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Bob & Kelly Shadowens

Bob & Kelly Shadowens

Continuing our series of conversations with the St. Stephen family, we talked with Kelly and Rob Shadowens about their St. Stephen stories and thoughts on the Renew + Restore + Rejoice campaign.

With their oldest child turning 30, and their youngest getting ready to graduate from 8th grade at St. Stephen, the Shadowens family has been a fixture at our parish for a long time.

In fact, Kelly joked, “When Carl (our youngest child) graduates this year, Rob and I think we should do the running of the halls!”

Both Kelly and Rob grew up in small parishes, near Marquette, MI and Belmont, respectively. St. Stephen reminds them of these childhood parishes -- a place that has a small-town, neighborhood feel.


Rob immediately recalled memories of their children’s sacraments, including three baptisms and two first communions, as well as 8th-grade school Masses.

Kelly agreed, “I don’t know if there’s one thing -- everything about St. Stephen is so personal. The scale is very human. You’re not anonymous here, which is nice.”


When we asked Rob and Kelly why they were supporting the campaign, there was an immediate chuckle and Rob revealed that his daughters would love to be married in a beautiful worship space -- and that the updated sanctuary at St. Stephen would give them both lovely wedding photos and special memories of being married in the church they grew up in.

Additionally, Kelly noted, “We’ve been long-time school parents -- for over 27 years! -- and having the school be on solid financial footing means a lot to us. Carl has had a wonderful experience in the new classrooms”


Kelly said, “I’m all about pleasing the crowd, so I think the gathering space is the biggest thing. What you want is a warm, inviting space where people feel comfortable and want to come to.” Rob added, “It’s a great way to build the church for the future… and make the worship space a little quieter.”