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There's a place for you here.

New to Richmond? Unfamiliar with the Episcopal Church, or with Christianity? Welcome.

Whoever you are, wherever you are in your spiritual journey, the people of St. Stephen's Church hope that your experience with this church will encourage and strengthen you.

As you browse our Web site, you might consider: 

 

  • visiting St. Stephen's for a worship service 
  • coming to an informal supper
  • stopping by the Farmers Market on Saturday morning
  • attending one of our receptions or lunches for visitors and newcomers (info here
  • signing up for an Inquirers Class
  • subscribing to St. Stephen's weekly email, the eSpirit; there is no cost, no obligation, and we will not share your email address with any outside group
  • attending a retreat, workshop or group, or participating in any of the other offerings you'll see on these pages. 

 

Do as much or as little as you like. There are no "requirements" for being a part of this community of faith. If you wish to be baptized or confirmed, or to transfer your membership from another Episcopal parish, we'd love for you to do so. But it's not required. Everything we do, everything we offer, is open to all, regardless of whether you are a "member" of this church. If you're here, you belong.

Here's an online visitor card: it's not required--it just helps us to be more responsive to you!


Our Services

St. Stephen's is a vibrant parish that offers worship, prayer and more seven days a week. Sunday, of course, is our big day. You are most welcome at any of the services held here.

Sunday Worship 

  • 8:00 a.m., Holy Eucharist: Rite One
  • 9:00 a.m., Holy Eucharist: Rite Two* (two services occur simultaneously, one in Palmer Hall Chapel, the other in the main church)
  • 10:10 a.m., Christian education for all ages (resuming September 18)*
  • 11:15 a.m., Holy Eucharist: Rite Two*, followed by reception 
  • 5:30 p.m., Celtic Evensong and Communion*
  • 6:30 p.m., Sunday Community Supper
  • 8:00 p.m., Compline
*indicates child care available up to age 5

Weekday worship 

  • 8:10 a.m., Morning Prayer with Communion
  • 5:30 p.m., Evensong (Sung Evening Prayer) 

Saturday worship

  • 5:30 p.m., Holy Eucharist: Rite Two

Nursery - Senior High

St. Stephen's Church has an active ministry for children and youth, staffed by an energetic and talented family ministries staff and dedicated, well-trained volunteers. Michael Sweeney, the director of family ministries, sends a regular email newsletter to parents for which you may sign up.

Confirmation

At St. Stephen's, young people who desire to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church may do so in the ninth grade or later. They are prepared in a year-long course called "Philip's Way," and confirmation takes place when one of our bishops visits St. Stephen's, usually in May.


Are you in your 20-30s?

Young adults are part of every facet of parish life at St. Stephen's, and you are always welcome at any worship service, adult education opportunity or social event—membership is NOT required. You (and your friends and family) are always welcome here. Single or married, with children or not, in school or not--all are welcome.

Get Connected

Some activities and ministries at St. Stephen's are designed especially for young adults, including a young adult Bible study group, social gatherings, retreats, and outreach and volunteer opportunities. The best way to keep up with what young adults are doing at St. Stephen's is to sign up for our e-newsletter.


A Fellowship

One of the distinctive things about being an Episcopalian is the sense of connection and fellowship one has with other Episcopalian Christians. St. Stephen's Episcopal Church is part of the Diocese of Virginia, one of the oldest and largest dioceses in the Episcopal Church.

Our diocese includes 80,000 people who worship God and reach out to others in 181 parishes in 38 counties in central, northern and northwestern Virginia. It is one of three Episcopal dioceses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the others being the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia (based in Roanoke) and the Diocese of Southern Virginia (based in Norfolk). You can read more about the Diocese of Virginia at thediocese.net.

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Sunday Schedule

Holy Eucharist: 8:00, 9:00, 11:15

Christian Education for all ages: 10:10 (returning September)

OUR LOCATION

6000 Grove Avenue Richmond, VA 23226
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Wellspring: Poetry for the Journey

The beauty of great poems is not that we are provided the answer, but that we are given a question to consider.

—Allison Seay in "Wellspring," the weekly poetry guide 

St. Stephen's Church offers this weekly resource written by our Associate for Religion and the Arts, Allison Seay. The guides may be used by Emmaus Groups or other small groups, or for individual study and reflection. You can read more about poetry at St. Stephen's here.

To subscribe to the weekly poetry email, follow this link.

May 29, 2017 edition

Excerpt from Silence

I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea,         
And the silence of the city when it pauses,  
And the silence of a man and a maid,         
And the silence for which music alone finds the word,     
And the silence of the woods before the winds of spring begin,
And the silence of the sick
When their eyes roam about the room.
And I ask: For the depths
Of what use is language?
A beast of the field moans a few times
When death takes its young.
And we are voiceless in the presence of realities—
We cannot speak.      

Edgar Lee Masters[1]

Reflections

Note: Jane Fergusson, a graduating senior at Collegiate School, offers this week’s reflections. Jane is completing a two-week internship at St. Stephen’s and will attend Lafayette College this fall.

I have been feeling a desperate need for silence recently. The world feels too big and bright and loud, too much for my small mind to handle. But as much as I’d like to silence the world for a while, it is really I who am silenced. I find myself “voiceless in the presence of realities.” Over and over, I reach for words but instead of finding clarity, I flounder, feeling like language has failed me. Masters writes, “And I ask: For the depths,/ Of what use is language?” He questions the utility of language, how something whose sole purpose is communication could be so inadequate in the face of death, in the face of sickness and sorrow. Hard as this pill might be to swallow, words do fail at a certain point.

When I first found this poem some years ago, I was taken by the opening line: “I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea.” It may be one thing to feel the silence of the stars and sea, but as the first line indicates, this is not a poem about feeling at all. It is one about knowing. I learned from my teacher, Allison Seay, who learned from Gary Jones, (family tree of knowledge!) this explanation concerning “Greek” and “Hebrew” ways of knowing: if you were to ask a Greek for the height of a diving board, he would measure angles and lengths, calculating a precise height with trigonometry. But the Hebrew would take you by the hand, covering your eyes, and lead you to the very edge. He would then uncover your eyes and say, “That jolt you feel when you realize you are at the edge? That is how high you are.”

I am reminded that there is something more to knowing, something visceral, something underneath. Knowing is a multi-sense affair, requiring the heart and the mind. One might define silence as the absence of sound, and that is one kind of silence, but there is also “the silence for which music alone finds the word,” or “the silence of the sick,” which may not be literally silent, but spiritually and emotionally so. And there is, of course, the silence of an empty tomb. Imagine the solemn silence, the shocked, stunned and confused silence that Jesus’ disciples must have felt in the days leading up to Pentecost. Christ is risen indeed, but he is now a stranger walking with them in the streets. And just as the disciples recognize him, he leaves again, and they find themselves bewildered and alone.

When the Holy Spirit descends on the disciples during Pentecost, there is “a sound like the rush of a violent wind,” tongues of fire rest on their heads, and the disciples begin speaking in tongues. A crowd forms, and foreigners each hear their native language spoken. The crowd hears. Peter stands up, gives the first sermon, and the crowd hears. There is a kind of silence that accompanies hearing. The silence of together-ness, of love and fellowship, and certainly the silence of wonderment. And I don’t know how Peter felt during his first sermon, but I imagine he might have felt something like Edgar Lee Masters describes: “voiceless in the presence of realit[y].” He might have felt like words were failing him to describe the gravity of this holy mystery, but even if that was the case, it would be okay. Because perhaps words do not have to be perfect. The silence of hearing speaks for itself.

About the poet

Edgar Lee Masters was born in August 1868 in Garnett, Kansas, and moved soon after to Lewistown, Illinois. He attended Knox College for one year, but was forced to withdraw as a result of his family’s finances. He read law in his father’s law office, was admitted to the bar, and built a successful law practice, Masters turned to his previous passion of writing, publishing his first few books under a pseudonym. His poetry was influenced by the work of Edgar Allan Poe and the English Romantic poets. He died in a convalescent home in 1950 and was buried in Petersburg, Illinois.


[1] from “Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters. Public Domain.

Download a print-friendly version of the May 29 guide here (Silence by Edgar Lee Masters)
Download a print-friendly version of the May 22 guide here (Near the Wall of a House by Yehuda Amichai)
Download a print-friendly version of the May 15 guide here (This Morning I Pray for My Enemies by Joy Harjo)
Download a print-friendly version of the May 8 guide here (This Moment by Eaven Boland)
Download a print-friendly version of the May 1 guide here (Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rosetti)
Download a print-friendly version of the April 24 guide here (How to Be a Poet by Wendell Berry)
Download a print-friendly version of the April 17 guide here (To a Dutch Potter in Ireland by Seamus Heaney)
Download a print-friendly version of the April 10 guide here (Failing and Flying by Jack Gilbert)
Download a print-friendly version of the April 3 guide here (Watching the Mayan Women by Luisa Villani)
Download a print-friendly version of the March 27 guide here (Excerpt from Radi os by Ronald Johnson)
Download a print-friendly version of the March 13 guide here (Excerpt from My Skeleton by Jane Hirshfield)
Download a print-friendly version of the March 6 guide here (Excerpt from My Life Was the Size of My Life by Jane Hirshfield)
Download a print-friendly version of the February 28 guide here (On Being Brought from Africa to America by Phillis Wheatley
Download a print-friendly version of the February 20 guide here (Picnic Beside the Railroad Tracks by Jack DeLoyht)
Download a print-friendly version of the February 13 guide here (Hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson)
Download a print-friendly version of the February 6 guide here (V from Bucolics by Maurice Manning)
Download a print-friendly version of the January 30 guide here (from A Map to the Next World by Joy Harjo)
Download a print-friendly version of the January 23 guide here (Eating Together by Li-Young Lee)
Download a print-friendly version of the January 16 guide here (I'll Come When Thou Art Saddest by Emily Brontë)
Download a print-friendly version of the January 9 guide here (Carrion Comfort by Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Download a print-friendly version of the January 2 guide here (Piano by Patrick Phillips)
Download a print-friendly version of the November 28 guide here (The Insomnia of Thomas Merton by Lisa Russ Spaar)
Download a print-friendly version of the November 21 guide here (Annunciation by Marie Howe)
Download a print-friendly version of the November 14 guide here (Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins)
Download a print-friendly version of the November 7 guide here (I will put Chaos into fourteen lines by Edna St. Vincent Millay)
Download a print-friendly version of the October 31 guide here (On the Shoreline by Laura Van Prooyen)
Download a print-friendly version of the October 24 guide here (Firefly by Dave Lucas)
Download a print-friendly version of the October 16 guide here (The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost)
Download a print-friendly version of the October 10 guide here (Sancta by Andrew Grace)
Download a print-friendly version of the October 3 guide here (The Rescue by Christine Garren)
Download a print-friendly version of the September 26 guide here (Blue Hour by Jennifer Whitaker)

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