ST. STEPHEN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH
50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
It was our great pleasure to celebrate our 50th Anniversary of Ministry at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in El Dorado Hills on May 18, 2014. To commemorate the occasion, Pastor Trudy Franzen designed a six-foot outdoor mosaic. She and members of the community worked together to complete this three-month project.
Imagine for a moment the prospect of starting a brand new church with just a handful of families. By any standard, it is a difficult and time-consuming task! St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church was conceived in 1963 and officially began to worship, holding a services next to the municipal swimming pool! By May 17 of 1964, sixty adults signed the charter of incorporation and the first church in El Dorado Hills was born.
St. Stephen’s had a lot of challenges along the way. First, they quickly outgrew the space they were using for worship at the local Fire Station. Then, they had the challenge of building a structure despite economic downturn. Layoffs occurred at Aerojet, a company that had once employed 25,000 people but was downsized to less than 1,000. St. Stephen’s then took on the challenge of building an education wing during another period of economic instability (1978-1980).
Through the years, St. Stephen’s has been blessed with dedicated leaders and pastors, generous givers, and scores of volunteers. Nestled on a hillside surrounded by beautiful trees, St. Stephen’s has a retreat-like quality that embodies all of the love that has been poured out to sustain it.
Over the years, St. Stephen’s has always supported youth activities, such as Boy Scout Troop 454. Service projects have included various denominational drives to combat hunger, as well as work with Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, the Faith Based Nomadic Shelter for the Homeless, St. John’s Shelter for Women and Children, Acres of Hope, El Dorado Food Bank, Lutheran Social Services, Heifer Project, El Dorado Mental Health Services and American Muslim Voice. St. Stephen’s also supports Kibungo Parish in Rwanda, partnering with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Auburn and Grace Lutheran Church in Lincoln.
All are welcome!
We gather–different ages, stages, sexual orientations, gender indentifications, economic statuses, lengths of experience in a church, denominations and places of birth. We gather because of the one story of God’s amazing love through Jesus Christ.
St. Stephen’s, an open and loving congregation, will provide a safe and welcoming spiritual home, so all have opportunities to worship God and serve others. We welcome all who are seeking God’s love and grace. We welcome all because God welcomes all regardless of race, culture, all sexual orientations, gender identities, or relationships. Our unity is in Christ.
St. Stephen’s is available for weddings and wedding receptions along with parties, picnics & many other events because of our large grounds. Please contact the office for more information – 916.933.1441
WHAT DO LUTHERANS BELIEVE?
Lutherans are a diverse group of people, convinced that the Holy Spirit is leading us toward unity in the community of God. When we gather for worship, we connect with believers in every place in every time. When we study the Bible and pray, we are drawn more deeply into God’s own saving story. When we serve others and address social issues that affect the common good, we live out our Christian faith.
Lutherans began their unique history with a 16th Century movement led by Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk. Lutherans were among the first to be called “Protestants” or “Evangelicals.” Today Lutherans are the second largest Protestant church in the world, with approximately 70 million members worldwide.
Lutherans always place themselves as part of the larger story of the Christian Church. We are Christians first, Lutherans second. We seek to deepen our relationships with all Christians and people of other faiths. In this way, we work to respond to the way Jesus inspires us to love God and love neighbor.
As Lutherans, we don’t claim to possess all truth, but do believe that God’s Holy Spirit reveals to us truth and wisdom daily. God chooses to teach us surprising things all the time, sometimes in unexpected ways through unexpected people. One of the names of God is “Redeemer,” the one who takes that which is broken and wrong and makes us whole and right. There is nothing that has been done to us, or that which we do to others, that God does not forgive and that God cannot heal. We seek to live an abundant life in that forgiveness and healing. At St. Stephen’s we remind ourselves often of these gifts with the phrase, “Amazing Grace, Joyful Lives.”
Part of our healing work is to seek ways of living the way of peace with our neighbors. We are a curious people, always wanting to learn about the experiences of all people. That is one reason why there are Lutheran ministries in 79 countries worldwide, and why some of our largest churches are in Africa. These relationships can only enhance our spiritual growth.
More information about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is found at www.elca.org.