YES Winter Retreat

YES Winter Retreat at St. Dorothy’s Rest
Deeper Connections Greater Impact

For years, St. Stephen’s has been supporting the children served by these organizations. We have sent hundreds of children to camp and we have supplied hundreds of children with school supplies. We hope to further deepen our connection to the community of Richmond by sponsoring a ‘YES’ retreat for students at St. Dorothy’s rest (some of whom attend St. Cornelius School).

The Winter Retreat costs over $6,000 for 40-50 kids (or about $120/child), including transportation by bus from Richmond to St. Dot’s. 

Building on ten years of Summer Camp partnership, YES and St. Dorothy’s Rest created the Winter Retreat in 2016. During the three-day/two-night Winter Camp, YES Summer Camp participants and Camp-to-Community teen leaders are immersed in the beauty of the redwoods, and are engaged in team-building activities, outdoor adventures, arts and crafts, evenings in front of the fire, and building new friendships. Through these outdoor and traditional camp activities, and the opportunity to reconnect with fellow summer campers and youth leaders, the Winter Camp re-engages the youth following their summer camp experience, which fosters and renews their enthusiasm for returning to

Camp the following summer. This engagement supports their long term participation in St. Dorothy’s Rest summer camp and in YES’s Youth Leadership Pathway programs, deepening the impact of the programs in their lives.

How can you Help? 

  • Donate to the project either online or by writing a check to St. Stephen’s with

“Winter Retreat” in the memo line.

  • Buy a ticket to “A Night in Tuscany” for $150. The Friars will host a delicious

Italian dinner at the home of Sara and Mark Nelson on January 13, 2018. There

are 20/25 spots available.

  • If you have experience working with young people, you could volunteer for the

weekend as a counselor.

For more information about donating, volunteering, or attending “A Night in Tuscany,”

please reach out to:

Maria Hjelm


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Advent & Christmas


Worship in the Episcopal Church blends tradition and innovation, adhering to forms and structures of worship that date back centuries while also making room for new expressions of prayer and praise. Sometimes we call our worship “liturgy,” which is an old Greek word that refers to something people do on behalf of, or for the benefit of, the whole community. Liturgy is our common work, and Sunday worship is intended to be a common experience of the gathered community. (As opposed to personal prayers, which we may undertake privately.)

Episcopal liturgy is drawn from several main sources (the Book of Common Prayer, the Hymnal), and makes additional use of supplementary sources (prayers and blessings come from Enriching our Worship and the Book of Occasional Services; and hymns from music sources like Wonder, Love, and Praise; Lift Every Voice and Sing; and Voices Found). Every liturgy at St Stephen’s includes material drawn from one or more of these sources.

Liturgy in the Episcopal Church follows a calendar, a three-year cycle of Bible readings called a lectionary (the readings we hear on Sunday mornings are not chosen by the clergy; they are drawn from the lectionary, which is more or less shared among all major denominations). The church year is also divided into seasons, each of which is characterized by a particular theme or theological focus. The first season of the year is called Advent, and it starts today. Its themes are expectation, hope, renewal, and the coming of Christ (both in judgment and in glory).

For this season of Advent, we have included some alternative material from Enriching Our Worship; for example, the Nicene Creed uses slightly different language to express the complexity of our belief in the Holy Trinity. In this way, we honor both our commitment to the traditional structure of liturgy, and also our openness to new expressions of that tradition.

Festival of Lessons and Carols (aka Stories and Songs)
December 17 @ 5pm

Lessons and Carols is a time-honored event that has been celebrated at King’s College in Cambridge for 99 years. Churches around the globe gather for this special way of remembering the great story of Christmas through stories and songs from our tradition. On Sunday, Dec 17 at 5pm, St Stephen’s will join ourselves to that tradition in our own special way, re-imagining Lessons and Carols as “Songs and Stories,” and inviting people of all ages to come and participate, read, listen, pray, and sing our way into Christmas together. Readers of all ages are encouraged to participate: contact Rev Steve if you’re interested ( The service will be followed by a festive reception in the Parish Hall.


St Stephen’s Episcopal Church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of Christ with songs, stories, and sacraments: Join us! 

December 24, Sunday

8am    Advent IV & Holy Eucharist

11am   Christmas Pageant (rehearsals December 10 & 17)
Our first service of Christmas is especially intended for families with children, though all ages are welcome. We tell the story of Jesus’ birth in an interactive way that invites children’s participation. Familiar Christmas hymns make it easy to sing along, and we share Holy Communion with everyone in the room. Come early to get a good seat, and to visit the crèche beforehand.

8pm    Christmas Eve Eucharist
A music celebration starts at 7:30pm. A traditional service with choir and organ, anthems, hymns, readings from scripture, and Holy Communion. The service includes singing by candlelight.

11pm   Christmas Candlelight Eucharist (with incense)
A music celebration starts at 10:30pm. A traditional service with choir and organ, anthems, hymns, readings from scripture, and Holy Communion. The service includes singing by candlelight.

December 25, Monday

10am  Christmas Day Eucharist
The hymns and readings are different than on Christmas Eve, so if you want to experience the complete liturgical complement of Christmas, add this to your plans.

December 31, Sunday

8am & 10am
The First Sunday after Christmas Day. “Fruitcake Sunday”, bring a leftover treat to share (coffee provided).


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Winter Nights

Winter Nights: December 11 – 18

          Making a difference for that one…. with God’s help

The Winter Nights homeless shelter for families with children opened in October and is being hosted by faith communities around the area. St Stephen’s will again partner with St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Walnut Creek to serve for a week at their church December 11 – 18, 2017. Keep the Winter Nights Families and the volunteers in your prayers.


Meal Teams 
Ministries and groups of family & friends are already on-board!  Teams are listed on the online signup page noted above. Thanks to all who are participating on these teams. If you are interested in serving on a Meal Team, and they need more help, contact Andie Sheets

Donations for the Winter Nights families and children:
If you can donate any of these items, please contact Ann Lawrence (contact below):

Sleeping bags
Socks for the entire family

Baskets for donated items are in the Narthex, Parish Hall and the Office. Please attach your name and contact info to your donation.  It helps if we need to contact you with any questions.

Winter Nights kids: Dress-Ups and Nerf Balls
We are putting together a “Dress-Up” box for the ages 2-7 at Winter Nights. If you have gently used or new  items please bring them to church.  Lots of little boys this year.  Capes,  vests , action hero themes.  A few little girls.  Fairy wings, tutu’s, wands, veils.   
We are also collecting “Nerf” balls for indoor play.  Soft, spongy types, round or football shaped.  About the size of a grapefruit or orange.  If you have extras or can bring new ones the kids will love them.

Financial Donations
Winter Nights will use all donations for items specifically to serve the families in the shelter (gift cards for gas/food).  We will work with the Winter Nights Director to find out specific needs. Send your check to St Stephen’s with “Winter Nights” in the memo.

Making a difference for that one. . . with God’s help

Ann Lawrence          925-212-8261   
Andie Sheets            925-997-3357   
Dan Swander            925-899-3758 


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Onward! Capital Campaign

A Home for All: St Stephen’s Capital Campaign

The Fall 2017 Update

Since the Spring of 2015, the Vestry and clergy leadership of St Stephen’s have been developing a case for a major capital campaign to revitalize our entire campus. What began as a series of conversations about (what else) deferred maintenance has become a community-wide effort to reinvest in our property and in our community, to ensure that we continue to thrive and serve our mission in Lamorinda and beyond.

The mission of St Stephen’s Church is:
To know, to love, and to serve Christ.

The Vision Statement of the Home for All Capital Campaign is:
• Strengthening our Congregation
• Welcoming our Neighbors
• Serving our Community

Our 12-member Steering Committee* along with our 5-member Executive Committee* have been discerning and developing goals and plans which support our mission, correspond to our vision, and express our commitment to vital church community for generations to come.

We are working collaboratively with the Diocese of California, and a portion of what we raise for ourselves will be given in gratitude to support the Expanding Horizons campaign and its goals.

For more information about A Home for All Capital Campaign, please contact our Rector, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Hassett

* Executive Committee: Rev. Dr. Stephen Hassett, Brad Barber, Mindy Bush, D.D. Felton, Scott Rhoades

* Steering Committee: Chris Baker, Alison Eddy, Roy Elliott, Ted Michon, Tracie Nelson, Katie Rittmann, Louise Severy, Jay Stock, Dan Swander, Lê Tran Thi, Tom Worth, Bev Wyllie


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Angel Project

St Stephen’s: Angel Project 2017

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people,
and respect the dignity of every human being?
        “I will, with God’s help”   – Book of Common Prayer, p. 305

St. Stephen’s Angel Project helps families in need with food at Thanksgiving and gifts at Christmas.  This year, our week to be with and help the folks at the Winter Nights Shelter is December 11-18 so our Angel Project focus will adjust a bit. Below are the Angel Project Thanksgiving needs for 2017…happy shopping!

Thanksgiving Food Donation Bags for Monument Crisis Center
– Box of Stuffing Mix
– Box of Mashed Potato Mix
– Cornbread Mix
– Packet of Gravy Mix
– Cake Mix and Frosting
– Can of “Jellied or Berry” Cranberries

Please place all items in a plastic grocery bag and tie the bag.
> Due back by Sunday October 29

Safeway Gift Cards for Contra Costa Interfaith Housing
We are collecting gift cards for the Scattered Site Individuals program. 48 formerly homeless individuals with special needs are scattered through CC County in permanent, supportive housing. We are hoping to provide each person with a $50 Safeway gift card so that they can purchase a nice Thanksgiving meal.
> Due back to St. Stephen’s Sunday November 5

A special request to St. Stephen’s children and youth:
In each Interfaith Housing apartment complex the kids have special homework time with helpers and tutors each day.  They are given incentives for trying hard, figuring something out, sharing grades, etc.  The incentives prizes are under $5 in value and gift cards are a favorite item (Starbucks, Jamba, etc)

> Due back to St. Stephen’s Sunday November 5

Sponsor a family?
If you are interested in sponsoring a family from one of the organizations that we work with, please contact:
Monument Crisis Center: Sandra Scherer;
Contra Costa Interfaith Housing: Gloria Bertolozzi;


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Concert for All Saints: Requiem for the Living

On Sunday, November 5, we will conclude our celebration of the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls by offering a concert from our choir. Under the direction of Michael Langham, they will be singing Dan Forrest’s “Requiem for the Living.” The concert begins at 5pm and is free to all.

“A Requiem, at its core, is a prayer for rest — traditionally for the deceased. The five movements of Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living (2013) however, form a narrative just as much for the living, and their own struggle with pain and sorrow, as for the dead. The opening movement sets the traditional Introit and Kyrie texts — pleas for rest and mercy — using ever-increasing elaborations on a simple three-note descending motive. The second movement sets Scriptural texts that speak of the turmoil and sorrow which face humanity, while yet invoking musical and textual allusions to the Dies Irae. The Agnus Dei is performed next as a plea for deliverance and peace; the Sanctus, following it, offers three different glimpses of the “heavens and earth, full of Thy glory,” all of which develop the same musical motive: an ethereal opening section inspired by images of space from the Hubble Space Telescope, a stirring middle section inspired by images of our own planet as viewed from the International Space Station, and a closing section which brings the listener down to Earth, where cities teem with the energy of humanity. The Lux Aeterna which then closes the work portrays light, peace, and rest — for both the deceased and the living.” (from


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Wednesday Nights

On Wednesday nights beginning September 13, we offer an evening of Christian formation and education for all ages. We gather for prayers and to eat dinner together at 6pm, and then separate into groups by age to study and learn from scripture and tradition.

If your children are in school and have homework, we offer time and space to work on that as well.

For details, please contact Rev Steve: steve@ststephensorinda. org


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Blessing of the Animals

At our 10am service on Sunday, October 1, we will celebrate the Feast of St Francis by welcoming you, as Francis himself would, to bring your animal companions to church for a special blessing. In honor of Francis and his devotion to Creation, we will worship outside on our patio — and the service will include a time of prayer and blessing for all our animal friends. (Photographs of animals may be brought instead of actual animals, and we welcome children’s stuffed animals, too.) The 8am service will take place in the sanctuary, as usual, and will not include a blessing of the animals. Please mark your calendars for this special service: 10am on October 1.


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St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day: September 10, 2017

Join us on Sunday September 10 as we celebrate the community of St Stephen’s. Sept 10 marks the beginning of our program year: the return of Sunday School, Youth Group, and the choir; and the beginning of a new season of learning and growing through Bible Study, retreats, workshops, classes, and family gatherings. After the 10am service on the 10th, we’ll enjoy brunch prepared by The Friars, visit with old friends and meet new ones, and welcome Cheryl, our new Children and Family Minister, and Ed, our new seminary intern. Clergy and staff will also be on hand to hang out, catch up, and share information about upcoming programs for children, youth, adults, and everyone in between. Get there!


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Summer Hospitality

Summer Hospitality 
From now until September 3, we will have Summer Hospitality. 

St. Stephen’s will have the coffee & hot water pots ready for Coffee Hour.

The snacks will be provided by you.  As you walk out the door this Sunday, grab a treat to share.  Just put your goodies on the table in the Parish Hall.  If you bring a container be sure you take it home. See you Sunday! 


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