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St. Stephen's Currently Congregating in Online Gatherings - COVID-19 Evolving Response

Worship Services Start Online at 9:30! 

You can view this week's service at THIS link! 

We are also in the process of moving our website to a new provider and modernizing it, stay tuned! 

On Monday, June 15, the Worship & Music Ministry Team held a joint meeting with the Council to discuss the possibility of returning to in-person worship.

Recent assessments by health experts rate in-person worship as a high rise activity (see COVID-19 INFECTION RISK for common activities and locations).

In order to minimize the risks of in-person worship we would have

to do the following:

  • limit attendance to no more than 30 worshipers
  • sit 6 feet apart and wear masks
  • NO singing and unison speaking, e.g. Confession & Forgiveness, Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed
  • NO Holy Communion
  • NO sharing the peace, passing the plate, no fellowship time
  • NO children’s message, NO creation station

The consensus of the group is that such a gathering would not feel like worship as we know it. Many, if not most, of our favorite aspects of worship would be missing. We are also aware that many members, including our worship leaders, would not feel safe in such a gathering. Therefore, we will continue to offer a Facebook Live service on Sunday mornings at 9:30am, making improvements as we have resources to do so.

Most importantly, we will be working to make the video recordings of services available to all members, especially to those who may not have access to Facebook or Youtube. We will be contacting members to find out what might work best for accomplishing this.

Thank you for your continuing patience and grace in the midst of this global coronavirus pandemic. The health and safety of all our members is of paramount importance.


Pastor Ritva

Martin Luther’s response to an outbreak of the plague in Wittenberg: 

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence … If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person, I shall go freely …” (Luther’s Works; Vol. 43, pg. 132)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In light of Governor Kim Reynolds declaration of a Public Health Disaster Emergency your congregation leaders have taken the following actions:

--- Canceled Wednesday evening Soup Suppers, worship, choir practice and confirmation classes for the duration of the emergency. We will provide Lenten reflections and prayers through social media, and other electronic means. 

--- Canceled all regular Sunday morning worship services for the duration of the emergency. We will provide a short electronically delivered worship experience on Sunday morning. 

--- Agreed to serve as a Family Promise static site so that Sylvain, Gyna and their four children can shelter-in-place from March 22 - April 13. They will be staying in the rooms set up for Family Promise on the lower level, supervised by Family Promise Director Gordon Rey. 

During this time when we must practice physical and social distancing for the sake of our neighbor, it is incredibly important that people are not socially disconnected and isolated. By the end of the week, we hope to have in place:

  • Opportunities to pray and study together using Google Hangouts and/or Zoom. 

  • A telephone communication team intentionally reaching out to our most vulnerable members.

  • An invitation to volunteer to shop and deliver food and medicine to our shut-ins as needed.

  • The Place for Everyone — All Are Welcome capital appeal will continue using electronic means of communication and gathering. 

Watch for announcements about these and other opportunities to know, live and share Christ. 

Please remember to send in your pledges by mail, through our online giving option, or by setting up an electronic funds transfer (EFT). St. Stephen’s seven employees’ livelihoods and wellbeing are dependent on your generous support of our mission. The temporary closure of many small businesses will inevitably cause hardship — gifts to the LOAF Ministry Fund are one way we can care for our neighbors in need. 


Pastor Ritva

Capital Appeal Information
Capital Appeal Information

Click HERE for a link to a "Temple Talk" video about how we should look to renovate our kitchen as well! 

Click HERE for a link to an informational video about the Renovation!

And HERE for an animation showing what the remodel will look like! 

You can help out the congregation and its mission by pledging online on our website HERE

Have questions about the Capital Appeal for St. Stephen's? Take a look at these Q&A sessions! 

Q&A # 1

Q&A # 2

Bulletin Insert: March 08


St. Stephen's Members use a communications software called Realm. Realm allows us to communicate, schedule, and organize quickly from our phones. 

You can go to the website by following THIS LINK.

Who is St Stephen's Lutheran Church

We are a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), located in  the Southeastern Iowa Synod

At St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, we recognize the need to proclaim openly that the gospel is God’s gift to all people to be shared unconditionally. 

As a community aspiring to a be a spiritual home for all God’s people, we welcome all persons, without exception, without regard for age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, financial or family status, physical or mental abilities, or any other human distinction used to discriminate and exclude. 

St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church (ELCA) is a Reconciling in Christ congregation that welcomes diversity, which enriches, nurtures and challenges our life and ministry. Come and join us as we know, live, and share Christ together in love. 

Images of St Stephen's.....

To Know, Live, and Share Christ


St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, ELCA

610 31st Street SE | Cedar Rapids, IA 52403 | 319-364-2637 | ©2014