December Newsletter (delivered on Thanksgiving)

December, a journey through Advent and on to Christmas. Will you be going to church? If so, do you expect condemnation and judgment or joy? We should be expecting joy! This December is jam packed with events, from an ordination to our vigil dinner and children’s Christmas presentation, free lunch on Sunday, Christmas decorating and the joy of beginning the forty days of Christmas. Be an active part of the church this December, discover joy, and greet the Lord.

You may view and download a copy of our December 2014 Newsletter right here.

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Happy Labor Day

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Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified, receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before Thee for all estates of men and women who labor and seek justice for workers, that each in their vocation, ministry, and labor may truly and godly serve our society to Thy greater glory and his own sanctification and salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


June 2014 Newsletter – Led by the Spirit, Called by God

June 1st and our newsletter is here on-time. June offers us the opportunity to specially recognize our being filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to respond to those gifts in very special ways (do you have a vocation?). This month we particularly honor our dads and our spiritual fathers. We invite you to stand and recognize the Spirit’s call to faith and to join in growing in faith, worship, and service right here in Schenectady. You may view and download a copy right here — June 2014 Newsletter.

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Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter 2014

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Find and offer men
who love and are wise

“Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty.”

The early Church was experiencing a need. It was growing rapidly; the disciples were increasing in number. That’s not a bad problem to have! The apostles were spreading the word. The twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said,”It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God.” They were devoting themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word, but needed helpers. There are important lessons for our parish and the wider Church in this passage from Acts.

The number of disciples grew because the apostles were devoted to prayer and preaching of the word. Certainly our bishops and clergy pray and devote themselves to preaching the word, but we too must pray as Jesus’ disciples. We honor our call to pray for growth in the Church by collectively raising our voices for that blessing each week and in a special way on the first Sunday of each month. We should do so at home as well, spending even less than a minute in simple prayer – Lord, increase Your flock here and throughout the world.

We also pray for an increase in vocations so that the word may be solemnly proclaimed and taught. But, we too must proclaim and teach the word by living as Jesus asked AND attributing our way of living to Jesus.

Next we see that whenever problems arise we must not turn to ourselves and perpetuate the problem. Rather, we are to go to the apostles and seek their guidance. Then we are to act on their guidance trusting that the Holy Spirit guides the apostles.

The successors to the apostles, the bishops, turn to us and ask that we pick men from among our company who are reputable and filled with the Spirit and wisdom. Those who are to serve the church, spread the word, and baptize are to come from the people – and we are to make sure they have good reputations and are filled with the Spirit. It is significant in our democratic tradition of Church we find and offer men who are reputable and filled with the Spirit and wisdom to serve us. We then present them before the bishops of our Church who like the apostles lay their hands on them in the sacrament of Orders by which they receive the special grace of God and gift of the Holy Spirit.

As we pray and witness, as we trust in the Church, we fulfill our duty to raise men to fulfill these roles. They are among us every week, strong men, reputable, wise, and filled with the Spirit. Their love and wisdom model for us belief in and loyalty to the One who is “the way and the truth and the life.”


Reflection for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Your directions are
…hard to follow.

“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”

We know this story. Having spent the month of June reflecting on and praying for the gift of vocations to the Diaconate and Holy Priesthood we hear Jesus’ words echoing, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.

There are several ways we might reflect on today’s gospel.

There is the obvious – we need to listen for God’s call and go out to do His work. God’s field awaits workers. We have to be the ones who listen to Him and set out to do His work, to bring His good news to those who are unaware of His marvelous promises. We have to be the ones willing to sacrifice what everyone else thinks is “normal” to follow His call to serve our brothers and sisters.

The other part, the less obvious, is the aspect of trust we must exhibit in following Jesus.

The seventy-two who were called to go out and spread the good news might well have been shocked by Jesus’ directions: “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals…” Think how those words might sound to us today: “Carry no cell phone, suitcase, wallet, purse, shoes or sneakers.” Just go out, march down the road to the next suburb, knock on a door, and see if you are welcome. Whatever house you go to, say “Peace to this household.

If we reflect on the picture at the top of today’s bulletin, this is what Jesus asks us to do, to first love. Wish peace upon everyone, in every encounter, at every doorstep. Place our trust that Jesus will fulfill our wish for peace and give that peace to those who accept Him.

Next, live. We cannot just exist. With Jesus in our lives we have purpose and reason – a beautiful existence, a wonderful life, and most importantly a life that will never end.

Finally, lead. Knock on those doors and live life based on trust in Jesus. The cell phone, suitcase, wallet, purse, shoes or sneakers are just things. We have to show what we truly value by our example. We have to show others that our trust is in the One who makes money bags, sacks, and sandals of far lesser importance. Then we have to lead by loving, living, and speaking that trust, helping them to see beyond perceived importance to true importance, true vitality, change we can believe in: true life with Jesus.


Reflection for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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What!?!
…no pillow either?

As they were going along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.”

For the very poor of the East, in ancient times as now, the “bed” was and is, as a rule, the bare ground; and the bedclothes, the gown or “outer garment,” worn during the day. When one was on a journey, or watching his flock by night as a shepherd, such a “bed” was the most natural, and often a stone would serve as a pillow. Over time the use of a mat on the floor as a bed, with or without covering, became more common. At first it was literally laid on the main floor of the home in some convenient place near the wall; but later it was put on an elevation, either a raised part of the floor, or a bedstead, which gave rise to the expression “going up to the bed.” With later development, “beds” came to be built on supports and constructed in different forms. This fact is reflected in the variety of names given the “bed” in Hebrew and related languages. The pillow was likely formed of sheep’s fleece or goat’s skin with a stuffing of cotton.

These beds and pillows are a far cry from what we have today. We can get adjustable beds, harder or softer beds, memory-foam beds and pillows – and beds of all sizes. We likely have a favorite pillow and hopefully we like our beds.

Jesus’ reference to no bed or pillow may have seemed odd to the person pledging to follow Jesus because he knew that preachers like Jesus had no bed. It seems equally odd to us. Do we have to sleep without a pillow for Jesus?

No. Jesus isn’t telling us to grab a rock for a pillow or sleep on the ground. What He is calling for is a life of total commitment. Jesus, who lived the life of an iterant preacher, had no place to lay His head. Rather, He lived and modeled the total commitment we are to have. He was the Shepherd, on His journey for us, following the Father’s will, showing us the way we must go, the life we must lead.

To follow Jesus requires that we make a conscious and consistent effort to live the life He calls us to live. Does it involve sacrifice in the present for His promised eternal reward? Certainly!

Jesus points out that thoughts of material things or present day rewards from following Him lead us “nowhere.” Instead we have to be people following His journey into eternity, life forever. We too must be shepherds, out in the fields and roads day and night living up to Jesus’ teaching, leading others to Him.

When we get in bed and grab our pillows let us commit again and again to Him.



Easter Wishes

My dearest family in Christ,

On behalf of my family, I extend to you every blessing for this Easter and throughout the Easter season. May the resurrected Christ continue to reign in your heart and in your life as you follow Him and adhere to a faith both ancient and new.

We have a wonderful Lord and Master, a Savior who understands our needs. He is filled with love for us. In turn we, His people, reflect His love in all we do. It is a great blessing to have been called into the Lord’s service. He called me into His field, to do His work. I have been so greatly blessed because the portion of His field, here in Schenectady, is filled with people who so desire to work within His body, the Holy Church, in fellowship, as the family of faith doing good for each other and for all we encounter. You have blessed me greatly and I love you with all the joy of the resurrected Christ.

Życzenia radosnych Świąt Wielkanocnych pełnych wiary, nadziei i miłości, wypełnionych nadzieją budzącej się wiosny. Pogody w sercu i radości płynacej z faktu Zmartwychwstania Pańskiego, oraz smacznego świeconego w gronie najbliższych szczerze przesyla.

Deacon Jim, Renee, Stephanie, Adam, and Victoria


January 2013 Newsletter

Happy New Year and a new newsletter! Our January 2013 newsletter and calendar is complete and now available. Tons of events, Soup on Sunday, our annual meeting (yes, we are a democratic church where you have a voice and a vote and can expect accountability) everything you’d ever want to know — all in one place. You may view and download a copy right from this website.

January 2013 Newsletter.

Wise Men Seek Him


Reflection for the Solemnity of the Humble Shepherds

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He called,
they and I answered.

“I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says the LORD.”

There are several very good reasons for our Church to have established this special Solemnity, that of the Humble Shepherds.

Our initial thoughts go to the remembrance of those men, who kept watch over their flocks by night, to whom the angel first appeared to announce the good news of the Lord’s birth.

Since God deigned to provide first news of His birth to these men, the Holy Church should rightly honor them and their witness to His coming. The community of the Church, each of us, should also take after their example by listening, responding, and taking action.

Next, our thoughts should go to those men around us that God continues to speak to and through. They work among us as leaders. They draw us to the goodness of the Lord. These are the shepherds among us; they are the bishops, priests, and deacons of our Holy Church.

What does it mean to be such a shepherd?

Like the shepherds on that hillside, today’s shepherds must listen. Listening is difficult, especially if the one speaking to you doesn’t use the phone, Facebook, E-mail, texting, or smoke signals. His word comes in very subtle ways, and they seem easy to set aside and ignore. Yet, if we dare to listen, we will hear Him speaking to us, setting forth a vital mission and challenge that we need to take on.

Like those shepherds, today’s responded and went. They left everything they thought they might be behind. They went to be what He wants them to be. Whether drafted, or going voluntarily (even reluctantly sometimes), they still chose to respond. They didn’t sit on the hillside wondering, “What if?” They didn’t miss the chance.

Also like the shepherds that went that night, they took something away with them, the experience of meeting the Lord who challenges us, who supports us, who is our best friend and confidant. They met Him and were changed in that meeting. They then took what they learned, and with the Lord’s help went out on mission, to build the Church, to gather co-workers, and to build family and community.

They lead because they have heard and seen abundantly. They tell others, many of who and astonished and do not accept their word. Those that do hear, who may also be astonished at first, but who then follow by listening, responding and taking action themselves are God’s witnesses in the world.