Welcome to St. Stephen's

Lector Schedule


December 3, 2023

Altar Guild: M. Alexander 

Advent candle lighting: M. Gittinger, W. Balz

Ushers: M. Humphrey, D. May

Lector:  J. Artieda                        Intercessor: R. Basantes

Closing:  J. Brady-Close

Assisting: A. de Kanel, G. Woodzell

Coffee Hour: S. & J. Palko

Advent begins today and marks the beginning of the new liturgical year. The name of the four-Sunday season originates from the Latin word adventus, meaning “to approach.” During Advent, we joyfully await the coming of Jesus, a celebration commemorated on the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, also known as Christmas Day. The season is full of expectation and preparation, not only for Christ’s incarnation, but also for his promised “second coming” in majesty.

In keeping with the restraint characteristic of Advent, the Gloria in excelsis (or a song of praise) is not sung in this season and is replaced by the Trisagion (Holy God), an ancient hymn from the Orthodox liturgy.

The choral anthem O Come, Messiah King, uses minor sounds to convey an air of mystery. The Advent hymn The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns is woven into the middle section. The piece ends quietly, with anticipation. The violin obbligato adds emotion to this beautiful piece.

The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Wm Versocki by Jean and Judy Versocki.

TODAY A Conversation about Music in Advent. Susan and Doug Lohnas will give an overview of how they select music for our services and reflect on the wonderful resources we have for music in Advent. Grab a beverage and snack after our 9:30 a.m. service and then join us in the Music Room.

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT BUILDING SECURITY: In order to ensure the safety of our worshipping community and responding to expressed concerns, only the main church door and the door to the parking lot will be unlocked on Sundays. The parking lot door (which is also the entrance for those with wheelchairs) will be locked at 9:45 a.m., leaving only the main door to the church open. The church phone (518) 346-6241 may be called in the event help is needed to enter after that time.

Winter Clothes for City Mission: Thank you for all the donations of clothing! We delivered them to the City Mission. If you still have clothes to donate, we will deliver whatever else we collect in a couple of weeks.

Coffee Hour: There is a new sign-up sheet in the back of the church for the next several weeks of Coffee Hours. Please take a minute to sign up to host on a Sunday. If you have never done it before, there are easy-to-follow instructions, and either Linda or Carole would be happy to “show you the ropes.” I think we will all agree that the fellowship provided by Coffee Hour is an important part of our parish community.

Christmas Greens and Flowers I would like to contribute to the Christmas Greens and Flowers: In loving memory of                       -or-In honor of                                       Name                                Amount of Donation                    Please return to the office by December 17th

Parish Directory: Please be in touch with Vicki Hoshko (vshsox@yahoo.com) if you have updates or were inadvertently omitted from either the photos or information section.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023 the Dining for Dollars committee is sponsoring the 18th annual Dining for Dollars fundraiser. This year we are supporting: The MoonCatcher Project,providing menstrual management kits to girls living in poverty throughout the world, to help them stay in school; and Schenectady Street Soldiers, supporting those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Visit https://www.mooncatcher.org/diningfordollars to find out about Dining for Dollars and to order a lasagna dinner. Order by 6 p.m. on December 8th. Questions?  518-859-5114 / MoonCatcherProject@gmail.com.

SiCM Pantry – Please contribute pet food during the month of December.

St. Stephen’s seeks Office Manager, part-time 15-hour/week position. For info or application: Mtr. Jane or Linda Emaelaf.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITES: We have need for vestry members, ushers/greeters, hospitality hosts for coffee hour and special events, buildings and grounds maintenance, communications (to help with Facebook and social media and redesign/maintenance of our web site), office assistance with mailings, acolytes, and people to secure the building at the end of services. Please pray about whether you can extend and deepen your involvement in the life and witness of our parish. All of our committees/ministries welcome new members, as does our choir. For information, please speak with Mtr. Jane or one of our wardens. If you are interested in singing with the choir, please speak with Doug Lohnas.

THANK YOU! We are so very grateful to all those who have submitted pledges of financial support for 2024. Knowing what commitments we can count on is essential for developing our budget and planning. (Of course, pledges can be submitted at any time.)

Christmas Greens and Flowers

I would like to contribute to the Christmas Greens and Flowers:

In loving memory of                                                        


In honor of                                                                       

Name                                Amount of Donation              

Please return to the office by December 17th


Monday, 12/4, 7 p.m. Finance Committee

Sunday, 12/10, Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights and letter-writing campaign (organized by Amnesty International). Grab a snack and beverage after our 9:30 a.m. service and join us in the vestry room.

Monday, 12/11, 7 p.m. Vestry

Tuesday, 12/12, 1 p.m., Book Club. Read any biography or memoir and don’t tell us who you read about! Just write a paragraph so we can guess who the book is about. If you just wanted to join us this one time because you have read about an interesting person, please feel free to come. Info: Vicki Hoshko.

Thursday, 12/14, 7 p.m., Choir Rehearsal

Saturday, 12/16, 3-4 p.m., Christmas at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, 1270 Belmont Ave., Schenectady. We will bring Christmas cheer to patients and staff in the lobby. Carol booklets will be provided. There will be optional refreshments followed by a pot-luck supper in Begley Hall (parish hall) immediately following, if you would like to stay. (You can drop off your contributions to the meal before singing; Begley Hall will be open 2:30-2:50 p.m.) If you are interested, please be in touch with Richey Woodzell no later than Thursday, 12/14 (518-852-6796, erwoodzell@gmail.com).

Wednesday, 12/20, 7 p.m., Blue Christmas Service

Sunday, 12/24, Christmas Eve Services, 4:30 p.m. (carols beginning at 4:15 p.m.) and 7:30 p.m. (carols beginning at 7:15 p.m.). (Please note change in times from those originally announced.)

Monday, 12/25, 9:30 a.m. Christmas Day Service

 First Sunday of Advent

The Collect and Scripture Readings for the Advent 1, Year B


Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Isaiah 64:1-9

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence–

as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil–

to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.

You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.

But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;

for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter; 
we are all the work of your hand.

Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity forever. 
Now consider, we are all your people.

Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18

1      Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.

2      In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
stir up your strength and come to help us.

3      Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

4      O Lord God of hosts, *
how long will you be angered
despite the prayers of your people?

5      You have fed them with the bread of tears; *
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.

6      You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

7      Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

16    Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, *
the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.

17    And so will we never turn away from you; *
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.

18    Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.


1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind– just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Mark 13:24-37

Jesus said, “In those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Weekly Email Updates

Church office at 1229 Baker Ave, Schenectady, NY 12309

Church address: 1935 The Plaza, Schenectady, NY 12309

Office phone: 518-346-6241; Office email: Office@St-Stephens.church

At this time we have an in-person 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning service. This service is also live streamed on our Facebook page most Sundays.

Online worship services – Washington Cathedral (cathedral.org)

We also offer Morning Prayer via zoom, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. Contact the Parish Office for the link.

Our mission is to glorify God by reaching out to others, universally, with hands that serve, hearts and minds that welcome, and voices that carry the good news of God’s redeeming love to all. We embrace diversity by celebrating the worth, dignity, and gifts of every person as a child of God. We seek to expand our Christian community and share God’s love more widely.

All are welcome!

Come and see!