St. Stephen’s is known for the quality, breadth and depth of speakers who visit the parish, including renowned theologians, writers, poets, and monks. Our speakers series has become a resource not only for our own church but for the larger church and the community.
Past speakers have included Barbara Brown Taylor, John Philip Newell, Harvey Cox, Anne Lamott, Mary Oliver, Jon Meacham, Becca Stevens, Martin Laird, Lauren Winner, Martin Smith, the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and many others.
Confirmed speakers for 2016-17 are listed below.
All events are open to the general public. You do NOT have to be a member of St. Stephen's to attend. Many, though not all, of these events have a suggested donation, but please do not allow this to be a barrier--see the information at the bottom of this page about suggested donations.
St. Stephen's also offers a variety of retreats and workshops, a poetry series, and the Sunday Forum meets at 10:10 a.m. in the Large Fellowship Hall between our 9 and 11:15 a.m. services. The Forum often welcomes guest speakers; more details about the Forum schedule for 2016-17 are here.
Sunday, September 25, 2016, 10:10-11:00 a.m.
Justice, Mercy, Redemption and the Death Penalty
Attorney Tim Floyd teaches at Mercer Law School and argued an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a client on death row. He will speak about that experience and touch on themes raised in the parish's summer book selected, Just Mercy.
More information | No registration needed
Thursday, September 29, 2016, 7 p.m.
John Snow & Dan Matthews
Economic Inequality, Social Unrest and Division: A Time for Hope and Healing
St. Stephen’s will begin an exciting new year of guest speakers with a compelling duo: former Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, and the Rev. Daniel P. Matthews, rector emeritus of Trinity Church, Wall Street. Join us for a thoughtful presentation and discussion on the American and global economic situation with two people who have seen tremendous changes in the economy up close. When you register for this event, you'll have the opportunity to submit a question for these two speakers; we'll send questions to them to ponder as they prepare their remarks.
Saturday, October 29, 2016, 9 a.m.
Two Books, One World
This astrophysicist and professor holds a PhD in experimental nuclear physics from Duke University...AND an MDiv from Candler School of Theology. The self-described science nerd is also a follower of Jesus. His book, Stars Beneath Us, blends story and theory, biblical texts and scientific concepts, and his workshop will explore the relation between science and the Bible.
In addition, Wallace will give a brief (45-minute) presentation in the Sunday Forum on October 30.
Monday, November 14, 2016, 7 p.m.
John Philip Newell & Rob Bell
Two of the most significant and influential voices in Christianity in the 21st century will be at St. Stephen’s Church together. While each is well-known for different expressions of the faith, until February, they'd never talked to each other before. Their conversation on a "Robcast" (a Rob Bell podcast) inspired Gary Jones to invite them to speak together in person at St. Stephen's.
Sunday, December 11, 2016, 10:10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Seeking the Sacred in Harry Potter
This writer and professor will show that, far from being mere children’s entertainment or even a gateway into the occult, this saga (written by a Christian) is a powerfully spiritual tale that engages such concepts as community, compassion, redemption, and sacrifice.
Thursday, February 9, 2017, 7 p.m.
Barbara Brown Taylor
An Evening with Barbara Brown Taylor
The author of Learning to Walk in the Dark, An Altar in the World, Leaving Church, and other books, will return in February. She spoke here in 2014 to a standing room only audience in the church. Be sure to reserve your seat right away!
Friday and Saturday, March 17 & 18, 2017
J. Pittman McGehee is an Episcopal priest and Jungian analyst in private practice in Austin, Texas. He is widely known as a lecturer and educator in the field of psychology and religion, as well as a published poet and essayist.
He is the author of The Invisible Church: Finding Spirituality Where You Are, Raising Lazarus: The Science of Healing the Soul, Words Made Flesh, and The Paradox of Love.
You may attend a Friday evening offering, a Saturday offering, or both.
In addition, McGehee will give a brief (45-minute) presentation in the Sunday Forum on March 19, 2017.
Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7 p.m.
This poet has been described by the New York Times as “radiant and passionate” and by other reviewers as “insightful and eloquent.” Her subjects range from the metaphysical and passionate to the political, ecological, and scientific to subtle unfoldings of daily life.
Read more about our poetry series here.
Friday, May 5, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
Grounded in Compassion: Fostering Spiritual Practice in an Age of Terror and Twitter
As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care is presenting a speakers series, including this presentation by Marjorie Thompson, the author of Soul Feast. Thompson's talk is co-sponsored by St. Stephen's, the location of VIPCare's first satellite office. An audience question-and-answer session and reception will follow her talk, which is free and open to the public.
Marjorie J. Thompson is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. She has served as director of the Pathways Center for Spiritual Leadership and as spiritual director to Companions in Christ, a program outgrowth of the Pathways initiative of Upper Room Ministries. Companions in Christ is a small group resource for spiritual formation in local congregations, suited to ecumenical use. Marjorie has exercised a ministry of teaching, writing and spiritual guidance for many years.
Books by our speakers are available in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen's.
A word about suggested donations
We suggest a donation of $25 to attend most events (unless noted otherwise); this usually covers the expenses of our bringing these outstanding writers, teachers and thought leaders to you. We want our speakers to be accessible to all, and we know that some people will be able to donate more than $25, and others less. If you plan to pay the suggested donation, you may reserve your place online. If you prefer to pay a different amount, please stop by the parish office to register, or call 804.288.2867.
The Rev. Gene LeCouteur, Associate for Christian Education and Formation // 804.288.2867 // email