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 this parish but for the larger church and the community.
Past speakers have included Barbara Brown Taylor, John Philip Newell, Harvey Cox, Anne Lamott, Mary Oliver, Jane Hirshfield, Jon Meacham, Becca Stevens, Martin Laird, Lauren Winner, Martin Smith, the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and many others.
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 2017-18 will be available here later this summer.
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.
This fall, our speakers will help us reflect on our connection to God and to one another as stewards of God’s creation.
Fred Bahnson, who directs the Food, Health & Ecological Well-Being Program at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, will come to St. Stephen’s Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17. On Saturday at 6 p.m., he will be joined by the Rev. Heber Brown III, the director of the Black Church Food Security Network of Baltimore, at a dinner and program here.
Bahnson, author of Soil and Sacrament, our parish summer book, will discuss the spiritual dimensions of sustainable agriculture and shared meals. What can churches learn from those who are experiencing holiness through their engagement with the land, and what can they learn from churches?
Brown will discuss the network he leads which empowers black farmers and guides African-American churches in converting unused land to urban gardens, helping to eliminate “food deserts” in their communities. His organization’s vision is “a community-centered, local food system supported by black churches and led by those most directly affected by food insecurity.”
These visionary leaders will speak, appropriately, at a community meal prepared with ingredients from our farmers market vendors and others involved in growing and providing healthy local foods from local, sustainable sources. The event is open to all, and we are issuing special invitations to local organizations engaged in similar work, and to Richmond’s African-American churches.
John Philip Newell’s topic during his visit on Thursday, October 19, at 7 p.m. will provide a fitting complement to the Bahnson/Brown weekend, “John Muir: Celtic Prophet of Ecological Consciousness and Action.” Muir, born in Scotland in 1838, moved to the United States as a child. He has been described as the archetype of humanity’s oneness with the earth and as the patron saint of American environmentalism. He was the most articulate and passionate advocate for what would become our system of national parks. Newell will explore the Celtic vision at the heart of Muir’s spirituality and invite us to be part of the relationship between loving the earth and protecting it.
Also coming this year
Father Martin Laird: Advent retreat, Saturday, December 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Registration coming soon
Eben Alexander, Author of Proof of Heaven: lecture, Friday, January 19, and workshop, Saturday, January 20, 2018; co-sponsored with Chrysalis Institute and the Institute on Noetic Sciences REGISTER THROUGH CHRYSALIS
Natasha Trethewey, former U.S. Poet Laureate: poetry reading, talk, book signing, Thursday, January 25, 7 p.m. Tickets are required; they are free, but donations are welcome.
Br. Luke Ditewig, SSJE: Lenten retreat, Friday, February 16 and Saturday, February 17; additional information and registration available soon
The Rev. Becca Stevens, Magdalen and Thistle Farms: workshop, Saturday, March 17; additional information and registration available soon
The Rev. Gene LeCouteur, Associate Rector
804.288.2867 // email