|Date Posted||July 13, 2021|
Michigan (Ellen Ekevag)
|Health Benefits||Full Family|
|Communicants in Good Standing||253|
|Average Sunday Attendance||87|
|Child Population in Church School||24|
|Adult Population in Church School||37|
We strive to create a welcoming environment. “You are welcome here” is etched on our door and in our hearts. We believe it is important to provide services and sacraments that move people closer to God and each other.
Although technically no longer a “program church”, we strive to provide many diverse social and mission activities led by a strong laity. These provide opportunities for lay leadership & “small-step” involvement for all. Parishioners feel that as a Household of God, “We are St. Stephen’s,” and our hands do God’s work.
Personal invitations to social events or mission service are most powerful. We advertise opportunities at services and our website, email chain and social media. Social events provide easy first steps to inclusion (fellowship hour, potlucks, men’s nights, ladies’ lunches, youth auctions, a “greet, eat and meet” program for at-home small-group dinners, and more).
Each major ministry has a Vestry liaison with the objective to broaden involvement. We also believe that our building is part of our ministry. We allow its use by outside groups including AA, the Troy Interfaith Group, Red Cross blood drives, and a genealogy society.
Years ago, our membership was divided when the first gay Bishop was called. When searching for a youth leader, a strong candidate was gay. We had heartfelt discussions, and decided we were not ready. After prayerful discussions and listening over time, we readily accepted the Bishop’s offer of a gay newer assistant priest to give him parish experience. He and his husband were welcomed. More recently we had a renaming ceremony for a transgender teen. The heartfelt support of the congregation was a powerful showing of godliness for the teen by the congregation.
Recently we struggled to reconcile our expectations for pastoral leadership with our Rector’s. Unfortunately, even with Diocesan assistance, we were unable to reconcile. This was a difficult lesson for us. We always thought we could work our way through conflicts to a positive outcome. This time we could not. Through conversations, prayers and self-examination and healing, we find ourselves humbled but wiser.
Guided by our newly elected bishop the Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry, we are a diocese that values collegiality, creativity, and openness. We offer community organizing training, the College of Congregational Development, and ongoing collegiality and support. We invite you to come and join us as we embody the Gospel both inside and outside our church doors.
To apply for this position, please send a resume, cover letter, OTM Portfolio, and two sample sermons (in any format) to:
The Rev. Canon Ellen Ekevag
Canon for Congregational Development and Transitions
Episcopal Diocese of Michigan