St. Stephen's has been in the Lexington community since 1830. We have had 3 previous houses of worship prior to our current building.
The first building was not only the first church in the town of Lexington, but the first in the community with a gallery. Around this building cluster memories both tender and tragic: tender and hallowed by reason of its connection with our Southern Seminary and the development of Lutheranism in S.C.; tragic because it was wantonly burned by vandals during Sherman's raid on Lexington in 1865.
By 1870, a new house of worship was built and dedicated on the same spot as the previous one, in the corner of the present cemetery. It had two stories, a tower used as a narthex and a belfry with a spire. However, that structure too met the same fate as the first one. Old records of the era report that it "caught fire under mysterious circumstances" and was destroyed with some of the other buildings in Lexington in 1897. However, before this happened, a third worship structure, across the street from the first two and where our present sanctuary is now located, was already under construction. Since slow progress had been made on its construction, it was not ready when fire took out the second structure. The cornerstone for this third structure, a rock church, was laid on Tuesday, October 7, 1896, but it was not until 1900 that our congregation moved into its third worship facility. This beautiful stone structure served St. Stephen's for 57 years - until 1957, when it was torn down to make way for the sanctuary and educational building that continues to serve us today.
We are a church that walks by faith, trusting God's promise in the gospel and knowing that we exist by and for the proclamation of this gospel word. We proclaim Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead for the life of the world. As the apostle Paul wrote (Romans 1:16-17), and we echo in our Constitution (2.02), we are not ashamed of this gospel ministry because it is God’s power for saving all people who trust the God who makes these promises. “We are to fear and love God, so, that we do not despise preaching or God’s word, but instead keep that word holy and gladly hear it and learn it” (Small Catechism). God’s word, specifically God’s promise in Jesus Christ, creates this liberated, confident and generous faith. God gives the Holy Spirit who uses gospel proclamation – in preaching and sacraments, in forgiveness and in healing conversations – to create and sustain this faith. As a Lutheran church, we give central place to this gospel message in our ministry.
We understand to be Lutheran is to be ecumenical – committed to the oneness to which God calls the world in the saving gift of Jesus Christ, recognizing the brokenness of the church in history and the call of God to heal this disunity.