The Messenger
April, 2017


Holy Week Schedule

Palm Sunday – April 9, 2017
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am & 10:15 am Procession
with Palms & Eucharist

Holy Monday - April 10, 2017
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:00 noon Eucharist

Holy Tuesday - April 11, 2017
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:00 noon Eucharist

Holy Wednesday - April 12, 2017
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:00 noon Eucharist

Maundy Thursday - April 13, 2017
9:00 am Morning Prayer
7:30 pm Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar
9:00 pm Prayer Vigil through the night

Good Friday - April 14, 2017
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
5:00pm Children’s Lenten Program
7:30 pm Lessons & Prayers

Easter Vigil –April 15, 2017
9:00 am Morning Prayer
7:30 pm Lighting of the first fire
Nine lessons and musical responses
Baptism
Eucharist
9:00pm Wine and Cheese Reception  

Easter Day – April 16, 2017
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am Choral Eucharist
10:15 am Choral Eucharist
7:00 pm Eucharist

Dear Friends in Christ,

We say it again:  Easter is the high point of the Christian year.  Jesus went through the depths to get to that climactic Sunday, and during Lent, we have followed in our minds and hearts that harrowing way.  Then, out of agony, triumph.  This is the crux of Christianity.

Christmas is another summit in the church year.  We don't encourage competition among our celebrations!  But in the Bible, two gospels give lovely accounts of the Birth;  all four concentrate on the Death and its Sequel.  The earliest gospel, Mark, begins with Jesus' baptism, and then gives half of the text to the Passion and the Resurrection.  But page counting doesn't really count.  What is important is that Christmas derives its deepest significance from Easter.  The precious bundle in the manger is worshipped because it is bound for the empty tomb.  In orchestral terms, Christmas is the anacrusis, the conductor's first upbeat which focuses the player's attention, and Easter is the downbeat when the major theme is sounded.

We are talking in all of this of Easter‑in‑particular.  Easter‑in‑ general surrounds us, and who can carp at marshmallow bunnies and chromatic eggs and fantasy hats?  Who can complain that many celebrate Easter (especially in these wintery parts!) as the vernal rite, rejoicing in jonquils and tulips and birdsong and SPRING.  That is Easter‑in‑general, and its affirmations are natural.

But Easter‑in‑particular focuses on Jesus Christ as the Risen Lord.  However you interpret that, it is a specific instance, a revelation of God's will, God's dependability, God's care, God's community.  Without Easter‑in‑particular, Easter‑in‑general could turn grim: each spring you enjoy, leaves one less for you!  But thanks to the Resurrection, everlasting life unshadows our winsome joys.  God did it!  God can do it again!
James+


Be The Gardener of My Soul

Spirit of the Living God, be the Gardener of my soul.  For so long I have been
waiting, silent and still – experiencing a winter of the soul.  But now, in the strong
name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask:

Clear away the dead growth of the past,
Break up the hard clods of custom and routine,
Stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge,
Bury deep in my soul the implanted Word,
Cultivate and water and tend my heart,
Until new life buds and opens and flowers.   Amen.

Prayers from the Heart  - Richard J. Foster
Dennie + , Spirituality Committee


Holy Week: Make this the beginning of your Easter

Palm Sunday –April 9th

On Palm Sunday, April 9th, we enter the most significant eight days in the Church’s calendar.  It is of the greatest importance that we participate in the experiences described in the church calendar, because living through them, walking the way Christ walked, we uncover the core of Christian belief and living.

We invite all members and friends of St. Stephen’s to be present at these services.  If you are infirm, please call the office to arrange for communion to be brought to you at home by one of the clergy.

Maundy Thursday – April 13th  Footwashing

FOOT WASHING At the 7:30 p.m. Eucharist we would like  to have volunteers from the congregation for  foot washing by the clergy.  If you would  like to be one of these representatives of the  congregation, please sign up at the parish shop.

PRAYER WATCH There is a sign-up sheet on the shop counter for the Maundy Thursday Vigil.  It is suggested that two or more persons sign up for each one hour segment.

Good Friday – April 14th   

We remember in a unique way the witness that Jesus gave to us on the cross.  Through his obedience and through his suffering -- through the fateful steps he took each day of Holy Week -- he showed the world just how much God loves us.  Jesus' entire life was a witness to that love and the cross continues to be a sign of that reality. In the midst of religious tensions, historic animosities and political unrest, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East stands witness to the people of our Lord's homeland, proclaiming and serving the same message that Jesus brought to that land almost 2,000 years ago. On Good Friday we stand with the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem as it witnesses to the love of God in a strife-filled part of the world through our prayers and financial support. Please be generous in your support of the continuing ministry of our sisters and brothers in the Middle East. 

Easter Vigil to begin the Easter celebrativigilon
7:30 P.M. Saturday, April15th

This service is truly the central service of the church year. It moves from darkness to light, from the Old Covenant to the New, from death to life. After beginning in darkness, the New Light of Christ is brought into the church. Scripture readings sketch the history of God’s mighty acts. Baptism is celebrated. Then, accompanied by the ringing of bells, the candles are lighted and “Glory be to God” is sung. A joyful Celebration of Holy Eucharist welcomes the season of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Note: Worshipers are encouraged to bring bells to ring at the singing of the “Glory to God.” It really is a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Flowering of the CrossFlowering the Cross

All children of St. Stephen’s are invited to participate in our annual Flowering of the Cross on Easter Sunday (April 16th).  Families are asked to provide a flower or two for the cross.  Please bring them when you come to 10:15 service on Easter.

Children (parents are welcome, too) will follow the choir and clergy down the aisle during the processional hymn.  The cross will be in front of the chancel steps, and volunteers will be ready to assist the children in placing the flowers on the cross.  The “flowered” cross will remain in the church until just after the sermon.  At that point, ushers will take the cross out to the front lawn as a symbol of our rejoicing.

Education for Youth

Easter Week schedule:

April 9: Palm Sunday -- Classes as normally scheduled
April 14: Good Friday –5pm Kids’ Program: A Chocolate Seder
April 16: Easter Sunday – Flowering of the Cross 10:15 – NO instruction, but Nursery is open.

Invitations will be mailed early in April to children in the Holy Spirit Kids’ class inviting them to participate in this year’s Good Friday program which is scheduled from 5-7pm and will consist of a light supper, a special kids’ version of the Jewish Passover Seder, and a choice of art stations.

While the program is mainly crafted with early elementary students in mind, it is by no means limited to them. Older and younger siblings, friends, relatives and members of the congregation who’d like to share supper are more than welcome to join us. Please email me if you would like to participate. Food Bank Group

On a past-tense note, a huge thank you to all who brought extra supplies during our joint two-week drive with ECW for things not purchasable with Food Stamps. We filled two large baskets to overflowing. These kinds of products are in constant demand at the SICM Food Pantry and are much appreciated.

Thank you, also, to the families who participated in the recent work day at Regional Food Bank. We learned a lot about corporate donors and had fun sorting returns donated by Wal-Mart – all manner of household items and over-the-counter medical supplies. It is truly amazing what the public buys and returns!  Our last work day for the school year is scheduled for Saturday, May 6 from 1-3pm.

Easter Blessings…
Miranda Rand, Education Director
mirandarand411@gmail.com
518-229-5105 cell (text or voice mail)

Education for Adults

Wednesday Evening Bible Study: LORD, TEACH US TO PRAYSix Studies on Spirituality and the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord's Prayer is among the greatest treasures of faith.  This study explores the key phrases of the Lord's Prayer as they lead us to greater spirituality and growth.

April 5 - "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"   Willing Obedience
April 12 – “Give us this day our daily bread."   Feeding Ourselves
April 26 - "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."   Writing It Off
May 3 - "And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one."  Crying for Help

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:  Living The Questions

By living the questions — and simply paying attention — 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.

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

Tuesday Morning Seminar:  A History of Christian Experience in the Modern Age

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED:  What makes Catholics think differently from Protestants? How do different Christian denominations view the role of free will in salvation? Why did the Eastern Orthodox Church split off from the West? Are the divisions within Christian faith and worship inevitable or can they be mended in the future?
This course is more of a spiritual journey than an academic endeavor.  As you take this journey through the development of Christian experience in the modern age, you will meet the many faithful who have committed themselves to the teachings of Jesus and encountered the diverse ways faith shaped their lives.

April 4             Perfection, Holiness, and Pentecostalism 
April 11           Deism and Liberal Protestantism
April 25          Neo-Orthodoxy—From Kierkegaard to Barth & Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism
May 2             Protestantism after Modernity

Classes are held on Tuesday Mornings from 10:30 – noon  in the Conference Room.

Vestry News, First Quarter, 2017
Dan Ruscitto

Note: This will be q quarterly feature of the Messenger to keep you informed about the doings of the vestry. Their meetings are usually on the senond Monday at 7:30P.M. Visitors are welcome. A special thanks to Dan for doing this.

The first vestry meeting with the new Junior Warden (Claudia Jakubowski) and class of 2019 members (Stephanie Grimason, Mary Ann Harrington, and Dan Ruscitto) began with the Treasurer’s report by Denise Crates: both income and spending were on track at the end of January.

Father James reported that he had met with a contractor (Brennan Remodeling) to review maintenance needs for church facilities. Additional items to consider include tuning up the organ, and fixing the rug and floor around the altar. James emphasized that these items will be a part of a 3- or 4-year project. He would like to leave the church in good condition when he retires in 5-6 years.

Jim Syta brought up two items in the Warden’s Report: 1) the Buildings Committee and Over-the-Hill Gang need to figure out a way to hide views of the bathrooms in the Nave extension now that seating has been rearranged; and 2) a request for more transparent communication from the vestry to members of the parish. Dan volunteered to write articles summarizing vestry meeting minutes for the Messenger. Jim and Claudia decided to work together on quarterly reports and the vestry decided to reinstate the vestry bulletin board.

The following Standing Committees for 2017 were confirmed by the vestry:

Finance Bill Frank (cp), Denise Crates (treas), Liz Varno, Austin Spang, Dan Ruscitto, Linda Emaelaf
Endowment Jack Feyrer (cp), Marti Spang (treas), Bill Frank, Sal Belardo, Budd Mazurek, Austin Spang
Personnel Linda Emaelaf (cp), Stephanie Grimason, Stan Jakubowski, Carole Merril-Mazurek, Joanne Frank
Nominating Claudia Jakubowski (cp), Linda Emaelaf, Liz Varno, Mary Alexander
Buildings Stan Jakubowski (cp), Jerry Perregaux, Sal Belardo, Keith Nelson, Brian Riordon, Gillian Woodcock, Peter Nelson
Communications Chris Jones (cp), Tracy Ormsbee, Peter Nelson, Elissa Prout, Richey Woodzell.
First Friends Kate Riordon (cp), Denise Crates, Joe Palko, Mary Alexander, Laura Bynon (staff), Chriss Quinn (staff)

March Notes:

The Treasurer’s report indicated that both income and spending (mostly snow removal) were higher than expected at the end of February, but the budget should be on track.

Father James reported that the hot water heater in the rectory basement had been replaced. The Parochial report was finalized and would be sent to the diocese. He also emphasized that the diocese requires elected delegates for the Diocesan Convention. Peter Nelson nominated Priscilla Sprague as the St. Stephen’s delegate and the motion was carried. The Brennan Remodeling quote for church facilities was discussed. The Over-the-Hill Gang has been notified regarding the list of remodeling/maintenance issues identified and have been asked to prioritize what they can do. Susan Lohnas has taken the lead on getting a quote for the organ and Fr. James is getting a quote for rebinding the Persian rug at the altar. The vestry decided that the goal should be to move toward preventative maintenance of the facilities in order.

Outreach

The Charity and Outreach Committee would like to thank the congregation for your generosity and support as we kicked off our Lenten initiative to collect funds for Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD).  We have collected over $600 so far and there are still a few Sundays to go.  We will continue to collect funds through Easter Sunday to purchase farm animals and training for a village in one of the 40 countries supported by ERD.

On Palm Sunday we will have a special procession of the animals by the children of the congregation at the 10:15AM service.  The children who would like to participate are asked to meet Stephanie Grimason near The Shop counter at 10:05 A.M.  The children will carry up small animals and build the farm representing the farm we are building as a congregation.

Find ERD at http://www.episcopalrelief.org/

Book ReviewBook jacket

Growing God:  A Guide for Spiritual Gardeners by Kerry Walters April is the month when many of us move outdoors to tend our gardens.   Our gardening efforts follow a seasonal pattern each year.  After looking through seed catalogues and planning our garden plots in the winter, we till the soil and plant in the spring, looking forward to summer’s growth and a bountiful fall harvest.  In our church library recently I discovered this small book of tips on spiritual gardening, appropriate anytime. Describing the Kingdom of God as a secret garden, the author begins with the parable of the sower, in which Jesus describes the types of soil on which the seed of God falls.   “…His words are of utmost importance, for in this little parable he did three things.  He reminded us of the secret garden, the Kingdom of God forever seeded away in our hearts.  He hinted at how to find the garden.  And in telling about the good seed that falls on all the earth, he sprinkled seeds of his own, seeds that will grow into an unimaginably rich harvest if we but cultivate them with persevering trust and magnanimity.” (p. 6) For those of us familiar with the challenges of growing plants, we can find insights into breaking ground, surviving drought, fertilizing and pruning, all leading to the growth of an enchanted garden:  our full humanity and the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. I found this book to be a small treasure.  The first step in growing good seed is preparing the soil; we begin this by listening.  For me this is a good reminder, as I frequently take on a task without paying close enough attention, either to God or to those around me.  And as I go through the spiritual “dry” times that come to all of us, I find it so tempting to abandon the waiting and try a new fix-all remedy, rather than being patient and sending my roots deeper.  Comparing spiritual growth with the slow maturation of a garden helps me to nurture growth with God. This is such a wonderful invitation:  to invite God into our lives daily, working toward that garden that is home for God and us. Richey Woodzell
The Splendor of Beauty - Presented by The Hudson-Mohawk Chorale
Sunday, April 30, 3:00 PM, St. Georege'sEpiscopal Church, Clifton Park
Two members of St. Stephen's are in the chorus. I have a few tickets, $16.00 ($20.00 at the door)
Chris Jones

FABRICATORS and YARNERS of St. Stephen’s Church

(a.k.a. Quilting, etc. Group)Quilters

We meet Saturday mornings, 9-11, in the parish hall, and welcome anyone who would like to spend time with others while sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidering, or doing any other sort of handiwork.  Come when you can!  Questions?  See Jean Versocki.

After completing the Lenten stoles for Father James and Deacon Pat, we have kept our scissors sharp and our needles threaded while piecing a full-size quilt, which is nearly assembled.  In order to raise money to purchase fabric for next year’s special project, we plan to raffle off this “blue star” quilt when it is finished.   Watch for more information in next month’s Messenger!

stole for James
The "Quilters" group made stoles for James and Pat. Here is the presentation of Fr. James' stole.
Stoles
Here are the new stoles photographed before the Sunday service. Purple is the color for Lent.

Family night

Please join us on Friday, April 7th 6 to 8 P.M. for a fun evening for the whole family! Pizza will be provided, please feel free to bring a side to share. We will be having an egg hunt and fun crafts to make.

If you have any questions feel free to email
Stephanie Grimason- sgrimason@hotmail.com
.


SICM News

This year SICM will be celebrating 50 years of outreach to people in need. Watch this space for news of special events.

We would like to start collecting new or gently used books to give to the kids we serve at Jerry Burrell during our week of Summer Lunch.  If you are interested in helping us there is a basket near the Food Pantry basket.

Theresa and Marti

Find SICM at http://sicm.us/

April Calendar

Subject to change - See the Sunday bulletin, the Weekly Letter, and announcements in church on Sunday.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Th Fri

Sat

   

 



  1
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
2 Lent 5
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
5:00 Soup/Study
3
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
4
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar



5
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Prayer study: The Lord's Prayer
6
9:00 Morning Prayer




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

6:00-8:00, Family Night
8
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts

HOLY WEEK

9 Palm Sunday
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Eucharist of the Palms
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Eucharist of the Palms
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
10
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

Noon: Eucharist

7:30 Vestry
11
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar



Noon: Eucharist

7:00 Book Club
12
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer


Noon: Eucharist

7:30 Bells
7:30 Prayer study: The Lord's Prayer

13 Maundy Thursday
9:00 Morning Prayer




7:30 Communion; Foot Washing, Vigil
14 Good Friday
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
12:00: Stations of the Cross

5:00 Kids' Progran
7:30 Good Friday Prayers
15
9:00 Morning Prayer





7:30 Great Easter Vigil; Reception
16 Easter Sunday
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
7:00 pm Eucharist
17
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer

18
9:00 Morning Prayer

19
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

20
9:00 Morning Prayer




7:30 Choir
21
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
22
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
23 Easter 2
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
24
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Parish Council
25
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar


26
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Prayer study: The Lord's Prayer
27
9:00 Morning Prayer
28
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
29
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
23 Easter 3
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
           

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 appointed
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.