St. Stephen’s Prayer Book is aimed at a few different groups of people. First, there are those who will read these prayers, thoughts, and liturgies and find themselves warmed by the recollection of a place that was once their home, the St. Stephen’s University community. Then there is also the group, to whom we as the editors are equally committed to, who are “coming in cold.” You don’t know us, in fact, you may have never heard of St. Stephen or St. Stephen’s University (believe me, you are not alone!).
The ‘resource’ aspect of this collection is the bridge; it is what we are putting out there for both parties. The fact that some may understand the context in which a certain poem was written is of no special importance. In fact, I’m excited for the many different perspectives that will emerge as people who are not native to our small east coast town context reflect on what we have been daring enough(or stupid enough!) to put under your scalpel!
So this volume is for everyone and is made (God-willing) for speed. That is, it is made to be used, scrutinized, disagreed with, thrown like a football, cried on, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
We have divided what we believe to be our unique and foundational practices into three sections: The Gifts of the Early Church for Contemporary Spirituality, The Gifts and Struggles of Life in Community, and The Outward Expressions of an Inner Life.
We are a university community and we are a Christian community. This causes interesting chemical reactions to take place, especially when special effort has been made to avoid the sectarian temptation of many bible colleges. That is, we hope and pray that God will use our study of the history, culture, literature, and philosophy of our world to sharpen us as tools in his hand.
Through the years since our inception, the three strands mentioned above have crawled out of many piles of rubble, proclaiming themselves by their survival to be a contributing force in our communal atmosphere.