The Messenger

A weekly e-newsletter of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

December 8, 2022

New This Week:

Message from the Rector

By The Rev. Dr. Vincent Joseph Kopp

Dear Good People of St. Stephen’s,

Wait, watch, and listen—these are the disciplines of Advent; its paradox, though, is that we wait, watch, and listen for someone who has already arrived: the Messiah, Jesus Christ—whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.

So it is in the 21st Century of Christianity that our waiting, watching, and listening for the One who has already come is commemorated annually, not just individually but as a Church.

What we do in Advent we do in each other’s company—as the Communion of Saints—even as we wait, watch, and listen to receive, know, and sustain God’s eternal presence in our individual lives. In this effort Advent is our time of vocation, discernment, and return—collective and individual—to the find, repair, and stay on the path God set for humanity from the beginning—to do on Earth what is done in Heaven, where love, mercy, and justice reign.

Throughout Advent seek your unique call, discern how your call fits into the life of the Church, and return to the basics that guide and sustain us above all else—Scripture, the Sacraments, the Book of Common Prayer, and our experience of God in each other's presence. In them we will find the Messiah who lives and reigns forever.

Let Us Pray:

“We beseech thee, Almighty God, to purify our consciences by thy daily visitation, that when thy Son our Lord cometh he may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

In Christ,


Prayer List


Joan Blackwell

† Mary Branch

Rives Hicks

† Kelly Holden

† Leslie Johnson

Lucy Landis Moore

† Dick Taylor

Jimmy Winston


Lois Brant

Alex Potapenko

Janelle Ramsey

Marcia West


Ryan Repasy

Prayers are requested for The Rev. Dr. Vincent Kopp, Rector

Request a Prayer

Pledge Sunday

Pledge Sunday is this Sunday, December 11th. As you discern your pledge, be thinking about how your gift can help St. Stephen’s thrive during its Bicentennial season.

Christmas Boxes

If you would like to sign-up for Christmas Box food donations for families in need, please click on the sign-up button below. Donations can be dropped off on the racks in the Parish Hall during Office hours until this Sunday, December 11th.

We thank David Spitler and his company for once again providing turkeys for the Christmas Boxes this year!


Weekly Happenings


Pledge Sunday

Loose Offering to Rector's Discretionary Fund

Christmas Boxes Due

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I (Sanctuary)

9:15 a.m. Annual Meeting & Vestry Elections (Parish Hall)

10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II (Sanctuary)

11:30 a.m. Coffee Hour (Parish Hall)

5:00 p.m. EYC Gathering (Parish Hall)


12:00 p.m. Bicentennial Committee Meeting (Parish Hall)


5:00 p.m. Centering Prayer / Lectio Divina (Parlor)


6:00 p.m. Strategic Planning Meeting (Parish Hall)


Angel Tree Gifts Due

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I (Sanctuary)

9:15 a.m. Children's Sunday School (Chapel/2nd Floor Classrooms)

10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II (Sanctuary)

11:30 a.m. Coffee Hour (Parish Hall)

5:00 p.m. Lessons & Carols at Historic St. John's, Williamsboro

Monthly Calendar

Worship Volunteer Schedule

Holiday Concert

December 12, 7:30 PM

The Vance-Granville Community Band will have a Holiday Concert on Monday, December 12th at 7:30 PM in the McGregor Hall Performance Arts Center (address: 201 Breckenridge Street). Free admission and open to the public.

Angel Tree

This year we are once again providing Angel Tree Christmas gifts for children in need. Please click on the Sign-Up link below for more details. Drop off your Angel Tree gifts during office hours in the Parlor by Sunday, December 18th. Please do not wrap the gifts.


Christmas Memorials

While the Flower Guild will use some poinsettias to adorn the sanctuary for Christmas Eve, rather than purchasing memorial poinsettias St. Stephen’s will use this season of giving to help ACIM as they continue to support those in our community who are food insecure. If you wish to include a loved one in the memorials and honorariums listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin, please submit their name and your $15 donation to the Church Office no later than Monday, December 19th. Make your check payable to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and put 'Christmas Memorial' on the memo line. Your gift will be noted on your year-end contribution statement and your collective gifts will be sent to ACIM from our parish!

Season of Celebration

Please stay tuned for more on the Bicentennial after the New Year!

Vestry Nominees

We have six nominees for the Vestry Class of 2025. The Vestry Elections will take place this Sunday, December 11th at 9:15AM in the Parish Hall.

Each candidate was asked to answer three questions (their answers are below):

  1. Why are you running to be on the Vestry?
  2. What has been your involvement at St. Stephen's?
  3. What would you like to see the Vestry focus on in the next 3 years?

John Anderson

1.Commitment to ensuring the health of our church and congregation

2.Long standing member – for the past 40 years; have led stewardship campaign in the past; participated in outreach through mission trips to Central America

3.How best to create value for existing members and attract new membership; opportunities to extend the “reach” of St. Stephens into the community; opportunities to partner with other churches in the area; sustainability for St. Stephens

Nina Cheatham

I was raised in Oxford and was a member of Oxford Baptist Church. I visited St. Stephen’s as a kid with close friends and went to Girl Scouts in the old Parish Hall. In 1990 I began attending St. Stephen’s and was confirmed in June, 1991.

I have served as the Vestry recorder, a member of the Vestry and Senior Warden. I am currently a member of the Choir and the flower group for Altar Guild. I have been on Altar Guild for about 20 years.

My hope is that the Vestry will work together to bring energy, excitement and new members to our church. I am certainly willing to do my part if elected.

Clarence Lemons

1.To give support for needed upkeep of parish property and support to church membership

2.Church Life, Community Outreach, Choir member

3.Financial stability, increasing attendance, and membership

Robert Powell

1.To support our minister and his vision for our parish

2.Have served on the Vestry several times and as Senior Warden twice. Have been involved in Global Missions and local missions, such as the Boys & Girls Club

3.Long-term planning and support of the strategy being developed by the Strategic Planning Committee

Clayton Ramsey

1.I think it’s important to be involved in the life of the church in the ways I can, and this is one way. It’s also a vital part of civic engagement.

2.My family and I have attended regularly for about 12 years. Also, I have read during services from time to time.

3.Serving the spiritual, social, and economic needs of community members.

Andrew Swanner

I am ready to answer the call to serve, if chosen by the church membership. My family and I are committed to the success of this church, in which I intend to continue the effective support and oversight of current and previous Vestry classes.

As a member of St. Stephen’s over the past 11 years, I have served as a reader, greeter, member of the strategic committee, and an EYC leader.

I would like to assist the Vestry in an effort to invest our resources and practices to yield an increase in church membership and presence in the community.

December Birthdays

2 Scott Basnight

3 Margaret Spitler

5 Sarah Johnson

7 Gale Duque

9 Lucy H. Moore

12 Mary J. Branch

14 Jennifer Coplin

17 Katherine Kopp

17 McKelvey Stone  

19 Andrew Swanner

20 Lucy Landis Moore

21 Thomas Pittard

22 Clayton Ramsey

30 Katherine Folger 

December Anniversaries

2 Tom & Kathy Burnette

17 Tom & Beth Evins

19 Mark & Cindy Bostic

22 Herb & Patti Gregory

Join the Birthdays & Anniversaries List

Stay Connected


Children & Youth Ministry Calendar '22-'23

Please Note Newsletter

North Carolina Disciple Magazine

Adult Formation Newsletter


Episcopal News Service

Rector's Medical Leave

The Rector’s medical leave started October 30 and will continue for as long as is necessary after surgery on November 17. The Rev. Lorraine Ljunggren and the Rev. Jim Melnyk (pictured here) will share supply clergy duties during the interval through Christmas and the end of 2022. If you need pastoral care, please contact Jim Branch (see email below) and he will arrange for clergy response.

The Rev. Dr. Vincent Kopp (Rector): on leave

Lidiya Potapenko (Parish Office):

Jim Branch (Sr. Warden):

Bernard Nelson (Jr. Warden):

MISSION STATEMENT: We are dedicated to sharing the Gospel and love of Christ Jesus through service to our Church, community, and world.


Office Hours: M-Th 9AM-4PM

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