The Stephen Series

(l-r) Nancy Rich and Mary Ann Warmack at the Annual Convention.

For I was hungry, and you gave me meat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.

The Stephen Series

The Stephen Series is a complete system for training and organizing laypeople to provide one-to-one Christian care to hurting people in and around your congregation.

What Is Stephen Ministry?

The Stephen Series, also called “Stephen Ministry,” provides congregations with the training, resources, and ongoing support to organize and equip a team of lay caregivers — called Stephen Ministers — in the congregation.

Since 1975, the Stephen Ministries organization, based in St. Louis, Missouri, has helped more than 12,500 congregations implement Stephen Ministry. These congregations represent more than 150 denominations and come from all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, and 23 other countries.

Stephen Ministers provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care and support to people experiencing grief, divorce, cancer, job loss, loneliness, disability, moving through the dying process, and other life difficulties.

Stephen Ministry was reinvigorated at St.Paul’s Church in 2010 when two parishioners attended the National Leadership Training Conference. They personally interviewed nine candidates who began their 50 hours of training in early spring of 2011. All eleven were commissioned as lay Stephen ministers that fall. Since then countless hours have been given in this ministry of walking alongside those in need. St Paul’s has 7 female and 4 male Stephen ministers who spend usually one hour per week with their care receiver until both feel that a time for closure in the relationship is appropriate. Twice monthly continuing education and group supervision insures that the high quality care continues as it should.

With Stephen Ministry:

  • The Rector doesn’t carry the burden of being the congregation’s sole caregiver. He or she has a team of gifted, trained, committed lay caregivers ready to minister to hurting people inside and outside the congregation.
  • Laypeople have a chance to use and strengthen their leadership and caregiving gifts in meaningful ministry—serving others while experiencing tremendous spiritual growth.
  • People who are hurting no longer suffer alone. A caring Christian friend comes alongside them to provide emotional and spiritual care for as long as the need persists.

The Stephen Ministry at St Paul’s Church was started and led by Nancy Rich and Bill Shultz in 2010. In January 2017 Mary Ann Warmack and Vonna O'Neil attended the National Leadership Training Conference and were confirmed by Malone as Stephen Leaders in September 2017 during Stephen Ministry Sunday.

If you have an interest in getting involved in this valuable ministry, or would like to talk confidentially about a Stephen minister for you or someone you know, contact either Nancy or Bill as soon as possible.

Nancy Rich can be contacted at 333-6692 or by email at:

Bill Shultz can be contacted at 619-2566 or by email at