This year’s Lenten devotions will invite us to consider the Christian practices of prayer and service. Worship in Lent emphasizes our own need for reconciliation (with God and with one another), and St Stephen’s Outreach Ministries connect us to the needs of the world and create opportunities for us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Each Sunday in Lent will feature a different Outreach Ministry as well as a theme for our own reflection, and for the sake of our reconciliation and renewal in Christ.
Feb 14: Ash Wednesday at 7am, noon, 7pm
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with a worship service that includes Holy Communion as well as the imposition ashes; a reminder of our mortality, and of the corresponding gift of life. Children are welcome at all services; at the 7pm service we will offer a special children’s program as part of the liturgy.
Ash Wednesday Children’s Service (included as part of the 7pm service)
Children are blessed and comforted by Ash Wednesday’s liturgical reminder that though each of us sins and daily falls short of our best selves, our gracious God is glad to be with us. We have no need to be ashamed because our Heavenly Father welcomes us, receives our “I’m Sorry’s” and gives us courage and power by the Spirit to go forward in a new way. This is a great and joyous truth on which children can build a positive and hopeful sense of self and others in a broken and painful world. Children will hear and reflect on Scripture, pray together, receive ashes if desired, be blessed and then join their families for communion.
February 18: Lent 1
Join us after the 10am service for a traditional Easter-egg painting class offered by Evelyn Michon. Begin Lent with craft and community, and by creating something that reminds us where Lent leads: to Easter. This workshop is offered as part of our efforts to raise funds for the YES! Winter Retreat at St. Dorothy’s Rest. The cost is $25/person (scholarships are available). You can pay at the class or prepay by sending a check to church office. Questions to: Maria Hjelm (email@example.com) or Evelyn Michon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
February 25: Lent 2
On the second Sunday of Lent, we welcome back Katie Evenbeck, the director of St Dorothy’s Rest. Katie will be our guest preacher for the morning, and will be joined by staff from YES! Nature to Neighborhoods. St Dorothy’s and YES! have a long history of partnering to provide camp experiences to children from Richmond, and will have just completed a three-day Winter Retreat which St Stephen’s sponsored. After church, a coffee hour forum will allow Katie and YES! staff to talk about their work together, and to share reflections from the Winter Retreat.
March 4: Lent 3
On the third Sunday of Lent, we will welcome Leslie Gleason from Shelter Inc. for a forum after the 8am and 10am services, to talk with us about Shelter Inc’s work, and to invite us into deeper connection with their mission “to prevent and end homelessness for low-income, homeless, and disadvantaged families and individuals by providing housing, services, support, and resources that lead to self-sufficiency.” St Stephen’s is committed to support Shelter Inc with hands-on help the week of April 16–20, and we’ll be signing up volunteers on this day.
March 11: Lent 4
On the fourth Sunday of Lent, we will welcome our guest preacher the Rev Margaret Dyer-Chamblerlain, who is one of two Diocesan Archdeacons. The role of the Deacon in church history has its roots in the story of St Stephen, who was among the first seven deacons of the Church, and whose duty was to make sure that the congregation was attentive to the needs of all its members. The deacon, therefore, traditionally serves as a link between the resources of the Church and the needs of the world. Rev Margaret will preach at 8am and 10am, and lead a forum on the ministry of deacons after each service.
March 18: Lent 5
On the fifth and final Sunday of Lent, we welcome Cheryl DeSimone from Monument Crisis Center, who will lead us in a “Poverty Presentation,” outlining the many ways that the Center serves as a safety net for people in need. Cheryl’s presentation will comprise part of our worship, and she will lead a forum and discussion after church, inviting us into deeper discussion and commitment to Monument Crisis Center and its mission of support for individuals and families in need.