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March 22, 2023

College Missions Grant in Action: St. Andrew's, Seguin

On a quiet January evening, the Texas Lutheran University campus came alive with students rambling towards dinner. In a small courtyard abutting an academic building several parishioners from St. Andrew's Church in Seguin waited, ready to serve an enormous assortment of pastas, salads, sweet teas, and ice cream. At first, a smattering of students showed up. Next, a small trickle, and then, a steady stream. High fives and handshakes abounded as students found their friends. Laughter and chatter filled the air as young adults ate next to acquaintances old and new. The air vibrated with the specific kind of joy that comes from being in community.

This event marked the second time St. Andrew’s, Seguin hosted an outreach dinner on TLU’s campus, utilizing grant money received from the College Missions Council. During the Spring 2022 semester, 100 students attended the first gathering, and 120 students attended this time. And with a population of 1,468 individuals, this meant roughly 8% of the total TLU student body attended Saint Andrew’s latest outreach dinner!

“It’s been so exciting to see the presence of our church on the TLU campus," shared Susan Rinn, a St. Andrew's parishioner and Executive Assistant to the TLU President. "From TLU Food Pantry donations to coffee chats with students to chapel visits, St. Andrew’s has had a regular presence among students. The Sunday evening home-cooked dinners for all students have been a particular highlight and are much anticipated. As a St. Andrew’s parishioner and a TLU administrator, it’s exciting to watch these connections grow into meaningful relationships with our students.”

Rinn continued, “As St. Andrew’s discerned how to begin a campus ministry, our main question was how we could become active participants in the daily life of students at Texas Lutheran University. To answer that meant we had to leave our church campus and enter the university atmosphere. Once that decision was made, we narrowed our focus, desiring to meet the needs of food insecurity. And it’s been quite remarkable — overwhelming so. All our service toward TLU happens at TLU. It all occurs on the TLU campus, from campus meals to coffee hours."

The Rev. Stephen Shortess, rector of St. Andrew's, Seguin, observed "At every meal we’ve served until we run out of food, feeding over 100 students at each meal. With around 30 lay members volunteering to serve meals, it’s quite clear we are being fed just as much as we are feeding. Prayerfully and with enthusiastic hearts, we will continue to provide campus meals to students throughout the year.  We are blessed that those students, with anticipation and excitement, look forward to our visits and ask us each time when we are coming back.”

Mark Dibble another parishioner from St. Andrew's, reflected that, “Strengthening the connection between the church and the university, between the members of the church and the students is the great benefit of the work St. Andrew's is doing at TLU. As we see how both St. Andrew's and TLU play a role in Seguin (and how the greater connection can benefit both the material and spiritual existence of both institutions and our city) we can share ideas to benefit an even greater part of the population. TLU has long encouraged students to play an active role in Seguin and with this work St. Andrew's is showing the students both how the community plays an active role at TLU and how the students can be involved in Seguin.”

If you would like to foster a community of young adults in and around your congregation, please consider applying for a grant from the College Missions Council. The Diocese of West Texas College Missions Council supports ministries of, to, and with young adults (ages 18-30) both on and off college campuses. We are calling for proposals from parishes that envision ministry for and with young adults in the dioceses. Grants of up to $5,000 are available to support young adult and campus ministries. Grant recipients may reapply as needed, and as grants are available, in the same fiscal year. Interested congregations may send proposals to the Rev. Kevin Schubert, CMC Chair, and the committee will be responsible for allocating grant monies and coordinating college ministry efforts.

Click here to save the CMC grant application form.
Written by Walt Buzzini

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas College Missions
Campus Missioner

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