The Messenger

November 1997

From the Rector.....

Dear Friends,

We moderns recognize especially silver, gold, and diamond jubilees - twenty-fifth, and sixtieth or seventy-fifth anniversaries. Among the Israelites, the word "jubilee" had a highly specific meaning. Every fiftieth year was a jubilee, or jubilee year, a year of restoration and emancipation. Farmers' fields were to be left uncultivated, slaves were to be set free, and houses that had been sold since the previous jubilee were to revert to their original owners or to the heirs of those owners. The sounding of a ram's horn heralded the start of a jubilee.

This November marks the beginning of our "Jubilee Year". We have been planning for the special activities with meetings and with much prayer. On November 16th we will begin the celebration with a Eucharist of Dedication - dedicating our new Chapel of the Resurrection, our handbells, our needlepoint cushions, and our newest communion altar ware. Other special activities such as special lectures and concerts will be announced. As we begin our Jubilee year, I would like to say something about the theology behind the celebration.

In the sacristy hangs a certificate of the consecration of our church building. It reads in part: "And we do hereby pronounce and declare, that the City of Schenectady and the State of New York, is Consecrated and thereby separated henceforth from all unhallowed, worldly, and common Uses, and dedicated to the Worship and Service of Almighty God, for reading and preaching His holy Word, for celebrating His holy Sacraments, for offering to His glorious Majesty the Sacrifices of Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving, for blessing His People in His Name, and for all other Holy Offices of His Church."

That certificate tells us the most important things about this building. First that 50 years ago, a group of people made an offering of this building and dedicated it to the worship and service of God. Second that God accepted that gift and God will not let go even forever. Who among us has not felt a power moving in this place which is greater than any one of us.

Your faithfulness, generosity, prayer and hard work these last eight years have renewed the gift which is Saint Stephen's Church. And it is fair to say that God's hand has been in the guiding of the renewal of this Church. But God wants more. Yes more. God wants you.

At our baptism, each of us was consecrated, given to God. We who in the Eucharist 'offer our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice," have also been dedicated to the worship and service of Almighty God. And God will not let go of us forever. We have renewed the gift of God's building. God wants also the renewal of the gift that is us. To this end, we embark on the Jubilee Year.

During the next year we will rededicate this building. We will offer it renewed and revitalized to God who already has hold of it. Before that could happen, we have had to examine foundations, shore up weak spots, reinforce or rebuild the worn parts. During the next year we will also have the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to God's worship and service. The many programs of the Jubilee Year are meant to be opportunities to help us celebrate this joyous renewal. They are also meant to be a way for each of us the reexamine the foundations, shore up the weak spots, reinforce or rebuild the worn parts of our faith.

God has hold of us, and God will not let go. The Jubilee Year is our opportunity to rededicate ourselves to God's worship and service, even as we rededicate our parish church. A rededicated church. . . a rededicated people.

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

SUNDAY MORNING EDUCATION FOR ADULTS

THE SPIRITUALITY OF WORK

How do we carry the lessons and truths of Sunday into the workday world of Monday through Friday? For Christians interested in bringing spiritual values into the workplace, this question presents a creative challenge. In this course you can discover how to bring a true Christian ministry to your daily life by infusing your work world with ethics and competence. Classes will be held on Sunday mornings, Oct. 26 - Nov. 23 in the Parish Hall and will be led by Michael Bishop

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 Saturday, November 1st at a joint Episcopal Eucharist, 10:00 am at Calvary Church, Burnt Hills and on Sunday, November 2nd at the 8 & 10:15 Eucharists at St. Stephen's. The later service will include first communion for some of our young people and two baptisms!

God let me be content with simple things"
The twinkling of a star, a bird that sings,
The roaring of a wave, a sunset view,
A tiny blade of grass, a drop of dew,
Autumn's golden splendor, a flower fair,
The echo of a woods, a baby's stare,
The stillness of the night, a sky of blue,
Memories to treasure, a friend that's true,
A swallow's swift descent, a timid fawn,
A mother's loving care, the sun at dawn.
Simple things? Forgive my human fraility!

Each one a miracle revealing Thee.
(O'Brien)

LOGOS BEGINS!!

The LOGOS program has been up and running for a month after a 2 year respite with a successful comeback. It is a great fortune to have so many talented parisioners to be a part of this program.

LOGOS is a program for school-aged children (1st grade and up) which meets Wednesday afternoons from 4:00 - 7:00pm. First through 4th graders have choir while 5th through 7th graders practice a newly formed bell choir. The classes then move on to Bible Study, and art classes led by Stacey DeBritz. (The children are creating banners depicting their present history and future visions of St. Stephen s for our Celebration in November.) The day is ended with the Dinner Hour and topped off with a non-competitive group game and closing circle.

The entire afternoon is a wonderful opportunity for everyone (both students and adults) to learn from and about each other and to strengthen the ties that bring us together. At this time we have four students from outside our congregation who have found a friendly spot to call their own.

We could always use more adult help. There are many areas of volunteering with this program, with varying degrees of time involvement. Some of these include:

Cook Team: Cook once every 5 weeks, budget provided. Prepare meal for 40 people. 3 people to a team. Arrive at church 5:30, dinner at 6:15. Cook books available for ideas and recipes.

Clean Up: Run dishwasher, clean and put away dinner ware. Arrive at church 6:30. Work every week or on a rotating schedule.

Table Parent: Be present every week and "parent" a dinner table. 5 kids per table, 2 adult "parents". Must be willing to laugh and play games with these very endearing children. Arrive at church at 5:50. WARNING: Some games involve ping pong balls, ice cubes and other wacky props.

Activity helper: Be present every week or on a rotating schedule beginning in January and prepare/assist with indoor sport activities. Arrive at church at 4:30.

If you are interested or intrigued by this program come by some Wednesday and stay for dinner. Dinner guests are always encouraged to attend and asked to donate $2 to help pay for meal costs. Please let us know by the previous Monday if you will be visiting. New students are also always welcome. We look forward to your joining us.

CHURCH SCHOOL NEWS

Meet Our Church School Teachers

First Semester (Sept. to Feb)

Ages 3 - 4: Nan Blaufuss

Pre-School: Lisa Corea & Gaye Mertz

Primary: Kim Chapman & Jeanine Phillips

Intermediate I: Debbie Trawick & Dawn Rizzo

Intermediate II: Susan Feyer & Marysue Andrews

Senior High: George Woodzell & Suzanne Coonradt

Substitutes: Vickie Hoshko Richie Woodzell Education Committee: Fr. James, chair

Resource Room Coordinator: Richie Woodzell

Thanks for accepting this most important ministry!

Church School Themes

Each year our Church School focuses on four general areas of study: Old Testament, New Testament, Sacraments, and the Church.

The themes for this year are:

Pre-School: Shepherd, Jesus as Teacher, Worship Environment, The Church Sings

Primary: Stories of the Bible, Sermon on the Mount, Worship: People in Community, Saints of the Church

Intermediate I: Covenant, Miracles, Baptism, New Life, The Apostle Paul

Intermediate II Covenant, Miracles, Baptism, New Life, The Apostle Paul Ask your student about what s/he is studying!

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.

COME CELEBRATE

SAINT STEPHEN'S

"70 YEARS AS A CONGREGATION 50 YEARS AS A CHURCH"

Sunday, November 16th

3:00 pm. - Festive Eucharist at the church

5:30 pm. - Hors d'Oeuvres and Dinner at the Glen Sander's Mansion - Premiere of the new video on Saint Stephen's: "Remembering our Past, Creating our Future"

INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE

This traditional service will be held at Eastern Parkway Methodist Church at 4pm, Sunday, November 23th.

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.

THANKSGIVING OUTREACH

St. Stephen's will help, as a group, in sorting food items for the Concerns For The Hungry Thanksgiving baskets. This will take place on Saturday, November 22 at the GE IUE Hall on Erie Boulevard ... from 9 am - 4 pm. If you have any questions, please call Vicki Hoshko, 372-7819.

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 27th

Thursday morning at 10 am

here at

St. Stephen's Church

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!")

Jail Ministries

The most unpredictable Pleasures in my life are chance encounters with women who recognize me from my visit,to the Schenectady County Jail. I had such an encounter today. I think if I had ever been in jail I would want to reject any reminder of such a difficult time -- and that would include "the Church lady" - but this young woman. honestly seemed delighted to see me. In fact she approached me before I even recognized her. It was a real lift.

Here!s a brief description of St. Stephen's Jail Mdstry: On Sunday afternoons I spend about an hour and a half visiting the women in the Schenectady Jail. These visits consist of reading the lessons for the day, discussing the sermon or any question that comes up about the lessons, and praying together. The women live on two floors in the old jail, so I make a total of four stops to see them, visiting the right and left side of each floor. Sometimes I donl make it to all four stops, so I try to vary the order each week.

Let me tell you a little about a few of the women who have been in jail recently. (Some names are changed.)

Pat is in and out of the jail a lot. Once she was rearrested within five hours of being released. Every time she returns to the jail she is embarrassed to see me. She is bright and funny and I love to see her - I just wish I could see her somewhere else.

Pat prevailed upon Dee to join in our prayer group about a month ago. Dee has been in jail for about six months, but for the first five she ignored me. Finally she quizzed Pat about what church I represent, and looked over the service bulletins and lessons carefully. Then she said that I didn't seem to be anti-Catholic, and joined our circle. Apparently someone in another church group at the jail had been belittling practices such as saying the Rosary and going to Confession. Dee later asked me a couple of questions that seemed designed to check my orthodoxy. Dee may be in our jail for months yet. Her future is uncertain, and she desperately needs your prayers.

Grace remembered the Christmas cards we gave her when she was in jail a few years ago. She doesn't know if she'll still be in jail at Christime this year.

Kate cried during most of my visit with her last Sunday. Her situation is serious, and it seems to me if she didn't cry sometimes there would be something wrong. I cannot offer her anything other than prayer, hugs, and the assurance that she is loved.

I mentioned Christmas cards above. Each year St. Stephen's donates stamped, unsigned Christmas cards to the women in the Schenectady County Jail. Please consider donating unused cards from last year, or those unsolicited cards from charities, rather than throwing them out. The women really appreciate them - especially the stamps. As always, expect to see cards laid out to be stamped and tied during a coffee hour in early December. Thanks for your support and prayers. Any woman who is interested in this ministry is welcome to join me somt Sunday afternoon to see if it is right for you.

............ Allison de Kanel

The flowers on the altar in November are given to the Glory of God.

2 - All Saints Day Sunday
9 - In memory of Ernest J. Salisbury by Blanche Salisbury.
16 - The loved ones of Betty and Jesse Dipley.
23 - In memory of Porter Dobbins, Jr. by Barbara Dobbins.
In memory of Dawn Schlansker by Ted Schlansker.
30 - In memory of Marilyn Regula by Donald Regula.

GIRL SCOUTS

The YWCA Domestic Violence Program has initiated a Girl Scout troop for young girls whose families have been affected by domestic violence. Many of these families to not have the resources to buy uniforms, sashes, patches or scout books and St. Stephen's service committee is requesting donations of the items. A basket will be available at the back of the church.

Your generosity will enable young women to become part of an organization that offers acceptance and enhances self-esteem as their families struggle to end violence in their homes.

For further information please call: Pauline Holmes, 384-0904 or Carole Merrill-Mazurek, 346-8959.

INTERGENERATIONALS

Plans are underway for a November 2nd and November 30th intergenerational. Our sessions will focus on All Saints' Day and Advent. All parishioners are invited to the parish hall at 9:00 am on these days to participate in these programs. There will be no church school on these mornings.

CHRISTMAS EVE CHOIR INVITATION

Persons interested in singing at the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve service should contact Tim Olsen at 383-6101 for more information.

LIBRARY NEWS

BABETTE'S FEAST - 4 stars

Written by Isak Dinesen
Screenplay written by Gabriel Axel
Directed by Gabriel Axel
This is a tale of two beautiful young girls who grow up in a small Danish village where their father is a minister. One girl passes up love and the other passes up fame so that they can remain in the village. They grow old using religion as a substitute for living life.

They take in a refugee from Paris, Babette, to help them with the cooking and housekeeping. Babette serves the traditional and unexciting meals. She keeps the secret of her past to herself. But one day she wins 10,000 francs in a lottery and decides to spend it all on the simple villagers. She, herself, cooks a magnificent feast. Babette truly is an artist.

This film is about life - unfulfiliment, pleasures and artistic passion. It is a 1987 academy award winner for best foreign language. The language is Danish and French with English subtitles.

I guarantee you will find "Babette's Feast" truly delicious!

............................. Eunice Chouffi

ST. STEPHEN'S MUSIC DIRECTOR TO CONDUCT CONCERTS AT UNION COLLEGE

Dr. Tim Olsen will conduct the Union College orchestra in the premiere of his Trumpet Concerto on Saturday, November 8 at 8:00 pm in Memorial Chapel on the Union campus.

Dr. Olsen will also lead the Union College Jazz Ensemble in concert on Wednesday, November 12 at 8.00 pm in the Reamer Campus Center Auditorium.

REMEMBER OUR VISITORS - PLEASE WEAR YOUR NAME TAG

LITERACY VOLUNTEERS

At this year's annual recognition event for Literacy Volunteer's students and tutors, a Russian student said, "Our 'speechlessness' here was extremely painful but slowly like a picture being developed, new sounds started making words, sentences, the whole music which is called the English language."

Since 1962, Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) has been helping adults to build reading, writing, and English-speaking skills by matching them with trained volunteers on a one-to-one tutoring basis. This program is offered free of charge to any adult motivated to make that difficult first phone call for help to LVA.

Volunteer tutors attend comprehensive and inspirational training sessions, learning skills in teaching: reading, writing and spelling for the Basic Literacy program, or speaking, listening and pronunciation for the English as a Second Language program. No foreign language knowledge is necessary to tutor in ESL. A 6-months commitment is asked of all new tutors and support from the LVA office is always available. As a community service of personal involvement, the program rewards not only the students, but the tutors who often discover unrealized abilities and skills in themselves.
Many of the ESL students are refugees from a variety of countries. One Chinese student, while working at various part-time jobs, managed (with her tutor's help) to get her driver's license, citizenship, and associate degree from SCCC. Her tutor was almost as proud as she was at the naturalization and graduation ceremonies.

Any high school graduate wishing to volunteer, or seek more information, may call LVA Schenectady at 372-9819. There will be an ESL evening and Saturday training series beginning Tuesday, November 18 at the central library. Many students are waiting for tutoring help.

............... Richey Woodzell and Ann Woodham