Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church
Waretown, New Jersey
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.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
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.
Why should I be an Episcopalian?
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.
WHO WE ARE
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.
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.