Who We Are
St. Stephen’s is an active, multi-generational parish located in Pittsfield, the largest city in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. With an average Sunday attendance of roughly 150, St. Stephen’s is fortunate to be at what many feel is a sweet spot for church size. We’re small enough to maintain a family feel and a palpable sense of intimacy. At the same time, St. Stephen’s has the resources to support robust ministry offerings.
Our liturgical perspective could be called “broad church.” Our common life centers around our two weekend services. We are resolute in our faith in Jesus Christ, generally progressive in our theology, and rooted in active mission and outreach.
We Are Welcoming and Inclusive
As a regional Episcopal Church, we draw members and visitors from Pittsfield and from more than a half dozen surrounding towns. We range in age from toddlers to wise elders well into their nineties. We hope to attract more families with young children, encourage increased teen involvement, and connect with more young adults in the community – common goals in most mainline churches.
We are made up of newcomers as well as those who have been members for sixty or more years. Our survey data indicate that newcomers are particularly devoted to St. Stephen’s and energized by our worship and mission opportunities.
We are both single and married. Some of us identify as heterosexual and some as LGBTQ. Members include those who are politically liberal, those who are conservative, as well as those who are harder to place on the traditional political spectrum. The parish contains active and retired professionals, retired clergy, seniors on fixed incomes, as well as working families.
We like to say that we don’t all believe the same, act the same, vote the same, or dress the same – but we strive to love the same, as Christ loved and served all people.
We Value High Quality Liturgy and Strong Preaching
Celebration of the Eucharist is our central liturgical practice. We offer a simple service on Saturday evenings in our chapel and a choral service on Sundays. We have robust lay participation in our worship services.
St. Stephen’s also has a long tradition of engaging our faith with intellectual rigor. We respect preaching which honors this tradition with sermons that are both instructive and inspiring, compassionate and challenging.
Our excellent music program is a central feature of our Sunday service. We look to build on this strength as we explore a broader variety of offerings.
We Are A Visible and Engaged Member of the Community
For nearly four decades, St. Stephen’s has maintained a weekly hot meal program (“St. Stephen’s Table”) for people in the Pittsfield community. The program currently serves dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings and lunch on the fourth Saturday of the month.
The parish also supports a host of other outreach ministries, some on our own, and some in collaboration with community partners. These efforts include Laundry Love, Habitat for Humanity, Cathedral of the Beloved, and several 12-Step programs. Finally, many personal, informal, and unplanned extensions of support happen via the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.
In addition to these local programs, St. Stephen’s is actively engaged in a number of other regional, national, and global efforts including Berkshire Interfaith Organizing (BIO), Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC), and Berkshire County Arc. Finally, as one of its larger congregations, we are proud to support the many innovative initiatives developed by the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.