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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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Get your life back

When I wake gently after a good night’s sleep, there is something about that quiet, in-between space that feels especially holy. If I’ve been dreaming, I often try to remember the particulars of my dream, wondering what God, angels, and the spirit world might be trying to tell me through the unconscious. Sometimes I’ll gradually start to become aware of sounds that usually go unnoticed – my own breathing, the rustling of wind in the trees, birds singing. It is a dreamy, open space in which I am gradually moving from a place of deep surrender and vulnerability, a place where I have not had any control whatsoever.

I feel more spiritually pliable and reachable in this liminal space. There is a peacefulness about this time that must be what some people mean by the peace of God; and there is an enveloping quality of restfulness that must be what Jesus promised when he said, “Come to me, all you who are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

I don’t have the words for this space, but it feels sacred and necessary, vital somehow for my wholeness and well-being. For a brief time in this safe and quiet space, awareness is enveloped more by an unnamable and expansive goodness than by the many worries and concerns that will gradually begin to occupy my consciousness. Again, one of Jesus’ central teachings comes to mind, “Do not worry about your life.”

Advent is a season when many of us are turning our attention to the reality of this liminal, numinous space and the possibility of trusting in it more than we typically do. “Deep calls to deep,” as the Psalmist says, the depths of God calling to the depths of our souls. I’ve always loved this season, with its countercultural pull. I sense its truth and reliability, and this year Advent feels more compelling than ever.

These thoughts about the healing and saving place of stillness and vulnerability to the Divine occurred to me after I read a short article by Peter Marty, the editor of The Christian Century. Marty essentially said that things started falling apart for him when he began using his smartphone as his morning alarm clock. Now, instead of beginning his day with prayer, or paying attention to the chipmunk chirping at his window, or quietly talking with his wife…nowadays when he wakes, Peter Marty checks the news on his phone. “Like a billion other people,” Marty writes, “I am consumed by the news.” At times, I am one of those billion others. I think I am consuming the news, but in truth the news is consuming me.

Marty then quotes the philosopher and author, Alain de Botton, who says that in contemporary culture, “news has largely replaced religion as ‘our central source of guidance and our touchstone of authority.’ The news – not scripture, tradition, or inspired ritual – informs how we handle suffering and make moral choices. A desire to know what’s going on all hours of the day and night actually makes us more shallow than we may want to admit.”

Peter Marty concludes his timely and poignant article this way – “Our brains tell us: ‘You cannot afford to miss any news, lest you fall behind.’ My faith tells me: ‘You can afford to miss all kinds of news, Peter, especially if you want your life back.’”

I’ve noticed something similar in my own life and in the lives of people around me. How quickly restlessness and anxiety seem to be replacing stillness and trust. Our souls seem to be going into hiding. Spiritually, we are becoming less reachable. And the key to a good night’s sleep is sometimes Ambien or Ativan, so that a morning stupor replaces our morning sentience.

But the place of calm is still there. Beneath the disturbing turbulence of our culture, the deeper, still water is waiting. The reality of the spirit world is not in jeopardy; it’s simply not getting noticed. The enveloping love of God and the comforting, guiding light of our own souls are abiding truths just waiting for us to rediscover them.

If we want our lives back, we might need to evaluate “our central source of guidance and our touchstone of authority.” And perhaps a good place to begin, as Frederick Buechner once said, is to “listen to your life.” The promise of Advent is that God is still speaking there, still calling to us in that place of deep quiet and stillness, the place where we are vulnerable and trusting at the same time. Advent this year might be calling many of us to the wisdom of Psalm 46, “Be still, and know.” It couldn’t come at a better time for me; I’m ready to get my life back.

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