What Is EPIC?

EpiC Icon Painting by Elysia 2015-09-07
Icon of a Student  by EPIC member Elysia Gemora

EPIC is a community of college students rooted in the Episcopal Church who are questioning and rebuilding the experience of a faith-filled life.

EPIC is a campus club and a ministry of the Episcopal Church among the students of Western Washington University (WWU). We are an extension of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bellingham (2117 Walnut St.), and we also welcome students from Whatcom Community College, Bellingham Technical College, and Northwest Indian College.

The Christian life is an epic adventure. The promises made in our baptism, when engaged faithfully, call us to continuing transformation as we seek deeper and deeper knowledge of God in Christ, and as we seek to reconcile the world to God and ourselves to each other.

A connection has existed for years between St. Paul’s and WWU. Dedicated, loving parishioners have tended the connection for many years.

2015-11-22 Home-cooked meal
Frequently, St. Paul’s parishioners feed us home-cooked meals.

Today, EPIC students are engaged in ministry at St. Paul’s in many ways: choir, homeless outreach, childcare, youth ministry, Sunday school, vestry. Every week at St. Paul’s you’ll find EPIC students attending worship and engaging in the work of the church.

Students frequently say that one of the greatest benefits of involvement at St. Paul’s is getting to know people of all ages. High school tends to be something of a bubble, with students mostly associating with people their own age. College can be the same way if we’re not careful. St. Paul’s provides young adults with opportunities to become friends with lots of people, even people in the students’ field of study. On a typical Sunday morning at St. Paul’s, you can meet scientists, poets, former prisoners of war, pilots, police, professors, biologists, missionaries, marketers, musicians, clergy, and many, many more. Sometimes these connections can lead to friendships, mentoring, internships, or even employment.

Rainbow FlagOn and off campus, we work to make EPIC a sacred space for sharing the events of our day-to-day lives and wondering about them together in a spiritual context. We also invite even the most seemingly silly or irreverent questions, understanding that the freedom to ask questions leads naturally to an intentional seeking after God. EPIC students have shown themselves to be curiousTransgender Pride Flag, engaged, and increasingly comfortable with the kind of ambiguity that can foster spiritual growth. We always look forward to meeting new students and invite you to join us.

2016-05-10-red-square
Josh is our campus’s “least shouty evangelist,” according to WWU photographer Jonathan Williams

In addition, EPIC Chaplain Josh Hosler seeks to make connections with the student body at large, frequently sitting in a public space on campus and inviting conversation. We call this “The Priest Is In.” All your questions and conversation topics are welcome here, without exception.

2014-12-02(1)
Once a month at St. Paul’s we take part in Taize prayer.

While we tend to be a pretty intellectual group, we also understand that religion cannot be engaged merely on an intellectual level. Our ministries and our friendships are the field in which we continue to learn what our faith means for us in our day-to-day lives. And at every turn, as we meet and pray and learn together, we seek and share evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.

We want the church to be a place where various philosophies are explored, our personal encounters with the divine are given words, our deepest longings find a home among the ancient well of Christian wisdom, and we are inspired to spread Good News in our communities and the world through loving service and radical welcome. We believe, as Jesus taught, that “the Kingdom of God is at hand,” and that all we have to do is choose to participate in it. When we love our Creator and love each other, we change the world.

2016-04-07 EPIC karaoke
In April 2016 we held a karaoke party to raise funds for cancer research through our Relay for Life team.

So no matter who you are, or where you find yourself on your journey of faith, we hope that EPIC might be a sacred space in which you can explore all your questions, and that St. Paul’s Episcopal Church can help you engage with the broader church through worship, service, and learning.

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