As the first semester of the 2011-2012 school year draws to a close, some of the students who have been active with the Raleigh-area Episcopal Campus Ministry are sharing their stories from the community of faith ECM has created for them.
I decided to be confirmed at ECM because I feel that it is important to worship in a community of one's peers. More broadly, I was drawn to the Episcopal tradition by the inclusive doctrine and the focus on social justice. I feel that if we are to truly worship God, we cannot do so while remaining isolated from the problems of the world. â€”Walter Carter, NCSU student who was confirmed during services at Cheshire House in September. Bishop Curry confirms Walter Carter
I am a freshman at NCSU and ECM has been like a family to me. They have supported me and given me a safe, stable place to be during this time of transition between high school and all the differences and challenges of college. All the people I have met there are so welcoming and have really made it my home away from home. â€” Ben Hatley, NCSU student. Lessons and Carols celebrated at Cheshire House on Dec. 4
ECM students volunteering at a Head Start for children of farmworkers.
The camps are similar to third world living conditions, and regulations are often not helpful. Undocumented migrants do not have any legal standing, and documented workers live in fear of being blacklisted by farmers. However, programs like EFM are providing clothes and fighting for the rights of the workers. Since workers have to change clothes several times during the day, because sand and silt makes their clothes unwearable, donations are very important. â€”Victoria Thompson, NCSU student who helps coordinate projects in support of the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, describing conditions at the camps where ECM students volunteer.
From Deborah Fox, Chaplain, Raleigh-area Episcopal Campus Ministry At the last Diocesan Convention Bishop Curry challenged us to a new initiative – “Going to Galilee.” Bishop Curry said that when Jesus went to Galilee, it was a hotbed of economic uncertainty and political instability. Sound familiar? There are many similarities in campus ministry. There is economic instability of rising tuition, class size increases while class offerings decrease. Many students’ parents are struggling with job insecurity. On campus, students are bombarded by para-church groups asking. “Are you saved?” Students left behind the comfort and stability of their local parish. Campus life is often the first time that students are confronted with unique cultural diversity. How does one engage with a roommate who is not Christian? These rich experiences offer wonderful opportunities to grow spiritually and emotionally. At heart of this is the inward/outward journey and that journey is the core of ECM Raleigh. Our inward journey begins by creating a safe space, welcoming all new and returning students, without regard to their religion, sexuality, gender or ethnicity. Worship is at the center of our life together. Every Sunday evening during the academic year there is Eucharist and a home-cooked meal provided by area churches. At the Eucharist, the students serve as lectors, lead the prayers of the people and are the altar guild. Wednesday night is in-Formation, which consists of Bible study, self-care, conversations, Church history, theology, compline and more. Students spiritual growth is furthered nurtured by retreats, centering prayer, and individual spiritual direction provided by Deacon Nancy Titus. We also play, together. We make trips to the lake, have game night and a bonfire, bake cookies and have other fellowship times. Our outward journey calls us beyond our safe space to feed the poor and hungry, care for migrants, clean up Walnut Creek, revive ravaged homes in New Orleans, and to ask hard questions about injustice. At the core of the outward journey is our baptismal covenant. To seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as our self. To strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being (BCP 305). Campus ministry is a place of worship, nurture, fellowship, outreach, and social justice. It is the Church of today and the future. Our thanks to all of you who make ECM happen and we look forward to your being a part of our lives in 2012. Blessings of the season, Deborah From the home-cooked Sunday suppers provided by Raleigh-area parishes to the invaluable hands-on labor that helps with building upkeep to financial support, ECM would not exist without the generosity of time, talent and treasure provided by churches and individuals. You can help strengthen ECM with a donation in support of our work with college-age young people. Gifts are tax-deductible and can be mailed to: ECM-Raleigh 2208 Hope St. Raleigh, NC 27607 To learn more about this ministry, visit www.ecm-raleigh.org
Advisory Board Dr. Linda Martin, Chair, St. Mark’s Melonie Wigley Vice Chair, St. Paul’s Perry Schneider, Treasurer, Church of the Nativity Wade Chestnut, Secretary, Church of the Good Shepherd Darden Coe, St. Michael’s Kathy Crosby, St. Mark’s
Anna Ball Hodge, Christ Church Tom Krisulewicz, Christ Church Aleta Payne, St. Paul’s Carl Terry, Church of the Nativity Vaughn Wagoner, St. Michael’s
A ministry of the Diocese of NC Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop Rev. Nancy Titus, Deacon; Joseph Wolyniak, Chaplain’s Assistant