St. Stephen's Welcomes YOU!Our deep prayer is that you will find a place here to experience God’s love as you discover your gifts and join with others in worship, ministry, and service to our community and the world. Driving Directions
It isn’t easy to cross the threshold of an unfamiliar church.
We’ll do all we can to make that easier for you. We have friendly greeters, and a (hopefully!) easy to follow bulletin, and no one will mind if you sit in the back. Though you will be warmly welcomed (by most everyone) we won’t make you introduce yourself or draw attention to you during the service. We have a great children’s program and we also welcome families to sit together. There are even dedicated “prayer grounds” at the front and rear of the church so that children can play & explore our sacred stories and engage in our worship.
Freedom to ask questions and come to our own understanding.
Everyone is welcome! Our deep roots link us to the ancient wisdom of the scriptures and Christian tradition , yet we do not presume to have all the answers and we do not demand conformity of belief. Instead we hope to create a climate in which spiritual seekers can grow, learn, and adapt their own responses to the real-world challenges we all face. So we invite everyone to come to the communion table, wherever they find themselves on the journey of faith, to join their hearts together with all who seek a connection to the holy.
Worship at St. Stephen’s has a certain structure.
It reflects more than twenty centuries of faith practice of the Judaeo-Christian heritage and the Anglican/Episcopal expression of it. Yet we also try to connect the dots, and keep our prayers and reflections fresh and informed by the world around us, connecting us to the scriptures as a living document that has as much to say to us today as they did when written. Our worship style is a flexible framework that creates continuity but allows for variety, following the seasons of the year and the church while celebrating birthdays and baptisms, the beauty of creation, and the daily reality of our lives. Our music is a blend of ancient and modern with a classical flair, and includes hymns, choir, piano, organ and handbells. In any given service we will stand, sit, and kneel, and some folks like to cross themselves at certain points. Just follow along as you feel comfortable — you will see many different expressions of worship around you.
If our worship is somewhat formal, our people are not.
We come from all over the area, and bring a great variety of human experience. Gay and straight, struggling to make ends meet and relatively well off, toddlers, teens and grey hairs. You may see ties and shorts, tee-shirts and dresses on any given Sunday. People say this is a friendly place, but not in an overwhelming way. If you need a little space you will find it here, too. Come over to coffee hour in the parish hall after the service, and you will be welcomed into lively conversation and usually a very yummy spread of finger food.
This is a community of people who serve.
We express our faith actively in the world, in our work lives and as volunteers, both collectively and individually. Radical Love, FISH, and Green Faith are deep in our common culture. Some of us serve in schools, shelters, and environmental causes, on boards of community groups, and even in politics. We certainly do not all agree about our various passions and causes, but we work hard to create a lively conversation about how our faith values support us to serve our community and our world. We also rejoice in our connections to other congregations and religions traditions as a founding member of the Lower Columbia Interfaith Community.
Worship Sundays @ 10:30am
Children & Families
“I know that this world pulls us in many different directions and that Sunday mornings often provide a space and time for rest, respite, and recovery, and I hope that you can find what you need when you worship with us today. There are many stories of faith, church, St. Stephen’s, Longview, and more sitting in the pews around you, and we are excited to share our diverse community with you. Whatever brought you here, I hope you find what you are seeking, and perhaps even a bit more.”
– Fr. Nic
We welcome all in serving @ God’s table
Every person who enters the door at a worship service is a participant. There are no spectators at the Holy Eucharist. Whether silently praying or actively listening, whether singing or responding to the call to prayer, kneeling at the altar or exchanging the peace, our worship is the common “work of the people”, or “Liturgy”.
Our Rector Fr. Nic Mather
Children & Family Ministries
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Book of Common Prayer?
The Book of Common Prayer is our guidepost for our liturgy together. It is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity. As Armentrout and Slocum note in their Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, that “Anglican liturgical piety has been rooted in the Prayer Book tradition since the publication of the first English Prayer Book in 1549.”
We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our worship, our common prayer. The prayer book, most recently revised in 1979, contains our liturgies, our prayers, our theological documents, and much, much more.
What do Episcopalians believe about the Bible?
The 39 Articles, a 1536 foundational document of Anglican theology, relates that “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation.” The Scriptures, comprised of the Old and New Testament, as well as some apocryphal texts, were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is of extraordinary importance to Episcopal worship; during a Sunday morning service, the congregation will usually hear at least three readings from Scripture, and much of the liturgy from The Book of Common Prayer is based explicitly on the Biblical texts. According to the Catechism, “We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures”
What are the Creeds?
Creeds are statements of our basic beliefs about God. The term comes from the Latin credo, meaning I believe.
While we will always have questions about God, the Church, and our own faith, we have two foundational creeds that we use during worship: the Apostles’ Creed used at baptism and daily worship, and the Nicene Creed used at communion. In reciting and affirming these creeds, we join Christians across the world and throughout the ages in affirming our faith in the one God who created us, redeemed us, and sanctifies us.
What are the Sacraments?
Our Anglican tradition recognizes sacraments as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857) Holy Baptism and the Eucharist (or Holy Communion) are the two great sacraments given by Christ to his Church.
In the case of Baptism, the outward and visible sign is water, in which the person is baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; the inward and spiritual grace is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit. In the case of the Eucharist, the outward and visible sign is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command. The inward and spiritual grace is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith.
In addition to these two, there are other spiritual markers in our journey of faith that can serve as means of grace. These include:
- Confirmation: the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows
- Reconciliation of a Penitent: private confession
- Matrimony: Christian marriage
- Orders: ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, or episcopacy
- Unction: anointing those who are sick or dying with holy oil