Episcopal-Lutheran Campus Ministry, Stanford University Report 2018

Greetings to our sister and brother Episcopalians, in the love of God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! The past year has been a challenging journey for all of us, as we have had to continue our ministry while losing two of our three beloved chaplains at Stanford University. Our many thanks to the Lutheran Chaplain, Pastor Greg Schaefer, for his steadfast guidance and counsel during this time, and equal gratitude to our Canterbury foundation for their diligence in seeking out a new chaplain. This past year we also saw the departure of our student leaders and the graduation of several of our long-term members. It has been a year of challenges.

Nonetheless, we persevered knowing the worthiness of the race that we run! In the Autumn Quarter in 2017, we organized a number of discussion groups, including several sessions on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous theses. We approached the Reformation from several angles, both grateful and critical, and it culminated in an ecumenical discussion with the campus Roman Catholic Graduate Student community, in which we dialogued from our respective traditions about the legacy of the Reformation. In the Winter Quarter, we dedicated our Bread & Belonging evenings to being in solidarity with the homeless women in Palo Alto. The University Lutheran Church where we meet for Bread & Belonging partnered with a local women’s shelter to house homeless women nightly for six weeks. On our respective nights, we helped the shelter feed the women, and shared the meals with them, and provided any other support necessary to ensure a smooth and safe stay for these precious women. In the Spring Quarter we hosted a series of discussions on women and music, on religious art, on refugee justice, and finished with a several week Bible study on women in the Bible. And all of these events were held with dinner for all the students who came, a service to our classmates that remains at the core of our ministry.

This coming year is a pivotal time for us. We have all new student officers and are looking forward to the hire of a new Episcopal chaplain to reinvigorate our ministry. We are hoping to attract incoming students who will form the backbone of continuity and stability for ELCM in the years to come, to ensure that we do not endure another trial due to everyone graduating at the same time. Our focus is on building up our Bread & Belonging ministry, growing attendance to our weekly Holy Communion in the beautiful Stanford Memorial Church, and serving as a stable conduit for students between Stanford and the local Episcopal and Lutheran parishes. We are also focusing our energies on quarterly outreach events. Our first outreach event will be a movie night on the Stanford Campus in the Autumn Quarter, in which we will be showing the film All Saints, a story about an Episcopal parish faced with the challenge of welcoming a community of Karin refugees into the church. We’ll use the film as a springboard to discuss the relationship between faith and refugees and all who arrive in need at our church doors, and also to invite students to visit our weekly ministries.

We ask for the prayers of all in the diocese that our local parish families would be inspired to partner in our ministry and sponsor our weekly meals. We provide 33+ meals throughout the academic year, and greatly depend on the generosity of our sisters and brothers in Christ to do so. To God be the glory, and thank you all for your support!