Seven whole days
A new weekly rhythm for the parish
Since March 2020, St. Stephen’s clergy and staff, parish leaders and dedicated volunteers have learned many new ways of keeping all of us connected even as we are physically apart. Over these months, we’ve learned what works well, what’s been most helpful to our parish and the community, and how to continue to exercise ministry in innovative ways while protecting the health and well-being of all our people.
The cliché that is so often associated with churches—“We’ve always done it this way”—has flown the coop. And yet one of the things we have always done, marking the beginning of a new program/academic year with a new line-up of speakers, groups, classes and more, will happen again this fall—as it always has. Thoughtful, engaging, in-depth offerings—the kinds of things for which Stephen’s has become known and appreciated—will signal the beginning of a new school year (though school looks completely different). It will simply be in a different container.
You’ll find details about some of these opportunities in the fall edition of Seasons of the Spirit, which is also in a different container—after nine years, it has been reimagined as a magazine. Look for articles about online groups and confirmation preparation for youth; a series for adults on the gifts of wondering about God with children; outstanding speakers; and more.
Some of these new offerings are available on demand; others are livestreamed or on Zoom but also recorded. Some are online but not recorded, such as fellowship and small group gatherings. Zoom links and registration are detailed in e-communications about each event; you may also call the parish office for help, 804.288.2867.
The metaphysical poet and Anglican priest George Herbert wrote movingly about offering our devotion to God every day, not just on the Sabbath, in this poem published in the 17th century; we have sung some of the lines from this poem often at St. Stephen's, set to the tune General Seminary (Hymn 382, King of glory, King of peace).
Seven whole days, not one in seven, I will praise thee.
In my heart, though not in heaven, I can raise thee.
Small it is, in this poor sort to enroll thee:
E'en eternity's too short to extol thee.
Here is an introduction to this new rhythm of our life as a parish--seven whole days--as we look forward to the time we can be physically together again.
Sundays: Worship and Fellowship
9:00 a.m. Livestreamed service from St. Stephen’s Church; also recorded for later viewing (beginning in October)
10:45 a.m. Virtual Fellowship Time, live on Zoom, interactive; not recorded (beginning September 20) Zoom link here (Note: you may have seen earlier publicity that this begins at 10:30 a.m., but the correct time is 10:45)
5:00 p.m. Middle School Youth Group (interactive on Zoom; not recorded); visit the middle school page for the latest information
7:00 p.m. High School Youth Group (interactive on Zoom; not recorded); visit the high school page for the latest information
8:00 p.m. Compline and weekly wrap up, livestreamed; also recorded for later viewing (beginning in October)
MONDAYS: Sharing what we have
1:00-3:00 p.m. Monday has traditionally been the day we receive neighbors from throughout the community who need our assistance to feed their families.
Tuesdays: Bible Study
Noon-1:00 p.m. Panelists of clergy and parishioners reflecting on the Gospel appointed for the coming Sunday, livestreamed and recorded Zoom link here (if you are asked for a password, use ststephens) Here's a link to a recent recording; you can find others on our Vimeo page as they are posted.
6:30-7:30 p.m. Contemplative Chapel: Practicing Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer with the rector, livestreamed; not recorded (began in July; ongoing) Details and registration here
Thursdays: Education series
7:00-8:00 p.m. Webinars with renowned teachers from around the world; live and recorded; free; registration required for live webinars (September 10 through December); videotaped for later viewing and posted on the same page
8:00-8:45 p.m. A special series for all ages: Entering the kingdom of heaven, “Listening to God with children,” livestreamed and recorded; registration required; contact Allison Seay (begins September 10)
Fridays: Art, music and the beauty of holiness
Noon Musical performances by parish musicians, some videotaped, some livestreamed from the church, as well engaging with icons, listening to poetry, and more. October 9 video | October 16 video | October 23 video | October 30 video | November 6 video | November 13 video
Saturdays: Feed and be fed | Sabbath begins at sundown
9 a.m.-noon The Farmers Market @ St. Stephen’s, a safe environment to shop for food, will remain outdoors all winter this year, to maintain the safety of all. Enjoy local, fresh, healthy food; support local farmers and businesses; help make it possible for vendors to share their products with our food pantry clients.