Participating in the Parish's Ministry

Updated March 3, 2018

To preserve privacy, the names of people holding positions are not listed on this page. If you attend worship, consult the Sunday bulletin to obtain the names of people holding positions.

Lay Ministry Formation/Volunteer Screening
The parish has a screening policy for certain volunteer positions including Sunday School Teacher. A Lay Ministry Formation Policy including Ministry Descriptions have been prepared; contact the Pastor or Church Wardens for further information. 

Prayers: Sunday Worship
A book to write your prayer for thanksgiving  and intercession (request) is kept on the lectern in the aisle of the nave. These requests are prayed for during the worship on Sunday and through the week. Every household on the Parish List is prayed for on a cycle of two households each Sunday.

A parishioner may like the clergy to pray for them during worship; it may be a prayer for healing or for help coping with a troublesome issue.  When a person goes to receive communion, he or she takes a white heart from the table by the lectern and holds it in his or her  hand so that the clergy can see it. The clergy would then ask the person what they would like to be prayed for; then place their hand on the shoulder of the person and pray for the person. Many Anglican churches have this practice.

Prayer Chain
The purpose of the prayer chain is to unite people to pray for individuals, events, etc.; see article on Prayer Chain.

Prayer Shawl
The Prayer Shawl Ministry is designed to bring together people willing to knit, crochet or quilt shawls that are then blessed during a Eucharist. These shawls are then given to people in need – for reasons of illness or distress of any kind. Contact Canon Ed if you would like to participate in this ministry or if you know someone who could benefit by receiving a prayer shawl; see article on Prayer Shawl Ministry.

Celebrating Birthdays and Anniversaries
The 2nd Sunday of the month is Birthday Cake Sunday when we celebrate with people who have a birthday that month by naming them during announcements, singing Happy Birthday and eating Birthday cake during coffee hour. To participate, give the Church office your birthday. 

For those who are celebrating a special birthday or anniversary, please let the pastor or wardens know so that it can be announced during worship. If their family would like to provide a special cake or luncheon, the pastor and wardens world be happy to facilitate that.

The sides-person (usher) greets people as they enter the church and gives them a bulletin, collects the offering and assists people. Side-persons are scheduled on a rotating basis. All ages are needed, contact the Sides-person Coordinator if interested; see Sides-persons Instructions.

Reading Scripture/Leading Prayers of the People
Lay people read the Old Testament lesson, the epistle (letter from New Testament) and lead the Prayers of the People. The Reader Coordinator distributes the schedule at the end of the month. If you would like to read or lead the Prayers of the People, contact the Reader Coordinator; see Reading a Lesson and Leading Prayers of the People.

A server assists the Officiant by lighting the candles, receiving the offering from the sides-people, and helping the clergy prepare the bread and wine. A server may also be the crucifer, carrying the processional cross. Servers are scheduled on a rotating basis. Anyone who has taken 'Life in the Eucharist' or been confirmed may become a server. All ages can participate, contact the Head Server if you are interested. See article on Servers for further information.

Choir practice is Thursdays 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekly, except during the summer, to rehearse  the hymns and service music. People who love to sing are encouraged to join. If interested, contact the Music Director.

Lay Reader
A Parish Lay Reader officiates at Morning Prayer, preaches sermons and is a Eucharistic Assistant. The Lay Reader-in-training undertakes a course of study. The Pastor and Vestry annually appoints the Parish Lay Reader/Lay Reader-in-training. A Parish Lay Reader Ministry Description has been prepared; for more information contact the Pastor.

Eucharistic Assistant
Lay people are appointed by the Pastor and Vestry to assist with the distribution of communion at a public celebration of the Eucharist; see Eucharistic Assistant.

Altar Guild
The people on the Altar Guild set up for Eucharist, Baptism, weddings and funerals and clean up afterwards. It takes about an hour once a week. If interested contact the Altar Guild President.

The Meeting Room off the Parish Hall is available for women who wish to nurse their child privately. A change table is beside the washroom located in the Parish Hall.

Sunday School
Bible stories and activities are offered in the Parish Hall during Sunday worship. Children go to Sunday School after the children’s hymn and come back to receive communion or a blessing with their families.

Approved Sunday School policies are posted in the Parish Hall. Sunday School teachers are screened and a Ministry Description has been prepared.

Camp Gitchigomee
It is an Anglican summer camp. Brochures are available in the literature rack at St. Stephen’s.

Bible Study
Bible Study and Christian education events are offered; ask the Pastor for further information.

Shepherds help provide pastoral care. Their role is to maintain contact with parishioners, letting them know that the church cares for them. They will also make the Pastor aware of any special situations. A Shepherd may visit new families and shut-ins. A Shepherd Ministry Description has been prepared. If you are interested in becoming a Shepherd, please contact the Pastor. 

Soup Kitchen/Dew Drop Inn
On the 3rd Thursday of each month 4 to 6 volunteers from St. Stephen’s serve lunch at the  Dew Drop Inn (St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church, Red River Rd. at Algoma St.); contact the Soup Kitchen Coordinator to help.

Food Cupboard
The Current River Churches’ Food Cupboard is located at Refreshing Waters Community Church and people who need food can come on Tuesday mornings. Parishioners may donate food by placing it in the bucket at the top of the stairs at St. Stephen's. This food is presented on the 3rd Sunday of each month during the Offertory as a Reverse Offering.

Mission to Seafarers
Volunteers are needed to work at the Seafarers’ Centre at Keefer Terminal and drive the Mission’s van. Seafarers are helped to use the Internet, place phone calls, post letters, obtain a Bible and warm clothing and go to the shopping mall. Contact the Pastor if interested and visit

Sacraments /Pastoral Care

Baptism is by appointment with the clergy and it takes place during the Sunday Eucharist, unless there is a pastoral reason to do otherwise. Godparents or sponsors must be baptized, but need not be Anglican. A visit with the clergy is necessary. A fee is not charged for baptism.

Receiving Communion
Baptism has become recognized as the sacrament of initiation. A person who is baptized is a full member of the church and entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership. Anyone who is baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is welcome to receive communion. People who do not receive communion may come to the Sanctuary Rail and receive a blessing. Parents and their children decide when children receive communion.

A preparation program, Life in the Eucharist, is offered for children who can read. Parents and children can work on it at home, or it will be offered to a group of children from time to time. Contact the Pastor if interested.

It is hoped that by including children as members of the church family, they will feel accepted and stay, as they grow older. People learn by experiencing something and reflecting on it, and as children experience being a part of the church, they will learn and their faith in Jesus Christ will grow.

Gluten-Free Wafers
For people with wheat allergies, gluten-free wafers are available. If you would like to receive communion with gluten-free bread, please speak to the sidesperson prior to the Eucharist beginning.

The change in the thinking on baptism effected the thinking on confirmation. Confirmation was thought of as a completion of baptism as well as a completion of catechism (a course of study). Increasingly it is thought of as a completion of catechism as well as a commitment to a ministry.

The recommended age for confirmation is late teens. Studies show people confirmed at a later age maintain a greater commitment of the church. At an older age, their ability to think is greater and they have more life experience, which makes for a more mature faith commitment.

Children may be confirmed at a younger age in consultation with their parents and the Pastor.

Confirmation preparation is in two parts. The first part is a completion of a Learning Guide, done as self-study but with assistance. The second part is 12 weeks of classes, that includes preparation of a worship service and a short paper on what you believe and why you believe it. Contact the Pastor if interested in being Confirmed.

St. Stephen's supports couples who are making a public commitment of their commitment to each other and asking for God's blessing on their relationship. See Wedding - Couple Information for details on the wedding service, marriage preparation, etc.

Anointing with Oil/Unction
Anointing with oil or unction is a sacrament of the church. The Bishop blesses oil on Maundy Thursday at the Cathedral and it  is distributed to parishes in the Diocese. The purpose of anointing a person is for healing: physical, mental or emotional. If you would like this sacrament, please contact the clergy.

Private Confession
The Anglican position on private confession is: all may, none must, some should. A person has direct access to Jesus through prayer, however, making a confession with a priest allows a person to deal with something that is troubling.

Parish Visit, Private Communion or In Hospital?
If you would like a visit from the clergy or a shepherd, or if someone is sick, in hospital or shut-in and would like a visit or communion, contact the clergy.

When you are admitted to hospital, please note on your admitting form that you are Anglican and your parish is St. Stephen’s. Hospitals adhere to strict confidentiality rules and will not release information  otherwise.

House Blessings/Renewal of Wedding Vows
Please contact the Pastor.

Marriage Counseling
The Pastor has an inventory that helps a couple assess their relationship. The questions cover marriage expectations, personality issues, communication, conflict resolution, financial management, leisure activities, sexual expectations, children and parenting, family and friends, role relationship and spiritual beliefs.

General Information

Being on the Parish List
You are put on the parish list and taken off at your request: use the Response Form and give it to the sides-person, Pastor or contact the church office. Once on the Parish List, you will receive newsletters and be invited to special events or to assist with fund-raising. The parish undertakes to provide pastoral care and the Pastor or a Shepherd will offer to visit.

The Bishop licenses the Incumbent/Pastor, who is normally a priest, to give leadership in the spiritual and worldly affairs of the parish on behalf of the Bishop. As a priest the Pastor celebrates the Eucharist, gives absolution and blesses. The Pastor is paid for 2 days work each week.

Priest/Deacon Associate
The Bishop licenses the Priest and Deacon Associates to assist the Pastor in providing pastoral care and leading worship when the Pastor is away. They are both volunteers. A deacon is an ordained minister who has a ministry of service.

Vestry/Administration of the Parish/Church Wardens
The Vestry is comprised of the voting members of the parish (aged 16 or older, baptized, attended worship twice at the parish in the previous year and contributed financially to the parish). The Annual Vestry Meeting in February approves the budget. The Incumbent and Church Wardens (one appointed by the Incumbent and one appointed by the Vestry) are the executive of the parish. A Parish Council, appointed at the fall Vestry Meeting, assists with  decision making. See Primer on Anglican Government: Parishes.

St. Stephen’s is in the Diocese of Algoma, and the Bishop is the Right Reverend Anne Gemond; and in Thunder Bay Deanery, which includes Manitouwadge to Kakabeka Falls, and the Archdeacon is the Venerable Deborah Kraft.

Parish Finances
Parish income is from offerings, fund-raising and interest. Expenses ($
68,009 in 2017) include those for mission, Sunday worship, pastoral care, Christian education, and administration.

People are encouraged to financially support St. Stephen’s in response to how they have been blessed by Jesus blessed you and to fund its ministries. What a person contributes is a matter of conscience, and the only person who knows what you give is the Envelope Secretary. It is okay to not put anything on the offering plate: you may give monthly or may not be able to afford it that week. We prefer that people participate in worship rather than not attend because they could not afford to put something on the offering plate.

Offering Envelopes
Single offering envelopes are at the back of the church for use by visitors and occasional donors, and for those who wish to give regularly to St. Stephen’s a box of envelopes can be obtained by contacting the Pastor or church office. Semi-annual statements are issued to identifiable donors; contact the Envelope Secretary for corrections. An income tax receipt is issued for identified donations $10 or greater in February.

Electronic Offering Program
Money is withdrawn from your account once a month and deposited to the parish's account. Donor Registration Forms to start or amend your offering are in the literature rack at St. Stephen's or go to

Algoma Anglican/Anglican Journal
The Algoma Anglican is the newspaper of the Diocese of Algoma and is mailed with the Anglican Journal, the national Anglican paper. Identified financial donors are put on the mailing list. To add your name to or remove it from the list, contact the church office.

Office hours are Tuesday and Thursday mornings 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.. Announcements for the bulletin should be in by 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

A newsletter is published 3 times each year that is distributed to those on the parish list. Articles should be submitted to the office. If possible submit bulletin announcements and newsletter articles by e-mail The newsletter is sent by e-mail to those we have e-mail addresses for. An e-letter is sent monthly to those with e-mail.

If you provide St. Stephen’s with your e-mail address, e-letters will be sent from time to time. For those on the Parish Council or committees, agenda and minutes will be sent by e-mail. Use of e-mail saves paper, is good stewardship and reduces expenses. 

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