Worship: What to expect
Whoever you are and wherever you might be on your spiritual journey, we hope your experience at St. Stephen's Church will encourage and strengthen you.
Most of our services can be found in the Book of Common Prayer, the prayer book that individuals and parishes throughout the Episcopal Church use.
Every Sunday during the academic year, there are six different services of worship (8, 9 and 11:15 a.m., and 5:30 and 8 p.m.), each with its own character. At 9:00, there are two services happening simultaneously – one in the main church (the larger stone structure), and the other in the smaller brick chapel known as “Palmer Hall.” The service in Palmer Hall involves conversational instruction about the worship experience in a more intimate space. The service in the large church is intended to be equally welcoming, without conversational instruction, and the setting feels to some more transcendent. Both of these services have important roles for children, and people of all ages are most welcome at any of our five services. You might enjoy experimenting, in order to find the service that is most helpful to you.
In the summer, our Sunday schedule changes slightly, with a 10 a.m. service in place of the 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services, and no Sunday school or Forum. A reception follows the 10 a.m. service and we hold it outdoors when weather permits. (The summer schedule is in effect from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.)
All are welcome to receive Communion. Instructions about receiving the bread and wine are here, as well as in a card available in the pews in the church, but please do not worry about “doing it right.” The important thing is simply that you know that God welcomes you, and there is no telling how God might reach you in Communion. Just be open.
At 5:30 p.m. each Sunday evening, St. Stephen's offers a service of Celtic Evensong with Holy Communion. Our Celtic worship is drawn from the liturgical traditions of Iona and Northumbria in Scotland, and the music at these services is contemplative, lively and haunting. The prayers are at once earthy, holy and inclusive. This service has been well received not only by St. Stephen's parishioners, but includes worshipers from other churches in the area, as well as those with little or no religious background. All are welcome at this service.
The Celtic service includes healing prayer for those who desire it. Learn more about the Celtic Service here and about St. Stephen's Healing Prayer Ministry here.
From the ancient monastic practice of ending the day in prayer and praise of God, a weekly Compline service is held every Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. This stunningly beautiful candlelit service features a small group of singers, "Sanctuary," offering Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony. Learn more about this service here.
In addition to our Sunday services, we offer Holy Eucharist on Saturday evenings at 5:30, Morning Prayer and Communion at 8:10 a.m. on weekdays, and Evensong (sung Evening Prayer) at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. All are held in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (one of the side chapels in the church).
You are always welcome here.
Gary D. Jones, Rector