June, 2016

Please remember
Sunday Eucharist
will be at 9:00 am only
from June 19th through Sept. 11th!

Please wear your name tags. It's not just for the "old" folks, it's not just for the newcomers, but it's also because the 8:00 congrgation and the 10:15 congregation might not know each other.
Name tags can help us be a more welcoming church!

From the Rector

Dear Friends,

On June 13th I will begin a sabbatical that will last until mid-September.  In the May Messenger I explained what a sabbatical is and why it is important.  This month I would like to describe the arrangements the vestry, parish council, and I have made to ensure that congregational life will flow smoothly this summer.

First, the clergy who will be here this summer are excellent.  Elsewhere in this Messenger is a little background on the preachers.  I leave knowing the liturgical ministry of St. Stephen’s is in splendid hands.  It is important to remember that Fr. Sutcliffe will only be here on Sunday mornings.  He will not be hired as “interim” priest, but as a “supply” priest. Please respect this limit of his ministry here.

For pastoral care needs, Deacon Jones and Dennie Bennett, our assisting priest, will be available for most of the summer.  The parish office phone will be checked regularly for any messages.

I will spend my sabbatical, primarily, at our home in Ware, Massachusetts where I will have access to many fine college libraries.  I will be ‘revisiting’ the liberal arts, taking classes in general mathematics, music theory, European history, and I will brush-up on my Latin and Greek.  I will also take a course in woodworking solely with hand tools, culminating in building a table.  I also plan on doing plenty of bike riding and kayaking.  It will be a full sabbatical.   

I look forward to sharing all of this with you in the fall.  My first day back will be September 12th.


Guest Preachers for the Summer

While Fr. James is on sabbatical this summer, Saint Stephen’s congregation wiSutcliffll have the privilege of having outstanding preachers. 

The Rev. David Sutcliffe graduated from General Seminary, having taken many classes at ecumenical theological schools in NYC and St Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary in Yonkers. Fr. Sutcliffe has been a priest for 40 years, having served all over the country in diverse situations, from the Navajo Nation to New Orleans, including Hispanic, West Indian, and Appalachian congregations. He has planted Hispanic and Appalachian (coal miners) churches, and has worked with challenged churches for 20 years. Fr. Sutcliffe came to Albany in 2005, attemBennettpting, unsuccessfully, to retire three times.

The Rev. Dennie Bennett recently retired after serving three churches in the Dioceses of Rochester(NY) and Newark (NJ). She moved to Ballston Lake last year and began attending St. Stephen’s.  She currently serves as an assisting priest here.  Dennie was awarded a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from General Seminary and graduated from Drew Theological School with a Masters in Divinity. She is passionate about the labyrinth, healing, spirituality and prayer as well as, embracing the joy and wonder of God’s creation.

Christian Education: June 2016Miranda

Holy Spirit Kids (Pre-K through Grade 4)

It has been a good year. We have been blessed with an influx of younger children who have gradually established themselves around the table and found their voice. It is such a pleasure to watch them learn and grow and lose their uncertainty.

Our curriculum follows the lectionary cycle, although the story of the day is not always the gospel story – sometimes it’s the story from the Old Testament text or even the Psalm assigned to that particular Sunday. The related work sheets make it easy to teach and the students are in turn challenged to remember the story and to pay attention.
Because of the age and maturation disparities among the students in the class, I provide extra worksheets with the same story geared to a higher grade level for the older students.

Sunday Friends (Grades 5-8)

This year we have mixed up the class routine a bit – instead of a theme around which art work, a Bible story and discussion questions are built, we have followed a curriculum, based mostly on Old Testament stories, and learned how to look up the story in the Bible. It didn’t take long for the students to get into the rhythm and they soon learned where to find stuff. I was proud of them!

In addition to the traditional classroom learning we engaged in monthly service projects – refreshments for Coffee Hour, a bottle drive to raise money for the Animal Protective Foundation, a morning spent preparing bags for grocery distribution at the SICM Food Pantry on Albany Street; a Lenten drive for baby food and cereal for SICM, packed lunch bags for the City Mission. Most recently, a visit to the Regional Food Bank where students sorted and organized OTC medicine was voted everyone’s favorite activity. Starting in September we will work there every two or three months in addition to doing other projects to support non-profit organizations.

Thank you to all the members of the congregation who supported our projects and to the parents who willingly and cheerfully transported their children and assisted with the projects.

Classes end for the academic year on June 5 and resume September 18.

Miranda Rand, Christian Education Director

Episcopal Church Women

The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) greatly enjoyed their luncheon on May 1, as well as the talk by our guest speaker, Jennifer Gish, who started STEM (Strong Through Every Mile), a running program for victims of domestic abuse.  If you are interested in helping with the program, by running with the participants when you can, or by helping with administrative duties, or by contributing money or running gear, please check their website at www.stemrunning.com or speak to Tracy Ormsbee.

On May 24 we met for a lovely evening of chair yoga with longtime yoga practitioner and instructor Nancy Tobiessen (and her sister Shirley!), followed by a potluck supper.  We learned techniques to help promote wellness through stretching, conscious breathing, simple postures, and relaxation.  For those interested, Nancy teaches “gentle yoga” at the Scotia-Glenville Senior Center; although the spring sessions are nearing an end, classes will resume in the fall.

On the final Sunday of this program year, June 12, we will hold our annual parish picnic after the second service, around 11:30.  If you would like to help organize this (it’s not difficult), tell Richey Woodzell..   Thank you to Erin Cohen, who has offered to do the purchasing of burgers, hot dogs and rolls.  Parishioners bring side dishes.   Come join us for our end-of-year celebration, and bring a friend.

For the 2016-17 year, the ECW will hold a planning session during the summer for anyone interested.   We would like to talk about how to involve women of all ages at St. Stephen’s in our ministry of service and fellowship, and plan activities that meet their interests and needs.  Look for an invitation in the weekly email, St. Stephen’s Week.

Tentatively, Carole Merrill-Mazurek and Liz Varno have offered to co-chair next year’s ECW, and Theresa Fay and Cheryl Syta have volunteered to arrange the spring Ladies’ Luncheon.  Thank you very much!

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who has organized or participated in our activities and outreach this past year.  It has been a pleasure!

Richey Woodzell and Liz Varno

Your Vacation Picture ?

OK. Here’s the deal. Send me a photo taken during your vacation. All I need to know is a name (who took the photo, or who is in the photo) and a place.

It might even be taken in Schenectady... Some pople vacation at Jumpin Jacks.

Mine will probably be taken in Maine, because we’re planning a week on that Maine island.

Wherever! But get the photo to me. Send it as an attachment in an e-mail, or hand a print to me, but I will not accept undeveloped film. Seriously, does anyone out there use film?

In the fall, I will include the vacation pictures in the Messenger.

Don’t forget to SMILE!

Chris Jones


We’re looking for some folks who have time:

June 27, 28, 29, 30, or July 1
From about 11:45 to 1:15
To pack lunches
Put a smile on the faces of about 100 kids


Eunice and Marti

What’s next after Listening for God?

After our recent Listening for God meeting, several people inquired about other programs. I would like to continue to offer other programs, but need your input.  In order to plan for the fall, there will be a short meeting after the 10:15 am service on Sunday, June 5.  We’ll meet in the library during coffee hour.  If you are unable to attend, please email your thoughts or speak to me during the summer. Thanks!


Summer Coffee Hour

During the summer, we will have only one service at 9.00 AM, from (including) June 19 to (including) Sept 11.

Since summer services are a time that people look for a new church, it would be a good idea to have a coffee hour every Sunday, after the 9.00 AM service, as a way of welcoming guests, and providing them with a reason to linger.

Also, since our attendance can be higher in the summer, due to combined attendance from the normal two services, it is suggested that two people or families host the coffee hour, rather than one person or family.

Please plan to team up with someone, sign up for a Sunday date, and email me in reply.

On behalf of the Vestry, I would like to publish a completed list by Sunday, June 12th, so it would be helpful to have your replies by June 1st.

If you are new to this, please talk with someone who has hosted coffee hour.  You will hear that instructions and supplies are in the kitchen area, (I can also provide many more details...).  Also, it is always nice to have something to snack on.  You may bake, if you wish, but store bought cookies, brownies, and/or pastries are frequently provided.

Thanks again.
Joe Palko

Sunday dates are:

June 19, 26
July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
August 7, 14, 21, 28
Sept 4, 11

Summer Labyrinth WalksLabyrinth

You are invited to walk the labyrinth by candlelight and music and pray for peace in our hearts and peace in the world on the first Saturday evening, June -Sept. from 8:30-9:30. 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. 

June 3, July 2, August 6, September 3

Questions: Call Pat or Dennie

Five years ago...


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

7:30 Bells
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Office
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer

8:30 Walk the Labyrinth

7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 Sunday Friends
11:30 Listening for God Follow-up
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer

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

9:00 Morning Prayer

7:30 Choir
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
7:30 Morning prayer 
8:00 Communion
9:30 Nursery Care 
9:00 Adult Education
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:15 Communion & Holy Baptism
11:30 Coffee Hour
11:30 PICNIC!
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer 

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

Noon: DOK

9:00 Morning Prayer
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Communion
10:00 Coffee Hour
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer 
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

9:00 Morning Prayer

8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Communion
10:00 Coffee Hour

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

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Church Staff
The Rev. Dr. James R. McDonald, Rector,
The Rev. Dennie Bennett, Assisting Priest
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.