) and ends with Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 26th.
  • Set a concrete goal to spend approximately 10 minutes every day 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 has available: Forward Day By Day, and a new booklet from the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund. Both are available in the nave extension. Israelites
  • Join others in Lent. Participate in the Lenten activities at St. Stephen’s, Friday Stations of the Cross, Sunday evening Lenten ‘soup and study’ time.
  • Lead daily evening devotions with your family. This can be found on page 139 in the Book of Common Prayer.
  • 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. Through your giving, you can be the hands, feet, and' heart of Christ for a hungry world. Your giving helps Episcopal Relief and Development to find long-term solutions to people who are hungry, while caring for the immediate problem of hunger.

Adult Education

2016 Lenten Study: The Story of the Israelites

Persecuted and slaughtered for practicing monotheism at a time when the prevailing belief was in multiple gods, the Kingdom of David kept itself united and solvent by passing along the history and traditions of its elders in written form (the "religion of the book").

Among the subjects explored in this course are the formation of the laws of the Jews, the origins of their customs, and their strongly held and strictly enforced moral values. The video used was filmed on the exact locations where the historical events occurred.  Discussions will take place in the conference room and continue during a simple soup and bread supper.

Sunday Evenings, Feb. 14 - March 13 – 5-7pm in the Conference Room & Begley Hall

Wednesday Evening Bible Study:

DISCOVERING THE BIBLE:  An Introduction to the Old and New Testaments

February 3 - Getting Acquainted
February 17 - The Old Testament
February 24 - The New Testament

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.

Sunday Morning Adult Education: Faith LessonsStudy

Filmed on location in Israel, Faith Lessons is a unique video series that brings God's Word to life with astounding relevance.  Teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan weaves together the Bible's fascinating historical, culture, religious, and geographical context, and reveals keen insights into the Scripture's significance for modern believers.  Lively discussions after the video each week help to make this a very popular course.

February 7                   First Fruits
February 14                 Confronting Evil
February 21                 “Iron” of Culture
February 28                 Innocent Blood

Classes are held on Sunday Mornings from 9-10 in the Conference Room.

Tuesday Seminars: The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World’s Great Intellectual Traditions

A Seminar of Theological Reflection on Philosophy & Religion in the West & East

February 2                   Santideva  - Transforming the Mind
February 9                   Zen - The Moon in a Dewdrop and Impermanence
February 23                 Zen - Being-Time and Primordial Awakening

The seminar takes place on Tuesday Mornings  from 10:30 – noon in the Conference Room .

From the Library

The following is a diverse list of donated books that have been added to St. Stephen’s library that are highly recommended. The titles reflect their subject, but I’ve added a line or two.

Jesus: An Illustrated Life, by Jean-Pierre Isbouts, Published by National Geographic Society, 2015232.9 Isb
This big, beautiful book is vividly illustrated, and will truly “delight & inspire”.
Thank you Millie Gittinger.

Grantchester Mystery Series, Volumes 1- 4
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, Vol 1, 2012
Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night, Vol 2, 2013
Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil, Vol 3, 2014
Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins, Vol 4, 2015
by James Runcie; Published by Bloomsbury; Fiction; Run
These interconnected stories, with the clergyman-detective and his friend, Inspector Geordie Keating, are unputdownable. The accomplished author happens to be the son of a former Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Sacred Kitchen: Higher-consciousness Cooking for Health and Wholeness, Culinary Wisdom, Ancient Traditions, and Vegetarian Recipes to Transform Your Life
by Robin and Jon Robertson. Published by New World Library, 1999. 641.5 Rob
“This book is dedicated to those who seek the sacred in everyday life and to those who cook with love.”

A Course In Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons For Surrendering Your Weight Forever
by Marianne Williamson, Published by Hay House, 2010 616.3 Wil
The forward to this book is beautifully written by Dr. Dean Ornish, Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

SICM News

The Food Pantry is looking for volunteers to hand out food at the windows.  Do you have time to help out?  The pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from nine to noon.   There will be a training meeting (brunch provided) in Feb. for new pantry volunteers.  For details contact sford@sicm.us.

Our monthly assemblies this year will be a series of discussions about diversity.  The first meeting will be Tuesday Feb.  2 at Mt. Olivet (formerly Union Presbyterian) at 6:45. The speaker will be Fr. Kane.

February, 2016

Not a final schedule. Tune in Sunday mornings for the latest information in the announcements and the bulletin.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

1
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office
2
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
3
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells
4
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Choir
5
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
6
9:00 Morning Prayer

7
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion

8
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Vestry
9
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar

5:00 Pancake Supper
10 Ash Wednesday
7:00 Communion & Ashes
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
Noon: Communion & Ashes

7:30 Communion & Ashes
11
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office

5:00 Family Night

7:30 Choir
12
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
13
9:00 Morning Prayer
14 Lent 1
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
5:00 Soup/Study
15
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

16
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
17
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing

7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells
18
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Choir
19
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
20
9:00 Morning Prayer
21 Lent 2
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care  
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion & Kids Class
5:00 Soup & Study
22
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Parish Council
23
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar


7:00 RCW

24
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
Noon: DOK

7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells

25
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Choir
26
9:00 Morning Prayer
27
9:00 Morning Prayer
28 Lent 3
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
5:00 Soup & Study
29
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office
1
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
2
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
Noon: DOK

7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells
3
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Choir
4
9:00 Morning Prayer
5
9:00 Morning Prayer

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,
Susan Lohnas, Organist,
Douglas Lohnas, Choir Director,
Lisa Zebrowski, Nursery Manager,
Laura Bynon and Chris Quinn, Nursery School
Joe and Donna White, Custodians

The Vestry
Sr. Warden, Brian Riordon
Jr. Warden, Jim Syta
Clerk: Tracy Ormsbee
Treasurer: Denise Crates

Vestry Class of 2016
Travis Reedy
Richey Woodzell
Joe Palko

Vestry Class of 2017
Joanne Frank
Peter Nelson
Elissa Prout

Vestry  Class of 2018
Linda Emaelaf
Liz Varno
Mary Alexander

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 editor Chris Jones by the 25th of the Month before.