St Stephen’s exists as a place of encounter with God, and where we can grow together in faith and as Christian disciples.
When we gather for worship we always include a prayer that Jesus Christ taught to his first disciples. It begins ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name’ and it contains within it much about being a Christian means. We call God ‘Father’ because Jesus did; and the Spirit, the life, that filled Jesus is given to us also so that we can have a relationship with him.
This God is the source of everything, the life from which everything flows out. That life was shown in Jesus who reflects all that God is – his beauty and his glory. This one God who is ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ is also active as the power that works to lead and guide us. We call this power the Holy Spirit. Christians call this way of describing God the ‘Holy Trinity’, the one God who acts and exists in three distinct ways.
Christians not only believe that in Jesus God shares our human life, but that he offered himself to death on the cross to restore the relationship of love between God and humanity. He ‘pays the price’ for human wickedness, and accepts his suffering as an act of love that will break the power of sin. Having died, Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father on the third day to live a new, immortal, human bodily life.
It is the risen Jesus who continues to call people to be with him now just as he did in his life on earth. This company of contemporary disciples is called the Church; which tries to live as a community of fellowship, obedient to God. Jesus gives the power of the Holy Spirit to his followers to inspire us, to challenge us and to draw us back to God’s ways. The Holy Spirit is particularly at work as the Church celebrates Baptism, the Mass and the other sacraments, when we read our holy book, the Bible, and when we pray.
Because Jesus rose from death 'on the first day of the week' according to the gospels, Sunday has always been a special day for Christians. Easter season is the greatest of all Christian festivals.
We celebrate our faith daily in acts of worship to which all are welcome, we join with other parishes to run study courses during the year (particularly during Lent) and the parish clergy are always available to offer advice to those who would like to explore and learn more about the Christian faith.