Our History

St. Stephen’s Parish was established in 1906 and the present church building was dedicated in 1952 with 1,492 people present. The Memorial Hall was built in 1923, and the education wing, linking the building above, was added in 1963. The Rectory adjacent to the church is no longer used as a residence for clergy, but generates rental income as leased office space.

There is an entire generation of Calgarians, now mostly octogenarians and older, whose lives were shaped by St. Stephen’s as a place of both spiritual formation and worship, where many sang in the choir, performed in musical theatre productions in the parish hall, and belonged to a large Young People’s Association where members often met future spouses and made life long friends. We have wartime associations that span the last hundred years, including the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and, most recently, the war in Afghanistan, as represented by several memorial plaques hanging in the chapel. The King’s Own Calgary Regiment provided the funds for the building of the chapel in 1952 and our association with the regiment has continued to this day.

In the 1960’s the parish operated a coffee house in the lower Memorial Hall, attracting not only many young people of the day but also up-and-coming artists including Joni Mitchell and the Irish Rovers. In the 1970’s when the surrounding Beltline area of the city was rife with signs of poverty and even dereliction, we opened a storefront outreach program across from the church where people in need could gain access to the social services they needed and, in the process, receive a warm welcome as well. This initiative predisposed us to take up the challenge in the late 1990’s, literally to open the church doors to the homeless with the formation of the Inn from the Cold Society. In 2015, St. Stephen’s completed renovation of its sanctuary space, allowing for greater use of the church by local arts and performing groups.

Today, groups such as Bible Study, Meditation, Choir, Girl Guides, AA, NA and others meet weekly at the church. St. Stephen’s seeks to connect to the Beltline neighbourhood through various community building efforts such as Game Night and a morning Drop-In group for Connaught School parents. Arts groups use the sanctuary space for rehearsals and performances. And Sunday by Sunday, a vibrant and dedicated group of people from across Calgary gathers for worship, and both spiritual nurture and challenge.