Once again we will have a special holiday tea time on Sunday, December 8 immediately following the 11:00 service. Stephen’s Hall and the Rectory on the second floor of 54 Society will be open with wonderful edibles and decorations, music and champagne! So please add this to your busy holiday schedules and join us for Christmas merriment.
ANGEL TREE GIFTS
We invite you to support our Outreach/Mission partners in the community by providing gifts for individuals in need at Star Gospel Mission, Charleston Area Senior Citizens, and Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina. Each gift will be between $5.00 and $25.00. Angel Trees will be on the back wall of church and in Stephen’s Hall through Sunday, December 15. Each angel will be numbered and contain the type and size of gift. Please place the duplicated angel with your name and contact numbers in the basket outside church on Sundays so that we may keep you informed of our progress. For more information, please contact Nicole Watts at (843) 819-1585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We continue our annual Christmas Tradition of collecting socks of any color for children, women, and men to deliver to Crisis Ministries. These will be collected each Sunday, and a box labeled for socks will be in Stephen’s Hall. For more information, please contact Iris Carson at (843) 795-2819 or email@example.com.
The deadline for socks and Angel Tree Gifts is Sunday, December 15, for distribution to our Outreach Partners.
YOUR PRAYERFUL SUPPORT IS ASKED FOR...
Missie McClain and her Family
Mrs. Jewel Felkel
Sam & Lisa Clowney
Linda Ketner & her parents Ralph Ketner & Ruth Hope
Miller Eason David & his parents Lindsay & Elizabeth David
If you know of a parishioner who is in the hospital or recuperating at home, please contact the Parish Office at (843) 723-8818 or firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may include him or her on this list.
The Vestry is looking for candidates for the 2014 Vestry. We now need people to step forward to join eight other parishioners as leaders of this parish. Anyone who is a Confirmed Communicant in Good Standing is eligible. We are looking for people who have been active in the parish or in one of our many groups/ministries (e.g., Outreach, Choir, Foyer Groups, Ushers, Bible Study, etc.) and who can help out in the following ways
• Attend regularly scheduled meetings of the Vestry (the 3rd Thursday of every month)
• Pray daily for the church and its ministry
• Support and encourage the staff and Rector
• Maintain responsible communication (which excludes gossip or hearsay) with the congregation
• Participate in special events and gatherings of the parish as best as possible
• Serve on one of four Oversight Committees of the Vestry
• Attend three leadership training sessions offered by a “consultant” or the Rector
• Be a Pledging member of the parish
• As much as possible, be a visible participant in regular worship of the parish
Feel free to nominate yourself or someone else (as long as he or she is aware) and pass along names to The Rector at (843) 722-0038 or email@example.com or 2014 Senior Warden Joe Sylvan at (843) 425-6024 or firstname.lastname@example.org. But please do so as soon as you can because we want to compile a slate before the end of December for the Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday, January 12 following the 11:00 service.
If you would like to give flowers and greens for our Christmas service, please fill out a “Christmas Flowers & Greens” envelope, insert your cash or check, and place the envelope in an Offering Basket no later than Sunday, December 15. Envelopes are enclosed in this Order of Service, and are also available in the Narthex. The suggested donation is $20.00 for each name. Names will be listed in the Christmas Day Order of Service. Please make checks payable to “St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church,” and write “Altar Flowers” in the memo section.
On Saturday, December 14 from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., Deacon Capers Limehouse will facilitate an Advent Quiet Day in Stephen's Hall. For more information, please contact Deacon Capers Limehouse at (843) 817-0827.
Calling all skaters! The Youth Group will be organizing a trip to the rink! If you or your teen are interested, please contact Muffy for more information! Dates and pricing will be determined based upon interest!
Just in time for the holidays! We’ll take care of the kiddos while you get your Christmas shopping done! We’ll have a WINTER WONDERLAND on Saturday, December 14 from 2:00 to 6:00 in Stephen’s Hall. There will be crafts, snacks, and a wrapping station if your little ones have a gift they need help with! Please note that we will not be serving dinner at this event. There is no charge, but we do ask for a can donation. To reserve your child’s spot, please contact Muffy.
Being far from home for the holidays can be hard. Help us give thanks to our troops who are deployed with a Christmas card from home. Blank cards will be available through December 16 in the church office as well as during services. The Sunday School will be mailing the cards on December 16! This holiday help us thank our troops and send a little of home overseas!
The Youth Group will be hand-wrapping Christmas presents to raise money for Angel Tree Gifts. Have a beautifully-wrapped present and help those in need! Through December 15, you may drop off packages to wrap before the Sunday 11:00 service or during Tea Time. Regular-size packages are $2.00, and extra-large packages are $5.00. Donations welcome.
Our Director of Christian Education Muffy Morris may be reached at email@example.com or at (843) 723-8818, extension 12.
THANK YOU to the following parishioners for making 2014 Pledges:
David & Martie Adams
Joe & Nancy Bagnulo
Erin Baily & David Hoyle
Dr. & Mrs. J. Gilbert Baldwin, Jr.
Robert Ball & Betty Gore
Robert & LaNelle Barber
Robert E. L. Barker
Daniel Oliver Bowman & Robert John Sauers
Mary H. Burkett
Barbara H. Carter
Mrs. Martha R. Carter
Harry Clark & Rhett Thurman
Rick & Jane Clary
Mr. & Mrs. Priestly C. Coker III
Anne Marie Doyon
Herbert L. Drayton III
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Duell
Linda & Nick Elksnin
James & Esther Ferguson
Monte P. Gaillard
Pat & Sam Gilner
Edward Guerard & Robin Halewood
Margaret L. Gumb
Eric & Jeremy Hadley
Melissa “Missy” Hamilton
Rev. William L. Hills, Jr. & Elizabeth S. Hills
Brian Hussain & Edie Blakeslee
Viola D. Jenkins
Michael & Bonnie Kapp
Caroline O. King
Linda Lear & John Nickum
Walter & Capers Limehouse
Joan D. Marshall
Maxwell Reed Mowry
Ann & James Muir
Nancy Muller & Warren Mersereau
Mr. & Mrs. John Noble
Kathryn A. Norton
Joan C. Pittman
Wayne & Betsy Rackoff
Mason & Nancy Rees
Martha H. Rhodes & Charley McLendon
Steve & Susan Roehrich
Pat & Bobby Rone
Richard Ray Russell & Pauline T. Russell
Judith L. Sawyer
Kent C. Scott
Michael Shewan & Pat Patrick
Charles & Thelma Shine
Colette Simone & Ken Dilks
Jill N. Sinclair
Barbara H. Smith
Greg & Lyn Smith
Georgette Y. Stewart
Ramsey Still & James Bouknight
Mr. & Mrs. Eric L. Straus
Col. & Mrs. Paul J. Sykes
Joe & Janie Sylvan
Bryan Thompson & Edward Bryan
Richard & MaryLou Thomson
Adrienne & Bryan Tiley
Mary Lou & Clif Titus
Jan Van Norte
Elizabeth “Betsy” R. Walker
David & Linda Williams
Virgil H. Wilson
SATURDAY @ SIX LAY PREACHER SCHEDULE
December 7 - Ginny Arthur
December 14 - Angela Adams
December 21 - Michael Fenwrick
December 28 - Iris Carson
January 4 - Mary Lou Titus
January 11 - Ty Leslie
January 18 - Erin Bailey
January 25 - Ginny Arthur
To sign up for refreshments, go to www.SignUpGenius.com/go/70A0F49AAAC28A57-saturday/7322495.
* If you are interested in being a Lay Preacher, please contact Kathryn Norton at NortonK@cofc.edu.
The Wednesday Study Group meets from noon to 1:00 P.M. on Wednesdays in the front room of Stephen’s Hall, and is discussing Harold Bloom’s The American Religion, an intriguing study of the nature of Christianity in America by a renowned literary critic. On December 11, the group will discuss of chapter six.
If you have any questions, please contact Alan Arthur at firstname.lastname@example.org or (843) 971-7644.
The Thursday evening Women's Bible Study meets on Thursdays at 6:00 P.M. in Stephen's Hall. Starting on November 7, the group will begin a new study of the Book of Philippians, using a study guide by N. T. Wright, which will lead us to get the most out of the Book of Philippians.
Please join us for an evening of study, prayer and sharing. Everyone is welcome.
For more information, call Mary Lou Titus at (843) 737-2693.
The updated Parish Directory is now available! If you would like a PDF of it e-mailed to you, please send your request to the Parish Administrator at email@example.com.
A brochure entitled A Sacred Rest in a Sacred Place is now available in the Narthex. If you are interested in finding out more about having your cremains deposited under one of the granite tablets, please complete and return the form in the brochure. The Memorial Garden Committee is Betsy Walker, Rolf Kolconay, Sallie Duell, and Linda Williams.
For more information, please contact our Parish Administrator Dave Hoey at (843) 723-8818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Music is of God, and making music is a way to serve God. It is a privilege and a joy!
4. It’s good for your health! Studies have shown that Choir can improve your health! It’s fantastic brain food. Why not start keeping your mind healthy by making music?
3. Singing is a great way to relax.
2. You are guaranteed a seat on Christmas Eve and Easter.
1. It’s a great way to make friends. The St. Stephen’s Choir is one of the most active and cohesive groups in our parish.
Come join us on Wednesdays at 6:15 P.M. in the choir loft.
For more information about St. Stephen’s Choir, please contact Wayne Helmly at (843) 819-5576 or email@example.com.
HAVE YOU "LIKED" ST. STEPHEN'S ON FACEBOOK?
Click here https://www.facebook.com/ststephenscharleston?ref=hl.
The Shawl Ministry is making fleece chemo scarves for the patients at Hollings. These require no sewing and only the use of pinking shears. A yard of fleece will yield three scarves. You can help with this project either by making a contribution toward the purchase of fleece, or by starting to cut out your own to give. Hancock Fabrics has great sales on fleece ($5.00 to $7.00 per yard), and they have many fabric designs that will do a great deal to pick up the spirits of a cancer patient.
We also continue to collect magazines for Hollings. Please bring only current magazines. Also needed are DVDs because there is a significant amount of sitting time while receiving treatment.
For more information, please contact Linda Williams at (843) 973-3030.
The website for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina is www.episcopalchurchsc.org.
Also, you may subscribe to the Episcopal Journal, which comes out monthly, at a yearly rate of $6.18 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me express sincere thanks to our members who shared heartfelt personal testimony during this stewardship month. I can identify with their expressions of what brought them to St. Stephen's and what has kept them here. They have been blessed, as so many of us have, through acceptance, fellowship, music, sacraments, and preaching. What they shared has helped me, as LaNelle and I consider our financial commitment for the coming year.
Our financial commitment, yours and mine, is important - to St. Stephen's and our own spiritual well-being. Twenty of Jesus' parables relate to stewardship and the use and approach to gifts. Addressing a contributor to her mission, Mother Teresa got my attention by saying, "I hope you are not giving out of your surplus. You must give what costs you; make a sacrifice...so that your gift may have a value before God."
I feel that Mother Teresa does not mean a value in the monetary sense, but a value in the sense of strengthening our faith in God through Christ. Our faith is strengthened when we give sacrificially. Giving sacrificially is something we all want to do, and we can do, if we accept the risk and trust in the Lord who desires only the best for us.
Prayers and blessings for us all during this time.
- Robert Barber
Several years after moving back home to Charleston, we were blessed to find St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. We attended our first service in July 2006 and immediately felt at home. The simple appearance of the clear windows, white pews, and floor plan reminded us of our beloved Old St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church where we were married.
We were warmly and indiscriminately greeted and welcomed by all. We heard the melodious choir, with Don White’s baritone voice and organ music soaring from the balcony, and we marveled at such a group. We were astonished to see only five choristers when they came down for Communion and knew we wanted to be a part of the choir. The hook was set with the Final Blessing refreshingly referring to The God of passion and risk, and of challenge and change, being with us in our daily struggles. We smiled at each other and vividly knew we had just found our church home!
Since then, we have become involved in various church activities, mindful of the traditional definition of Stewardship: the giving of our Time, Talents, and Treasures. Many parishioners often feel overwhelmed by Stewardship (and other financial requests, especially towards the end of the year), but every church must endure this annual process to plan the budget for the next year. Many try to increase their pledge annually, even though we may not achieve the 10% tithing goal. Hence, we all should consider donating our time and talents to the many areas in need in the operation of a lively church community.
Beyond our financial contributions, we may ask ourselves questions such as, “Why am I here?” and “What do I get from my efforts and contributions?” These are fair questions best answered by considering Jesus’ giving us His two greatest Commandments – to love God and to love each other unconditionally. His lessons in Matthew 25:35-45 remind us to consider those less fortunate than ourselves.
We all as Christians try to show this love and compassion not only by following the 3 “Ts” of stewardship, but also by our frequent interactions with fellow parishioners and the greater community, in which the true spirit of Christ’s giving is shown.
Stewardship: Our Shared Responsibility and Opportunity!
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over,
will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
- Luke 6:38 (New Revised Standard Version)
We all appreciate how wonderful St. Stephen’s is and how it has changed our lives. Over the last few weeks, Robert Barber, Michael Fenwrick, Ted Keller, Iris Carson, and Pat Patrick and Mike Shewan have articulated so beautifully our rich history and shared love of this very special community, past and present. True to their messaging, St. Stephen’s has changed our lives as well, and continues to change our lives daily. St. Stephen’s is our chosen family and offers us a place of security, acceptance, and love. We can truly say, “We have received a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” at St. Stephen’s.
As we contemplated and prayed about our stewardship message, we researched the definition and history of the term. Merriam-Webster defines stewardship as “…the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” Wikipedia describes the history as follows: “Stewardship in the beginning referred to the household servant’s duties for bringing food and drink to the castle’s dining hall. Stewardship is now generally recognized as the acceptance or assignment of responsibility to shepherd and safeguard the valuables of others.”
So, what does “stewardship” at St. Stephen’s mean to the two of us? Simply stated, as stewards, we have a responsibility to St. Stephen’s and, therefore to each of you, to ensure that the rich history and current wonders of this marvelous household continue to grow into the future. As stewards, we, the entire household, can share the Good News of our faith within our flock and beyond, to a world filled with pain and hardship.
We are truly blessed to have found St. Stephen’s and pray that we all remain committed to giving of our time, our talents and our treasure. We have learned that through giving, even in what we perceive to be small ways, lives are forever changed, including our own.
We thank God for all of you, the stewards of St. Stephen’s, past, present, and future; because of you, we call St. Stephen’s home. You enrich our lives deeply and touch the lives of so many others by all you do and all you give! God is Gracious; God is Good; Let us give Him thanks. Amen.
Being part of a church family has always been important to me. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, and along with my brother and sister, looked forward to Sunday School and Children’s Choir. Our parents encouraged us to put our own coins in our individual offering envelopes. Stewardship begins early.
Shortly after our family’s move to Charleston in 1987 we went “church shopping”. We had visited some five churches before we discovered St. Stephen’s, where we were warmly welcomed. We found the traditional hymns that I loved, a sermon that made me want to hear more, a friendly congregation, and invitation to cookies and lemonade in the side yard. Here we heard about the plans to build a new building. We had found our new church home and were anxious to return!
When I think of stewardship, I remember Sarah McCray (1900-1995). She was one of the many who cared for their church. Mrs. McCray had joined St. Stephens in 1923. When I met her she was unable to attend the church she loved but still did her part. She placed money in her offering envelope when she was able, and called Charles and Thelma Shine or me when her envelope was ready to return to the church. Sarah McCray loved company. My visits with her over the years were rewarding. I learned about the “undocumented” history of St. Stephens, and of parishioners who cared for each other and had a strong sense of community as they cared for their church. Sarah McCray was the gardener and planted flowers in the side yard in the spring so that there would be flowers for Sundays. Sarah McCray’s ongoing stewardship was clearly connected to her deep faith and love for her church. She gave from her heart!
Stewardship is our response when we feel a deep relationship with God and with our church family. We now are the ones who will keep our church alive. As an active participant in the life of St. Stephen’s, I feel a deep sense of gratitude. I know I receive much more than I give. Much has changed over the years and still much remains the same. I feel deeply about the history, the future, and the present life of our church. We remain a community of faith and of caring about each other. My entire family feels a strong connection to St. Stephen’s. Our families in Baltimore and in Houston have brought their children “home” to be baptized. Six of our grandchildren have received the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Stephen’s. Two of our grandchildren currently serve as Acolytes, as did their sisters and brothers before them.
We have a beautiful church and garden! Each Sunday we are nourished by the Liturgy, the music, and by each other. We are a friendly, caring, community of faith. We sing together and hear Holy Scripture. We have a wonderful diversity of voices from the pulpit whose words may bring us hope, healing, peace, and courage for our journey. We may experience the quiet moment as we kneel together for our communion. We are a family who see God in each other. I am filled with thankfulness to be a part of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
"Let saints on earth in concert sing
with whose work is done;
for all the servants of our King
in heaven and earth are one"
(from Hymn 526)
I walked into St. Stephen's for the first time on Christmas Eve of 2000. Up to that moment, I had contentedly been attending, but not committed to, another wonderful church in town. Everything changed that Christmas Eve. As I entered the foyer, I was warmly greeted by Cathy Hicks. The sanctuary was filled with a sea of diverse faces - some familiar and others not. But there was a palpable sense of community and true fellowship. Don White was completing the prelude selections and the thurifer (Herbert Drayton, III or perhaps Devon Hicks) was readying the incense. Once the service began, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. I was transported back to childhood visits to Columbia, attending Trinity Cathedral with my mother. The music, the liturgy, the tradition. I had found my church home.
Over the next two years, I came to church every Sunday and slowly began to take part in activities, mostly with the grounds up-keep. I began to get to know the rich history of the church and the people who were giving of themselves each week to make it the remarkable, loving place that it is. I spent time with our then vicar, Father Jim Bills, discussing my personal spiritual life, my struggles with it and my uncertainties about God's presence in my life. As the weeks went by, I came to place of ease with my uncertainty and realized that, for me, truth and certainty were not essential. But having a community of like souls to be in the struggle with was. With Father Jim's help, I came to a place of resolve and comfort in the midst of this St. Stephen's family. In December of 2002, I was received into the church.
Thirteen years on, this St. Stephen's family has become an integral part of my life and I have been rewarded, many times over, with gifts of friendship and love. I have been challenged by the thoughtful sermons of gifted women and men and lifted up by gorgeous music and the impassioned voices of our choir and congregation. I look forward to this inspiration each Sunday. These riches are experienced and appreciated by us all. There is, however, another side of St. Stephen's that can easily go unnoticed, but in so many ways, it is what has sustained this place for generations. It is found in quiet moments of ministry carried out by those who for years have asked for no attention. True moments of grace that have been and continue to be examples for us all. Emma Watson lovingly caring for the children of the parish each Sunday. Sadie Middleton, sitting on the steps to the balcony each Saturday morning, polishing brass and silver. Iris Carson visiting and taking communion to our elder parishioners and those too sick to come to church. Ted Washington serving multiple terms on the Vestry because of his love of this place and his family's rich heritage here. Our church providing a sacred space for families without a home church to send their loved ones off with a service of comfort and unconditional love.
There are so many pillars of this place who have died, but whose presence is still felt by many. As we approach All Saint's Day, I am thankful for those that I have the privilege of knowing and for their example and dedication: Cathy Hicks, Kevin Murphy, Father Jim Cantler, Frank White, Rebecca Gray, Emma Watson, Father Ben Smith, Richard Marshall, Sadie Middleton, Alice Drayton, Clementine Ellis, and David Singleton. Let us pledge to honor them, and others who have influenced us, with our time, talent and tithing.
"O blest Communion, Fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, They in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
The deadline for submitting announcements for The Deacon is noon each Wednesday.
Announcements are subject to editing. All announcements must be sent via e-mail to email@example.com.
Announcements submitted after the deadline will be considered the following week.
If you would like a PDF of The Deacon e-mailed to you, please let us know by contacting the Parish Office at (843) 723-8818 or firstname.lastname@example.org. PDF (Protected Document Format) may be downloaded for free at http://get.adobe.com/reader/.
The Deacon is also available as a PDF on our website: www.ststephenscharleston.org – Click on “Communications” and then “Newsletters.”
Announcements may also be found on our website’s Announcements page (under Communications). The Deacon is also sent as an “e-blast” on Thursdays, and it is periodically available as part of the Sunday Order of Service.