EPIC (Episcopal Campus Fellowship) is grateful to the people of St. Paul’s who regularly provide meals, rides, prayers, and encouragement to our busy students. We experienced a year of growth, both in numbers and in depth. Nobody graduated this year, and we welcomed a few new faces in the fall. Eleven students regularly attend Sunday worship at St. Paul’s, and these students continue to be curious, engaged, and open to spiritual growth. A second tier of about fifteen students participated in at least one EPIC event.
We meet most Sunday nights on campus, where we usually pick a book of the Bible, read it out loud to each other, and learn from it together. Two students went through Journey for the first time in 2015: in April, Anna Ortung was confirmed, and Kaylee McElroy was received into the Episcopal Church. Students are participating in ministry at St. Paul’s as well: Jon Fedele serves on vestry and as a convention delegate; Elysia Gemora works in childcare; Jessalyn Rogers sings in the choir; and Anna, Kaylee, Nicole Silvernale, and Meredith Bee all staffed the spring JYC for middle schoolers hosted at St. Paul’s.
Special events in 2015 included monthly dinners following the Taizé service; a field trip to Compline at St. Mark’s Cathedral; two retreats, on themes of Christian friendship and images of God; a house-painting party for Don and Pat Smith; a hike at Artist Ridge; a weekend in Tempe, Arizona, for the annual gathering of Province VIII campus ministries; an on-campus labyrinth walk; and participation in the National Collegiate Day of Prayer. Over the summer, with miles separating us, we read a book together and blogged about it. But we achieved our greatest visibility when we co-hosted Diocesan Convention in November, along with the UW campus ministry group. Students staffed the registration tables, led worship, spoke to the convention floor about campus and young adult ministry, and even wrote and presented a resolution.
The Rev. Josh Hosler continues to meet with students once a week in a campus café for conversation. This has been a good time for chaplain work with core members, and it has also led to some good conversations with students who don’t know about us. You’d be surprised how many have never once heard of the Episcopal Church; we are working to change that! Sometimes the work is as simple as letting LGBTQ students know that we do not condemn them or their romantic lives.
In 2016 we plan to build stronger connections with faculty at WWU, beginning with those who are Episcopalians. We will continue to solidify a culture at St. Paul’s in which parishioners reach out to college students, inviting them to our events and helping them get here from campus. We are on the lookout for a regular service project we can undertake alongside a population not well represented at St. Paul’s, and we welcome your ideas. Finally, we are ever more aware that a growing ministry needs to be mindful of the need for hospitality and the possibility of restructuring.