In December 2007 St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church purchased Stapleton property on Montview between Uinta and Valentia. After years of planning, their dream of building a new church and preschool is becoming a reality. The Acacia Preschool will open in September (see story in the August Front Porch) and the congregation will start meeting in a temporary sanctuary in the preschool building until the new church gets built. Their prior location has been at 3125 Humboldt Street.
At an event celebrating the completion of the preschool, members of the congregation shared information about their church with the Front Porch. “We consider ourselves a family. Once you walk into St. Stephen you’re going to feel at home,” says Carol Calhoun. She hopes that with the move, people who live in their new neighborhood will come worship with them.
“We are a family” and “we take care of our kids” are recurring themes at St. Stephen. Brenda Locke says after her granddaughter’s mother passed away, the church embraced her. “…she’s a junior in college but she has a whole family and they are people that did things for her financially, they supported everything she did…Someone told me once that I had done a good job with my granddaughter raising her. I said I didn’t raise my granddaughter by myself. St. Stephen helped me… And they do that with all our kids. Our kids are number one and we should have a day care center cause kids are number one.”
Calhoun adds, “We’re determined not to lose a child. If one of our kids is struggling, somebody is going to pick him up, adopt him, love him and put him on the right path. And that’s what I love best about our church.”
Locke points out that it’s not just their kids that they care for. The church also reaches out to the community. They have provided food and clothing for the homeless, school supplies for any child who needs them, and they have an after school program for kids who need help with homework.“We have people who call people when they’re away from church and find out why they’re away, if they need anything.”
“We’re going to have a lot of things to meet the community, not just our church, but we want to help the whole community advance and grow,” says Locke.
Music director Barbara Smith says they periodically have Friday night programs for kids. “We keep our kids involved, because they could be running the streets…but they’re here.”