St. Stephen’s mission is to grow a healing community of those who seek to love God, love each other and serve the world through Christ. We are an increasingly diverse community welcoming ALL people to St. Stephen’s and restoring each other to unity with God and Christ.
We meet on Sundays at 10am for the weekly service and post a Midweek Devotional, as well as the Sunday service, on this website and YouTube channel.
Although Ferguson is home to a number of historic century homes, most homes and diverse living residences are affordable and neighborhoods form nice communities. Yes, Ferguson is also best known as the small suburban community where a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown, a young Black teenager on the afternoon of August 9, 2014. The resulting protests and riots made world-wide headlines. As a result, Ferguson became a prime example for needed municipal reforms, based on practices of racial injustices and inequities, as determined by the U.S. Department of justice. This is only part of our story. A city in continued transition, we are learning, growing, evolving and changing. Through it all, Ferguson remains a good place to live and to raise a family.
What to Expect
We are a quirky and warm, small church with a fair amount of diversity. We are an open community actively engaged in service to others. We focus on living in right relationship with God, ourselves, others and Creation. We laugh a lot, share food regularly and handle life’s difficult moments with prayer and support. Some call ours a practical faith. At St. Stephen’s we call it Living the Good News.
At the heart of how we practice our way of being Christians is the Book of Common Prayer. It is our unique contribution to the universal church. Sunday, weekdays and at various stages of life, we pray its prayers. The BCP includes prayers for our self, others, the world and creation. There is great variety in how we think about things. By gathering and using the BCP, there is great commonality in our practice and identity.
Liturgy and Ritual
Episcopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from very formal, ancient rites with lots of singing and incense to informal services with contemporary music. At St. Stephen’s we lean more toward the traditional than the contemporary. Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be “liturgical,” meaning that the congregation prays from texts that don’t change greatly from week to week. This sameness gives the service a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers. These services are in the Book of Common Prayer.
If you visit St Stephen’s you may find the liturgy exhilarating… or confusing. Services may involve standing, sitting, kneeling, sung or spoken responses, and other participatory elements that are a challenge for the first-time visitor. Liturgical worship can be compared with a dance: once you learn the steps, you come to appreciate the rhythm, and it becomes satisfying to dance, again and again, as the music changes.
If you are new to the Episcopal Church you may want to start with our Being an Episcopalian page. Since every church does things differently, we have added some frequently asked questions below.
Q: What should I wear?
A: People wear a variety of clothing styles. Wear what works for you. We are glad you are worshiping with us.
Q: Where should I sit?
A: There are no reserved seats. Please sit in whatever part of the church makes you feel comfortable.
Q: What are the two books everybody is using?
A: The red book is the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which contains the order of service and all the prayers spoken together. The blue book is the hymnal. The numbers in the service bulletin indicate where to find each song. Occasionally we may use a hymn outside the hymnal and the bulletin will indicate where to find it.
Q: I have trouble getting up and down. Is there a lot of movement in the service?
A: Traditionally, members of the congregation stand to sing or recite, or kneel in prayer. You may do as much as you can. It is alright to sit throughout if you have issues.
Q: Am I allowed to take Communion? What do I do?
A: Everyone is welcome to take communion at the altar. To take the bread hold out your hands with the left on top of the right (or right on top of the left if you are left-handed). The priest will place the bread in your palm. You may place it in your mouth or dip it into the chalice. If you would prefer, you may have a blessing without taking the bread. Simply cross your arms over your chest and the priest will know to bless you.
Q: If I’m new, will I have to stand up and be recognized?
A: We are happy you are with us and some people may ask your name and welcome you. You will not be asked to stand up and introduce yourself.
Q: Are children welcome in church?
Q: Is there Sunday School for children?