God loves every single one of us more than it is humanly possible to comprehend. This is no religious platitude; it is God’s very nature. God is constantly breathing new life into us, drawing us into deeper relationship, and inviting us to participate in God’s work of transforming our world. We are each uniquely gifted for this work.
At St. Stephen’s we welcome all who seek God to explore their faith questions with us; to join us as we serve and pray and worship God; to journey with as we laugh and cry and celebrate and mourn together; to grow with us as we learn to represent God’s interests in the world as revealed to us by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
When God calls us into deeper relationship, God calls the totality of ourselves. No facet of our lives is foreign to God, and so the more of our total selves we give back to God, the more free we are to become the people God yearns for us to be. At St.Stephen’s, we practice being members of Christ’s body by offering all of ourselves to God’s service.
Members of St. Stephen’s share their spiritual lives with God, God’s people, and one another. We worship together on Sunday and Wednesday mornings, we pray for and with each other, and we deepen our awareness of God’s presence through classes and small groups. As our ROX teens proclaim on their t-shirts: “Following Christ is a team sport.” We acknowledge that a spiritual life can be achieved on one’s own, but we believe that growing in God’s grace as part of a community deepens and enriches that spiritual life so much more than staying isolated.
Members of St. Stephen’s share their physical giftedness with God, God’s people, and one another. We use the gifts and talents God has blessed us with to build up the community and to serve those in need. We sing, we teach, we garden, we build, we cook, we serve. And we never underestimate the simple but powerful act of being present in the life of another.
Members of St. Stephen’s share their emotional well-being with God and one another. We strive to be a community of trust, comfort, and safety, because we know that doing the hard work of discipleship often leads us down vulnerable, challenging paths. When we foster an environment of deep trust of God and one another, amazing growth can take place.
Members of St. Stephen’s offer their financial resources back to God for God’s work through the church by making a financial commitment each year. The yearly budget of St. Stephen’s tells the story of how generously God is using us to shine God’s light in the world, and our members’ pledges fund nearly the entire amount. We encourage all members to make financial pledges each year both to help us know what story we will be able to tell together and also to deepen our own spiritual commitments to God. By giving back to God a generous portion of what God has given us, we thank God for all our gifts (monetary and otherwise), and we start on the path toward fully surrendering our lives back into God’s faithful and generous hand.
The newest facet of our lives, members of St. Stephen’s connect with one another through the virtual world of the Internet. We receive the weekly email and seasonal Carillon newsletter, share photos and items of interest on the church’s Facebook page, and stay up to date on what’s happening on the church website. We leverage the power of technology to stay connected even when distance and circumstance keep us physically apart.
Becoming a Member
Those are the ways we exercise our membership in the community of faith at St. Stephen’s. So how do you officially become a member? Start by attending church on Sunday, fill out some biographical information in the binder at the back of the church, and pick up a welcome packet from a friendly volunteer. When you decide St. Stephen’s is where God is calling you to continue your journey with Christ, share the good news with our rector, the Rev. Margot Critchfield. She will facilitate the transferal of your “letter” if you are coming from another Episcopal Church or talk to you about Confirmation and Reception, which are two others ways “officially” to join the church. We also encourage you to make a yearly financial commitment to God’s work at St. Stephen’s. You can learn more about pledging by reading this document. We rejoice that God will be blessing us with your presence at worship, fellowship, mission, and service activities in the months and years ahead!
We invite everyone to come and see how God is moving at St. Stephen’s. No matter who you are, you are God’s beloved child, and you are welcome to become a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
If you’d like to speak to the rector about membership, please fill out this form.