Spirituality

“Christian spirituality is ‘how we live life before God.’ It is an all encompassing way of life, self-emptying and transformation, reflecting the Pascal Mystery: the life, death and resurrection of Christ” —Abbess Karen Ward

St. Stephen’s is a diverse faith community with a variety people at various stages in their faith journey. As such, all attempts to summarize a common set of beliefs  will consistently fall far short.

There are however some common beliefs that we do cling to as Christians and as Anglicans/Episcopalians.

HOLY EUCHARIST

Holy Eucharist (or the Mass) is at the heart and soul of our spirituality and our community life. At St. Stephen’s we strive to “live a life of common worship centered around grateful thanksgiving to God in the weekly celebration of the Holy Eucharist.”

St. Stephen’s has an open altar. All who desire to receive the Body and Blood of Christ are invited to  do so. All who are hungry and thirsty for God are welcome at Christ’s table.

HOLY SCRIPTURE

It is through the Word of God contained in Holy Scripture that God continues to speak to us. At St. Stephen’s we gather to listen and to heed that Word, and attempt to carry it from here out into the world. We share the Word of God through how we live our lives, how we share our faith and how we serve God and others in love.

 

BENEDICTINE SPIRITUALITY AND LIVING

 “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ, because He will say: “I was a stranger and you took Me in” (Mt 25:35). (Rule of St. Benedict: Ch. 53)

St. Stephen’s has a long tradition of embodying Benedictine spiritual ideals in its life, worship, ministry and outreach.

We best embody Benedictine spirituality in a very real way by attempting to live out St. Benedict’s command to welcome all people who come to St. Stephen’s as if they were Christ himself. Sometimes this radical hospitality is not easy to do. But, doing so makes a difference in many people’s lives.

Many of us at St. Stephen’s utilize this Benedictine spirituality not only as church on Sunday morning or Wednesday night but in our day-to-day lives and worship. Some of us are Oblates (or lay members) of the Order of St. Benedict, others simply strive to follow St. Benedict’s Rule of prayer, life and work.

Benedictine spiritual life is about listening…listening to the voice of God through prayer, through the reading of Scripture, through our own spiritual experience and in listened to one another as a community of faith.

We embody St. Benedict’s spirituality in many ways here at St. Stephen’s:

Listening:

Our spiritual life is about listening to the voice of God—through prayer, Scripture, liturgy, music, poetry, arts, as well as the depths of our own experience, and in listening to one another in community, through the lives of the saints and to the voice and experiences of the wider church.

Ordered and Regular:

Our spiritual life is formed via an ordered rhythm of prayer and liturgy that is Scriptural and reflective: Anglican/Episcopal prayer  has a particular structure and process, which involves contemplating Scripture, sharing in the Sacraments and being receptive to the presence of God as we open ourselves to being transformed.

Balance:

The life in Christ is best lived in a balanced way and within a faith community. No single element – prayer, work, rest, worship, learning, or recreation – prospers in the “extreme.” Holiness of life is cultivated through a proper balance of all these things.

The previous was very freely adapted (with all due apologies) from The Apostles Church, an Episcopal-Lutheran mission congregation in Seattle, Washington, headed by Abbess Karen Ward.