The history of St. Stephen's is the story of people. Throughout the years, St. Stephen's has attempted to serve the community faithfully in a variety of ways. It has had a loyal and committed congregation and many devoted and hard-working ministers. Our present minister, Rev. Phillip Spencer is St. Stephen's 17th pastor and has been serving at St. Stephen's since 1993.
Up until November 1, 2008, St. Stephen's was part of a two point pastoral charge which included both St. Stephen's in Qualicum Beach and Grace United Church in Coombs. Phil served both churches. In the fall of 1998 St. Stephen's introduced a second worship service at 9:00am in order to offer a contemporary style of worship in addition to its traditional service. The Rev. Dale Cuming, a recently retired minister, was asked and agreed to lead Sunday morning worship at Grace at that time. After Dale's second retirement seven years later, worship at Grace was lead by a variety of different people including Mikel Laurie who worked as part time youth Minister at St. Stephen's and part time Minister at Grace. Following Mikel's departure in the summer of 2008, the congregations chose to function independently and they each formed their own pastoral charge.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, St. Stephen's has become very intentional about determining values and goals for its future and prayerfully trying to detect where God is leading us. While we strive to remain effective and relevant in today's society, we also appreciate our past and the many blessings we have received from those who have come before us. Even amidst more modern worship styles you will also see our history as we have received many memorial gifts over the years. There are two stained glass windows in the front of the sanctuary, one of which was moved from the old church (see below). At the entrance of the church there is a beautiful old organ which was used at the very first church, circa 1920. In the late 1990's the organ was restored to its original condition and donated to the church. The organ is now used to showcase new books that are available in to our church library - another example of embracing the future while honouring our past! As you view this old organ and the many hand made artifacts in our sanctuary, please remember to give thanks to the many pioneers of our church who made all this possible.
The current St. Stephen's United Church building was built in 1961 next to the Community Hall at Memorial and Village Way. Also on this site was a smaller building that was built in 1941 and served as the church until the new church was built, at which time it became the Christian Education Centre and church office. It was also utilized as a kindergarten classroom when Qualicum Elementary School was overcrowded during the 1970's. In 1994 the main church was expanded to include a large hall and the basement was completed for the church office and classrooms. In 1994 the old church was moved to Heritage Square where it took on a new life serving the local Baptist congregation.
"History is not something dead and over, it is always living and growing and fresh, and binds those who are dead with those who are living and those who are yet to be born, in one common faith and one common destiny." John F. Kennedy