The Episcopal Church finds its roots in the Celtic and Benedictine traditions, which see the presence of God manifested in the goodness of God’s creation, and which honor God’s creation through the sanctification of time and space. We mark certain times as sacred time, certain spaces as sacred space.
As in the rest of the Anglican Communion, we mark our Church year by liturgical season. The repetition of events in the life of the Church give us a grounding in our faith. Here are some of the ways in which we celebrate the mystery of God, and the revelation of God in Jesus Christ through regular seasonal events:
Advent Wassail Party: Every December we have a Wassail party after Church service to thank the Team who give so much of themselves to make our St. Stephen’s special.
Pictured below (at our 2011 Wassail Party) are:
- Dan Warn — Christian Education Coordinator
- Carolyn Jess — Music and Choir Director
- Lisa Maddux, Custodian and Claryn Reid, Office Administrator
- Deacon- Elaine Pitzer , and
- Father Bill and Margaret with son, Ross
Advent Lessons and Music: Eucharistic service that focuses on the anticipation of the Messiah and holds before us the tension between listening to God’s voice and waiting for God’s revelation to us.
Annual Christmas Sing-along- 2011
A Community Christmas Sing Along with special guest, our own Bishop Jim Waggoner as St. Nicholas!
Our annual Community Carol Sing is held in the Parish Hall. Our Choir is on hand to lead us in singing your favorite Christmas carols. Young and old enjoy a cozy fire, delicious home-baked cookies, hot-cocoa and other treats. We have guest performers, Christmas stories, a special visit by St. Nicholas, and several other surprises. There is even a photographer to take pictures of children with Santa.
Your children, grandchildren, family and friends are invited to share in this festive holiday event.
Here are some pictures!
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CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE AND CHILDREN’S PAGEANT – 2011
Christmas Eve Services: We hold two services on Christmas Eve, a 5:00 p.m. Eucharist for families, with Christmas Pageant, and a 10:30 p.m. Eucharist. Both services include a candlelit singing of “Silent Night.”
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CHRISTMAS EVE 2010 – “THE GREATEST PAGEANT EVER!”
Twelfth Night Celebration: We celebrate the end of the Christmas season and the coming of the Magi to the Christ Child in this medieval-themed party. We have a King’s Cake with treasures hidden within it, prizes for best medieval costumes, live music, Celtic dancing, and games and activity for kids.
Weekday Lenten Program: On Wednesdays in Lent, we hold a soup supper and offer presentations on a theme that helps us to reflect on discipleship and right relationship to God, themes appropriate to Lent. For five Wednesdays during Lent, we meet at 6:00 p.m. for supper and begin the presentation at 6:30, ending at 8:00 p.m.
“Prelude to the Passion”: This is an interactive diorama that tells the story of Jesus’ last days on this earth, leading up to his death by crucifixion. It is offered in the Parish Hall on Palm Sunday and remains there for people to visit and reflect upon, through Good Friday. It is intended to give us a reflective and sobering look at those events of our most solemn and important week of the Church year, Holy Week, and serves as preparation for the joy of Easter.
Maundy Thursday: A Maundy Thursday service is held at 7:00 p.m., with foot-washing and the Stripping of the Cross.
Good Friday: We observe Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion of our Lord, with two services: a walk through the Stations of the Cross at 12:10 p.m., and a Good Friday Liturgy at 7:00 p.m.
Great Vigil of Easter: We celebrate the raising of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, in this first service of Easter, often called “the Queen of Feasts.” The service begins in the Parish Hall with the lighting of the Paschal Candle at 7:00 p.m., and moves to the Narthex for baptisms and a renewal of our Baptismal Covenant. We then process into a festive sanctuary for Eucharist.
Easter Egg Hunt: On Easter Day after the 10:15 a.m. family Eucharist, we hold an Easter Egg Hunt for all children up to age 12, in the lower-level playground.
Pentecost: We celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the “birthday of the Church” with an extravagantly decorated sanctuary, filled with red balloons and white dove decorations, and readings proclaimed in several different languages. A festive coffee hour follows the 10:15 a.m. Eucharist.
End-of-year recognitions: At the end of the Church School year, in mid-May, we recognize and honor the ministries of our Sunday School teachers, and also celebrate the milestone of high school graduation, at our 10:15 a.m. family Eucharist.
Pet Blessing: To commemorate the life of St. Francis of Assisi, that most beloved of saints, we hold a Pet Blessing on the Sunday closest to his feast day. People are invited to bring their pets to church, where during the service we celebrate the love and companionship that our pets give to us, and ask for God’s blessing on them.
All Saints Sunday: On All Saints Sunday, we remember the saints who have gone before us, especially those in our own lives whom we remember and love. In special prayers, we offer our loved ones to God and celebrate their lives, and ask for God’s eternal peace in God’s Kingdom for them.
Thanksgiving: On Thanksgiving eve, we hold a special service in which we give thanks to God for the many blessings of our lives. Eucharist follows the Ministry of the Word