Historic Ridgefield church going strong

St. Stephens is located at 351 Main St. in Ridgefield/Tracy Simmons - CreedibleRIDGEFIELD – One of the 10 oldest churches in Connecticut, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church continues to be a staple in the Ridgefield community.

Founded in 1725, the suburban church has become a home for many young families. The Rev. Mark Delcuze said unlike many churches today, St. Stephen’s tends to have more baptisms than funerals – a sign of the church’s fresh energy.

An active nursery school keeps the campus buzzing during the week and on Sunday mornings 250 people visit the church for worship. Services are at 8 and 10 a.m.

“The music is pretty traditional,” Delcuze said. “I’m proud of the music program here.”

And with a bright, open sanctuary, it’s a perfect place for musicians to reveal their abilities. The sanctuary though, is not the original. The first sanctuary was burned down by the British in the Battle of Ridgefield in 1777.

Sitting on 6 acres, at 351 Main St., St. Stephen’s works hard to reach out to the Ridgefield and Danbury communities. Parishioners are active in Habitat for Humanity, Amos House Inc., Arc and has a strong relationship with its sister church in Mozambique.

Delcuze, who is president of the Ridgefield Clergy Association and the interfaith officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, has lead the church for five years. He said the church is known for its annual Nutmeg Festival which brings in 3,000 people each fall and raises about $40,000. Every penny raised goes to charity.  Throughout the year people donate their used goods to be sold at the festival.

He said the parish is made of people across the spectrum, including conservative heterosexual couples to gay couples with children.

“We’re not particularly republican or democrat,” he said.

Visitors are always welcome. Guests are given a loaf of bread and newcomers are invited to a bi-annual newcomers brunch where Delcuze tells them about the church and various ministry opportunities.

“There’s a vitality to St. Stephen’s. There’s a very strong heartbeat here,” he said.

The church will host a barbecue on Memorial Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information visit the St. Stephen’s website here.

If you’d like your place of worship featured on Creedible write to tsimmons@creedible.com.

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