Hopes and Dreams
What We Value
- Quality Worship: St. Stephen’s values excellence in liturgy, preaching, and music.
- Relationships/Community: St. Stephen’s values the vibrancy of our parish family, the commitment of our ecumenical partners, and our place in the larger community.
- Education/Formation: St. Stephen’s values intellectually rigorous opportunities to grow in Christ for all ages and at all stages of life.
- Spiritual Gifts/Mission & Outreach: St. Stephen’s values the discernment of individual and communal gifts and the opportunity to employ those gifts in service to God, one another, and the larger community.
- Communication: St. Stephen’s values consistent, forthright, engaging communication.
Opportunities & Challenges
- Newcomers/Church Growth: How can we attract new members, particularly families with children? How far out of our individual and communal comfort zones are we willing to move to become more relevant to those without strong current religious affiliations?
- Liturgical and Musical Diversity: How can we build on our long-standing traditions of excellence to create new opportunities for religious and spiritual engagement – particularly opportunities that could appeal to the unchurched?
- Community Building/Pastoral Care: How can we more effectively nurture existing relationships within the parish and serve those with special needs while also reaching out to those who might welcome involvement in a loving, supportive faith community?
- Spiritual Gifts/Mission & Outreach: How can we better help current members discern their spiritual gifts, match those gifts to service opportunities, and expand participation and engagement with the wider community? Could current or new ministries (including traditional parish strengths in outreach/mission, environmental concerns, and music) be additional “portals of welcome” for new members?
- Stewardship: How can we more effectively develop the spiritual generosity of members to support the mission of the church?
- Leadership & Communication: How can we broaden the leadership base in the parish? How can we encourage greater engagement in parish ministries? How can we strengthen communication – within the parish, between community partners, and with those who are unfamiliar with St. Stephen’s?
Our New Rector
St. Stephen’s has been blessed with a long line of rectors who practiced servant leadership (even if that’s not always what it was called). We look for a rector who will continue this approach. We also look for someone who is both willing and equipped to challenge us – individually and as a parish – to continue to be servant leaders ourselves.
Because St. Stephen’s has served her parish family and the broader community so well for so long, there is an understandable impulse to cherish what has come before and to hold fast to what works well. At the same time, there is a palpable longing at St. Stephen’s to explore new opportunities, connect with new people, and respond to God’s call in new ways. We feel this is a healthy tension that has the potential to catalyze new forms of parish creativity.
Given this context, what constitutes effective leadership? Many have suggested that the words, patient, persistent, engaged, and visionary are important ingredients of an effective leadership approach for a parish such as St. Stephen’s.