Fall 2021 Wrapped #ELCMWrapped
For a chronology of our semester in the form of a picture gallery, scroll down just a little further!
Our most ordered Tuesday night dinner spot was Primavera on William St. We ordered from there a reasonable five weeks in a row, which is our right.
Twenty-six cases of Spindrift were Instacarted to The House, throughout the course of the semester, which does not include the Spindrift purchased by the missioner.
Twenty white elephant presents were purchased and shared among the members of the community, including an IKEA tarp bucket hat, a unicorn eye mask with matching socks, a giant Gold plastic gummy bear full of other gummy bears, and a collection of Ferrero Rocher candies.
We ordered four vinyl banners and 1000 (LOL) business cards to get the word out about our ministry on campus (the business cards were included in our Halloween and finals week bags).
Right before Thanksgiving, we were mistakenly delivered $110 worth of appetizers from the Italian restaurant down the street that were more than welcome among our college students (it was a lot of toasted ravioli).
During the semester, two of our college students were baptized.
The following three Spindrift flavors were trending at one point or another: Pineapple, Pink Lemonade, Orange-Mango.
When I started in this role back on August 1, I hadn't a clue what the fall would have in store for us or for these ministries. In a year that has been anything but normal, in the choppy wake of quarantine and in the midst of emerging variants (yes, unfortunately plural), it was an audacious time to be restarting these young adult and campus ministries, but just like that a semester is done and a mission accomplished.
Looking back, we've had a really lovely and surprising time over these last four and a half months. We started the year with just a student or two -- including our esteemed president -- and took to the club carnival without a clue what kind of response we would get and ended up with forty email addresses. Just a week later we hosted our open house at The House and with a dozen in attendance, we started meeting in weekly on Tuesdays in earnest every week thereafter. Our topics from week to week varied, but near-always remained on the theme What is _____? covering ground from 'ministry' to 'rest' to 'prayer' to 'church' itself. We spent time wondering together how we define mission and what the mission is of our campus ministry and what kind of mission we are called into by the Mary Washington community. How are they hurting? Where is their longing? What role can we play in the wholeness of our university?
Another bright spot was our making friends with a sister campus ministry, the CCC (or Campus Christian Community). They are the Methodist-Presbyterian counterpart to our Episcopal-Lutheran ministry and we were happy to do a number of joint ventures all throughout the semester, including regular giveaways on campus: popsicles throughout September/October, Halloween candy on All Saints Day, and finals week supplies in the last week of the semester. We also put on a couple of special events together, including hosting baptism and fall festival for our shared student leader and sending a group to the UMW Historic Preservation Department's annual FXBG ghost walk. Campus ministry can be a tough nut to crack, especially on a liberal arts campus and especially in 2021, and it was truly a gift to have some colleagues and peers in our shared efforts.
Our ministry pulled off a couple of major projects that are plenty to be grateful for. We cleared out and reorganized some significant areas of the inside of The House, including setting up a separate study room in the back and art space in the dining area. We also purchased and painted some new cornhole boards as part of our celebration of St. Francis Day. Bishop Porter blessed the boards during his visit to St. George's in the morning and in the afternoon, we had eighty or so members of the three parishes come through an Open House and pet blessing that was overwhelming only for how many more people came than we were prepared for (a blessing in its own right!). And for the season of Advent, members of all the parishes contributed to an Advent devotional on the theme of Waiting & Watching that was printed and distributed to all our communities and also made available as a PDF online and on our Facebook page. Next week, we finish week 12 of what was initially an 8 week young adult bible with plans to restart for even more in January.
Last Tuesday, we closed our campus ministry year with a Christmas party that included a white elephant gift exchange and a gingerbread architecture competition. Beginning with one student in August, we ended up with a full house to round out the semester and quite a lot to be grateful for. The work of ministry and mission is always evolving and we know so much more about ourselves now than we did just a few months ago. We have plans for the spring to do some concerted work around student mental health on campus and to create a designated outdoor meeting space that's ready for the warmer months. God and Epidemiology willing, we'll be able to have safer and more gregarious meals in The House for college students and young adults alike and find some more creative ways to build community among our three parishes and those outside them. If this semester is any indication, we'll continue to learn more about who we are and how we're called as we sojourn into 2022 and I have no doubt that it'll be just as much fun as we've already had this year, and just as holy, and good.