St Stephen’s is situated in Stephanie village, Tala and was the first church “planted” by the Anglican Church of Paphos with 12 founder parishioners. Its first service was a Carol Service on Christmas Eve 2000 led by the Reverend Marvin Bamforth and the building was dedicated on 28 January 2001.
St Stephen’s was intended as an outreach to the many English-speaking people who live in the area, which is why the premises chosen were not in the style of a traditional church. The property had been a taverna so was versatile and could accommodate small and then increasingly larger numbers of people.
The church interior was completely refurbished recently and it now has a small kitchen and lounge area for refreshments after services plus a vestry and new toilets. A member of the congregation provided the funds for the latter and other items in the church were also donated by parishioners. A number of women in the congregation made the altar backdrop, the curtains for the archway and the chair-backs to hold hymn books and bibles. A small team of church members carry out much of the maintenance required.
A wide variety of Christians from different church backgrounds make up the congregation. The services are in an informal Anglican style and often include additional elements e.g. Taize, periods of silence, poetry or other readings. There is a Eucharist on the first and third Sundays of the month, led by one of the male or female priests. On the other Sundays of the month there is a “Morning Worship” service led by one of the licensed Readers, a priest or a combination of both. The Parish Priest takes at least one of the services each month.
The members of St Stephen’s love singing and enjoy a wide variety from traditional hymns to modern hymns and choruses. There is a small but growing choir. As well as singing, St Stephen’s is known for its fellowship. One of the ways the community encourages this is through a regular Fellowship Lunch held at different venues to which visitors and members of all three churches are invited.
Due to the current financial situation in Cyprus, some of the members of St Stephen’s have been working with the municipality to provide food and funds to assist local people in need. At Christmas the church also donated children’s presents and at Easter some needy families received traditional Cypriot delicacies. Loose change or “shrapnel” (one, two and five cent coins) is collected for worthy causes and the church recently sent €1 000 to St George’s church in Baghdad to help people in need.
Attendance at services varies according to the time of the year, shrinking during the summer months to about 40 people when many members go on holiday, or return to the UK or elsewhere. This swells to an average of 70 from autumn through summer and peaks up to 100 for special festivals like Christmas and Easter. Many members are “swallows”: people who come to Cyprus for three months at a time.
Whatever your church background or lack of it, whether visiting or on holiday, living here permanently or occasionally, if you would like to attend a service, you will always be very welcome at St Stephen’s.
The diocesan link church for St Stephen’s is St Martin’s Church in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates.
The St Stephen’s Band
Started in 2007 by a group of volunteer musicians, the St Stephen’s Band aimed to add variety to the hymn accompaniments one Sunday a month. Instruments played included accordions, violin, trumpet, recorder, and flute. The band continues to play once a month and now includes guitar and a French horn from time to time as the membership often fluctuates due to the members’ comings and goings.
1st and 3rd Sundays
11.00 am Holy Communion
2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays *
11.00 am Morning Worship
* Subject to change depending on the season and other activities. For up-to-date information see the latest newsheet.
GPS Coordinates: 34.832090, 32,428506