Why should I be an Episcopalian?


Saint Stephen's originated in the home of a family in Waretown in the early 1930's. 

The Holy Innocents Chapel at Waretown was born as requests were made of a retired Priest from the Diocese of Long Island named Reverend Colin Walker, to baptize people in the area.  Evening prayer services were held at a home and with growth a mission was organized.  When permission was received from the Bishop, the group, with assistance  from Reverend Walker and Holy Innocents, Beach Haven, rented a building that was converted into a Chapel and here regular services were held.  Funds were soon raised to build a church and St. Stephen's first church was dedicated on January 4, 1937.  Reverend Walker continued his ministry in Waretown until 1940.  

From 1940 until 1955 St. Stephen's was served by Reverends J. Mervin Pettit, Samuel E. Purdy and Clarence Scholl. In 1955 it was necessary to move to a larger building and the church bought the property where it resides today.  In 1961 The Reverend Canon William H. Paul came to serve St. Stephen's.  St. Stephen's became a parish in 1965.  A new church was erected in 1965 and the old church became the parish hall. 
Canon Paul served as Rector until 1987.  During his time at St. Stephen's the church grew and the parish practiced much outreach into the community.  Our Thrift Store and Food Bank are two examples still thriving and a third is our Good Samaritan House, a small house on the property that houses men in transition in their lives. We also have a thriving Sunday school program.  A Memorial Garden and Columbarium were built to provide a place of final rest for the  parishioners.  During Canon Paul's tenure St. Stephen's , Waretown shared the ministry of Holy Spirit, Tuckerton and in the founding of Saint Stephen's, Whiting. 

In 1988 The Reverend Austin B. Murray was called as Rector.  A building program was begun and the walls of the church were expanded, seating was increased and a new parish hall was constructed, including office space, a large kitchen and classrooms.  The old parish hall became the Thrift Store and was relocated to the southwest corner of the property.  Reverend Murray served as Rector until 2008.  One of his last acts before leaving was burning our mortgage.

The Reverend Doctor Jill McNish came to us as our Interim Rector in February 2009.  She was with us until August of 2010.  During her time at St. Stephen's she prepared us well to receive our new  Rector.  In September 2010, Saint Stephen's welcomed The Reverend Terry Martin as our Rector.

Saint Stephens Waretown


  • As Epis­co­palians, we are fol­low­ers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • The Epis­co­pal Church has mem­bers in the United States, as well as in Colom­bia, the Domini­can Repub­lic, Ecuador, Aus­tria, Bel­gium, France, Ger­many, Italy, Switzer­land, Haiti, Hon­duras, Microne­sia, Puerto Rico, Tai­wan, Venezuela, and the Vir­gin Islands.

  • We strive to love our neigh­bors as our­selves and respect the dig­nity of every person.

  • The Epis­co­pal Church is part of the world­wide Angli­can Com­mu­nion, and traces its her­itage to the begin­nings of Christianity.

  • Our liturgy retains ancient struc­ture and tra­di­tions and is cel­e­brated in many languages.

  • Both men and women, includ­ing those who are mar­ried, are eli­gi­ble for ordi­na­tion as dea­cons, priests and bishops.

  • We believe in amend­ment of life, the for­give­ness of sin, and life everlasting.

  • Lay peo­ple exer­cise a vital role in the gov­er­nance and min­istry of our church.

  • Holy Com­mu­nion may be received by all bap­tized Chris­tians, not only mem­bers of the Epis­co­pal Church.

  • We uphold the Bible and wor­ship with the Book of Com­mon Prayer.

  • We affirm that com­mit­ted rela­tion­ships are life­long and monog­a­mous. Epis­co­palians also rec­og­nize that there is grace after divorce and do not deny the sacra­ments to those who have been divorced.

  • We affirm that issues such as birth con­trol are mat­ters of per­sonal informed conscience.

  • We cel­e­brate our unity in Christ while hon­or­ing our dif­fer­ences, always putting the work of love before uni­fo­mity of opinion.

  • All are wel­come to find a spir­i­tual home in the Epis­co­pal Church.

EDUCATION.  Christian Education for those seeking to deepen their relationship with the God is offered to children, adults and teens. Church school is taught by a dedicated group of teachers and provides opportunity for children to learn about the role their faith plays in their daily lives. A nursery is available for children 4 years old and younger during the 10 a.m. Sunday service. The church sponsors a Youth Group which  offers informal worship, ministry opportunities, fellowship and fun! Vacation Bible School is held each summer. In addition, opportunities for adult education, Bible studies and discussions on the spiritual life are available throughout the year.

Saint Stephen's is a parish church of the  Diocese of New Jersey, the second oldest diocese of the Episcopal Church in America.  As such, we are members of the worldwide Anglican Communion. We are a parish whose members enjoy one another's company, and we have striven to warmly welcome new members into our community. While we joyfully participate in traditions that date back to earliest Christianity, we also remain committed to seeking new ways to respond to God’s call to us in an ever-changing world.  We are a parish of about 200 families.  The parishioners of Saint Stephen's come from different backgrounds and have a variety of interests.

The Eucharist is at the heart of our worship and is celebrated every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. We gather at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. for Holy Eucharist on Sundays.  On Wednesday, we gather at 6:30 p.m. for a simple Eucharist, followed by Bible Study.  On Fridays at 9 a.m., the Holy Eucharist includes a Service of Healing. Our liturgies follow the Book of Common Prayer.  The laity are encouraged to participate in all aspects of our worship. We celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at special times during the year, and offer education leading to Confirmation and/or Reception into the Episcopal Church annually. Those interested in any of the above sacraments as well as the sacraments of Holy Matrimony, Confession or Holy Communion classes, should speak with the Rev. Terry Martin.

Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church

Waretown, New Jersey

MUSIC.  Music is an important part of worship at St. Stephen's.   Under the direction of our talented organist and choir director, Carlos Staszeski, the choir participates in the 10 a.m. service each Sunday and in special celebrations during the year. The choir is open to both men and women.  A unique aspect of our music program is our Chime Choir, who offer their talents on special occasions.

FELLOWSHIP.  Saint Stephen’s provides several different ways to experience fellowship. After the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services each Sunday, there is a coffee hour in Parish Hall where all are welcome and encouraged to mingle. The entire church membership is encouraged to participate in our Welcome Home Celebration, held each September, Italian Bistro Night, Shrove Tuesday Supper, Lenten Simple Meals, and various other social events held throughout the year. Joining in any of the many church ministries such as Altar Guild, Thrift Store, Food Pantry, Episcopal Church Women, or Quilters are also opportunities to share friendship and fellowship while using one’s God-given gifts.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH.  The Outreach Ministry of Saint Stephen's provides opportunity for parishioners to volunteer their time and talents to some of the programs the parish offers.  We serve many of the local nursing homes, provide temporary shelter for men in the Good Samaritan House, offer food to about 600 people per month through our Food Pantry, and provide clothing and household items at greatly discounted prices through our Thrift Outlet.