Scroll down the page for brief descriptions. How would YOU like to participate?
The nursery is available for you to retreat with your young children at any of our services; please do not leave them unattended. One of the after-effects of covid is that we do not consistently have a group to justify engaging a staff member. We would love for this to change.
Sunday school is open to children grades k-6 at this time. Class meets each Sunday, following the school schedule, during the 9:30 service. We also have a community outreach opportunity, generally the first Sunday of each month after the service. During this time we make bagged lunches for Street Soldiers Schenectady to be distributed later in the day to community members in need. This opportunity is open to all church members. Multiple family activities and other volunteer opportunities are also planned for families of all ages throughout the year, including the Christmas or Epiphany Pageant, Flowering of the Cross at Easter, an Easter Egg hunt / party, the CROP walk, movie nights, pumpkin carving, and more.
We have a variety of learning opportunities throughout the year–book discussions, small group discussions with a meal at the Rectory, lectures on topics of special interest, Quiet Days. They will be featured in the weekly announcements and monthly newsletter The Messenger. Of course, participation in the Chancel Choir is a wonderful opportunity not only for singing but also for learning.
Ministries involved in our worship services
Music is an important component of worship at St. Stephen’s and everyone can participate in some way. Congregational singing is the foundation of music ministry. Hymns are chosen to reflect the lectionary, primarily from the 1982 Hymnal and the alternative hymnal Lift Every Voice II.
St. Stephen’s is fortunate to have a 15-rank pipe organ in excellent condition, built in 1981 by the Carey Organ company. In 2018, Rosenberry & Myers Organ builders completed a major upgrade, including a complete rebuild of the console with a digital combination system and new keyboards,
two new ranks of flute pipes, and other repairs. This versatile organ is well suited to the space and effectively supports congregational singing, the choir, and a wide range of organ repertoire.
The Chancel Choir is made up of 8-10 volunteer singers. They rehearse on Thursday evenings and sing anthems on Sundays and for special services except in the summer. The choir sings music from a variety of periods and styles, chosen to best support the lessons and to speak to the diverse tastes
and backgrounds of the congregation. The choir is accompanied by either the Steinway upright piano or the organ.
The Altar Guild prepares the sanctuary for services: the Eucharistic vessels, candles, vestments and flowers. Three teams of two or more people take their turn every third week. Setup is completed prior to each Sunday service, usually on Saturday morning. Flower arrangements are delivered from a local florist unless a member would like to arrange them. The schedule is flexible and the group is supportive. New members are most welcome. Contact persons: Carolyn Morin, Mary Alexander
Two lectors contribute to each service: one offers lessons from the Old Testament and New Testament and leads the Psalm; the other offers the Prayers of the People. Lectors for the 9:30 service are now on a rotating schedule based on availability. New members are welcome after an initial training. Doreen May, Scheduler.
Eucharistic ministers are vested and process with the clergy and sometimes also serve as acolytes. New Eucharistic ministers (formerly called Chalice Bearers) will receive instructions before their names are added to the schedule. Contact: Allison de Kanel
St. Stephen’s Acolyte Guild invites members from the age of nine (or fourth grade) to assist the clergy at the Altar during worship services. Members learn the details of the liturgy, get to know the clergy, and contribute significantly to the worship experience of the congregation. Contact: Allison de Kanel
Ushers serve at the 9:30 service handing out bulletins and assisting people as they come into church. They assist the congregation as they come up the the altar rail during communion. They count those present and straighten up a little after the service. Additional ushers are always welcome. Contact person: Vicki Hoshko
The Worship Committee is involved with the ongoing renewal of our approach to God in worship through discussion and re-evaluation of our liturgy for each season. We seek to assist the priest in her responsibility, both to help the people of Saint Stephen’s grow in their awareness of the deep meanings contained in our liturgy, and to provide for liturgy that engages and renews our faith, strengthens our spirit, and enables us to boldly live out our lives as Christians.
Activities: Committee members meet monthly (third Monday at 7 p.m.) with the Priest-in-Charge to further these aims. Contact person: Allison de Kanel
Daily Morning Prayer
Morning Prayer has been offered daily for many years – in the Chapel before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now virtually. A group gathers every morning by Zoom to recite Morning Prayer. Sometimes there are four or five of us, sometimes eight or nine. Monday through Friday the service starts at 9 a.m. On Saturday we start at 8:30 a.m. and on Sunday at 8 a.m. to accommodate those who will also attend church. Most of us sign in ten or fifteen minutes early, to check-in and catch up with each other. The service, which includes Scripture readings and daily prayers, lasts about twenty minutes.
Daughters of the King, St. Clare Chapter
The Daughters of the King is an Order for women in the Episcopal Church, begun in 1885 at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in New York City. Now there are chapters of the Daughters of the King worldwide. The St. Clare Chapter at St. Stephen’s began on Pentecost Sunday, 2000. We take a lifetime vow to live by a rule of life, which is a spiritual discipline of daily prayer, service and evangelism. Contact: Richey Woodzell
The Prayer Chain is a circle of volunteers who pray for people added to the list on request. Anyone in the Prayer Chain may add names of those who are sick or in need. List changes are e-mailed to members, and the full list is mailed monthly. It is also on the website. Our Prayer Chain contact can add you to the distribution list, or you can share in this Ministry by printing out the website page and using it in your daily devotions. Contact: Suzanne Taylor
Sunday Prayer List
Prayer concerns can also be shared by adding names to the list on the table in the back of the church on Sunday mornings. This list is placed on the prayer desk in the chapel, and those manes are prayed for during the daily service of Morning Prayer, Please add your prayer concerns to this list.
Keeping things running smoothly
St. Stephen’s has an important book other than the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Called simply “The Book,” it contains a list of parishioners who have volunteered to help other members of our church who are temporarily in need of meals, transportation and/or just a visit, as well as a log of services provided. Examples of a time of need are following an operation, recovering from an illness, when a family is blessed with a new member, or when there is a serious family situation.
If you are in need of this kind of help, call the office (518)346-6241) or the “Keeper of the Book” for that week, who is listed in the bulletin. The Keeper will coordinate meals or transportation for the individual or family by calling on the volunteers in the Book. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP. Many of us have had times when knowing that dinner would be provided meant that time and energy could be used for more important tasks. For those who live alone, a ride to the doctor’s or to church could be a great help.
The Vestry is the body within our congregation that, with the clergy, leads the parish.
The Vestry is responsible for personnel management and the stewardship of our money and property. The Vestry has a legal and moral responsibility to manage our congregation’s resources, including operating funds, investments, furnishings, buildings and grounds, and to insure the care of paid and volunteer personnel, so that they receive adequate compensation, benefits, equipment, resources, training, and support.
Wardens and Vestry members are elected by the parish at our annual meeting. Vestry meetings are open to members of the parish. Please drop by sometime and see how the vestry works. The meetings can be found in the church calendar here and you can see who the current members are here.
Our youth with their adult leaders engage in activities that increase learning and serve our broader community. During fall of 2023, they will be involved in our new Season of Creation, organizing prayers for the earth in an outdoor display, serving as ushers for a concert benefiting Schenectady Community Ministries, participating in a movie night and discussion of environmental concerns, and setting up the new teen room for their use in the Parish Hall. Contacts: Dave Crates and Susie Olsen.
In keeping with the mission of St. Stephen’s Congregation, the Outreach Committee seeks to help individuals in need locally, through the SiCM (Schenectady Community Ministries), local schools and Episcopal Relief & Development. Our objective is to put our Christian intentions into action in our community by enlisting the personal effort of our members. Contact: Richey Woodzell
Schenectady Community Ministries
Schenectady Community Ministries (SiCM ) has many areas of service for those in need. Two members of St. Stephen’s serve as delegates to the SiCM assemblies, and some parishioners help regularly at the SiCM food pantry. Parishioners are invited to donate food and/or personal care or cleaning items each week in a basket located in the nave extension. We also support the Summer Lunch Program, and collect items to help in SiCM programs.
Donation Baskets in the nave extension are used for regular donations of food and children’s books for the SiCM pantry, toiletries for Safe House (an emergency shelter that serves homeless and runaway youth ages 16 to 20), and small household goods for Pearl’s Closet (a ministry of SiCM). During the year, other containers appear for special donations to other local agencies. Contact: Richey Woodzell
The annual Schenectady CROP Walk is held in the early afternoon on the first Sunday of May each year. This is a 5 KM (about 3.1 miles) walk to raise money to relieve hunger. Schenectady’s walk is one of the largest in the state, raising over $50,000 each year.
From the Church World Service website: “CROP Hunger Walks help to support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially the grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts of partner agencies in some 80 countries.
Registration forms and information are made available several weeks before the walk. Walkers/runners sign up sponsors who pledge money to CROP, either using this form or an online registration.
Contact: Bethany Schuldt
Episcopal Church Women – ECW
The ECW’s mission is to provide fellowship, spiritual growth, and service opportunities to women 18 and older. The ECW provides an array of opportunities to meet new friends and impact the lives of the disenfranchised within our community, nation and world. The ECW accomplishes these goals by monthly meetings (4th Tuesday of each month at 7 PM, except July and August). The intent of the meetings is to become knowledgeable, motivated and goal centered to impact societal problems near and afar. The group has been involved in assisting third world countries as well as supporting the needs of individuals in our small community. In addition to addressing service needs, the group has bi-yearly luncheons, potluck dinners and an inviting informal atmosphere. We encourage all women at St. Stephen’s to become part of ECW, so that together we can help impact global situations that affect the lives of the needy and work togetherher to transform our little corner of the world.
Contacts: Liz Varno and Richey Woodzell
Street Soldiers Schenectady
Street Soldiers Schenectady serves approximately 100+ people in need each Sunday at 4:00 at Zion Lutheran Church. Each month we make bagged lunches to bring down to Zion to be shared later in the day. We have also on occasion gone to Zion Lutheran to help distribute food and necessities. See our church calendar on our homepage or the families page to see when our next volunteer opportunity will be. Contact: Bethany Schuldt
Episcopal Relief & Development
Episcopal Relief & Development is the compassionate response of The Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world. Hearing God’s call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being, Episcopal Relief and Development serves to bring together the generosity of Episcopalians and others with the needs of the world. It provides relief in times of disaster and promotes sustainable development by identifying and addressing the root causes of suffering. Episcopal Relief and Development cherishes its partnerships within the Anglican Communion, with ecumenical bodies and with others who share a common vision for justice and peace among all people. St. Stephen’s raises money for Episcopal Relief and Development each year during Advent and Lent, as well as in response to natural disasters.
Keeping in touch with each other. Knowing what’s going on!
The Messenger is a monthly newsletter of the parish that is e-mailed to all of the families and friends of St. Stephen’s. It contains articles about church events for the month, Christian education information, and descriptions of various activities and ministries that make St. Stephen’s church a special place.
Many people contribute articles to the Messenger. Of course the clergy write, but members of the congregation also contribute book reviews, articles about new people, articles about what’s going on in the Sunday School or Youth Group, and so forth. If you would like to write something for the Messenger, please do so.
Send contributions for the messenger to firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook and Live Streaming
The St. Stephen’s facebook page can be found here was started in mid-2012 by David Fronk. During the COVID lockdown, we stream our services through Facebook at 9:30am weekly.
Contact person: Dan Schuldt or Bethany Schuldt
The Web Site
Service hours, directions to the church, educational offerings, a description of what happens Sunday mornings, and many photographs provide an introduction to people who are looking for a church home. In addition, the website serves as a resource to the members by providing an on-line picture directory, various schedules, a listing of activities and activity heads, and much more. Contact: Daniel or Bethany Schuldt
The St. Stephen’s Library is a congregational library for the use of all members. Library Committee members seek to select books for our collection which illuminate our Christian faith and Judaic heritage. Prayer and devotional material is chosen to guide the spiritual growth of all ages. Film and audio materials are available to be taken home and can be signed out through the church office. The library is responsible for the display of books for special occasions, i.e. Christmas, Easter etc. The loan period for all material is one month, and all books must be signed out with the circulation card (found in the back of the book) left in the metal box on the shelf. Parishioners are encouraged to donate books given as a memorial, or as a celebration of a special occasion such as a birthday. A bookplate may be inserted if desired. Readers are encouraged to write book reviews for The Messenger and to put suggestions for purchases in the library mail box.
Directions for borrowing and returning books can be found on the bookshelf. Our collection is arranged by the Dewey Decimal System – which is posted. The card catalog, located on top of the mailboxes, can be searched by author, title or subject.
Contact: Jo Adams
Enjoying each other’s company. There are many opportunities to get involved. Contacts: Linda Emaelaf and Carole Merrill-Mazurek.
St. Stephen’s Book Club
The book club meets monthly to discuss a wide variety of books. See the latest messenger for up to date and book selection information. Feel free to come just one meeting or to all of them!
Contact person: Vicki Hoshko
Would you like to get to know other people at St. Stephen’s?
Foyer is a great way to meet old and new friends. We get together in groups of 6 to 8 people for an informal dinner each month. Groups change every month with each couple/person taking a turn at hosting the gathering. While the host provides the main course and venue the other members of the group provide the salad, dessert etc., so it is a collaborative effort and not all the burden falls to one person. Singles as well as couples are invited to join us.
For more information or to sign up please contact Carole Merrill-Mazurek
We look forward to meeting you soon.
The coffee hour is part of our ministry to each other and to visitors. One way to carry out this ministry is for you to be there and strike up conversations with people who may be new (or old!) to the parish. Making connections with people is what it’s all about.
Another way to help is to do a coffee hour now and then. There is a sign-up sheet on our homepage of the website with a set of directions and suggestions. Once you find out where things are in the kitchen, it’s really pretty easy. Most people prepare (bake or buy) goodies, but that’s optional. The essentials are coffee and tea, paper cups and napkins.
Fabricators & Yarners
We started meeting on Saturday mornings in 2016 and ended in the spring of 2020. It began as a lesson in lap quilting and turned into weekly meeting of ladies who wanted to learn quilting, crocheting, and knitting. We are happy that after a hiatus we have resumed our gatherings on Saturday mornings in the parish hall.
During our time together, we have made lap quilts for the VA Hospital in Albany. We made a stole for Father James and 2 stoles for Deacon Pat. Three quilts were made and raffled, in the parish, to earn money for other projects, including the “History Quilt”.
We made the History Quilt for St. Stephen’s, a very special project that was completed and mounted during the parish’s 75th anniversary year. .
Five quilts were made for families needing blankets such as Habitat for Humanity.
We made cloth grocery bags when it was evident that the state was banning plastic bags.
During covid, some made masks for family, friends, neighbors, and institutions.
Probably one of the greatest benefits to this group is the fellowship developed among the twelve people who met and shared their talents.
All are welcome.
Contact: Jean Versocki
The Over The Hill Gang
Do you ever wonder who replaces those burned-out light bulbs in the church, or who sands and varnishes the big oak doors, who does the painting, or who installed the new lighting fixtures in the Sunday school classrooms? All of these jobs, and countless others are done by the Over The Hill Gang, a group of people who meet each Tuesday afternoon to repair and maintain the church buildings and grounds.
We in the Over The Hill Gang don’t sing much, and the only time we hit a high note is when a hammer malfunctions and hits a thumb, but our work has compensations: the satisfaction of a job well done (usually), wonderful camaraderie, lots of jokes, after-work executive sessions at Bruegger’s, and those nifty red sweatshirts.
If you enjoy working with your hands, come join us any Tuesday afternoon. It helps if you have a sense of humor, but that isn’t required.
The Over the Hill Gang meets every Tuesday afternoon to do whatever work is needed to keep the church and grounds in good working order. We do minor electrical and plumbing work, we paint, we do carpentry, we clean gutters, we move topsoil and clear brush – in fact, we do almost anything that permits a group of people to gab and joke while they work. And after we finish solving problems at church, we adjourn to Bruegger’s, where, over hot chocolate and coffee, we solve the problems of the world.
Contact person: George Woodzell