St. Stephen’s is a lively, diverse, Christian congregation at the heart of the city. Our roots are Anglican (our history includes both Catholic and Protestant influences), and our particular ethos might best be described as “liberal,” that is, it is characterized by an open-minded approach to what God seems to be doing in our midst.
One of the great things about St. Stephen’s is the opportunity to match your needs with our pastoral and educational resources and to share your gifts through one of our many ministries. We see ourselves as a community that offers both healing and hope to our world, meeting not only the needs of our church members but also serving the wider community.
Ways to get involved at St. Stephens
There are a number of opportunities for service at St. Stephen’s. For example you may feel that your gifts would fit well with one of our organized committees.
- Christian Education includes The Excellent Adventure, Book-of-the-Month Club, Education For Ministry.
- Outreach includes Inn From the Cold, All Roads Lead Home, Feed the Hungry, Outreach Beyond.
- Pastoral Care includes Newcomers, Pastoral Visiting, Special Events.
- Worship includes Readers, Chancel Guild, Litanists, Communion Assistants, Choir.
For more information on any of these programs, please contact the church office.
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Helpful Hints For the New and Confused
- Drop Your Voices at the Door. As you enter, please be respectful of those who prefer to prepare for their worship quietly.
- Thanks, but No Thanks. If you do not wish to receive communion, you are welcome to come forward for a blessing,
which you may indicate at the altar rail by crossing your arms over your chest.
- Peace & Love! The Passing of the Peace is a symbolic gesture of good will that entails greeting the worshippers in your immediate vicinity, including both those known and unknown to you, with a salutation such as, “The peace of Christ,” or “Peace be with you.”
- What’s the Rush? When receiving communion, it is courteous to wait until the next person has received the wine before leaving the altar rail.
- Something Else From the Menu? Please inform the Rector if you require a gluten-free communion wafer.
- Getting to Know You. If you would like to become a member of St. Stephen’s, please fill out the “Voice From the Pew” and leave it in the offering plate.
- They’re not bothering us; we’re bothering them! Please feel free to wander the side aisles with a fussy or restless infant, or to make use of our nursery.
- We Deliver! Please inform the Rector in advance if you need to receive communion in your pew.
- As You Like It. When praying with the congregation, please feel free to stand, kneel, or sit, as you prefer.
- A Friend in Need. If you would like a visit from one of our pastoral staff, please speak to the Rector or fill out the “Voice From the Pew” and leave it in the offering plate.
- Receipt Please. If you would like to become an “Identifiable Giver” (and receive a year-end receipt), please fill out the “Voice From the Pew” and leave it in the offering plate.
- It’s Within Your Grasp. When receiving communion, please help guide the chalice to your lips.
- Everything in Moderation. Please be considerate of those who have allergies to perfumes, colognes & other cosmetics.
- Caring & Sharing. When inflicted with a cold or virus, it is considerate to dip your communion wafer in the wine rather than to drink directly from the chalice.
- Seal It with Love. If you would like to make a special donation to St. Stephen’s, or to one of its programs, please use the envelope provided in the pews, designating your intention.
- Say It with Flowers. If you would like to donate altar flowers in thanksgiving for blessings received or in memory of a loved one, please sign the Flower Calendar on the wall in the narthex.
Anglican Glossary of Terms
Here are just a few terms you may hear spoken around St. Stephen’s:
Absolution: A declaration by a bishop or priest, announcing forgiveness by God to those who have confessed their sins and repented.
Baptismal Font: A basin for water to be used in church baptisms.
BAS (Book of Alternative Services): Some prefer to worship in the language of the Book of Alternative Services which was published in 1985. Its language is more contemporary and the prayer forms used draw on a broad range of resources both those that are being recovered from the earliest centuries of the Church and those more recently developed in many parts of the Anglican Communion.
BCP (Book of Common Prayer): The “BCP” has been the worship book of the Anglican Church since its inception in 1549. Commonly called the “prayer book” and often abbreviated as the BCP, the Book of Common Prayer is a collection of classic prayers, devotions, services and psalms that developed from the rites of the 16th Century and uses that century’s language of that century. Many people continue to find its measured cadences attractive, and it remains the church’s official prayer book.
Canticle: A song derived from Scripture that is used in the church’s worship.
Chalice: The cup used at the Eucharist to hold the wine.
Chalice Bearer/Communion Assistant: Usually a volunteer within the church who bears the chalice in order to help deliver communion wine to participants during the Eucharist.
Chancel Guild: A group of volunteers tasked with the responsibility of preparing, prior to a given service, the altar and vessels used during communion.
Collect: From the Latin word collecta, meaning “assembly.” The word is normally used to refer to the prayer near the beginning of the Eucharist that precedes the lessons. The collect was supposedly designed to “collect” the thoughts of the lessons and bind the thoughts together, back in the days when only one lesson and a Gospel were read. A collect is actually any short prayer that contains an invocation, a petition, and a pleading in Christ’s Name (in that order).
Corporation: The church officers who manage the temporal affairs of the church. The Rector and Wardens [People's and Rector's] along with the Treasurer form the governing body of our parish. They are ably assisted by a group of dedicated volunteers who manage the day-to-day financial running of the church.
Eucharist: The primary act of “thanksgiving,” from which the word is derived, in which the central events in the Christian faith are celebrated as the church remembers Christ’s saving work on the cross.
Evensong: The title of the evening worship service in the BCP. Now frequently applied to Evening Prayer when it is sung.
Litanist: A volunteer within the church who delivers the litany, or prayers of the people, during the service. The litany is a form of prayer which consists of a series of requests to which the people may reply with a familiar response such as “hear our prayer.”
Narthex: In Greek, the word literally means “a large fennel” (a tall herb). In church architecture, the narthex is an enclosed space at the entry end of the nave of a building; the area in the church building inside the doors and in front of the nave. The narthex (foyer, or vestibule) is usually enclosed (primarily to provide a buffer between the outside weather and the heating/cooling inside), and is the area where the procession gathers prior to the service.
Nave: The main part of a church building; the place where the congregation sits. Probably derived from the Latin word navis, meaning “ship.” (As in Noah’s ark) In medieval England the derogatory term “knave” (commoner) developed from nave, because the nave is the area of the building where the “common” people sit.
Oblation: the act of offering the eucharistic gifts to God.
Paschal Candle: From the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover. A very large candle in a very tall holder and placed in a prominent display in the epistle side of the sanctuary. The candle is lighted throughout the Easter season, and during baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
Pink Envelope: For many years the monthly special offering envelopes were made of pink paper to distinguish them from regular weekly offerings. In current envelope boxes, special offering envelopes are deceivingly similar to regular envelopes. Many still refer to these monthly envelopes as “pink” despite the change in packaging.
Priest: A special term for an ordained minister of a Roman Catholic or Episcopal or Orthodox church; In Roman circles, the term refers to those who recite the Mass, but the Episcopal Church traces the word’s origin to a Celtic corruption of the official term for Clergy – Presbyters. The duty of a priest, according to the prayer book, is to baptize, preach the Word of God, and to celebrate the Eucharist, and to pronounce Absolution and Blessing in God’s Name. Other common titles for this position within the church are rector or incumbent.
Reader: A volunteer trained to read as a ministry within the church who delivers both the first and second readings of the day during the service.
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