God calls us to be partners in community and partners for justice. In the Spirit of Christ we will:
- Care for one another
- Offer sanctuary and healing
- Unite head and heart
- Do Justice
As the community of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, we believe our specific place in the body of Christ calls us to...
- Create a style in worship and throughout our church life which is intentionally inclusive
- Welcome and affirm all persons without regard to any of the divisions which have been used to separate God's family such as ethnicity, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability.
- Take care of those who are hurting, on an individual level.
- Work to relieve systems of oppression that often lead to this hurt.
- Take risks; to be a church that is not afraid to participate in the process of change.
- Equip people for the tasks of ministry through study, worship, and discussion of the Word.
- Commit ourselves, our time, and our resources to the work of the community of faith.
- Invite others to join in this journey.
St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Since its beginnings, the church has established itself as a progressive Christian community working for peace and social justice issues.
In the ‘60s, the congregation increasingly questioned America’s involvement in Vietnam. In the ‘70s, St. Stephen’s ratified the Charter for Racial Justice, which was developed by the Board of Global Ministries. During the ‘80s, the church supported a plethora of peace initiatives, including a Peace with Justice Program, an annual memorial to bombing victims of Hiroshima and a task force that provided support and sanctuary for refugees from Central America.
In the ‘90s, as the result of a Volunteers-in-Mission trip, St. Stephen’s built a partnership with a church in Xoxocotla, Mexico, and later sent its own mission team to Managua, Nicaragua. In the new millennium, St. Stephen’s reached out to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals, providing a safe place for worship and fellowship. In recent years, the church hosted a seminar on progressive Christianity; formed an affinity group to advocate for peace; and became a member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, a national organization that advocates full participation of the GLBT community in the life of the United Methodist Church.
“We have stayed true to our heritage and our core values while tending the flame and putting our faith into action,” wrote church historian Jim Mohon and longtime member Ron Gray in a booklet on St. Stephen’s history. “We have embraced change, and we have been and will continue to be brave witnesses for progressive Christianity, full inclusion and social justice for the next 50 years.”
Several past senior ministers of St. Stephen's United Methodist Church gathered during the church's 50th anniversary in October 2008 to share memories. Pictured from left are Rev. Dianne Peters (1999-2007), Rev. Amy Venable (2007-2014), Rev. Craig Stinson (1989-1999); Rev. John Price (1981-1989) and Bishop William B. Oden (1969-1976).