Stephen - Distributor of Assistance

This Sunday we will observe the Feast of St. Stephen – yes, the feast made famous in the Good Wenceslaus song.

For those who pay attention to these things, you'll know we're a little late with this. The Feast of St. Stephen is on December 26, so it tends to get buried under the busyness of Christmas.

But he is our namesake. We'll probably never know why 130+ years ago our founding members chose to name this new congregation after St. Stephen.

I’m sure 130+ years ago, no one anticipated how Wilmington would have changed, and how interactions with St. Stephen’s would have changed.

Then, people went to St. Stephen’s on Sunday morning for worship, and during the week for various church-related activities.

Now, people by the hundreds come to St. Stephen’s for assistance, primarily from the food pantry.

We have proudly grown into our name.

St. Stephen is known as the first martyr of the new church. He was young. He may have been about 29 when he died.

Stephen was one of seven chosen to serve as deacons in the newly forming Christian church in Jerusalem. In fact, as the oldest of the seven, he was the archdeacon.

At the time there was discord between the Hellenistic Jews (Greek-speaking) and Hebraic Jews (Hebrew speaking). The Hellenists felt their widows were getting short shrift of assistance. The deacons were tasked with making sure that aid and food were distributed to all those in need.

There is no indication that the deacons, under the leadership of Stephen, did anything other than a fine job of distributing assistance fairly.

Stephen: distributor of assistance. That is the name we have grown into.

While there appears to be a patron saint of starvation or prevention against starving (Anthony of Padua), there doesn’t seem to be a patron saint of hunger or prevention of hunger.

But for hundreds of hungry in Wilmington, St. Stephen’s is the place to go.

And just as Stephen needed the help of other deacons to complete the job, we need the help of others to accomplish ours.

The following is a short list of those who have assisted the pantry just in the last few months:

  • Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger

  • Wilmington Friends School

  • Shepherd's Garden at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd

  • Pilot School

  • St. Philips Lutheran Church

  • Grace Cafe Wilmington

  • Ramsey's Farm

  • St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church

  • Seaboard Foods

  • Ebenezer UMC Newark

  • Christ Church Christian Hundred

  • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox

  • Tatnall School

  • neighbors and St. Stephen's members

  • hundreds of volunteers

All those who support the pantry can be proud of helping us grow into our name. And we can be proud of the small part we take in providing a service of value and need to the people of Wilmington.

Join us this Sunday (weather permitting) for a celebration of this man who inspires us to serve the community.

- Ann Warner

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St. Stephen's 

Lutheran Church

To Love, To Invite, To Serve


1301 N Broom Street Wilmington, DE 19806


As a Reconciling in Christ congregation of the ELCA, we believe that the gospel is God's gift to all people, shared unconditionally and without regard to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic or family status, age, physical or mental abilities, outward appearance, or religious affiliation. We seek to live the truth written in Ephesians that Christ breaks down the dividing walls between us and makes us one.


© 2021 St. Stephen's Lutheran Church. All rights reserved.

St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

1301 N Broom Street, Wilmington, DE 19806



We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Delaware-Maryland Synod.



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