Christmas Eve Services

Outdoor Worship

Thursday, Dec. 24, 3:00 pm
In the Parking Lot

A recorded Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be available here on December 24 featuring special vocals and the “All That Brass” teen Jazz ensemble.

Donations for the band are appreciated and may be made to St. Stephen’s.

Pastoral Letter from Pastor Jim

Dear Beloved Community at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church,

Not too long ago we received the ashes of previous palm crosses on our foreheads in the shape of the cross, with the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. 

It turns out that was not just the standard ritual that we go through each year to begin the season of Lent. In these last few weeks the meaning of what we did on Ash Wednesday has become a very important spiritual preparation for the unprecedented matters we are all being affected by now. When we face our human limitations during Lent specifically, and throughout our lives as Christians, we are more understanding and able to live well through difficult times like these and the many others that inevitably come.

[Read more…]

Special Guest: Grammy Nominated Tammi Brown

Sunday, September 1 at 9:30 Worship

Her beautiful, hair-raising voice has woven itself into the cultural backdrop of the Monterey Bay area. Infused with the raw power of her gospel upbringing, her voice is rich with tone and six-octave range, from sultry tenor to the high peels of soprano. But it’s the goosebumps on the back-of-the-neck affect she has that makes her presence so unforgettable.

Born into the musically fertile atmosphere of the Pentecostal Movement her parents belonged to in Oakland, she started singing her heart out in the kids choir. By the time she was four, she was standing up to play the Hammond organ.

“Within that kind of Christian environment music is everything,” said Brown “Music drives the entire service. Music is so powerful it can work up the entire congregation into a frenzy.”

Hence the goosebumps, which cross the threshold from the Christian environment into the human experience, period. When Brown opened for Joan Baez at the Esalen Institute, Native American Chief Little Bear came up to tell her how profoundly her performance of “Power of Prayer” had affected him. It “opened up a window to my ancestors that had long been closed” he said.

These are all emotions that come out of me from my heart,” Brown said. “when I’m singing, I’m telling a story. It has a lot to do with how you live your life, how you treat other people, the love you show, or the hate you show. All of that comes out as who you are through your voice. You’re turning yourself inside out and showing the world who you are.”

She appears regularly at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, sang with the white Album Ensemble, and opened for Maya Angelou at the Civic Auditorium. She performs at the Monterey Jazz and Blues festivals, and received the 2013 Gail Rich Award for lifetime contribution to the arts and entertainment scene in SC.

There is no doubt that Brown, who calls the Soquel Hills home, is loved and embraced by her community, but it’s critical that we get one thing clear: Tami Brown in no small town singer.

She has performed all over the world, from the storied Appollo Theater in NYC to the Mumbai Stadium in India. She has collaborated with an extensive list of acclaimed artists. Her work with Stanly Jordan on the 2008 tune “Stepppin’ Out” received a Grammy nomination.

Through the pain of losing her mother at an early age, and the challenges of life itself, Tammi found peace in God and the healing power of music. “I found my joy through music … When I’m singing, I’m telling a story.”

From SC Style, Maria Grusauskas