The Rev. Ted Rice was called by our Vestry to be Priest-in-Charge in June 2016. At the outset of his ministry he stated, ďI am excited to share in parish leadership responsibilities, get to know its parishioners and become more active in the community in which I now reside.Ē The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire is developing a program through which the Ted and our parishioners will be involved in the formation and preparation of persons preparing for ordination.
Born in New York City, Ted grew up in its suburbs, attended college in Hartford, Connecticut, and seminary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After his second year in seminary, he worked in the inner city of Boston first in job training, then as a curriculum developer and eventually as the principal of Bostonís school for high school drop-outs. After seminary he and his family moved to Michigan where he was ordained and did community organizing with disaffected high school students and young adults.
Christian formation has been a focus of Ted's ministry. He designed curriculum and vacation church school programs for younger children, led youth groups and retreats for teens and have led all manner of formation programs for adults. Favourite initiatives include weekly programs studying the lessons appointed for the following Sunday as well as courses on meditation and Christian spirituality. He has led yearlong studies on discipleship as well as shorter ones on Handelís MessiahN and the Brahmís Requiem. He has done a seven-week course that covers the whole bible. Other roles: working with clergy in interim ministry and starting out in new cures, and assisting parishes in conflict.
Ted and his first wife raised two children. In May of 2010 he married the Rev. Pat Stelz, also an Episcopal priest. Pat was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2015 and died in February of 2016.
We are currently served by visiting organists.
Vestry, Wardens, Officers
The St. Stephen's Vestry consists of a Senior Warden (Katie Jones), a Junior Warden (Paul Dion), the Treasurer (Barbara Barr), Clerk (Sue Camp), and three at-large members (Carole Brown, Rick Coffin, and Sabra Welch). This group acts as a "board of directors" for the parish in all matters, with financial and budgetary oversight. Our Vestry usually meets on the second Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The meeting minutes are posted on the bulletin board in the Undercroft.
After a lengthy parish Envisioning process, St. Stephen's organized its ministries using a team approach. These groups schedule regular meetings, usually held immediately after the Sunday service. All parishioners are invited to attend and to participate as they feel called.
This Team plans our Sunday and other services, in collaboration with the priest and the music ministers. The Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs), who serve at the altar and take communion to homebound parishioners are part of this Team, as are members of our Altar Guild. The Rector serves as the Team Leader.
In addition to Sunday worship, weekday services take place during the year: Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. St, Stephen's also participates in the annual World Day of Prayer, held each March in an area congregation. Our annual Outdoor Eucharist is usually held in Setember, and in October we've offered a Blessing of the Animals.
Our Family Education program, led by Sabra Welch, teaches the children about faith. They participate in activities and projects to share with the congregation. They also explore the elements of our worship--communion, vestments, and prayers--to better understand what they observe and experience during the service. Adult Education, led by Bernie Cameron, consists of different programs, for instance a Lenten Book or Bible study, Via Media, a study of the Book of Common Prayer, studying the emergent church, an examination of immigration and the death penalty, and guest speakers from the diocesan staff or nonprofit groups. As Ministry of Fun, Bernie has organized the Women's Kayak event, the annual Mardi Gras Potluck, a Christmas cookie swap, and more. If you have ideas, please be in touch with her!
The team includes such activities as Postcard Ministry, Prayer Shawl Ministry (Marylee Johnson) and Publicity/Website (Margaret Porter).
Parish Life Guild
We are so grateful to Wes Jones for leading the Guild, which for many years has sponsored our parish fundraisers and organized parish social activities (the Christmas party and annual picnic.) Most of the money raised at our booths during the Town-wide Yard Sale (June), Old Home Day (July), and the Holly Fair (November) are used for Outreach or special projects.
Charlotte Berry is responsible for organizing this very important ministry, which includes several parishioners. Altar linens, altar flowers, preparation of the church for Sunday service, feasts and Holy Days are some of the responsibilites.
Under the leadership of Sabra Welch, this team is responsible for the care, cleaning, and maintenance of our church building, and communication with groups using it. This important and necessary ministry is supported by parish volunteers. Several times a year a Clean-up Day is held, indoors and out. We re-roofed the building in the autumn of 2007 and in 2008 re-paved the sidewalk from the street to the Undercroft. Recent achievements include the painting of the church exterior and the replacement of the oil tank. In 2003, a renovation of our Undercroft was taken on as a "church family project." The ceiling was raised, blocked windows were uncovered, radiant heat was installed under the floor, a handicapped-access restroom was added, and the entire space was re-painted. Replacement roof crosses were carved and assembled and painted by parishioners. The larger one was blessed by Bishop Robinson at Fr. Curtis Metzger's Celebration of New Ministry for installation in 2009.