A group of students, alumni, and St. Paul’s parishioners gathered on Saturday to envision the future of EPIC (Episcopal Campus Fellowship) in Bellingham.
We began with a brief time of prayer, during which Josh addressed the students with a few parting words.
Next, we shared our own experience of EPIC. As we spoke, others listened and pulled out the key words and phrases they heard that they believe get at the essence of what EPIC is.
At this point, Josh excused our three graduating seniors—Meredith Bee, Emilie Han, and Anna Ortung—to the kitchen to finish preparing our lunch.
Josh invited the continuing students each to mark three qualities that they feel best exemplify what EPIC is and must continue to be. (The phrase “God is weird” refers specifically to the ability to say such things with freedom, confidence, curiosity, and excitement!)
Next, Josh shared with the continuing students a model he has learned for looking at Christian community. This model comes from the College for Congregational Development. He asked the students where we should place each of our key words on the cycle presented in this model (in red).
When we were finished, we noted that we cover the three parts of the cycle quite well.
After lunch, the seniors left us. To the remainder of the group, Josh asked, “As I prepare to leave EPIC and St. Paul’s, what are you most afraid of? What do you hope for?”
“WWJD” here refers to “What Would Josh Do?” Contrary to the jokes that we enjoyed together, Josh wasn’t really comparing himself to Jesus! But he has observed that when a leader departs, it’s all too easy to compare a new leader to the previous one.
Finally, we listed the main things that have to happen in order to make EPIC thrive. We grouped these things into categories as follows:
- Scheduling and organization of the content of our meetings
- Facilitating our meetings
- Maintaining the member list
- Communicating with our own group
- Social media
- “Pinging” each other to invite and to remind
- Students do not have spending power but can learn the ins and outs of budgeting and money planning. Josh will meet with several students who want to learn more about how this works.
- Promotional tools: Facebook ads (provided we can afford these) … giveaway swag … flyers … etc.
- Connections and projects with other campus clubs
- Public tabling on campus
- Visits to places where Episcopal high schoolers can be found, such as Camp Huston and HYC
- Phone calls to all the congregations in the diocese: Who’s graduating? Where are they going next? How can we help connect them to a church and/or campus ministry? (This work could be shared with UW folks.)
- We’d like this to be handled by a student/parishioner team of at least three, with clarity about who will be the main communicator.
- Ideal job description
- Recruit parishioners to provide rides on a regular basis
- Make sure that one or more cars go to campus every Sunday morning to pick up whoever is waiting
- Keep a sign in the window making clear that the car is headed to St. Paul’s; think of it as the St. Paul’s bus line
- We wondered about where EPIC’s stuff can be stored during a time between chaplains.
- We pondered the idea of an EPIC pilgrimage at some point in the coming years.
We closed with prayer.
We came away from the day with specific people assigned to care for specific tasks. Josh will help solidify these connections in the coming weeks.