Parish Profile

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is located on the corner of Woodruff Ave. and High St. adjacent to the campus of The Ohio State University.  The community gathers individuals from the OSU campus and wider metropolitan area of Columbus, Ohio to grow in faith through worship and prayer, nurturing minds, and service in the local community. All are invited to explore faith in an atmosphere that strives to be open, inclusive and challenging. We seek a Rector who will guide us on our journey of growth, change, and sharing of Christ’s message.

Our Core Values

This list of five core values was generated through a series of parish meetings, and draws upon work done over the last few years by the Vestry, the building committee, and a number of other working groups in the church. It represents the areas that are most important to us as a congregation, and, for each one, identifies areas of strength and places where we would like to see growth.

Open table

The open table is our practice of allowing anyone to share in the Eucharist, but it also represents a broader vision of openness and inclusivity. Everyone is invited to participate fully in the life of the parish, in any way they feel called to do so. 

  • Where we are doing this well: We welcome parishioners and newcomers, both through our building and through the warmth and friendliness of the congregation. This also finds expression in our other core values of social justice and a strong, loving community.
  • Where we have room to grow: We are great at making those who come to us feel welcome, but we could do more to invite people into our space and into our congregation. This could take the form of improved space design and signage, as well as increased engagement on campus and in the community. We could also do more with structured (as opposed to spontaneous) welcome, including more organized efforts towards welcoming and hospitality.

Social justice

We work to make the political and economic systems in which we live more just, while also extending a helping hand to those who need one.

  • Where we are doing this well: We are active in supporting the B.R.E.A.D Organization (http://www.breadcolumbus.com/) and Neighborhood Services, Inc. (https://www.neighborhoodservicesinc.org/), through a dedicated group of volunteers and the regular mobilization of our congregation to support major efforts. We also incorporate social justice teachings and activities into our children’s ministry – for example, through the Sunday school group’s annual Trade-In Bake Sale to support NSI.
  • Where we have room to grow: We could do more to get a ‘critical mass’ of the parish involved in social justice activities, and we could seek out new opportunities to make a difference in our local community.

Strong, loving community

Sharing joys and celebrating together, and bringing the love of Christ into situations of need and crisis within our congregation.

  • Where we are doing this well: We are good at loving welcome and celebration, and at caring for each other spontaneously and in response to requests. We also have a number of strong small group ministries (e.g. choir and book club) that serve as venues for fellowship and support.
  • Where we have room to grow: We recognize the need for more organized lay ministry and leadership – including pastoral care and fellowship – and the need to be more proactive in our approach to caring for each other. We would also like to build on the success of our existing small group ministries by creating new groups around different activities/topics.

The voices of faith and reason

At St. Stephen’s, we believe that religion should stimulate us intellectually, as well as emotionally and spiritually. We live out that belief by focusing on the presence and incarnation of Jesus in our lives, and grappling with what it means for us and for our world.

  • Where we are doing this well: Liturgy at St. Stephen’s is thought-provoking, and challenges us to expand our understanding of God. Our clergy tend to incorporate education into their preaching, and we have a tradition of lay preaching that allows God to speak through our congregation. We encourage the exploration of new theological ideas and the formation of clergy through our engagement with seminarians.
  • Where we have room to grow: We would like to continue to build on our success in this area, while ensuring that our church remains a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds. We have a strong desire for more adult education, and hope that our next Rector will support our efforts to grow in this area.

Inspiring worship

Worship at St. Stephen’s feeds spiritual hunger and provides a venue for continuous revelation by providing opportunities to connect with God. We strive for creativity and beauty within the traditions of the Episcopal Church.

  • Where we are doing this well: We provide a variety of opportunities to worship, including Sunday morning services, Sunday evening campus ministry, and Wednesday mid-day prayer. We rejoice in the beauty of our sacred space and our music. Our liturgy is grounded in the Book of Common Prayer, but includes elements of creativity and innovation that make  for a continually-evolving worship experience.
  • Where we have room to grow: This has been identified as an area of strength by our congregation, but we would like to build on it by providing even more opportunities for worship, and through the improvement of our worship space that began this year and will continue into the near future.

– St. Stephen’s Rector Search Committee, October 2015