Rector and Curate
Beacon of Light
Church for all
At Saint Stephen’s belonging is very important. God is community, and Jesus lived his life within groups of family, friends and followers. There is a whole range of beliefs within the church, but we all belong to the family of Saint Stephen’s.
When we belong we have a sense of being in the right place, we are rooted well. Roots both nourish the plant and hold the soil together, and that's what belonging means - being included in the heart of the church family. As we gather as a family our friendships deepen, we become more aware of God's love in us and between us, and we grow. We are formed into the people God intends us to be - living life to the full. And this is evident in our showing the fruit of God's Spirit in us: love, joy, peace, kindness, compassion, generosity and hospitality. This is good news for ourselves, our community, and the world.
An Inclusive Church
Saint Stephen’s is an Inclusive Church, which means that we welcome everyone with open arms as representing the rich tapestry of life in the United Kingdom and the wider world. We believe that we are all made and loved by God in all God’s wonder and creativity - God the author of love. This warm welcome is fully extended to LGBT+ folk and we are looking forward to the day when LGBT couples can have their relationships celebrated and blessed in church. Meanwhile, all are welcome, all are loved, all good love is embraced with joy.
We also try to keep our language as inclusive as possible. How we refer to God is important, and where possible we try to find gender-neutral expressions.
We know that there are a whole range of opinions and attitudes within the Anglican Church. But given that there is such a diversity of thought on issues around sex and identity, and of interpretation of scripture, we feel it’s right to err on the side of inclusion. Jesus spent time with those on the outside, and brought them into the centre of the Kingdom by loving and including. That’s good enough for us.
We are pleased to be one of the first churches to belong to the Open Church Network, an initiative of the Oasis Foundation.
Lansdown Neighbourhood Group
Lansdown Neighbourhood Group is a vital area of support and ministry for those in need living locally, particularly the elderly and lonely. It was started around thirty years ago, and has helped countless older people to stay connected to the community. It is a registered charity run mainly by members of St Stephen’s Church.
We hold monthly coffee mornings (2nd Thursday of each month 10.45am-12.15) in St Stephen’s Centre and weekly shopping trips to Morrison’s, usually Wednesday mornings. We go out for an Afternoon Tea in July and Christmas meal at the beginning of December.
"How we love others is how we love God."
revd philip hawthorn rector
Philip has been at Saint Stephen’s for six years. This is his first job as a rector. Before that he was a writer, director and presenter in various media, mostly for BBC Radio and Television. He is, amongst other things, husband to Lizzie, father to Ellie, Billy, Peter, Annie and Ted, cyclist, breadmaker, grower, scribbler and sketcher, henkeeper and supporter of the best football club in the world. (He was born in Watford.)
revd debbie pow curate
A rare species – curate, farmer’s wife, mother … noted for being vertically challenged but high on agricultural anecdotes. Happiest nurturing things: people, plants, animals – and creating: with food, fabric or a hammer and nails. Smitten with Jesus - and husband Will (a wonderfully long-suffering and patient species) she’s proud mum to their three grown up daughters, Jess, Ceci, and Maddie.
Judy Palmer Churchwarden
Judy is sharing the role of second warden with Mary. She has been a Maths teacher all her life and her last position was at the Royal school. She enjoys singing in the Church choir, a game of bridge and playing the ukulele. She is mother to Debbie (not the curate) and Rebecca, and grandmother to three lovely grandsons.
Mike King Churchwarden
Mary Greenwood Churchwarden
Mary is in her second stint as churchwarden at Saint Stephen's. She is married to John and, together, they are both in many ways the hospitable face of the church. Mary is an expert juggler, warden duties and amazing grandma to her wonderful grandchildren.