May, 2016

Pentecost Adult Education Five Years Ago...
Christian Education Parish Profiles ECW
Fr. James SICM Calendar
Wondering St. Stephen's Church Roxbury Farm

The Feast of Pentecost

The Feast of Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Festival in the Liturgical year. It is not the end of anything, however, 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 15th.  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, and special music.  Please wear something red to commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit “in tongues of flame”, and listen carefully as the gospel is read in over a dozen different languages!

altar
Pentecost altar in the cathedral in Galway, Ireland.
This is a relatively new building, finished in 1965, largely with American funds.
Roman Catholic, of course.

Christian Education

We continue to successfully run two classes: The Holy Spirit Kids class for students Pre-School through Grade 4; and the Sunday Friends class for students Grades 5-7. We use Augsburg Fortress Press curriculum for both classes.  

Our Miranda nursery manager, Lisa Zebrowski, incorporates the same story that older siblings learn in the Holy Spirit Kids classroom with the nursery-age students using very short age-appropriate story cards.

The younger ones' class follows the lectionary cycle with bible readings and weekly take-home sheets, the older students’ class is studying a series on biblical heroes, learning how to look references up in the bible and working on service projects.

Since January we have spent a morning working in the SICM Food Pantry and collected 75lbs of baby food and formula for them. We have decorated posters and held a bottle and can drive to benefit The APF (we raised $32.00 through cash donations and bottle deposit returns); and prepared 50 bag lunches for the City Mission of Schenectady. I am grateful to all the parents and members of the congregation who have supported us. This month we will visit the Regional Food Bank on Saturday, May 14, to tour the facility and sort food on their loading dock.

For the remainder of the church school season we will continue to study the Bible and do occasional in-house service projects. Classes end for the summer on June 12 and resume September 18.

Dear Friends:

During the season of May, I have been delighted to enter into conversations with several of you about issues concerning Holy Communion.  They seem to be divided into two kinds.  One is from James & Lisaparents with young children and from grandparents who have recently come to our church and have been amazed at very young children being given communion.  I have reserved a response for that in the Ask the Rector section of this newsletter.

Another series of questions have come from new members who were raised in the Roman Catholic Church and they want to know the difference between our understanding of communion and that of the ‘catholics’.

We Episcopalians are careful not to overdefine.  The 39 Articles (found in the back of the prayerbook) refer to The Real Presence as that which we all affirm.  We may tolerate individual excursions of speculation into the nature of Jesus' Presence, but we steadfastly refuse to be drawn into the High Medieval over-definitions that caused so much pain in the Church.  That which cannot be proven by Scripture is not required by any Anglican.

The essential difference between the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches has to do with how dogma is approached. Dogmatism, that is, the view that a teaching must be accepted, makes the great majority of Episcopalians very uncomfortable while for many Roman Catholics -- though by no means all -- it lies at heart of their faith.

The fundamental structure of our liturgy suggests that Christ is truly present in the eucharistic elements, and I think that many, probably most, Episcopalians believe it. But there is a traditional reluctance to say with any certainty (or dogmatism) just how Christ is present.

For me, the sDeacon Patubject is best approached by trying to understand the context in which Jesus said the Words of Institution at the Last Supper.  Drinking blood was strictly forbidden to the Jews because the life of a creature was in the blood, and the life belonged to God.  Therefore, when Jesus said, "Drink my blood," he was (1) doing something that only God had the right to do (because the life belonged to God), and (2) offering the very life of Christ, the life of God, to us.

Eating something incorporates it into our very being; it takes the molecules/atoms of what we eat and infuses it throughout our being in such a way that we can't be separated from it.  In a very real way, we become what we eat (as primitives have known instinctively).  Therefore, to eat Christ's flesh is to become Him, to incorporate Him into our being in an inseparable way.

My understanding of the bread and wine after consecration is that they are still bread and wine, but they are no longer JUST bread and wine; they are also Christ's body and blood.  My understanding of the Roman Catholic position, although it's probably a caricature, is that they would say that the consecrated bread and wine are no longer bread and wine, but are now Christ's body and blood instead of bread and wine.

I hope this helps.

Faithfully,
James+

Adult Education

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

May 4 - Getting Acquainted
May 11- The Old Testament
May 18 - The New Testament

This will be the last of this series for the program year.  They will resume in October.  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 at 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

May 3                          Gandhi
May 10                        Lame Deer
May 17                        HH Dalai Lama XIV
May 24                        So, What Is the Meaning of Life?                   

The seminar takes place on Tuesday Mornings from 10:00 – noon in the Conference Room.

Parish Profiles

A semi-regular series about members of St. Stephen's parish edited by Miranda Rand.

This month we feature Mary Beam Alexander.

Tell us about your early life – where did you grow up and what was that like?

 I was born in Texas while my father was attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  My parents then became what Southern Baptists call Home Missionaries. By way of NC and IL we ended up in Savannah when I was 7. 

My Dad was the Pastor/Director of the new Savannah Baptist Center and my mother worked as the Weekday Director’s assistant. Needless to say we were very involved in church!  When I was in 9th grade we moved downtown to live next door to the Center (which is where the song Jingle Bells was written). It was an interesting place in which to grow up and I really loved being able to just walk around the city.

Do you have siblings (older/younger)?

 I have two brothers.  One is four years older and the other is four years younger which makes me the middle child and all that that implies!

What is your best memory from childhood?

Singing with the family; it is still a big part of my mother’s family reunion. 

What was your education and career?

 I went to the local college and graduated with a bachelor degree in Social Welfare.  I worked for DFACS in Augusta for a couple of years but then moved to Maryland to join my soon-to-be husband, Harvey.  When we moved to New Mexico so that Harvey could attend graduate school I decided that we would be no poorer if I too became a student. I was right! And I thoroughly enjoyed the coursework! After Harvey graduated we moved to NC. Because he was doing post-doctorate work in the summer months I worked for a temporary agency. 

When Harvey was hired at the College of St Rose we moved to Schenectady and I took advantage of my spousal privilege to take classes to get a Masters in Education. Realizing that my true wish was to work with pre-school children, I got a job with Albany County Head Start. I am now semi-retired but I still substitute a few times a year for a friend who has a preschool in Rotterdam.

How long have you been involved with St Stephens and what do you enjoy most about that involvement?


 Hmmmm……around 16 or 17 years although it doesn’t seem that long!  I love many things about our church and its people but what hooked me is that I have never been pressured into doing anything!  Invited? Yes.  Guilted? No.

You sing in the choir and play the hand bells--clearly, you like music… do you have a favorite composer or artist? What is it that appeals to you about this person?


I like a variety of genres so it would be hard to choose one.  Growing up I was not exposed to a lot of classical music – unless you count Saturday morning cartoons.  High school and college chorus and now church choir has helped to expand my horizons in that department.  I love harmony which I guess is one reason I sing alto.  Well….that and I can’t reliably hit an E!  I do love listening to A Capella groups, barbershop, anything that emphasizes the harmonies.

You and Harvey participate in Colonial-style military reenactments. Tell us something about this: how does it work? Do you belong to a society or club? What first attracted you to this activity? 


Our group’s website is secondalbany.org. Some people refeMaryr to what we do as living history, the events as reenactments. Our group is comprised of three sections for doing three different time periods. Schuyler’s Company does French and Indian War. Second Albany does Revolutionary and Kellogg’s Artillery does 1812. Members are free to do one, two or all.

Elected officers handle the administrative stuff and annual dues cover our insurance and support events.  At our annual meeting we discuss upcoming events and vote on which ones to add to our schedule.

Harvey is the history buff which is why I started doing this. I enjoy playing a character and it can be a lot of fun barking the orders for the cannon drill!!

What is your favorite thing to do when you have time for yourself?

 What’s that?  Just kidding!!  I like to read…especially murder mysteries.

SICM News

Books - Children's Books - New or gently used

We’d like to ask you to join us in providing books to give to the kids during our week of Summer Lunch at Jerry Burrell Park.  The kids we feed are elementary and middle school age.  Fiction and nonfiction books are needed, and there’s a basket near the basket for food for the pantry.

Thanks for all the food you continue to bring each Sunday.

Amy, Eunice and Marti

More SICM news at http://www.sicm.us/

Five years ago...

hole
Here's our parish hall, five years ago this month.
Hard to imagine, isn't it!

ECW - Episcopal Church Women

The ECW meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month September through May and welcome all women of St. Stephen’s and their guests.

Thank you to Vicki Hoshko for her recent presentation on “Navigating the Caregiver’s Journey.”  She stressed, “Talk to your family about your wishes,” for that time when you are not able to care for yourself, and put it in writing.  Make sure you have these three signed documents:  living will, health care proxy and power of attorney.  Take steps to make your home easier to accommodate your needs as you age.  And if you are a caregiver, or may be in the future, talk about these things with those under your care.  Vicki welcomes any questions on caregiving.

Our last meeting for the spring is Tuesday, May 24.  We hope to meet at 5:30 in the parish hall for chair yoga with Nancy Tobiessen ($5 minimum donation), followed by a potluck dinner.  We will put further notices in the bulletin.

Thank you.
Richey Woodzell and Liz Varno

Wondering

Dear Rector,

I need to understand the giving of communion to very small children.  As I understand it, in the early Church there was a long period of teaching before people were admitted to the Holy Eucharist. I understand the principle of inclusion and the sense of awe in children, but I would need to know how much preparation is given by parents and clergy before children receive the sacrament. It may well be that my culture and my deep sense of tradition prevents me from accepting this practice fully but in honesty, I must at least state my problem with it.

...........Wondering

Dear Wondering,Deacoob Pat

We give the children of St. Stephen’s Communion bread when their parents agree to it. My reasons for this are several. 1) My theology of Eucharist was shaped by a man named Aiden Kavanaugh who took the Eastern Church as his model where babies are literally "spoon fed" the Eucharist from a chalice where the bread and wine are mushed together. 2) Theologically I think in somewhat of an Old Testament way -- newborn (boys) were circumcised and made an immediate part of Israel (on the 8th day). Baptism is our equivalent in that through the waters of baptism we are made part of the "new Israel" the Body of Christ.  The Holy Eucharist is the meal which symbolizes our full inclusion in Christ. 

I was raised in an Episcopal Church which taught and practiced that children do not receive Communion until they were Confirmed (about 11 or 12 years old).  But the net effect of this was that I was raised as "Pagan" with "Christian" parents.  I sat in my pew while they went up to receive the bread and wine, or I went up and watched the rector pass me by.  I suppose I relish the idea that the children of St. Stephen’s will never know a time when they were not nourished by the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood. 

As to their understanding it -- I'm not sure we ever grasp the mystery of this sacrament.  I dare say that I don't even to this day -- it is beyond the intellect and into that mysterious realm of sharing and partaking in a community ritual.

Are you interested in fresh, local produce delivered weekly?
Consider enrolling in
Roxbury Farm
2016 Memberships available at all delivery sites

This Community Supported Farm (CSA) in Kinderhook grows all its produce without the use of any synthetic or artificial fertilizers or pesticides, using practices to maintain the health of the soil and the ecosystem.  The farmers have signed the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York's “Farmer’s Pledge,” which reflects their commitment to treat the people who grow the food, the customers who eat the food, and the land and animals that produce the food with dignity and respect.  Their beef, lamb and pork products are certified Animal Welfare Approved, guaranteeing that they are raised and slaughtered as humanely as possible.  They strive to provide the animals with environments that best suit their instinctual needs.  The lamb and beef are all grassfed and the pigs are pastured and fed organic grain. 

Membership enrollment forms are available on the farm’s website www.roxburyfarm.com >CSA Membership>Capital District> 2016 Enrollment Form.  The second page of the form explains a lot of the specifics.  There are also enrollment forms in the nave extension.

To participate at the Schenectady site, you buy a membership in the farm at $607 for 23 weeks of vegetables, from June 7 to November 15.   Vegetable pick-ups are at Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist Church, 1068 Park Avenue, on Tuesdays between 4:30 and 6:30 PM.  (Or you may choose one of their other delivery sites.)  The amount is usually paid up front, although they have an arrangement for three partial payments.  You may also split a share with someone, if you prefer.  That sometimes is a good way to start out.  Then you can alternate weeks or split the share each week.  The amount in a full share is enough for a vegetarian couple to live on each week.  

Each week the farm delivers crates of 8-14 different types of vegetables and herbs, depending on what's available at that time of the season.  Those who purchase vegetable shares also have the opportunity to purchase seasonal fruit, chicken, beef, lamb, and pork. 

The CSA expects members to work 3-4 hours during the season, usually in two 1 3/4 hour shifts, but you can also work at the farm, make calls, or help in other ways. The farm invites member participation by publishing weekly newsletters, educating about farming practices and soil care, as well as providing news from the farm and plans for the future.

Roxbury farm has a commitment to the hungry in the communities they serve.  They pack an extra 10% in their weekly deliveries for local food pantries, and any leftover produce goes to the pantries as well.

If the farm is having a good year, as in 2015, you will receive LOTS of vegetables.  If not (in 2011 they lost an estimated 60,000 pounds of produce due to Hurricane Irene), you don't get as much.  In this way, everyone shares in the risks as well as the benefits of the farm.

Questions?  Ask Richey Woodzell,  erwoodzell@verizon.net or 852-6796.

 

May, 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
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
Noon:Ladies Luncheon
2
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office
3
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:00 Seminar
4
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing


7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bell

5
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office




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

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

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

7:30 Vestry

10
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar




7:00 Book Club

11
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing


7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bell

12
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Choir
13
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
14
9:00 Morning Prayer

10:30 Listening for God
15 PENTECOST
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
16
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Parish Council



17
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
18
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing
Noon: DOK

7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells
19
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office


7:30 Choir
20
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
21
9:00 Morning Prayer
22
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
23
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office Hours

24
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar



5:30(?) ECW

25
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion & Healing


7:30 Bible Study
7:30 Bells

26
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office






7:30 Choir
27
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
28
9:00 Morning Prayer
29
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
30
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
31
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
       

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.