I can’t believe we have been here for 4 months now! Time truly is flying, but I am growing spiritually, personally, emotionally, and in Christ so I must say things are better for me now than they were beginning the BCSC program. I’ve been to some great places; Galveston for a retreat, as well as Austin at the University of Texas-Austin Episcopal Student Center for ESC recruiting. I’m really seeing what being a part of the Episcopalian community is really about. This community is about love, hospitality, outreach, and devotion.
The Episcopal Church to me, is one of the most loving clergy groups known to man simply because they have an “all are welcome” or “come as you are” attitude. Also, the church embodies hospitality in multiple ways. From what I’ve experienced personally the parishioners seem to really care for one another, almost like a giant family. Also, there’s the great element of southern hospitality I’ve received from my time spent with families at Christ Church Cathedral downtown. I’ve noticed outreach in the sense that the Episcopal Diocese of Texas truly ministers to the community in many different capacities.
You’ve got the Beacon, which provides food for homeless men and women as well as other basic humane services. Then there’s Lord of the Streets, which is a ministry run by the homeless. There just seems to be so many arms extending love amongst our community which, for me is often heard about but so much more beautiful to see in action.
I’ve learned a lot in my time in the Episcopal Service Corps. I’ve learned about where God is truly calling me in my future career endeavors as well as giving me the strength and courage to keep fighting for my dreams simply because they cannot die. I know that no matter how tough things get, Christ is with me and that has been more fulfilling than ever.
In the past, I’ve been very big on philosophy. Coming from a liberal arts university, I’ve been grounded in the ancient theses of Greek, Roman, Islamic, Hebrew, and even some Asian thought. All have enriched my higher consciousness in many ways but lately I’ve been reading a lot more writings from theologians. So far I’ve read “The Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster, a Quaker theologian as well as “The Wounded Healer” by Henri Nouwen, and “The Episcopal Way” by Eric Way and Stephanie Sellers. I’ve been enriched with the Holy Spirit so much from these 3 different types of Christian thought. Richard Foster enabled me to accept my flaws and become more focused and centered on what’s truly important. Henri Nouwen’s book has opened my eyes to some of the issues we face working in ministry (a field new to me) as shown me that a lot of my struggles are not exclusive to me. It re-centered me by reminding me that even though those working in ministry serve the oppressed or suffering, we too suffer sometimes with our own internal struggles.
Finally, “The Episcopal Way” I’ve found most intriguing because it gave me an informal education on what it is to be an Episcopalian and how to live that walk of life. This is the way of walking with the Lord; this is the way of dedicating yourself in service for the betterment of the world. That is the Episcopal Way, which is truly embodying and living out the Great Commandment. I see this first hand in action with this Anglican community especially.
Chris Butler, Generation One Academy