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About Us

ABOUT US

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Who We Are
We are one in the body of Christ. We, as a community of faith, have much to share about God's love in Jesus Christ. Serving communities in Woodbury, New Jersey as well as Woodbury Heights, Deptford, West Deptford, Bellmawr, Westville, Paulsboro and more, we worship, pray, learn, share and are witness to the living Lord in the world. Visit St. Stephen’s to find faith in action: meaningful worship in a moving setting, opportunity for personal spiritual growth, a chance to serve others and fellowship.

Mission Statement & Values

"Sharing God’s vision, together in faith."

God’s vision for us is the future God promises all of creation: a world where everyone has dignity and everyone has enough. The church’s job is to share that vision, both taking it upon our hearts and communicating it to others. The church is an exercise in faith together: with each other, with our partner congregations, and with Christians worldwide. All of this is rooted in faith, the cornerstone of our Lutheran identity.

God’s Word

Everything we do is rooted in the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus is revealed to us in the holy scripture, the source and norm for our life of faith. The ecumenical creeds and the confessions of the Lutheran church are faithful witnesses to those scriptures. The heart of our mission is to learn, proclaim, and embody God’s Word.

 

Acceptance

We believe that everyone has dignity, inclusive of the many ways God has made us different. Jesus doesn’t require perfection to follow him, but rather comes to us again and again how we are. As church, we accept everyone as they come, learning and changing as we go. Each of us are sinners in need of forgiveness and change, just as each of us are made holy and righteous in Jesus Christ. We hope that our church will also reflect the diversity of our wider community.

 

Respect

A church that accepts people for who they are must live together with respect. At St. Stephen’s, we are amazed by the diversity with which God creates us, and we strive to make our community equitable and fair for all. God creates people of all ethnicities, races, genders, marital statuses, abilities, classes, and sexual orientations, and thus we strive for the full participation and dignity of all people within our congregation.

 

Action

We are saved by God’s grace to live out our faith. Many in our world are hungry, lacking shelter, unfairly imprisoned, or otherwise suffering from societal ills. St. Stephen’s lives its faith by directly helping those in need, by building relationships across communities to help others, and by advocating for just and fair policies.

 

Community

Churches gather people around God’s Word and set a table for connection. St. Stephen’s is a place where people find community and connect with other people. Our fellowship together is not merely fun extra credit, but the time together we spend building relationships is sacred and worthy of development. People come to St. Stephen’s to make friends and develop meaningful relationships with God’s beloved people.

 

Love

God is love, embodied in Jesus Christ, and we are the Body of Christ. As the church, we love one another and our neighbors, promoting peace and reconciliation in our world and in our church. Our church cares for each other, particularly those who are ill or homebound and supports one another through life’s difficulties.

Affirmation of Welcome

In response to the overwhelming love of God, we stand in awe of the wideness of God’s mercy. In faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, mindful of our Lutheran emphasis on grace, and rejoicing in the celebration of our shared baptismal journey, we welcome all who are seeking God’s love and grace. We welcome all because God welcomes all, regardless of race or culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or relationship status. We welcome all without regard to addictions, physical or mental health, imprisonment, socio-economic circumstances, or anything that too often divides us. Our unity is in Christ.

Reconciling Works

St. Stephen's is a Reconciling in Christ community. We welcome people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions, as well as those who may have been excluded because of other human distinctions, such as race, disability, addictions, physical or mental health, imprisonment or economic status. Learn more about Reconciling Works here.

Church Affiliations
ELCA: God's work. Our hands. St. Stephen Lutheran Church is an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation.
NJ Synod: The New Jersey Synod geographical groups ELCA congregations sharing the mission and ministry of the Church in New Jersey. It is one of 65 synods of the ELCA.
GWCM: Eleven local faith communities join cooperatively as the Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries to serve many needs in the local community

Staff & Council
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The Rev. Joseph Graumann

Pastor Joseph Graumann joined our congregation in July of 2022 after serving another church called St. Stephen in Marlborough, Massachusetts. He has an M.Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Lutheran Seminary) and a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Pastor Joe is really interested in how God dwells in communities of people, specifically through political systems and international efforts for peace. He has a passion for music, and he can play the piano, trumpet, and concertina. Pastor Joe loves working with youth and children, as well as teaching Bible Study. He was born in Atlantic City, and he grew up in South Jersey, and he is thrilled to be home. He enjoys running, travel, cooking, beer, and taking long walks with his dog, Jonah.

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Church Staff

Michael Wyatt
Meghan Ruggeri
Gail Gassaway

Director of Music
music@ststephenselca.org

Director of Communications
info@ststephenselca.org

Business Manager

Frank Newell
Mike Wyatt

Sexton

Facilities Manager

Church Council

Jack Bryant
Lisa Carney
Gail Gassaway

President

Vice President

Property Committee Chair

Treasurer
 

Dorothy Keenan
Dottie Shields
Maryann Entrekin

Secretary

Stewardship Committee Chair

Financial Secretary

Liason to Worship & Music Committee

Council Member

Christian Education & Youth Committee Chair

Kathy Young
Kevin Glass
Judy Hunter

Council Member
Fellowship Committee Chair

Council Member
Finance Committee Chair

Council Member
Evangelical Outreach and Social Ministry Chair

Kevin Deininger
Jackie Wyatt
John Murray

Council Member
Liason to the Property Committee

Council Member
Future Church Committee Chair

Council Member
 

History

OUR HISTORY

St. Stephen’s history begins with its two predecessor congregations, St. John’s and Trinity, which merged in 1966. The merger took place at a joint organizational meeting on the afternoon of March 27, 1966 at St. John’s fellowship hall. Members of both churches voted overwhelmingly to form a new congregation and to adopt a new constitution. The congregation was named St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church of Woodbury, NJ in honor of the first-century deacon and martyr. Pastor Ernest A. Spangler was called to be the first pastor.

 

For the next several years after the merger, St. Stephen’s held three worship services every Sunday - two at the “North Chapel” (the former Trinity) and one at the “South Chapel” (the former St. John’s fellowship hall), with Pastor Spangler shuttling back and forth between the two locations.

 

In April 1967, the congregation purchased a 2 1/2 acre lot of North Evergreen Avenue for $57,500. That same year, the old St. John’s church building was demolished because of structural weakness, although the fellowship hall continued in use. By 1971, both both properties had been sold.

 

On July 19, 1970, St. Stephen’s broke ground on a new church and educational building at the Evergreen Avenue site. The facilities were dedicated on June 27, 1971. Since then, the congregation has undertaken several major roofing projects, along with expansion of the parking lot and extensive landscaping improvements. An entrance portico was added in 1997, and air conditioning was installed in the nave in 2001. Restrooms have been added on the main floor and the lower level. A landscaped memorial garden was dedicated 2005 at the western end of the church building, to which a columbarium was later added.

 

In 1978 the church began renting classroom space in the education wing. In 1986, Durand School began renting the facilities. We are proud to continue this agreement with Durand, as they serve students ages 5-21 with autism, learning, and developmental disabilities.

Pastoral Leadership

The Rev. Ernest A. Spangler, Pastor (1970-1994)

The Rev. James T. Heckman, Assistant Pastor (1980-1983)

The Rev. Kenneth L. Regan, Assistant Pastor (1983-1986)

                                                 Co-Pastor (1995-1999)

The Rev. Christine R. Regan, Pastor (1995-2021)

The Rev. Tammy Harmer, Assistant Pastor (2016 - 2019)

The Rev. Joseph H. Graumann, Pastor (2022 - present)

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