St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish is open and inclusive. Growing from our worship and following in the path of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, for whom our church is named, we embrace the message of God’s love for all people at all times and in all places by feeding those who are hungry in body and in spirit and providing spiritual comfort and heartfelt welcome.
The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church recently said, “The church doesn’t have a mission; God’s mission has a church” to fulfill the Five Marks of Episcopal Mission:
~ To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
~ To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
~ To respond to human need by loving service
~ To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
~ To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
What Our Members Say:
I came to St. Stephen’s over 40 years ago. I came because of the music program and it was close to my home on the Park Blocks. I was made welcome and have continued to sing in the choir. Over the years I have moved several times and for most of that time I have lived in the suburbs, but I have stayed at St. Stephen’s, and served in many capacities. St. Stephen’s has become my spiritual family. They have prayed with me, for me; rejoiced with me and wept with me and always I have been enfolded into the love of the St. Stephen’s family. I have been directed on to paths that I never expected but always it has been a joyful and wonderful journey.
How we found St. Stephens: Being new to Portland and moving to Terwilliger Plaza located downtown, St. Stephens was a logical parish to explore. It is within walking distance and also has plenty of free parking in the area on Sunday mornings.
Why we chose St. Stephens: We attended the cathedral, Trinity, a few Sundays and decided a smaller parish would serve our need for “a connected feeling” where our spiritual and personal community needs could be met. St. Stephens is located in an area of low-income housing and takes advantage of carrying out the Christian mission of caring for others. We have belonged to a number of Episcopal parishes throughout our octogenarian lives where we felt we were part of “God’s Christian Frozen People” as contrasted to others where we felt a part of “God’s Christian Chosen People.” At St. Stephens we really feel part of the “Chosen People” practicing the Christian mission as there are many and varied opportunities. Each service and activity makes one realize everyone is “really welcome” regardless of their circumstance in life. One can actually feel that warmth and Christian love. At St Stephens one feels a sense of community and gratification in being able to contribute practical skills to the second oldest church in Portland.
Sam R. Ganczaruk
When Ed and I arrived in Portland seven years ago, it was a great leap of faith into a community we barely knew. Other than a brief visit as tourists, Portland was an adventure for our partnership and retirement.
Joining the Episcopal Church in 2004 while residing in Santa Rosa, California, I found a welcoming and loving community there. I was hoping to find a parish equally as welcoming and loving as the one I had experienced there.
Walking into St. Stephen’s in midwinter, 2006 I was greeted by the interim rector. He made me feel completely at ease in what could have been an alien experience. I was feeling close to God by experiencing the liturgy and sermon at St. Stephen’s that day. I transferred my membership from the Santa Rosa church to St. Stephen’s in early spring, 2006. All during 2006, I felt wanted, accepted and needed by the community of St. Stephen’s. My relationship with God grew deeper and more loving each week while attending St. Stephen’s.
When I was asked to serve on the Vestry starting in 2007, I gladly accepted as a way to serve God and St. Stephen’s parish. It was gratifying to hear that my abilities and contributions were welcome and encouraged. Each year as I served on the Vestry and attended our worship service each Sunday, I grew closer to God and to the friends I have made at St. Stephen’s. God speaks to me clearly and directly at St. Stephen’s. I can share the joys of good times, reassurance in difficult times and comfort in bad times because of the clergy and community of St. Stephen’s.
St. Stephen’s liturgy is inspiring, loving and comforting to me and I have made it the most important event of each week. At times, I have experienced difficulty in making the long, slow and uncomfortable journey from my home on the far east side to St. Stephen’s, but have always realized waiting for me at St. Stephen’s is a meaningful and comforting liturgy, the company of good friends and acquaintances and most of all the nearness to God.
I treasure my participation in the worship of God at St. Stephens.
Samuel R. Ganczaruk, Vestry