Ministry is another word for 'service' when understood as an expression of God-given gifts through which we love other people with Christ-like compassion. St Paul, who wrote many of the letters of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) said that everyone has been given gifts to share. Some ministries are expressed in the day to day life of community, family, and workplace. Other ministries have a 'collective' nature in the sense that we do them with other people. The following are some of the collective ministries of St Stephen's Anglican Church
The word 'Vocation" comes from the root word meaning 'voice'. To discern a vocation is to discern our authentic voice - the way in which we show up in the world which is life-giving to ourselves and others in work, family, community and/or church. Another way of saying it is that vocation is where our deep joy and the world's deep need intersect. Discerning vocation happens progressively over a lifetime. There is no one right answer which we need to figure out. Part of our shared work as a church is to support people to discern vocation. We do this through careful listening, prayer, study and retreating.
At St Stephen's we have taken a 'listening' approach to engaging with our community. We listen and look for where God's love and compassion are showing up in the community and we look for ways of working together. Our Community Chaplain, Michael Wood, provides professional pastoral support to individuals and local community service providers, most of whom are not members of the St. Stephen's congregation. Please get in touch with Michael if you'd like to have a chat.
Contemplative Prayer (Meditation)
Meditation in the Christian tradition is a form of prayer. For those who are new to meditation, we teach the method practised by the World Community for Christian Meditation. This way of meditation was rediscovered in the 20th century by the Benedictine monk, Father John Main, and is based on the teaching of the early desert monks (3rd Century).
Click here to watch a short animated video about how to meditate.
Supporting Culture, Music and the Arts
Music and other forms of the arts are universal forms of the creativity of God, which give expression to the human spirit and grow community. At St Stephen's we have been gifted with an acoustically rich space with is perfect for 'unplugged' music of all kinds - including voice, jazz, instrumental and our magnificent organ. The church hosts a concert music series (ticketed, which supports the work of professional musicians); we make the church available at low cost for community-based music; and we are currently seeking opportunities to make music education more accessible for persons on low incomes.
Reflecting and Learning
Jesus said to love God with our mind, heart and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves. This invites reflecting and learning, which integrates the intellect(mind); heart (prayer/experience); and hands (loving service). We create personal and collective opportunities in the church to do this transformational work.
St Stephen's has the privilege of stewarding a Trust, which has been set aside for the purposes of supporting educational programs for persons experiencing social disadvantage. We do this in partnership with a number of community based organisations in Richmond. We seek to take a 'relational/enabling' approach which fosters dignity and builds on existing gifts and capability.
Sacraments of life
The church, throughout its history, has celebrated various sacraments which are symbolically rich vehicles of God's grace. These sacraments include:
Baptism & Confirmation - a public expression of faith and formal entry into the life of the church
Eucharist (Holy Communion) - the heart of Christian Communal Prayer/Worship