St. Stephen’s is known for the quality, breadth and depth of speakers who visit the parish, including renowned theologians, writers, poets, and monks. Our speakers series has become a resource not only for this parish but for the larger church and the community.
Past speakers have included Barbara Brown Taylor, John Philip Newell, Harvey Cox, Anne Lamott, Mary Oliver, Jane Hirshfield, Jon Meacham, Becca Stevens, Martin Laird, Lauren Winner, Martin Smith, the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and many others.
All events are open to the general public. You do NOT have to be a member of St. Stephen's to attend. Many, though not all, of these events have a suggested donation, but please do not allow this to be a barrier--see the information at the bottom of this page about suggested donations.
St. Stephen's also offers a variety of retreats and workshops and the Sunday Forum meets at 10:10 a.m. in the Large Fellowship Hall between our 9 and 11:15 a.m. services. The Forum often welcomes guest speakers; more details about the Forum schedule for 2018-19 will be available here.
Books by our speakers are available in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen's.
A word about suggested donations
We suggest a donation of $25 to attend most events (unless noted otherwise); this usually covers the expenses of our bringing these outstanding writers, teachers and thought leaders to you. We want our speakers to be accessible to all, and we know that some people will be able to donate more than $25, and others less. If you plan to pay the suggested donation, you may reserve your place online. If you prefer to pay a different amount, please stop by the parish office to register, or call 804.288.2867.
(To read about upcoming retreats for Advent and Lent, visit the retreats page of this site.)
Temple Cone // 'A Closer Absence' // Thursday, January 31, at 7 p.m. // Free, no reservations needed
In our present day, the reality of words is under siege. Political doublespeak, the hyperbole of advertising, and a general indifference to truth-telling have laid waste to meaning, with visible and troubling consequences. In such a landscape, poetry stands out as an almost obsolete practice. Yet poetry, like prayer, is committed to the inner life of words, to offering the right words in the best order, and to waiting, patiently, for their effects to be felt. On January 31, Temple Cone will discuss this struggle for meaning, reading from his own poetry and reflecting on the power of poetry to revive language.
Temple Cone is the first Poet Laureate for the city of Annapolis, where he is professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy. The late Claudia Emerson (Late Wife) called him “a poet of unwavering honesty and lyric precision," continuing, "Temple Cone’s gift to us, and to poetry, is in ‘the persistence of song’—an underlying sense of wondrous optimism despite the perils of the world we shape and are shaped by.” Cone is the author of four books of poetry: Guzzle (2016); That Singing (2011); The Broken Meadow, which received the 2010 Old Seventy Creek Poetry Press Series Prize; and No Loneliness, which received the 2009 FutureCycle Press Poetry Book Prize. He has also published reference works on Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Walt Whitman, and 20th century American poetry. He holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Wisconsin, an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in creative writing from Hollins University, and a B.A. in philosophy from Washington and Lee University. His parents, Barbara and Bobby Cone, are long-time St. Stephen's parishioners.
Pico Iyer // 'The Stillness We Ache For' // Thursday, March 28, 2019, 7 p.m. // Reserve your seat here
Pico Iyer is known not only for his travel writing and novels, but also for his writing and speaking about quiet and stillness. At a time of round-the-clock news, beeping phones and escalating stress, it can be harder than ever to remember what we care for and what really matters. Drawing on his time in monasteries Eastern and Western, calling upon his 44 years of talks with the XIVth Dalai Lama, and trying to maintain his sanity in an age of acceleration and distraction, journalist and essayist Pico Iyer shares practical tips and suggestions for how to make a life as well as a living in a world of clutter and confusion, in "The Stillness We Ache For." $25 suggested donation.
In anticipation of his visit to St. Stephen's on March 28, Allison Seay will facilitate a discussion of Pico Iyer's work, specifically The Art of Stillness. This group will meet in early spring for three sessions, dates and times TBD. If you're interested in being part of that group, email Allison.
Copies of Iyer's books are available in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen's.
Previous speakers in 2018-19
Former Lt. Gov. John Hager, September 18
Dr. Jean Twenge, October 11 (cancelled due to inclement weather)
Barkley Thompson, October 28
Paul-Gordon Chandler, November 11
John Philip Newell, November 11
Barbara Brown Taylor, November 15
Please call the parish office at 804.288.2867 if you have questions.