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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*
  • 11:15 a.m., Holy Eucharist, Rite Two*
  • 5:30 p.m., Celtic Evensong and Communion*
  • 6:30 p.m., Sunday Community Supper
  • 8:00 p.m., Compline
*indicates child care available through age 4

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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Becoming Nicole

“Who is this that darkens counsel
with words without knowledge?”
The Lord speaking to Job from the whirlwind (Job 38:2)

One of the most broadly respected scholars of religion today, Karen Armstrong, has noted that all of the enduring religions of the world agree on one thing: if your theology or religious practice is leading you to become a more compassionate person, then it is good. But if your theology or religious practice is leading you to become more critical and judgmental of others, or if, God forbid, it is leading you to harm others in the name of your religion, then your theology or religious practice is bad.

Compassion is the litmus test for good theology or religious practice. In a world of increasing division, I want to pay attention to such a remarkable example of unanimity; and I fear that the pervasive reactivity, bluster, and contentiousness among religious people today suggest that there is a lot of bad religion out there right now.

However, I have been proud of our parish community’s ability over the last several years to deal compassionately with social concerns that have ripped apart other religious communities and incited violence throughout the nation. Sexual orientation, marriage equality, racial prejudice, and mass incarceration – these are a few of the social concerns that have torn some faith communities asunder but that have brought together many of our parishioners, and the larger Richmond community, for generous, thoughtful discussion. Using Armstrong’s observation, I think this is a sign that there is good theology and religious practice going on among us.

I suppose it is a dark side of human nature that we can take out our frustrations on entire classes of people whom we do not know or understand. This can give us a sense of superiority and satisfying relief, which can prevent us from doing the difficult work of trying to understand the other’s point of view, the work that compassion requires. In recent years, one tiny, misunderstood group of people has been the object of society’s scorn. They have been the catalyst for costly legislation in states like Maine, North Carolina, and Texas, and they have been a rallying cry for politicians who want to give voters a way to vent their frustrations. I am talking, of course, about people who are transgender.

When a society starts to marginalize people whom we do not know or understand very well, that is when we need faith communities of good theology and good religious practice to step up and lead us in the way of compassion. Of course, compassion is not the same as blanket, easy, unthinking approval. Compassion is derived from words meaning “to suffer with,” and the work of compassion is first of all to seek to know, understand, and sympathize with another, rather than merely judging the other from afar, “darkening counsel with words without knowledge.”

This is why I recommend a very engaging paperback book entitled Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, and I hope we might have a faithful discussion with interested parishioners one Wednesday night at St. Stephen’s before long. Becoming Nicole is a quick read by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Amy Ellis Nutt, and it chronicles the evolution of a conservative American family (mother, father, and two children) as they navigate society and their own feelings with a transgender child. You might not be especially interested in reading about a group of people who make up such a tiny segment of the overall population. But if this book does nothing more than help us to become more thoughtful and less reactive, it will have done us all a great service.

Becoming Nicole engenders compassion, the litmus test of good theology and religious practice—something that our reactive world desperately needs right now, and something, I’m pleased to say, that the people of St. Stephen’s Church are adept at providing.

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