Groups and Classes
St. Stephen’s offers a wide variety of Bible studies, small groups, and classes. Some groups meet year-round, some for 10-week "covenant periods," some for other periods of time. Groups for the fall covenant period are listed below.
If you want to learn about Emmaus Groups, a particular kind of small group, please follow this link.
Wellness classes and contemplative practice groups are also offered.
We have several "guilds" at St. Stephen's Church, as well. Read about them here.
The Rule of St. Benedict // Mondays, 6:45-8 p.m., March 6 - April 10
Led by Pat Hartsock, a Benedictine oblate
Two ideas permeate the Rule of St. Benedict: love and wisdom. Love is the motive and wisdom is the goal and the way. The Rule show us that two great loves, love of God and love of the other, guide our lives and actions. While the Rule was developed for monastic life, we will study how it applies to those who live in the world dealing with money, work, family and community. The Rule of Benedict: Spirituality for the 21st Century by Joan Chittister will be the text for the class. Register here.
Healing and Being a Healing Person // Tuesdays, 7-8 p.m., January 17 - March 21
Led by Henry Burke, healing prayer minister and Catherine Whitham, leader of St. Stephen's Healing Prayer Ministry
What is healing? How have we experienced healing in our lives? Who have been healing people to us? How can we be healing people? What is the difference between healing and healing prayer? Through discussion, prayer, and reading, we will learn and discern what healing is for us and how we can be healers for others. We will read Henri Nouwen’s The Wounded Healer and The Art of Being a Healing Presence by James Miller and Susan Cutshall. Both are short but immensely insightful books.
Fragmented Lives book group // Tuesdays, 5-6:30 p.m., February 7 - March 28
Led by the Rev. Bill Sachs and Aleta Richards
Come join Bill and Aleta to discuss the importance of belonging. The group will read and discuss the latest book by Bill Sachs and Michael Bos, Fragmented Lives: Finding Faith in an Age of Uncertainty. Fragmented Lives describes the meaning of faith for people the Church has shown little facility for attracting but whom it would like to reach, people who have entered church doors occasionally but who have little depth of commitment. It is a book for persons exploring the basis of faith, as well as for church leaders looking to understand how their programs and message can align with faith journeys today. While examining the growing emphasis on spirituality for those wanting "spirituality without structures," it argues that spirituality has become so elastic in its meaning that it is lacking the definition and direction people seek in finding answers to their questions.
Lenten Fasting Group // Tuesday, February 28 - Friday, March 3
Led by the Rev. Claudia Merritt
Fasting is an ancient discipline of the church. It is a means of drawing closer to God through our intentional self-emptying and through a heightened awareness of God's presence. Lent is an especially appropriate time for fasting; it is commended to us in the Book of Common Prayer. Come explore whether the Spirit is calling you to a three-day Lenten fast at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28 (following the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper). The group will then reconvene at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3 to break the fast and share experiences of fasting. You may register here.
Learning to Walk in the Dark book group // Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m., February 2 - March 2
Led by the Rev. Claudia Merritt (This group is now full)
Join Claudia Merritt and others for this four-week discussion group of Barbara Brown Taylor's book, Learning to Walk in the Dark. Taylor ponders living with "darkness" and reminds us that darkness, too, rests in God. She looks at how darkness can be a time of healing, learning, and deepening of spirituality when all seems bleak. Learning to Walk in the Dark is The Dark Night of the Soul for the 21st century.
This group is full.
Eat Well, Be Well // Thursdays, 6:30-8 p.m., January 26 - March 16
Led by Cherry Jones and Dale Purrington
Two nurse practitioners team up again to offer a class for those who want to learn how to make permanent changes in their diet that can lead to increased energy and better long-term health. The class includes specifics about nutrition and explores food fads and myths. You will learn how our food choices affect not only our individual health, but the health of our environment, locally and globally. The class is loosely based on Michael Pollan’s short book Food Rules.
This class builds on the assumption that caring for our bodies is inextricably linked to caring for our souls and our minds. This is not a weight loss class, but an opportunity to receive tools and information you can use to make healthy, life-giving choices. Food Rules is available in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen's. You may register here.
Lenten Book Discussion Group: Soul Feast // Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m., March 9, 16, 30, and April 6
Led by Mary Fran Hughes-McIntyre from VIP Care and Anne Peck
First released in 1995, this spiritual classic continues to be a bestseller, as thousands each year accept Marjorie Thompson’s invitation to the Christian spiritual life. Soul Care offers a framework for understanding the spiritual disciplines and instruction for developing and nurturing those practices. Study this book in preparation for Marjorie Thompson’s presentation at St. Stephen’s on May 5 as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care. You may register here.
Education for Ministry // Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m.
Education for Ministry (EfM) is a unique four-year distance learning certificate program in theological education based upon small group study and practice. Since its founding in 1975, this international program has assisted more than 80,000 participants in discovering and nurturing their call to Christian service. EfM helps the faithful encounter the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition and bring it into conversation with their experiences of the world as they study, worship, and engage in theological reflection together. Email Richard Clary for additional information about joining this group.
EPIC Moms // Second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
EPIC Moms (Episcopal Parishes in Community to support Moms) is a gathering for mothers of children from infancy to elementary school. This program is sponsored by Episcopal churches but open to all mothers regardless of religious tradition. Get to know other women across Richmond, share the joys and challenges of parenting, and hear and discuss speakers on topics such as early literacy, spirituality with children, and meditation for kids and mothers.
The group meets for breakfast, fellowship, speakers, and occasional crafts. Safe, clean, on-site childcare is provided. Registration is $65/semester or $120/year. Scholarships are available on request and anyone can try one meeting free. For more information or to register, email Michele Burt.
Book Club // first Thursday of each month, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Led by Wilda Ferguson
This monthly book group will meet on the first Thursday of every month and selects books to read and discuss based on group interest. The books will have relevant faith components and may indeed challenge us in our faith. The group will begin with a discussion of Just Mercy.
The Rev. Gene LeCouteur, Associate Rector // 804.288.2867, x 324 // email