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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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Gethsemane Moments

A parishioner died recently, after a six-year battle with cancer. There were years when she held out hope that this cup would pass her by. Treatments seemed to work beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. Then there were setbacks, blood tests indicating the cancer’s rapid return. New medications would again bring promise, and we would all celebrate. Then, more setbacks. Up and down like that for years. And finally, the reality set in – she was dying; even if a miracle drug appeared, her body could not take any more treatment.

Throughout these years, parishioners cleaned her apartment, brought her food and drink, and took her to the hospital and back. Her constant refrain was, “I don’t know what I would do without you. Thank you for everything. I am so blessed to have you in my life.”  In fact, her last words were, “Thank you.” Among the many things people took away from their friendship with her during these last years was the life-giving way of gratitude.

In her final days, when she could no longer be left alone, parishioners took her into their home and provided for her care. She could no longer keep down even a spoonful of the softest, blandest food. The nausea and pain were relentless. But she found delicious pleasure in sucking on an ice cube made of Cherry Coke, and her special treat was to sip on a Cherry Coke Slurpee. Never mind that this, too, came up in the relentless waves of nausea. The treat was worth it, she said.

“It’s amazing how the simplest things, like a Cherry Coke Slurpee from a friend, give me so much pleasure now,” she told me in her weakened voice, just a couple of days before she died. “It reminds me of when I was a child, when the smallest thing could bring me the greatest joy and delight, all day long. That’s what this is like for me now.”

This reflection reminded her of how her grandfather, who also died of cancer, loved to go deep sea fishing in the prime of his life. But at the end, when she was just a little girl and he was dying, he told her that he no longer cared about the boat and all the expensive rods he had acquired. All he wanted then was to sit by a lake or river with his bamboo rod, a hook, and a worm. Heaven: the simplification of desire and the magnification of delight.

Toward the end, when the woman couldn’t talk much anymore, she still cherished having friends visit. What she wanted most was simply to lie in bed and enjoy her friends in quiet. I suspect this was awkward or uncomfortable for some of her friends – it’s hard for us to move from the active world of so much talking and doing, into the still and quiet world of simply being with a person who is dying. We naturally want to do something useful, hardly suspecting that our silent, loving presence is precisely the soul-enriching joy that the person has been craving all day long.

Just before she died, she told me in her ever-weakening voice that she was still wrestling with God. She said she knew it was almost time, but she wasn’t quite ready to go. It felt like one of those Gethsemane moments that make up so much of our lives, times when we struggle to surrender. It’s just so hard to believe that what God wants for us and will provide for us is “more than we could ask for or imagine.” At least, it’s hard for me. I’m terrible at Gethsemane moments. I tend to beg and plead with God for what I want and am sure that I need, and I rarely get around to the Jesus part: “Yet, not my will, but yours be done.” 

This final Gethsemane moment for this parishioner was not so much an agonizing struggle as it was a gentler wrestling with God. She was finding joy and gratitude in simple things, and she wasn’t ready for that to end. Anyone who knew her could see plainly how she was showing us, even in her struggles, a more excellent way. I have no interest in romanticizing death, but my experience is that the dying often do this for us. The words of the Gospel so often become flesh in them: losing becomes finding, letting go becomes gaining, and weakness so often brings a peculiar kind of strength.

The dying so often show us, as this parishioner did, the way of dying before we die. She has me praying that my own Gethsemane moments might result in the simplification of my desire, an abiding gratitude, and a trusting openness to whatever comes next, whether in this life or in the life to come.

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