Participating in the Parish's Ministry

Updated April 10, 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.

The New Testament word in Greek for church is ekklesia, which means an assembly gathered for a purpose. St. Stephen’s defines its purpose as, “to build a loving Christian family of faith and to nurture our spiritual lives as we share God's love.” A value that operates in our family is that all people, regardless of age, gender, or status ought to have the opportunity to be involved in our life. What follows outlines the opportunities to get involved, so that people may volunteer.

Lay Ministry Formation/Volunteer Screening
A Lay Ministry Formation Policy including Ministry Descriptions has been prepared for volunteer positions including Sunday School Teacher; 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 ask 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 will then ask the person what they would like prayer for; then place their hand on the shoulder of the person and pray for the person/circumstance. 

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 the Pastor 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 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 Church 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 Church Wardens world be happy to facilitate that.

The Sides-person (usher) welcomes people as they enter the church building, gives them a bulletin and assists them as needed, and brings forward the offertory: bread, wine and the collection. Side-persons are scheduled in pairs on a 4 to 6 week rotation. Instructions for a Side-persons are on All ages are needed, contact the Sides-person Coordinator if you are interested in helping;
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; see Reading a Lesson and Leading Prayers of the People. The Reader Coordinator prepares 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 or the Pastor.

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.

The choir meets Thursdays 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekly, except during the summer, to rehearse hymns, service music and anthems. People who love to sing are encouraged to join; if interested, contact the Music Director. 

Eucharistic Assistant
The Pastor and Vestry appoints Eucharistic Assistants to assist with the distribution of communion at a public celebration of the Eucharist; see Eucharistic Assistant.

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.

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

Cleaning Team
The church building is cleaned by parishioners, who are scheduled in pairs on a  4 to 6 week rotation; if interested, contact the Cleaning Team Coordinator. Instructions for the Cleaning Team

A mother who wishes to nurse her child privately may use the Meeting Room off the Parish Hall, and a change table is beside the washroom 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.
Sunday School policies are posted in the Parish Hall.

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.

Soup Kitchen/Dew Drop Inn
On the 3rd Thursday, 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 volunteer.

Food Cupboard
The Current River Churches’ Food Cupboard is located at Refreshing Waters Community Church, 361 Hodder Ave. 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, obtain a Bible and warm clothing and go to the shopping mall. Contact the Pastor if interested and visit

Ladies Night Out
Every 2 months, the ladies gather at a local restaurant for an evening of food, fellowship and fun! They alternate between Monday and Wednesday evenings. If you are interested in joining us, please contact the Ladies Night Out Facilitator for further information on the next dinner. You can also find the information on our St. Stephen’s Facebook page. We hope to see you there!

Men's Club
The Men’s Club meets for breakfast on the 2nd Saturday of each month, September through May, and spouses are welcome. Jeff Pike is the chair. They organize our annual Turkey and Roast Beef Dinners and sell the tickets.

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. A visit with the clergy is necessary. Godparents or sponsors must be baptized, but need not be Anglican. A fee is not charged for Baptism.

Receiving Communion
Baptism is the sacrament of initiation, and a person who is baptized is a full member of the church and entitled to all of 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. Parents and the children decide when children receive communion. 

People are welcome to receive both the bread and the wine. Some choose to receive in one kind only. If you do not wish to receive the bread or the wine, cross your arms across your chest. If you do not wish to receive the wine, it is also acceptable to touch the bottom of the chalice. People who do not receive communion may receive a blessing. 

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

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 Sides-person before the Eucharist starts.

Confirmation is the laying on of hands by a bishop to receive the Holy Spirit. 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. People confirmed at a later age are more likely to maintain a greater commitment to their faith. At an older age, their ability to think critically is greater and they have more life experience, which makes for a more mature faith commitment. However, children may be confirmed at a younger age in consultation with their parents and the Pastor.

Confirmation preparation is in 2 parts. The 1st part is a completion of a Learning Guide, done as self-study but with assistance. The 2nd part is a 12 week course, 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 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.

A Shepherd provides pastoral care: maintains contact with parishioners, lets them know that the church cares for them, and makes 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. 

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, and contact the clergy or church office. 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. 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 the newsletter 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 may 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 at St. Stephen's 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/Governance/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. 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 Germond; and in Thunder Bay-North Shore Deanery, which includes Manitouwadge to Kakabeka Falls, and the Archdeacon is the Venerable Deborah Kraft.

Parish Finances
Parish income is from offerings, fund-raising, solar panels and interest. Budgeted expenses ($70,546 in 2018) 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 for use by visitors and occasional donors and memorial envelopes are at the narthex (entrance). A box of envelopes can be requested for those who wish to give regularly to St. Stephen’s; to obtain a box complete a Response Form or contact the Sides-person or church office. 

Semi-annual statements are issued to identifiable donors; contact the Envelope Secretary for corrections. An income tax receipt is issued in February for identified donations $10 or greater made in the previous fiscal year. 

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

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. If you wish to cancel your subscription, contact the church office.

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

An e-letter is sent monthly to those with e-mail. A newsletter is published 2 times each year that is distributed to those on the parish list, and the newsletter is sent by e-mail to those for whom we have an e-mail addresses. Bulletin announcements and newsletter articles are submitted to the office; if possible by e-mail

St. Stephen the Martyr Anglican Church Home Page