Thanks to the “extravagant generosity” (one of St. Stephen’s guiding principles) of the St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church community and friends, in 2022 we provided over 600 children from 215 families with wrapped, age-appropriate Christmas gifts. Their families also received shelf-stable groceries, produce, bread, and diapers. Additionally, we gifted Browne Education Campus in Washington, DC, with 35 family activity gifts for their preschool to eighth-grade students.
With your help, we hope to share even more this year. The number and size of guest families participating in Grace Ministries and First Fridays/Green Groceries has steadily increased throughout 2023.
Detailed gift suggestions for infants to 17-year-olds can be found below. There will also be a Giving Tree in the Gathering Space, with tags grouped by specific age ranges. We kindly ask that you wrap the gifts (although we are happy to assist if needed) and label them by age and gender, if applicable. Please remember to include batteries if required. We also appreciate donations of wrapping paper, tape, and Christmas labels.
You may drop off packages at the church during regular office hours or when attending services or meetings. The deadline for drop-off is Thursday, December 14, and distribution will take place on the 16th.
Thank you so much for your support. Grace Ministries and our families truly appreciate it.
- Suggested Gifts for Most Age Groups: Books, sports balls, puzzles, art supplies, science, building and craft kits, board and card games.
- Infant to 3: Attachable mobiles, plush animals and dolls, pull toys, bath toys, picture books.
- 3 to 5: Musical toys, play sets (farm, first responders, garage, medical, cooking, dinosaurs, jungle), coloring books, crayons, markers, stickers, play vehicles.
- 5 to 7: Action figures and dolls, costume headgear (firefighter, construction, jungle animal, decorated hairbands, superhero), Etch A Sketch, chalkboard and chalk, musical toys, puppets, bean bag sets.
- 7 to 9: Motorized land, air, and sea craft, plant grow kits, building sets, science, craft, and baking kits.
- 9 to 11: Science, model-building, craft kits, personal journals, pens, art supplies, LED gloves, scrapbooks.
- 12 to 14: Advanced science and craft kits, nail care kits, bracelets, sports gloves, frisbees, decorative items.
- 15 to 17: Personal journals, dart boards, men’s travel and shave kits, makeup sets, wallets, purses, entertainment gift certificates, decorative boxes.
At St. Stephen’s UMC, we feel called to help families relay the faith to the next generation.
We invite you to join us during this time of preparation for the birth of Christ. Our events are open to all ages.
Are you ready to deepen your faith and grow as a disciple of Christ in 2024? Our Waypoints group is excited to announce our upcoming 6-week Discipleship Class, using a curriculum called, “A Disciple’s Path” by James A. Harnish and Justin LaRosa, led by our Lead Pastor, Spencer Broce. Workbooks will be provided.
- When: Six consecutive weeks from January 7 to February 11, 2024
- Time: Meeting Every Sunday, noon to 1 p.m. (*Feb 11 an exception)
- Location: St. Stephen’s UMC, Room C40
Our Discipleship Class is designed to help you grow deeper in your faith and strengthen your connection with our church community. It’s an opportunity to:
- Learn and Apply: Learning about our discipleship within the context of St. Stephen’s UMC and discover how to apply these insights to your everyday life.
- Build Relationships: Connect with fellow members of St. Stephen’s UMC who are also seeking to grow in their discipleship. Build friendships and support one another on your spiritual journey.
- Discover Purpose: Explore how your unique gifts and talents can be used to make a positive impact within our church and the broader community.
- Strengthen Commitment: Reaffirm your commitment to following Christ and become a more active and engaged member of our church family under the guidance of Pastor Spencer Broce.
- Childcare Provided: We understand that many of you have family commitments. That’s why we are pleased to offer childcare services during the class, from infant to youth, so you can focus on your spiritual journey while your children are well cared for.
- Refreshments: Food will be provided for both registered participants and their children.
- Limited Space: To ensure that everyone receives the attention and support they deserve, we have a maximum of twelve spots available.
- Registration Deadline: The deadline for registration is December 17, 2023. Be sure to secure your spot before it’s too late!
We believe that the journey of discipleship is one that we undertake together, as a community. This class is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about growing in faith, deepening relationships, and living out the teachings of Jesus in our daily lives.
We look forward to seeing you at the Discipleship Class, guided by “A Disciple’s Path,” led by Pastor Spencer Broce. Let’s make 2024 a year of profound spiritual growth and community connection. See you in class!
Another Trunk or Treat is in the books. Check out how much fun we (and the whole community) had!
November 5 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
The walk to stop hunger begins and ends at Burke Presbyterian Church (5690 Oak Leather Drive). All ages are welcome. You can register on-line or register in-person the day of the walk beginning at 1:00.
Endowment giving to St. Stephen’s may take many forms:
- Securities are generally deductible at full market value and taxes on the gain may be avoided.
- Real Estate is also generally deductible at full market price.
- Life Insurance Policies may be used to designate the SSUMC Permanent Endowment Fund as a beneficiary.
- Charitable Trusts provide the donor with income for life with the assets passing to the SSUMC Permanent Endowment Fund.
- Wills and Trusts may be used to designate assets to the SSUMC Permanent Endowment Fund.
- Liquid Assets such as cash, treasury bills, money market accounts.
- Gift Annuities provide the donor with income for life with the assets passing to the SSUMC Permanent Endowment Fund.
All gifts for endowment should be labeled for the SSUMC Permanent Endowment Fund.
Contact Jim Allison, Endowment Committee Chair, at 703-323-8132 to further explore these opportunities.
The fall edition is here! Click to read all about it!
Youth Focus Group –
Lesley Hatch, Tammy Lydon, Tom Bradley, Patti Kepler, and Linda Reinhard.
To create guidelines on how youth ages 12-18 are integrated into the overall church life and pave the way for youth who will come to SSUMC in the future. What does this mean? We have a great youth program and great youth in it. In the joint leadership meeting, we identified the need for a whole-church approach to supporting our youth.
Ideas Being Explored:
- Determine what it means to offer intentional support.
- How can youth be involved in worship?
- Include a youth on our youth council
- We have been gathering information from youth coaches, youth leaders, confirmand parents, and most importantly from our youth themselves. We have had great responses and look forward to more collaboration.
- Staying up to date on trauma and trauma responses; is something all of our youth are exposed to.
- Hold a meeting with counselors, teachers, and students from a wide variety of schools to explore what is going well and what is difficult for youth currently. How can SSUMC support counselors, teachers, and students?
“NOT YET” Leadership Retreat Focus Group
Edmund Baird, Mike Keppler, Jay Evans, Lorac Lawton, Victoria Bryant, Ruth Porter, Lesley Hatch
Offer new ways to reach people who have not had any experience with St. Stephen’s UMC
The “Not Yet: Group has met several times to brainstorm potential ways to reach people in our community.
To date, we have generated three possibilities to explore further.
Ideas Being Explored
Church used for non-church activities.
One way to reach new people would be to make the church building more available for use by the community.
- Small community groups that may need space for regularly scheduled meetings, such as Toastmasters, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon
- Other churches that desire a space for worship
- People wishing to hold events, such as meetings, receptions, concerts, recitals
Strengthening connections with groups that are currently meeting at the church.
One excellent opportunity for outreach involves families connected with groups that already meet at the church.
- Boy Scouts
Offering activities in the community to reach people where they are
Expand worship and ministry opportunities to new demographic groups.
We have discussed reaching out to Seniors in our community. Currently, many of our church members have moved to Greensprings. A new senior living center – Woodleigh Chase – as well as an affordable senior living facility, adjacent to the Woodleigh Chase campus, are being constructed a few miles down Braddock Road.
- Host a group from Greensprings to watch our Sunday worship live stream together at Greensprings, provide communion that could be offered along with the congregation, and plan a time of fellowship, with drinks and snacks, following the worship service. This might be a time to build community and reach other residents.
- Take what we have learned and possibly use it at Woodleigh Chase when it opens
- Perhaps expand this to the affordable senior living center
The “NOT YET” group has just begun to explore ways to reach out to our community and introduce them to Saint Stephen’s. When we meet, we feel God’s presence as we brainstorm, think creatively, and expand on each other’s ideas! Your input and suggestions would be welcomed.
Jaraby Camargo, Rebeca Ervin, Roger Hartman, Joe Willmore
To improve communication about the various ministries, opportunities, events, and activities of St. Stephen’s UMC to those who are a part of SSUMC as well as the broader community.
St. Stephen’s offers an impressive number of services, groups, and ministries. However, many of us aren’t aware of the full range of great things happening here. Our surrounding community likely knows even less about what we offer here.
The Communications team here is here to help. We want to receive, reflect and relay information about St. Stephen’s. We’ve been asking ourselves the following questions:
- The “Why”
- Why is this project important and what are we trying to accomplish overall with our communications guidance?
- The “What/When/Who”
- What information are we trying to communicate, and who are the target audiences? When do we want to share this information?
- The “How”
- How can we disseminate this information? What tools do we have/need?
- Develop a Vision Statement for Communications to guide our efforts.
- Better understand the communications needs and challenges of various groups
- Meet with groups to determine the communications challenges they have and how we can address them together
- Assess current communication resources and make recommendations for updating or expanding as needed
- For example, we have a great new website and lots of fresh approaches to church email. But are there additional ways we can convey information to our church community and beyond?
We’re excited about this effort and hope you are too. If you have questions or ideas about how to better receive, reflect and relay information about St. Stephen’s, please reach out to a member of our team.
“Discipleship Pathway” Team
Lorac Lawton, Jaraby Camargo, Linda Reinhart, Vickie Bateman, Lesley Hatch
To develop a clear and intentional discipleship pathway, regardless of age, life stage, or faith journey, so that all who are a part of St. Stephen’s UMC may continue to grow in faith.
- Define a discipleship pathway
- Create a visual discipleship map
- Initiate a Christian education program
Define A discipleship pathway
A plan to guide people in deepening their relationship with God and growing in their faith at all the differing entry points.
Why do we need one?
To connect people to God no matter where they are in life.
Visual Discipleship Map
Example below from St. Stephen’s Children’s Ministry, 2014:
Provide not only children but also adults a guide for their own discipleship journey
Christian Education Program for Intentional Discipleship
Opportunity for all people to grow in their faith; to live the full and abundant life god intends for us.
- Starting Points Class
- Growing Disciples Classes
- Maturing Disciples Classes
Last week, the Virginia Annual Conference met in Roanoke, VA for our yearly gathering of representative, lay and clergy, from every church. Among the many wonderful, and hope-filled, reports and experiences, St. Stephen’s was recognized as one of five “Green Churches” in our Conference for 2023. We received the award in response to this spring’s “Green Day” event on April 30th. The award is extended to a church for “its work to green its church and model for its community the importance of caring for God’s creation and for its support of the Conference Green Church Initiatives.” Let us continue to live into our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation together!