February, 2017

Fr. James' Letter Sunday Morning Adult Education A Scottish Blessing
Prayer: "Guide me..." Education for Youth February Calendar
Pancake Supper Wednesday Bible Study Outreach Committee
Ash Wednesday Services Priscilla Sprague St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Lenten Study Series ECW Classified Ads

Fr. James

Dear Parish Friends,Fr. James

One of the first truths we accept, in order to live the life God has created us to live, is difficult, but simple: “It’s not about me.” The most important thing is what God wants for me, and what God wants from me.  But the temptation is always there to make it about me. We think – “I need to… I want to… I am …… Me, Me, Me!”

It’s not about me - it is about hunger: I think I need more, while 1.2 billion people live on $1 dollar a day or less.  Everyday 800 million people go to bed hungry.  Every day, 28,000 children die of poverty related causes.

It’s not about me - it is about education: 115 million children are not in school. 133 million young people cannot read or write; in fact, only 37 of 155 developing countries provide primary education to all. In Liberia, where average income is less than $900 a year, it cost a family over $100 to send a child to elementary school.

It’s not about me - it is about discrimination: Gender based inequality stifles half of God’s children.  2/3 of the world’s illiterate are females. Employment rate for women is 30% that of men. Illness too, strikes the poor and women disproportionately.

It’s not about me - it is about health care:  In developing nations, 1 child in 10 dies before his or her fifth birthday. That compares to 1 in 143 in high-income countries. Over 11 million children under the age of 5 die each year, approximately 70% of those deaths are preventable.  14,000 women and girls die each day from causes related to childbirth, 99% in the developing world.

Hunger is a terrible problem. Poverty is a painful scourge on our world. As we begin a new era in our American political history, let us focus, not on our own desires, and not on the temptations around us. But to focus on God – God’s will and God’s way and to see our sisters and brothers who are created in God’s image.  If not us, then who? 

James+


Guide Me into an Unclenched Moment

Gentle me,
Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
        a deep breath,
                a letting go
                       of heavy expectancies,
                               of shriveling anxieties,
                                         of dead certainties,
that, softened by the silence,
        surrounded by the light,
                and open to the mystery,
I may be found by wholeness,
        upheld by the unfathomable,
                 entranced by the simple,
                         and filled with the joy
                                 that is you.

Guerrillas of Grace – Ted Loder

Dennie+

Shrove Tuesday Pancake SupperDave

Don't miss the traditional Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 28th, 5:00 to 7:00pm, marking the last time for festivities before Lent begins, on Wednesday!

Menu includes pancakes, sausages, applesauce and a beverage.  The price includes all you can eat! The price:

$ 6.00 – Adult,
$ 3.50 - Ages 5-12,
$ 15.00 – Family,
age 4 and under – free,

includes all you can eat! The men will be putting it on!Bring your family, our friends and your appetite!  Volunteers are needed to help cook, serve and clean up.

BRING YOUR PALMS FROM 2016 PALM SUNDAY
TO BE BURNED FOR ASH WEDNESDAY.

Ash Wednesday Services

Ash Wednesday is March 1st with the Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist as follows:

7:00 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
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.

Lenten Study

The Story of Music in Christian Worship

Music has been central to Christian worship since its beginning.  We inherit a great wealth of hymns, anthems, oratorios and other sacred music, from the direct and simple to the most ornate and complex. This course will attempt to show the relationship between Christian music and the beliefs which shape it.

March 5           The Birth of Christian Music:  Gregorian Chant & Polyphony
March 12         Renaissance & Reformation: Luther, Calvin, England
March 19         The Flowering: Schutz, Bach, Purcell, Handel
March 26         The Birth of the Hymn - 18th Century
April 2              Romanticism and The Gospel Tradition – 19th – 20th Century

All classes are held on Sunday evenings between 5 and 6:30 pm in the Conference Room followed by a simple soup supper

Syudy
Study
Soup

Bread & Soup

Episcopal Church Women

The ECW is still planning to hold a movie night at the church on a woman-based theme.  Look for further notice!

During Lent, Deacon Pat will lead us in a Bible Study based on the book Six New Gospels: New Testament Women Tell Their Stories by Margaret Hebblethwaite.  We will meet on the four Thursdays in March at 6 PM in the parish hall, for a potluck dinner followed by the study and discussion.  Books are $4 each.  Contact Richey Woodzell now to sign up and get your book.

Education for Youth

The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the kid. Calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and a little child will tend them. Cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain. The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide. Isaiah 11:6-8 (The Message) Miranda

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a “Safe Child” workshop with presentersfrom St. Peter’s Health Partners and Emery and Webb, a leading insurer of church property. I wanted to raise my awareness of current industry practices relating to church staff who work with toddlers, elementary and teen-aged children. I wanted to be sure that we were, to the very best of our ability, ensuring the safety of the children entrusted to us for care and instruction on Sunday mornings.

For the most part we pass the test. We have glass windows in all our doors, we escort the children to and from the classroom, we know who will drop them off and pick them up from the nursery. However, because our classrooms are usually staffed by a single adult we are not able able to follow the industry guidelines regarding bathroom access. Ideally we should be providing an escort, checking the bathroom for other users and staying outside the door until the child is finished. At St. Stephen’s we are fortunate that we are a close-knit, caring community and that the distance from the classroom to the bathroom is relatively short. With our beautiful new building our hallways are open and uncluttered and easily visible from many vantage points. The element of trust amongst us is much appreciated.

In our nursery and in the Holy Spirit Kids classroom the children continue instruction related to the lectionary texts for each week – most often the Gospel reading. Colorful work sheets and bible stories written in age-appropriate language help children understand Jesus’ ministry and the liturgical rotation of the church year.

The Sunday Friends class works with both the Bible and a companion text book that helps them think about the text and how to apply it to everyday life. Students have learned how to use the index to find specific books of the bible and how to interpret the short form reference – for example, 1Cor 1:13 refers to St. Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 13!

We have developed a relationship with the Regional Food Bank on Albany Shaker Road, they always have something meaningful for us to do and they always need help sorting food etc. By the time you read this we will have completed two visits – one in May of last year and one this past month (January 28). These are all-ages events and anyone with children first grade and up is welcome. Our next two dates are March 4 and May 6.

It is both a pleasure and a privilege to work with your children. I have learned how each of them approaches a task, who is itchy, who can concentrate for longer periods of time, who likes to do word-search puzzles and who prefers art projects (in the Holy Spirit Kids’ class) and in the Sunday Friends class I marvel at how freely they express their thoughts and feelings and how prodigiously intelligent they all are!

Miranda Rand, Christian Education Director 
Mirandarand411@gmail.com : 229-5105 cell (text or voice mail)

Sunday Morning Adult Education

Living The Questions

By living the questions — and simply paying attention Adult Education Class— we open ourselves to a perspective on life that prepares us to embrace mystery...Isn’t that what it’s all about? When mystery is embraced, freedom is embraced. Openness is embraced. The journey is embraced. Far from being cast adrift, those who embrace mystery are set on a lifelong path of discovery, growth, and gratitude for the wonder of it all.  This course consists of viewing a video featuring thirty acclaimed scholars, theologians and other experts and then having a class discussion about that week’s theme.

This course brings together the voices of top Bible scholars and church leaders —including Marcus Borg, Diana Butler Bass, John Dominic Crossan, Helen Prejean, and John Shelby Spong.

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

New Testament Overview

February 1 - Roman Rule in Galilee and Judea  - This class examines how Judaism and Roman rule, Pax Romana or "Roman peace," shaped Jesus' life. As a Jew, Jesus was influenced by the diversity and the tensions characteristic of Judaism at that time.

February 8 - John the Baptist & Jesus of Nazareth  - Jesus was most likely arrested and executed by Roman authorities whose principal concern was to keep the peace. Jesus was another victim of the Pax Romana. It is a stark ending, and it leaves some important questions.

February 15 - 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.

February 22 - 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.

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.

Outreach Committee

Hello from The Outreach Committee! We would like to introduce ourselves: Elissa Prout, Stephanie Grimason and Rosa Garvey, and take a moment to thank those who have worked so hard on the outreach committee previously. We are very excited for the year ahead!

We met for the first time on Thursday, January 26th and are excited to share with you our first project which will be coming up just in time for Lent. We will be collecting funds for Episcopal Relief and Development with future plans on supplying a village with an entire ‘farm’ of animals which provides both an improved source of food and nourishment as well as potential sources of income. We also discussed continuing the work with SICM and working with Schenectady schools.

Through our discussion we found that many members in our congregation are doing charitable work outside of the wall of our church.  We discussed helping communicate any charities, walks or volunteer opportunities that anyone in the congregation may be involved in. We hope that this communication will allow the opportunity for possible support but also spread the word of what our congregation is up to with local charities! If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, or would like to let us know where you are volunteering please contact us at eap96@cornell.edu.

Elissa, Stephanie, Rosa

Priscilla Sprague

To my fellow parishioners

In the past three years from September 2013 you have fed me soups and soft food when I had the horrid infection which was much more serious than I hadPriscilla ever recognized. You visited me at the hospital, brought wonderful food and gifts. You have fed me with prayer, hugs, songs, visits, rides and you furnished my new apartment here at Fr. Leo O’Brien Senior Community! I am aware of you from my rising to my last prayers. It is a great joy.

I rejoice in the events, the conversations, the gatherings. The hospitality is growth-filled for me. I have made great strides toward better mental and physical health in my six years in the parish. I appreciate your encouragement and support.

The apartment building I live in is a HUD-subdized building for seniors.  A person only needs to be old and poor to apply here, we say. Because of you all, I feel younger and very rich. I may not have much money but I am wealthier than our president.

With deep gratitude, Priscilla Sprague

A Scottish Blessing

If there is righteousness in the heart

There will be beauty in the character

If there is beauty in the character

There will be harmony in the home

If there is harmony in the home

There will be order in the nation

If there is order in the nation

There will be peace in the world

 

Jane Tatge, from Fr. Bill Martin

St. Stephen’s Classified Ads.

Come - Do - Participate - Help - Be
(Almost) nothing for sale! But you’ll want to buy in anyway!

Ushers Shortage. NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED! Immediate Openings - No Waiting. YOU can be an usher at St. Stephen’s. The six week basic training course for ushers has now been waived. All you need to do is show up!
Dave and Roseann will show you the ropes!


Free Acolyte Classes!
We really light the place up! Young people from ages nine to ninety-nine are now being accepted into our Acolytes Trainig S chool. Tuition in this prestigious program has been waved!! See Allison for more details!


Ring them bells!
We actually do make music with bells. No requirements for membership in the Bell Choir, other than the willingness to learn something new. Being able to count is helpful, but you’ve been able to do that since kindergarden. Rehearsals are Thursday evenings at 7:30. YOU can do it!


Up Front - We could use a few more helpers up front. Some people pass the chalice, others read lessons, and others are acolytes. We don’t need another priest or deacon right now, but we do need more people to pass the chalice would be a big help. Fr. James promises to fill you in on what to do, where to stand, what to say.
George can do this. So can you!

Got the BLAHS?
St. Stephen’s have THE ANSWER. We have music, great preaching, the candles are lighted, lessons read, a super kid’s sermon, and classes for thge children. AND we have coffee hour after each service Sunday mornings.
BE THERE!


Hurry, Hurry!
The coffee hour list is almost all filled in. There are still a few openings. Thanks to all who have volunteered their time and talents for this work.


Take a Hike! Nobody remmebers exactly what CROP stands for, but hundreds of people will take a hike on Sunday May 7th this year, all to help feed the hungry. You’re very welcome to join them. Any maybe someone will tell you what CROP stands for!
See Priscilla for more info.


The Myron Street Farm. There’a a FARM on Myron Street, just a few blocks up from the church. You bet. Sour and sweet cherries, elderberries, currants, quince, pears, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are some of the stuff growing there, with varying degrees of success. BUT the jam comin from the farm is definitely a success. Jam to benefit SICM. Nobody knows what that stands for either!
Jams - Coming soon to YOU!

Contact the Editor if you would like to place an ad in the next Messenger

This weeks’ Quiz
If you can tell me exactly what each of the following anarcrynums stands for, there will be a special prize for you!
ECW
OTH
RSV
SICM
CROP
TEC

February, 2017

DRAFT calendar, subject to change.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Th Fri

Sat

      1
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
2
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Seminar
3
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
4
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts

5
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
Super Bowl Subs!
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
Super Bowl Subs!
12:00 Inquirer's class

6
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

7
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar



8
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
9
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Seminar



7:30 Choir
10
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
11
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
12
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
12:00 Inquirer's class
13
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer


7:30 Vestry
14
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar



7:00 Book Club
15
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
16
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Seminar




7:30 Choir
17
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
18
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
19
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
Bell Choir Performs
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
12:00 Inquirer's class
20
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Parish Council
21
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
22
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
23
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Seminar



7:30 Choir
24
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
25
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
26
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
12:00 Inquirer's class
27
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Parish Council
28 Shrove Tuesday
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar

5:00 Pancakes

March 1
Ash Wednesday

Holy Communion & Ashes at 7:00am, 12:00 noon and 7:30pm.

     

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Church Staff
The Rev. Dr. James R. McDonald, Rector, 
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, Jim Syta
Jr. Warden, Claudia Jakubowski
Clerk: to be appinted
Treasurer: Denise Crates

Vestry Class of 2017
Joanne Frank
Peter Nelson
Elissa Prout

Vestry  Class of 2018
Linda Emaelaf
Liz Varno
Mary Alexander

Vestry Class of 2019
Stephanie Grimason
Mary Ann Harrington
Daniel Ruscitto

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.