March 10, 2019 Weekly Announcements

Congregational News & Events – Week of March 10, 2019

The First Sunday in Lent

Service Times 8:30 am and 10:30am

The Rev. John R. Johanssen – Celebrant and Preacher


Choir Rehearsal – 8:30 am in the Chapel

Adult Bible Discussion Group 9:15am in Hobson Hall

Thrive! Children, Youth & Families Ministry  Meet in Outer Office during 10:30am serivce, then upstairs in Hobson Hall

Campus Ministry Tuesday Night Oasis – 8:00pm, Sanctuary

Mid-Week Prayer and Luncheon – Wednesdays, 12:30pm


Notes from the Parish Administrator

 Reminder for 2019 Pledges: If you are having your pledge payment sent automatically via your bank, check with your bank to make sure the mailing address for the church is listed as 30 West Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, Ohio  43210. The post office box was closed last year and the USPS forwarding has expired. Thanks!


 I will be out of the office next week on Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th for TJ’s heart surgery on the 15th. John Johanssen in will be the office on those days from 9:00pm to 3:00pm. If you have anything that needs to be posted in the weekly newsletter, please send it via the parish office email address no later than 3:00pm on Tuesday the 12th. If there are no complications with the surgery, I am hoping to be back in the office on either Monday, March 18th or Tuesday, March 19th. TJ’s parents will be here during his hospitalization and for part of his recovery period.

Many thanks to everyone for your prayers for TJ’s successful surgery and who have made generous offers of assistance during TJ’s lengthy recovery period. We’ll be able to make a better assessment of what we will need during his convalescence at the time he is getting ready to be released from the hospital, which should be a week to ten days after the surgery.

Many thanks to you all and may God bless you.

Liz Hecker, Parish Administrator


 Lenten Season at St. Stephen’s


Trade-In Bake Sale Begins Sunday, March 10th

 Our annual Trade-In Bake Sale will begin March 10th, the first 

Sunday in Lent, ending on the last Sunday in Lent. During this time, the children will collect non-food items for the NSI Food Pantry. If any member of the congregation brings in a non-food item to the 10:30 service, they will receive a ticket redeemable for a baked treat or healthy snack at the end of the service. If you would like to provide a post-service treat for the bake sale, please do so!


Five Marks of Love – A Lenten Program of Study, Instruction, and Reflection offered to the churches by The Virginia Theological Seminary and The Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lent is a solemn season providing time for learning and preparation as the holy seasons of Resurrection and Inspiration approach. This year at Saint Stephen’s we are offered an opportunity to participate in a mixed program of online and in-person activities entitled The 5 Marks of Love – Living Life Marked a Christ’s Own. The materials for the program are available online and each participant who has a personal email is encouraged to register as indicated below. By registering you will receive in your email inbox daily meditations and materials during Lent. In addition, we will have opportunities at the church during Lent for small group interaction and reflection, as well as dedicating time at each Wednesday Noonday Prayer service at the church for discussion and learning.

The beauty of this program design is that it is possible to participate as an individual, as a member of a small group, and/or in a larger group mode. We will also provide materials in printed form for anyone who lacks access to online materials or would prefer them, and schedule a closing activity prior to Easter for a general discussion of the experience.

To get started please use the link below to read some basic information about The 5 Marks of Love and then register via your email to receive the daily reflections. And should you have any questions or would like some assistance please contact Joe Rutter at or 614-284-9774 (leave a message please). It is suggested that the start date for receiving the daily materials be Sunday, March 3, 2019, but starting later is also fine as there will be opportunity to catch up.


Forgiveness Friday Forum 6:00-8:00pm  Every Friday during Lent: March 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19

What:         As a follow up to the F-Word Exhibit and by popular demand, St. Stephen’s invites you to participate in a Lenten program of conversation & contemplation centered around the questions and themes of the Forgiveness Project.

Where:       Hobson Hall

Details:      As Paul Simon said in song, we will “have a little conversation & drink a little red wine.” Think of it as solving the world’s problems through casual conversation in an Irish pub over food and drinks with good friends. It is a forum for good thoughts with good people.

This is for everybody! Invite a friend! Multi-generational participation is encouraged! Childcare or transportation can be provided, just let us know ahead of time!  We will order pizza, subs, Chipotle, etc. in support of local neighborhood businesses. Tommy’s Pizza up first (BYO preferred Beverage for yourself and/or to share).  Water, Juice, and Pop Provided.  Bring your curiosity, be in fellowship, and enjoy an evening of great conversation!


Lent Plastic Challenge

News reports and blogs are increasingly drawing attention to the amount of plastics in landfills and the ocean. It has become so bad in the oceans that many species are being killed, either from ingesting plastic microbeads from beauty products or strangled by plastic containers and rings from drinks.

We have been given the responsibility to care for God’s creation. We can’t do anything about the amount of pollution around the world, but we can reduce our own personal use.

Consider that, instead of giving up chocolate or coffee for Lent, reducing the amount of plastic consumed in our households. If each one of us do our part, we can begin to minimize the impact to the earth and wildlife.

To read more about the Lent Plastic Challenge, click on the below link:


Sunday Morning Adult Bible Discussion for March 10, 2019

The Sunday, March 10th, the Adult Discussion Group will focus on  Chapters 12, 13 and 14  of The Acts of the Apostles. If you can, read these chapters in the Collegeville Commentary book, or any study Bible. Bring your comments and questions, take a seat at the table, and join the conversation. Everyone is invited! Oh, yes, coffee and donuts are available, too!


Everyone is invited to join us on Sunday mornings at 9:15am in Hobson Hall for the discussion! The new “Big Read” of the Diocese of Southern Ohio has begun, and we are now beginning the Book of Acts. We are using the book The Acts of the Apostles by Dennis Hamm, from the New Collegeville Bible Commentary series, which is available at or other used book sources on the internet for about $10 to $20, depending on where you purchase it. OR, a good study Bible will have helpful notes and commentary.


Children, Youth and Families Ministry News


Our children’s spiritual formation classes (Thrive) is meeting this Sunday during the 10:30am service. Look for Rachael Smith and Daniel Buey in the “meeting room”.

Trade-In Bake Sale Begins Sunday, March 10th

 Our annual Trade-In Bake Sale will begin  March 10th, the first Sunday in Lent, ending on the last Sunday in Lent. During this time, the children will collect non-food items for the NSI Food Pantry. If any member of the congregation brings in a non-food item to the 10:30 service, they will receive a ticket redeemable for a baked treat or healthy snack at the end of the service. If you would like to provide a post-service treat, please do so!


The Tuesday Evening Oasis Campus Ministry

Join us on Tuesday evenings to pray, sing, and meditate in the St. Stephen’s sanctuary. If you have any questions, contact Jared Talbot (


Is The Altar Guild Calling You?

The Altar Guild is looking for a few more members. Is this a calling you have considered?

Altar Guild members generally arrive 30-45 minutes before the service either 8.30am or 10.30am (per choice) on Sundays and occasional midweek (e.g., Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday). Post-service clean-up takes another 30 minutes. Altar Guild members are usually scheduled for one Sunday a month, with scheduling is planned around any personal events.

Altar Guild candidates would receive thorough training and be paired with an experienced Altar Guild member for the first few sessions.

No need to worry about any “mysticism” surrounding the Altar Guild – we are all regular folks who enjoy serving St. Stephen’s.

About twice a year we meet on a Saturday morning to do deep cleaning for special set ups, such as Advent or the Bishop’s visit. We also have brunch at these events!

Please email me if you are considering this ministry or if you have any questions

Thanks – Janet McNaughton


 Clinking Quarters

 All quarters offered in the Sunday collection plates are used to support our outreach ministries, particularly to purchase the food for our twice yearly meal at St. John’s, Franklinton. Each time you donate a quarter, clink it on the side of the plate so we can be reminded of the needs of our community and the good works that your quarters help fund.


Otterbein Singers Presents Music from the Heartland

Sunday, March 17, 8:00pm Church of the Master United Methodist Church, 24 N. Grove Street, Westerville

 Otterbein Singers present Music from the Heartland, which highlights music from musicals about small-town and rural America, including selections from Waitress, Bright Star, The Music Man and Big River, as well as concert selections by Aaron Copland. Admission is free, but donations will be graciously accepted to benefit Otterbein Courtright Library textbook access program.


BREAD Updates

BREAD Network Meeting March 10th

 St. Stephen’s Justice Ministry – the BREAD Justice Ministry Network – will get together after the 10:30 service on Sunday, March 10th. If you attended one of the House Meetings last fall and agreed to invite at least three people to the big Nehemiah Action in May, this meeting is for you! If you’ve never attended a BREAD meeting before but would like to know more about how we carry out God’s call to “do Justice,” this meeting is for you! If you know a little something about BREAD (Building Responsibility, Equality and Dignity), and would like to know more about our affordable housing, juvenile justice, jobs, municipal ID and elder care initiatives, this meeting is for you!*

We will get updates on all the work BREAD does from St. Stephen’s parishioners who are members of BREAD’s research and action committees. And we’ll get a chance to pick at least 6 people (hoping half will say yes) to invite to the Nehemiah Action May 6th. Come join us. With your help, BREAD rises!

Juvenile Justice Update

Our Juvenile Justice Committee is currently focused on getting Restorative Practices into Columbus City Schools (CCS). Although leadership changes are underway in the district, we continue to urge accountability on this initiative. In the fall, we co-hosted a summit with CCS to educate the wider community on this proactive approach to discipline and over 200 community members including 70 teachers and staff attended. Our speaker from the International Institute for Restorative Practices has been following up since then and reported that the model used in Pittsburgh Public Schools has yielded great results! Their two-year study has already shown a 36% drop in overall suspensions, and it also influenced the gap in suspensions for minority, low income, and female students. To get those kind of results in CCS, we need to have a solid foundation of schools provided with IIRP training. Over the next two months we will visit 10 schools that have already started training to see what kind of support they need to succeed. Our committee will work with the district team to ensure accountability in schools that are trying Restorative Practices and work on plans to provide more support for staff as they go through this culture change. 

“Hire and Better Pay! Don’t Throw Away!” Committee

(represented from St. Stephen’s by Norm Wernet and Rae Fellows)

Councilmember Elizabeth Brown reported that five companies have taken advantage of the new ordinance to encourage construction companies to hire people with criminal backgrounds. BREAD will be seeking a year-end evaluation of the ordinance’s impact. BREAD is also working collaboratively with Ohio State University to create worker-owned cooperatives in Linden. Initial discussions involve the creation of a food processing and distribution hub that would market products to OSU and other anchor institutions in Central Ohio. BREAD and OSU will be hosting two forums in March in Linden to increase awareness.

With your help, BREAD rises!

From your B.R.E.A.D. team:  

Rae Fellows, Kaethe Sandman, Norm Wernet, and Mignonne Whitlow


NSI News

Neighborhood Service, Inc., is our neighborhood food pantry, supported by multiple congregations in the north campus area. The need for food services is increasing, and St. Stephen’s is responding. Although the government shutdown is over, food stamps for February were delivered early, in late January. This is expected to put more pressure on families in February, as their monthly allotment will run out earlier than anticipated.

Collection for March:  Scalloped Potatoes for NSI Easter Food Baskets

We have been asked to collect 400 boxes of scalloped potatoes for the Easter food baskets for Neighborhood Services, Inc. (NSI). The last day to bring in your boxes to church is Sunday, April 7th


Many thanks to Kaitlin Raver for coordinating the St. Stephen’s visit to Neighborhood Services, Inc. last Sunday. The visit was a valuable, informative reminder of the importance of NSI to the local community and how our partnership with NSI is a vital part of our ministry.


In the month of February, St. Stephens donated 121 boxes of pasta, clothes and other items to Neighborhood Services, and in 2018, St. Stephen’s donated a total of $5,061.67, which helped NSI serve 33,155 people and distribute 612,902 meals during the year. 

Thank you all for your generosity!


Girl Scout Troop #6019 (Rachael Smith, troop leader), that meets here in Hobson Hall is devoting some of their cookie sale profit to purchase nonfood items for NSI. The rest of the congregation can help at the Lenten trade-in bake sale that has become a St. Stephen’s tradition.


Hunger/Run Walk 5K to benefit NSI –  March 24, 2019, Fred Beekman Park

Kaethe Sandman is organizing a group of St. Stephen’s parishioners for this event. Registration is online at

The run should take about 30 minutes, and the walk 45-60 minutes. Since we are so close, we can carpool to west campus and return not-too-late for the 10:30 service.


For more info on how you can continue to help NSI, please click on the following link:


Book Club for March 2019

The March Book Club meeting will be on Wednesday, March 13 starting at 6:30 PM. We’ll begin with a potluck meal; please bring food and/or beverage to share. We’ll be meeting at Edward Lasseigne’s home (504-874-3350, Please let Edward know if you plan to attend, so he can plan on the right number of people. After dinner we’ll be discussing Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. If you wish to get a head start on the future, the April book is The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain. And, if you’d like a complete book list of the rest of 2019, please contact Cynthia Whitacre. Everyone is invited and welcome to any book club meeting.


Calling St. Stephen’s Soul Sisters!

Hi “Soul Sisters” of St. Stephen’s!

You are invited to participate in fellowship with the women of St. Stephen’s in the Spirit of Friendship, Encouragement, Support, Gratitude, Hope, and Love as we share a moment in life’s journey together. It is a time out from daily doings to just BE in Friendship over a cup of tea with conversations to feed the soul.

We meet twice monthly: the first Thursday morning of the month will offer a “Coffee Klatch” from 9:30-11:30am for those available to meet during the day (kiddos welcome) the third Thursday evening  offers a “Girls Night Out or In” from 7:00-9:00pm.

New for 2019:  All morning gatherings on the 1st Thursday of each month will be held  in the Chapel at St. Stephen’s. Centralized for all, no need to remember where to show up, and kid-friendly! Coffee and breakfast treats will be provided. If you need a ride, transportation can be arranged.

February 2019 Meeting Dates:

    • March 7 @ St. Stephen’s Chapel, 9:30am – 11:30am
    • March 21 @ Fado Irish Pub, 4022 Townsfair Way, Easton

(Always looking for monthly hosts and/or open to ideas for places to meet or excursion sites conducive to conversation and new experiences.)

 Contact Kaitlin Raver, Coordinator, with any questions at or (614) 956-8550 with any questions. 

 Looking forward to spending some time with St. Stephen’s wonderful “Soul Sisters”!


Mount Carmel Church Partnerships Newsletters

Copies of the Mt. Carmel Church Partnerships Newsletters for March 2019, Weekly Scoop Newsletters  and Health Living Center Wellness Activities list for Winter 2019 can be found on the Community News table in Hobson Hall. Also available are the Mount Carmel Diabetes Prevetion Program Class Listings for January-March 2019 and a flyer for the Diabetes Prevention Program.