April, 2016

Fr. James' Letter SICM Parish Profiles
Christian Education CROP Walk Snap-shots
Adult Education Lap Quilting Home Communion
Listening to God ECW Thank-you
Planned Giving Mosquito Net Prtoject Calendar
  St. Stephen's Church  

Fr. James

Dear Friends,

At the Annual Meeting I mentioned that this summer I will be going on a sabbatical.  Since then a number of parishioners have had questions about what that means and how it will work. Let me explain a little further.

The sabbatical tradition began in the university at the time when the university was part of the church.  The idea then was that the Doctors of the church, who were the university professors, needed one year in every seven to become students again and to refresh their spiritual calling.  That tradition is alive and well in secular as well as church-related universities. 

The idea that professional clergy need to become simply students and worshipers every seven years is gaining Fr. Jamesinfluence in the local churches.  A sabbatical is simply a time given every seven years during which the Priest/Teacher/Minister is required to become a student and worshiper for the purpose of refining and updating professional skills and refreshing his/her spiritual life and calling.

When I first came to Saint Stephen’s I asked that a sabbatical be a part of my ministry for two reasons.  First, studies have shown that a fatigue sets in with rectors of active churches at about six years of parish ministry.  Unconsciously, the rectors know they need a change and renewal and so most rectors decide that the way to get those needs met is to change churches!  Obviously, that has not been my strategy and I plan to be at Saint Stephen’s for the next six years.

Second, the variety of skills that a rector is required to possess in some measure easily become outdated.  Teaching, counseling, preaching, organizing, administrating, supervising, and writing can become stale because it is very difficult to upgrade these skills during the normal routine of parish ministry.  It is not because I am busier than anybody else, but because parish ministry is a most irregular profession.  For these reasons I think it is necessary for the rector and his/her congregation that there be a hiatus if we are to efficiently carry out the work God has given us to do.

I am now in the process of putting together a sabbatical which will include brushing up on my Latin so that I can translate the work of a 5th century Irish monk and a class in woodworking.  My aim is to achieve an equilibrium of study, spirituality and relaxation.  It will take place this summer from June 13th through Sept. 12th. I am now working to make sure that the liturgical and pastoral needs of the congregation will be met by local clergy over the summer.  Though I will be at the rectory for part of this time, for all intents and purposes I will not be your priest over these summer months, I will be on sabbatical.  I do look forward to sharing with you the fruits of this time during the next year.

The sabbatical is an important event in the life of the rector and the parish.  It is one of the most effective ways for us to develop and maintain a long-term relationship.  

Thank you,

James+

Christian Education, April 2016Miranda

In the elementary level class – Children of the Holy Spirit – we have been studying the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Each week we read from the Bible story and work in story-related worksheets to better understand the context and effect of Jesus’ teachings. Our curriculum is Lectionary-based and most weeks the story is the same story that the children hear Deacon Pat read just before Father James’ children’s message. 

During the month of April we will study some of Jesus’ great stories, The Parables. When there is extra time (due to the age split in this classroom, some students finish their papers faster than others), story-related word-search puzzles, mazes and crosswords help fill the time until we are ready to go back into church for the Eucharist.

In the middle school classroom – Sunday Friends – we alternate between bible study and service projects. On April 10 we will put together 50 bag lunches for the men’s shelter at City Mission of Schenectady. We will do this after church – first sharing pizza and then working assembly-line style to put together the bags. In each bag will be a wrapped peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, a fruit cup, a wrapped spoon, a granola bar and a bag of chips. The bags will be decorated (we will do this during class time on April 3), and each will contain a pre-printed business-card sized card telling who it is from. I am looking for three adult volunteers – one person to help oversee the making and wrapping of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, one person to assist in placing fruit cup, wrapped spoon, granola bar and chip bag in the lunch bag, and a third to do a final check that each bag contains the correct number of ingredients.  I will put a sign-up sheet in the nave extension. I am anticipating that total time involved will be approx. 75 minutes, including lunch.

On Saturday, May 14, we are booked to visit the Regional Food Bank and work on their dock to help sort incoming food.

A big thank you to all who have supported our projects to date, and those who will continue to assist us in reaching our goal of doing one thing for those less fortunate than ourselves each month.

Miranda Rand
Christian Education Director

Adult Education

Wednesday Evening Bible Study: DISCOVERING THE BIBLE:  An Introduction to the Old and New Testaments

April 6 - Getting Acquainted
April 13- The Old Testament
April 20 - 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 Lessons

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.  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

April 5                         Tolstoy - Is Everyday Life the Real Thing?
April  12                      Nietzsche - Twilight of the Idols
April 19                       Nietzsche - Achieving Authenticity                 

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

Listening for God

Saturday, April 23, 10:30 am – 12 noon
Saturday, May 14, 10:30 am – 12 noon

Over the years I have developed a passion for guiding people in learning how to liDenniesten for God. My love first began after reading Listening Hearts by Suzanne Farnham.  The gift of this book is that it seeks to touch people’s experiences and gives clues on how God might be acting. I had been restless and wandering and was uncertain of where to turn.  It never occurred to me that these could be signs of God’s call. Since then, I have used this book as a guide for listening for God.     

Listening Hearts explores the themes of call, discernment and ministry.  One might ask, “Does God call ordinary people?”  The answer is yes, but we often need the listening ears of one another.  This entails opening our entire selves to the work of the Holy Spirit. It bids us to let go of preconceived ideas so that we can be open to new possibilities. It beckons us to be still and listen with the ear of the heart.

After sharing my passion with Father James, I am offering a Listening for God program, using Listening Hearts as a guide. We will meet at church on Saturdays, April 23 and May 14 from 10:30 – 12 noon. If you are interested, please sign up at the back of the church.  You may also email or call with questions The book may be purchased through Amazon.   

Faithfully,

Dennie +
Assisting Priest

Where Will This Parish Be In The Year 2078?

That is the kind of question a group of people were asking in 1928 as they gathered to meet for Sunday services on upper Union Street.  They were not only dreaming. They took very specific steps to ensure that we would have this beautiful building in which to worship in 2016 and beyond.

We are benefiting from their gifts to the ChurcBuildingsh right now.  Some of these gifts have been large and take the form of bequests.  But contrary to what you may think, St.  Stephen's was not founded by 'well‑off' people.  They gave in small ways and in very creative ways.  We are grateful for their forethought and their responsibility to us.

We also need to be responsible to future generations who will worship here at St.  Stephen's.  That is why the vestry is asking all our members, today, to consider planned charitable giving.  Through bequests, life insurance plans, memorial giving, and charitable annuities and trusts, we can distribute our assets the way we want. By planning ahead, we don't leave any thing to chance.  Planned giving is our way of taking control of our lives and at the same time, making a significant gift to St.  Stephen's Church.

Here are several planned giving options to think about:

  • Through a will, you can make a charitable bequest of a dollar amount, specific property, a percentage of your estate, or what is left after others have been taken care of.
  • Through a life insurance policy, you can name St. Stephen's to receive all or a portion of the proceeds of a policy no longer needed for family protection. Because life insurance needs change as life goes on, some coverage may no longer be needed for the reason it was originally purchased.
  • Through a charitable remainder annuity trust, you can make a gift, yet retain income from the gift for life.  Your funds are held separately and invested to earn a fixed and regular income for you.
  • Through retirement plans such as Individual Retirement Accounts and company pension plans, you can contribute funds accumulated which are beyond your needs for comfortable support.
  • Through memorial giving, you can include a loving tribute to a friend or loved one.

These are but a few of the ways in which all of us can control how our assets are distributed and provide gifts of lasting significance to St. Stephen's.

The vestry realizes that we all have many philanthropic interests, but ask that you think about including your parish in your planned giving program. A planned gift to St. Stephen's is an investment in its future.  If you have already included St.  Stephen's in your will, please let the vestry know so that the parish can properly thank you.

SICM News

THANK YOU all who donated baby food!  We carried in 75 pounds of baby food, our biggest weigh-in ever!  Your generosity is bringing smiles to a lot of beautiful small faces.

In addition to food we now are asking for items for Spring Bags for the young children, sidewalk chalk, crayons, small games, and jump ropes to fill bags.  The bags will be given out at the pantry starting April 11.  We also are still looking for books for the  summer lunch kids, gently used or new books for elementary and middle schoolers.  Thanks again for your generosity.

Amy, Eunice and Marti

2016 Schenectady CROP Walk – Sunday May 1st

FAQ

What is it? The CROP Walk is a community celebration where people from all walks of life join in common cause to fight hunger here and overseas. “We walk because they walk” is a living symbol that we walk one day a year because too many people here and overseas walk every day. Often this is for the basics of life: water, food, shelter. Too often it is for their lives: we see refugees fleeing war and disaster. Funds raised are used locally for food pantries and meal programs and funds overseas are used for relief, refugee resettlement, and self-help development through partner agencies or designated by contributors. Schenectady’s CROP Walk has consistently been a strong witness, thanks to many!

The Goal for this year: 400 Walkers raising $50,000.
We went over the top last year; goal was $45,000 and the total was $47,704!

What Does CROP Stand For? Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty
+People are hungry because they are poor+

Who can take part? All are welcome! We welcome babies in strollers, no upper age limit; many dogs
have taken their owners on the route. Individuals can join who are not part of a group or team.

Date: Sunday, May 1, 2016 (rain or shine)
Start/End: Emmanuel/Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace 12307
Parking in MVP garage or nearby lots
Registration Begins at 12:30 pm, continuous until the opening ceremony
Walkers turn in funds or the top form of the sponsor records
Start: 1:30 pm after a brief opening ceremony at 1:20 pm
Route Loop about 3 miles downtown, just by the Greenmarket, loop back; a shorter route (Golden Mile) available also
Incentives Everyone: a local CROP t-shirt
$50+: a unique CROP mug
Materials: Emmanuel Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace, Schenectady (374-4114)
SICM Office, 1055 Wendell Ave, Schenectady (374-2683)

How Does It Work? Walkers/runners obtain a sponsor record form in the nave extension.
Participants obtain their own Sponsors, collect pledges and turn in money at the walk.
You can also raise funds on the Internet!
To register online or to donate online go to http://www.crophungerwalk.org/schenectadyny and find the St. Stephen’s Church team.

Where does the money go? 75% of funds go to overseas relief, self-help development and refugee
resettlement; 25% of funds remain local for food assistance programs.

Who Sponsors It? CROP is the Community Hunger Appeal of Church World Service (CWS);
sponsors can support CWS or designate interfaith or secular efforts. Local ecumenical organizations
(including SICM) coordinate the Schenectady Walk.

More Information? Ask Priscilla Sprague or contact SICM:
Email: information@sicm.us/ , call 374-2683 ext. 111 or check out www.cwsglobal.org.

CROP

We've been doing the CROP walk for many years. Here's a fairly early picture of the St. Stephen's contingent. How many of these people can you identify? What year was this picture taken? Who was rector that year (Duh!) ?

Lap Quilting

Our lap quilting sessions with Jean Versocki continue!  Our next gathering will be Saturday, April 2, 10 AM to noon.  Come and get started on a block for a quilt or bring a project in progress.  We hope to combine blocks for small quilts for those at the VA Medical Center in Albany.  Questions?  Call Jean Versocki.

ECW

Episcopal Church Women (ECW) meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM, and welcome all women of St. Stephen’s and their guests.

At our March meeting Susan Feyrer treated us to a chocolate candy-making session.  For those who are interested, she left the recipes in the kitchen.  We took some candy home for Easter celebrations, and set some out for dessert at the Seder supper, but there’s still more to be given out.  The morning after our meeting we helped with preparations for the Seder supper.

Our next event is Saturday, April 9, 9:30 AM to 3 PM, when we host the Butterfly Reunion conducted by Healing a Woman’s Soul (HAWS) for victims of domestic violence.   Contact Carole Merrill-Mazurek or Liz Varno if you would like to help with food, serving or cleanup.  We will also be collecting small items for gift bags for the women who attend; please put donations in the container in the nave extension.  And some of our candy will end up in those bags!

At our April 26 meeting we hope to hear from Vicki Hoshko about health concerns for seniors and care options available.  

And… our annual spring Ladies’ Luncheon  will be Sunday, May 1 at noon at the Turf Tavern in Scotia, with Jennifer Gish as guest speaker.  Tickets are $11 and will be on sale during April.   If you have questions, see Carole Merrill-Mazurek or Tracy Ormsbee.

Richey Woodzell and Liz Varno

ECW Mosquito Net Project

Net Sales:  $590.75 (i.e., mosquito net sales)

As of March 25, we have received enough donations to protect 49 families from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.  Simple insecticide-treated mosquito nets can protect children and families from a needless, preventable death. Your gifts provide for the distribution of nets as well as vital training in how to use them effectively, how to recognize symptoms of malaria and when to seek treatment.

If you would still like to contribute to this effort, put your donation in the offering or mail it to the church office.  Checks can be made out to Episcopal Relief and Development or to St. Stephen’s Church and labeled mosquito nets.

This is our second fund-raiser for Episcopal Relief and Development this year, having raised almost $900 in December to “buy” a cow, two goats and a pig to help a few impoverished families alleviate hunger and produce a food supply that is nutritious, easily available and affordable.

THANK YOU so much for your generosity in giving during Lent and Advent!

Parish Profiles

A series of interviews featuring members of St. Stephen’s edited by Miranda Rand
This month we feature Jo Ann Adams.

You live in Scotia: are you native to the Schenectady area or did you move from somewhere else?
I was born in Tacoma Park, Maryland. My parents moved our household in order to find work. When I was a child, we lived in Bethesda, MD, Hingham, MA, St. Petersburg, FL and Wilson Point, MD.
I met my husband Phil at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. We married young. He was a civil engineer, and after he graduated we travelled with our three children to his projects. As a family, we lived in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, Missouri, Texas, New Hampshire and New York. We made our home base in Scotia in 1973, where our children finished high school and left for college – while their dad commuted between Scotia and projects in Indiana and North Africa.

What one thing had the most influence on your future as you grew into adulthood?
In addition to having a loving grandmother and parents that, despite having their struggles and very little money, made sure that we ate a wide variety of good food – everyone in the family went to bed at night with a book or a magazine. A love of reading must have started there; although my older brother used to let me “read” his comic books even before I knew the alphabet.

What was your education and career?
After attending five colleges I finished my BA in Geography with an emphasis on Cartography and took a Masters in Library Science at the State University of New York at Albany. I worked for thirty years as a librarian in the Reference Department at the Central Library of Schenectady County Public Library. During that time, on a leave of absence for almost two years, I worked as a school librarian for the United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia in Baghdad, Iraq. I used every single thing I learned in every one of my classes and in every place I lived in my workJo Adams.

You sing in the choir at St. Stephen’s do you sing with other Capital Area choirs?
I sang with the Octavos and the Burnt Hills Oratorio for several years, and most recently with the Hudson-Mohawk Chorale.

What is your favorite (sacred or secular) choral piece and why?
I like music of all sorts – Schubert’s Mass in E Flat Major is a favorite. I also enjoy the voices of the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and all children’s choirs. I think that singing can be a form of prayer, and is one of those rare group activities, where, although there are different sections and a variety of instruments, everyone wants to pull in the same direction. I like Dixieland, jazz, a cappella groups, and folk music from many countries too.

You volunteer at the main branch of the Schenectady County Public Library – you work the book sales and you organize some of the adult book discussions. What motivates you to do this, and why is supporting the library important to you?
The poet Lisel Mueller has said that bookshelves are the connection between Heaven and Earth. I agree and that’s what motivates me to support our libraries. Libraries help us to make those connections between our books and our lives.

Talking of books, what is your favorite genre? Are there one or two writers whose books you cannot wait to read when a new one is published?
As with music, I like several different genres – but I’m particularly attracted to stories of the early naturalists and explorers, historical fiction, British mysteries, and biographies of Victorian women in the Middle East. I enjoy the books of Simon Winchester, an Englishman who lives in the U.S. and Bill Bryson, an American who lives in England.

Clearly, you love music and books – besides those, what are your hobbies? What are your favorite recreations?
I enjoy theatre, travel, knitting, cooking, stargazing, museums, watching the birds at our feeder, and, of course, all the people and activities at St. Stephen’s, especially the classes, the imaginative ways of helping others, and walking the labyrinth.

Snap-shots... Holy Week and Easter

procession
Palm Sunday procession
kid's sermon
Children's sermon
CrocusSpring flowers Foot washing
Maundy Thursday
Easter vigil
Easter Vigil by canldelight
Rick
Rick
Vince
Vince reading a lesson
Cross
Easter morning; Flowering the Cross

Home Communion

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.

Thank you......Thank you

...To all cooks  who cooked and baked our suppers before the various Lenten studies.
...To June Russell and all 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 Sue and Doug Lohnas and the adult choir and to Lisa McDonald and the bell choir and all instrumentalists who made beautiful music for Easter.
...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 Paul de Kanel who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements.
…To the ushers and to the offering counters.
...To Donna and Joe White, our sextons, who made the church shine.
...To the church women who made our palm crosses.
    ...and the list goes on and on

April, 2016

Tentative calendar; tune in Sunday mornings for updates

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat


      1
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
2
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Lap Quilting

3
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends

4
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office

5
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar




6
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing


7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bell

7
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


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

9:00 HAWS Reubion
10
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
11
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer


7:30 Vestry
12
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar



7:00 Book Club
13
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing


7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells
14
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Choir
15
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
16
9:00 Morning Prayer
17
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
18
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:30-11:30 CWS drop-off
10:00 Parish Council

19
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar


1-3pm CWS drop-off

 

20
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:30-11:30 CWS drop-off
10:00 Communion & Healing
Noon: DOK


7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells

21
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office

1-3pm CWS drop-off


7:30 Choir
22
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
23
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:30 Listening to God
24
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
25
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

26
9:00 Morning Prayer 



7:00 ECW

27
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
30
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Choir
29
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
30
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.