Christmas worship services
Young adult group at St. Stephen and the Incarnation (YASSI) Advent potluck and compline
Dear lovely ones,
Hannah has graciously offered to host our gathering on Advent 2 - Sunday December 10, at 6:30pm. Feel free to bring a side dish, drink, dessert or simply your wonderful self. We'll share a meal for about an hour and then end with compline, a simple evening prayer service, and be done by 8ish. If you have a Book of Common Prayer, bring that too!
It would be helpful to have a rough head count, so please let Hannah know if you plan to come and for her address. Madeline will be the Advent 3 host. (Advent 4 is Christmas Eve, so we won't have a meal together.)
New Priest Search Process Q&A Session
Sunday, December 17
As was shared a couple of weeks ago, the vestry's invitation to a candidate to accept a call as our new priest was not accepted. On December 17, after the 10:30 service and after Misa Alegria, vestry members will hold a Q&A session for members of the parish to share their feedback and also provide information about our discussions with the diocese about the next steps for our search process.
Cookie Party & Card Writing - Coffee Hour on Dec. 17
At coffee hour on December 17, we'll be putting together plates of cookies for some of our members who live near the church but are no longer able to attend. Want to help? Bring a batch of cookies or healthy treats to church on December 17 and stick around at coffee hour to help create mix-and-match goodie bags. We'll also have cards at church for folks to sign over the coming weeks. Can you bring a batch of treats to share on December 17? Let us know here: https://bit.ly/SSIAdventCookies
Monthly potluck gatherings
Everyone is welcome! Please bring a dish, drink, or dessert to share.
Saturday, January 13, 7pm
Home of Erin Hutson
2900 8th St. NE Apt. 1RSVP
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.
This is a time of education and discussion held on the second Sunday of each month. It begins after coffee hour (about 12:15pm).
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
Music Ministry Update
Beginning in January 2024, we will have a new Music Director and Organist. Ronald Butts-Boehmer will be with us starting Sunday, January 7. He is on a 6-month interim contract with the potential to transition to a permanent member of the staff. More will be shared about Ronald in early January.
December Vestry Update and Call for Vestry Nominations
The December 3 meeting of the vestry included discussion of the 2024 budget and next steps in the search process for a new priest. The Co-Senior Wardens and John Payne, who had been the project manager for the search process this year, discussed their meeting with the diocese at the end of November about the process, and the vestry reviewed a potential timeline for relaunching the search in the near future. The vestry thanked Sandra Moore for volunteering to assist with managing the logistics of the search process, taking over from John Payne. On December 17 there will be Q&A discussions of the search process during coffee hour and during the evening meal after Misa with members who attend both services.
The vestry also received an update from the building and grounds committee about the completion of the basement renovation and various repairs which have been completed or are underway in the building. Banneker Ventures, the firm which is proposing to redevelop Urban Village, has communicated that it has design changes in mind that would alleviate St. Stephen's concerns about parking and access for deliveries, which it expects to share in January. The vestry discussed a variety of financial matters: the parish will have a surplus in 2023, while Loaves and Fishes is running a deficit. The vestry also discussed the successful stewardship campaign and the 2024 budget. Some components of next year's budget were not complete in time for the meeting, and thus the vestry agreed to hold a final 2023 meeting on December 17 to vote on the full budget.
The vestry accepted with deep regret the resignation of member Maria Mercedes Bejarano and thanked her for her service. In consideration of being in the middle of the search process, the vestry had not filled the seat made vacant by the death of Bill MacKaye, but vestry members agreed that now the two available seats should be filled as soon as possible, at its December 17 meeting, before the search process is relaunched. These appointed members will serve until the spring 2024 annual meeting. If you are interested in being considered for an appointment to the vestry now or standing for election in the spring, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone to Co-Senior Warden Erin Hutson at 202-257-2482. The names of anyone who expresses interest in joining the vestry but is not added in December will be turned over to the Nominating Committee which will be appointed in January.
The vestry also accepted the resignation of John Linn as diocesan convention delegate and appointed Ryan Knight as his replacement. According to the parish bylaws, this appointment will also last until the spring 2024 annual meeting, when it will be up for election.
As noted during announcements last Sunday, we have now begun a new church year and we owe a great debt to all of our volunteers, staff, supply clergy, musicians and all the other helpers who have helped see us through the past one.
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 email@example.com if you can help out in any of these ways.
Rector search update
Over the past few months the vestry has been interviewing candidates. Ultimately, after sifting through those who met our needs, we had two finalists whom we invited for parish visits. One candidate withdrew their application prior to their visit. After our other candidate’s parish visit the vestry voted unanimously to offer them the position. Regrettably, this week the candidate decided to decline our call.
We had been informed by the diocese that many parishes throughout the church are having difficulty finding clergy at this time, and unfortunately this proved true in our case. The vestry is working with the diocese to develop a plan of action. We will hold Q&A sessions for the parish in both English and Spanish before the end of the year. In the meantime, please know we are working to identify clergy who can continue to help us at both the 10:30 and Misa services.
For more information on our progress, visit the Rector Search page on our website.
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
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.