We are an open and growing Episcopal congregation with roots in the movement for more inclusiveness. Our great diversity of backgrounds, lifestyles and callings is a resource from which we draw our strength.
Worship is at the center of our life as a community of faith. We gather each week to worship God, whom we believe is revealed to us as our Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit. We believe that God's greatest act toward us was one of love - sending his son Jesus to Earth to live among us. In his life, Jesus set an example of how we should live and treat each other. Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice to God and died on the cross so that we, God's beloved children, would not suffer the consequences of our inherently sinful nature - death. Jesus' rising back to life three days after his death showed us that death does not have the last word, and God offers every one of us the gift of everlasting life through the sacrifice of Jesus. Every week in our worship we remember the life and death of Jesus in the Eucharist (communion), when we share bread and wine around the altar. In our worship, we are renewed and reminded of our calling as God's people so that we can go back out into the world sharing the love that God first shared with us.
As a community built and sustained on the teachings and life of Jesus, we also seek to respond to the needs across the spectrum of human experience - through our own Loaves and Fishes program, through the rich variety of groups and ministries housed in our parish building and through the efforts each of us makes in our daily life and work to serve our neighbors. Our worship deepens our faith and encourages us to faithful action.
Our members come from all walks of life. We are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and age groups. There are traditional families, single people, and people in same-gender partnerships. Some are students and some work for the federal government, while others are retired. In terms of our faith, there are retired theologians and priests, people returning to the church after being away for many years, and people who are curious about who God is. No matter who are what you are, there is room for you here!
We are part of the Washington, D.C., neighborhoods of Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant. We are responsive to the needs of our close neighbors and others in the city, especially through the Loaves and Fishes program.
Our parish is one of many in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, a regional grouping of congregations in the denomination.
Our parish and diocese belong to the Episcopal Church, the national denomination.
The Episcopal Church is one of scores of national churches that belong to the worldwide Anglican Communion. (The Episcopal Church is the branch of the Anglican Church in the United States.)
Part of larger communities
As Christians and Episcopalians in the Washington, D.C., area, we do not believe we exist in isolation, for our own sake, or as merely the church on a corner in the city. We are part of bigger communities:
Sandra Moore, member
Sandra Moore, member
What St. Stephen's is to me
I am moved by the moments of quiet in the church. As a member of the vestry, I attend many meetings at the church. I try to pass through the sanctuary before and after my meetings because the stillness of the sanctuary quiets the noise in me.
There is usually a member of the community sitting in the pews in the side chapel, often someone who looks like they are in need of some peace and grace themselves. I love that people can come into that space all day every day. I heard that one day a man stopped by in the middle of the summer. He had hitchhiked from Alabama and was looking for a place to rest and cool down before moving on. He said we were the only church he saw with open doors. That to me is being church.