Located in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is a congregation of the Diocese of Olympia, and a member of the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Communion.
Our mission is to worship, love and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ, welcoming everyone, deepening our faith, helping our neighbors and caring for creation.
(adopted by the Vestry in May 2016)
1. Enhance and promote healthy spiritual lives for our members and visitors by deepening our relationship with God through strong worship experiences.
Results so far: (a) seasonal, non-traditional Taizé services have been added, (b) a variety of musical worship expressions have been tried (flute, solo vocal, bells, harp) and (c) to help families attend worship services together, we have added a nursery for infants and toddlers to our Godly Play program for children on Sundays.
2. Enhance communication among our members and with our Whidbey communities.
Results so far: (a) added sound systems in both sanctuary and parish hall, (b) installed a large new lighted sign in front of the church including a letter board to promote upcoming events, (c) made many improvements to the parish web site and added a parish Facebook page, (d) improved and expanded the monthly parish newsletter and weekly email announcement, (e) installed large new bulletin boards in parish hall and (f) highlighted outreach ministries in the newsletter and at a special outreach table in the parish hall.
3. Enhance and promote stewardship.
Results so far: (a) number of pledges has more than doubled in the last five years and the average annual pledge is more than $3,300, (b) improved landscaping throughout our large campus, (c) hosted concerts open to the public by a Gospel choir and Celtic family singers, (c) launched occasional Saturday “Island Backstage” performances by local musicians open to the public with proceeds going to local nonprofits, (d) continue to offer our space to Boy Scouts, Campfire, Pilates groups and others, (e) installed LED lights and other energy-efficient devices throughout the campus and (f) drew more volunteers to all parish ministries.
4. Enhance and promote outreach to the community
Results so far: (a) we tithe 10 percent of our pledge income for grants to local and national organizations fighting hunger, poverty and homelessness, (b) planning workdays for members to volunteer at ministries in the our community, (c) planning an outdoor Eucharist this summer that will be followed by barbecue to which we will invite the neighbors and other churches around us, and (d) currently studying the possibility of converting our lower lawn area to a community garden.
5. Help members discern their gifts and encourage and equip them for service that is a good fit for them.
Results so far: (a) our congregational survey clearly indicated that this is an important priority for the parish going forward, (b) we are finding new ways to invite people to join an existing ministry or create a new one and (c) we added a greeter to work with the usher each Sunday to greet new people and seek other ways to welcome and embrace visitors.
6. Accomplish a successful search for a new rector.
Results so far: (a) gathered information on the process from the Diocese, (b) hired a Diocesan consultant to assist us, (c) selected and organized a Profile Committee that has been at work since February, (d) published the completed profile on our web site in June and (e) selected a Search Committee to review candidates, assess their fit for St. Stephen’s and make a recommendation to the Vestry.