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. Some groups are listed below; many more will be added as we get closer to the fall.
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.
COMING THIS FALL
Encountering Difference // Mondays, 6:30-8 p.m., October 17-November 21
Led by the Rev. Bill Sachs and Aleta Richards
How do you feel when you hear words like, pluralism, bias, and power? What about words like familiar, connection, and community? Often these words bring up very different experiences for people. Join Bill Sachs and Aleta Richards for a 6-week conversation based on Bill’s new book, In the Face of Difference and prepare for the wide range of differences we face today.
The Immortal Diamond book group // Mondays, 7-8:30 p.m., October 17-November 14
Led by the Rev. Claudia Merritt
In the quiet moments of our lives, all of us wonder: if others knew me the way I know myself, would they still love me? What about God? What does God see when God gazes on me? These are questions that noted Franciscan author and spiritual guide Richard Rohr explores in his book, Immortal Diamond. Rohr reflects on our essential goodness and how our egos interfere with our awareness of God, one another, and our own self understanding. Join Claudia Merritt and others for this five-week discussion group.
Just Mercy discussion group // Tuesdays, 7 p.m., October 4-November 15
Led by the Rev. Gary Jones and Tom Cox
Many at St. Stephen’s have read, or are in the midst of reading, a compelling book by a man who has been called–both by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu– “America’s Mandela.” Lawyer Bryan Stevenson is the founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. His book, Just Mercy, is Gary Jones’ pick for a parish summer book, and on seven Tuesday evenings this fall (October 4-November 15) parishioner Tom Cox, a graduate of Harvard Law School, will team up with Gary to lead a series on themes and issues raised in the book. Participants will hear brief presentations from Tom and Gary, followed by discussion in small groups.
Disciple Bible Study // Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., beginning September 21
Led by the Rev. Gene LeCouteur and Karen Orville
Disciple is a 34-week study of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of each of the books of the Bible, their themes, the major figures in each, and the chronology. In addition to reading portions of each book, we watch video presentation by scholars, participate in group discussion, do a little homework, and build a community. It is worthwhile work for anyone who wants to understand why we read so much of Isaiah in Advent, what Jesus meant when he said "I came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets," why the Old Testament is so important to understanding the New Testament, why St. Paul wrote some of the things that make us cringe today, and more. It is fun, engaging, enlightening, and worth every minute. This will be the fourth time Gene and Karen have led this course together.
The book for this course costs $40; there is no other cost to participate. Registration is required; you can do that right here.
World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions // Wednesdays, 1:00-2:30 p.m., September 21-November 16
Led by Jan Hatcher-Conquest
An understanding of our world’s major religions is an important part of understanding the world in which we live today. Join us in exploring the essentials of each major world religion, using Huston Smith’s beautifully illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions. Our weekly discussions will cover Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Zen Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and what scholar Diana Eck refers to as the “pluralistic” landscape of religion in the U.S. today.
Week 1, 9/21: Introduction; What is Religion?; Short History of Religious Belief & Practice
Week 2, 9/28: Religions of India: Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism
Week 3, 10/5: Buddhism
Week 4, 10/12: Religions of China: Taoism
Week 5, 10/19: Confucianism
Week 6, 10/26: Religions of Japan – Zen Buddhism and Shinto
Week 7, 11/2: Religions of the Middle East – Judaism & Christianity
Week 8, 11/9: Islam
Week 9, 11/16: Religion in the U.S. today; closing
Copies of the book, Illustrated World's Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions, will be available for purchase in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen's. Please feel free to bring lunch with you if you wish. Class size is limited. Register here.
CONTINUING THIS SUMMER
Needlepoint group, Fridays at 9 a.m. (continues through the summer)
Are you a needlepoint fan, or you want to learn how? St. Stephen's Needlepoint Guild offers two groups on Friday mornings at 9, one for those who already know how to needlepoint, and one for those who are looking for some instruction or guidance. Bring a project to work on (it does not have to be one of the kneeling cushions that are being stitched for the Chapel of the Holy Spirit). You do not need to sign up--just come!
RETURNING THIS FALL
EPIC Moms // Second and fourth Tuesdays 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 will meet for breakfast, fellowship, speakers, and occasional crafts. Safe, clean, on-site childcare will always be 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.
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.
Prayer Shawl Knitters // Wednesdays, 6:30 - 8 p.m.
The Rev. Gene LeCouteur, Associate for Education and Formation // 804.288.2867, x 324 // email