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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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Pay Dirt

I have been giving a series of reflections at church recently on “Buried Treasure,” a conviction I have about something beautiful, true, and life-giving that perhaps is buried in the field of every one of our lives. But the run-up to the presidential election has had me wondering about another reality in every one of our lives: buried trash.

Almost every day it seems we are waiting for a new revelation from a candidate’s past, video footage or emails that will uncover an ugly truth about the person. The evidence is out there, of course, and trolling adversaries, government investigators, or the Russians will surely find it. There’s a lot of good and beautiful stuff to sift through, as we’d expect in any life, along with lots of ordinary, human stuff, like the ups and downs of being a mother or father, a daughter or son, a wife or husband. But if we are patient in sifting through these lives and the researchers dig long enough, we will hit pay dirt.

The “pearl of great price” in this election season has been the uncovering of some bit of ugliness, sinfulness, or deceitfulness in a person’s life. And when the relentless trolling through a candidate’s past has hit pay dirt, the exposure has been immediate and brutal, to the delight of jeering crowds and the embarrassment of the naked candidate.

Who can live peaceably in such an environment? Maybe only the one who is without sin, which is surely one reason therapists and their patients are reporting unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness stemming from this presidential race. If this is how our society deals with failure, no one is safe. We all wish for a bit more mercy, kindness, and decorum in public life, in part because we fear such unforgiving cruelty might be applied to ourselves.

But I wonder if the deeper problem is our unhealthy way of relating to our past. Do revelations of failure have to be so devastating? As Bryan Stevenson says so beautifully in his book, Just Mercy, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done.” And what I have been wondering is how we might live into the “more” of our lives, instead of getting stuck on “the worst” of our lives.

Maybe what we need is another way of understanding and relating to our past, because “that which is denied cannot be healed.” (Brennan Manning in his memoir, All is Grace) Maybe there is a role for our mistakes and willful transgressions that is more about blessing than curse. In in own memoir, Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner put it this way:

“I am inclined to believe that God’s chief purpose in giving us memory is to enable us to go back in time so that if we didn’t play those roles right the first time round, we can still have another go at it now…. Another way of saying it, perhaps, is that memory makes it possible for us both to bless the past, even those parts of it that we have always felt cursed by, and also to be blessed by it … what the forgiveness of sins is all about.”

From curse to blessing? Is such alchemy really possible? In fact, I think this is what the Gospel is all about, with its strange beatitudes, its strength in humility, and its comfort in sorrow. Once in a while, a person who has experienced repeated lapses and failures shows us the way, which is how I felt when I read how Brennan Manning introduced his memoir:

This book is by the one who thought he’d be farther along by now, but he’s not.
It is by the inmate who promised the parole board he’d be good, but he wasn’t.
It is by the dim-eyed who showed the path to others but kept losing his way.
It is by the wet-brained who believed if a little wine is good for the stomach,
then a lot is great.

It is by the liar, tramp, and thief; otherwise known as the priest, speaker, and author.
It is by the disciple whose cheese slid off his cracker so many times
he said “to hell with cheese ‘n’ crackers.”
It is by the young at heart but old of bone who is led these
days in a way he’d rather not go.

But,

This book is also for the gentle ones who’ve lived among wolves.
It is for those who’ve broken free of collar
to romp in fields of love and marriage and divorce.
It is for those who mourn, who’ve been mourning most of their lives,
yet they hang on to shall be comforted.
It is for those who’ve dreamed of entertaining angels
but found instead a few friends of great price.
It is for the younger and elder prodigals who’ve come to their senses
again, and again, and again, and again.
It is for those who strain at pious piffle
because they’ve been swallowed by Mercy itself.
This book is for myself and those who have been around
the block enough times that we dare to whisper
the ragamuffin’s rumor –
all is grace.

We all have buried trash. At least, that’s what we thought it was. But it’s possible that what we thought was merely buried trash is actually the way to our buried treasure. That’s the way God’s alchemy works – what we deny can curse us and bind us; but what we humbly acknowledge and offer to God can bless us and set us free to bless others.

I think we’re all tired of leaders digging in each other’s lives in order to condemn. More and more, I’m persuaded that Jesus encouraged us to restrict our digging to our own lives, in order to bless.

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