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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 (Summer Schedule is in effect)

  • 8:00 a.m., Holy Eucharist: Rite One
  • 10:00 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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Easter begins with a tomb

The plain-spoken, crusty Baptist preacher, Carlyle Marney, once addressed a student audience at Duke University during religious emphasis week, and in the course of the Q and A afterward, a student asked him, “Dr. Marney, would you please speak a bit about the resurrection of the dead?” And Carlyle Marney replied bluntly, “No. I don’t talk about that with people like you.” 

“Why not?” the student asked.

“I don’t discuss such matters with anyone under 30,” Marney said.

“Why?” the student asked.

“Look at you,” Marney said, “prime of life, potent, never have you known honest-to-God failure, heartburn, impotency, solid defeat, brick walls, mortality. So what in God’s name can you know of a dark world, which only makes sense if Christ is raised?”

I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but I get Marney’s point. I look at my own life and see the proof of what he was saying. What in God’s name was I doing preaching about Easter before I had even turned 30? Today, I am just grateful that the churches where I preached in my youth, full of people who had known deep, existential pain, loss, and failure, were tolerant and gracious.

We have a number of men’s groups in my parish, mostly older guys, many of them retired. The agenda for these groups is simple. Mostly, they just enjoy being with each other. But they also want to discuss those things that they’ve found to be most important in their lives. They come to support each other, and they have learned how to listen deeply to each other. Between meetings, they promise to pray for each other. Some of them don’t go to church much, because their weekly meetings are church for them.

These men have lived long enough to know from experience the sting of regret, shame, and failure. When they get together, it becomes clear right away that superficial talk, ego posturing, opinion swapping, and debates about politics or religion aren’t allowed. The point is to speak only about what they know from personal experience, and in the process, to be truthful about their doubts, struggles, and insecurities. If you are too proud or too well defended and can’t be vulnerable around other guys, you’re not going to fit in.

These groups are lifelines for those who attend; they wouldn’t miss it. Many of them have come to believe that the worst thing that ever happened to them, the reason for their brokenness, often turns out to be the most important and life-giving thing that ever happened to them. Such is the divine alchemy of their weekly gatherings.

Sometimes these older guys tell me how worried they are about their hard-driving, younger sons. They so want younger men to join them and know how healing and life-giving such a prayerful and genuinely supportive group can be. But the young men are too busy. They don’t have the time, or they just don’t see the need.

Once in a while, though, a thoroughly broken and defeated younger man will join them – a guy who has gone off the rails with alcohol, for example, or who has lost his job, cheated on his spouse, had a mental breakdown, lost a child, or gone to jail. A candidate for resurrection.

This younger man learns, just from hanging around the older ones, that it’s possible to be truthful about shameful, difficult and unspeakable things, as long as the people in the room know something about failure, grief, and loss from their own lives, and have outgrown being judgmental. The older guys tell me that all they do is “love him back to life.” They show the younger one that there is life after death, and that it’s almost always better than the life they had before. They learn how to breathe deeply again, how to unclench, and how to love the life they have. They learn, in other words, what it means to live truly free.

Easter begins with a tomb. I’m not surprised it’s just a rite of spring for some people, and the crux of everything that matters for others. 

 

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