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Events & news

Updated: 3 days ago

Upcoming events


Weekly compline on Zoom during Lent


As day turns to night, pause from the frenzy of the week and bask in light of God’s love with a brief service of prayers and meditation before bedtime. Reflections and readings will invite us to journey with Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends, as he journeys with Jesus to Calvary.


Thursdays, February 15, 22, 29, and March 7, 14, 21, 8:00-8:20 on Zoom

 

Living a Faithful Lent: A Series for Young Adult Episcopalians


The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is hosting a series for young adults (20s & 30s) in the diocese on "Living a Faithful Lent," starting off with an event at our own Loaves & Fishes on Saturday, February 17.


Going through March 23, Young Adults from around the diocese are invited to gather for six Saturdays of service and reflection centering on Jesus’ words in Matthew 25. We will gather weekly on Saturday mornings at different service organizations to support ministries that center around each of the communities that Jesus addresses in Matthew 25:31-46. Participants will gather for introductions and prayer, followed by service with EDOW partner organizations focused on justice in the DMV. The day concludes at noon with a brief reflection.  


This is an opportunity to learn about service organizations in our diocese and to personally engage in the work to which Jesus calls his followers. Learn more and register.


For more details text/call 202-537-6542, or email aakes-cardwell@edow.org

 

Vestry meeting


Monthly meeting for February:

February 25

 

Monthly potluck gatherings


Everyone is welcome! Please bring a dish, drink, or dessert to share.


Upcoming potluck:


Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30pm at Laura Popielski's house RSVP 


Future dates:


 

Noon Forum


This is a time of education and discussion, usually held on the second Sunday of each month. It begins after coffee hour (about 12:15pm).


Upcoming topics:


  • March: TBD 


Volunteers are needed to lead upcoming Noon Forums. This could involve, for example, sharing your professional knowledge, facilitating a discussion, or introducing an organization or service opportunity. Some past forums were focused on the diaconate, rites of remembrance of the departed, Nicene Creed translations, the history of the Book of Common Prayer, bishops in the early church, the synoptic Gospels, the non-canonical Gospels, the Gospel reading for the day, and various service organizations. These are just examples; use your imagination, and don't be shy. Contact Jim Frazer if you would be willing to lead a Noon Forum session.

 

Small Group: Threaders of St. Brigid


Every Tuesday, 7:00-8:30pm in the sanctuary. Light snacks will be provided.


Bring your knitting, sewing, or other craft project, or come to learn. No experience necessary.


Contact: Jane Bishop

 

Lenten Compline


Thursday, March 7, 8:45-9:00pm

Come sing compline (evening prayer) with the choir after their rehearsal that evening

 

Short-term singing opportunity to be part of the "Easter festival choir"


Singers are invited to join the choir for rehearsals during Lent to form an "Easter festival choir." We will be preparing the “Hallelujah Chorus” from George Frideric Handel’s oratorio "Messiah" as well as Easter anthems, canticles, hymns, psalms and service music. There are three rehearsals, an Easter dress rehearsal and two Easter services.


Schedule:


  • Three Thursday rehearsals: 7:30-8:00pm, February 29, March 7 and March 14 in the auditorium at church

  • One dress rehearsal: Thursday, March 21, 7:30-9:00pm

  • Singing at two services:

    • The Great Vigil of Easter, Holy Saturday, March 30, 7:00pm choir, 8:00-9:30pm Vigil and Holy Eucharist

    • Easter Day, Sunday, March 31, 9:30am choir, 10:00am prelude, 10:30am Holy Eucharist


Please join us:


Speak to/email Ronald Butts-Boehmer, Interim Director of Music and Organist, by Sunday, February 25

 

Screening of "The Philadelphia Eleven" documentary


"The Philadelphia Eleven" is a feature-length documentary released last fall about a group of women and their supporters who organized their ordination to become the first women priests in The Episcopal Church as an act of civil disobedience in 1974. St. Stephen's had a part in this story (and appears in the film) with the ordination of an additional set of women after the first set (in 1975) and as the church where one of the first women to be ordained presided over communion "illegally." The screening will take place:


March 3

1:00-2:30pm

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill, 301 A St. SE Cost: $10.00


General announcements


Diocesan Convention Report


by Ryan Knight, elected from St. Stephen's as a convention delegate


On January 27, 2024, I attended the 129th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and represented St. Stephen and the Incarnation. Diocesan Convention is the yearly legislative meeting presided over by the bishop and consisting of the clergy and elected representatives of Episcopal congregations in the diocese, which includes not only Washington, D.C., but also Montgomery, Prince George's, St. Mary's and Charles Counties in Maryland. The convention considers the diocesan budget and other matters regarding the mission and ministry of the diocese. It was a fun and interesting day, though very long. It was great meeting representatives from other congregations and seeing the spirited but respectful discussion that took place. It was also a beautiful day spent in the cathedral.


In the future, I think it would be great to have more representation from our church. Thank you to everyone who responded to the Google surveys I put out regarding the resolutions under consideration. Your feedback guided my votes on the convention floor. All of the resolutions passed, though some of them were amended. Next year I hope we can have an in-person discussion of the resolutions (over dinner and libations). 


A full report from the convention can be found here, in English. Below are a few notes from the convention I thought would be of particular interest to our parish from a report given by Canon Andrew Walter on parish stewardship, facilities, and finances:

  • The diocese can provide support to help churches increase rental income. For instance, the diocese will maintain commercial real estate brokers on retainer to provide consultations to churches. 

  • The diocese can also provide analysis of neighborhood and parish space to increase rental income. If a church decides to retain a consultant, the vestry of the church would agree and pay a brokerage fee upon completion of the agreement.

  • The diocese can provide a space agreement template form available to parishes.

  • The diocese can also assist with redeveloping church property to increase long-term financial stability of a congregation, which requires legal processes and consultations to change zoning.

  • The diocese is developing a list of real estate consultants that churches will be able to contract with.

  • Financial assistance for preliminary legal and consultative processes is available from the diocese on a case-by-case basis


If you have any questions about the convention, please feel free to contact me, or approach me at church.


Vestry and priest search process update


The vestry held its first meeting of 2024 on Sunday, January 28. Healing Committee members Maria Mercedes Bejarano and Liane Rozzell gave a presentation on a set of "Principles for a New Future/Principos para un nuevo futuro," which the committee had developed to help guide how members of the parish relate to each other with respect to decision-making, transparency, and living together as a community devoted to justice and care. The vestry formally voted to adopt the principles to guide its practices going forward.


Vestry members also discussed our clergy search process. Over the course of December and January, vestry members have held conversations about the search with clergy interested in learning more about St. Stephen's as well as with the relevant staff at the diocese. As a result of these conversations, the vestry voted to retitle the process as a rector search rather than a priest-in-charge search. Initially, our search was for a "priest-in-charge" position, for a certain term of months, with the intention that the person called for the position might transition into the role of rector at the end of the provisional term. However, feedback from potential applicants indicated that this framing might be discouraging interest in the position.


As of this week, the rector position has been re-opened to applications, and the vestry is already scheduling interviews. As noted last fall, there will not be many details about the process that can be shared, out of respect for applicants' privacy, but prayers for those who are discerning whether the next steps in their ministry might bring them here, and for the vestry, are appreciated.


Finally, members of the vestry and the Buildings & Grounds committee shared information about a discussion which took place earlier in the month with staff from Banneker Ventures, the company that is proposing to redevelop the Urban Village apartments next to St. Stephen's. Banneker has proposed modifications to its plan which partially address some but not all of our concerns about how the construction and the eventual site plan might restrict the ability of St. Stephen's, Loaves & Fishes, and the organizations that share our building to carry out their missions. There is still no firm timeline for the construction process, and we are consulting with local leaders and city agencies about the project and its potential impact.


Nominating Committee and Parish Elections


Later this spring, we will be electing new wardens and new vestry members. Do you feel a call to serve in parish leadership? Would you like to learn more about vestry responsibilities? Please reach out by email to wardens@saintstephensdc.org, and you'll be put in touch with someone who can answer your questions.


We are also seeking members of the parish to serve on the nominating committee to help recruit people to run for these elected positions. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please reach out to wardens@saintstephensdc.org.


2024 Giving


Thank you to those who pledged for 2024. Your household’s pledge has been entered in Realm, and if you have an email address in that system, you would have received an email from Realm with the subject line of St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church Pledge Confirmation. The amount you pledged is in the body of the email. If you need to update your recurring gift in Realm or want to set one up, please look at these instructions. If you need help with Realm, please contact Sarah Padre, our treasurer by email or call/text 202-230-2136. If you need to change your pledge for the year, please reach out to the treasurer. Thank you for your continued financial support of our church.


Welcome to our new interim music director and organist

 

Ronald Butts-Boehmer, our new interim music director and organist, had his first Sunday with us on January 7.

 

He has served as music director at churches in Florida, Texas, Virginia and in Italy. He is experienced in liturgical planning, choir training, church music programs, hymnody, musical education, organ performances and promoting participation.

 

He has performed as a conductor and as an organ and piano recitalist in the U.S. and Europe. His conducting activities includes the Giffoni Film Festival, City of Salerno, Salerno Conservatory Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, Teatro Sannazaro Naples and for numerous ensembles and venues in the Naples area. He was director of the Choral Scholars of Naples and was a Maestro Collaboratore at Teatro San Carlo, Naples. He has given various recitals for the D.C., Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Northern Virginia, and Potomac Chapters of the American Guild of Organists. He has performed at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, the Basilica of St. Petronio, Bologna, numerous venues in the Naples area and the Cathedrals of Salerno and Sorrento. He has served also as a jury member of international music competitions.

 

He holds a graduate degree in orchestral conducting from the Salerno Italian State Conservatory. He studied conducting with M⁰ Massimiliano Carlini, choral conducting with M⁰ Antonello Mercurio, piano and orchestration. His dissertation was titled “Gabriel Fauré Requiem Original Version 1888-1893.” His advanced organ studies were in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain, Frederic Blanc, H-F Houbart (Madeleine), Olivier Latry (Notre Dame), Daniel Roth (St. Sulpice) and in Bologna with Luigi Tagliavini. Piano studies for ten years were with Lois Nielson. His orchestral debut was at age 15, when he performed Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in Dallas. He studied organ with James Livengood, Paul Riedo, Jesse Eschbach and Marie-Madeleine Duruflé-Chevalier.


New members of the vestry


At its December 17 Vestry meeting, Sandy Ovalle Martinez and Isaiah Poole were appointed to fill two vacant seats. They will both serve until the annual meeting this spring.

 

Sandy Ovalle Martínez began attending St. Stephen's during the fall of 2018, when she first moved to Washington, D.C. She is a table-setter and space-curator, rooting her work in the deep faith and strength of Chicanx and Latinx spiritual teachers. She is a native of Mexico City. A mujerista theologian and an organizer, Sandy is experienced in campaign and program work around different social justice areas including climate and environmental justice, immigration, women and girls, voting rights, and peace and nonviolence. She holds an M.A. in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and currently serves in the Council of Advice for the Latino Hispanic Ministries of The Episcopal Church. Sandy loves writing poetry and gathering people around a table full of homemade pozole.

  

Isaiah Jerome Lewis Poole has been a member of St. Stephen's for about 15 years, serving for most of that period as a worship reader and lector. He has also served on the board of the Urban Village Corporation, for which he is currently serving as president. His previous church experience included serving as an elder at Faith Temple, the first predominantly Black LGBTQ+ church in the country. Professionally, he has been a journalist, editor, and nonprofit communications executive. He has also been active in civil rights, housing, and economic policy issues.


Children's Christian Education


Children can join one of our programs, sit with their parents, or roam the floor when they come to worship with their families. Child care is provided for infants and toddlers during the service in the first room off the left aisle (before the fire doors). Godly Play for 3- to 9-year-olds is in the Godly Play Room off the Auditorium (follow the left aisle through the fire doors all the way back). The kids leave the service before the readings and return for the offertory. Sunday School for 4th to 8th graders is in the corner room just off the Godly Play Room.


Outreach team forming


The unfortunate truth is that a parish the size of St. Stephen’s is difficult to sustain over the long run. Financially, we are just making ends meet, and many volunteers are doing a lot and are stretched thin.

Fortunately, there are people in the DC area who need St. Stephen’s! Some of these people know they need us; they are searching for a church. Others don't yet know they need us. Liz Foster is starting a committee to try to do outreach in more deliberate ways to all of these folks: to get people in the doors and to make sure they feel welcome and get to know us once they are here.


Liz has a bunch of ideas already that have come up in different contexts, and she is looking for people to help brainstorm more and put them into action. She is also looking for other ideas! Is there something you think someone should be doing but doesn't have the time or ability to do it by themselves? As we get started we’ll also need people with specific skills — talking to strangers and inviting them to church, graphic design, social media savvy, etc. — to volunteer for specific tasks. Contact Liz at 202-754-4313 or djiboliz@gmail.com if you can help out in any of these ways.


Supply clergy and pastoral care


Until we call a new permanent priest, our worship services will be conducted by supply clergy this fall. These visiting priests will preach and preside at communion during our Sunday worship services.


For pastoral care during this time, please do not contact these supply priests as their duties and responsibilities at St. Stephen’s are limited. For pastoral care needs or to discuss scheduling sacramental events such as a wedding, please contact Jane Bishop or 202-297-8627 (call or text).

Loaves and Fishes donations needed!


Loaves and Fishes needs your help! This program of our parish continues to serve meals on all weekends and federal holidays to many people who need them; food costs are also going up. You can donate by visiting our online donation page on Realm and selecting "Loaves and Fishes" from the drop-down menu or by writing a check to St. Stephen's and noting Loaves and Fishes on the memo line.


Loaves and Fishes volunteer opportunity


Our Loaves and Fishes program serves a prepared meal every Saturday, Sunday and federal holiday year-round. Many people in need come for food. If you are interested in volunteering with Loaves and Fishes, simply text Denize at 240-855-5874


Coffee hour


Join us after the 10:30am service for coffee/tea, light snacks, and fellowship. Please sign up to volunteer to bring snacks and help with set-up/ clean-up for our weekly coffee hour. Thank you for making this time possible!


A Gentle Reminder Please keep your pledge up to date. Just like your household, the church has regularly monthly expenses we must meet, so your help in making regular pledge payments insures we can meet them. Thank you for your commitment and faithfulness to our community.










HomeAid National Capital Region, the organization responsible for the renovation of the dining room in the basement of our building, hosted a re-opening of the space on Thursday, November 30.


The most visible changes in the dining room are newly painted walls, new flooring and lighting, and new laundry, bathroom and shower areas. But there are other improvements and updates made to the space, which had not been updated in decades. Some of the improvements even spilled out of the dining room to stairways, including the one used most often inside the 16th Street entrance to the building, where the landing immediately inside the door has been repaired and walls have received a fresh coat of clean, bright paint. All of these changes are ones that we could not have afforded to do ourselves!


These renovations will most directly benefit Thrive, one of the nonprofit space users of our building that serves a significant population of unhoused people in the city, and our own Loaves and Fishes ministry, which uses the lower-level kitchen and dining room for serving prepared meals on weekends and federal holidays. The parish and the community will also benefit as parishioners, outside groups and organizations can now utilize this more modern and welcoming space for meetings, celebrations and gatherings.


HomeAid, the main organization behind the renovation, is a national nonprofit. Its National Capital affiliate is based in Chantilly, but it had never completed a project within D.C. before. HomeAid’s mission is to carry out these types of renovations and other work on the facilities – housing and other buildings – belonging to charities that help people who are homeless. HomeAid plays the role of securing in-kind donations of labor and materials for these facilities projects from companies in the building industry.


For our dining room renovation, HomeAid worked with Knutson, a homebuilding company in the DMV, and Knutson, in turn, had 12 subcontractors that donated supplies and labor related to lighting, paint and other areas. The electrical company, Southern Electric for example, gave 100% of its materials and labor to our project as a donation. In all, the project cost $155,000, and 80% of that was donated by the contractors and by HomeAid. Another portion of the costs were covered by the Bou Family Foundation, which has been a longtime supporter of Loaves and Fishes.


On the parish side, Elizabeth Finley (at the suggestion of parishioner Michele Lewis) contacted HomeAid in December 2021 and completed the application for the renovation. Elizabeth and Jon Bolduc from Thrive served as the point persons with HomeAid for the renovation, troubleshooting with other space users and their staff and clients and on the occasions when access to the building was a problem due to construction.


The executive director and CEO of HomeAid National Capital Region, Kristyn Burr, hosted the brief and informal ceremony, attended by representatives from HomeAid, Knutson, and many of the construction contractors who worked on the project. Leaders of Loaves and Fishes (Claudia Pabo) and our parish’s Vestry (Erin Hutson) also attended and spoke, thanking HomeAid and the contractors for their excellent work and generous contributions. It was noted by several speakers how modern and hospitable the renovated space is now, which reflects the way HomeAid and the organizations that use the space want to treat people in need—with dignity.


Feel free to check out the renovated dining room yourself!


Renovation celebration on November 30 with representatives of St. Stephen's/Loaves & Fishes, Thrive DC, HomeAid National Capital Region, and Knutson

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

For pastoral care during this in-between time, following the departure of Rev. Rondesia Jarrett-Schell as our interim rector and until we call a new permanent priest, do not contact our summer supply priests as their duties and responsibilities at St. Stephen’s are limited.


For pastoral care needs, please email Jane Bishop or call/text her at 202-297-8627. You may contact her with pastoral care concerns for yourself, your family, your friends, or anyone you feel called to care for.

Also contact her for scheduling sacramental events such as a wedding.


Together we will prayerfully decide on the next steps, connecting you and your cares and concerns with the right people and resources of our caring community.



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