Last year, 2020, was tough for a whole host of reasons — wildfires, pandemic, elections, and more. Our efforts, as St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Orinda, to be and to remain a connected community of worshippers and learners and disciples was met with new challenges that required adaptive measures. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of those efforts that we want to celebrate as we approach the date of our annual meeting on January 31st. Check it out.
10. THE ILLUSTRATED STATIONS OF THE CROSS —
Good Friday 2020. || children and youth from the parish came together to illustrate and narrate the Fourteen Stations of the Cross (w a bit of help from the adults) in honor of Good Friday.
9. HOMECOMING SUNDAY —
In the middle of August, we welcomed back the last five years of seminarians/pastoral interns for a Sunday service of Morning prayer, including chanted psalms and a sermon. It was so lovely to see our old friends again and it was something we could have only pulled off in this weird and wild digital season.
8. ‘COFFEE HOUR’ VIDEO MONTAGE SERIES —
We understandably have missed the happenstance interactions with folks in places like the parish hall or the parking lots–before or after church. So we put together a series of videos with little snippets of our parishioners lives during COVID times. Click thru and take a look at the six different videos!
7. FOOD FOR FAMILIES PROGRAM —
the lay leadership of St. Stephen’s responded to the increased need identified by the Monument Crisis Center with an ambitious goal of raising $60,000. Including cash and food donations and a Episcopal shield facemask auction, we’re been able to make significant progress towards that goal. We are still engaged in this effort so click the link below and offer what support you can!
6. CHRISTMAS COMMUNION —
All year long we’ve missed the sacraments and so it was a special blessing to be able to share communion–distributed through individual kits and taken on Christmas morning– after such a long drought.
5. ANTI-RACISM WORK —
After George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department, St. Stephen’s began in earnest the work of becoming ant-racist. Those efforts included book and discussion groups, community conversations, the formation of a leadership team, and walking together through a curriculum from the Absalom Jones Center. We are grateful for the collective efforts of this community and are eager to continue the work in 2021.
4. BOUQUET MINISTRY —
thanks to the fabulous efforts of our flower and altar guilds, and the organizing efforts of the leader of the ministry, St. Stephen’s has delivered NINETY BOUQUETS of altar flowers to parishioners and other members of the community throughout the year. We are so appreciative of their efforts and, as you can see, a bit of cheer during a dreary season
3. THE CARDBOARD CONGREGATION —
thanks to the diligent efforts of Betsy D., we are so so moved this congregation full of faces after the church has been empty for so long. A simply reminder that while we are apart for the time being, we will be back together soon.
2. the MUSIC PROGRAM —
we are so grateful for the ways that music has stayed a part of our lives and our worship throughout COVID, and extra grateful for Michael’s leadership and the offerings of instrumentalists and vocalists throughout this time. Check the replay of this Advent concert and a playlist of some of the other musical offerings throughout this season.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS (from Annual Meeting brainstorm)
- Christmas Pageant
- retreat last spring
- Wednesday night Bible Study
- Bible Study
- Delivering flowers from the Altar
- Working on the topic of racism with various groups.
- Bouquet Ministry
- First zoom so I knew we would be ok.
- flower ministry
- MCC support
- Sewing masks for Monument Crisis and other charities to distribute!!
- handing out Eucharist kits
- Listening to a sermon with my mom, who has been living with us.
- Bible Study all year, but especially the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. Conversation and learning was exceptional for me!!
- Dealing with financials remotely.
- Staff & Vestry leadership staying focused and committed while the world was falling apart all around us. (Not really one moment, but it’s how I will remember this year.)
- blessing to have technology to be able to go to church.
- chatting with Steve one autumn afternoon
- Bells for this passed
- Sunday School! Xmas pageant and Stations of the Cross.
- Meeting with Father Steve in socially distanced fashion on the patio.
- Altar Guild. And the we made it through the year financially.
- The cardboard cutouts of everyone at church. Thank you so much for that.
- for Zoom Eucharist!
- communion Christmas eve
1. ‘A VERY QUARANTINED CHRISTMAS PAGEANT’ —
such a lovely multi-ministry offering, with submissions of narration and art and music from members of all ages. We deeply missed being able to be together for the celebration of Christmas week, but this pageant felt like the kind of team effort that makes Church feel like Church and we are so grateful for the ways that folks contributed.