Our Bicentennial

Bicentennial Events

Celebrating 200 Years of Welcoming All People at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (SSEC)

SSEC Oyster Roast at Bowens Island Restaurant

February 27, 2022

SSEC parishioners gathered for an afternoon of food and fellowship to kick off our 200th year as A House of Prayer for All People.

Historical Lecture on the ‘Three Sarahs’ who founded SSEC in 1822.

March 6, 2022

A presentation about Sarah Hopton Russell, Sarah Russell Dehon and Sarah Rutledge, the 19th century founders of SSEC, by Carin Bloom, Manager of Education and Programming for the Historic Charleston Foundation.

Roundtable Discussion about the early African-American history of SSEC.

May 1, 2022

Several long-time African-American parishioners shared stories and lessons learned about SSEC as a parish of community and family in the years before the church integrated.

Annual SSEC Emma Watson BBQ

May 15, 2022

Each year, SSEC celebrates the life of Emma Watson and her tireless work on behalf of the church with a BBQ picnic and a silent auction to raise money for the mission activities of the church, which took on special meaning in this Bicentennial year.

Special Pentecost Picnic

June 5, 2022

The new Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, the Right Reverend Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, visited SSEC and as part of her time with us, we reaffirmed our 200-year commitment to inclusion and mission with a day of celebratory worship followed by a commemorative picnic on the church grounds.

Follow-Up Roundtable Discussion about the early African-American history of SSEC.

September 18, 2022

As a follow-up to the initial discussion about the African-American history of SSEC, long-time African-American parishioners will share their memories and insights about the integration of the church during the late 1980s. Begins at 5 p.m.


Bicentennial Celebration Weekend

September 30 – October 2, 2022

The weekend of September 30, October 1 and October 2 will mark our official celebration of our Bicentennial year with an event on Friday night, the first of two dates to tour the Nathaniel Russell House on Saturday, and special worship services on Sunday. Please see below for more information.


Roundtable Discussion about the LGBTQ history of SSEC.

October 16, 2022

Several LGBTQ parishioners will share stories and lessons learned about SSEC as a welcoming place of worship and the role that SSEC played during ‘The Schism’ that divided the Diocese in 2012.

Intergenerational Faith Event

October 23, 2022

At 9:45 a.m., between our 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services, we will host a special event on our church grounds to celebrate our Bicentennial.

Evensong Service

October 23, 2022

A special service of evensong will be held to close out the Bicentennial year of SSEC, including the debut of a St. Stephen’s anthem, a new musical work commissioned by St. Stephen’s with renowned American composer Carson Cooman.


Bicentennial Celebration Weekend

Bicentennial Event

September 30, 2022

SSEC parishioners and guests will gather for a night of food, fellowship, music and other festivities in celebration of the 200 years of mission and service by St. Stephen’s as A House of Prayer for All People.

Bicentennial Sunday Services

October 2, 2022

At each of our services, 7:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 11 a.m., we will include special Bicentennial thanks and recognition in our regular worship. These services are open to all, as with our services on every Sunday.

Tour of the Nathaniel Russell House

The Nathaniel Russell House at 51 Meeting Street was the home of two of the three women who founded St. Stephen’s in 1822. It is widely recognized as one of America’s most important neoclassical houses and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1973. A tour of the house for St. Stephen’s church members will be conducted on Saturday, October 1, at 10 a.m., and again on Sunday, November 13, at 2 p.m. There is a $10 admission fee. Please contact Assistant Priest Courtney Davis-Shoemaker to reserve a spot or for more information.

Notable African American Members

Videos from Our Events

For More Information

Please contact Vestry Member Claire Monahan who is leading St. Stephen’s Bicentennial planning.