The best way to stay up-to-date is to receive the eSpirit, our weekly email newsletter, each Wednesday morning. You can subscribe here.
January 18, 2018 // We are open at 10 a.m. Thursday
The parish office will reopen today at 10 a.m., to give our buildings and grounds staff time to make the parking lot and walkways as safe as possible. Please use caution!
The cafe will open at 10 a.m. as well--be sure to stop in for a hot drink, warm pastry, or a delicious lunch!
January 17, 2018 // We are closed Wednesday
The parish office and cafe are closed today due to unsafe conditions in the parking lot and walkways. This means that all Wonderful Wednesday activities are cancelled. Please be safe!
January 5, 2018 // Back to regular schedule; parking lot is clear
The farmers market returns this Saturday, January 6, in its usual winter location in the Fellowship Hall, 9 a.m. until noon. The café will also be open.
The regular worship schedule resumes this Sunday, January 7. There will be Sunday school, but in place of the Forum we'll have a reception with information and sign-ups for groups that begin this month and soon after. Lent begins February 14, and information about special offerings for this penitential season will also be available.
The buildings and grounds staff has cleared the walkways and the parking lot. See you soon!
December 10, 2017 // All clear!
December 8, 2017 // About our voice mail system
As you may know, the ancient voice mail system used in the parish office is not working. Since it cannot be repaired, the staff is researching and pricing new systems. We apologize for this inconvenience, and are happy to take messages the old-fashioned way at 804.288.2867 during regular office hours (M-F, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). Email is an option 24/7 (clergy emails are here; lay staff are here). Thank you for your patience.
December 6, 2017 // A night out for kids (and for parents) offered December 15
The Virginia Girls Choir will offer a "kids night out" on Friday, December 15, from 6 until 9 p.m., an opportunity for parents to shop, decorate, wrap, rest, or enjoy a date night. The girls, along with staff and choir parents, will supervise three hours of fun for your child(ren), including pizza, games, a holiday movie, and a holiday craft. Reservations are required; the cost is $25 per child for the evening ($10 per child for additional members of the same family). This is a fundraiser for the choir, so additional donations are gratefully accepted. If you are not a parent, or your children are grown, why not give this as a gift to a parent you know who could use a night off during this busy season? Read more on our Advent page, and make your reservations today. (Please note: participating children must be potty-trained.)
November 21, 2017 // Holiday Memorial Service takes place the Monday after Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is the first in a series of holidays that can amplify a sense of loss and grief for those who miss a child who has died. St. Stephen's and other local faith communities and schools offer an annual interfaith service especially for such parents, siblings, and other family and friends. This year's service takes place Monday, November 27, at 7 p.m. here at St. Stephen's. Read more here.
November 16, 2017 // The Café is open!
The Café @ St. Stephen's is open! Stop by this weekend when you're shopping at the Farmers Market, or when you come to church Sunday morning, to see this beautiful, inviting space and to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, a smoothie, a bagel or pastry, a salad or wrap, or some other treat. Next week we'll begin serving a full range of espresso drinks. Also: on Sunday mornings the drip coffee is complimentary! Read more about the café here.
November 15, 2017 // Thanksgiving Day service, and Thanksgiving week info
Our annual Thanksgiving Day service takes place Thursday, November 23, at 10:30 a.m. This beautiful service of Morning Prayer features a sermon, special music, and especially gorgeous arrangements by the flower guild. It is very well attended, so plan to arrive early! (Please–no seat saving!) Read more about this service here.
The parish office will be closed Thursday, November 23, and Friday, November 24. The Farmers Market @ St. Stephen's will take place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In fact, that’s the day the market moves into its winter home in the Fellowship Hall.
Some other things to know for Thanksgiving week:
- There is no Wonderful Wednesdays supper on November 22; while Evensong will take place at 5:30 p.m. as usual, the Virginia Girls Choir will not sing that Wednesday.
- Check with the leader or convener of your small group about whether you will meet Thanksgiving week
- The regular Sunday worship service schedule is in effect the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but there is no Forum.
- There will be an all-ages Advent Fair on Sunday, November 26
October 18, 2017 // We have work to do together
St. Stephen's annual giving campaign is underway. If you made a pledge to the work we do together in 2016, thank you! The vestry and campaign leaders hope you will do so again this year, and that you will prayerfully consider an increase. If you did not make a pledge, please become a pledging member. If you give to St. Stephen's without making a pledge, thank you for your support--and please do make a pledge, to help the vestry make sound decisions for the coming year. More information, including an online pledge form, is available here.
September 20, 2017 // The Café @ St. Stephen's is hiring
The Café @ St. Stephen's will open later this fall, and we're looking for experienced baristas to help make this "village green" ministry a success. Read more here.
September 8, 2017 // Regular schedule, Rally Day this Sunday
This Sunday marks the return to our regular worship schedule (Sunday school, the Forum and other educational offerings return September 17). It's also Rally Day, when representatives of the many ministries at St. Stephen's will be on hand with information, brochures, and sign-up sheets. Refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall after the 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services, and you'll be able to visit and browse.
September 6, 2017 // Seasons of the Spirit, fall edition
Did you receive your copy of Seasons of the Spirit, our quarterly publication? If you're not on St. Stephen's mailing list--or you want to share this publication with others--use this link to see a digital version. We also have extra copies available throughout the parish house. In this edition: Gary Jones' cover article, "Sursum Corda" (Lift Up Your Hearts), a calendar for the coming program year, photos from a full summer, reflections on poetry and an at-home mission trip, two exciting musical events for 2018, upcoming speakers, and much more.
August 29, 2017 // Help for those affected by Hurricane Harvey
The news from Texas is heartbreaking and many of us are looking for ways to be helpful. During natural disasters, and in their aftermath, it is important to remember what is helpful to those in distress--and what is not helpful. The most effective, useful way to provide material support is to make financial donations, large or small, as you are able. We recommend that your donations be sent to Episcopal Relief and Development. ERD works directly with local diocesan and parish representatives to ensure that those most in need receive help, with minimal bureaucratic involvement. This organization has an excellent track record in such situations. You can make your donation directly to ERD here. Any checks sent to St. Stephen's for hurricane relief will be forwarded to ERD.
Sending supplies is NOT recommended. No matter how well-intentioned, such donations place tremendous stress on those affected by these disasters. Already-traumatized communities divert resources, space, and manpower to sort, store, and disburse material things. In addition, sending food, water, diapers, clothing, toys and the like from someplace else deprives affected communities of opportunities to plow money back into the local economy.
Similarly, the arrival of volunteers, until and unless expressly invited, stresses systems in a disaster area. Opportunities for volunteer assistance will no doubt be plentiful in the future, but not now. The Diocese of Texas and other dioceses affected will make their needs known at the appropriate time.
Whether you are in a position to make a monetary donation or not, as people of faith, we are called to pray for those affected by this historic and tragic event.
August 14, 2017 // St. Stephen's clergy and parishioners to participate in vigil
Third Street Bethel AME Church will hold a prayer vigil this Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. in response to the events that took place in Charlottesville last weekend. Third Street Bethel was our partner in hosting a community-wide showing of the documentary film "13th" earlier this year. Their pastor, Reuben Boyd, has invited the people of St. Stephen's to participate in this vigil, and we will take a church van to Third Street Bethel for those who sign up in advance. Please call 804.288.2867 to reserve a seat. You are, of course, welcome to attend even if you do not ride the church van. The vigil is expected to last about an hour.
August 7, 2017 // Episcopal News Service publishes article about St. Stephen's jail ministry
David Paulsen of Episcopal News Service interviewed volunteers and staff involved in our growing ministry among residents of the Richmond City Jail. Here's his article.
July 21, 2017 // School supply drive for the East End
Many parishioners enjoy providing school supplies for students in the East End schools with whom we partner. To see what these students will need this fall and where to bring them, follow this link.
July 18, 2017 // We're looking for a manager for the café!
Work is proceeding on the new café, and we're beginning the search for a manager. Read the job description here, and share it with anyone you know who is qualified and would love this exciting opportunity. Instructions for applying are included in the job description. Please, no phone calls.
July 5, 2017 // Open auditions for Virginia Girls Choir
The Virginia Girls Choir, the community-wide choir for girls in grades 5 through 12, will have open auditions this month. Director Kerry Court will hold auditions on Thursday, July 13, and Wednesday, July 26, from 6 until 8 p.m. at the church. No appointment is necessary if you come at these times. If you cannot attend one of the open auditions, please send an email to Kerry to schedule an appointment. Read more here.
June 30, 2017 // Holiday weekend schedule
The weekend schedule at St. Stephen's is as usual: our farmers market takes place outdoors on Saturday, 8 a.m. until noon, and the Saturday and Sunday worship schedule is unaffected by the upcoming holiday. The Sunday Community Supper will include hot dogs and hamburgers in addition to our traditionally healthy fare. The parish office will be closed on Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4, so there will be no Morning Prayer, Evensong, or meetings or events here on those days. We'll re-open on Wednesday, July 5, with Morning Prayer at 8:10 a.m. and the office opening at 8:30 a.m. We hope you have a safe and pleasant Independence Day. (As always, a member of the clergy staff will be on call for pastoral emergencies.)
June 22, 2017 // Choir of Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C., to sing for Evensong at St. Stephen's
As part of the American Guild of Organists' Midatlantic Regional Conference, the renowned choir of Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C., will lead a service of Choral Evensong, with the Rev. Steve McGehee of St. Stephen's Church officiating, on Wednesday, June 28. A prelude featuring the choir, conducted by Jeremy Filsell, Ph.D., and guest organist Erik Wm. Suter, will begin at 4:35 p.m., followed by the service. A copy of the program is here; information about St. Stephen's Aeolian-Skinner organ is here.
June 8, 2017 // Café construction begins next week
The construction of our new café is scheduled to begin next week! We are thrilled that this project is on track for a fall opening, and deeply grateful to all who have made a gift or pledge to this exciting ministry. Read more about the project and how you can support it here.
June 2, 2017 // This Sunday is the Day of Pentecost
This Sunday, June 4, is the Day of Pentecost, one of the three major feasts of the church year (the others are Christmas and Easter). Pentecost is the day we remember the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking about God's deeds of power in a multitude of languages. Many people like to wear something red, the liturgical color for the Holy Spirit, when they come to church on Pentecost. Remember that our summer worship schedule is in effect.
May 26, 2017 // Summer schedule and Memorial Day
The summer worship schedule begins this Sunday, May 28--all the details are here. On Monday, May 29, the parish office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day. We'll re-open at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30. The food pantry distribution that usually occurs on Mondays will take place on Tuesday this week.
May 18, 2017 // Bishop Goff visits this Sunday
Our annual bishop's visit takes place this Sunday, with the Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, bishop suffragan, as the celebrant and preacher at the 9 and 11:15 a.m. services. Bishop Goff will confirm, receive, or reaffirm more than 80 youth and adults. Special receptions in honor of Bishop Goff and the confirmands will take place after each service. (Reminder: there is no Palmer Hall service beginning this Sunday; that service resumes in September.)
May 12, 2017 // Summer book selection
Each year at this time, the rector chooses a book for the parish to read together over the summer. Read about Gary's pick for this summer here.
May 5, 2017 // Godspeed, Weston Mathews
As announced in the eSpirit and the weekly Spirit, the Rev. Weston Mathews has accepted the call of Grace Church, the Plains, to serve as their rector beginning this summer. On Sunday, May 14, we will honor Weston and his wife Hannah at a reception following the 11:15 a.m. service. You can read Weston's letter to the parish, and the message of our rector, Gary Jones, here.
May 3, 2017 // Newcomers lunch
If you are new to St. Stephen's, just joined--or deciding whether to join--we'd love to meet you this Thursday for lunch. Our rector, Gary Jones, and other staff members will be here to greet you, tell you a bit more about this parish and how to plug in (as much or as little as you like), and answer any questions you have. If you haven't already let us know that you plan to attend, please call 804.288.2867. Noon on Thursday, May 4, in the Fellowship Hall
April 14, 2017 // Easter services
Please join us to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this Saturday and Sunday. A schedule of Easter services and additional details can be found HERE. You'll find service times, orders of service, information about music, child care, parking, handicap access, and more.
March 31, 2017 // Farmers Market returns to the great outdoors
The Farmers Market @ St. Stephen's is a year-round market, open every Saturday, rain or shine. In the winter, the market is held indoors in our parish house. Beginning this Saturday, April 1, it returns to its original home in the parking lot at the corner of Grove and Somerset avenues. The market's hours are 8 a.m. until noon. To learn more about the market and our vendors, visit the market pages of the Web site, or go to our Facebook page.
March 19, 2017 // Jane Hirshfield coming this Thursday
The poet Jane Hirshfield will be here this Thursday to read from her poetry. We have been anticipating the visit of this acclaimed poet for nearly a year. Read more about her, and how to reserve your place, here.
March 13, 2017 // Community screening of Oscar-nominated documentary to be offered at St. Stephen's April 4
As part of our parish's--and the larger community's--engagement with the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, St. Stephen's Church will offer a screening of Ava DuVernay's Oscar-nominated documentary "13th," about the American justice system and how it is affected by the legacy of race in the United States. Stevenson figures prominently in this film. The community is invited to see it here on Tuesday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. There is no charge for this event; pre-registration, though not required, will help us determine the best location for showing the movie. Several Richmond-area congregations are co-sponsoring this event with St. Stephen's, including Third Street Bethel AME Church, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, and All Saints Episcopal Church.
The event is planned in anticipation of Stevenson's appearance at Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center on Wednesday, April 12, at 6 p.m.
March 10, 2017 // Spring forward this Saturday night
Before you turn in Saturday night, remember to set your clocks and watches ahead an hour. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. this Sunday. You won't want to miss Sunday morning services (our new associate rector, Steve McGehee, will preach!) nor the Sunday Forum, where Allison Seay will present "The Vacancy Made Visible." Read more about coming events in this Sunday's Spirit.
March 3, 2017 // Pittman McGehee, Jane Hirshfield speak this month
Among the many resources St. Stephen's is offering for Lent is a retreat let by the Rev. Pittman McGehee, an Episcopal priest and Jungian analyst, who is a well-known teacher on religion and psychology. Read more about his March 17-18 offering here. And on Thursday, March 23, the long-awaited visit from renowned poet Jane Hirshfield takes place at 7 p.m. Read more here.
February 24, 2017 // Lent begins next week
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on March 1. Ash Wednesday services, which include Holy Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes for any who desire it, will be held at 7:30 a.m., noon, and 5:30 p.m. Child care will be available for age 4 and under during the noon and 5:30 p.m. services. Other services and events, such as Morning Prayer, Evensong, the Wednesday supper, youth groups, and other groups and meetings, will not take place on Ash Wednesday.
Read about Lenten offerings at St. Stephen's, including a fast that will begin February 28, here.
February 23, 2017 // Shrove Tuesday pancake supper to be held February 28, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Traditionally Christians who observe Lent have some sort of celebration the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras and Carnival and examples of such celebrations. In many Episcopal parish churches, it's customary to observe "Shrove Tuesday" ("to shrive" meaning to hear someone's confession and absolve them of their sins) with a pancake supper. Why pancakes? Many Christians used to fast from eggs and butter during Lent, so making pancakes was a way to use up those ingredients in the larder. We'll start serving pancakes in the Fellowship Hall at 5:30 p.m. No reservations are needed and you may pay for your supper at the door.
Do you have dried palms from Palm Sunday? Bring them with you; we'll burn them on Shrove Tuesday in the courtyard at 6:30 p.m. and use the ashes during Ash Wednesday services.
February 6, 2017 // New vestry members elected
At the annual meeting on February 5, six new members of the vestry were elected to serve until February 2020. You can see the complete roster here.
January 15, 2017 // Barbara Brown Taylor tickets
Do you have your tickets for Barbara Brown Taylor's talk at St. Stephen's? You can reserve them online here, and pick them up at any of the following times. Or, you can purchase them during these times.
- Weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the parish office (office will be closed Monday, January 16)
- Outside the Fellowship Hall on Sundays, January 22 (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.), January 29 (10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.), February 5 (10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.)
January 7, 2017 // Weather advisory
Sunday services will proceed as usual. To give our buildings and grounds staff more room to work as they ensure that the parking lot and walkways are usable, we will not hold the Saturday evening service today. Please use your best judgment about whether it is safe for you to travel from your home to St. Stephen's on Sunday. Our nursery staff, who live some distance from the church, will not be available during the morning services, but they do plan to be present during the 5:30 p.m. Sunday service. Your children are always welcome in church.
December 30, 2016 // Please make your year-end gift today
Are you planning year-end gifts? Please remember your church, and make a special gift to St. Stephen's before the end of the calendar year. Here is a link to our secure online giving portal. Watch a video here about the many ways that your support provides hope and healing in the world.
December 23, 2016 // Christmas at St. Stephen's
O come let us adore him! Services for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (as well as the First Sunday of Christmas) are detailed here.