Welcome to St. Stephen's Church

Posted by Clifton Dickens

What should I expect?

a.     Parking: There is parking on the right, left and and rear driveways. If you park on the left of the building you will enter the church from the lot and go around to a sidewalk leading up to the main entrance for lift for wheelchiar and walker accessibilty . There are two restrooms  to the left of the doorirway.  there are steps leading to the sanctuary to climb. If you park on the right sidel there are steps to climb. You will enter the main door.  Once you enter the main door there will be one bathroom to your right. 

b.     Greeting: You will be greeted when you enter by a greeter or an usher.  You will be requested to sign a registry and complete an address form so that we can write you a thank you note for spending your time with us. If you desire, you will be assisted in locating a seat.

c.     What should I wear? Wear whatever you are comfortable wearing.  There may be people wearing tee shirts and sandals and people wearing coats and ties. 

d.     What about children? Children are welcomed in the service.  There is a nursery with a changing table, youth bed, toys and sink provided if you need it.

e.     What about communion? All baptized believers are welcome to receive the consecrated bread and wine in the service of Holy Communion.  Communion takes place every Sunday when clergy is available.  The ushers will direct you when it is time for you to receive the bread and wine. If you would rather only receive the communion bread, you may do so. If you elect not to commune, please step aside so that others in your row may go forward.  If you have difficulty walking then inform the ushers that you would like to commune at your seat and the clergy will bring communion to you after everyone else has received.  When you go up to commune, there will be a chalice for intention (in which you dip your wafer) and for drinking the wine and you may choose either one.

f.      Where should I sit? We have cushioned pews in St. Stephen’s Church. You may sit wherever you wish.

g.     How long does the service last? Generally, the service lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

h.     Will I have to speak? No.

i.      Will I be singled out? The greeter will ask you before the service if you wish to be introduced to the congregation. You do not have to be introduced.

j.      What are your services like?  We are an Episcopal Church.  Our services are liturgical. This means that they follow an outline or order of services found in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.  It means that our services are usually centered around the sacrament of Holy Communion. The congregation is led by fulltime clergy, The Reverend Father Willis Renard Foster, Rector. When our regular or supply clergy is not available Morning Prayer Services are led by Lay Eucharistic Ministers/Leaders. There are two Sunday services. An 8:00 A.M. service followed by 9:15 A.M. Christian Education, and a 10:30 A.M. Service.

When you enter the church you will be greeted by a greeter or an usher. There will be a baptismal font in the aisle. It contains Holy Water. At your seat you will need to pick up a Book of Common Prayer, Hymnal, and LEVAS (Lift Every Voice and Sing). Page and hymn number will be announced to the congregation.

The service begins with introductions of visitors and any announcements that need to be made. After the service begins lay people in the church read the lessons. After the lessons there is a sermon the presiding clergy or lay leader. After the sermon, the ushers pass an offering plate to the congregation and members may contribute to it. The service also includes prayers for members of the congregation and others.  It also includes a passing of the peace among members of the congregation.  After the sacrament of Holy Communion, and the singing of the final hymn, the service ends with a blessing and a dismissal.

k       What happens after the service? Members of the congregation provide light snacks and drink in the parish hall. Visitors have a chance to meet and mingle with members of the congregation if they wish. We hope you will join us!

l.        What about religious education?  Various educational opportunities are listed in our weekly parish notes, our quarterly newsletter, and our diocesean news and publications.

m.       Is there a playground for kids? Yes there is a fenced in playground for kids on the upper level. 

n.        Can I see more of the church? Yes. If you ask one of the ushers or the greeter they will be happy to give you a tour of the church.

o.        How do I join the church? You meet with the clergy or when they are not available with the Senior Warden.

p.        What is your mission?  The mission of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is “to meet the needs of the Church and Community” so that all people, young and old, rich and poor, wise and foolish, who are drawn here may know themselves deeply loved and deeply welcome, nourished by joyful liturgical worship as the center of their common life, and living out their calling in generous service to one another and to our community.

q.        What are your core beliefs? The core beliefs of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church are that Christian Churches of two different traditions can successfully worship together with mutual enrichment, and grow in Christian strength and love; that every person is of infinite value to God; that outreach to the greater community and world as well as sensitive care for each member of our church community are imperative to living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ with integrity.

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