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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 (summer schedule begins May 27)

  • 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., Evening Prayer (on Wednesdays during the academic year, this service includes the Virginia Girls Choir) 

Saturday worship

  • 5:30 p.m., Holy Eucharist: Rite Two

Accessibility

There are several entrances to the church and parish house that are designed to be accessible to those with mobility issues or other physical limitations:

All entrances to the church, and the main entrance to the parish house, are equipped with power-assist doors. In addition, the main entrance to the parish house, from the large parking lot, has an elevator on the ground floor that allows you to bypass the steps. The Grove Avenue entrance to the main church is gently sloped, without steps, and the Three Chopt Road entrance has a ramp

Inside the church, several pews are shortened to allow space for a wheelchair or walker: the first pews on either side of the center aisle, nearest the altar, and the pews near the large baptismal font.

The church is equipped with assistive hearing devices for the hearing-impaired. Please ask an usher for one of these devices as you enter the church.


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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Angels can only do so much

When the Angel Gabriel visited the young Virgin Mary, it is no surprise that she was “troubled” and that she “cast in her mind what this might mean.” It’s an interesting expression. I cast into the ocean, and 90 percent of the time, I reel my line back in with absolutely nothing, except maybe a little seaweed. It’s like that when we are worried or troubled – we cast in our minds repeatedly, wondering what’s happening and what we should do, and each time our line comes back with nothing. When that happens to me, my feeling of being “troubled” or “perplexed” can start to turn into dread, anxiety, and even terror. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if Mary was terrified, because the Angel Gabriel immediately sees it is necessary to say to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary.” Maybe it all seemed too overwhelming to Mary, and maybe she knew how this was going to look to others, especially to Joseph. Perhaps Mary also realized she didn’t have much of a choice – poor women like Mary rarely did. So she simply offered a resigned, “Let it be.” She was “a servant” of the Lord, she said. Do servants really have a choice? “Let it be.” 

But later, the shock seems to have worn off a bit, and Mary went to visit her kinswoman, Elizabeth. Is there anything more healing or necessary, when we are troubled and afraid, than to stay close to people who love us? And sure enough, something changed for Mary when Elizabeth greeted her and embraced her. Elizabeth was not a terrifying angel who had to tell her not to be afraid; this was someone who simply hugged Mary, greeted her with joy, and told her she was “blessed among all women.” 

That’s when everything changed for Mary. Human love does that. And in Mary’s case, Elizabeth’s love awakened something in her. Now, instead of being troubled and resigned, Mary became jubilant. When Elizabeth embraced her, Mary did not have to “cast in her mind what sort of greeting this might be,” as she had with the Angel Gabriel, and reel in another resigned “Let it be.” Instead, Elizabeth’s embrace and blessing quite simply caused something to erupt in Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she said, “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” 

The great theologian John Calvin said that every one of us has a thousand angels tending to us. Calvin speculated that angels might not be separate beings as much as they are “the effective attention of God.” I don’t know. For me, this is another instance of my inclination to believe in something I can’t understand. But Mary’s experience is something I know: when I am troubled, worried and anxious, angels might be working on me to calm me – I believe I am never truly alone – but it is human love that activates or actualizes what angels have been preparing me to receive. 

Whoever you are and whatever your circumstances might be this Advent and Christmas, I hope you are experiencing deep joy. But I know this is a tough season for many, perhaps especially so this year, in a time of such contentiousness, fear, and division. Sometimes, a resigned and almost helpless “Let it be” is the best we can do. 

But I wonder if Calvin might be right. Maybe when we are feeling most troubled and alone, when we are restlessly “casting in our minds” with no results, there are a thousand angels tending us and preparing us for something we cannot imagine. And maybe finally we are going to have to reach out in our vulnerability and resignation to someone who loves us, so that human love can bring to life what angels can only prepare us for. Maybe even angels can only do so much. The rest is up to us. 

The message of Christmas, after all, is that the least likely and most worrisome circumstances, even our own, can be the birthplace of joy. Like Mary, maybe it is best in troubling times for us simply to stay open to God, stay close to people we love, and see if in fact God has chosen yet another unlikely time, and unlikely people like ourselves, to bring joy into the world.

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