St. Stephen's is in a threshold time, with one foot in the past and the other stepping into a new future. We have moved through a challenging period of loss and transition, but thanks be to God, we are still here and our community of faith is active!
This year, we felt new life begin to move as we gathered in community for picnics and potlucks, welcomed a steady stream of newcomers, sent off our interim rector with joy and gratitude, and enjoyed the many musical gifts of our talented members. We also brought back many of our favorite traditions, including book groups and Morning Forum.
Our eyes are now set on the future: calling a new rector and music minister, deepening our commitment to being a multicultural church, and continuing to sustain and improve our building.
In the same way that you have stepped up to sustain the community over the past few years, we are asking you to step up again. You are part of St. Stephen and the Incarnation; this our community, and you are needed to keep it going.
While some major staff positions have been vacant for a while, we still have many regular expenses – paying for supply musicians, utilities, and our parish administrator, among others. Consistent financial support for St. Stephen’s has enabled us to fulfill our mission during the prosperous years but also during the leaner years like we are experiencing now.
As a reminder, we are a self-sustaining nonprofit organization. To call a new priest, we must be able to raise the funds on our own to pay his or her salary. To hire a talented musician to lead us in the musical parts of our worship that are so important to us as a parish, we need to be able to pay a competitive salary, and those funds must come from us. To keep the lights on, the garbage hauled away and our building cool in the summer and warm in the winter for Sunday worshipers, staff, tenants and building users, we have to pay the utilities, and that income must be raised internally.
The vestry and other volunteers are working hard to find new people to lead us as our priest and music director. We hope to have these roles filled in the coming few months. As our Annual Giving Campaign’s theme indicates, these are major ways we are “taking the next faithful step” toward our parish’s future.
Another step we take faithfully each year is developing an operating budget. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the new key leaders for our parish arrive with a solid financial footing already in place? There will be a lot we will want these people to do to strengthen and rebuild our community, but in order to do that, they will need to know their jobs are secure and that there are financial resources to enable them to do their work. Having a robust budget in place will allow these new staff members to hit the ground running.
Financial support from members in the past has been the main area of income that keeps the St. Stephen’s community going. Now, as we begin this year’s giving campaign, we hope we can count on you again. The parish is running a budget deficit this year, and we are asking for your help to ensure we meet all our responsibilities to our diverse community.
Members of the St. Stephen’s community like you have faithfully given their support. You have generously given your time, wisdom and financial resources to sustain the mission of our parish. We continue to need all of those contributions as we look forward to the near term when we will be fully staffed again and will be able to move toward a stronger future. Please join us in taking the next faithful step!
If you have any questions or would like to further discuss making a financial pledge to St. Stephen’s, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The Stewardship Committee
Hannah Albers, Elizabeth Finley, Michele Lewis-Muzzatti, Sandra Moore, Kate Parsons, and John Payne
Why I came to St. Stephen's...
I...found the church I didn't know I needed. A church where I fully belonged, where my kids could belong, where we as a family belonged...SSI is the one place that unexpectedly, wonderfully, felt like coming home.
...and why I support it:
I don't take for granted what a blessing it is to have
found this place. This small congregation in this beautiful, rickety, old building is the keeper of a
particular tradition and revelation of the kingdom in this city, a very precious treasure in a very
fragile clay jar. And I want to help keep that treasure and fan back into flames that gift...so that those others in the D.C. area who need this church can find it and find a home here too.
- Liz Foster, a member of St. Stephen's
Why I come to St. Stephen's...
I come to this place for community, to remember
that I am not alone in the Universe. That the world is larger than my own problems. That I have
God, and I have friends to help me through...I formed deep community here, based on shared interests and values.
...and why I support it:
Every gift - financial and otherwise - that I have given to this place has been a source of growth for me. How might God help you grow into yourself with your next step of faith? Is it your development as a leader? Your creative and artistic talents? Is it gratitude and generosity through service to others and financial giving? I think God often wonders what we will do.
- John Linn, a member of St. Stephen's
Read what other members say...
...about why they are part of St. Stephen's and why they support it.