Thanks for your interest in St. Stephen’s!
I hope you will join us for worship some Sunday soon. My deep prayer is that you will find a place here to experience God’s love as you discover your gifts and join with others in worship, ministry, and service to our community and the world.
It isn’t easy to cross the threshold of an unfamiliar church. We’ll do all we can to make that easier for you. We have friendly greeters, and a (hopefully!) easy to follow bulletin, and no one will mind if you sit in the back. Though you will be warmly welcomed (by most everyone) we won’t make you introduce yourself or draw attention to you during the service. We have a great nursery and children’s program for kids under ten, but we also welcome families to sit together. There is even a “play pew” with gates so active toddlers have some wiggle room.
One thing I love about this place is the freedom to ask questions and come to our own understanding. Everyone is welcome! Our deep roots link us to the ancient wisdom of the scriptures and Christian tradition , yet we do not presume to have all the answers and we do not demand conformity of belief. Instead we hope to create a climate in which spiritual seekers can grow, learn, and adapt their own responses to the real-world challenges we all face. So we invite everyone to come to the communion table, wherever they find themselves on the journey of faith, to join their hearts together with all who seek a connection to the holy.
Worship at St. Stephen’s has a certain structure to it. It reflects more than twenty centuries of faith practice of the Judaeo-Christian heritage and the Anglican/Episcopal expression of it. Yet we also try to connect the dots, and keep our prayers and reflections fresh and informed by the world around us, connecting us to the scriptures as a living document that has as much to say to us today as they did when written. Our worship style is a flexible framework that creates continuity but allows for variety, following the seasons of the year and the church while celebrating birthdays and baptisms, the beauty of creation, and the daily reality of our lives. Our music is a blend of ancient and modern with a classical flair, and includes hymns, choir, piano, organ and handbells. In any given service we will stand, sit, and kneel, and some folks like to cross themselves at certain points. Just follow along as you feel comfortable — you will see many different expressions of worship around you.
If our worship is somewhat formal, our people are not. We come from all over the area, and bring a great variety of human experience. Gay and straight, struggling to make ends meet and relatively well off, toddlers, teens and grey hairs. You may see ties and shorts, tee-shirts and dresses on any given Sunday. People say this is a friendly place, but not in an overwhelming way. If you need a little space you will find it here, too. Come over to coffee hour in the parish hall after the service, and you will be welcomed into lively conversation and usually a very yummy spread of finger food.
I think it is safe to say that this is a community of people who serve. We express our faith actively in the world, in our work lives and as volunteers, both collectively and individually. Radical Love, FISH, and Green Faith are deep in our common culture. Some of us serve in schools, shelters, and environmental causes, on boards of community groups, and even in politics. We certainly do not all agree about our various passions and causes, but we work hard to create a lively conversation about how our faith values support us to serve our community and our world. We also rejoice in our connections to other congregations and religions traditions as a founding member of the Lower Columbia Interfaith Community.
So enjoy exploring our website, and come see us soon, and in the meantime let me know if you have any questions.