The Messenger

November 1996

From the Rector.....

Dear Friends,

When Howard Hughes, the multi-billionaire, died, the question in most minds was, How much did he leave in his estate?'

One answer should be immediately obvious: He left it all.

But there has been a story going around of a rather parsimonious man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and who was determined to prove wrong the saying, "You can't take it with you."

After much thought and consideration, the old penny-pincher finally figured out how to take at least some of his money with him when he died. He instructed his wife to go to the bank and withdraw enough money to fill two pillow cases. He then directed her to take the bags of money to the attic and leave them directly above his bed. His plan: When he passed away, he would reach out and grab the bags on his way to heaven.

Several weeks after the funeral, the deceased lawyer's wife, up in the attic cleaning, came upon the two forgotten pillow cases stuffed with cash.

"Oh, that darned old fool," she exclaimed. "I knew he should have had me put the money in the basement."

Certain it is: all of us will some day leave behind all of our worldly possessions - no matter where we leave them. The question is: where do we want to leave our possessions.

In 1970 the vestry of Saint Stephen's established an endowment fund to ensure the long term viability of the parish. For over 25 years many faithful people have left some of their possessions to the church through that fund. In this way they were assured that part of their material assets would continue to work for the perpetuation of the Body of Christ here on earth. They believed in and supported the church during their lifetime. and they wanted it to prosper and grow and carry the gospel to succeeding generations.

Recently the vestry and the endowment committee closely examined the fund. They agreed that the current balance in St. Stephen's endowment fund could not ensure the continuing viability of the parish's physical plant. Therefore, they developed a strategy by which the fund would grow through donations and earnings until it is worth one-half of the replacement cost of the parish's property. At this time that goal would be one and a half million dollars. Currently the fund is a little less than 1/6th that! We have a way to go.

Of course, a church that fully understands its responsibility for spreading the gospel and attracting others to the church, will never have enough money for its work. There can never be enough to implement properly Saint Stephen's ministry and mission to the world - any more than there can be a limit on how much we should give to further the advancement of God's kingdom.

The old adage is true: "You can't take it with you." For the future of our congregation, please remember Saint Stephen's in your will.

...................................................................James+

ALL SAINT'S DAY

All Saint's Day is one of the seven principal feasts of the church. This day is a celebration of Christ in His whole mystical body. We are reminded that the saints still support us by their witness and example and surround us with their love and prayers. All Saint's Day is the one day set aside each year when our faithful departed are remembered.

If you would like to have a particular person remembered by name, it is not too late. Please call the parish office as soon as you receive this newsletter.

We will remember them on Friday, November 1st at a joint Episcopal Eucharist, 7:30 pm at St. Paul's Church, Schenectady and on Sunday, November 3rd at the 8 & 10:15 Eucharists. The later service will include first communion for some of our young people and two baptisms!

The Woman Behind Thanksgiving Day

Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale, for 40 years the editor of "Godey's Lady's Book," the mother of all magazines for women, was responsible for our observance of Thanksgiving Day.

In 1846 Mrs. Hale, a widow with five children, began her campaign to have Thanksgiving Day established as a national holiday. Some individual states listened to her and acted, but the Federal Government ignored her pleas for 17 years.

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln heeded Mrs. Hale, and the result was the first Thanksgiving proclamation by a president since George Washington. (Mrs. Hale not only edited a magazine, not only raised children as a single parent, not only was responsible for Thanksgiving's being recognized as a national holiday, she also wrote the poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb!")

INTER-FAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE

This traditional service will be held at Grace Lutheran Church at 7pm, Sunday, November 24th.

The Church recognizes the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday as a holy day for our land, life, and heritage. It finds its roots in observances begun by colonists in Massachusetts and Virginia, a tradition later taken up and extended to the whole of the New American nation by action of the Continental Congress.

Our celebration of Thanksgiving stems from our many blessings of God's good creation. As Children of God we are to live our lives in a spirit of thanksgiving. We are to be faithful stewards of the earth as God's creation, given to us as a sacred trust.

A COLLECT FOR THANKSGIVING

Almighty and gracious Father, we give thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

AMEN.

Also, don't forget the annual

EPISCOPAL THANKSGIVING SERVICE

November 28th Thursday morning at 10 am here at St. Stephen's Church

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.

Guest Teacher will lead a

SCHOOL OF PRAYER

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray...'

Both as confirmed children and as lifelong Christians, we may still say, "Teach us to pray." And rightly so, for prayer is an essential lifeline to God in our discipleship. St. Paul reminds us that "we are to grow up in every way" into Christ. And so all of us need to continue to learn prayer that we may grow up in Christ.

Is there really Someone out there who hears me? How-can I "pray without ceasing"? What do I do when I am distracted, or when I cannot seem to pray for more that five or ten minutes? How do I pray in a busy life? What is prayer without words? --All these questions and more may have caused us to stumble.

The School of Prayer will be held on Sunday mornings, Nov. 10 - Nov. 24 in the Parish Hall.

This course is given by the Rev. Delos Wampler, former director of Barry House and an active retreat leader in the Diocese of Albany and currently an active priest at Saint George's, Schenectady.

EXPLORING THE ANGLICAN ETHOS

This course is intended to introduce prospective members of our parish to the ethos of Anglicanism. It is also a good 'refresher course' in our beliefs for any member of the parish. It is offered to prospective members twice a year, but every three or four years we offer it to the entire congregation on Sunday mornings. This year the course begins on December 1st and will end January 5th.

The study will explore our particular ethos: Anglican traits rooted deeply in the past (200 A.D.) of Britain's relatively pragmatic and moderate peoples. It explores why we Episcopalians do what we do and how our church has been shaped and is being shaped.

The course is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church. Those who wish to join the congregation will be welcomed on January 11th.

How to Perpetuate a Weekly Pledge

$1,000 endowed by will to a trust will equal a pledge of $ 1.20 a week.
$5,000 endowed by will to a trust will equal a pledge of $ 6.00 a week.
$10,000 endowed by will to a trust will equal a pledge of $12.00 a week.
$20,000 endowed by will to a trust will equal a pledge of $ 24.00 a week.

Schenectady Inner City Ministry UPDATE:

SICM SEEKS SPECIAL COLLECTION FROM CONGREGATIONS
Congregations are invited to have a collection for personal care items to be distributed at the special dinner given by Glen Sanders Mansion during the Thanksgiving Season. Those partaking will include guests of various SICM programs, the City Mission, and other service agencies. The dinner is billed as "We Give Thanks, A Random Act of Kindness." The personal care items we seek are such things as: shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, lotions, etc.

INVITATION TO RELIGOUS CONVENING ON WELFARE CHANGES
All are welcome to a special convening to gain accurate and timely information on changes in the federal laws and the options available to New York State. It will be Sunday, November 10 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 85 Chestnut St. in Albany. It is sponsored by Christians United in Mission, SICM, and many others from a wide religious community. Advance registration is encouraged; contact Jim Murphy at 346-6848.

VOLUNTEER SOUGHT FOR SAVE AND SHARE
The Save and Share Food Buying Coop, one of the programs of SICM, seeks a volunteer driver on distribution day. This person would deliver food shares to shut-ins. Distribution is usually the last Friday of the month in the afternoon. For information, contact Donna Durkee at 346-5207.

BRIEF SICM PROGRAM UPDATES

Food Program: Laurie Bacheldor is providing interim staffing for Pat Obrecht while she is out for surgery. Food Task Force members and others are pitching in until Pat returns.

Bethesda House: John Davis in starting a Health Day with guests and seeks donations of personal care items. Bethesda House will share in any extras given for the Thanksgiving meal.

Darnien Center: A ramp was built over the summer thanks in large measure to volunteers from St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and support from Zion Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Brotherhood, the host church, Sacred Heart/St. Columba's, and others.

SICM Offices: The porch is repaired and there now is a new ramp on the side for coming into SICM's offices. The side door is now the main door.